Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Mr. Right & a Chicken Dinner

from Leigh Goff


How do you know he’s the one? I’m a firm believer in one’s intuition. It’s the hidden sense that isn’t based on logic, but comes to us in rare moments of need. Call it a gut-feeling that many of us have had. It’s an understanding that comes from within and there’s no need to question it. I’m speaking from experience so when your inner voice says he’s a good guy, it might be worth listening.

In my latest novel, Koush Hollow, Jenna fall for the local bad boy, but he isn’t so bad once she gets to see him more clearly. He’s passionate about the bayou, he cares about Jenna because he see beyond her troubling environment, and he’s honest in how he speaks. Ultimately, he makes Jenna want to be a better person and to strive to be more than a Pearl in her mom’s superficial social club.

Here are my top five signs that he’s the one for you and if these signs aren’t obvious and your intuition isn’t talking, I’ll try to explain.

1- He’s interested. He makes romantic gestures to let you know he’s into you. He sends you a bouquet of your favorite flowers. He leaves notes on your car windshield to cheer you up. He holds your hand when he senses you’re nervous. This means he isn’t afraid to show you that he wants more time with you. 

2- He makes you laugh. Laughter is one of life’s simple pleasures. It could be a funny comment he makes when you wake up, or a silly joke he tells your friends over pizza. He’s a funny guy and he looks at life with a great sense of humor. He makes you want to spend time with him. It’s another sign that he’s interested in you. What’s not to like about that?

3- He remembers what you like. This is a gimme. You mentioned your favorite flavor of ice cream months ago at a Christmas party, surrounded by friends and loud music. You didn’t even know he heard you. Then, when you least expect it and you’re hiding at home with a terrible sore throat, he shows up with a pint of blueberry cheesecake gelato and you know this guy is something special.

4- He’s a good communicator. He makes good eye contact, he listens, and he asks questions. He doesn’t let you walk away from an argument without resolution. He knows it’s healthy to have different opinions, but it’s really healthy to talk them through and meet somewhere in the middle, and if that’s not possible, he’s okay to agree to disagree. Life gets tough and you need someone with good communication skills.

5- He makes you want to be a better person. You watch how he interacts with children, animals, and waiters and his kindness inspires you to be a bit more patient, smile more, or give a bigger tip, if you can afford it. He makes the world a better place to live in and you want to be by his side doing the same thing. 

Here is my Hope Chest Recipe just so you're ready when the right he walks into your life.

Mr. Right’s Chicken Dinner
1 Whole chicken plus 2 chicken breasts
1 Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Classic Stuffing
1 stick of butter
1 can of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken
1 can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom
2 cans of chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Boil chicken and breasts for 20-30 minutes. Shred meat from the bone. 

Melt butter in a pot, then add stuffing mix. 

In a separate pot, add soups and broth and heat. 

Use a 9 x 13 dish to layer half the stuffing on bottom, shredded chicken, soup and finally the remaining stuffing. 

Cover dish with foil and then bake 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes.


As Koush Hollow is set outside of New Orleans in a place where bayou magic abounds, dreams are frightening, and beauty masks the real monsters, it’s a well-suited title. Here's a little to intrigue you.
Koush Hollow
Where bayou magic abounds and all that glitters... is deadly.

After her father’s untimely death, Jenna Ashby moves to Koush Hollow, a bayou town outside of New Orleans, dreading life with her wealthy mother.

As the sixteen-year-old eco-warrior is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow.

 How do the Diamonds & Pearls look so young, where does their money come from, and why is life along the bayou disappearing?

As Jenna is drawn into their seductive world, her curiosity and concerns beg her to uncover the truth. However, in this town where mysticism abounds and secrets are deadly, the truth is not what Jenna could have ever imagined.

Leigh Goff is a young adult author with type 1 diabetes who is inspired by caffeine, enchanted spells, and unforgettable, star-crossed fates.

 Although she’s terrible at casting any magic of her own, she is descended from the accused witch, Elizabeth Duncan of Virginia, who went to trial in 1695 for charges including bewitching livestock and causing birds to fall from the sky. 

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Monday, May 10, 2021

THE WIND CHIME

by Linda Lee Greene, Author & Artist

So often I think that if I keep my eyes closed, I can close out the ring of the wind chime that hangs just beyond my bedroom window from a corner beam of my patio roof. I can tell by the darkness beyond my shuttered eyelids that it is not yet dawn, possibly even the middle of the night. Like Tarzan the Rooster on my grandparent’s farm that proclaimed each rising morning when I was a youngster, this wind chime is pushy in its determination to heave me awake no matter the hour—for the reason, it seems, that it can no longer hold in its enthusiasm to have me embrace a new day. Call me nuts to ascribe human characteristics to an inanimate object, but it is nothing new in our history. In fact, the convoluted term for such a predilection is “anthropomorphism.” If nothing else, this time of isolation that is a condition of the coronavirus pandemic is likely to draw us into deeper contemplation than ever before—and in my reflections, anthropomorphism occupies me quite a lot in the configuration of one of my wind chimes. An inconvenient sidebar to my fascination with it is that it represents my most precious and yet challenging relationship.      

Apart from the fascinating history that wind chimes enjoy in chronicles of ancient Rome, China, India, and Japan with which evil eyes, malevolent spirits, and even pesky birds were warded off by wind chimes suspended from roofs of temples, pagodas, and homes, members of those cultures also turned to them to draw power and good luck to themselves. It occurs to me that there is another application of these delightful instruments of sound that is less considered, one that hides within the universe’s quirky ways of forcing us to face our most troublesome bumps on our road to nirvana.

The oldest of the three wind chimes in my possession was given to me by my mother not long before her death 28 years ago. It is pared-down and less impressive than the other two, modest is a better word for it—a thing appearing undiminished by ego, like my mother. Also like her, it speaks to me only when I speak to it—primarily in my thoughts. When she was alive, my mother never gave me advice about anything. Her retort whenever I solicited her advice was, “Why are you asking me? You’re smarter than I am!” That seems a wholly inadequate response to a daughter from her mother. As you can imagine, owing to this reason if no other, my mother is my Everest, the mountain I must climb to make it to nirvana. I am not a mountain climber, and for that reason, I understand that we will continue to travel together throughout time until we smooth the path of our shared journey.            

Meanwhile, I find a measure of comfort in having arrived at some understanding of her. I see that the classic battle between the heart and mind of human beings found no ground whatsoever within my mother. Not that she didn’t have a fine mind—she was as smart as a tack. But my mother had an intuitive sense that “the center of man is not the mind but the heart. The New Testament [of the Bible] teaches that the heart is the main organ of psychic and spiritual life…”[1] The Bible’s Song of Songs 5:2 tells us, “I sleep; but my heart keeps watch.” That is my mother.

My mother also was wise to the fact that she served me best in allowing me to get acquainted with my own substance, to learn the lesson of bearing my own pain, on my own. She knew me better than I know myself.

I have always believed that my mother’s spirit lives in the wind chime she gave to me. It is the talisman she left behind for me. My mother’s death was a slow but a certain one, and although she didn’t say as much, I think she knew I would discover its secret—its secret that I would hear her in the voice of that little wind chime after she was gone—if only I would heed it.

“2018 American Fiction Awards Cross-Genre Finalist” All #families have their secrets but some are much darker than others. Captivating psychological suspense in multi-award-winning author, Linda Lee Greene’s Cradle of the Serpent.

Greene weaves a tale that brims with unimaginable twists and turns in a long-term marriage. Enthralling journeys into the human psyche, romantic love, archaeology, and American Indian history carry the reader into archaeologist Lily Light’s quest to come to terms with the catastrophic consequences of her husband’s infidelity. 

The trauma throws Lily into amazing episodes of past-life regression in which she takes on the persona of a young maiden named White Flower, a tribal member of the long-ago builders of Ohio’s Great Serpent Mound. White Flower’s life of thousands of years before reveals to Lily the unexpected path to her own salvation. 

Lily Light is an archaeologist who works at the Great Serpent Mound in Ohio. Her work opened her to experiences, knowledge, and beliefs she never knew existed. Psychotherapist Michael Neeson is Lily’s therapist and guide in her dream travels.

AMAZON BUY LINK


Multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene describes her life as a telescope that when trained on her past reveals how each piece of it, whether good or bad or in-between, was necessary in the unfoldment of her fine art and literary paths.

Greene moved from farm-girl to city-girl; dance instructor to wife, mother, and homemaker; divorcee to single-working-mom and adult-college-student; and interior designer to multi-award-winning artist and author, essayist, and blogger. It was decades of challenging life experiences and debilitating, chronic illness that gave birth to her dormant flair for art and writing. Greene was three days shy of her fifty-seventh birthday when her creative spirit took a hold of her.

She found her way to her lonely easel soon thereafter. Since then Greene has accepted commissions and displayed her artwork in shows and galleries in and around the USA. She is also a member of artist and writer associations.

Visit Linda on her blog and join her on Facebook. Linda loves to hear from readers so feel free to email her.

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Monday, May 03, 2021

Make Mother's Day Extra Special

 from Emma Lane

My son brings me a gigantic fuchsia plant every year for Mother’s Day. I love it. I confess, it’s for my favorite small bird, the Hummingbird. She shows up right around Mother’s Day every year and it’s a perfect gift for my deck. The female nests close by and some years bring her off spring to the flowers. So darling, so sweet, so tiny, as they cling to the perch, all wobbly and delicate. You watch and wonder how she managed to raise three babes in a demitasse nest. They love to sip from fuchsia blooms of this plant and I skip artificial feeders for that reason. Some years a second plant joins the first. I am honored on Mother’s Day. My son understands me well. No roses, no candy. Feed my birds.

In the greenhouse, I’m creating a Succulent Bowl. These collections of various, and there are many, varieties of succulents live peacefully together in one container. They are perfectly suited to indoor dwelling in a sunny window. These plants require very low maintenance, water once a week, if that; and they tolerate well the dry indoor air. Caution: do not over water!  My good friend swears fairies live amongst hers. I place meaningful messages on small decorative rocks. It’s easy to add your own favorite sayings. Another friend creates a fairy garden complete with toadstools and small winged fairies. It’s fascinating to find small lovelies hiding between the different succulents. Enjoy! These bowls are a perfect Mother’s Day gift for a busy Mom with their easy-care maintenance.

My last suggestion for your Mom’s special day is a gift certificate to her favorite plant nursery. Even for a novice gardener, a visit to the plant world is an “upper” for these still dreary covid days that are still hanging around. The visit is outside in the fresh air and, by the first week in May, many perennials and annuals are already in bloom Stick to the locals who will give individual attention to their customers that the ‘big boxes’ can’t. Honor your Mom on her special day and she will keep this event warm in her heart for a long, long time. I know I do.


Another lovely gift is a copy of my latest Cozy Adventure/ Mystery, Whispers of Danger and Love

 The heroine is a landscape architect who speaks gardening. She struggles with a client who demands a cutting garden mid summer, (and a hunky detective who seems bound to destroy her plants.) I enjoyed relaxing in her garden even as I created it from my own imaginings. It was also fun to watch the sparks fly between a couple who knew each other as children but must readjust their thinking as adults.

 


Emma Lane is a gifted author who writes cozy mysteries as Janis Lane, Regency as Emma, and spice as Sunny Lane. 

She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own. 

Look for information about writing and plants on Emma's new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma's face.


Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out the things that make Emma smile on Pinterest.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

A TREAT FOR MOM


Mother's Day is Sunday May 9 this year.


Do something really nice today for the lady who does so much for you throughout the year. This brunch  will show her how much you care. A few fresh flowers on the table are a nice touch.
 

MENU
Quiche
Fresh Fruit Salad
Croissants
Raspberry Jam
Butter
Zucchini Bread for Dessert
Mimosas
 Quiche
1 frozen deep-dish pie shell
1 tsp. (5g) butter
6 bacon strips, cut into ¼ in. (.64cm) pieces*
¼ cup (30g) onions, chopped
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1¼ cups (230ml) heavy cream
3 pinches white pepper**
¾ cup (85g) swiss cheese, grated
2 tbsp. (25g) butter, cut in small bites

Preheat oven to 375° F (190°C). 

Place pie shell on cookie sheet. Use a fork to poke several sets of holes in the bottom and around the sides of the shell. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. 

Melt butter in a heavy skillet. Add bacon, and ham if you’re including it, and onion when foam subsides. Cook until meat is lightly browned. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon to paper towels. 

Beat or whisk eggs, yolks, cream, and seasonings in a large bowl. Stir in cheese. 

Scatter meat, into pie shell. Gently ladle in egg mixture. Sprinkle the top with butter bits. 

Bake for 25 minutes or until a sharp knife inserted in the middle of the quiche comes out clean. 

The dish may be served hot, warm, or room temperature. It also makes a wonderful appetizer. Leftovers reheat in the microwave beautifully. 

*Diced ham, ¼ lb. (125g), is also good in this recipe in place of the bacon or along with. All other ingredients and process remains the same. 

**No need to buy white pepper if you don’t have it. Use black pepper only a little more as it is not as strong as white pepper. 

Fresh Fruit Salad
1 banana
1 pear
1 tbsp. (15ml) lemon juice
¼ pineapple
1 kiwi
10 seedless red grapes, halved
10 blueberries
10 raspberries, optional

 

Peel and slice banana into bitesize pieces. Scoop into a medium-sized bowl. Core and dice pear then add to bowl. Sprinkle lemon juice over fruit to stop it from turning brown and mix well.

 

Remove rind and core from pineapple then dice the fruit. Add ¼ to banana mixture. Store the extra pineapple in a glass bowl or plastic bag. Refrigerate for future use.

 

Peel kiwi and slice then stir into salad. Gently fold in remaining fruit.

 

Spoon into a glass bowl, cover with cling wrap, and chill until time to serve. Leftovers are still good the next day.

Zucchini Bread for Dessert

Make this bread a day or two in advance to free up your Mother’s Day morning.


2 cups (200g) grated zucchini
2 cups (200g) sugar
3 cups (300g) flour
1 cup nuts, chopped, optional
¼ tsp. (1.25ml) baking powder
2 tsp. (10ml) baking soda
1 tsp. (5ml) salt
1 tbsp. (15ml) cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup (250ml) vegetable oil
1 tbsp. (15ml) vanilla

Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). 

Grease 2 loaf pans with butter. Cut and fit a piece of parchment paper to the bottom of each pan. I do this because my pans are old and food sticks to the bottom. Nothing attractive about serving zucchini bread with a big hunk missing. 

Combine all dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. This includes the zucchini. Adding fruit or veggies to a flour blend helps them to not sink to the bottom of the bread while baking. 

Beat wet ingredients together in a large bowl. 

Slowly stir dry mixture into wet mixture. Be sure to blend well. 

Pour batter into pans. Bake 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Cool on a rack before slicing. This bread freezes great. 

Mimosas
1 bottle sparking white wine or champagne, cold
1 carton orange juice, cold
Tall slender glasses

Fill glasses half full with wine. Tip the glass slightly as you pour to retain the fizz. Top off with orange juice. Don’t stir. That will destroy the bubbles. 

Enjoy your day and remember to tell your mom you love her.

Sloane

Monday, April 26, 2021

GARDENING & WRITING

Can they possibly have anything in common?

from C.D. Hersh 

The warm days this week enabled us to take a stroll through the yard, another put-our-butts-in-the-writing chair avoidance tactic. We found a slew of winter weeds scattered throughout the landscape. Some tiny-leafed, prostrate thing has taken over a portion of the easement making it the greenest it has been in years. Buckhorn plantain spills out between the path stepping stones. Flat rosettes of chickweed carpet the stone gully in the backyard, and henbit, with its scalloped leaves and purple stems, juts out of the grass—or at least what passes for grass in the lawn. 

We’re letting the unidentified weed taking over the easement and the lawn. It’s green, low growing, and doesn’t look like it would need much mowing. But after an afternoon of surfing weed identification web sites (another avoidance tactic), we’ve come to the conclusion that we might have to dig out this patch of weeds and eradicate it every other spot we find. You see, if we’ve identified it correctly, we’re harboring shot weed, also known as hairy bittercress. Oh, it looks innocent enough, but when it sets seeds the slightest touch will send hundreds of seeds shooting out in a three-foot radius across the lawn into flowerbeds and pathways looking spots to hide and root. 

Fighting weeds in the garden is a full-time task. It starts in early spring with digging out winter weeds like plantain, chickweed, and henbit from the paths and flower beds. By the time we get those eradicated the dandelions rear their yellow heads. After that it’s pigweed and purslane and nutsedge and Canadian thistles and Jimson weed and ground ivy and goose grass. Spring and summer progress marked by an army of weeds marching through the garden. We hoe and pull and mulch and spray, and they just keep coming. The only thing that keeps them under control is persistent daily effort—and maybe a hard, hard freeze. 

Like the cycle of weeds in the garden, writers face different challenges along every stage of our careers. As soon as we think we have a handle on our craft and profession something new springs up and surprises us. The beginning writer’s weeds might be learning the basics of the craft or finding that story idea or dealing with writer’s block. For some it’s getting to the end of the book, or figuring out what to do with the sagging middle. For the more skilled, unpublished writers the weeds that need pulling could be social networking, getting an agent, or getting published. Whatever the weeds in your writer yard there’s one universal truth—they will always be there. Our job is to figure the best way to control them.

We’re not beginning writers. We know how to write. That has been reinforced with a number of contest placements. We have a good grasp of the skills and have been published. We know our stories and the characters. We even have books waiting in the wings to be written. But we still have writing weeds to pull—BIG ones. 

We haven’t finished our series—yet.
We want to write in several genres, which presents branding problem and sometimes an identity crisis.
While we have some social networking and internet connections there isn’t a large following wanting our books—one of the biggest weeds for a lot of writers.
Currently, we spend more time blogging than writing the books.
 


Gertrude Jekyll, one of the most important British landscape designers and writers, once said, “There is no spot of ground, however arid, bare or ugly, that cannot be tamed into such a state as may give an impression of beauty and delight. It cannot always be done easily; many things worth doing are not done easily; but there is no place under natural conditions that cannot be graced with an adornment of suitable vegetation.” 


Gertrude’s advice applies not only to the garden, and all those weedy patches, but to writing as well. The road to success isn’t easy, but we can accomplish it. We can transform those bare, ugly pages into something overflowing with suitable vegetation (the best words and story we can make). When we finally reach that goal it’s worth the work. So, pull those weeds out of your writing garden and create something beautiful!

We’re going to try this year to get rid of our biggest weed and finish our next book.

What are the writing weeds that are stopping you from creating your masterpiece? Do you have a plan to pull them out? 

While you figure out what weeds to attack here’s an excerpt from the first book in our series.

In the wrong hands, the Turning Stone ring is a powerful weapon for evil. So, when homicide detective Alexi Jordan discovers her secret society mentor has been murdered and his magic ring stolen, she is forced to use her shape-shifting powers to catch the killer. By doing so, she risks the two most important things in her life—her badge and the man she loves.

Rhys Temple always knew his fiery cop partner and would-be-girlfriend, Alexi Jordan, had a few secrets. He considers that part of her charm. But when she changes into a man, he doesn’t find that as charming. He’ll keep her secret to keep her safe, but he’s not certain he can keep up a relationship—professional or personal.

Danny Shaw needs cash for the elaborate wedding his fiancée has planned, so he goes on a mugging spree. But when he kills a member of the secret society of Turning Stones, and steals a magic ring that gives him the power to shape shift, Shaw gets more than he bargained for.

EXCERPT

The woman stared at him, blood seeping from the corner of her mouth. “Return the ring, or you’ll be sorry.” 

With a short laugh he stood. “Big words for someone bleeding to death.” After dropping the ring into his pocket, he gathered the scattered contents of her purse, and started to leave. 

“Wait.” The words sounded thick and slurred . . . two octaves deeper . . . with a Scottish lilt. 

Shaw frowned and spun back toward her. The pounding in his chest increased. On the ground, where the woman had fallen, lay a man. 

He wore the same slinky blue dress she had—the seams ripped, the dress top collapsed over hard chest muscles, instead of smoothed over soft, rounded curves. The hem skimmed across a pair of hairy, thick thighs. Muscled male thighs. Spiked heels hung at an odd angle, toes jutting through the shoe straps. The same shoes she’d been wearing. 

The alley tipped. Shaw leaned against the dumpster to steady himself. He shook his head to clear the vision, then slowly moved his gaze over the body. 

A pair of steel-blue eyes stared out of a chiseled face edged with a trim salt-and-pepper beard. Shaw whirled around scanning the alley. 

Where was the woman? And who the hell was this guy? 

Terrified, Shaw fled. 

The dying man called out, “You’re cursed. Forever.”

C.D. Hersh–Two hearts creating everlasting love stories.
Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after.

They have a short Christmas story, Kissing Santa, in a Christmas anthology titled Sizzle in the Snow: Soul Mate Christmas Collection, with seven other authors.

They are looking forward to many years of co-authoring and book sales, and a lifetime of happily-ever-after endings on the page and in real life.

Social Media Info:

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

FIESTA TIME!

Many people believe Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day. Nope, that is actually September 16. May 5 celebrates the Battle of Puebla which was Mexico’s victory over France in 1862. Another interesting fact – Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo more than the people in Mexico. 

I met a wonderful lady in the Hispanic aisle when I was shopping for these ingredients. Lydia literally took me by the hand and taught me a great deal in just a few minutes especially about tortillas and refried beans which I’m sharing with you. I am thankful for Lydia and the time she spent with me. 

MENU
Guacamole & Tortilla Chips
Beef Tacos
Flour Tortillas
Rice with Tomatoes and Onion
Refried Beans
Mexican Beer – Corona, Dos Equis, Modelo, Tecate

 Guacamole

This dish can be made hours in advance of your dinner and stored in the fridge.

2 lg. ripe avocados
1 tbsp. (15ml) onion, chopped fine
5 drops Tabasco sauce
1 med. tomato, peeled and chopped
⅛ tsp. (.60ml) cumin
⅛ tsp. (.60ml) garlic powder
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Cut avocados in half. Lift out pits and save. Scoop out avocado from shell and place into a glass bowl. Mash with a fork. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Taste for seasoning and adjust to suit you.

Place guacamole into a serving dish. Bury at least one pit into the dip. This helps keep the avocado from turning black. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Photo by The BlackRabbit on Unsplash
Beef Tacos
1 lb. (500g) 90% lean ground beef
½ med. onion, chopped
1 cup (250ml) canned tomato sauce
2 tsp. (10ml) chili powder
½ tsp. (2.5ml) garlic powder
½ tsp. (2.5ml) dried oregano
½ tsp. (2.5ml) paprika
½ tsp. (2.5ml) ground cumin
½ tsp. (2.5ml) cayenne
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 220° F (100°C).

Brown beef in a large skillet set over medium heat. Be sure to stir and break up clumps. Stir in onion and cook 3 – 4 minutes.

Pour tomato sauce over meat mixture. Sprinkle on spices. Stir well. Cook 5 – 8 minutes longer, stirring often.

Pour into an ovenproof dish. Set in oven until ready to serve.

Flour Tortillas
1 package store bought flour tortillas

When you return home open the package, separate tortillas and lay directly onto your kitchen counter for 10 – 15 minutes. Restack tortillas, wrap lightly in a paper towel. Replace them in their original package, seal, and refrigerate until ready to use. 

Heat a flat skillet over medium heat. Lay in a tortilla and warm for a minute or so. Turn. Fold tortilla in half. You now have a perfect taco shell. 

Lay shells on a plate and serve. 

Rice with Tomatoes and Onion
¼ cup (60ml) olive oil
1 med. onion, sliced thin
2 cups (200g) rice, not instant
2 cups (450ml) chicken stock, not broth
2 cups (450ml) water
14½ oz. (411g) can diced tomatoes

Heat oil in a large saucepan set over moderate heat. Swirl oil to coat pan bottom. Add onion. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes or until onion is transparent but not brown.

Pour in rice. Stir well for 2 – 3 minutes to coat all the grains. Do not let the rice brown or the dish will be bitter.

Stir in stock, water, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Cover pan and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes or until rice absorbs all the liquid.

If need be, keep rice warm in a low oven until you’re ready to serve.

Refried Beans
1 can refried beans*
2 strips bacon

Scoop beans into a microwaveable bowl.

Fry bacon until crisp. You want to render as much fat out as possible. Eat the bacon (no joke) and then stir the rendered fat into the beans.

Depending on how powerful your microwave is, heat for 1 – 2 minutes before serving.

* Buying canned beans is much easier than using dried pinto beans for this dish and probably better tasting. Be sure the can reads Authentic Refried Beans. La Preferida is the brand Lydia recommended. She was right. It was delicious as it has bits of bean in it instead of just being a heavy paste.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!

Sloane