Tag Archives: Silki the Girl of Many Scarves

Homemade Chicken & Biscuits


 

Homemade Chicken & Biscuits

Homemade Chicken & Biscuits

I found this recipe online, Jodi-ized it, and now I want to share it.

Once you make it, you’ll probably add it to your family favorites. It’s fast, easy, and my family loves it.

I don’t make homemade biscuits anymore because the flour seems to be different, and they don’t taste as great as they once did. A great replacement for homemade is Pillsbury FROZEN biscuits. My favorite is the buttermilk. They’re so good, everyone wants the recipe. Sometimes I tell them, and sometimes I don’t!

If you were to make a yeast biscuit (like Denver Biscuits) for the topping, they would be flatter and perhaps preferable for some. Personally, we didn’t mind the big fat biscuits on top.

  • 2 large chicken breasts with skin and bone (to make 3 cups chopped)
  • 1 large or 2 small bay leaves
  • Coarse-ground pepper
  • Sea salt
  • 12 frozen Pillsbury country or buttermilk biscuits *or make your own*
  • 3-4 Tbls. butter
  • 1 med. onion, chopped
  • 1 large rib celery with a few leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 Tbls. all-purpose flour
  • 3 to 4 cups chicken broth
  • ½ tsp. ground thyme
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1- ½ cups frozen peas
  • 1 egg + 1 tsp. water

Boil two large chicken breasts in water in a heavy pot with a large bay leaf, coarse-ground pepper, and 1 tsp salt. When chicken is nearly done, take frozen biscuits from the sack and place on waxed paper or a plate to partially thaw. When chicken is thoroughly cooked, pull it off the bone and cut into ½-inch pieces. Save broth in a bowl and set aside.

Heat oven to 375-degrees. Butter or grease a 9×13 casserole dish or glass pan. The higher the sides, the better.

Add chopped onion and celery, including leaves, to 3-4 Tbls. butter in the heavy pot or a deep skillet. Cook a few minutes. Sprinkle flour over the mixture and stir, cooking about one minute or until thickened. Add chicken broth if needed to keep it bubbling for about a minute.

Stir in the broth, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, and coarse-ground pepper to taste. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and frozen peas. Taste to see if it needs more salt.

Pour into the casserole dish and bake uncovered for about 20 minutes.

Homemade Chicken & Biscuits servedRemove the dish from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 425-degrees. Add biscuits to the top of the chicken mixture. Use a fork to whip the egg and water. Brush on top of biscuits. Add foil under casserole dish if desired. The weight of the biscuits can make the mixture overflow if the dish or pan is too shallow.

Bake 20 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown. Adjust time and temperature accordingly.

*I made this dish in high altitude.

 

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Feel free to wander around my website. It's guaranteed non-toxic.

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery, you'll love my any-age novels. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT and Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: CANYON OF DOOM are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on this website, Amazon, B&N.com, and more. For your convenience, they're also available on Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Three of the Silki trilogy, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, launches summer/fall 2016. Here's a quick synopsis:

Bummed that yet another summer has passed all too quickly, Silki and her best friend Birdie head out for one last hurrah at the Navajo Nation Fair. When the fun is overshadowed by the theft of a famous horse, Silki is plunged into a baffling adventure teeming with international undercurrents and intrigue. What’s more, boy-crazy Birdie is fluttering her eyelashes at Silki’s good-looking, visiting cousin at every turn, and Rez legend Old Man Concho is coughing up secrets dating back to 1942. What possible connection could he have to the Japanese tourists, and will Silki discover an ancient truth about the Valley of Shadows in time to save Lava, the leader of the Ghost Herd, as well as salvage her own broken heart?

Meet my CANYON OF DOOM AND VALLEY OF SHADOWS illustrator, the Drawing Hands.

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.

Train Ride of Shame


The place was London – spooky, thrilling, pompous, historic, charming, expensive, wonderful London with its razzle-dazzle intertwine of ancient and pop-cultural life.

Hubby and I walked trillions of miles through downpours, sprinkles and blazing sun to see the Royal Palace, Westminster Abbey, Piccadilly Square, remains of the infamous 19th-century prison Charles Dickens described in Great Expectations and, naturally, the original Hard Rock Café.

We were sooty, damp and delirious with wanderlust when we arrived back at the London train station to return to Rochester, our nesting place for the two weeks Mark was on a business assignment.

Wrestling through thick crowds inside the train, we couldn’t believe our luck when we spotted two empty seats facing one another inside a nice enclosure. We went inside, chatting happily as we nestled noisily among the seated passengers and arranged our numerous shopping bags.

A tomb-like silence soon settled inside our senses.

Taking a better look at our seatmates, we realized that all four men were wearing expensive three-piece suits, perfectly unscuffed shoes, buffed nails, and meticulously groomed hair. They were the English versions of the perfectly turned out GQ gentlemen.

Each man had an open newspaper in front of his face and appeared deeply engrossed in it.

No other signs of life were manifest in the “GQ gentlemen.”

Good grief! Mark and I conveyed to one another with saucer eyes, we’re in a PRIVATE gentleman’s car, and the men were too polite to tell us!

Our jeans and street-trollop appearance suddenly became unbearable. We’d been in rain and dirty city streets all day. Might we even be smelly?

I couldn’t bear it! I squirmed. With a man on each side of me, I was a giant toad trapped inside a tiny teacup. Everything I did seemed animated. Loud. Preposterous.

Mark and I were now agonizing and insufferably common;

wretched street characters from a Dickens novel;

a couple of low-lifes.

In desperation, I glanced at Mark sitting between the two men opposite me. Did he comfort me, quell my fears with a simple shoulder shrug or a nod of the head?

No.

Not at all.

My dear husband committed THE UNPARDONABLE SIN.

He rolled his eyes in an animated arc and puffed out his cheeks. His expression screamed at me, Sheesh! What a bunch of stuffed shirts!

He knew better than to commit this act of treason.

All my life, which he is fully aware of, I have battled a private affliction of the most humiliating kind; that is, in terribly absurd situations, I am struck with fits of uncontrollable hilarity that cannot be checked.

My PROBLEM took over.

An outrageous guffaw escaped my mouth. Vulgar snorts  emitted from my nose and throat. Soon, heaven forbid, the unthinkable happened. I started to wheeze at the end of my laughs. For me, that’s a common side effect of a fierce laugh attack. I continued to stifle loud shrieks, followed by those exasperating wheezes. Meanwhile, all around us . . .

no eyes moved from the newspapers—no faces reflected any emotion.

I couldn’t look at Mark. If I did, he made another face. I threw on my sunglasses. They immediately steamed up from the combination of damp air and my elevated body temperature. I grabbed my newly purchased Dickens paperback from my shopping bag and pretended to read, silently begging God to knock me out.

I’d like to say that I gained control on that train ride, but that wouldn’t be true. I calmed down to just the occasional giggle, though, which I managed to turn into a little dignified cough. It was comforting to know that I at least looked less stupid with my nose buried in a Charles Dickens novel.

Mark and I tumbled from the private booth and off the train as soon as rails and wheels allowed. Taking in gulps of air, I was relieved, and mad.

“Why Mark? Why did you do that to me?”

His eyes danced with orneriness. He shrugged. “Well, you know, next time, turn your book right side up. It’s a lot more effective.”

I died of mortification standing right there at the train station.

Indeed, looking back, I pray that anonymous group of Englishmen will think of me sometimes with benign humor as they puff their Cohiba Behike cigars or patiently turn at the tailor’s shop while being measured for their Gucci suits.

Perhaps one of the four gentlemen is a Shakespeare devotee who will charitably attach these words to his sanguinary memory of me:

I had rather a fool to make me merry than experience to make me sad.

 

Do I dare show my face in London again? I still feel embarrassed about it, but I cherish this experience as one of the funniest of my life. It was so completely ridiculous!

Have you ever been hit with a very inappropriate laugh attack? What did you do to come out of it or to save face? Or did you?

I value your thoughts.

 

 

 

 

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Feel free to wander around my website. It's guaranteed non-toxic.

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery, you'll love my any-age novels. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT and Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: CANYON OF DOOM are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on this website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available on Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Three of the Silki trilogy, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, launches fall 2016. Here's a quick synopsis:

Bummed that yet another summer has passed all too quickly, Silki and her best friend Birdie head out for one last hurrah at the Navajo Nation Fair. When the fun is overshadowed by the theft of a famous horse, Silki is plunged into a baffling adventure teeming with international undercurrents and intrigue. What’s more, boy-crazy Birdie is fluttering her eyelashes at Silki’s good-looking, visiting cousin at every turn, and Rez legend Old Man Concho is coughing up secrets dating back to 1942. What possible connection could he have to the Japanese tourists, and will Silki discover an ancient truth about the Valley of Shadows in time to save Lava, the leader of the Ghost Herd, as well as salvage her own broken heart?

Meet my CANYON OF DOOM AND VALLEY OF SHADOWS illustrator, the Drawing Hand

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.

Lolita Tsosie’s Navajo Frybread


fry breadFrybread Recipes are not difficult. Give it a try!

Amounts depend on how much bread you want to make – usually 5 cups of flour for a batch.

To each cup of Blue Bird flour, add:

  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Warm water to make a stiff dough, or
  • ¼ cup powdered milk and warm water to make a stiff dough
  • Hot grease: shortening or lard

Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Always put a little more baking powder than salt so it can rise better in the hot grease.

Add warm water a little at a time so the dough will come out all nice and round. If you add too much water, it gets sticky.

Blue Bird Flour . . . the preferred frybread flour for Navajos and other smart folks.

Blue Bird Flour . . . the preferred frybread flour for Navajos and other smart folks.

When you’re finished making the dough, let it sit for 30 60 minutes.

Heat your skillet with lard or shortening. It has to be plenty melted, and fill the skillet halfway.

Make little round balls about the size of a pool (billiards) ball. Flatten out a dough ball to about ¼” – not too thin, or the heated grease will make it too crisp. You’ll know when the grease is hot enough because the dough browns on one side. Turn it and brown the other side.

Repeat until you have made the amount you wanted.

Drain on paper towels or newspaper.

Enjoy eating “history!”

P. S.  Lolita said she learned her recipes from her grandparents.

 

 

 

 

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Feel free to wander around my website. It's guaranteed non-toxic.

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery, you'll love my any-age novels. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT and Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: CANYON OF DOOM are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on this website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available on Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Three of the Silki trilogy, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, launches fall 2016. Here's a quick synopsis:

Bummed that yet another summer has passed all too quickly, Silki and her best friend Birdie head out for one last hurrah at the Navajo Nation Fair. When the fun is overshadowed by the theft of a famous horse, Silki is plunged into a baffling adventure teeming with international undercurrents and intrigue. What’s more, boy-crazy Birdie is fluttering her eyelashes at Silki’s good-looking, visiting cousin at every turn, and Rez legend Old Man Concho is coughing up secrets dating back to 1942. What possible connection could he have to the Japanese tourists, and will Silki discover an ancient truth about the Valley of Shadows in time to save Lava, the leader of the Ghost Herd, as well as salvage her own broken heart?

Meet my CANYON OF DOOM AND VALLEY OF SHADOWS illustrator, the Drawing Hands.

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.

An old Cowboy’s Recipe for FryBread


 

{7993B11B-BB01-4633-8564-A60E191575E3}-Windmill, Mesa Redondo RanchIn the 1960s, an old cowboy gave this recipe to my mom when we lived on the Mesa Redondo Ranch, Concho, Arizona.

To each cup of flour, add:

  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Enough milk or water to make a stiff dough, or
  • ¼ cup powdered milk and warm water to make stiff dough.

Knead dough until smooth, not sticky, or just make balls about 3” diameter and pull the ball into a 6” circle with fingers. Slash one side from the center out with a sharp knife in five places. Drop into hot grease. Brown on both sides and drain on newspaper or paper towels.

 

 

 

 

 

Arrow

Feel free to wander around my website. It's guaranteed non-toxic.

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery, you'll love my any-age novels. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT and Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: CANYON OF DOOM are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on this website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available on Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Three of the Silki trilogy, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, launches fall 2016. Here's a quick synopsis:

Bummed that yet another summer has passed all too quickly, Silki and her best friend Birdie head out for one last hurrah at the Navajo Nation Fair. When the fun is overshadowed by the theft of a famous horse, Silki is plunged into a baffling adventure teeming with international undercurrents and intrigue. What’s more, boy-crazy Birdie is fluttering her eyelashes at Silki’s good-looking, visiting cousin at every turn, and Rez legend Old Man Concho is coughing up secrets dating back to 1942. What possible connection could he have to the Japanese tourists, and will Silki discover an ancient truth about the Valley of Shadows in time to save Lava, the leader of the Ghost Herd, as well as salvage her own broken heart?

Meet my CANYON OF DOOM AND VALLEY OF SHADOWS illustrator, the Drawing Hands.

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.

HEROES: A man named Scott


Vietnam War Memorial in Washington DC

Vietnam War Memorial in Washington DC

The other day, a man named Scott came to fix the dishwasher in a house we lease. He was bowed in the shoulders and wore knee-high therapeutic socks.

He walked slightly lopsided and breathed heavily with effort as he bent to check out the appliance. His knees hurt. His hands were swollen with neuropathic pain. Over the course of the next half hour, Scott shared some of his life with me in a voice clear and strong.

It didn’t take me long to realize a bona fide hero was standing in my kitchen.

More about that later.

Scott told me he’s worried that he’s losing weight these days and that his 6’2” frame seems to be shrinking. His strength isn’t what it used to be either. Not long ago, he said, he could wrestle a fat, new refrigerator from the back of his truck and install it single handed.Now he has an assistant – Frank – to help with that kind of physical stuff.

Lately he’s been experiencing a lot of tiredness after the three kidney dialyses he receives each week.

“Used to, I’d be down for a few hours, then get right up and start working again. Now I’m tired for hours afterward,” he said.

Scott happens to hold the record for the longest living male to receive kidney dialysis in our state. He’s been doing it every week for 22 years.

The dialysis is the result of his taking bullets to the abdomen during the Vietnam war. Lying alone and bleeding in the jungle, he did something that saved his life.

“I stuffed my wounds with leaves,” he told me. “Now you’d think I’d get infected, but the leaves I used turned out to have a penicillin-like effect. How about that?”

How about that, indeed.

Beautiful like a hero

I’ve been thinking a lot about Scott since he came to my house the other day. He inspired me. I have a feeling he inspires everyone he meets. He’s called a workaholic by his coworkers, and he’s a tad vain about his appearance. I told him he was looking good, and I meant it.

Come to think of it, Scott looks like a hero to me, and that’s a beautiful thing to behold.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Why do we need heroes?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary says a hero is a person who is admired for great or brave acts. I think heroes are something more. I believe they are icons on which we project our greater selves. Deep in our psyches – maybe in our DNA – we want to believe that if pressed, we will rise to heights of courage and greatness. Heroes make us aspire to flee mediocrity and pursue the impossible ~ Jodi Lea Stewart

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Just for fun . . .

Good gosh, man! Those natives are using unauthorized media!

Good gosh, man! Those natives are using unauthorized media!

Feel free to wander around my website. It's guaranteed non-toxic.

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery, you'll love my any-age novels. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT and Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: CANYON OF DOOM are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on this website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available on Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Three of the Silki trilogy, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, launches in early 2016. Here's a quick synopsis:

Bummed that yet another summer has passed all too quickly, Silki and her best friend Birdie head out for one last hurrah at the Navajo Nation Fair. When the fun is overshadowed by the theft of a famous horse, Silki is plunged into a baffling adventure teeming with international undercurrents and intrigue. What’s more, boy-crazy Birdie is fluttering her eyelashes at Silki’s good-looking, visiting cousin at every turn, and Rez legend Old Man Concho is coughing up secrets dating back to 1942. What possible connection could he have to the Japanese tourists, and will Silki discover an ancient truth about the Valley of Shadows in time to save Lava, the leader of the Ghost Herd, as well as salvage her own broken heart?

Meet my CANYON OF DOOM AND VALLEY OF SHADOWS illustrator, the Drawing Hands.

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.

Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Applying Makeup


 

Image from Fotolia

Image from Fotolia

Type-A folks aren’t fond of thinking they’ve wasted time doing anything.

When I heard the average woman spends 474 days of her life slapping on lipstick and lining her eyes *applying makeup*, I had to search for purpose in all that mirror time.

Here, then, is my version of life lessons I’ve learned from applying makeup.

  • Scrub out impurities before they turn black.
  • Moisture is the key to life.
  • Always start with a good foundation.
  • Rough handling will stretch you in ways you don’t want to go.
  • Never expect a thin line from a dull pencil.
  • Being too cheeky can backfire.
  • Frowning messes up everything.
  • Practice makes perfect.
  • Too showy gives a false impression.
  • Freshen up often.
  • Inner beauty is the best makeup in the world.

My kids always accused me of turning everything into a life lesson. Maybe they were right!

Have you learned wise things while doing life’s outwardly boring and repetitive tasks…maybe from doing the laundry, or exercising, even shaving your face *guys*?

You know I love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Arrow

Feel free to wander around my website. It's guaranteed non-toxic.

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery, you'll love my any-age novels. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT and Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: CANYON OF DOOM are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on this website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available on Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Three of the Silki trilogy, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, launches fall 2016. Here's a quick synopsis:

Bummed that yet another summer has passed all too quickly, Silki and her best friend Birdie head out for one last hurrah at the Navajo Nation Fair. When the fun is overshadowed by the theft of a famous horse, Silki is plunged into a baffling adventure teeming with international undercurrents and intrigue. What’s more, boy-crazy Birdie is fluttering her eyelashes at Silki’s good-looking, visiting cousin at every turn, and Rez legend Old Man Concho is coughing up secrets dating back to 1942. What possible connection could he have to the Japanese tourists, and will Silki discover an ancient truth about the Valley of Shadows in time to save Lava, the leader of the Ghost Herd, as well as salvage her own broken heart?

Meet my CANYON OF DOOM AND VALLEY OF SHADOWS illustrator, the Drawing Hands.

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.

Bu++ Bites Build Gristle


It’s like this – the gander that was flapping my face, back and legs . . .

. . . while simultaneously biting blood blisters on my little three-year-old derriere didn’t know he was contributing to my future female assertiveness.

Being left alone in trees by older cousins while they went off to play games assuredly built my self-reliance.

How did I get all this country-flavored therapy?

By being reared in a farm atmosphere with a pack of heathens for cousins, that’s how.

Descending upon Grandma and Granddad’s farm every summer made my cousins and me wacky. Throwing our shoes and socks over our shoulders, we screeched with pure, wild summer madness.

My gristle got a good start during those summers.

I was the youngest, shortest, and most sensitive of the cousin pack *actually, they called me bawl-bag* which swelled in number from six to sixteen throughout the summer.

Our fun was simple in those days – we simply created it from basically nothing.

Running wild and barefoot, teasing Heir Gander (the baddest guy on the farm), and not minding our elders were outstanding activities.

Of course, not minding always resulted in a lesson on branch cutting (for switches) and a character-building session involving our gluteous maximi immediately thereafter.

Challenging Grandma’s Gander to a mad race across the barnyard was forbidden. And thrilling. Except for me. My legs wouldn’t get me very far before I was missing in action. A little wing whipping before being rescued by the cousins was worth all the grass-rolling hilarity that followed.

One day, Gander snapped.

Possessed by Hitler, Gander went for blood . . .

. . . and I was his victim.

Hair-raising screams brought a rescue unit of five or six wild-eyed adults.

After Heir Gander was slightly reconstructed by my hysterical mom, I experienced a grit-building event. My mom, with multiple pairs of cousin eyes staring, pulled down my shorts to inspect the gander bites. Snickering, then outright peals of laughter, echoed through the barnyard.

That’s when I cried. Hard.

My strength was building!

Other times, when my cousins grew tired of babysitting me, they left me in a tall tree and told me to hold tight and be sure and not fall.

Hanging on for dear life—I’m afraid of heights to this day—I squalled until they came back. When they did, I was the center of attention. Merrily swung onto a pair of shoulders, I was teased and promised games and stories. They even meant it.

I was all giggles when we returned to the farmhouse. Any notice of my red eyes or purple face was attributed to the heat and my allergic problems.

Experiences like these were difficult, but I’m glad I went through them and others later on. Why? Well, I have a theory:

A little grit in your craw makes life’s toughest tidbits easier to swallow.

I love to hear from you.

Just for fun . . .

I told you using unauthorized media would sour your stomach.

I told you using unauthorized media would sour your stomach.

 

 

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Feel free to wander around my website. It's guaranteed non-toxic.

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery, you'll love my any-age novels. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT and Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: CANYON OF DOOM are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on this website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available on Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Three of the Silki trilogy, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, launches fall 2016. Here's a quick synopsis:

Bummed that yet another summer has passed all too quickly, Silki and her best friend Birdie head out for one last hurrah at the Navajo Nation Fair. When the fun is overshadowed by the theft of a famous horse, Silki is plunged into a baffling adventure teeming with international undercurrents and intrigue. What’s more, boy-crazy Birdie is fluttering her eyelashes at Silki’s good-looking, visiting cousin at every turn, and Rez legend Old Man Concho is coughing up secrets dating back to 1942. What possible connection could he have to the Japanese tourists, and will Silki discover an ancient truth about the Valley of Shadows in time to save Lava, the leader of the Ghost Herd, as well as salvage her own broken heart?

Meet my CANYON OF DOOM AND VALLEY OF SHADOWS illustrator, the Drawing Hands.

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.

Clearing out Cobwebs


I’m ready for vacation. So what?

Spring has erupted with an outbreak of green buds, insanely happy twittering birds and a sales surge in allergy meds.

Synonymous with spring is spring cleaning, that time when we attack every inch of our lives with renewed determination to clear out the cobwebs.

Spring House Cleaning

Hubby’s idea of spring cleaning – or otherwise – is to throw all the out-of-place things in a closet, on a shelf or in layers in drawers. His redemption comes from his incredible speed. He can take an upside-down room and make it “appear” guest-ready in no time.

Conversely, I deep clean a room by attacking the drawers, closets and anything else attackable. My spring or fall cleaning can take 10-13 days. I suck out dust-germies behind drawers with a shop vac, pull the curtains down, scrub walls and baseboards, etc. Nothing is safe!

Brain Cleaning

Spring is also a time to air out our frontal and temporal lobes, as well as our cerebellums.

My prescribed formula for this therapeutic brain drain *see below* works especially well for overworked executives/office personnel, students, all medical folks, beleaguered moms/dads and red-eyed, swollen authors breathlessly huffing and puffing to write constantly while building a grand social platform the size of the Pacific Ocean.

Jodi’s Recommended Brain-Cleansing Method

Lollygag. Hard. On your living-room couch, in a pool chair, lounger or in a hammock for a minimum of two hours. Do not think any deeper than, “What can I pig-out on later . . . wonder what’s on the tube tonight . . . why are stick figures so creepy . . .”

Stuff like that.

Absolutely no telephones or electronic gadgets allowed.

Yes I know.

Disengaging from our screens is like asking us to nose-push a pinto bean from San Francisco to the top of Pike’s Peak.

But you can do it. That screen is a wimp. A weenie. You are powerful. You are Iron.

I believe in you!

Sigh. Just try it, okay?

I boldly proclaim two sessions of concentrated lollygagging will shake off the chaotic grundge and prepare you for vacation and those lazy hazy days of summer.

Your family deserves it.

And guess what?  It just might reintroduce you to

. . . silence.

. . . idle fingers.

…going without any outside communication for two whole hours.

Pow!

Vintage stuff!

Just remember…a drained brain is a happy brain!

 

What is your method of shaking off your worries and responsibilities on the eve of a long weekend or vacation? What about spring cleaning . . . do you do it? Is it a family affair? Please share!

 

Just for fun . . .

I refer all media “borrowers” to my film, Psycho.

 

Arrow

Feel free to wander around my website. It's guaranteed non-toxic.

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery, you'll love my any-age novels. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT and Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: CANYON OF DOOM are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on this website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available on Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Three of the Silki trilogy, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, launches fall 2016. Here's a quick synopsis:

Bummed that yet another summer has passed all too quickly, Silki and her best friend Birdie head out for one last hurrah at the Navajo Nation Fair. When the fun is overshadowed by the theft of a famous horse, Silki is plunged into a baffling adventure teeming with international undercurrents and intrigue. What’s more, boy-crazy Birdie is fluttering her eyelashes at Silki’s good-looking, visiting cousin at every turn, and Rez legend Old Man Concho is coughing up secrets dating back to 1942. What possible connection could he have to the Japanese tourists, and will Silki discover an ancient truth about the Valley of Shadows in time to save Lava, the leader of the Ghost Herd, as well as salvage her own broken heart?

Meet my CANYON OF DOOM AND VALLEY OF SHADOWS illustrator, the Drawing Hands.

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.

Ma Dubie’s Hot Bean Dumplings


This is my grandmother’s *Ollie Pear Woods* recipe from the old days when survival meant using EVERYTHING.

  • left-over pinto beans made real juicy with extra water
  • lots of red or green peppers {Grandma Woods grew her own}
  • biscuit dough rolled out very thin and cut in 1”x 4” strips (homemade dough only…oh, all right, use Pillsbury©, you silly thing!)

Bring beans and juice to a rolling boil. Cook as many as you want or need. Drop dumplings in bean juice. Heat through (doesn’t take long) and serve immediately.

Comment: My granddad called my grandma “Dubie.”
Comments from one of the eleven Woods’ kids:
This recipe came from Mother Woods, 1921, living in Frog Spring Hollow in Jay Hills. Sure tasty. Don’t get it too hot (spicy), or you’ll drink lots of water — Woods kid Dean.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.

Sassy Sassafras, the Root Beer Tree


My grandfather, Thomas Elmer Woods, learned a lot from the Five Civilized Tribes: medicine, ceremonial dancing, and how to survive.

After his mother died soon after giving birth to him and his twin sister, his sister was sent to live with relatives in the Pacific Northwest. Elmer headed to Indian Territory, Oklahoma, in a covered wagon with his mother’s brother and his wife. He was two weeks old, and the year was 1884.

Native American Ways

Indian Territory consisted of the lands of the Five Civilized Tribes: Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks (Muscogees), and Seminoles, along with twenty-two other tribes.

Elmer got along well with his Native American neighbors. They trusted him enough to let him dance with them whenever he wanted. They taught him their secrets of survival, like how to use roots, leaves, bark and plants to make medicines.

He used that knowledge for his family, and for others, his whole life. The longevity his eleven children enjoyed speaks for the wisdom of those natural preventives.

Case in point – my mother. She’s 88 years young and still bakes the best pies you ever tasted, does her own grocery shopping, drives thousands of miles by herself and can still cut a rug when she really wants to.

She’s Elmer’s eighth child, and one of the tonics she grew up on was sassafras tea.

Thinning (purifying) the blood

Elmer insisted that his family members drink sassafras tea liberally every spring to thin their blood after the long, harsh Oklahoma and Missouri winters.

Sassafras trees, with their irregular lobed leaves and aromatic bark, grew wild and plentiful in the woods. Elmer gathered roots every spring. After thoroughly cleaning a root, or hunks ofSassafrass Roots root, he placed it in a pot of water to boil. Soon, the water turned a beautiful clear pink. When the family was fortunate enough to buy sugar, they added it to the spicy tea, along with fresh cow cream.

It didn’t take much persuasion for eleven little country kids to want to start thinning their blood and ridding themselves of their sluggish winter bodies!

As a very young child, I remember seeing a pan on my grandma’s stove with a big tree root poking out of the top. That was fascinating! The tea tasted wonderful, and I wanted lots and lots.

Later on, when I was a teenager and more snooty sophisticated, I doubted my granddad’s theory about sassafras tea thinning the blood.

How ridiculous, I thought.

Pure folklore.

Dumb.

Then I grew enough brain cells to check it out for myself.

I found out that sassafras tea is recognized as a natural anticoagulant.

Anticoagulant = blood thinner. Fancy that.

Ever notice how much smarter grownups got after our teen years?

In early America, sassafras and tobacco were the main exports from the colonies to England. Sassafras was revered for its medicinal qualities, as well as for the beauty of its wood.

Alas, sassafras tree byproducts, including sassafras tea, are controversial these days, which is why it isn’t the main ingredient in root beer anymore.

The dried and ground sassafras leaves are still used to make filé powder for certain types of gumbo.

And lots of people just go right on using the mysterious tree’s bark, leaves, and roots.

A good argument in favor of doing that might be my granddad. He lived into his eighties with no medicines other than the natural ones he learned from The Five Civilized Tribes. He hand-delivered all of his eleven children, survived total economic depression with nothing but his two hands to make a living and played a mean banjo and fiddle with no lessons.

Maybe there really is something to “thinning the blood” with sassafras tea every spring. You think?

Have you ever tasted sassafras tea? Did you know it was the main flavoring in root beer at one time, or that some people thought of the sassafras tree as the root beer tree? Did your family use any old-timey “medicines” that didn’t come from a pharmacy?

I love to hear from you.

Just for fun . . .

Borrowing unauthorized media is driving me to the edge.

Borrowing unauthorized media is driving me to the edge.

 

 

 

Arrow

Feel free to wander around my website. It's guaranteed non-toxic.

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery, you'll love my any-age novels. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT and Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: CANYON OF DOOM are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on this website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available on Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Three of the Silki trilogy, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, launches fall 2016. Here's a quick synopsis:

Bummed that yet another summer has passed all too quickly, Silki and her best friend Birdie head out for one last hurrah at the Navajo Nation Fair. When the fun is overshadowed by the theft of a famous horse, Silki is plunged into a baffling adventure teeming with international undercurrents and intrigue. What’s more, boy-crazy Birdie is fluttering her eyelashes at Silki’s good-looking, visiting cousin at every turn, and Rez legend Old Man Concho is coughing up secrets dating back to 1942. What possible connection could he have to the Japanese tourists, and will Silki discover an ancient truth about the Valley of Shadows in time to save Lava, the leader of the Ghost Herd, as well as salvage her own broken heart?

Meet my CANYON OF DOOM AND VALLEY OF SHADOWS illustrator, the Drawing Hands.

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi's debut novel and Book One of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy. CANYON OF DOOM came next, and VALLEY OF SHADOWS hits the shelves summer of 2016, completing this exciting and fun adventure-mystery set in the Navajo Nation. Next on the horizon? A historical mystery novel set in the 1930s told through the eyes of a sharecropper's daughter.