The Detour

So, there’s this little culvert just down the road. Doesn’t seem like much of anything. Most of the time it’s dry, unless we get a gully washer, then it becomes a true creek. I never dreamed it would be such an undertaking to repair it. Trucks and loads of dirt, rocks and concrete chunks just keep coming. For weeks. We haven’t seen any actual work yet though sometimes we see dudes sitting in the shade with sandwiches. 

The guy just laughs when I ask how long it’ll be before the road opens again. 

Figures. There’s always something, isn’t there? A detour in the road, a kink in the hose? 

Don’t let it stop you from visiting Blue’s Lotus Lodge. We’re open!

Find your way to Catfish Springs via Amazon–Monkey Mind is available in paperback and as an ebook:


Taco Night –A Variation with Sweet Potato and Fish


Was in the mood for fish tacos but had some sweet potato leftovers.  Breaded tilapia, lime-cilantro rice, black beans and sweet potato was a pretty nifty combo.  Also had tomato with green chilies and lime juice.  Cooked the tilapia with olive oil and lots of lemon juice. Perhaps the Guinness was a bit strong, but it’s what I had on hand. Mighty tasty dinner.  

Black Rainbow (1989) Jason Robards, Rosanna Arquette, Tom Hulce

Don’t get me wrong, I really really liked this movie, but oooh! The ending! I’m a big Rosanna Arquette fan and was tickled that Tom Hulce is in this. Remember him from Amadeus? This film wouldn’t have launched him to stardom but it’s not bad.  I wish I was in a movie club like a book club so we could discuss this film.  The plot: a psychic with an exploiting bastard for a father is kept virtual prisoner by him. They travel doing psychic shows and enjoy moderate success but the father squanders the money away.  The psychic begins to get messages from the dead… before they are dead. This unsettles everyone involved, most of all her.  For 3/4 of this film I wondered where the supernatural element was going to come into play as it seemed mostly a psychological drama. And it’s a good one.  But the ending…  Most films with a twist like Sixth Sense do a nice recap at the end where you can see where you were fooled. Not so this one. Now I’ve heard that a more recent version has been released with a commentary track. I need to hunt this down because, dang… the movie ended and I thought… wait. Did I go to the bathroom and miss something? Nope. So either there is a gaping plot hole that I fell into or there was a super subtle moment that I missed… or it ended up on the editing room floor. I don’t know. If you’ve seen this movie, please tell me your explanation of the ending!

See Internet Movie Database:

***Spoiler alert…. stop here if you haven’t seen it but intend to***  So the big question: When did she die? She doesn’t get shot in the final scene in the hotel yet she’s in two places at once. So I’m thinking she must have been already dead.  So is she dead the whole time?  If so, why on earth would she remain stuck doing essentially parlor tricks to keep her Dad afloat. And why have the fling with the reporter? Just cause? I’m so confused… 

My Soup Bible Cookbook

Hey all, I have a confession. I’m  a pantster cook. I don’t really follow recipes, I tend to wing it with ingredients on hand. And I have to say, this Japanese Hot Pot cookbook is one of my favorite cookbooks for ideas. Let’s face it, soup is really forgiving; you don’t need to be fastidious with measuring.  I keep vegetable and chicken broth on hand as well as cooking sake, Mirin, oyster sauce, soy sauce and fish sauce. From there I can make a soup base. Add veggies and a meat, simmer and voila, dinner.
The other day, I pulled some frozen mackerel out of the freezer to thaw in the fridge. I had a bag of baby bokchoy that I got at the Asian market, some frozen corn. Adding some noodles at the last  minute and ta da! I whipped up a fish noodle soup that turned out mighty tasty! And I have to thank this gorgeous cookbook. The pictures are mouthwatering, the recipes are simple and I use it mostly for inspiration. Lots of vegetarian ideas here too, folks.. mushroom hot pot, acorn squash hot pot…
Looking for healthy comfort food on a cold night? If this cookbook doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what to say!

JAPANESE HOT POTS Comfort One-Pot Meals by Tadashi Ono & Harris Salat

For Christmas 2020

Business hasn’t exactly been brisk; Haint’s wondering if she should even bother keeping the retreat open during the holidays. She’s not sure where things are with Buster and it seems her friends all have plans. Maybe she and NB will just go to the beach. Get away. Recharge.

The universe has other plans in store for Haint…

Roasted Peppers with Sausage, Pineapple and Couscous

When I was little, I hated peppers. I could tolerate them chopped really small in spaghetti sauce, but a stuffed pepper? No way. Fortunately, taste buds can change. First it was thin slices on pizza, bits in omelets… and now I’m writing a recipe for roasted peppers.

This is not a vegetarian recipe as I’m (yes, pun intended) hog-wild for Jimmy Dean sausage, especially SAGE. But don’t run off, I’m sure you can substitute just about anything that behaves like sausage.

Ingredients: peppers, pineapple, sausage, couscous, oil

Preheat the oven to around 385 degrees. Wash the peppers, and with a sharp knife cut the tops off and then cut the stems out so each pepper is a little container with a hat with a hole at the top. Clean out the seeds. Set the peppers into a glass baking pan. They should have some wiggle room but be sitting up straight.

Put a couple pineapple chunks into the bottom of each pepper.

Note: I pulled the sausage out for the photo shoot, it’s still frozen. You’ll want it thawed and soft. For four peppers, I used a little less than half of the sausage–it’ll depend on how many peppers you are cooking and how big they are.

Cut an end off the sausage and squeeze/spoon out sausage into each pepper.

Add another pineapple or two on top of each — you’ll want the peppers to be about 3/4 full–save room to add the couscous later.

Put the tops on the peppers, drizzle with oil enough so they won’t dry out and the bottoms won’t burn. Bake in oven for about 40 minutes or until they look mostly cooked and the tops are a tad brown.

Meanwhile, cook your couscous following the package directions.

When the peppers are done-ish, pull them out, pull the hats off, and spoon in some couscous. You can stir carefully so the sausage and couscous are blended in the pepper. You might add another pineapple on top to peak out of the hat. This’ll keep it from getting dry and adds color.

Option: cover with a sheet of aluminum foil, especially if your oven runs hot. You want the sausage fully cooked but don’t want to burn the peppers. Bake for another 12ish minutes.

Serve over a bed of couscous.

Polish Borscht (Barszcz) Beet Borscht

Visited Aneta’s Bistro in Ocala recently — best borscht ever! I’d never attempted borscht before, so I was excited to give it a go. I don’t know Aneta’s recipe, but it had a bit of vinegar to it. In recent, years, I’ve gotten addicted to the local specialty oil and vinegar shops where you can sample a wide assortment of flavored oils and vinegars… and hello, there’s a chocolate vinegar– lovely with fruit salads…

This is a beautiful book with large, lush photos throughout.

So I found a recipe for borscht in a lovely picture/recipe book called “from borshch to blinis: Traditional Cooking from Russia and Poland” by Catherine Atkinson, contributing editor, Lesley Chamberlain.

I modified the basic ingredients a little as I’m not wild about celery or parsley, but here is the original list of ingredients, to which I would add chocolate vinegar. (2 teaspoons) I did have celery salt on hand, (weird I like that more than celery, suspect it’s a remnant from my mother’s Bloody Mary days…) so I added celery salt.

I followed the instructions and the result was tasty but not quite right. Now, I did have more than 2 pounds of beets, I’m sure. For lunch the next day, I poured the leftovers into a blender until it was smooth. This did the trick! The flavors were blended nicely. It was so good, I didn’t even heat it up, it was lovely chilled!

Paranormals (2014)

Director: Evan Falbaum

Stars: Daniel Lachman, Kemerton Hargrove Jr., Mitch Landry

A charming bromance movie about Adam and Thomas, two best friends who’ve been ghost hunting together since childhood. As they enter adulthood, Thomas gets a “real job” at an office in Dallas with a double cubicle and his own little computer. Adam must find a new partner if he is going to start a ghost hunting business. But Adam’s new partner is a shady con artist and Thomas’s success is thwarted by an adversary in the office.

This isn’t a scary movie at all, so if you’re looking for a scare, this isn’t it. The film has the pace and indie feel of the series The Detectorists and one of my favorite films Safety Not Guaranteed. I recommend it for its originality and quirkiness. And if you work in a tedious job with a cubicle and a copier that seems to malfunction with regularity, this is a must see.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle (2018)

One of my favorite books made into a movie!

The book of the same name by Shirley Jackson, is one of my all-time favorites, and this film captures the feel of the book well. A common theme in Jackson’s work is the sense that “polite society” is just a thin veneer of gentility with an underbelly seething with judgement, hostility, and menace. At a glance, the two sisters seem peculiar but how did they get that way? Are they the frightening ones?

As a largish woman with red hair and glasses, Jackson did not align herself with the June Cleevers of the world or a society in which women were not expected to have intelligence and were expected to host cocktail parties to promote their husbands, enjoy housework and raise children.

This novel and film focus on two sisters, who live in a rambling mansion with their mentally-impaired uncle Julian. The rest of their family died in a poisoning accident at dinner. The older sister was the main suspect. Though she was acquitted–apparently along the lines of “a nice girl like that could never do such a thing” –the townspeople regards the two girls with fear and suspicion.

Mary Catherine, aka “Merricat” must foray into town once a week for food. As a nervous introvert, she dreads these encounters with the outside world. Her sister Constance and uncle Julian never leave the house.

When an estranged cousin arrives to “help”, he upsets the harmonious dynamic of the household. Constance, portrayed in the film as a Barbie-esque product of the 50’s, a submissive woman who will look to a male figure for guidance and smile her way through any unpleasantness and only see the good in people, welcomes him into their home. Merricat sees through his charming façade. A self-made witch, she works charms to protect them from his insinuating presence. Charles is strong. Merricat feels him turning her beloved Constance against her. Unlike her pliant sister, Merricat will fight back with all she’s got.

The film follows the novel well but took a liberty with the ending regarding cousin Charles. A pity that Shirley Jackson is no longer with us to interview regarding this departure from her story. Personally, I think it works logically and adds some tension cinematically though it does change the yin/yang dynamic between the male and female characters.


Fun with Chocolate and It’s Sort of Healthy Too!

My favorite new thing:

Sorry the glare hides the Boar’s Head logo, but I bet other companies have it now too.
It’s pretty fine over a sweet potato… this was my dash-out-the-door lunch yesterday.

I like hummus anyway, but THIS is the bomb, chocolate lovers! And dark chocolate has antioxidants, they say, right? I LOVE sweet potatoes, and this is a pretty nifty combo! The hummus is a bit pricey, so that limits the options somewhat, like I’m sure it’d be great swirled into a sweet potato pie and I might experiment with that.

Ooh… I tried a bacon, chocolate hummus and peanut butter sandwich today… was in a rush, didn’t get a photo, but that was mighty tasty too… kind of an Elvis sandwich — I just needed the ‘naner’s. {Elvis was fond of peanut butter and banana}.