As We Travel into 2014…

ann johnson-murphree

old-woman

The end of 2013 is rushing in, where has the year gone; where have all of them gone?  May you all be blessed in the coming year and throughout 2014.

With the coming of “another” year, I have spent some time reflecting on the many years that have passed.  There are times when memories come and go; they are always there waiting for me to recall and I do wonder if the day will come when I will remember them at all?

Just an old woman now, once a young girl with roads to travel; songs to sing, just a child not knowing what life would bring; all rainbow skies and starry nights, times of youth a place where imagination blinds the truth.

Traveled many roads scattered with heartache, no songs to sing, voice choked back, no future seen, existence never knowing what life will bring.

Memories of dreams and hopes…

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We Are Still Human

And so, I was sitting in the break room on Christmas Eve and it was fairly quiet in there. It was quiet at my job that day period. Phones rarely rang, and despite that everyone should’ve been jolly, everyone was walking around like zombies minus the moaning and groaning.

Everyone in the break room was eating alone at different tables, playing with their smart phones (myself included), ignoring everyone else. My associates all looked so lonely sitting there, scrolling through Facebook, Instagram and texting to people who weren’t texting back while we sat lonely, not daring to look up unless someone see how much we needed their company.

Well, not everyone was doing that, and those zombie-mood breakers raised my attention from my phone to them. I am nothing more than a people watcher. As a writer, it’s my job to put my life on hold to watch you live yours. Someone was talking. Yes, this young guy sat down in a booth with a girl. They were about the same age and seemed to be familiar with one another. There were other young women in the room, and I’m sure he was familiar with more than just her. Why’d he choose her? Maybe he likes her? Maybe their desks are positioned close together and so they chat a lot.

I contemplated as I watched everyone in that room. Then it hit me. Why he chose her and not any of the other girls. Girls I’ve seen him talk with before. Why her? Why now?

Ahh…She was the only one not scrolling through her phone when he entered the break room and scanned the area. Where is her phone anyway?

He sat down across from her and put his phone face down on the table.

Yes, we still enjoy each others company more than we enjoy those phones. We’re still human. Android does not run through the veins of everyone. Thank heaven.

Book Review – Tried and Tested: 101 Recipes

I consider myself an above average cook with the ability to decipher seasonings, choosing what might be best for which dish. I enjoy making, and usually make, all my cakes, etc., from scratch. By scratch I mean I do not make boxed cakes. Why would anyone use that stuff? Okay, okay…forgive me. I know sometimes people just don’t have the time to mix and measure, but for me, it’s the best way to go. And it’s healthier.

I have also been a cookbook collector over the years. I’ve collected a couple vintage cookbooks as well. Some books I’ve kept, some I gave away to a friend or to the Goodwill, etc. Others I’ve sold to used bookstores once I tired of that particular book. Needless to say, I love cooking and baking from scratch with tasty ingredients.

However, at the same time I’ll be the first to admit I shy away from new things. I received a PDF copy of the cookbook, Tried and Tested: 101 Recipes, from author, Carol Jones, some months back in exchange for review. It took me some time to go over it and check out some of the recipes. I give the book 4 Stars (on Amazon) for a small book that was big on flavor and carried many different recipes.

I really liked this cookbook and think a print edition would be a good edition to my cookbook library, and for the current price of .99, one can’t go wrong with the e-book. Some of the ingredients in the dishes are not something I would’ve tried usually, and I couldn’t try everything, of course, and not all foods are suited to my taste, such as liver. Yet, this cookbook has something for everyone, and for me I found many of the recipes interesting, and they urged me to try them. I had to do a little recipe tweaking here and there or find a substitute ingredient or food as the author is British and not everything was easily found in my neck of the woods.

Some of my favorites of the recipes I tried from Tried and Tested: 101 Recipes by Carol Jones are:
Italian Chicken Casserole
Stir-fry Beef with Ginger
Grilled Tuna with Olives and Tomatoes
Asparagus Stir-fry (*Note: I really do not care for asparagus, but this recipe made this vegetable delightful!)
Mexican Bean Burgers
Moroccan Mushrooms with Couscous
Macaroni & Cheese (*With nutmeg? – I never would have guessed!)
Cherry & Almond Loaf
Lemon Cake

What I’d love to have seen more of in this book are soups. Other than that this is a pretty great book; small but chock full of great and tasty recipes. Also, I’d like to see it in print. Make sure you download a copy from Amazon!!

Check out Amazon for the e-book here:
http://amzn.com/B00DSCR7XU

Throwback Thursday

Yes, I love Bing!… These songs are classics for many of us. But, in truth, they just remind me so much of my childhood. I spent many years in rural Central Texas where snow rarely happened, and if it did sprinkle down, it usually didn’t last long and did not occur in December.

I was one of the lucky ones in my Texas hometown. I knew what a winter wonderland was actually like. And it often happened at the holiday season in the land where I was born which seemed a gazillion miles away from where I spent my adolescence.