Book review-On Writing by Stephen King

I wandered into Books at Park Place , https://goo.gl/maps/SDtrHbakFJtvpsm68, in South Pasadena on Saturday, a new independent bookseller with a friendly atmosphere. The gentlemen behind the desk seemed to be the owner and offered suggestions without being obsequious. I was moved to support this nice small business and paid more than Amazon price for the Stephen King memoir, On Writing.

Stephen Kings knows how to grab your interest from the beginning of his novels and does the same with this biography that is also used as a college textbook. He opens with a comparison of Mary Karr’s memoir, that he describes as “a panorama of unbroken memory”, with his own which he describes as “a fogged out landscape where occasional memories appear like isolated trees”. I’m looking forward to reading his history for pleasure and studying his writing style to improve my own.

What’s for dinner-January 21, 2021

Waste not, want not. Today we had leftovers for breakfast and dinner. For breakfast, all the leftover fruit from last night went into the protein shake. For dinner, we recycled chicken Franchese, quinoa updated with diced carrots and sauteed onions, roasted cauliflower, zucchini, a redundant bit of baked potato, all a little tired but refreshed a bit with some raw veggies and a little pineapple for dessert. All in all, not an exciting dinner, but the fridge is cleaned out.

What’s for dinner-Jan 20, 2021

It’s a celebratory day and I have to share with you a world class dinner salad Nancy whipped up: a yummy healthy mix of raw foods and seared eggplant with a tangy buttermilk dressing.

Dressing: whisk 2 TB buttermilk, 2 TB white wine vinegar, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, and 1 tsp honey with fresh ground pepper and a pinch of salt. Add 1/2 charred shallot (or sweet onion) and 3 TB olive oil and mix well.

2 small Japanese eggplants: Slice on diagonal and pan sear with olive oil. If you don’t find the smaller Japanese eggplants, you can use the larger type. I would recommend coating slices with olive oil and roasting in the oven rather than pan searing.

Arrange seared eggplant on a bed of lettuce with cubes of seedless cucumber, cubes of avocado, chopped cilantro or parsley. Add some micro-greens if you have them. Sprinkle with lemon zest and chopped chives and drizzle with dressing. We added some red quinoa on the side and some fresh fruit.

Easy and delicious way to get your 5 servings of fruits and veg and healthy fats!

Fly Me to the Moon?

Or would you rather go to Mars? The Perseverance Rover will be landing on Mars in 30 days (Feb. 18, 2021).

Interested in sending your name on a Mars’ mission? Want a fun educational activity to interest the young ones in space, the stars, life beyond earth? Go to https://mars.nasa.gov/participate send-your-name/ Since I dreamily gaze at the stars wondering what is out there, I have had my boarding ticket for more than a year.

More about the mission can be found at https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/?

What’s for dinner-January 19, 2021

After bacon and eggs for breakfast and baked eggplant with mozzarella for lunch, we were happy to have a salad for dinner. Not just any salad, a salad Nancy style with pears and blood oranges and bits of aged Gouda along with avocado, radishes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, romaine. and radish micro-greens. If left to her own devices, she would have added more fruits and probably some nuts. To compensate for the measly 9 ingredient salad, she baked the best muffins ever, Banana Walnut with a dense brownie like texture. I recommend these low glycemic, gluten free wonders. You could change out the sour cream with vegan cream cheese to make dairy free. You can also bake them in an 8×8 pan and cut into squares.

Nancy’s Banana Brownie Muffins

Ingredients:

2 eggs, 3 mashed bananas, 1 1/2 cups coconut sugar, 1 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup butter, softened ( if use unsalted butter, add 3/4 tsp salt), 2 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp  cornstarch or arrowroot, 1 1/2 cup of Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour, 1/4 cup almond flour, 1/4 cup coconut flour,  1 tbs maple syrup or 2 tbs honey, 1 cup of chopped walnuts   
I used a mixture of rice, tapioca, coconut and almond as a 1 to 1 substitute for regular all purpose flour. Bob’s Mill was used because it seems to be the best substitute for regular flour.  Almond flower makes grainy crumbly baked goods but adds a nice flavor. I added a small amount of honey and maple for flavor and substituted coconut sugar 1 for 1 for regular sugar 
And I added the arrowroot to add smoothness, but not necessary 
Have eggs and butter at room temp with butter soft.   Preheat oven to 375F.   Medium size muffin will take 20 to 25 minutes. Very small muffins take 10 to 15 minutes.  
Directions: 

1. Cream sugar and butter using a mixer.  

2. Add bananas, eggs, sour cream, vanilla, honey, maple syrup. Mix until even consistency. 

3. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, arrowroot (and salt. -if desired).  Mix well, making certain everything is blended.

4. Stir in walnuts by hand mixing.

5. Place mixture in 8×8 baking pan or muffin tins and bake at 375F until inserted toothpick comes out clean . Cook time will vary from 10 minutes to 30 minutes depending on baking container.

What’s for dinner-January 18, 2021

Chicken Francese is an easy, quick weeknight meal-Prepare 4 chicken cutlets, pound with meat tenderizer until 1/4 inch thick, pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Beat 2 eggs with 2 TB milk and dredge cutlets first in cornstarch to coat and then in the egg mixture.

Place skillet on medium high heat and brown the cutlets in unsalted butter, turning after 2-3 minutes. Place on baking rack and keep warm in 200 degree oven. Add 2 TB capers and 1 clove garlic, minced to skillet and then a mixture of 1 cup chicken broth, 1/2 cup dry white wine, 1 tsp cornstarch and pinch of salt. Cook about 5 minutes until reduced by half. Take off heat and stir in 2 TB butter and 2 TB lemon juice.

Pour over chicken cutlets and garnish with parsley and a wedge of lemon. We served it with a small purple potato, zucchini noodles, a little bit of fresh spinach, sauteed with garlic and olive oil and some raw micro-greens. We had some fresh fruit for dessert. Lots of colors mean lots of vitamins and don’t worry about the butter and oil, your brain needs fat to process.

What would you do if you won the lottery?

The potential prize for the multi-state lottery is close to a trillion dollars, an unimaginable sum for most of us. Does it inspire your imagination? Do you feel compelled to try your luck now, when you didn’t think about it when it was a measly 1 or 2 million?

The question is not whether you have a good shot at winning, but what would you do if you did win. What would you buy, what would you do, who would you help?What is your long deferred dream? Some of us are quite happy with what we have and wouldn’t change much. Many of us have almost forgotten those dreams that seemed out of reach.

I like to think I would be a good steward of a large amount of money. Of course, I first consider who in my circle really needs a windfall. I would hope for more than 2 million, because it would take that much to settle those obligations. A farm for my daughter, a comfortable retirement for my brother, my son, special friends, it could go on and on.

My partner and I have so many dreams we haven’t settled on just one. The top two are to travel, take pictures and write stories about the people we meet and/or buy a big house and have a combination bed and breakfast, retreat, wellness center. Both would provide lots of opportunities to meet interesting people and to contribute to society. We both like the idea of sharing our experience and knowledge and developing a network of other venerable ones.

This blog is one way we can all share our thoughts, ideas, dreams. I look forward to hearing from you. Let me know if you win the lottery, but if you don’t, I encourage you to do whatever it is you would do anyway.

Above

The crane long and white

Spanning wide on morning breeze gently glides

Ever so smooth and low

Suspended in air and time slowed

Within vast crystal blue

Stilled above dewy grasses

In open spaces shared by oaks

And dripping mosses

Greets me in glorious fleeting

in simplicity and elegance

stretching into the now without strain of being

and shows me how to be Above

Let the buyer beware

I had other plans for my Saturday evening and Sunday morning, but I’m obsessed with understanding how I have a $3000 charge on my Paypal account that I helped a scammer create. In my initial excitement, I had signed up for a trial of Linkedin premium account thinking that it would be helpful in launching this blog. A month went by and I had almost forgotten I did it and was shocked to see a year’s subscription of $684 deducted from my checking account. I was panicked and desperate to clear this charge. I called what I thought was Paypal support, 530 792-9935 (don’t trust this number). I was routed a few times until I was instructed to allow them to VNC onto my phone so that they could create a credit account to refund the unauthorized purchase. Never let anyone VNC onto your phone! I don’t know what I was thinking, clearly not thinking. A few days later, I was informed by Paypal that my claim was denied since I had actually authorized it with Linkedin by accepted the free trial. So now I have a Paypal credit account with a line of credit of $3500. I used it for a couple of small purchases to test if it was active and when I went in to make a payment a week later, I find a charge of $3000 with an invoice by Paxt Shoot for Linkedin recovery. I have reported this fraud to a validated Paypal customer service agent and have hope that this will be resolved, but feel extremely stupid for falling into this trap.