SEPTEMBER 2016 ISSUE
M.J. Schiller & Susan JP Owens
LABOR DAY MEANS BACK TO SCHOOL!
By September, the majority of schools are open, students fill the classrooms, and the extra-curricular activities are in full swing.
In addition, the daylight hours are dwindling and our to-do lists are growing exponentially. We hustle from dawn to dusk, then we still have to cook a healthy, evening meal.
For many of us, meal planning can be a nightmare, especially if we have young kiddos, finicky eaters and/or teenagers who constantly eat.
Let's share some healthy meal ideas that are yummy and easy to prepare so we can create time for what we like, having fun moments with family, reading and/or writing.
Okay, so I'm really cheating here, but I love this stuff and want to tell everyone about it! (And no, I don't own stock in the company, but I wish I did. This stuff is the bomb!)
It all started when my mom and step-dad came up to make me a birthday dinner and brought this wonderful coffee rub for steaks they grilled. These were like the best steaks. Just ask my kids. They still salivate when talking about them. I knew I wouldn't be able to find that exact rub, so I looked for one with coffee and discovered the Stubb's brand. Their sea salt, molasses, and coffee beef rub makes steaks mouthwateringly good!
But I'm not going to talk about that. ;) What I'm going to talk about for back-to-school meals is those packages there in the picture. Each has a rub, a cooking sauce, and a finishing sauce for the crockpot or skillet. Crockpot meals are the best for busy folk. Ya just throw the stuff in there in the morning and let Hamilton Beach do the rest! We first stumbled across the Hatch Chile recipe for chicken. Cook it up, throw it on tortillas, add some cheese and sour cream...yum! It has a little kick, and I don't usually like that, but this is so flavorful...we've been eating it about every other week. We'd actually eat it more, but we don't want to burn ourselves out on it. Every time we eat it we have to tell each other, "This is SO good!" It makes a big batch and you have several nights taken care of. Next we tried the Bar-B-Q Slider package. Throw a pork roast in with this for some of the best pulled pork ever. Again, a little kick, but delicious! Last time my boys were home from college I sent them back with a bunch of Stubb's stuff!
There you have it. My cheat for a quick and tasty dinner when things are hectic and you're too tired to be bothered with a big meal. Enjoy!
Fast and easy meals are essential for the majority of us so rather than a meal plan or recipe, sometimes helpful hints can lighten our cooking times and cleanup.
1). One night, plan a 'roasting' meal. The meat, potatoes, and the vegetables can be cooked on one cookie sheet.
a). Use parchment paper for easy cleanup.
b). Cut the meat, starch, and veges in correct sizes so the food will be done at the same time. Or, 'add to' as cooking time progresses.
2). When I prepare our Sunday meal, which is usually our 'big' meal, I dice extra veges to cook or add to the salad later.
3). For an easy, inexpensive, and delicious meal, I buy two to three 'prepared' roasted chickens.
a). After the meal, cleanup is a snap. Save the meatand the bones in a baggy, then when I get time, I'll I prepare another scrumptious fare.
ie: Chicken and dumplings, tasty vegetable or tortilla soup, another idea, chicken and okra for a mouthwatering bowl of gumbo.
What are some of your favorite tricks and techniques for saving time during the week?
~ COVER REVEAL! ~
ABANDON ALL HOPE
This month we're doing something we haven't done in the past, featuring a book we featured before. But the reason we're doing that is so that you can be some of the first to see the new cover for ABANDON ALL HOPE!
I'm bringing ABANDON ALL HOPE out for the first time in print, and I decided to re-edit it and update the cover while I was at it. And I added a tagline: Should he abandon Hope, or chase the love that once rocked his world? You see our hero is rock star Chase Hatton and he's about to be interviewed by photo journalist Hope Creswell. Hope just happens to be his childhood friend, turned high school sweetheart. The girl who walked away from him eight years ago. And he's been trying to forget her ever since.
Here's the opening scene of the book, when Chase and Hope first meet:
Chase Hatton was bewitched by Hope from the start.
He was…ten…no, twelve. Definitely twelve, as he played American Junior League baseball that summer. There was a break in the team’s schedule, so his mom asked the new neighbor lady over for dinner, along with her twelve-year-old kid. He was told he couldn’t go over to Bobby McGraw’s to play catch. He was needed at home to entertain, of all things, the new neighbor’s daughter. A girl.
Chase sat on the back porch steps smacking a ball into his glove over and over. In his frustration, he dropped it. The ball hit the edge of the step, and ricocheted, rolling down the small slope of their backyard. He glanced up as they crossed the lawn.
Mrs. Creswell wore a dress; she'd probably worn it to work as she just got home. Hope wore cutoff jean shorts and a blue, checkered, sleeveless blouse tied at her waist. She held a present, and as she walked, a long ponytail swished behind her in a somewhat mesmerizing rhythm. The sun began its descent behind them.
Chase held up a hand and squinted, wrinkling his freckled nose. The sun rays seemed to be shooting off the two, as if they were the source of the bright light. Hope bent and picked up his ball. The familiar bang of the screen door opening behind him meant his mom was coming to greet their guests. She was probably wiping her hands on an apron as she descended the steps, blond hair swept up in a loose bun. The smell of her famous fried chicken wafted out the door and his stomach rumbled on cue.
Hope gestured as if to throw the ball back and he stood, holding out his glove. With amazing accuracy, and equally impressive velocity, especially considering she still held the present in her other hand, Hope zinged it into his glove. The adults greeted each other with that loud, grown-up hullabaloo, but their voices faded into the background as she approached.
She smiled at him. “Hi.”
“H-hey,” he stammered, his palms becoming sweaty. He was caught up by those stunning eyes, unusual in some way he had yet to figure out. Bangs curled over her forehead, and her face was clear and bright. Maybe entertaining the neighbor girl wouldn’t be so bad after all.
“Oh, this is for you.” She handed him the gift. He turned to set the glove and ball down on the step. The ball squeezed out of the mitt and rolled toward Hope again. She bent and scooped it up, tossing it back and forth as he tore open the wrapping paper.
“Oh, wow. Cool!” Chase gushed, unveiling a model airplane. An Albatros D.V. Diecast Model German Air Force Jasta 11, also known as “The Red Baron.” It was the sweetest model he ever saw.
“And its propeller really works!” She tucked the ball back into his glove on the steps.
“Thanks,” he breathed.
“No problem.” She stuck her hands behind her back and rocked from heel to toe, beaming with pride.
He interrupted the adults’ conversation, eager to check out his new plane. “Mom, can we go put this together?”
“No, Chase.” She put a hand on top of his head. “It’s time for dinner. And after dinner, I want you to show Hope around.”
“Yes, Ma’am.” He and Hope exchanged a look of disappointment and shuffled into the house with the grown-ups. “You’re a pretty good throw, for a girl,” he stated flatly.
She seemed unsure of how to take his comment. “Tha-anks?”
ABANDON ALL HOPE!
Barnes and Noble:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/abandon-all-hope-mj-schiller/1115678168?ean=2940016478500
Okay, here we go! Songs with a school theme. I try to give you trivia questions, plus some interesting background facts that you may not know. Use the clues provided to figure out the answers, and then post them to our Facebook page to gain additional entries into our monthly drawing.
1.) This song from a British band is one of the most well-known school protest songs. It was written as part of a rock opera about a child named Pink who loses his father. Pink is devastated by the loss and starts to build "The Wall." Lyrics boast "We don't need no education/ We don't need no thought control." This song provided the band's only number one hit and was voted #375 in Rolling Stone's list "The 500 Greatest Hits of All Time." Can you name this song?
2) This song came from a man who wrote songs that garnered 30 U.S. Top 40 hits between 1957-1964, and three more released post-humorously. The singer was shot and killed at the age of 33 in a Los Angeles hotel under strange circumstances, still disputed to this day. This song might not at first impress you as a school song, but the lyricist proclaimed that he didn't "know much about history," and mentioned other school subjects. Can you name this song?
3) This song, also by a British band, again may not come to your mind as a school song, but it is about a school teacher who has an affair with a student. The lyrics refer to a "book by Nabokov," meaning Lolita, which also explores the issues of an older male, much younger female relationship. The song was released in late 1980 and the group won a Grammy for it. The lead singer got his nickname by wearing a black and yellow sweater that reminded others of a bee. Can you name the song?
4) This song was written by a group we featured heavily in our summer music trivia. It is off the group's Little Deuce Coupe album and features the University of Wisconsin's fight song, On Wisconsin! It is actually a tribute, though, to Hawthorne High School, the school two of the band members, the brothers Wilson, attended. The melody of Hawthorne's fight song is the same as On Wisconsin! Band member Mike Love sang this song on a telethon on the Full House episode, "Our Very First Telethon." Can you name this song?
5) This is the jam I used to play in the car pool at pick up time on the last day of school. Released in 1972 the songwriter claims it was inspired by answering the question, "What's the greatest three minutes of your life?" He said, "There's two times during the year. One is Christmas morning, when you're just getting ready to open your presents. The greed factor is right there. The next one is the last three minutes of the last day of school when you're sitting there and it's like a slow fuse burning. I said, 'If we can capture that three minutes in a song, it's going to be so big.'" The song incorporate the childhood rhyme, "No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks" into its lyrics. The lead singer's syndicated radio show is still popular.One last clue, the lead singer's last name is also the word for a barrel maker. Can you name this song?
6) And I can't leave out this song, even though it didn't show up in my search for school songs. This is an awesome song with the best drum lead in ever! It describes an attractive teacher and has the classic line, "I don't feel late." Cracks me up! I actually included it in THE HEART TEACHES BEST when the police officer hero sings it to the teacher heroine. This band also features a pair of brothers. One of the brothers played drums, until he heard the other brother do the drum solo from "Wipeout." He then changed to playing guitar and was eventually ranked #8 in Rolling Stone's Top 100 Guitarists, and #1 by Guitar World. Makes you wonder what talent would have been lost if his brother couldn't play the drums! Can you name that song?
Once again, I hope you had fun playing! Remember to post your answers here: https://www.facebook.com/KeepingYouInSuspense/
Thanks for reading!