A tasty way to incorporate fiber-rich oatmeal into your diet.
1 cup boiling water
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 package (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
1/3 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup raisins
Nonstick cooking oil
Large mixing bowl
Loaf pan (8 x 4 x 2 inch)
Directions: 1. In a large mixing bowl, combine boiling water and oats; let stand until warm (110°-115°). In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water; let stand for 5-10 minutes. If the mixture foams up, the yeast mixture can be used and added to oat mixture. If it does not foam, the yeast should be discarded and redo the step with dissolving yeast with sugar. Next add honey, butter, salt and raisins beat until smooth. Add 2 cups flour; beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
2. Turned onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl (olive oil), turning once to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap and place a damp cloth on top. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch the dough down. Shape into a loaf; place in loaf pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with oats
3. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown. Yield 1 loaf.
Chris Pavesic writes fantastic fantasy and she’s an amazing cook. That’s why I invited her back today to share a recipe that helps us eat more vegetables and exciting books to binge on.
Take it away, Chris!
1 lb. red potatoes, cubed in 1 inch pieces
4 large carrots, sliced thin
3 celery stalks with leaves, sliced thin
2 medium zucchini, 1 inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste
6 cups vegetable stock
Large Soup pot/Dutch oven
Combine all of the ingredients in the soup pot/Dutch oven except the parsley. Bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer about 30-40 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add parsley during the last 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves before serving.
I’ve been reading Chris’ posts about skincare and conscious purchasing for a while now and I am thrilled to bring the topic to my blog today to share with you. There’s a lot to be learned here. Thank you for sharing this with us, Chris!
This is a difficult blog post to start writing. I’ve actually begun several times and scrapped the ideas because it didn’t seem right. I couldn’t get the correct words down on the screen. But here it goes. I hope it makes sense.
I’m a makeup and skin care enthusiast. I enjoy using products and comparing them. I enjoy researching ingredients and formulas. I enjoy reading about new products, watching YouTube videos about new releases, and talking about them with my friends. What I didn’t do last year was write about them very much.
It is true that I cut down the amount of posts I created in 2018. (I wrote a lot more in 2017). But that wasn’t the only reason. I didn’t write about makeup or skincare in 2018 because I simply didn’t buy much starting in March, 2018. (My birthday month.)
I was on a low-buy year without actually planning to be on one.
There were three reasons for this accidental low-buy year: One: I purchased quite a few products in 2017 that I was excited to use. I had multiple products that filled the same purpose in my skincare and beauty regimen. So many that I started to feel uncomfortable with the number of items I owned.
It’s been a full year and, yeah, I still have items to get through. I had more than a year’s worth of “backups” for some products.
*Takes a deep breath.*
I had to let that sink in for a minute. A full year. I had too many.
I’m not a minimalist, but I am striving to consume less. I did go through the KonMarie method for decluttering clothing, household items, and so forth. (If you followed her method: I still need to do sentimental items.) I even (gasp) got rid of some books. (Textbooks from my college days. They needed to go.) And I feel better having a more minimal wardrobe and less boxes of stuff stored in my spare bedroom and basement. I kept the items that “sparked joy” in those categories and haven’t looked back.
Two: Products don’t last forever. They expire. It’s a use-it-or-lose-it situation. I decided that I would use the products I had—ones that I was excited to use—before I purchased any more in that category. I did purchase a few items that I had panned (used up completely.) Lip balm made it into my cart because I have dry skin and live in the Midwest. (The struggle to have well-hydrated skin, especially on my lips, is real!) I also bought skin cleanser and shampoo because I developed an allergy to sodium lauryl sulfate and had switch to sulfate free versions.
Three: I didn’t purchase a lot of makeup products (eyeshadow, blush, highlighter) because I have ones that I enjoy. I have one face and can only use so many products in a day. If I bought something new in a category—an eyeshadow palette for instance—I would need to use it in place of something I already owned. And I enjoy the ones I own. The shadows are my favorite colors and formulas. Until I hit pan, or until the products go bad and I need to replace them, why buy something I might not like to replace an item that, in Marie Kondo’s terminology, “sparks joy” when I use it?
In case you are wondering: I currently have 8 eyeshadow palettes. I have tried more, but if something does not work well for me I pass it along to relatives. And in 2018 I didn’t buy any for myself. (I bought gifts for people. I don’t count those as purchases for me–although I keep the free samples that come with the orders.) Last year I completely panned one–the Too Faced Peppermint Mocha (pink) palette from the 2016 Christmas trio collection. It’s the one I used the most and it took me more than 2 years to get through it. Companies give you a lot of product in those palettes!
What did I really over-buy on in 2017? Face and body moisturizing creams, face products, and lipsticks. And I am using them up along with any samples I still have.
For 2019 I will be continuing my “low buy” project. I thought I would write about products that I have panned. Provide thorough reviews about products that are not new but may be undiscovered gems for my readers. Go through the large number of samples I have on hand and try items that way. Discuss new purchases when I eventually do make them and the reason why I switched from a tried-and-true product to something new. And discuss what the low buy year taught me along the way–and what I am (hopefully) still discovering.
I want to complete a second low buy year and write about products mindfully.
I will be interested to see if this type of topic is sustainable. If people will follow me on this journey. Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or thoughts on minimalism, low buys, or conscious consumerism. Let me know if you enjoy posts of this kind. Please help to continue the conversation.
Thank you so much for reading. I appreciate your time and attention.
Have you minimized collections the way Chris has? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I like reading advice on writing from other authors. Many times I find really great ideas that help improve my own writing abilities. For example, in On Writing, Stephen King (2001) recommends listening to music to help a writer block out the world and focus on the work at hand. I have multiple dedicated writing playlists for just this purpose. Certain advice, though, does not resonate with me. For example—certain writers suggest modeling villains after people in your own life that you dislike. I would find that difficult advice to implement in my writing.
First—there is the time factor. Writing a novel generally takes time. Even if a writer aims for a thousand words a day of good, solid prose, the writing stretches into months. Imagine this time actively thinking about people you do not like. This would not be an enjoyable activity in my perspective.
As a writer, I want to like my villains. Not everything that they do—many of their activities to me would be morally objectionable. But I need to understand them—to know why they are doing certain activities so that I can put this down on the page. I need to sympathize with their motivations and to realize that, in most instances, the villains do not see themselves as evil. These characters need the same depth as the heroes or, in my opinion, they will never be more than a caricature.
In Witches Abroad, Terry Pratchett (1991, p. 185) has the villain of the story, Lilith, makes the following comparison: “She wondered whether there was such a thing as the opposite of a fairy godmother. Most things had their opposite, after all. If so, she wouldn’t be a bad fairy godmother, because that’s just a good fairy godmother seen from a different viewpoint.” Later in the story, readers learn that Lilith firmly believes she is the good fairy godmother and is not the villain. It’s a matter of perspective, and in her viewpoint, those working against her are evil. She’s trying to improve people’s lives, and those working against her are trying to impede progress.
This is not the only type of villain in literature, but it is the type that I tend to find the most interesting. It is why I can sympathize with Khan in Star Trek (both in Into Darkness and in Space Seed) and Loki in The Avengers while at the same time being morally appalled by many of their actions.
There are obvious exceptions to this—Sauron in The Lord of the Rings trilogy does not generate sympathy for many readers, (although Tolkien does give him a fascinating history in The Silmarillion that explains his fall into darkness) but the Nazguls always had a touch of sympathy to their story for me because they were tricked by Sauron into becoming the Ring Wraiths. The detail and care that Tolkien invests into the story keeps these characters from being caricatures.
This slightly more sophisticated version of a no-bake cookie is a perfect treat to make this summer. Any cookie I can hold in one hand while I hold a book in the other is already a winner. Add peanut butter and oats and it is on!
12 pitted dates
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1 tablespoon reduced-fat peanut butter
Food processor/chopping blade
SpatulaSmall mixing bowl
Heart-shaped cookie cutter or sharp knife
1. Place the dates in food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Process until the dates are very finely chopped and stick together.
2. With a spatula, transfer to a small mixing bowl. Add the oats and peanut butter. Using your hands mix well.
3. Divide the mixture into 4 equal amounts.
Shape each into a ball. Place one ball between two sheets of waxed paper. Flatten the ball to a 3″-diameter cookie. Repeat with each ball.
Remove waxed paper and cut out a heart using heart-shaped cookie cutter or a knife.
With remaining cookie dough repeat process of rolling into balls and flattening in between waxed paper.
Serve immediately or return to waxed paper and store in an airtight plastic container. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.
Makes 4-6 cookies depending on shape of cookie cutter.
Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t always feature the most delicious dishes. People are rushed and will grab just about any type of convenience food on their way out the door.
These Apple Pancakes take only a few minutes, are healthy, and I hope you will agree are worth the wait!
1 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 small McIntosh apples, finely chopped
1/2 cup milk
Vegetable Oil or Butter
Frying Pan or Griddle
1. Mix flour, milk, and eggs until batter is smooth. Fold in apples and sprinkle with cinnamon if desired. To cook–heat a lightly oiled frying pan (or griddle). Place a heaping tablespoon of batter in the frying pan. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
Top with honey if desired.
After you enjoy your breakfast, why not read a good book?
Chris Pavesic continues the amazing story of Cami Malifux with Book 2 of the Revelation Chronicles.
Escape from a world of darkness into a magical realm of limitless adventure.
In Starter Zone Cami kept herself and her younger sister Alby alive in a post-apocalyptic world, facing starvation, violence, and death on a daily basis. Caught by the military and forcefully inscribed, Cami manages to scam the system and they enter the Realms, a Virtual Reality world, as privileged Players rather than slaves. They experience a world of safety, plenty, and magical adventure.
In the Traveler’s Zone magic, combat, gear scores, quests, and dungeons are all puzzles to be solved as Cami continues her epic quest to navigate the Realms and build a better life for her family. But an intrusion from her old life threatens everything she has gained and imperils the entire virtual world.
As the weather starts to turn colder, my family starts looking for more hot soups and stews to fight off the chill.
This traditional soup recipe is both vegetarian and vegan.
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
1 large onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 russet potato, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
6 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)
1 teaspoon dried savory
1 cup ditalini pasta
1 (15.5 oz can) white beans, rinsed well
2 cups baby spinach or 1 package frozen spinach thawed
Dutch oven/Large stock pot
Large sauce pot for cooking pasta
1. The night before put frozen spinach in the fridge to thaw, if using.
2. Heat the oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, season with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until very tender, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
3. Add the carrots, celery, potato, thyme (if using) and 8 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions.
5. Discard the fresh thyme. Stir the spinach, beans, and savory into the soup and cook until the spinach and beans are heated through, about 3 minutes. Then add pasta and heat for about 3 minutes. Serve with additional olive oil to taste.
Looking for a good book? Check out my review of Starter Zone.