Morning Meanderings… Can you?


I woke up crying this morning.  That may be a bit TMI… but I do want to keep it real here and this site is not only my bookish release – it is also my record of what life is now like in this after Justin world.

With that said – the word for the week is CANNING.

With a couple of people offering me up the tomatoes they were not going to use themselves, I have found that the process of canning keeps my mind busy, and while doing so, I am listening to Gone With The Wind for book club  – so double duty.

Today I thought I would share with you for Weekend Cooking and Saturday Snapshot, a look into my canning world – and a recipe bonus.

I inherited a lot of tomatoes.



And more than what is pictures as I went back to this one ladies house two times with 4 totes and filled them all each time.  So I have been making salsa (red and green), spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, sliced green tomatoes for friend green tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, basil tomato sauce… and enough cucumbers to make 12 jars of pickles.

One of my favorite recipes is the one for salsa.  I LOVE salsa. I love to make it fresh but I have discovered a salsa recipe that Al and I both devour with satisfaction. And that is what I will share with you today:


You will need:

14 cups of cored and peeled and then chopped up tomatoes

5 cups of dices onion

5 cups of diced green pepper

1/4 cup of fresh diced jalapeno peppers12

5 Tablespoons of cumin (I use the hotter one I find in our local grocery)

1/4 cup of Cilantro

1/4 cup of sugar

3 Tablespoons salt

fresh ground pepper to taste

1 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup lemon juice


Still all of this together and simmer in a large pot around 20 minutes.  Process into hot sanitized pint jars with a 1 teaspoon of lemon juice in the bottom of each jar.  Seal and place in a large boiling hot water canner for 15 minutes.  Be sure that all lids seal before storing (I leave them on my counter for a day to check them.)  Delicious with chips or over chicken.  Also makes a lovely gift.


Today… I continue.  I have tomatoes ready to make another batch of the basil tomato sauce, and apples ready to start apple butter.  Later today I am going to try my had at home made siracha which involved my peppers witting in a vinegar bath overnight.  We will see….



On another note, Banned Book Week starts tomorrow… CRAZY how fast that came up. For those of you signed up to participate I will send out an email today, for the rest of you – its not to late to sign and be sure to participate too as there will be giveaways and a lot of fun!

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Click for details


Be sure to check out Weekend Cooking and Saturday Snapshot for other things cooking and happening around the world.

Morning Meanderings… Storms, Canning, and Miss Scarlett


I am amazed how I can fill up my time.. so much that days go by and I realize I have not posted a thing.  So determined I am to keep my mind busy that I plan to post, and then before I know it, it is 5 pm and I need to plan dinner.  There is good and bad in this… the good is I am busy for sure. The bad is I know I fear a time when I am not.

For busy now – canning has preoccupied my time.  I have been busy processing tomatoes and enjoying it.  Yesterday I canned spaghetti sauce, salsa, pizza sauce, and 7 jars of pickles.


Today I plan to do the same.

It is a stormy day outside – the good old thunder and lots of rain type.  It cramps my style a bit as I like to use my deck for the cutting of the tomatoes, but I can make do.  I am listening to Gone With The Wind now, having to set the book aside as I have no time to read, so have switched to audio and find I am really enjoying it as well as accomplishing my book club read while canning at the same time.

So… a quick update on my relationship with Scarlett, and Tara, and well.. the clan.

Currently, I have made my way into part 3.  Scarlett is still fretting around in her “Scarlett Scarlett Scarlett” attitude… ooh, a more self centered woman I do not think I have met.

I am finding however, in all the petty worrying about the lack of pretty clothes, judging all other women as homely or unkempt, her (still) attempts at winning Ashley’s heart and her belief that any man that pays her a lick of attention *cough cough Rhett cough* must surely want her passionately for marriage.  AND for that, I give Rhett credit for laughing in her face every time she inquires about it.  Oh Scarlett… still trying to add notches to her marriage proposal list while she complains about the down side of war (stinky wounded, needy people, having to work in the hospital, and a child that she admits she often forgets she has). I have to give author Margaret Mitchell credit… I am finding Gone With The Wind to be brilliantly witty and a take on the war that I have never heard before and admittedly…

enjoying it.

Tonight I have a city Library Board Meeting and prior to that I will change the window at the library to Banned Book Week, because yes, Banned Book Week is almost here!  If you have not already, please check out my Annual Banned Book Week Meme – it is fun, there are giveaways, and I am thoroughly looking forward to it.  Join in!

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Click for details

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?


This meme is used to share what we read this past week and what our plans are for the upcoming week.  It’s a great way to see what others are reading and add to your own To Be Read list.  You never know where that next great read may come from!

It has been a pretty full week with my “need to can” mode going on.  Not a lot of time for reading barbecue I am usually on the move, mostly audio happening here.  Here is what I posted this past week:


Lock In by John Scalzi

Dirty Chick by Antonia Murphy

Departure by A G Riddle


This week will be a lot more canning so more audio for me!  I am planning on listening to:



America’s First Families are unknowable in many ways. No one has insight into their true character like the people who serve their meals and make their beds every day. Full of stories and details by turns dramatic, humorous, and heartwarming, The Residence reveals daily life in the White House as it is really lived through the voices of the maids, butlers, cooks, florists, doormen, engineers, and others who tend to the needs of the President and First Family.

These dedicated professionals maintain the six-floor mansion’s 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 28 fireplaces, three elevators, and eight staircases, and prepare everything from hors d’oeuvres for intimate gatherings to meals served at elaborate state dinners. Over the course of the day, they gather in the lower level’s basement kitchen to share stories, trade secrets, forge lifelong friendships, and sometimes even fall in love.

Combining incredible first-person anecdotes from extensive interviews with scores of White House staff members—many speaking for the first time—with archival research, Kate Andersen Brower tells their story. She reveals the intimacy between the First Family and the people who serve them, as well as tension that has shaken the staff over the decades. From the housekeeper and engineer who fell in love while serving President Reagan to Jackie Kennedy’s private moment of grief with a beloved staffer after her husband’s assassination to the tumultuous days surrounding President Nixon’s resignation and President Clinton’s impeachment battle, The Residence is full of surprising and moving details that illuminate day-to-day life at the White House.


and other than that… pretty much Gone With The Wind for book club.


What are you reading this week?  What did you read last week?  I look forward to seeing what are the books everyone is talking about.  Add your Its Monday What Are You Reading here where it says click here:

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Morning Meanderings… Canning FRENZY



God bless friends and family that is for sure.  This past week I was connected to a woman who lives a few miles from me who was done with the tomatoes in her garden and word came back to me that whatever was left was free for the taking.  I hustled out the door with two large totes and a couple of boxes and let me just say…

it was not enough.

On my “SAVE THE TOMATOES” mission I loaded up with not only red tomatoes, but also green.  Not sure what I could do with the green but always being a person who will figure it out later…. I grabbed a bunch of those too.


Ummmm…. yeah.

So basically, other than the recent trip to Wisconsin for the Mud Run I participate in every year (pics to come), I have been canning.  Last night my first ever spaghetti sauce, and then this morning – 7 quarts of green tomatoes for fried green tomatoes.


book journey

Last nights spaghetti sauce

We are going to a friends house this afternoon for the football game and ribs.  A quiet gathering of about 6 of us which will be nice.  Then tonight I plan to go for another batch of spaghetti sauce.  Keep on keeping on.  I love the feel of being productive and the details of caning keeps my mind nice and busy.

Books that came in this week…


Both books look wonderful.

I am connecting this post to The Caffeinated Book Reviewer for her weekly Sunday Post.

Lock In by John Scalzi

JOhn Scalzi, Lock In, book journey

In the future, a virus blankets the earth.  For some, the symptoms are flu-like and than they get better… for others… the virus causes what becomes known as “lock-in. victims are fully alert and aware of their surroundings but unable to move or voice a response.

25 years later, the results of this virus is now called ‘Haden’s Syndrome.’  Newly appointed FBI agent Chris Shane is assigned to a case that appears to be a Haden related murder. The suspect is an “integrator” – someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a Haden, then naming the suspect for the murder becomes that much more complicated.

As Chris and his partner Van start to dig into the crime, what they find is bigger than they had imagined.



Recently I posted about a book I reviewed that I was hoping a bit more dystopian than it was and a little less sci fi than it was…. and now, with Lock In, I found what I was looking for.  Lock In gave me the dystopian I was craving and while this synopsis was a bit out of my league… it was the narration by Wil Wheaton sold me on giving it a try in audio format.  Wil Wheaton is one of the few narrators I have actually tracked by what they narrated because they are so incredible at it.  Nicely played John Scalzi.

Lock In was brilliant.  While it took me a while to fully picture what was happening, once I got it, it was a fun listen.  With John Scalzi’s quick wit writing and Wil Wheaton’s perfect execution of the narration – readers are in for a pretty sweet ride.  Treat yourself to this one in audio.

I see author John Scalzi has used Wil in other audio as well which I will be checking out soon.



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 10 hours
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • Release Date: August 26, 2014




Dirty Chick: Adventures Of An Unlikely Farmer by Antonia Murphy

Dirty Chick, Antonia Murphy, Book Journey

Antonia Murphy was born in San Fransisco and never really pictures herself as the farm girl type.  Later in life she settles with her husband in New Zealand after her son was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition and they felt a slower more laid back style of life might be just the ticket.

The decision to start a farm was probably not as slow and laid back as they had anticipated, but it sure makes for some fun writing.


Obviously, the title captured my attention.  While I have had this book on the shelf for the better part of a year, it was the audio version I fit into my schedule and found it quite entertaining and distracting while mowing my lawn.   Much of what happens in dirty chicks is fairly funny.  Imagine starting out with animals you know little about but you soon learn….. (I swear, I will never look at a duck the same way again.)

There is much to like about this book, and for me – I also found some things I personally didn’t like.  As this is a memoir and I often hesitate to review some memoirs due to the impossibility of separating the book from the writer, I will refrain from giving my opinion here on what I did not like.  After all – it is just my personal opinion.

I am glad I had a chance to experience this book.  Antonia does narrate this book herself which I always find impressive and she did a good job of narrating.  If you are ever thinking ooh starting a farm could be a lot of fun,” you may want to test this book out first.



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 7 hours and 20 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • Release Date: January 22, 2015


Departure by A.G. Riddle

Departure, AG Riddle, Book Journey

On a flight to London, passengers Harper Lane, Nick Stone,  Sabrina Schröder,  Yul Tan, and Grayson Shaw,  have no idea that their lives are about to change forever… but change they do.

When the plane loses power and crashes into a remote area in the English country side, the surviving passengers have to come up with a plan for survival.  Yet it is Nick Stone a venture capitalist, along with Sabrina (genetic researcher, Yul Tan (computer scientist), Grayson (son of a billionaire), and Harper (writer), who start to see that perhaps this crash was not an accident at all…

And what is at stake is bigger than all of the world.



I went into this read looking for a dystopian style of read.  It has been a long time since I have read a good dystopian and this one sounded like it could be just the ticket.

The Departure was not exactly what I had hoped for, but it was interesting… more sci-fi than dystopian.  I listened tot his on audio and narrators Nicola Barber and Scott Aiello are both new to me but really did an excellent job.  It was actually Nicola Barber’s sample listen on Audible that sold me on this one.

While I didn’t love this one, I did like it.  I am not the biggest sci fi fan and feel that someone more into that genre would find this worth a read or a listen.



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 9 hours and 31 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • Release Date: February 17, 2015


Morning Meanderings… You Say Tomato


Where did the week go?

It has been fairly quiet around here which I really appreciate.  It is nice to have a break from all the outer world “to do’s” and just be around the house doing my inner world “to do’s”.  I needed the break from the public and this last few weeks since Wine and Words has really been blissful.  Lots of time to just be with me and cry as I want to.

I have been keeping myself occupied with canning.  I canned a lot of apple butter and there will be more after the first freeze up, and now… I seen to have inherited…


Tomatoes.  LOTS of tomatoes.

And that is ok with me.

The work of prepping jars, and containers, cutting into the tomatoes, blanching, and cooking is very good for me.  My mind stays busy and at the end of the day I actually have something positive to show for it.  I find tiny satisfaction in this new domestic side of me.  Winters are long here and this year I am especially worried as I do not like that season anyway.  Perhaps thinking of tomatoes ready for hot dishes, chili, and pasta sauces will assist with having good things to do.


While “tomatoing” away today I am listening to Call The Midwife by Jennifer Worth on audio.  I am enjoying this memoir while working away.  Better go, time to blanch more tomatoes!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?


Who knew a meme could be emotional?

It’s Monday is back for the first time almost 5 months.  As we enter fall, I want to bring this meme back and so appreciate all of you who have hung in there with me and even kept posting It’s Monday and mentioning Book Journey.  When I did see the meme on some of the blogs I visited it was a nice feeling.  Thank you.

This meme is used to share what we read this past week and what our plans are for the upcoming week.  It’s a great way to see what others are reading and add to your own To Be Read list.  You never know where that next great read may come from!

Here is what I posted this past week:

Did You Ever Have A Family by Bill Clegg

Banned Book Week is coming- check out details here!

The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall

The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon

Weekend Cooking – Apple Butter..fairly simple and delicious!


This upcoming week here is what I am listening to and reading:



My book club is reading Gone With The Wind for October, our Classic Month.  It is a first time go around for me with this book and I am enjoying what I have read so far.



I have always had a bit of a fascination with Steve Jobs and all he accomplished.  Looking forward to this one!



An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

This one sounds fun.


That’s about it.  I am in between Audible credits so waiting anxiously for my new credits to show up in about a week so I can put audio back on my phone.


What are you reading this week?  What did you read last week?  I look forward to seeing what are the books everyone is talking about.  Add your Its Monday What Are You Reading here where it says click here:


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Morning Meanderings… Another Day


Sunday morning and not a lot happening here.  I have a little case of the “funk” … days keep coming one after another… I try to do life as I once did and it pains me all at the same time.  I think part of the battle is to have a desire to want to move on and I can honestly say at this time I really don’t.

This morning has been COFFEE and emails and cottage cheese with raspberry rhubarb yogurt.  I need to go grab the rest of the apples that are on the ground to finish up the first phase of apple butter today. A friend is sending me her Hungarian Mushroom soup recipe that is DELICIOUS and my hubby loves.  His birthday is tomorrow so I would like to make it for him.  We have no big plans for his birthday, we really don’t want any so what I can do from here will be nice.

Books were light this week. I have not made many requests lately.  Here is what came in the house:



The Last Midwife by Sandra Dallas (I have not read Dallas in years but I used to enjoy her books.  I have loved the midwife trending books.)

Whistling Women by Kelly Romo (love the title!)

Steve Jobs Insanely Great by Jamie Hartland (I have a fascination with Jobs… a brilliant and awkward man)


This afternoon I hope to read a bit of Gone With The Wind.  Finish the apples, maybe make soup.


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