Friday, January 28, 2022

Friday 56




* Grab a book, any book.

* Go to page 56.  Or 56% on your ereader. 

* Find a snippet, short and sweet.

* Post it and add the url to your post at Freda's Voice

My book this week is Blood Feud by Daniel Harris.

It is about a family owned supermarket chain, how it grew from one small store to a billion dollar enterprise and the fights, lawsuits and bitterness that come when some family members think they are being cheated.

Now, a novel about a supermarket might not sound exciting but the characters are real and the emotions genuine and the battle over the supermarket involves millions of dollars so there is tension and intrigue.  I haven't finished it yet but I have the feeling there is more going on than a simple case if embezzlement and I am very interested to find out what it is.

My Friday 56:

Life was so simple then.  Nobody locked their cars, Ike's photo ops were mostly on the golf course, the only computers we had were too big to fit into a garage, and trying to hit a curve ball was my biggest challenge.

I don't really remember not locking the car and I never even tried to hit a cure ball but I get it.  I do remember when it was safe for kids to play outside by themselves and getting up at 4:00 AM to go fishing (because that's when the fish are out) was a grand adventure.  Life has gotten very complicated since then.


Monday, January 24, 2022

Peanut Butter Rules!

 Today is National Peanut Butter Day.  (Not to be confused with National Peanut Butter Lovers Day in March.)  

There are many ways to celebrate National Peanut Butter day.  You can eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, have peanut butter on crackers (have you tried mixing some honey in you peanut butter?  It's delicious) or you can just have a big spoonful of peanut butter.  OK.  Well, I guess basically there is only one way to celebrate.  Eat peanut butter.  But I'm ok with that. 

So when I want to eat peanut butter in an altered form instead of straight from the jar one of my go to recipes is Chocolate Peanut Buddy Bars from Very Best Baking.

They are pretty simple to make and most of the ingredients I always have on hand.  The only thing I have to buy most of the time is a bag of chocolate chips.  

You beat the butter and the peanut butter together (sometimes I even remember to leave the butter out to soften first).  I like to spray a little cooking spray in my measuring cup when I am measuring the peanut butter so I can get it out more easily.  Then you add the other ingredients, but only 3/4 of a cup of the chocolate chips.  Put that in a 13 x 9 pan and stick it in the oven.  25 minutes later you pull it out and pour the rest of the chocolate chips on top.  You let the chips melt and then spread them out into an even layer.  I have burned myself a couple of times on this step but then I got smart and started using an offset spatula.  It makes it so much easier.  I like to put them in the refrigerator for a few minutes to set up the chocolate. 

Cut them up and you get a delicious peanut butter treat.  They are soft and not too sweet with just the right amount of peanut butter.  I mean, how can you go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate?  They are easy and quick to make and they are always a hit when I make them.  And I HAVE to share them or I will eat the whole batch.  

Friday, January 21, 2022

The Friday 56


* Grab a book, any book.

* Go to page 56.  Or 56% on your ereader. 

* Find a snippet, short and sweet.

* Post it and add the url to your post at Freda's Voice.

My book this week is Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury.  

It is essentially a collection of short stories that are held together because they all happen in the same town and are all witnessed by the same young man.  If you have ever watched Ray Bradbury Theater some of the stories will be familiar to you.  But don't assume you know how they will end.  As with all short story collections some are better than others but I enjoyed them all.  

My Friday 56:

"Be what you are, bury what you are not," he had said.  "Tickets stubs are trickery.  Saving things is a magic trick, with mirrors."

I guess I can see his point.  But I have a box of mementos under my bed that I still plan to hold on to.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Mythica Movie Series Review

Mythica: The Quest for Heroes

Mythica: The Darkspore

Mythica: The Nacromancer

Mythica: The Iron Crown

Mythica: The Godslayer

starring Melanie Stone

A series of 5 movies about a slave girl who wants to be a sorcerer who manages to get away and become the leader of a ragtag group who have to save the world from an evil necromancer.

They are typical sword and sorcery films.  There are ogres and orks, dragons and elves.  There is magic galore and swordfights aplenty.  There are a lot of common themes: the underdog overcoming, unlikely people becoming heroes, rogues that turn out to have hearts of gold,.  Some have become rather corny over time but they are still used because they are still fun.  The acting is pretty good.  And although the iron crown looks like a piece of form painted silver, the effects, props and make-up and all pretty good as well.  The plot goes through all five movies and is one story so it is best if you watch them all in order or there will be holes in the story.  The plot itself is good enough, good versus evil while our heroes learn about themselves and each other.  It has all been done before but there were enough interesting moments so the story didn't feel old.  I just wish there were not so many times when the advancement of the plot relied on the heroes being so stupid.  There were a lot of times when I found myself angry at the characters because they did something that everyone in the audience knew was the wrong thing to do.  But if you have any interest in the genre then they are a lot of fun to watch.

(At the time I posted this, all five movies are streaming on Amazon Prime.)

Monday, January 17, 2022

Did you know there is a Hot Buttered Rum Day?

 There is such a thing as National Hot Buttered Rum Day.  And today is the day!  January 17th is National Hot Buttered Rum Day.

So I found out there was a day for hot buttered rum and I decided to try it.  I looked around for a recipe and they all had basically the same ingredients but I decided to go with the one from The Spruce Eats because it was a recipe for one cup as most of the other recipes were for four or more and used a whole stick of butter.  

I Googled what the best rum to use would be and there was a difference of opinion.  But the words I saw the most were Jamaican rum and dark rum.  So I went to the rum section of the liquor store and looked around.  And saw that Myers's Rum was both Jamaican and dark.  I figured that would be a good choice.

Make sure you leave the butter out to soften long enough before you want to make the drink.  Because you are supposed to mix the butter with the brown sugar and spices, and it is so much easier if the butter is nice and soft.  But then you have butter and sugar in the glass and then you add alcohol.  So it is basically a cup full of vices.  But it is just a little bit of each so I didn't feel too badly about it.

I worried that it would be too watered down, or that it would be weirdly greasy but it was neither.  It was a nice warm drink full of all those warm spices that you associate with winter that would be great on a cold evening.  It is not something I would drink on a regular basis but it is a nice treat for a cold night curled up on the sofa.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

But I Just Want A Beer...

So I recently went to Trinidad.  And I know what you're thinking.  Why would you travel internationally now?  And you are not wrong.  But my stepdaughter was getting married and it was important to my husband and me that we be there.  So off we went.

All the form we had to fill out and all the hoops we had to jump through were a pain.  And there were a few setbacks.  But we got it done.  

We made reservations at the Kapok Hotel.  But a few days later we got an email saying they could not honor our reservations.  Why?  I don't know.  But I started to panic.  Everything just seemed so much harder than it should be.  But my husband has a calmer nature.  Thankfully.  So we found another hotel, and it was cheaper.  So I wasn't as upset any more.

We ended up staying at the Radisson Hotel in Port of Spain.  

I go to the front desk and tell them who I am.  They have my reservation and everything seems fine.  She hands me the keys, gave me the wi-fi password.  We noticed a bar and asked if it was open and were assured that it was but we would have to drink outside by the pool.  We had to go back outside to park our car in the lot.  The lot is right out front and you don't need to use a key card or anything to get in and no one is ever there to check if you are a guest at the hotel.  (So if you are ever on Wrightson Road in Port of Spain and need some where to park.)

Now, I need my morning coffee so maybe other people would not have instantly noticed the coffee maker but I did.  It was one of the one cup coffee makers (I can't remember the brand) that uses coffee disks.  Only there were no disks.  Just little packs of instant coffee.  So maybe you use the machine to heat the water?  And then just pour in the instant coffee?  I don't know.  But it was a small problem.

The bed was comfortable.  The bathroom was stocked with all the normal hotel bathroom things.  There was a desk, TV, safe, hairdryer.  (I forgot to check if there would be a fridge while making the reservation.  There was not.  My fault for not checking but disappointing.  It meant warm beer for me.)  Everything seemed fine.  And it was for a day. 

But then we go out and come back and our room isn't clean.  The next day it is.  But it was kind of hit and miss.  They cleaned the room when they felt like it.  And since the room wasn't being cleaned no one was checking up on toiletry supply levels.   We had to ask for more toilet paper twice.  I tried to use the hair dryer.  Well, to be honest it worked fine. But the whole entire thing was sticky and I didn't want to touch it so I gave that up.  I have to admit that the laundry service was good if a little expensive.  

They didn't tell us what the rules for the dining room were so we just show up for coffee expecting someone there will tell us.  There was no one there.  So we got our coffee and left.  We went back a few times and each time it was different.  Once we had to give our room number (which was fine and actually made sense) but the next day we give our room number and get our coffee and are called back to pay for it.  After we have gotten coffee there for almost a week.  The next time we were asked to sign in for breakfast.  Any one of these would be fine but choose one please.

Then one day we decide a nice cold beer would be great.  So we ask on the way in if the bar is already open and are assured that it is.  We drop our stuff in the room and come back down and stand at the bar.  In the lobby, in full view of about six hotel employees.  And we wait.  With no one behind the bar.  For 15 minutes.  We finally ask (again) someone walking by if the bar is actually open and are assured it is but we will have to drink outside.  She promises to find the bartender and tells us to have a seat outside.  We do.  And we wait another 15 minutes.  A few employees walk by but no one says anything to us.  So we go back inside - where there is still no one behind the bar - and give the whole thing up.  We drank warm beer in our room.


Check out was fine.  There were no odd charges on my bill.  Everything was as it should be.  But I was home for a week before my credit card was actually charged for the room.

I don't need luxury but I don't want to be made to feel like I am inconveniencing the staff by staying there.  And I felt unwelcome.  So I will de them a favor and not go back.  We will be going back to Trinidad (when travel restrictions lighten up) but we will not be staying at the Radisson.  

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

OK, I like Tangerines, I'll Bite

 So Instagram is always showing me posts that it thinks I will like.  So they are mostly about food with some cute animal photos thrown it.  It also seems very interested in getting me to watch the Yellowstone series.  I don't know why.  But it is right about the food and the cute animals so maybe I should give it a try.

Anyway.  One of the post was a video on how to make Tangerine Muffins from Cookist Wow on YouTube.  These were unusual muffins in that they had a whole half of a tangerine baked into the bottom of the muffin.  Now I was skeptical because it seemed like having something with so much moisture at the bottom of the muffin would be a problem.  But they looked cool so I wanted to try them out.

They were easy to work up and had the added bonus of using oil so it was easy to mix by hand and I didn't have to pull out or wash my stand mixer.

I did exactly what the video showed me.  I spooned a little sugar on the bottom of the muffin cups, put the tangerines in cut side down, covered them with the batter and baked them.

Simple enough.  Only they didn't turn out so great.  They looked cute.   When you cut them you got the semicircle of the tangerine on the bottom of the muffin.  They looked like they would taste great.  Unfortunately I didn't like them.  The tangerine had turned bitter and the skin on the segments was tough to bite through.  The cake part did not rise very much so it was dense.  And overall it just didn't have that much flavor.  

I ended up throwing most of them away.  I love a citrus muffin but this one just didn't work out.