September 12, 2013

So I Went Out & Bought Me A Crock Pot Slow Cooker!

So it's early Monday morning, Labor Day, but this post will probably publish a few days after Labor Day on the account that it evolves around the day.  It's my day off and you'd think I'd sleep in considering I get up at 5:30 everyday, but instead I'm up at 6:00 in the morning ready to take on the challenge of cooking an old good American favorite....pot roast.  Of course I'll be putting a little Cuban twist to it, not too much of a twist, I'll just be adding some cumin to the recipe.  There's something about the cumin smell that takes me back to my Mother's kitchen.  Ahhhh.

I love to cook, for some reason or another I haven't had the urge to cook.  I guess the length of time that some recipes require has lost its appeal to me.  So I went out and brought me a Crock Pot slow cooker. Yep I did.  This way I still can enjoy a homemade meal without investing too much time in the kitchen.  This will be a first attempt at both the pot roast and slow cooker.

Let's go to the kitchen and get started.
The recipe I followed is from the little cookbook that came with the purchase of my crock-pot.  But before I get to the recipe and although it didn't call for any marinating or pre-seasoning, I went ahead and did just that.  First I pinched a few deep holes in the roast with a steak knife and filled it with garlic gloves (a long-time tip from my beautiful eldest sister Zara).  Then I rubbed the roast with Badia's Complete Seasoning, salt and pepper and covered it with aluminum foil leaving all the seasonings marrying in the refrigerator for a little over 24 hours.
I take the roast out of the refrigerator, set it on the counter as I reach for the little recipe cook-book.  The first step is to brown and drain the roast.  So, I pour some extra-virgin olive oil in a frying pan heat up the oil on medium heat. The roast starts to make a nice sizzling sound as soon as I placed the roast on the pan.  I set it down on the fat part first and sizzled it to a nice crispy brown, then turn it over on its other side for more sizzling perfection.
While the roast was browning, I went ahead and cut up the vegetables:  carrots, celery, potatoes, onions and mushrooms.  Then I rinsed them and set them aside to prepare the mix to cover the roast.
The mixture for coating the pot roast consists of flour, salt and pepper ; this is where I added my own ingredient...Cumin.  Really easy to put together.  Just grabbed my favorite green bowl and started pouring in the ingredients. Then mixed it all together with my clean hands, followed by coating the pot roast and making sure I covered it all.
After coating the roast with the seasoned flour mixture, in the crock pot it goes.  Then top it with the onions and mushrooms I had previously chopped and put aside.  And although the recipe didn't call for it, I poured in a bit of beef stock, covered the pot, set it on low and left it to cook for 10 hours.
Then as if I didn't have enough of cooking, I continued in the kitchen and whipped me up what I call a yummy-mushroom-onion-scrambled-eggs-topped-with-sharp-cheddar-cheese-yum-yum for breakfast!!!  I know that's a mouthful, but it's fun to say!  Let say it again...yummy-mushroom-onion-scrambled-eggs-topped-with-sharp-cheddar-cheese-yum-yum!  Lol!  Anyhoo, I chopped up some onions and fresh portobella mushrooms and sauteed it in pan drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.  Then I added the whipped eggs and let it sit in the pan for a few minutes.  I like big chunky scrambled eggs so I let it sit in the pan as I grate some sharp cheddar cheese on top.   I let it form sorta into an omelet before I start scrambling it, that's how I get my big chunks!
Ready to eat!  Bon appetite!  Buen provecho!  Good eating!
Well, let's fast forward 10 hours and check on the pot roast....it's sure smelling good around the house!  Wow!  Looks good and ready.  Tasty too!
I enjoyed it very much.  The potatoes and carrots where nice and tender.  The pot roast was as juicy and tasty as it looks.  I look forward to cooking more recipe in my new crock pot slow cooker.
Oh before I forget, here is the recipe just in case y'all wanna try it.  It was really so simple for such a hearty meal!

                            Ingredients 


America's Favorite Pot Roast
-3 1/2 to 4 lbs boneless pot roast
-1/4 cup flour
-2 tsp salt
-1/8 tsp pepper
-3 carrots, chopped
-3 potatoes, peeled and quartered
-2 small celery, chopped
-10 buttons mushrooms, sliced  (I used portobello mushrooms)

Directions


-Trim all excess fat from the roast, brown and drain.
-Combine 1/4 cup flour, salt and pepper and coat meat with the flour mixture.
-Place all vegetables except mushrooms in the Crock Pot Slow Cooker and top with the roast.
-Spread mushrooms evenly over the top of the roast.
-Cover and cook on Low for 10-12 hours or on High for 4-6 hours.

Enjoy!  Now be sure you come back and let me know how it turned out for you!

Tootles!

September 10, 2013

Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop #38!

Welcome to Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop!
Last week's party was very, very popular. We had so many views on lots of links!  In fact, the number one most viewed post, How Much Money Can a Blogger Earn?, was written by Paula of Beauty Through Imperfection. 

And, guess what? 
The number two, three and fourth most viewed were also ALL by Beauty Through Imperfection!!! 
Congratulations, Paula!

The Top 4 Most Viewed Posts Are...
  1. How Much Money Can a Blogger Earn? 
  2. Mighty Handle 
  3. How to Choose a Baby Name  
  4. Cloth Diapering Myths Debunked 

And here are some other posts that you liked a lot! 

Now... please join us for this week's

Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop 
 on
Ducks 'n a Row
Simple Guidelines:
  • Please follow our host and co-hosts in as many ways possible (social media links below)
  • Add as many of your family-friendly posts as you would like, no giveaways please.
  • Visit three or more others. Let them know you've been there!
  • If you are new, be sure to let us know in the comments so that we can follow you back. 
  • Thanks for joining us!

Sinea from Ducks 'n a Row {HOST}

Cathi from Bookish Baker {C0-HOST}

Danielle from Sew Much Crafting {CO-HOST}
SimplyyMayra from PonderWonders {CO-HOST}

Al, Joy & Scary from The Shaffer Sisters {CO-HOSTS}


September 9, 2013

Soul Food Monday - An Inspirational Link-Up #48

Man is the soul that uses the body as an instrument of self-expression.

Hola Readers! Hope this morning everyone is having a great rise along with a BIG appetite for life where ever in the world you may find yourself today. A life filled with excitement and prosperity!   Acknowledging first that we are more than just a body is a good start to healthy wholeness.  Let's take time to feed the soul. We feed our bodies with healthy foods to get enough energy and nutrients for optimal growth and development.  We feed and stimulate the mind with books, movies, plays and games for personal and creative development.  The same principal applies to feeding the soul.  It is just as important to feed the body as it is to feed the soul!  After all, the soul is the core of who we are!  It is who we are.  My own experiences of honoring my soul has helped me make this connection with my very soul.  And my life is so much richer in so many ways I could not have even imagined.  This is why I refuse to believe that we are just here to work, eat, sleep and die.  Yes, these are inevitable experiences we live as human beings, but we are spiritual beings as well.  So join me every Monday with a different food for the soul.
I've seen too many people express, indirectly, how their Mother is a burden too them.  Showing over and over again how their Mother is way down on the priority list right after friends, work, football games, a party, movie, a book or even just watching T.V.   Did I mention football games?  Perhaps I'm sensitive to the topic because I lost my Mother when I was 18 and all I can think of is if she were alive I would let her know just how special and valuable she is to me.  So it really pisses me off to see other people push their Mothers to the sideline.  Perhaps they don't see the damage they're doing to their own lives by doing so.  It just hurts me when I see it, especially with my own children. 

This week's feed on...honoring your father and mother:

Are you honoring your Mother and Father?
What's inspiring you this week?


September 6, 2013

Is The Grass Really Greener?

Hola! I am so excited to introduce you all to author C. Michelle Ramsey who is stopping by today on her blog tour promoting her latest book "Is The Grass Really Greener". Michelle claims to love taking her reader's emotions on a roller coaster ride, one page at a time! Now, I don't know about you, but that sounds like the markings of good writing to me!





Five women, five lives, five secrets. Each woman is battling her own personal demons, and hiding a secret from her friends and family. 

Each of them envies another's life, wishing her life was different, wishing she had what the other woman had. But what happens when what appears to be real, is all a fa├žade? 

Battling breast cancer, single parenthood, infidelity, the loss of a child, and managing the single life, can become overwhelming for these ladies.

Not satisfied with their lives, looking for something better, they contemplate alternative choices to improve their lives; crossing over to the other side of the fence is a very real possibility. We can't see beyond the choices we make, but we must be held accountable for them.

And after they have crossed the fence, they realize two things simultaneously. Yes, the grass was greener on the other side; and also their grass could have been just as green had they taken care of it. 


About the Author:


An avid reader since her primary years, Michelle saw books as an escape mechanism. Excited by the worlds, and characters that could be created with a touch of the imagination, she began writing her own stories at the age of 12. The more enamored with storytelling she became, the more she wanted to create stories about the suffering, and hardships she saw others enduring, with one twist…her characters would rise above their adversities and limitations, but not always with traditional endings.

This busy wife, and mother of three, exchanged her Girl Scout Leader pins for her creative writing pen, as she began to focus on publishing her novels. In her spare time, when she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading mystery novels, watching NBA, remodeling their home with her husband, and spending time with him and their children. Having recently received her MBA in Human Resource Management, she says she cannot wait for the day when writing becomes her full-time career. “If I can show my readers they are not alone, in dealing with their challenges, and that they can rise above their limitations, I have achieved my goal,” Ramsey says.

Contact Info:
Pinterest: authorcmramsey

And now, enjoy a little excerpt from her latest book "Is the Grass Really Greener?"

Courtney found herself nodding her head to the beat of the music, more than she was focused on her report. Anita Baker’s “I Apologize” was on the radio playing softly in the background on KSTORM. She had to get this report done for tomorrow morning’s budget meeting. Stretching back in her chair, she let out a long yawn and shook her head to shake the sleep off. It was 11:55 at night and she knew that she had to be up at four in the morning. But these numbers just weren’t shaking out right.

The right thing to do would be to put it away and go upstairs with Nate and go to bed. She found herself going to bed after her husband more and more these days. She used to be the one who was knocked out by eight or nine o’clock, but not anymore. Some nights she was still up until two or three in the morning, if she didn’t have an early day at the office. Nate didn’t question it, because he didn’t want to be bothered with her anyway. She couldn’t remember the last time they had sex. She stopped to ponder that thought, had it really been five months now? Damn, it had. Seems as if she was always attempting to get him in the mood, and the last time she had done that he had brushed her off and he didn’t show even the slightest interest in her.

“Lonely hearts, find someone to love. Fellas, take care of your women; remember to love them long and strong, ‘cuz if you don’t, another brother will. And to all my lovely ladies, I’m wishing you a good night out there in the ATL; thanks for spending another night with me. And come back tomorrow for another night of love with Hypnotiq on the Storm.”

And with that he blew his traditional kiss and Pierce was off the radio for the night. As if this were some subliminal cue, Courtney closed her folder, switched off the radio on the bookshelf behind her, walked over to the doorway, switched off the light in her office, and walked upstairs to her bedroom. She was halfway up the steps when it hit her.

Damn, she thought to herself, I’ve been staying up half the night every night to hear the voice of a stranger. I’m falling for a man who I don’t even know. She started walking back down the steps to her office and flicked on the light and sat in her chair behind her desk.

Courtney furiously ran her hands through her hair shaking her head in disbelief. What the hell is this? I’m falling for a man I don’t know? He’s a kid from the old neighborhood that’s what it’s got to be. He brings back pleasant memories for me at this rough time in my life. Hell I had one cup of Joe with this man and ran into him at my art exhibit, and I sit up every night to hear his voice on the damn radio, how pathetic am I? He might have a girl, hell for all I know he might not be interested in women anyway, or black women, she shook her head laughing at that one. The way he came on to her that night she highly doubted it.  “This is crazy, it doesn’t even matter. I’m a married woman…not happily, but I’m married just the same and I love my husband with all my heart,” she said aloud, “I’m taking my butt to bed, I’m tired…that’s what it is,” and once again she repeated the steps she had just taken, not even three minutes earlier.

But this time when she got to the bedroom Nate wasn’t asleep. He was sitting in the bed staring at the TV. She could tell he wasn’t watching it. Courtney decided it would be best to not say anything, because she didn’t want to argue. All of their words turned into arguments these days and they couldn’t have decent communication. But it wasn’t to be.
“Courtney, I want a divorce,” Nate said.
Thinking she must have lost her mind, or maybe forgot to clean the wax from her ears, she turned over in the bed to face him. “Huh?” she said, a little befuddled.
“I want a divorce,” he repeated in that same monotone he had just used.
“Why?” she asked with panic rising up in her throat.
“I don’t wanna be here anymore, I can’t do this,” he explained.
“Do what Nate?”
“Do us, this thing we call a marriage, this faking it we’re doing day by day, I can’t do it anymore,” he said with a little emotion coming into his voice.
“Look Nate, I know that you’re hurting, I’ve been hurting, too. And what’s hurting the most is that you’re shutting me out. You won’t even talk to me. I know you’re grieving baby, we’re both grieving, but you didn’t suffer this loss alone. I did, too and just like we lost him together we have to find a way to heal together, to go on with our future,” she pleaded.
“I don’t think you heard me. There’s no future for us,” Nate responded a little more passionately this time.
* * * * * * * * * *
I know!  I know!  I already want to know what happens too!  So, if you're as curious as me to find out how the story unfolds, here's where you can purchase the book for the incredible price of $0.99.  No need to rub your eyes, you're seeing just fine...only .99 cents!  
Amazon          Kobo          Smashwords

Other Books by C. Michelle Ramsey:
                 Reflections of Promises:  Amazon                                  Real Secrets: Amazon

If you'd like to learn more about Michelle, please visit her blog Writing My Dreams.  Tell her SimplyyMayra of PonderWonders sent ya over to take a peek!  I'm sure she'd love that.  Enjoy and happy reading!


                                                                             Tootles!


September 5, 2013

And This Month's Interviewee Is....

The main objective of my blog is to inspire and be inspired.  I love searching and finding inspiration in the simplest of things, in places unexpected and then writing stories about them provoking a chain reaction of inspiration, self-awareness, love, acceptance, spiritual awakening and empowerment!   Sometimes those stories can be our very own, that is why I also love sharing my personal stories, experiences, triumphs, challenges, tears and laughter in hope to touching and enriching someone's life for the better.
I believe that something magical and miraculous happens when we share our light with others.  It just may very well brighten someone's darkness.  I love the way spiritual activist and author Marianne Williamson puts it better.  She states that "as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."  It is through this personal belief that my monthly feature of And This Month's Interviewee is....emerged!  My goal is to feature every month, a story in hopes that it touches and enriches someone's life for the better.  We are not alone people, we all intertwine in the mysterious and magical energy of life!  

Without further ado this month's energetic, loving, bright and witty interviewee is...

What is your name & age?  My name is Jo (which is short for Joanna) and I'm in my late 20's. 

Are you married? Children?  I just recently married my best friend in July!

Where did you grow up?  I grew up in Central PA on a farm. My neighbors were cornfields and cows. No, really. I could see cows across the street from my bedroom window.

What is the extent of your family? Parents? Any siblings?  
I have two amazing parents and two younger sisters (who are also my dual maids of honor)!

As a little girl, what did you dream/aspire to be?  
As a kid, I was very into politics, and so I seriously dreamed about being the first female president, or a senator, or working for the UN. I also wanted to be a teacher. No matter what other aspirations rotated while I was a child, I always wanted to be a writer, and I started "publishing" my own books before I was in elementary school.

What were you like when you were a kid?  
I was definitely nerdy, even as a little kid. I loved reading and history. My mom had to bribe me with a spiral-bound notebook to get me to make a friend at recess during first grade. I've always been a little on the quiet side, but I'm not THAT quiet anymore. (I'm just as nerdy, however.) 
What was your favorite toy, game or pass-time as a child?   When I was in first grade, Santa gave my middle sister and I American Girl dolls for Christmas. I loved Kirsten and was absolutely enamored with all of the accessories, books, and doo-dads until (at least) middle school. 

How would you describe your childhood memories?  My childhood memories are the greatest. My parents really tried to make childhood special (and in my opinion, succeeded).  It's not that they spent a lot of money or did extravagant things.

Ever had an imaginary friend as a child?  If yes, please tell a little about it.  Surprisingly, I didn't. Or I can't remember having one, at least.

Did you enjoy your high school years?  
I enjoyed my junior and senior year. Ninth and tenth grade were awkward. Very awkward.

Did your dream/aspiration as a child changed in high school?  If yes, how so?  Generally speaking, no. I still wanted -- and continued to want-- to be a novelist and a teacher. Some of the details changed-- like knowing that I wanted to teach high school English-- but the basics stayed the same.


A wedding in July, congratulations!  Sharing your life with someone special is a true blessing! Planning your wedding while your fiance is off in Afghanistan must have its ups and downs.  How did you handle and deal with this challenge?  Planning the wedding in a very long distance relationship was both a blessing and a curse. It was hardest emotionally-- I wanted John to be there to help me make decisions and to attend meetings with different people. We made it work by being organized and planning out everything. For example, during John's R&R (which was 15 days), we took dance lessons for our first dance, met with our pastor, bought our wedding bands, met with the reception hall, did a food tasting with the caterer, did a cake tasting with the baker, picked out the tuxes and got John fitted for one. We constantly emailed each other about other details-- music, scripture, invitation wording. However, the deployment helped (and continues to help) me keep things in perspective: who cares if the invitations aren't worded perfectly as long as John gets home safely? 

Wow!  Publishing your own books before you were in elementary is a grand accomplishment!  What were the titles of the books you publish?   What were they about?  I am so sorry-- I didn't mean to deceive you! When I say "published" I mean in the very rudimentary way that little kids "publish" books at school. I made my own copies of my "books". When I was 17, I was featured in a "Best of" compilation of short stories and creative writing from the winners of the Scholastic Writing Awards and I've been published twice in local magazines. But that's as close to being legitimately published as I've gotten! 

It is always endearing when someone holds the greatest of childhood memories.  You mentioned it wasn't because your parents spent a lot of money or did extravagant things.  What special things do you remember that made your childhood great?  My parents are very good at celebrating life, and it's a trait that they instilled in my sisters and me. Both of my parents have a sense of humor and my family can sit at our kitchen table talking and goofing around for hours. (That's not hyperbole at all!) My folks took us on road trips, watched movies with us, played games, and read (probably) thousands of books to us. They were very diligent about making sure our  accomplishments-- both small and large-- were recognized and appreciated. Usually Mom would make a special dessert or we would eat dinner on plates that said "You are Special" to celebrate Spring concerts or awards at school or a caught fly ball at a Little League game. At the very base of my childhood is my parents' insistence that we function as a family instead of individuals who lived under the same roof.

What factors contributed to your awkward...very awkward freshman and sophomore years of high school?  I was a late bloomer. A very, very late bloomer. With glasses. And a love of very bright clothing. And a love of Hemingway and Steinbeck. 'Nuff said.

So tell me Jo, is your novel in the works?  If so, what genre of novel is it?  If no, will you pursue your dreams of being a novelist?  My novel isn't in the works. In fact, other than my blog, I haven't really written much of anything since I've been an English teacher. I'm too busy reading and correcting my students' writings! However, I am resigning and moving to be with John at the end of the month.

What inspired Jo My Gosh!?  My fiance (now, husband) was in Afghanistan for a year-long deployment. I started my blog to share the care packages and recipes I sent him, as well as to connect with the wider military spouse/significant other community.


What was the most memorable moment of your wedding day?  That's a tricky one! There were so many fantastic moments, and as lame and cliche as it sounds, they're all my favorite. When I think of the day, a few memories pop out first:

1) Walking down the aisle with my dad, seeing my fiance at the end of the aisle, and being able to smile and look at so many of my friends and family as I walked to the the front of the church.
2) Saying our vows... and not being able to get my ring on my finger. My hand was so warm, the knuckle had swelled, and it would... not... go... on! 
3) Realizing that my sisters' maids-of-honor speech was actually a flash-mob that included my friends and family and husband! 
4) Playing trumpet with my husband's and my marching band mates from college. 
5) Standing in a corner of the reception hall for a few minutes and watching all of the people I love most in the world dancing, laughing, and having fun. 



What is Jo's passion?  Life! I enjoy all of the wonderful moments-- large and small-- that go into life.

Bonus question I ask all interviewees:  If we lived in a world where money was non-existent and all our commodities and personal necessities were provided to live a healthy and happy life, how would you spend the rest of your living days?  I'd spend them reading, writing, cross stitching, travelling, and spending time with my family and friends. Oh, and going to Penn State football games!

There she is folks.  The beautiful, energetic, loving, bright and witty soul of Jo at Jo My Gosh!  I am sure she would love it if you'd stop by and take a peek into more of her fantabulous world!

Jo, I want to thank you for allowing us into your heart, mind and soul.  Also, for your kind willingness and desire to inspire and be inspired.  I wish you the best in all of your endeavors and adventures!    

Tootles!

September 3, 2013

Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop!

Hola! Today I am co-hosting alongside Sinea of Ducks 'n a Row in her Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop. This means meeting and making new friends, loving & supporting each other and sharing all the inspiration.  Hope ya'll take part in this awesome blog party!  Take it away Sinea...
September is here!
Wow, talk about summer flying by. 
And here we are at the 37th Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop, too.
Please welcome our lovely co-hosts who will be joining me, Sinea of Ducks 'n a Row, for the entire month of September.
4 great blogs....7 amazing bloggers!



Before we move on to our FEATURED POSTS and this week's hop, please take some time to follow our host and co-hosts on their social media.

MOST VIEWED !!!
These adorable Oreo Frogs are the creation of Katie at Made to be a Momma, most viewed post last week.

Editor's Pick
This "Heaven & Hell" cake by Say It With Cake is Editor's Pick by Sinea, our editor and host.  "Perhaps it's name comes from a heavenly taste but grueling work to make it?" Sinea asked. What do you think? Is she right?  She would love it if someone would please make one for her. LOL (Ain't gonna happen!)

Oh, So Popular Posts!
And, now for our party!
Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop 
Simple Guidelines:
  • Please follow our host and co-hosts in as many ways possible (social media links below)
  • Add as many of your family-friendly posts as you would like, no giveaways please.
  • Visit three or more others. Let them know you've been there!
  • If you are new, be sure to let us know in the comments so that we can follow you back. 
  • Thanks for joining us!



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