We Are the World Blogfest #WATWB

It’s the last Friday of the month–time again for some good news to take you into February with a smile.

The story I’ve chosen for this month is about a town in Guatemala that has outlawed single-use plastics. The residents, with the help of the local government, were able to adjust to more sustainable alternatives with relative ease. We can all take some lessons from this story!

Click here to read the story.

Here’s how #WATWB works: On the last Friday of each month a number of bloggers participate in a blog hop in which each blogger highlights a story that spreads good news, happiness, and hope.

These are the cohosts for this month: Inderpreet Uppal, Shilpa Garg, Sylvia SteinSimon Falk, and Damyanti Biswas.

 

Want to join? Click this link to sign up and help spread some happiness!

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Book Recommendation: Schifflebein’s Folly

It’s been some time since I recommended a book to readers, so I figured it was time. I recently read Schifflebein’s Folly by Iris Chacon and absolutely loved it. It’s a feel-good, do-good, read-it-all-in-one-sitting-if-you-can-good, does-your-heart-good book.

It’s the story of Lloyd Schifflebein, a Floridian with a passion for children, work, and doing good. He is endearing almost to the point of being too good to be true, and you can’t help but love him. He’s spent his life getting ready for the day when he would adopt six children, and though he doesn’t have a life partner, he knows that the future Mrs. Schifflebein will show up when the time is right.

Those six kids? They all have special needs and it seems Lloyd is just the man to meet those special needs. He’s got good friends, a healthy respect for the adoption process and its timelines, and he’s handy with tools. All these things come together to help him when he needs it most–when everything he’s worked for looks like it’s in danger of collapse at the hands of crooked politicians.

And it doesn’t hurt that he has somehow ended up with a talking, often snarky, sometimes bossy, teapot.

You read that right–a teapot. Lloyd recalls a similar teapot from his tumultuous childhood, and this one shows up at his house just when he needs it most. Now, I don’t usually read or enjoy books with any hint of the supernatural, but the talking teapot was just perfect in this book. I loved that teapot and I think I could use one in my own house sometimes.

There’s a lot of fun to be had in this family-friendly book, and when the going gets tough for Lloyd, you somehow know everything is going to work out just the way it should. To me, timing was the theme of the story–one can’t make things happen if they’re not ready to happen.

I hope you’ll take a look at Iris Chacon’s book. I think you’ll love it. You can find it by clicking this link (at the time of this writing, it’s only 99¢) and you can connect with Iris here.

Until next time,

Amy

Winter photos

This week I thought I’d share some photos with you. We don’t get snow all that often in southern New Jersey, so when we do I like to take the dog outside and get lots of pictures. There are also a few from a recent visit to New York City.

First, the snow.

 

   

The woods near my house

No picture of snow is complete without Orly, who loves it!

Second, New York City.

 Central Park

 

Empire State Building, where I got engaged waaaay back in 1995

 

    

 And finally, because WordPress won’t show the caption for the last three photos, I give you Radio City Music Hall, Midtown Manhattan, and the tree at Rockefeller Center.

This week I’m a little overwhelmed with writing projects, but I hope to be able to share the cover of Trudy’s Diary with you soon. In the meantime, I’ve got to entirely restructure the novel, but I hope to be done with that in less than a week.

Until next time,

Amy

First Tuesday Recipes for January 2019!!

I know the First Tuesday Recipes are appearing on the Second Tuesday this month, but with last Tuesday being New Year’s Day, I figured you might want a break.

With that being said, Happy New Year! I’m looking forward to everything 2019 might bring and planning to share lots of good content with you.

For the first First Tuesday Recipes of the year, I’ve got a wonderful soup I made just a couple nights ago, a grab-and-go breakfast idea, and a dessert (at the request of Maggie King. Maggie, I hope I’m sharing the right recipe!)

Zuppa Toscana

This is one of my niece’s favorites, though my sister makes it a bit differently than I do.

1/2 lb. bulk sausage

1 onion, chopped

1/2 lb. bacon

4 c. chicken broth

5-6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

1 can white kidney beans, drained

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp. hot pepper flakes (optional)

1 c. heavy cream

4 c. baby spinach

salt and pepper to taste

Cook sausage and onion in a skillet until sausage is no longer pink and onion is translucent. Set aside. Cook bacon and set aside (I prefer to cook the bacon in the oven). Crumble when cool.

Put chicken broth, potatoes, beans, garlic, and hot pepper flakes (if using) in a Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, about 12-14 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, blend soup until about half of it is pureed. Leave about half of the potatoes and beans solid. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender–just be careful because the soup is hot.

Add sausage, onions, and crumbled bacon to soup; stir. Add heavy cream; stir. Bring mixture to a boil and let boil for one minute.

Add spinach, swirl around for about a minute, and serve. My sister serves it with garlic bread and it’s delicious that way!

* * *

Breakfast Burritos

10 slices bacon

12 eggs, lightly beaten (I do not add water or milk to the eggs, but I suppose you can if you want)

salt and pepper to taste

10 flour tortillas (8 inches)

1 c. shredded cheddar cheese (I use less)

5 scallions, sliced

Cook bacon until crisp; set aside to cool. Reserve 2 tbsp. bacon fat. When cool, crumble bacon.

In a large skillet, cook eggs in bacon grease and season with salt and pepper.

Set out the tortillas on a table or large counter space. Place appr. one scrambled egg on each tortilla. It helps to fill all the tortillas at the same time because if some have too little egg and some have too much, it’s easy to adjust. Top each egg with a bit of crumbled bacon. Top the bacon with a bit of shredded cheese and top the cheese with sliced scallions.

Roll up each tortilla, tucking in the ends, and wrap each one lightly in a paper towel. Then wrap each one in a small sheet of tin foil. Place in freezer.

When you’re ready to eat a burrito, remove the foil. Remove the paper towel, then wrap the paper towel around it again (this is just so the paper towel doesn’t stick to the burrito while it cooks). Place burrito in the microwave and cook for about a minute and 15 seconds (you may have to adjust this time, depending on your microwave).

This is delicious with salsa, but it’s also perfect to just grab and go. It can be easily adjusted–if you like sausage or ham instead of bacon, use that. No meat? Fine! Veggies instead? Fine! Just make sure they’re cooked and patted dry before adding them to the burrito. Lots more cheese? Fine! Less cheese? Fine! No scallions? Whatever you want!

* * *

Hello, Dolly Bars (also known as Seven Layer Bars)

10 tbsp. butter

1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs

1 c. chocolate chips (chef’s choice of kind–milk, semisweet)

1 c. butterscotch chips (This is the layer I skip, but feel free to use them)

1 c. flaked sweetened coconut

1 15-oz. can condensed milk

1/2 c. chopped pecans

Do not mix the layers in this dessert.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a 13×9″ baking dish. Press graham cracker crumbs into melted butter.

Sprinkle graham crackers with chocolate chips. If using, sprinkle the chocolate chips with butterscotch chips. Sprinkle the layer (or two) of chips with the coconut.

Pour the condensed milk over the top of the coconut; sprinkle with pecans.

Bake for 30 minutes. Cool; cut into squares (small ones–a little goes a long way!)

Enjoy! Please remember that I always welcome recipes from readers, so let me know if you’ve got one you’d like to share!

Until next week,

Amy

Something to think about – So how are those New Year #Resolutions going for you?

Some thoughts on those New Year’s resolutions from Sally Cronin, who has a great one! Me? I’ve got a few, and so far they’re going well! We’re only five days into 2019, though…

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

I sat down at the tail end of December to have a look at areas of my life that could be improved by making some clear cut and effective resolutions.

Then I thought to myself, why?

The presumption is, that there are things wrong with the various elements of our lives that need to be fixed in order to satisfy either ourselves, or the perception of others, about who we are, what we look like, and how we behave.

Here is a list of the some of the usual resolutions that most of us make at New Year…. with a appalling failure rate (around 80%) about 4 to 6 weeks into this annual exercise.

These are not my resolutions (I erased all of mine) but I have taken the liberty of adding some of the reasons why these resolutions might not always be adhered to beyond…

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