Foodie Friday: Garden Crop

I love the second part of summer and beginning of fall!  The farmer’s markets are always exploding and the garden is producing.  It’s so exciting!

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This batch gave me purple grapes, ground cherries, and tomatoes.  The difference between home grown and store bought is massive.  The flavor of these tomatoes and grapes are extraordinary, and of course  it’s hard to find ground cherries in stores.  I’m pretty sure there’s a yellow tomato ready to be picked too.  I’m still waiting on red grapes to ripen, and I have potatoes and onions ready whenever I need them.  Life is good.

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Bugs on a Tree! A Praying Mantis Story

Mowing the lawn.  Ugh… Such a pain.  I put off mowing for a little too long and everything was tall and it was tough, but I finally did it.  The lawn looks great now, but you know what’s left?  Bugs.  They were so happy with all of the tall grass and now they’re exposed.  Mostly it’s grasshoppers which is fine, because they don’t bother me and it’s like a field day for my cats.  However there are some other ones.  Spiders, earwigs, etc.  Those are less my favorites.  And sadly the wasps are having a feast which of all of the bugs I think wasps are my least favorite.  I can handle bees, but get yo wasp ass outta here.

However, I discovered today that there are some other really cool bugs in my backyard.  Like this guy!

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A Praying Mantis!  How cool is that?!  I didn’t actually find it on this leaf.  Originally it was on the ground on some weeds near where my cats like to chill so I decided to move it for the safety of both.  This in itself was a little intense because as it turns out, these little guys move pretty quickly.  I was thinking more like a sloth since they sit still for so long, but nope.  I started by caring him on a large piece of mulch wood, but quickly realized that a meager plank like that wasn’t enough and I’m not too keen on getting pinched, so I grabbed a branch off a weed (Not a “weed” weed.  Just a weed. I may or may not have let some weeds get really big… There were just so many!) and carried it on that.  These guys are smart!  He just watched me and plotted.  When I had it on the wood it moved very slowly toward my fingers, and on the branch it just stayed defensive and ready.  But you could tell, first chance it got… SNAP!

Anyway, this guy was a really cool find.  I’ve always thought Praying Mantes were really cool so it was awesome to actually come across one.  Hope he catches lots of bugs for me!

 

Foodie Friday: Scones Topped With Blackberry Compote

The other morning I managed to get up at about 6:30 which is impressive for me, and I felt great.  I knew I’d be tired later, but I was ready to do stuff.  So I made myself some tea and decided to make scones with a blackberry sauce on top.  They were both super easy to make, and made the morning wonderful.  The blackberries are from my garden so they’re super fresh and flavorful.

 

Sweet Milk Scones

2-3 C. unbleached flour

1 tsp. Baking soda

2 tsp. Cream of tartar

salt to taste

4 Tbs. Or ½ a stick cold butter

¾ C. milk

 

Preheat oven to 450. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside. Mix together the flour, soda, tartar, and salt. Using a pastry blender, fork, or your hand, cut in the butter until the mixture looks grainy, like coarse crumbs.

Pour the milk in a well in the center, and mix until a soft elastic dough is formed.

Kneed the dough lightly on a floured surface until smooth, and press with the hands or roll the dough into a pad about ¾ inch thick. (If the dough is rolled too thin, the scones don’t rise properly.)

Cut into 2 ½ or 3 inch rounds with a glass or cookie cutter, and bake on prepared sheet for about 10 minutes, or until they rise and are golden.

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Blackberry Compote

1 C. Blackberries

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp Agave syrup

 

In a pan heat butter over a medium heat.  Once melted add berries and Agave.  Mix and once it looks saucy remove from heat.

Cut scone in half and lightly butter.  Pour compote over it and enjoy!

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A Little Help With Interviews

I am a multi passionate person.  I want to do a LOT of different things.

  1. I’m writing a book.
  2. I have a blog. (Welcome.)
  3. Once a week I meet with friends for our Shakesbeere group where we read Shakespeare and drink good beer at local places. (I debated posting a goofy high school Shakespeare photo of us.)
  4. I try to go to as many concerts with friends as possible.601830_10152792413310333_1586243679_n
  5. I’m about to start a Happiness Project and am considering starting a group for it.

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The list could probably go on too.  One thing I’ve been working on for a bit is that I’m trying to start a business training people for interviews.  Most people really struggle with them and I’ve always been pretty good at interviews.  I understand how they work, I have 18 years of acting under my belt so I don’t get stage fright, and I’ve spent some time studying body language so I know how to present myself.  All of this seems second nature to me but for most it’s scary, stressful, and confusing.  So I definitely have a lot to offer.  Right now I’m in the beginning stage of offering my services for free and in return I ask for a testimonial.  The biggest struggle and frustration is hearing from people, “That’s awesome! Good job!” but then struggling to get people on board.  I’ve recently decided to take a different approach though.

First, I made a website.  You can find it here: Interview Ready

Second, I’ve made some simple posters that I’m going to post on a local campus that houses three different colleges and universities.  Depending on that success I’ll go from there.

Third, I’m telling people exactly what they’re getting.

The third thing is big because even I didn’t realize how much the going rate for a 1 hour session is:  $200-300.  So to be giving these services away for free really is a pretty sweet deal!

So far I’ve received one testimonial, but it’s a damn sexy one, and I recently was contacted by another person who’s interested in a session.  It’s really exciting!  I seem to be on some sort of right track here, so now hopefully it will continue up and up.  I feel good about this one.  So if you’re out there and think, “I hate interviews.  I don’t ever feel good about them.”  Then you should take a look at Interview Ready.  It might be worth your while.

Foodie Friday: Black Bean Bacon Soup

Today has been a slightly cooler day and I’ve been hooked on Kitchen Nightmares (the US version) so I decided to make something flavorful and comforting.  It was also an exciting day today because for the past few days my kitchen sink hasn’t been draining and I haven’t had the chance to get it fixed till now.  Which also means, no intense cooking till now. The  Quesadilla has been my best friend.

So here I am, belly full, and happy.  The best part is: there are leftovers!

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Ingredients:

1/2 White Onion

2-3 Cloves Garlic

4 Strips of Bacon

1/2 Red Bell Pepper

1 1/2 Tbsp Cumin

1 1/2 Tbsp Paprika

1 1/2Tbsp Chili Powder

1 tsp Salt

2 Cans Black Beans

2 Cups Water

Chop the onion and garlic and saute over medium-high in a large pot with about 1 Tbsp of oil.  Chop bacon into 1/2 inch chunks.  When onion looks translucent add bacon and stir.  Chop bell pepper into small pieces.  When bacon is cooked, it’ll be lighter pink, add bell pepper, cumin, paprika, chili powder, and salt.  Stir and let cook for about 1 minute.  Drain and rinse the beans, then add to the pot along with water.  Stir and reduce to low heat.  Let simmer for about 10 minutes.  Serve with tortillas or cornbread.

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Don’t Dog On The Millenial Generation

Millenials.

What did that word just make you think?

If you’re not a Millenial it probably wasn’t something terribly nice.

If that’s true, you’re kind of an asshole. Here’s why:

I get so tired of hearing people dogging on Millenials as if we’re such a failure of a generation. Did you do everything the way the generation above you did? Probably not. That’s why it’s a different generation. Times change, fads come and go, and technology improves. You can fight against it and complain about how in your day things were different, but that doesn’t change the fact that an entire massive generation is here to stay. We do things our way just as you did things your way, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, there are many things that we can do better than you.

  1. We’re better at technology than you are. It comes more naturally. And if you think that in another decade or so facebook and YouTube and the overall internet won’t be what it is today, you’re right. It’ll be so much more. The entire world is using the internet. It’s not a fad. It’s not going to go away or become outdated. It’s simply going to be upgraded. Wouldn’t you rather know how to survive in that world, or at least have someone who does willing to help you? 
  2. We’re so much faster when learning about things. True, this tends to backfire and we don’t always have the in depth knowledge to back things up, but what takes you an hour takes us 10 minutes to find. 
  3. Possibly because of the lack of in depth knowledge we understand the importance of collaboration. Two minds are better than one, and so on. We respect that everyone knows a little something different, and has something unique to bring to the table. So do you want to know why we probably don’t show you a lot of respect? You’re not giving it. You’re used to the idea of “paying dues”. Well I hate to break it to you, but you’re probably not the expert anymore. If you’re so quick to judge the younger generations, I highly doubt that you’re actively learning new techniques and methods. What does that mean? You’re outdated. Business is changing. Once again you can thank technology for that one. Instead of poorly bossing us around, work with us, guide us, and most importantly listen. 
  4. A major downside to all of the movies, TV, video games, and internet is that we struggle to maintain a long term interest in things. Working the same job for 3 years without change? That thought makes me cringe. I understand the importance, but let me also point out that this desire for constant change probably also comes from school. You convinced us all that without a higher education we would never amount to anything. Well, guess what? There still aren’t any jobs for us, and now we’re all used to semesters, trimesters, and projects. Constant change for 24+ years. What did you think was going to happen? You know how we use this to our advantage though? We are great at brain storming. We are great at project planning. We are great at deadlines. 
  5. We seem to have better eyes than you. Do you really think that your website looks good (or works properly)? Ha! Oh… You were serious? When I have to design a website, you know what my first instinct is? I look at similar websites. Note what you like, what you don’t like, and make sure to decide why. And most importantly, keep in mind that repeatedly you’re going to have to update and upgrade the site, and when that occurs DO NOT add on to the crap that’s already there. Start over. Keep it simple. Make it beautiful.

There are plenty more things that I could list, but this is a good start. Hopefully I’ve made some good points that at least some of you are agreeing with, but if you’re still fighting the truth then all I have to say is this: Who the hell do you think you are to think you’re so perfect? You’re not. Everyone, regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, or experience, makes mistakes. Off the top of my head I can think of plenty of mistakes that your generations have made, so remember that next time you decide to judge us, because that’s exactly what you’re doing. You’re a judgmental asshole, and you’re welcome.

Various things relating to this topic:

3 Reasons You Need Millenials On Your Team – Forbes.com

What Student Debt?  How The Other Millenials Think About Money – Reuters.com

Foodie Friday: Home Grown Tea

Happy Friday!

It’s been a little while.  A lot has happened over the last week, some good and some bad, so I took a small hiatus while things settled down.  I decided that the best way to start up again was to start with a Foodie Friday article, and what’s more relaxed and happy than a good cup of tea?  Not much.

This year I’ve been experimenting with tea made from plants in the garden and so far it’s been a resounding success.  So far I have Chamomile and Chocolate Mint to play with.  They both have exploded with leaves and flowers for me to use.  I’m going to be stocked up for a very long time.

If you’re a tea drinker you should consider these options because they’re very easy.  All you do is let the plants grow and harvest them in the mornings.  The Chocolate Mint tea is made from the leaves of the plant and the Chamomile is made from the flowers.   For the Chamomile just rake your fingers through the plant sort of popping the flowers off the plant.  For the Mint you can cut the branches off or pick individual leaves.  For both you should spread them out somewhere dry and fairly room temperature for at least a week, ideally two.  They need to have plenty of time to dry.

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Once they’ve dried you can crush them up or just use them whole

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I added some rice to the jars to help keep moisture out of the tea.  You can either just put some straight in the jar or if you’re using loose leaf tea bags you can put rice in one of those and then put it in the jar.  Either way make sure the tea doesn’t get sealed in with any moisture. in a loose leaf pot or tea ball (or really any loose leaf option) and brew it like you would a tea bag.  The flavor is much stronger since it’s fresher though so you don’t need as much.

At some point I plan to try making Chocolate Mint Mojitos, so I’ll probably let you know if that’s a go or no some time soon.  Till then, relax and enjoy!

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Characters In Love Are Always Pleasantly Surprised… Huh?

I’m currently writing a young adult fiction novel which is a pretty good gamble. It’s always hard to get a novel of that kind published because there are so many to compete with. I’m trying to be smart about it though. Paying attention to how best sellers are written, thinking about what publishers are going to look for, focusing on trying to be as original as possible without just being weird, etc. One thing I’ve noticed in the other books I’ve been reading is that more times than not, if there’s a love interest the main character is usually surprised when the romance is interested in them. They never seem to see it coming regardless of the signs. Granted, some are written so that only the readers suspect based on the norm of stories, but still. It’s odd.

In a society where people are obsessed with “true love” and relationships, you would think that story characters wouldn’t be so clueless. Yet, they are. It pretty much never fails. Eventually in a book you’ll hit that point where the main character thinks, “What?! They like me?! When did that happen?” And as the reader we’re like, “Ummm… Chapter 3 hun… Welcome.” So why is it that characters don’t figure that out sooner? Well, sadly we also live in a society where it’s considered self-centered to think, “Hey! I’m pretty sure they like me!” So theoretically a character wouldn’t be likable if they thought that way. But here’s the thing; if the character was written well wouldn’t that just make them relatable? Shouldn’t that work? Makes sense to me.

Don’t get me wrong, modesty can be great and useful in many situations, but I don’t understand modesty when it’s a lie or blatantly undervalues a person. If you can easily and obviously tell that someone is interested, then why is that something to be ashamed of. Furthermore, even if you’re not completely sure, if we all walked around like fictional characters we wouldn’t ever find out if someone likes us. There would be a lot less in the way of relationships. So why does it seem so taboo in stories? It’s just one more thing to be ashamed and hush hush about.  This taboo is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things that we’re ashamed of.

Fortunately things seem to be changing and there are a lot of people fighting the shame and uptight modesty that has kept many people at a disadvantage. These characters reflect the mind of society and society needs to make some changes. I’m tired of average characters who are oblivious to their surroundings and are always pleasantly surprised when the obvious beats them over the head. I personally like to think that the world isn’t 100% full of unaware flakes, but maybe that’s just me. Either way, I look forward to the day when characters suspect a romantic interest and act accordingly, letting it influence their lives like it does ours. It just seems logical.

NMM: Forks Over Knives!

Happy Monday!

Today I’m bringing you another documentary that I think is definitely notable.  It’s called Forks Over Knives and is all about our current diet and what studies have shown.  It tells the story of various people who eat what’s called a “whole-food plant-based diet”.  Some of these people were diagnosed with cancer years ago and told that they had no chance.  Modern medicine wasn’t working, so they needed to get everything in order.  However, these people didn’t settle for that.  They began working with a doctor who found that if you just eat this particular way, it reverses disease and prevents it from coming back (or even starting).

Say whaaaaat?

Sound crazy, but it’s true.  A strictly whole-food plant-based diet (WF PB?) actually let’s your body heal itself!  Now, I know many of you are thinking: plant based?  I want my meat!  Watch this documentary before you resist it.  Watching it doesn’t mean you have to change your diet, but at least you’ll be informed.  Turns out, too much meat can actually help cause cancer.  Our bodies are made to handle only a small amount of meat, and we’ve definitely surpassed that mark.

Now, like I said, just watch the documentary before you knock it.  You don’t have to make changes, I still eat meat and junk I shouldn’t, but at least you’ll be aware of it.  Maybe you’ll at least add one more healthy meal into your week, but even the small stuff counts.  It’s worth it.

Foodie Friday: Healthy Peach and Cantaloupe Pie

An interesting thing happened last week.  I baked some pies.  I’ve never baked a pie by myself before.  I’ve eaten lots of pie, I’ve been around when pie is being baked, and I’ve helped out a bit, but I’ve never actually myself made a pie.  So I decided to make a pie.  Well, a gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free pie.  You’re probably making a face.  Chillax.  I wouldn’t put it up here, let alone eat it if it wasn’t tasty.  I wasn’t raised gluten and sugar free.  This is a good recipe, I promise.  The pie crust is not entirely my recipe, but I did tweak it a bit.  Here is the original.

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Mine went more like this:

  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance Butter (non-dairy but tastes/cooks like real butter), Melted
  • 2 Eggs, (I do agree that you should get good eggs.  They taste better and are much better for you.)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Coconut Flour
  • 3 Tablespoons Raw Honey
  • 1/4 Cup Tapioca Flour
  • 3 Tablespoons Refined Coconut Oil

I followed the instructions and baked the crusts first, but since I made mini pies I realized after that I should have just done it all in one go.

Crusts

For the filling:

  • 2-3 Peaches
  • Half of a Cantaloupe
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 4-5 Tablespoons Honey
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon Tapioca Flour

Preheat oven to 400. Bring a pot of water to boil.  Make sure there’s enough water to submerge the peaches.  After you rinse the peaches off, cut a shallow X into the bottom of each.  Then drop the peaches into the boiling water for about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and drain.  Replace the hot water with cold water, and let sit for a few minutes.  When the peaches are cool enough to handle, peel the skins off from the X marks.  Then cut the peaches in half and remove the pits.  Barely Chop the peaches and cantaloupe and add to a medium sized bowl.  Add salt, honey, nutmeg, cinnamon, and tapioca.  Mix with a fork, and let sit for 5 minutes.

Add filling to crusts.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Let cool and enjoy!

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