random thoughts

~ I’m so glad today is game day. I do not want to see or read about or think about politics.

~ Fall? It’s endless summer in these parts. But today I’m going to get out my fall decorations, watch football, and pretend that I don’t live in Florida. I kind of want to cook a pot of chili

~ Last weekend we went to the loveliest village on the plains, and MAN, I love that place.

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It was so very hot.

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~ I got to meet a long time blog, Facebook, and Instagram friend in person! It was so good to meet Ellen. And then I met Van and John from AU Wishbone, my favorite Auburn football podcast. I met Auburn Elvis, too. 🙂

~ Any of y’all have DirecTV? Their new interface is SO bad. Shows are missing from the recordings list in the living room, so I have to watch in the bedroom. So stupid.

~ I’m on my 50th book this year. So many good books!

~ There’s a stretch of wildflowers in the median between Thomasville, Georgia, and Tallahassee, Florida, that is stunning. But there’s a no cell phone while driving law in Georgia, so I can’t take a photo on my commute. Trust me. It’s gorgeous.

Happy Saturday y’all!

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“Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit…”

kitchen-confidentialAfter hearing the sad news of Anthony Bourdain‘s suicide earlier this summer, I decided I should finally read Kitchen Confidential, the book that got him noticed. Y’all, that man could write. He was flawed, for sure, but so very vibrant and passionate about food and cooking and the people he worked with. And he was a straight-shooter, which I appreciate. Somehow I’ve ended up reading more than a few food-related books this year, and I really enjoyed this one.

Here are a few bits and bobs I highlighted as I read:

Cooking is a craft, I like to think, and a good cook is a craftsman — not an artist. There’s nothing wrong with that: the great cathedrals of Europe were built by craftsmen — though not designed by them. Practicing your craft in expert fashion is noble, honorable and satisfying. And I’ll generally take a standup mercenary who takes pride in his professionalism over an artist any day. When I hear ‘artist’, I think of someone who doesn’t think it necessary to show up at work on time.

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No one understands and appreciates the American Dream of hard work leading to material rewards better than a non-American.

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Somebody who wakes up with a scratchy throat and slight fever and thinks it’s okay to call in sick is not what I’m looking for.

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Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter-faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn. To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living. Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food.

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Bigfoot [one of his bosses] understood — as I came to understand — that character is far more important than skills or employment history.

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Skills can be taught. Character you either have or don’t have. Bigfoot understood that there are two types of people in the world: those who do what they say they’re going to do — and everyone else.

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Given how his story ended, this was particularly poignant:

That was never my problem. When they’re yanking a fender out of my chest cavity, I will decidedly not be regretting missed opportunities for a good time. My regrets will be more along the lines of a sad list of people hurt, people let down, assets wasted and advantages squandered. I’m still here. And I’m surprised by that. Every day.

*Big sigh.*

If you’re into food writing and haven’t yet read this one, check it out.

monday miscellany

Rainy days and Mondays…make for a short list:

~ I’m glad to see someone talking about this: All sins are equal, and further reflections on the belief that “all sins are equal.”

~ Chuy’s Creamy Jalapeño Dip copycat recipe. I really want to make this but I’m afraid it would set off a binge the likes of which I’ve never seen. That stuff is good, y’all.

~ 25 books to read when you feel like the world is falling apart. I actually don’t feel like the world is falling apart, but it’s an interesting list nonetheless. I’d put at the top Island of the World, my favorite novel. I’m going to read it again in 2017.

~ And last, a little something to think about on this Monday from Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink:

Think about yourself. Does what energizes you—what gets you up in the morning and propels you through the day—come from the inside or from the outside? What about your spouse, your partner, or your children? How about the men and women around you at work? If you’re like most people I’ve talked to, you instantly have a sense into which category someone belongs.

Happy Monday, y’all!

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5 favorites

Here are a few of my favorite things these days:

okra1~ Roasted okra — I can’t get enough of this. I wash the pods, snip off the caps, and make sure they’re thoroughly dry. Then I toss them in coconut oil and season with salt and pepper. I roast them around 400 degrees until they’re nice and brown, tossing them around occasionally as they cook. So yummy and perfect for whole30 (I’m back on the wagon this month.)

~ My magnifying mirror — My mom gave me this years ago, but it’s only in this past year of aging eyes that I’ve come to rely on it every single day. I didn’t realize how dependent I’d become until I traveled to Chattanooga for a week recently and didn’t think to bring it along. Big mistake. I had a hard time seeing to put on eyeliner or make sure my eyebrows were tidy. When I finally got home, I had to do some serious deforestation there. I think this one is like mine, but it’s marked as currently unavailable.

~ Savannah Bee Company Earl Grey Lip Balm — I use this every night before bed, and I can’t go to sleep without it.

~ What Should I Read Next? podcastI’ve mentioned this one recently, but it is my favorite podcast these days. I’m listening my way through the archives  on my commute. My wishlist continues to grow…

~ Paris: The Novel by Edward Rutherford — my favorite fiction so far this year.

Do you have any favorites you’d like to share?

monday miscellany

An overdue round-up of links from ’round the web:

~ The best Christian novel you’ve never heard of. You’d better believe it’s on my wishlist.

~ My kids don’t eat organic.

~ Webb Simpson on marriage

~ Breaking News from 1973: Burgers Won’t Kill You

~ How is your Bible reading going? A peek:

The more I read the Bible the more I learn about God and about being one of His children – and the more I find comfort and courage in some of the most unexpected places of this big book.  There are certainly many “go to” passages in times of trouble or despair but the more I get to know all of God’s Word, the more I see what I know to be true about God – His love, mercy, faithfulness, patience, justice, wisdom, sovereignty, holiness – in every page and so I can receive comfort and courage not just from the “go to” passages but also from simply reading the next bit and being reminded afresh of God and His good promises.

~ I recently made this Very Greek Grilled Chicken (I did the marinating, and Paul did the grilling.). It’s a definite do-over. So good!

I hope your Monday has been a good one,

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hey there

Hi, I’m Anne, and I’ve been a very lazy blogger. It seems that when I get one or two areas of my life together, something has to go, and for this past month or so I just haven’t had the time or energy to sit down and type anything coherent. I’ve been focusing on improving my health, and that is going well. At the beginning of April, I began another round of Whole 30, and after a day or two of detox “flu,” I immediately felt so much better.  On my first round I discovered that I’m allergic to dairy. Nevertheless, I let it back into my diet and had a terrible fall and winter of stuffed up nose, sinus headaches, and absurdly puffy eyelids. But since giving it up again, I haven’t had to take a single pill for my allergies all month — when everything is blooming and I’d normally be sniffing and sneezing.

We also began a step challenge at work around that same time, so exercise has been a priority. I’ve been walking nearly every day, and that has me feeling more energetic and more antsy when I have to sit for any length of time. I can tell that my endurance and speed have improved, as well.

I still compose blog posts in my head when I’m in the shower or on the road, but they’ve not yet made it to my laptop.

I have kept up with my 366 photo project on Instagram. Here are some recent photos if you don’t follow me there:

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I’ve also been knitting, reading when I can, and trying my best to avoid thinking about moving soon.

If anyone is still checking in over here, thanks! I’ll try to have something new next time you stop by. 🙂

Happy Saturday!

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life-changing books

Last night I tossed out a question on Twitter & Facebook:

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I’ve received some responses and added some books to my Amazon wishlist, and there has even been some related discussion among Facebook friends. I’ve been laid up with another nasty headache today (the third one in a couple of weeks), so instead of reading, I’ve been thinking about books that have stuck with me, challenged my thinking, and shaped my beliefs.

I fell in love with books as a young girl, and the likes of the Nancy Drew series, Charlotte’s Web, The Boxcar Children, and Anne of Green Gables were some of my first loves. I constantly had a book in my hand, on the bathroom vanity propped open with a brush while I blow-dried my hair, or on the floor beside my bed underneath my nightlight, with me peering down at it, reading late into the night. So I’d credit those titles with changing my life.

Kim mentioned The Well-Trained Mind, and I definitely agree with that. It challenged me, changing and shaping my philosophy of education while giving me tools to put that philosophy into practice. I’d put Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning in that category, too.

The Pleasures of God, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, Spiritual Depression, and Peacemaking Women are some of the books that I consider influential on my faith. They’re marked up and I revisit them from time to time.

Thomas Sowell’s A Conflict of Visions explains so much about why there is polarization in politics. It’s not an easy read, but I think about it often. He’s brilliant.

Island of the World is the best novel I’ve ever read, and it’s a story that will never leave me.

On a lighter note, the Southern Living Cookbook has been a go-to reference in my home, and several of the dishes are family favorites.

So what books have changed your life?

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saturday afternoon

It’s another gray, gloomy Saturday, but at least we have a little taste of cooler fall temperatures. I’m happily at home, with a huge pot of Brunswick stew (recipe below) on the stove, a sweet dog nearby, and football on the big screen. We’re dog-sitting for my parents this weekend, so I’ve had a little sidekick:

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I haven’t made Brunswick stew in years, but Paul and Stephen both expressed an interest. (I really like cooking when folks appreciate it.) People can get a little crazy over Brunswick stew preferences, but here’s the tried and true recipe I use. I love that it makes a huge pot because leftovers are always a blessing.

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Brunswick Stew

1 whole fryer (about 3 pounds)

2 stalks celery – cut into 1-inch pieces

1 small onion – quartered

water

2 (10-oz) packages frozen lima beans

2 (10-oz) packages frozen kernel corn

1 cup chopped onion

2 (28-oz) cans whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped

1 (8-oz) can whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped

3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon salt

1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper

1/2 teaspoon red pepper, or to taste

Combine chicken, celery, onion, and enough water to almost cover the chicken in a large stock pot; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 1 hour. Remove chicken, celery, and onion from broth, reserving broth in pot; discard celery and onion. Cool chicken; skin, bone, and coarsely chop meat. Add chicken, lima beans, and remaining ingredients to broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer uncovered about 4 1/2 hours or until desired consistency, stirring often. Add water if/as needed.
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The Auburn game is starting in a few minutes, so I’ll be flipping back and forth between that and the UGA/Bama game while knitting. Go Dawgs! 🙂

Oh, and another tidbit about the Brunswick stew: My dad says it’s good to eat when you’re sick because it looks the same coming up as it does going down. You’re welcome.

Happy Saturday y’all and War Eagle!

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random thoughts

~ I don’t know what’s worse: walking out of a dressing room when nothing fits or walking out when everything fits.

~ We recently rented a condo on the Gulf coast, and it was crammed full of useless “decorative” items (a large frog with artificial greenery coming out of the top, odd fish-shaped vases, etc.). It was a small studio condo, which was all we needed, but it felt even smaller because of all the clutter. Less really is more, you know.

~ Fall is in the air. I’m so happy. But what’s with the pumpkin-spiced everything? We recently went to a Mexican restaurant, and at their hostess desk, a heavily fall-scented candle was burning. Um, pumpkin-spiced Mexican food does not smell good, y’all.

~ I went back on Whole30 for a whole five days. It made a difference, though, and I do feel better. It was a good detox from vacation.

~ Run, don’t walk, to your nearest Trader Joe’s and get some dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Or don’t. So there will be more for me.

~ I’m back on a knitting binge. I’ve got so many projects in progress and in the queue, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve got my Auburn football scarf all ready to resume during tonight’s game, a spur-of-the-moment easy drop stitch scarf on my needles, a complicated shawl waiting patiently at the bottom of my awesome knitting tote, a wrap I’m itching to start, a class to take in a couple of weeks, and countless patterns pinned and saved in Ravelry.

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~ Today is a Saturday with nothing on the calendar except a football game tonight. I’ll be making a Costco run, cooking, and cleaning, with college football as my soundtrack. Yep, I love fall.

~ Late start this morning. Yay!

~ Hey, if you’re in a drive-thru line, would you please consider pulling up close to the car in front of you? When you leave a car length or more, you leave folks hanging out in the road. Thanks ever so much.

~ I’ve got a bad case of TrumpFatigue. Seriously. I don’t want to hear any more about him.

~ Speaking of politics, so glad Boehner is out and I wish he’d grab a few others as he heads off into the sunset.

Signing off now to get started on my Saturday. What’s on your agenda?

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monday miscellany

An abbreviated collection of links:

~ I love historical fiction, so A Week in the Life of A Roman Centurion is going on my wish list.

~ 3 documentaries I’d like to watch: Culinary Cinema. (I actually started watching Chef’s Table this weekend.)

~ Why intellectuals hate capitalism. You’ll probably be surprised when you find out who is making that claim.

~ If you’re looking for a good Bible study book, I recently finished Let’s Study Ephesians by Sinclair B. Ferguson and can recommend it. Next up is Kathleen Nielson’s Psalms study – Volume 2.

~ An introverted Christian.

That’s it for today. Happy Monday!

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