Meal Plan Sunday

October 12, 2014 Food, Weekend Cooking 5



And, so, another hectic week is behind me! Another one lies ahead! How did I do last week? Well, I was so sick on Monday, I didn’t even eat, let alone cook that fish. I still felt bad Tuesday, so Leigh’s Everything but the Kitchen Sink Pork Tenderloin came in REALLY handy. And deliciously. Everyone else had it on buns, while I had it on rice. Well, what I ate of it. Was sooooo queasy from being sick and having a migraine. Wednesday became a fend-for-yourself-night because yours truly was still dealing with the tail end of that migraine. Damn gluten, it’s so sneaky! It hides everywhere!

I sincerely hope this week goes better.

Sunday – I don’t normally cook on Sunday’s, but I am crazy craving some Spaghetti. This is how I make spaghetti, for the most part.

Diced Tomatoes, usually a big can or two smaller ones
About a pound of ground beef
Garlic, I eye ball it. Probably 3 cloves?
Olive Oil
Oregano (from the garden, yo!)
Chili Powder, just a pinch
Tomato Sauce (usually from the garden, that I canned. 1 can)
Pinch of salt, some pepper

And lots of cooking, if I can swing it. Ideally, I like to let it cook all day in the crock pot. The measurements are imprecise, because I usually let my nose and tongue tell me what’s needed. Noodles for the fan, for me either gluten free noodles or zoodles, depending on my mood. Zoodles (shredded zucchini “noodles” natch) are freaking awesome, but sometimes my heart wants something nostalgic. Will probably have salad on the side.


Photo Credit: How Sweet It Is

Monday – I can’t wait to try this. I found this hanging out on Pinterest, looking gorgeous and tasty. How Sweet It Is’s cheesy chicken and rice bake. Seriously. Looks SO YUM. Will probably have some sliced avocado on the side.

Tuesday - Sloppy Joes. I hate them. HATE. THEM. But everyone else loves them, so I’m caving to pressure. I will most likely have rice and veggies with a couple chicken tenders. I found some gluten free ones made by Tyson I want to try! Or, quite possibly, leftover spaghetti. Depends on if I get this craving out of my system.

WednesdayPancakes!!! And BACON!!! I have tried every gf pancake mix on the market and Bisquick’s is definitely my favorite. That and lots of syrup!!! And butter!!! Can you tell I’m excited?

Thursday! – No cooking!

Friday! -No cooking!!

Saturday – Well duh, it’s Readathon day! You would not believe how close I came to missing the Readathon (it got downright scary. I thought Andi was going to have a panic attack) but I managed to get out of prior commitments! The only thing is it’s the Fall Festival at my kids school, so I MAY be out for a couple of hours. And my daughter has a DANCE to go to. Yay. Anyway, game plan on the food situation for Saturday coming up later this week. Readathon Food gets a special post.




Weekend Inspiration

October 11, 2014 Art, Books, Lists, Miscellaneous 6

With the fall season upon us, the fact that temperatures will actually drop below 40 degrees this weekend, and because my favorite scarf is looking a little worse for wear, I am feeling the need to either knit or crochet myself a new one. As my skills have developed, this decision (which scarf do I make this time) has become harder every year. When I could only follow one pattern, it was easy! It was just a matter of deciding which color this time! Now, this all important decision includes questions like cowl? Infinity scarf? Go all out with a shawl? Knit or crochet? That awesome yellow color I used last year:

Screenshot 2014-10-03 at 7.32.23 PM

or pick something new? A dark orange? An interesting blue? Oh, the decisions!

This is why Ravelry exists. And Pinterest. And Google. They give me the hope I can narrow down my choices and make a decision. So, for submitted for your approval, here are my top choices of what to make this year:

Screenshot 2014-10-03 at 7.40.24 PM

This GAP-tastic Cowl looks humongous, but also terribly warm and snuggly.

Screenshot 2014-10-03 at 7.45.23 PM

But this New Year’s Cowl does too. And I love that color!

Screenshot 2014-10-03 at 7.49.15 PM

Or, is this the year I finally learn cables? Because good golly look at that thing?? Love! Even the color! Hmm…

So, do you see my problem? What do you think? Which scarf tickles your fancy? What colors are in this fall? I am in no way up on the latest fashions. Have something else to suggest? Hit me up in the comments!



So, a Little More on that Routine Thing…

October 10, 2014 Blogging, Book Reviews, Books 6

by Mason Currey
Published by Knopf
Genres: Nonfiction
Source: Purchased

dailyroutineSo, I’m still making my way through Daily Rituals by Mason Currey. I hate to admit it, but it’s a slog. I am about to give myself permission to give it up, even though I’m slightly over halfway through. Like Amanda, some of my problems stem from the lack of balance between man and woman, white and not (and I mean, that is a LOT of my problem, there is basically no balance. If you want to know how a privileged white male finds time to write, this is your book) but, honestly? I think he included too many authors! There are 161 authors, composers, philosophers, poets, playwrights, scientists, mathematicians. After about 50 or so routines, it starts to loose it’s impact.

Where was Currey’s editor?

How did they not see they could have gotten 3 books out of this one?

Don’t they realize that sometimes a brief message is more powerful that one that goes on and on and on and on and on.

I wonder how many more people in this book get up early or late? How many take a walk (or three, like Dickens)? How many have a bit of fun with themselves before they get down to it (seriously Thomas Wolfe? I am NOT looking at you, but you know, I’m looking at you) (and Ben Franklin, with your air baths! Get own down with your bad self!). How many eat meals? Take naps? Sharpen their pencils? Set up the fridge as their desk (Geez, Thomas Wolfe, you were an odd duck).

Another bit of a peeve is the lack of 21st century authors. Yes, there are a few, but the majority of this book is 19th and 20th century writers. Couldn’t you find anyone alive Currey? I have to admit, I am a little more interested in how the creative types of TODAY juggle their routines that those who lived lives of leisure 200 years ago. Times, uh, they have a-changed.

Despite these quibbles though, there is a lot of good information in this book. A couple more favorites:

 “The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.”  – Haruki Murakami

And I think I’m OCD:

The founder of behavioral psychology treated his daily writing sessions much like a laboratory experiment, conditioning himself to write every morning with a pair of self-reinforcing behaviors: he started and stopped by the buzz of a timer, and he carefully plotted the number of hours he wrote and the words he produced on a graph. – B. F. Skinner

Actually, I can totally see myself doing that. Heck, I DID do that when I tried to do NaNoWriMo.

I love this from Joan Miró i Ferrà, a Catalan painter:

Miró hated for this routine to be interrupted by social or cultural events. As he told an American journalist, “Merde! I absolutely detest all openings and parties! They’re commercial, political, and everybody talks too much. They get on my tits!

Love it. LOVE. IT. I am totally breaking that line out at parties.

But really, the best piece of advice from the whole book is this, from Chuck Close, another painter:

“Inspiration is for amateurs,” Close says. “The rest of us just show up and get to work.”

And really, that’s all we really need do, right?



Thoughts on The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

October 9, 2014 Audio Books, Book Reviews, Books 7 ½

Thoughts on The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston LerouxThe Phantom of the Opera
by Gaston Leroux
Narrator: Ralph Cosham
Length: 7 hours, 35 minutes
Genres: Classic
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
First published in French as a serial in 1909, "The Phantom of the Opera" is a riveting story that revolves around the young, Swedish Christine Daaé. Her father, a famous musician, dies, and she is raised in the Paris Opera House with his dying promise of a protective angel of music to guide her. After a time at the opera house, she begins hearing a voice, who eventually teaches her how to sing beautifully. All goes well until Christine's childhood friend Raoul comes to visit his parents, who are patrons of the opera, and he sees Christine when she begins successfully singing on the stage. The voice, who is the deformed, murderous 'ghost' of the opera house named Erik, however, grows violent in his terrible jealousy, until Christine suddenly disappears. The phantom is in love, but it can only spell disaster. Leroux's work, with characters ranging from the spoiled prima donna Carlotta to the mysterious Persian from Erik's past, has been immortalized by memorable adaptations. Despite this, it remains a remarkable piece of Gothic horror literature in and of itself, deeper and darker than any version that follows.

I know I said all I was going to say about this book was that “it stinks,” but I feel moved to say more. So.

You know how when you pick up a classic, you’re expecting something special? I mean, there must be a reason a classic is a classic. It’s either brilliant, to a glimpse into another time, or excellent writing, or excellent characters….there is something defining about a book that has stood the test of time.

This is why I’m left baffled by The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. I found it absolutely horrible. Feeling left out and confused, I mean, WHY? WHAT AM I MISSING? I took to the internet for insight, reviews on what is so great about this book? Why has it endured? What am I missing?

So, what’s my problem? What’s NOT my problem.

Also, probably spoilers. Watch out. 

1. The Phantom/Angel/Erik/who ever he is this minute, is decidedly bi-polar. He loves Christine; he kidnaps her. He sets her free; he stalks her. He wants to keep her from Raoul; he gives her to him. MAKE UP YOUR DAMN MIND. Keep her or don’t keep her, but DO SOMETHING.

2. Christine is an idiot. She’s terrified of the Phantom, yet she pities Erik. She loves and wants to marry Raoul, but she refuses to run away with him. She is kidnapped by Erik, she continues to see him after he sets her free. I know we all want to believe everything our beloved parents tell us, but she actually believed her father would send her the Angel of Music? SHE HAS NO FACULTY TO MAKE DECISIONS AND ALSO; NAIVE!

3. The love of her life, Raoul, knows about the Phantom, knows how scared she is of him, yet allows her to continue down her crazy path instead of saving her from herself. MAN UP RAOUL AND BE A FREAKING HERO ALREADY. Get her the hell out of that Opera.

4. Gaston Leroux had brief moments of brilliance. Yet, honestly, I want to introduce him to Wilkie Collins and say here, THIS IS HOW YOU WRITE A SENSATIONAL NOVEL. He tried, Lord love him, but his plotting is haphazard and slower than a snail, his characters are one dimensional and boring, and his sense of style is poor in-comparison to my Wilkie. If you’re going to rip off someone else’s style, please DO IT WITH STYLE.

5. I’m left wondering, was ULTRA-CLINGY and BULLY SPARKLE PONY VAMPIRE EDWARD really Erik in disguise? Because dudes could be abusive lover twins.

I know this is a beloved book and I hate to bring on the wrath of its faithful fans, but Good Golly y’all, I hated it. I sped through the end. The only saving grace was Ralph Cosham’s excellent narration. He deserves better yo. Much, much better.

Care to take a stab at making me understand what’s so great about this book? I’m willing to let you try!




Monthly Wrap Up – September 2014

October 7, 2014 Books, Monthly Wrap Up 5


Better late than never, I always say. I do have to be late though.

My September was a roller coaster. New job, settling into the old school routine again, and a couple meltdowns later, I’m starting to feel like I might have my feet under me again. I’m honestly surprised I got any reading done, but somehow I did. Thank God for audiobooks is all I can say. And graphic novels. Here’s what was read in Casa CR this month:

84. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
85. Lumberjanes #5 by Noelle Stevenson
86. Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, read by David Weyman
87. Will Storr v.s the Supernatural: One Man’s Search for the Truth About Ghosts by Will Storr
88. Bluffton by Matt Phelan
89. Battling Boy by Paul Pope
90. Robot Dreams by Sara Varon
91. The Dream Thieves, Book 2 of the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Will Patton
92. Lumberjanes #6 by Noelle Stevenson
93. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux, read by Ralph Cosham

All in all, not a bad month, in quality or quantity. I loved all the graphic novels I read. I loved visiting Stephanie Perkins’s Paris again. Marina was everything I expect out of Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Will Storr was a delight. And of course, my reread of The Dream Thieves was a dream (ha! See what I did?). The only draw back was, da da dum!

The Phantom of the Opera. Oh, how I detested that book. But more on that later.

All in all, I think reading kept me sane in an insane month. Let’s hope October is calmer and invites much more reading. And, of course, the readathon! Go sign up!



It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

October 6, 2014 Books 10


Woo y’all, what a week. I didn’t mean to drop off the face of the blog world, but it certainly happened. I didn’t have time to write, I didn’t have time to read, I barely had time to scratch my head. Events of the week:

  • Daughter’s birthday party/sleepover on Saturday, so had much planning to do. She turns ELEVEN today. ELEVEN. Seriously. ELEVEN.
  • Printed 10,000 posters at work and had to cut them to size. My hands are shredded from jogging papers. The dryness!
  • Picked up another college’s printing. Had a mess to straighten out on my work computer. That was fun.
  • Husband was sick Tuesday through Thursday. Husband is never sick. Had to banish him to his room for the night and me and the kids slept in the living room. That was FUN. Luckily, no one else is sick yet though!

I’m tired.

As for reading, I did a LOT of listening to audiobooks while cutting posters. I finished up The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvvater (gotta get ready for Blue Lily, Lily Blue!) and then started The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux, which honestly, and this is my review because I can sum it up in two works; it stinks. Good grief, I hated that book. Now, I’m listening to Audible’s multi-cast edition of Dracula, which includes Tim Curry and Alan Cumming, and dear apples in the tree, it is fantastic.

As for reading physical books, I finished up a great book by Alessandro Baricco called Mr. Gywn. It was absolutely fantastic. I’m now reading Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, and other lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty. It feels weird to call a book about a girl who works in a crematorium delightful, but it is. I’m just loving it. On the iPad, I’m still reading a few Daily Rituals every day. I can’t read a bunch at a time. It’s still mostly interesting, but I have a few problems with the overall text. More on that later.

Up next, I hope to start Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix and perhaps The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton in audio next. I plan to fit the audio of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in their too, only because Tom Mison reads it. He plays Ichabod on the TV show and whew. Is he hot or what?

What are your plans for the reading week? Read anything good next week?

It's Monday What Are  You Reading

It’s Monday, What are you Reading is hosted weekly by super-awesome Sheila from BookJourney.



Meal Plan Sunday

October 5, 2014 Food 19


I decided, in an effort to branch out and blog less about books (sacrilege!)  and more about the other things I’m passionate about, I would start talking about food! One of my other favorite things! Which are now crazy because I had to completely change the way I eat in the past year or so! Yay!

Yes, that last yay was sarcasm.

Recap. See, last August, I figured out that gluten was causing me to have migraines. I had been experiencing them for over a year and they were gradually becoming more frequent, and, more painful. I was delighted to find the cause, but not so delighted to find out I couldn’t eat bread, pasta, and doughnuts any more. Plus cookies. COOKIES. And cake. Hmmm….cake….

Anyhoo, once I went off gluten, the headaches disappeared. Also the stomach pain that I had been told was IBS, the body aches (for the most part), and the insomnia (which has actually since came back). It is actually worth the price, but dang, sometimes I really want a cheeseburger on a BUN.

Long story short (I know right? This is short, I promise), I’ve decided to start putting my meal plans here for to 1) have somewhere to look back for meal ideas and 2) to share the alternative menus I come up with. Incidentally, did you know shredded zucchini makes a great substitute for spaghetti with sauce? Seriously, I converted my own daughter to it. So, here goes nothing.

Sunday – fend for yourself. The kids aren’t home, they go to church, and the hubby and I tend to get hungry at different times. Plus, dang him, he usually wants noodles. This will not be here in future meal plans. I usually just eat some fruit and cheese. And who am I kidding? Chocolate.

Monday4 Minute Fish: Crispy Lemon Tilapia. This is a new to me recipe that I am going to have to do some subbing with. Found this one at To go with it, I plan to make jasmine rice (my new favorite thing EVER) and sauteed zucchini.

TuesdayLeigh’s Everything but the Kitchen Sink Pork Tenderloin. No, I don’t know Leigh. And this is another new to me recipe. It sounds fantastic. I just have to sub the soy sauce with gf soy sauce. Luckily, it’s already in the fridge. Will serve with some ginger lime slaw (dude, this stuff is the bomb! and I don’t care out 00’s it is to say that) and olive oil roasted potatoes I think.

WednesdayMississippi Roast which is a standard around here. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. For the fam, the meat goes on buns with melted cheese. For me, it goes over rice with some sort of veg on the side.

 Thursday! – We eat at my aunt’s house! Will rarely be in future editions because I rarely cook on Thursdays.

Friday! – The kids are at Mema’s! Heather eats whatever she wants! It’s usually ice cream!

Saturday – We usually eat out. If we don’t, I will probably whip up some potato soup. I’ve been wanting some.

So, there you have it. Week one of my little experiment. What are your meal plans for the week? You KNOW I’m dying to find out.



Readathon News!

September 24, 2014 Books 1


Old graphic!

The Cheerleading sign-ups are live! If you can cheer for readers for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 60 minutes, or all 24 hours, we need you! We want you! We Will BEG For You!!! Cheering is perfect if you want to take part in the Readathon, but won’t have the time. Just jump on for 5 minutes, and cheer for your group of readers. It’s so easy!

Come, join us. We don’t bite. Hard. Unless you want us too. Weirdo.



Top Ten Tuesday – My Fall Reading List

September 23, 2014 Meme 10

Well, this is awkward. Making a reading list doesn’t keep with my new Free Range Reading motto, does it? Ah, what the hell. I love making lists and goodness knows, I don’t HAVE to stick to it, right?

The Hunger and the Howling of Killian Lone: The Secret Ingredient of Unforgettable Food Is Suffering by Will Storr – “Killian Lone comes from a long line of gifted cooks, stretching back to the seventeenth century, and yearns to become a famous chef himself.” Then he “discovers a dark family secret;the legacy of an ancestor who was burnt as a witch for creating food so delicious it was said to turn all who tasted it mad?” Yes please! It’s at the library, I just have to go get it!

An Age of License: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley – This will get read. I’m trying to hold out for the readathon, but who knows if I’ll last another month.

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell – I am not certain I’m a “David Mitchell” kind of reader, but good golly, I want to give this one a shot. “Psychic phenomena?” “Mystics?” “Bucolic English countryside? Sign me up!

Horrorstor: A Novel by Grady Hendrix – Now that I know to go into this expecting something like a B-grade horror movie, I think I’ll love it.

Stephen King – I’m feeling the itch to read one…maybe Under the Dome? Duma Hey? 11/22/63?

The Great Glass Sea by Josh Weil – Russian folklore? Dystopian setting? Does it get any better?

California by Edan LepuckiI want to see what all the love is about.

The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides by Ben Tripp – With a title like that, how could I NOT want to read it?

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater – AHHHHHHHH!!!! Yeah, that’s really all you’re going to get out of me. Just fan girl screaming. AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! *sobs*

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel – Because gosh darn it, it sounds good!

So, there is what I hope to read this fall. Or at least some of it, because really, who knows what I’m going to read? Certainly not me.

What are your fall reading plans?


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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

September 22, 2014 Books, Meme 26

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? My Saturday was:


Pretty awesome.

Unfortunately, Sunday was spent with a migraine, so that wasn’t so awesome. And I didn’t get much reading done. I went to the library Thursday and picked up a couple of books. One was Mr. Gwyn by Alessandro Baricco. I read a book by him AGES ago (Silk, back in 2003!) and loved it. And in that typical refrain; I’m not sure why I haven’t read anything else by him. Mr. Gwyn is quite good, so I’ll be glad when I can get back to reading it!

In audiobook news, I’m listening to The Dream Thieves, book 2 in the Raven Cycle, by Maggie Stiefvater. I’m getting ready for Lily Blue, Blue Lily NEXT MONTH. OMG I can’t wait. I’m thinking of just listening to it, because Will Patton just makes it EVEN THAT MUCH BETTER.

Have a great week!

Also, watch this:

Watch it, live it, love it. Go! Sign up! Anticipate!!!


Hosted weekly by super-awesome Sheila from BookJourney.