A Bouquet of Balloons

I sat down to write this blog, and I couldn't decide on a single idea. The possibilities were like a balloon bouquet. Lots of colorful choices, but none with enough substance to carry a full post.

So I decided to do a Tiki Top Ten. Pay no attention to the numbers. They only represent the order I decided to include the thought in this post - not any order of importance. There is no theme, just sharing some of the things going on in my head.

I haven't done a top ten type post in a long time. I hope I remember how 🎈

1. The Trilogy
I'm finally DONE with self-editing. Yes, I'm shouting! Now I'm reading it aloud. Fast. I always catch stuff here that I miss in other ways - awkward dialogue and missing words for the most part, but assorted other glitches, too.

The dogs love when I do this. They gather around and chill.

As soon as I input these changes, off it goes to the real editor.

2. February
Valentine's, President's Day, Mardi Gras, and when I'm ready for spring.

I've lived all over - warm climates, cold climates, moderate climates. My built-in Spring Alarm sounds sometime between February 1 and President's Day. When it does, I'm automatically ready for winter to be over.

That's when I'm ready to go to the nursery and buy a flat of flowers to plant. I'm not a gardener by any means, but at this point, I really need to feel my fingers in the dirt.

I don't know why that is. Something related to genes from generations past, I'm guessing.

3. What's for Dinner?
I love to cook. I like to experiment with recipes and layer flavors. However, making dinner night after night is a different animal. I'm desperately in search of quick and easy recipes. This trilogy has brought the matter to the forefront. Let me explain.

It's 6 p.m. Maybe I remembered to take something out of the freezer to thaw. Often, I haven't. People are getting hungry. Many nights I've thawed ground beef or turkey in the skillet. We're tired of chili mac and sloppy joes.

Specifically, I'd love some recipes or suggestions for meals that are quick to prepare and/or easy to clean up. Either of those is good. Both would be fantastic!

I'm not looking for something that has 10 ingredients I have to measure or 10 veggies I have to chop.

Anything you can suggest or link to, especially skillet meals or crockpot concoctions would be great.

4. It's been too long since I've been to the beach.
Period. That is all.

5. I'm a Mutt
I took the test on Facebook called "What Kind of Dog Are You?"

Y'all know I have a wide range of interests. It's impossible for me to have a favorite anything. LOL...laughing at myself as I type - this menagerie of a post is a perfect example. One favorite is way too limiting.

The exception to this is, of course, Live-In Handyman. But there are many things to love about him, so maybe that's why 💘

Anyway, the test said the good thing about being a Mutt is that they are healthier and more adaptable than purebreds.

So there 😁

6. Gracie Brain
I have Gracie Brain. It's caused by close and continuous contact with Gracie Hofner, the protagonist in the trilogy. This chickie and I have shared everything over the past couple of years.

Gracie Brain is the main reason I'm in search of quick and easy dinner recipes - see #3 above.

Gracie Brain causes me not to be able to think of anything other than Gracie World without conscious effort. It's most likely the reason for this Top Ten. Only the thoughts that were strongest bubbled out.

7. Texas
As much as I love Texas and as much as I know about Texas and Texans, what I actually KNOW is a drop in the old rusty bucket. I ended up doing a lot of research about my beautiful Lone Star State. Some items applied to only one book, while others ran through the entire trilogy.

I especially learned a lot more about San Antonio and San Antonians, as it is the setting for all three books.

8. Silly Stuff
I do silly stuff. All. The. Time. If you know someone who knows me IRL, ask them. They know. Just today...I was in the produce section of the grocery store. Ahead, I saw some beautiful radishes. In my head, I'm thinking Those are the biggest damn radishes I've ever seen. I got closer. They were beets. I like radishes, but not beets. Sigh.

9. Curiosity Killed the Cat
Thank God I'm not a cat. Or on the flip side of that, maybe that's why they have nine lives. I think I must be one of the most curious creatures on the planet. About everything. My poor mother. I probably made her crazy. Are you curious, too?

10. Super Bowl
Pick one. Or more. I'm easy. And a mutt☺
Lady Gaga
I read a book.
I watched a movie.
All of the Above
None of the Above

I'll be back here on Monday, March 6.
Happy February!


Well, I think number one from that list would have to be the Patriots. That was a history making game.
We make a lot of Chinese food, mostly with chicken, and it's easy to make.
We're still getting down to freezing at night and still might have snow, so spring is at least month or more away here. (Good!)
And glad the self-edits are done!
Carol Kilgore said…
Alex - What a game! When I wrote this post, I was thinking it would would be a rather ho-hum Super Bowl. Even up to half-time. Then...WOW! Our weather has see-sawed all winter. Friday was in the 40s all day. Today and tomorrow will be in the 80s. Thanks for the dinner tip. I sometimes make chicken stirfry. Maybe I'll poke around for other variations on my go-to way. Much appreciated :)
Congratulations on finishing the self-edits. That must be a great feeling.

As far as the Super Bowl, I give Lady Gaga and the Patriots a tie.
Bish Denham said…
Regarding #3
One of the absolute best cookbooks ever is Keep it Simple: 30 Minute Meals from Scratch by Marian Burrors (link below.) Absolutely everything is laid out from the ingredients (all fresh) to the order in which to cook them. And, at the end, you have a complete meal for 2 to 4 people in 30 minutes!
Here are some menu examples:
#1 (chicken)
Chicken breasts in tarragon
Sauteed cherry tomatoes
Boiled tiny new potatoes
Berries and cookies

#2 (seafood)
Shrimp with apple and brandy
Cucumbers in yogurt-dill dressing
Herbed pitas
Orange sherbet

#3 (meatless)
Bulgur with everything
Sherley's creamy dressing for red or green lettuce
Whole grain bread or pitas
Navel oranges, apples or papaya

#4 (Beef)
Beef teriyaki
Green beans, tomato and savory
Boiled new potatoes
peaches and nectarines

#5 (pork)
Pork chops with apple, cabbage, and cumin
yellow squash with procolone sauce
bulgur with garlic and parsley
papaya or frozen fruit

Plus she has the seasonal suggestion for each meal ie the best time to cook it, spring, summer, fall, winter. She even has a Thanksgiving menu for 6 people!

I love, love, love this book!

Regarding #10
I watched PBS... Mercy Street and Victoria.

Julie Flanders said…
Yay! I always loved your top ten lists. This is a particularly fun one. I'm glad you're a mutt - Clancy insists mutts are the best of the best. :D
L. Diane Wolfe said…
I always make a big batch of spaghetti sauce with lots of veggies and then freeze some of it. When I need a quick meal, pasta and sauce are easy. Stuffed Italian Loaf is also easy - onions, sauce, scooped out bread, cheese, spices, and whatever else you want to throw in it.
Janie Junebug said…
I'm very curious. As for food, I'm a Schwan's woman now that I live alone. I get frozen food or frozen meals from them. Many don't have to be thawed before they're cooked. I can take a chicken breast, coat it with teriyaki sauce, bake it and serve it with fried rice and veggies. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Congratulations on your progress with the trilogy. I turned on the TV last night in time to see Lady Gaga. I don't care about football, but I like Gaga. Loved it when she said hello to her mom and dad.

Carol Kilgore said…
Donna - It's a great feeling! I agree about the Super Bowl :)

Bish - Thank you!!! As soon as I finish here, I'm going to check that link. Sounds perfect.

Julie - Aww, thanks :) Give Clancy a big hug for me.

Diane - Husband makes great pasta sauce, and we often have a container or two in the freezer. Just as often we don't. You're right about it being a quick and easy meal.

Janie - I see the Schwann's truck in our neighborhood from time to time, but I've never purchased from them. Something to think about. I loved Lady Gaga's hi to her parents, too. She's a great musician.
Lexa Cain said…
I'm with Diane. I always make double the recipe of anything, like chili, spaghetti sauce, beef stew, and I freeze half. But recently I've slowed down in the writing dept and take more time to enjoy life, and that includes food (not really the cooking part, but it is fun when something comes out good). Big congrats on finishing the trilogy! I'm glad you enjoyed your mc and the TX research. Have a wonderful week! :)
Jemi Fraser said…
Lady Gaga was spectacular!!!

This recipe is super simple and quick! Yummy too :)
Mason Canyon said…
Since I'm a Georgia girl born and bred I was a little disappointed in the final score of the Super Bowl but it was a great game. A quick meal I like is to put four or five pieces of celery and two or three carrots in the bottom of a crock pot. Add a whole chicken (salt, pepper, a little olive oil, dash of rosemary) cover and cook on low for about six hours (I've never timed it, just tested the chicken for doneness). Add some steamed broccoli and anything else you want and you have a great meal. Take care. I'm wanting spring to come too.
Here's a top ten response:
1. The Trilogy - congrats, you're a writing machine!
2. February - mid-summer...steaming this end of the globe...
3. What's for Dinner? - sorry, too hot to be slaving over a stove...
4. It's been too long since I've been to the beach - I live so close that I can see it every day, does that count?
5. I'm a Mutt - LOL
6. Gracie Brain - I want that brain!
7. Texas - for me it's synonymous with the drawl...and cowboy boots!
8. Silly Stuff - mmm, the humidity is doing that to me...
9. Curiosity Killed the Cat - the name of a FABULOUS 80's band from the UK!
10. Super Bowl - a large bowl filled with all sorts of goodies...maybe pecan nuts...or fresh yoghurt (yummy)
Happy Writing and Editing, Carol!!
Carol Kilgore said…
Lexa - Good for you for taking time to smell the roses!

Jemi - I loved her show! I bookmarked the recipe. Thank you :)

Mason - A whole chicken in the crockpot. Genius! I never even thought about that. But I know what's for dinner one night soon.

Michelle - Perfect! I love it ♥
VR Barkowski said…
I love winter, but we haven’t had much of one this year. On the upside, my heating bill is about half last year’s, a definite plus! Want to hear a secret? I was rooting for Atlanta. Please don’t tell my neighbors. I don’t want them at my door with pitchforks. :)

VR Barkowski

Carol Kilgore said…
VR - I like all four seasons, but for some reason I'm like that about spring. Doesn't matter if winter starts early or late or is wild or mild. LOL about the Super Bowl. Since your team didn't come away with the trophy, I don't think you have to worry. You had a great first half, though :)
Cheers to being done with self-edits!

Like you, I too love to cook, but not every single day of the week. That gets exhausting and wastes so much time. I also am in desperate need of quick, easy recipes that aren't just homecooked Hamburger Helper.
Carol Kilgore said…
Beer - Exactly! Look through the comments at what others have shared. I like the idea of the whole chicken in the crockpot a lot.
DMS said…
I haven't been to the beach in wayyyyyy too long. I was supposed to go to Cape May in January but both times the trip got cancelled. I find that "winter beach" is very soothing to my soul. I hope we both get to visit the ocean soon. :)
Lynda R Young said…
random comment: I used to live near-ish a beach.. now I live on a river. I prefer the river.
Fun post!

As for the Super Bowl, UGH. I'm a die-hard Falcons fan. For three quarters, we were dancing on the ceiling, and then our happy balloons busted in the fourth. OMG (sigh) What can I say? I think when I die, I should have a few Falcons serve as pall bearers, so they can let me down... one... more... time.
Carol Kilgore said…
Jess - I lived near Cape May for a few years. We must be related somewhere along the line...I love bundling up and walking on the beach in the winter. Icy wind, pounding surf. Really gets me going.

Lynda - Doesn't have to be beach for me, but it does need to be salt water. Anywhere at the coast. Rivers and lakes just don't quite do the same thing for me. I'm glad the river works for you, though.

Susan - Thanks. And LOL! Maybe next year. It's a good team.
Wow, congratulations on being done with self-editing. That's HUGE!

I wish you a happy rest of February. See you back in March!
Carol Kilgore said…
Theresa - Thanks! It feels wonderful. Still reading, though :)
They were beets! OMG, laughed out loud. I always loved your Top 10! I want to do one some day too.
Carol Kilgore said…
Tanzir - Thank you.

H.R. - They were the brightest beets I've ever seen!
Jennifer Shirk said…
I love to try new recipes too! Probably because I love to eat. LOL

We host a SuperBowl party ever year but I rarely watch any of it!
Kelly Steel said…
Your top ten is interesting mix! All the best!
Carol Kilgore said…
Jennifer - Right! Same here about eating.

Kelly - Thanks. Gives you a clue about how it is inside my head.
Carol, Sorry I'm so late for the party. Congrats on finishing the self edits! It's great to see another one of your classic Top Ten lists! I wish I had some quick easy recipes for you. I just don't cook as often as I used to.

LD Masterson said…
Whoa. Too many thoughts to comment on. I'm a Mutt, too, which is fine with me. And I'm a Pats fan (have to be, Boston roots and all that) so you know I was loving that game, or at least the second half. Yeah, I'm ready for spring, even if we have had a record-setting mild winter. And I don't have any quick and easy recipe racing to the top of my head but I'm going to steal some from other commenters.
Carol Kilgore said…
Julie - No worries. Glad you enjoyed the Top Ten :)

Linda - Mutts Rule! Steal away :)
I'm glad to see your top 10 is back!

I like cooking too, but not when I'm busy. I feel like you--it's 6:00 and I know I've got to get it together. I plan my week on the weekend when I go shopping, so I know what's for dinner. But it's the time and effort.

If I took a dog test, I think I'd get cat.

I'm with you about the beach. Let's vow to make more of an effort for the summer!
Carol Kilgore said…
Theresa - I've tried having a meal plan off and on, but it's never worked out. Maybe it's time for another shot.

Definitely about the beach. Plan!

Cat. LOL :)
Crystal Collier said…
Okay...March 6th. =) I won't be online then, but I had to stop in and see what was happening anyway. I totally get Gracie Brain.
Carol Kilgore said…
Crystal - We need to coordinate our schedules :) Editor has Gracie now, but I still have Gracie Brain. I guess because I know I'll be getting her back all bruised and banged up, LOL.
I am a mutt too :) and proud of it

I wish you a wonderful weekend, Carol! :)
Carol Kilgore said…
Keith - Mutts R Us! Happy Weekend to you, too :)