Tag Archives: YA fiction

The Recipe: Made Just Right . . . MAID-RITES!


Mom's MAID-RITE...made right!

Mom’s MAID-RITE…made right!

  • High-quality 80/20 hamburger meat
  • Hamburger Buns
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, optional
  • Potato Chips, optional

Maid-Rite Special Sauce

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Dill pickles, chopped
  • Mustard and mayonnaise

Heat oven for lightly toasting the hamburger buns. Brown loose meat and season with salt and pepper. Drain off nearly all fat. Add a small amount of water to keep meat “juicy.” Prepare sauce by mixing all ingredients in a bowl. The amount of mustard and/or mayo to make the sauce is a matter of preference.

Each person prepares his/her own MAID-RITE. Spoon loose meat with a slotted spoon onto warmed hamburger buns. Top with special sauce and sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top. Serve with potato chips. Enjoy!

Comment:  This is the original MAID-RITE recipe according to my mom. She has been making these hamburgers since 1939 and had the honor of eating her first ones in Muscatine, Iowa *home of the MAID-RITE sandwiches*. Go here to read more about Mom’s 1939 experience…

Comment:  You can trust that this non-steamed recipe tastes eerily like the first constructed MAID-RITES!


Pssst! – All media used in my blogs are either acquired by payment for their use, or don’t require licensing for public use. Often, I use my own personal photos. Please play it safe and don’t recycle images, okay? (P.S. This one of Joanna Barnes from “War Wagon” is free for all. Borrow like crazy if you want!)

"I wouldn't be a saloon girl if I hadn't borrowed all those media images without asking." ~ Wikipedia Commons image “I wouldn’t be a saloon girl if I hadn’t borrowed all those media images without asking.” ~ Wikipedia Commons image


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.

s!

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.

Watch the News and Still be Happy?


 

Pollia Condensata plant

News is stressful.

Hatred. Violence. Tragedy.

All proclaimed to us nonstop from television, smart devices, word-of-mouth, newspapers or magazines.

How can we cope?

Pick one:

Develop a la la la . . . don’t worry . . . be happy attitude – Just keep right on skiing, visiting Disney World, fly-fishing, electronic game playing, reading gossip mags, etc. with the attitude that all politicians speak with a forked tongue, so why bother voting? Don’t get involved in causes, whether political, religious, or humane because you darn sure know none of that makes a difference anyway. Why waste your time or money? Limit your television viewing to The  (empty-headed) Kardashians, reruns from the 50s and 60s, or the latest, hottest reality show because everything else is just so silly and boring.

Become a news addict – an amazing profession for those who never let bad news sink in more than one-eighth inch into their psyches or spirits. Here’s how it works: You listen. You regurgitate everything you’ve heard *the more horrible, the better* to anyone who will listen. Having done that, you have done your part, feel enlightened, and are ready for the next zillion hours of bad news to report to your hapless friends and family.

Tune out with Positive Methods:

  • Become a Tibetan monk living on a cliff.
  • Become a priest/nun working in a leper colony.
  • Become an underwater spy living in a one-man sub doing subterfuge espionage for the government.

 Tune Out with Negative Methods:

  • Overindulge in any or every thing: food, alcohol, drugs, gossip, hoarding, daytime television  . . . you name it.

OR you can . . .

Be informed without total absorption – No one said you have to take in a 24/7 dose of news. For example, I like to watch or read a weekend review of the top stories rather than take in a daily dose. I never watch the late night news because knowing a little child has been abducted, or a handicapped veteran burned to death in his home, aren’t the kind of stories I want to sleep with.

Be involved in a healthy balanced way.

  • Educate yourself about politicians who run for office and then vote. Every vote, every time . . . makes a difference.
  • Find responsible causes that line up with what you feel is important in this world. Then go ahead, open your heart and your wallet.
  • Limit  your television/small screen time. Up your reading time. Engage in social functions that have real people really interacting. Balance that with your on-line social media interaction. Balance = harmony.

Be grateful – appreciate what you do have rather than what you don’t have. Be glad for your family and/or friends. Realize that life could always be worse, but it isn’t right now, so for heaven’s sake, enjoy the now! The simplest things can bring pleasure if you have a grateful heart.

Find things that amaze. That photo up at the top of this blog is a little something I ran into today – the Pollia Condensata plant. It almost blew me off my chair! I wouldn’t be surprised if it nearly blew some scientists off their petri dishes.

Here’s the deal. I love carnival glass, a man-made iridescent glass created from metallic salts and heat. The exact same look was created by nature  from the interaction of light with the plant’s skin, which contains layers of microscopic cellulose fibers. Tell me that isn’t cool.

So, news, political unrest, lying, criticizing be hanged. It’s there. We need to know what is happening in the world around us. We need to care and be involved. Yes, we do. But we also need to raise good kids, read, read to someone else, eat good food, enjoy music, write novels or poetry or essays. We need to look around at the beauty of our world, not just the chaos and dissension of miserable people who aren’t happy and who don’t want anyone to be happy.

It all boils down to choice. Will you let the worries of the world weigh you down, make you depressed, behave obsessively, or worse? Or will you realize that this is your one life and you must live it multi-faceted with honor, integrity, and fun? You decide.

How do you cope with the unsettled feelings you get from most news reports?

Arrow

Your opinion matters to me.

Just for fun . . .

 

 

“Why wasn’t I more careful about my media use?”

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.

Pork Stew in Cabbage


Jodi’s Pork Stew in Cabbage

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ¾ cup miniature carrots
  • 2 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 head cabbage cut into eight equal wedges
  • 1-1/2 pounds thick boneless pork chops or pork loin cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 package Eckrich smoked beef sausage cut into ½” to 1” slices
  • 4 Tbls. Butter
  • 2 Tbls. Extra-Virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste. I use lots
  • Approx. ½ cup flour
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup white cooking wine
  • 1 cup water for stew, 1 cup water for cabbage
  • Red pepper flakes, optional

Prepare onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté in large heavy skillet in 2 Tbls. Butter. Add light amount of salt and pepper. Remove from pan with slotted spoon while vegetables are still tender-crisp. Set aside. Cut pork pieces and shake with flour in a plastic bag. Turn into heavy skillet. Add 2 Tbls. butter and 2 Tbls. olive oil. Turn with wooden spoon until browned on all sides. Add bay leaf, black pepper, 1 tsp. salt, cooking wine and water. Add several shakes of red pepper flakes if desired. Bring to a boil while stirring. Reduce heat and simmer covered approximately 30 minutes or until pork is fork tender. Be careful to keep fire low and stir often.

Wash and cut cabbage head into wedges. Bring 1 cup water and 1 tsp. salt to a boil in a large skillet or large-bottomed pan. Over medium heat, cook covered for 10-12 minutes until tender-crisp. Cook a second layer of cabbage wedges the same way, or do all the wedges at once by stacking them double decker. Bottom layer will be saltier if stacking wedges double. Remove and drain on paper towels a few minutes. Arrange with tongs and/or spatula on a serving dish. Sprinkle with more red pepper flakes, salt or pepper if desired.

Slice and add beef sausage rounds to pork stew. Cook covered for five minutes. Add sautéed vegetables and fresh parsley. Cook covered another five minutes. Spoon pork stew into the center of arranged cabbage wedges and serve.

Comment:  I serve my pork stew in cabbage with herbed Irish soda bread. Want the recipe for the bread? Click here!

Jodi’s pork stew served with herbed Irish soda bread and steamed cabbage wedge

Want to know a wee bit of history about Irish Soda Bread? Click here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just for fun . . .

If I ever escape this field, I’ll never use unauthorized media again!

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.

Herbed Irish Soda Bread


 

Jodi Lea Stewart’s Herbed Irish Soda Bread

  • 4 to 4-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 5 Tbsp. butter/margarine
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley

Mix or sift together dry ingredients. Cut in butter until crumbly. I use two knives, then my hands until the butter is nearly as fine as cornmeal. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add wet ingredients, including parsley. Mix together until dough sticks together and releases from the side of the bowl. It will be slightly sticky, like biscuit dough.

Turn onto a floured surface and knead a few quick turns to even out the dough. Don’t over knead. Form into a rounded loaf approximately 2 to 2-1/2-inches thick. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and place loaf on top smoothing out the top and sides. Cut an X into the top if desired. Bake at 350-degrees for 35-45 minutes. If the top browns too quickly, cover with foil until done. Use a skewer to check if the bread is cooked. When it comes out clean, the soda bread is done. Let it rest on a rack for a few minutes, then place on serving dish. Cut into wedges or slices. Wrap leftover loaf well. Discard after two days.

Bake at 350-degrees for 35-45 minutes. If the top browns too quickly, cover with foil until done. Use a skewer to check if the bread is cooked. When it comes out clean, the soda bread is done. Let it rest on a rack for a few minutes, then place on serving dish. Cut into wedges or slices. Wrap leftover loaf well. Discard after two days.

To make farls:

Flatten soda bread dough into a round circle and divide into farls *four parts*. Some people cut it into eight parts. Cook 5-10 minutes per side on a pre-heated griddle lightly dusted with flour. Again, use a skewer to see if the farls are cooked. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm with butter and/or jam and whatever else you love on a biscuit, because that’s what soda bread closely resembles in flavor.

Comment:  This recipe came from Nola (Heart Land) on Facebook. She said her friend, Alberta’s Song, sent it to her. “Alberta’s Song” said that was a name given to her by her grandfather, and that whenever she sings or writes, she uses that name. Okay then!

Comment: I made this bread at high altitude, so I had to add a little more buttermilk and baked it a little less time. I also added herbs.

Comment:  If making the bread or farls for jam or honey, consider leaving out the herbs.

Comment: I served my herbed Irish soda bread with an old-fashioned pork stew surrounded by steamed cabbage wedges. Want the recipe for the stew? Click here!

Jodi Lea Stewart’s Herbed Irish Soda Bread and Pork Stew in Cabbage

 

Want to know a wee bit of history about Irish Soda Bread? Click here!

 

 

 

 

 

Just for laughs . . .

Every time John brings me flowers, I worry that he’s using unauthorized media again!

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.

A Wee Bit About Irish Soda Bread


 

Jodi Lea Stewart’s Irish Soda Bread and Pork Stew

 

A Wee Bit of History about Irish Soda Bread

Irish soda bread was made with basic ingredients already found in the household: flour, baking soda, soured milk and salt. Its simplicity, quick fix time, and low cost made it ideal for poor Irish families in the mid-nineteenth century. Since baking soda wasn’t available in Ireland until around 1840, Irish soda bread is not an ancient bread recipe.

Different Shapes for Different Folks

In the southern regions of Ireland, it was traditionally shaped into a round loaf and baked with a cross on the top to ward off the devil and protect the household. In the northern regions, soda bread was flattened into a round disc and divided into four parts, or farls, and cooked on a flat griddle.

What is Irish Soda Bread Like?

Considered a quick bread, its texture is soft and dense, with a slight sour tang and a hard crust. If you add herbs *my idea*, it tastes like a buttermilk biscuit with a twist! It lasts about two days if wrapped well. Soda bread can be enjoyed with any savory meal, or sweetened with jam or honey.

For my version of herbed Irish Soda Bread, please click here. For the recipe for my pork stew, please click here.

A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures! *Irish Saying*

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I have to give a nod to my favorite Irish movie with my two favorite actors, John Wayne and Maureen O’Sullivan. Sure you’ve seen it, but isn’t it time you saw it again?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

 

 

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.

Mash-Up: Ugly Shoes, Dancing Around the World, & A Creepy Fact


Abandoned chair out in a field facing a haunted house

I’m inviting you to  take a tiny trip with into the Nothing Burger World of Whatever.

Why?

Why not?

I mean, unless you are 1)  decaying in your rocking chair waiting for Norman Bates to bring your supper from downstairs, 2)  pinned under a giant onyx waiting for the fire department to arrive, or 3) mad because your cat flushed your toilet a thousand times and ran up the water bill . . . you have a few minutes to waste.

This time . . .

See the ugliest strangest shoes on the planet.

Watch Matt dance.

Learn a Creepy Fact.

Interesting to note 

Women are actually altering their feet to wear high heels. I can see adding more cushion to the ball of a foot, or having a bunion removed if pain were an issue, but cutting off a little toe or altering the length of toes through surgery? E-gads!

Not surprisingly, the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons advise against foot procedures for purely cosmetic purposes.

Speaking of shoes, these are pretty ugly dramatic, yes?

Ugly shoes 1

 

 

Ugly shoes 2Ugly shoes 3

 

 

 

 

Forget the Prozac

If you click into just one link on this blog, MAKE IT THIS ONE.  It remains my fav. It’s a few years old, but it never fails to make me smile.

What in the heck is so fascinating about an average dude who travels everywhere *and I mean everywhere* in the world and dances with the locals?

EVERYTHING!

When I’m feeling blue, lousy, angry, or need a fix of s-o-m-e-t-h-i-n-g, I watch Matt dancing away like a clumsy clod with a big smile. Somehow, he’s inspiring.

He’s harder to find these days, and that’s a shame.

Here’s your creepy fact

Spider’s can’t chew. Instead, they insert poison fluid into their victim’s body until it turns to liquid, then they just suck it down.

Adding this one just for grins: A spider’s blood color is “light blue.”

Mash-Ups are fun. Smile!

**************************************

Your opinion matters to me.

 

Just for fun . . .

My Prince Charming would never borrow unauthorized media.

My Prince Charming would never borrow unauthorized media.

 

 

 

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.

Love is in the Air!


The plethora of hearts, chocolate and stuffed animals the size of toll booths igniting the air and the airwaves the past month drove me into thoughtful consideration *and into making a  list* of the things I truly love.

Criteria for My List 

I limited my truly love list to five items.

Since my spouse, family and Divine Power already have my heart 24/7, my truly love list went beyond the basics.

I asked myself…

What makes me all warm and cozy inside?

What make me smile?

What causes tears of joy and/or pride to drown my eyes?

First, one rant caveat 

The word love in our English language is quite pathetic. We have one flimsy word to cover feelings for our beloved, our children, horses, our country, popcorn, military veterans, etc. It doesn’t seem fair! In Italy, for instance, you use two very different words for the love of a mate versus the love of your cell phone. (Or do you? I realize things there are cell phone addicts out there nowadays, so maybe not.)

Greece has at least three great words for love, possibly more. The Arabic language has seven plus. Finland has tons! We have one. Just one. Okay, I’m off my soapbox now!

My Truly Love List (in no particular order) delivered through something I truly love . . . horses!

  • Books

I love books!

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Babies

I love babies, any kind!

  •  Laughter

Everything will be all right as long as we can laugh!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gentle Carousel Therapy Horses share the love!

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • America

I love America . . . and the Clydesdales!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love to hear your opinions. What do you love?

 

Just for fun . . .

What am I writing? Why, not to borrow unauthorized media, of course!

What am I writing? Why, not to borrow unauthorized media, of course!

 

 

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.

Painting with Needles


“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” ~ Albert Einstein 

Did early Americans invent embroidery to make samplers and decorate hope-chest items for hopeful young ladies waiting to become wives and mothers?

Hardly! The art of embroidery started in China thousands of years ago.

China began to weave silk from silkworm cocoon fibers about 5,000 years ago. Producing silk fabrics and silk threads inspired the art of embroidery as a way to enhance silk material. A landslide of fabric enhancement followed as dragon robes for Emperors, room screens, book covers, wall hangings – even mattresses – were painted with colorful silk threads.

Elegant embroidered fabric became the symbol of China in the new world.

A touch of history

Embroidered silk was regularly used for maps in the second and third century AD. Embroidered products were a luxury only for the Royal family, and their use and creation was strictly regulated by the government. During certain dynasties, particular forms of embroidery were used to buy horses and settle debts.

The oldest piece of recovered Chinese embroidery is over 2,000 years old, and was discovered in 1958 in a tomb of the Warring States Period (475-221 BC).

The four famous Embroideries of China

  • Xiang embroidery in central China
  • Shu embroidery in western China
  • Yue embroidery in southern China
  • Suzhou, or Su, embroidery in eastern China.

The Suzhou style became famous during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). It remains the principle form of hand-art embroidery in the world today.

Jiuzhaigou Scenery @ www.suembroidery.com

Su Embroidery

Su Embroidery is characterized by smoothness, stitch density and outstanding, life-like color tones and qualities.

Double-sided embroidery is another Su embroidery technique. Artisans sometimes stitch different patterns on the opposite sides. The stitching is accomplished with ultra-thin needles. The silk threads are divided until the actual thread filaments are nearly impossible to see.

Alan McIntyre, a Suzhou embroidery collector in Scotland, said, “Suzhou artists, using a sharpened thumbnail, can split the already hair-thin silk into filaments as fine as one forty-eighth of the original (size)…”

The work is so labor intensive, it may look as though nothing is happening two weeks or longer on a piece that has been diligently stitched non-stop!

Some embroidery pieces require such deep concentration that two embroiders can work on the piece for no longer than twenty minutes each.

An exquisite art nearly lost

Generation after generation, the Ku family of Suzhou produced lavish embroideries for the Emperors of China.

By the late nineteenth century, the tradition was dying out. During the Republic of China period (1912-1949), the industry declined further.

Fortunately, after the founding of new China in 1950, the beautiful art form was restored and regenerated. The central government launched training courses for the study of embroidery.

Research centers were created to specifically study Su Embroidery.

Equisite Su Embroidery www.suembroidery.com

In 1957, the Suzhou Embroidery Research Institute (SERI) was founded to:

  •  help rescue the beautiful art form
  • research traditional Chinese embroidery and tapestry techniques
  • develop new stitches
  • train new generations of needle workers

Painting photographs with needles

In the early 1980s, an American landscape photographer, Robert Glenn Ketchum, saw a photograph in the Los Angeles Times of an embroidered banner of Mao-tse-Tung in a Beijing political rally. The banner showed the kind of photo-realism Ketchum was seeking to represent his famous photographs. The photo credit revealed the banner to be the work of SERI. Ketchum traveled to China and proposed his ideas to the institute in Suzhou.

An alliance was formed which lasted more than two decades, reproducing Ketchum’s famous landscape photos as silk paintings done with needles. Each reproduced painting required many months, or even years, to complete.

New stitches, colors and looms were created for the project. The process stretched the Su embroiderers to absorb many western painting techniques. SERI’s Random Stitch Embroidery studio used traditional, as well as newly created stitches, of different lengths and weights. The stitches went in different directions across a silk gauze background to control the reflection of light across the threads, something never before done.

The intriguing alliance between the Suzhou Embroidery Research Institute (SERI) and landscape photographer Robert Glenn Ketchum produced art like none other in the world.

Many of Ketchum’s works by SERI were displayed in the 1999 Threads of Light exhibition at UCLA’s Fowler Museum of Cultural History.

The works of art posted here are all embroidered, not painted. But can we really say they aren’t painted . . . with needles?

By the way, I was granted permission to use these embroidered art piece photos by the Suzhou Embroidery Research Institute (SERI).

Summer Night @ suembroidery.co

 

www.suembroidery.com

 

 

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.

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.

 

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, 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.

A Knotty World


Knot on a cord

A knotty world comes with the territory for a protagonist addicted to scarves.

Silki, the main character in my three-book adventure/mystery series set on the Navajo Rez uses knots to fit any occasion. For example, her favorite danger knot for tying her scarves end to end is the Double Overhand Stopper knot, a knot strong enough to hold a person’s weight.

Double Overhand Stopper Knot - Fotolia image

Double Overhand Stopper Knot – Fotolia image

“Hold on a minute, Birdie, while I do something.” I worked my scarf ends into double-overhand-stopper knots, the strongest kind Grandfather ever taught me. He said they were strong enough for mountain climbing. With no light, I had to do my work by feeling. My grubby fingers felt like claws. How far up was Birdie? I double-dogged hoped I had enough scarves to reach from me to her—Summer of the Ancient, Book One

When she tosses aside her usual “chain” of tied-together scarves to wear only one scarf, she ties it in a French-twist knot.

French Twist Knot

French Twist Knot

Now everyone except Grandmother stood in the doorway making sure the corners of their mouths pointed up, not down. My Hermes scarf was tied in a French-twist knot around my neck. Being worn alone was the highest honor I could give any scarf—Summer of the Ancient, Book One

Sometimes Silki’s grandfather, a Korean war veteran and former Marine, tests her knot-knowledge.

 “What kind of knot is that?” Grandfather asked. I looked up into his brown face.

You know, Shi’cheii. It’s a simple overhand knot.

“Use a palomar on the next one, okay?”

I giggled. “No way, Grandfather. That knot ties hooks to our fishing lines when we go to the White Mountains. I could never untie those knots in a hurry.”

“Tie a Turk’s head knot in the scarf with the horses.”

“Birdie and I make bracelets with Turk’s head knots. They’re too crazy for soft scarves.”

Grandfather nodded and pulled the brim of his Phoenix Suns cap further down on his forehead. The crinkles in his eye wrinkles said he was pleased with my answers. He’d been teaching me knots since I’d learned how to tie my shoelacesCanyon of Doom, Book Two

Silki’s horse – Smiles – has had his reins in a knot for…like, forever!

Clove Hitch Knot

Clove Hitch Knot

Their voices dulled as Smiles and I trudged toward the barn. I tied Smiles’ reins to a corral post in a clove hitch knot and headed for the wheelbarrow leaning against the planked wall—Canyon of Doom, Book Two

 Two more examples of my protagonist’s dependence on knots:

 

I untied the long, sheer tangerine scarf threaded through the loops of my cutoffs and pulled it free while I walked down the road to the barn. I tied it in a Windsor knot and slipped it on the gatepost farthest away from where I’d be spraying water—Summer of the Ancient, Book One.

 Desperate times…

An oath would be broken. Would Aunt Susan and the other keepers of the lion’s secrets understand? My brother Nick said desperate times called for desperate action.

I was desperate.

Once again, my scarves were the only weapon I had—Canyon of Doom, Book Two

What about you? Have you visited the Knotty World lately? Click here for some cool scarf-tying tricks, and drop me a line or two. I love to hear from you! 

 

I always 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 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.