Monday, October 31, 2016

Crockpot Monday: Halibut in White Sauce

10:16 AM 0 Comments
Halibut has been one of my favorite fish since I was in high school. A friend of mine got some to make a special dinner for her boyfriend and we tested her recipe in advance. I can't remember how we made it, but ever since, I've picked up halibut whenever I wanted a bit of a treat for myself.

24 ounces halibut (or other white fish like tilapia or fillet of sole)
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon white sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2 lemons, 1 juiced, 1 for garnish
aluminum foil

Microwave butter in a glass bowl, and whisk in the flour. In a separate bowl, combine the milk and the chicken broth. Slowly add the flour mixture to the milk and broth, stirring the whole time. Squeeze in the lemon. Add the sugar to the sauce mixture. Lay out a length of foil onto your kitchen countertop and place the fish into the middle. Spoon the sauce on top. fold the foil over and crimp the edges.

Cover your crockpot and cook on high for about 2 hours, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.


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Friday, October 28, 2016

Book Review: 5 Love Languages - Singles Edition

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Gary Chapman first penned the bestselling The Five Love Languages more than ten years ago. The core message has hit home with over 5 million people as it focuses on the need to "feel" loved. This need is felt by married and singles alike. Dr. Chapman now tackles the unique circumstances that singles face, and integrates how the same five love languages apply in their relationships. For example, in a business environment, when and how is physical touch appropriate? Take the love language test included.


If you've read the original Five Love Languages, you can save your money and don't bother to pick up this particular edition. It doesn't really have anything new and the author doesn't seem to have a very positive attitude when it comes to dating. I would also warn you, dear readers, that this book has a heavily Christian tone to it and while that's great for some, it does rule out a lot of readers who may have benefited from the concepts in this book. My recommendation? If you want to know about the Five Love Languages, pick up the original book or just do a quick Google search. Leave this particular book on the shelf.


I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own. 
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Monday, October 24, 2016

Crockpot Monday: Foil Packet Tilapia

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I know that fish isn't for everyone, but since my doctor insists we try to eat healthier around here and since I happen to agree, we're going to give fish a try! After all, not all of it is super strong flavored, right?

Okay...confession time. I like fish. My boys, on the other hand, aren't as sure so fingers crossed, these recipes are as big of a hit with them as they are with me!

4 Filets of Tilapia (or another white fish)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Juice of 2 lemons
4 chopped garlic cloves
pinch each of salt and black pepper


Mix all ingredients, except for the fish, in a bowl. Lay out a piece of foil. Rub your sauce mixture over both sides of the fish and place it onto the foil. Fold the foil over and make a little packet for your fish.  Place all of the packets into the crockpot.

Cook on high for 2 hours. Unwrap carefully and test with a fork. If the fish flakes easily, it's done.


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Friday, October 21, 2016

Book Review: Shades of Mercy

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It’s 1954 and the world is about to change—including the far Northwoods of Maine. But that change can’t happen soon enough for fourteen-year-old Mercy Millar. Long tired of standing in as the “son” her father never had, Mercy’s ready for the world to embrace her as the young woman she is—as well as embrace the forbidden love she feels.

When childhood playmates grow up and fall in love, the whole community celebrates. But in the case of Mercy and Mick, there would be no celebration. Instead, their relationship must stay hidden. Good girls do not date young men from the Maliseet tribe, at least not in Watsonville, Maine. When racial tensions escalate and Mick is thrown in jail under suspicion of murder, Mercy nearly loses all hope—in love, in her father, and in God Himself.
A bit slow to start, this book does pick up and it turned out to be a very enjoyable read! It's filled with a history that isn't so far in our past, but that many of us either didn't live through or have simply tried to move on from. If you're a Christian, you'll appreciate the character's morals and how they held onto their faith throughout the book. All in all, this was an enjoyable read and if I get the chance, I'm going to look for additional books in the series.


I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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Monday, October 17, 2016

Crockpot Monday: Holiday Punch

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With Halloween fast approaching, this punch is perfect for your spooky parties!

4 cups cranberry juice
4 cups pineapple juice
1/3 cup hot tamales or red hots candy
1 cinnamon stick (for garnish)


Combine juices in your crockpot, and add hot tamales or red hots. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours, or on low for 4-5. Stir.

Ladle into mugs and garnish with a cinnamon stick, if desired.


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Friday, October 14, 2016

Book Review: Photographs From the Edge

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With more than 500,000 books sold, celebrated nature photographer Art Wolfe recounts the stories and techniques behind the images of his forty-year career around the world.

Legendary photographer Art Wolfe presents an intimate behind-the-scenes guide to the experiences, decisions, and methods that have influenced forty years of stunning images captured around the world. Wolfe and co-author Rob Sheppard transport readers on a global journey, while carrying on a dialog about photography, tools and process, world travel, close calls, and photographic opportunities both taken and missed. From the rich sights and smells of the Pushkar Camel Fair to the exact moment when a polar bear and her cubs leave their arctic den, Photographs from the Edge represents the instances when circumstance, light, and subject miraculously collide to form an iconic image.  Many of these photographs can never be duplicated as cultures and landscapes are transformed and wildlife diminishes or disappears all together. No matter his subject, Wolfe regales us with the stories behind the photographs and helps us experience life on the world's most unique photo safari. Photographs from the Edge is a lifetime of experience distilled into a rich photographic education.

If you're like me and you love photography and could spend hours just looking through photos, this is a book that you're going to want to pick up. Not only are the photos absolutely breathtaking, but each one includes the story behind the photo, what lens was used and even some tricks and tips. There are over 270 pages of art and instruction in this book and I know that it's one that I'm going to come back to again and again.


i received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Pain of Dying

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Today was hard. There isn’t another word for it. Okay, there probably is. Something like heart wrenching and soul crushing, but those are phrases so we’re going to stick with hard. It was hard and I’m not sure that I handled it in the best possible way, but at the end of the day, I handled it.

I can’t get into a lot of details because those details aren’t just my own. I share them with another, but really there are only parts that matter and it’s those that I want to talk about. So, here we go…another day in the life of me…

One of my dearest is in an incredibly hard place in life. Someone that he loves is dying and not just dying, but the kind of death where the person’s health deteriorates and they just start to fade away. It was brought to my attention today and though I don’t even know this person, it put me back into a place where I was remembering what it was like to go through that.

I don’t know if I’ve ever written publicly about it. I know that I’ve written about it in the autobiography that I will someday finish. It was one of the hardest periods of my life.  I grew up not feeling as if anyone loved me except for my grandmother. If anyone loved me, it was her. She was the only person in my family that I could go to with things. Then, she got sick. It started with what I suspect now was lymphedema that was allowed to run unchecked. By the time she was taken to the hospital, she was running a fever of something like 104 and they honestly didn’t think that they could save her.

I was called to the hospital. I didn’t know if it was going to be the last time I saw her. Luckily for me, it wasn’t. I wasn’t ready. She recovered slowly and after a week or two, she was moved to a convalescent center for rehabilitation. There was a lot going on within the “family” during all of this and it was taking its toll on me, but I did what had to be done and I tried to stay strong. No, I did stay strong. I didn’t let myself worry or collapse like I probably needed to. I didn’t take care of myself. I did what I had to do so that things could go as smoothly as possible and so that she could come home.

She did come home but it was never the same. The illness had taken its toll on her and it was obvious. Over the summer and fall, I watched her deteriorate. Every time I saw her, she was smaller and seemed less there. It turns out that somehow the doctors had missed that she had more than lymphedema. She also had colo-rectal cancer. My uncles begged me to do what I could. I was the only person that she responded to. That might be because they treated her like a child which frustrated her. I would make her anything that she wanted, trying to entice her to eat a little something. I brought numerous coke slushies from Meijer because they almost always sounded good to her. It was never enough to do her any good, but I tried. I had hope that anything helped and if nothing else, something would be in her stomach for when I tricked her into taking the heavy duty painkillers that they had placed her on. She didn’t want to take them so I would tell her that they were just a new form of Tylenol or something like that.

By Thanksgiving, she was plainly telling me that this would be her last one. She told me the same thing at Christmas. Not long after that, her rate of deterioration seemed to increase. She had given up. She was done fighting. People say that knowing someone’s death is coming somehow makes it easier. What they don’t talk about is how hard it is to watch someone you love start to disappear and then turn it someone that you barely recognize. By the time she ended up in hospice, she wasn’t my grandmother, but a shell of her. She was in constant pain and the cancer/medication had affected her mind. She was convinced of things that had never happened or that just weren’t real. Christmas was the last time I took the boys with me to see her. I didn’t want their last memories of her to be what she had turned into.

She made it until March. I’m not going to lie and I’m not going to apologize, but the day I got a call from my uncle…or maybe it was my mother…that hospice had called and that she had only hours left to live, I was relieved. She had no quality of life left. Less than a week before she went to hospice, she had been left alone overnight (my family was too self-focused to stay with her and she refused a nurse) and had somehow fallen, landed on her walker, and broken her collarbone. She was in unbelievable pain all the time at this point and stuck in a morphine haze. I just wanted it to be over. I wanted it to be over for her and I wanted it to be over for me. I’m not ashamed to admit that. I wanted it to be over for me. The months upon months of watching her disappear had taken a serious toll on myself. I never relaxed. I never shut down. I lost so called friends because they couldn’t understand that I was living in survival mode.

The day she died, I collected up some things from her house and I made arrangements to meet up with some of those so-called friends to get me away from all of it. That was a fiasco, but not a story for now. It took me a long time to recover from her illness and I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone. I hurt for my friend and for those who are going through this with him. I hurt for his wife and that she’s going through what my grandmother did. I don’t know all of the details but I don’t need to. I only need to know that it’s happening. It breaks my heart because I’ve been where he is and I know how hard it is to stay strong. I’m going to do my best to be there for him as much as he’ll let me. He’s not the type who leans on others, but I’ll be there if he needs to. If I hadn’t had a couple of people who stuck by me at the worst and when I wasn’t close to at my best, I don’t know if I would have survived it.

If you pray, I ask that you raise this family up. If you believe in good thoughts, those are always welcome. In the coming days, knowing there are those who care will make a difference. I know that it did for me. 

Edit: This was written a week ago, but for reasons..yes, reasons...I waited until today to post it.


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Monday, October 10, 2016

Crockpot Monday: Gingerbread Latte

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I know that it's really a bit too early in the season for this, but who can resist some serious yummy on a cool Autumn evening?


4 cups milk
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
cinnamon stick (for garnish)
whipped cream (for garnish)
1/2 cup strong black coffee, or a freshly-brewed shot of espresso


Put the milk into your crockpot, and whisk in the dried spices. Don't add the coffee.

Cover and cook on low for 3 hours, or high for 1-2.  Don’t allow the milk to boil.
Pour over hot coffee or espresso.

Garnish with whipped cream, a sprinkle of nutmeg, and a cinnamon stick.


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Monday, October 3, 2016

Crockpot Monday: Chai Tea Latte

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Chai Tea is a favorite drink among my friends so this one is always popular this time of year!


4 cups milk
4 black tea bags
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger
4 sticks cinnamon (or 2 teaspoons ground)
4 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon sugar


Put everything into your crockpot. Float the cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, and tea bags on top.

Cover and cook on high for 2 hours, or until heated through. Press the tea bags against the side of the crockpot with a spoon and ladle into mugs.


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