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A few late season blossoms:

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Wow, where did the last couple of months go?  I am so behind on blogging that it just isn’t funny, but hopefully this post is the beginning of normal again.  Sorry I have been MIA, but C & I have been so busy that something had to give and that something was the blog.  Now I am ready to jump back in with some new photos and recipes. 

Thanks so much for sticking with me and reading what few posts I had pre-planned.  I haven’t been doing a lot of cooking lately and the few new things I have tried really haven’t turned out as well as I had hoped.  The new recipes planned for this week mostly come from tried and true sources like The Pioneer Woman and Plain Chicken so they should be yummy!

Have a great week, everyone, and I am so happy to be back to blogging!

Tomato macaroni soup (new) and cornbread

Taco ring with salad (2 nights)

Bacon cheeseburgers (new) with oven baked fries

Pizza night

Pioneer Woman’s sloppy Joes (new) with curly fries

Bubble-up Apple Pie (new)

Please join me at I’m An Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

Please join me today over at Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings.  Feel free to join in with all of us book loving bloggers by sharing the first lines of a book you have read and your opinion about it.  My book today is “Moon Over Manifest” by Clare Vanderpool:

“Santa Fe Railway

  Southeast Kansas

  May 27, 1936

The movement of the train rocked me like a lullaby.  I closed my eyes to the dusty countryside and imagined the sign I knew only from stories.  The one just outside of town with big blue letters: MANIFEST: A TOWN WITH A RICH PAST AND A BRIGHT FUTURE.”

This is one of my happy accidents that I found on our library’s eBook page and I was drawn in by the description.  I think it is actually a young adult book, but that doesn’t matter because it includes rich storytelling that pulls you in. 

It tells the story of Abilene Tucker who is sent by her father to live with a friend of his while he searches for work.  In meeting the people of Manifest, Abilene is able to draw out their stories and mend a long of broken hearts along the way. 

As y’all well know, I am not a huge fan of Young Adult fiction.  I guess I had enough teenage angst while I was actually a teenager, but there are a few series that have drawn me in.  The Hunger Games trilogy and Harry Potter series are amazing reads and would stand up against any other fiction books out there. 

I had heard a lot about the Divergent series by Veronica Roth and decided to give it a try.  Here are the first lines from the first book, “Divergent”:

“There is one mirror in my house.  It is behind a sliding panel in the hallway upstairs.  Our faction allows me to stand in front of it on the second day of every third month, the day my mother cuts my hair.”

Thus begins the story of Beatrice “Tris” Prior who is at the age to be tested and pick a “faction” to which she will belong the rest of her life.  Things don’t go quite the way she expects when she learns she is a “Divergent” during her test. 

What does that mean exactly? Well, you will have to read the book to find out and I hope you do. 

Please join me at Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings.

A lot of the new recipes I try come from other bloggers, but this is from the Better Homes & Garden website. My Nanny has subscribed to BHG for as long as I can remember and they always have tasty recipes to try.  Their version is made in a Dutch oven, but I made mine in a slow cooker and it was delicious.  It is a perfect Sunday supper idea.

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Beef chuck roast, 2 to 3 pounds

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

2 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

15 oz. can tomato sauce

1 tbsp. tomato paste

1/2 cup beef broth

1 tbsp. Italian seasoning

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Season the roast with salt and pepper.  In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil and then brown the roast on both sides in the hot oil.

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Once the meat is brown, set it aside on a plate to make the sauce.  Add the onion and garlic to the leftover oil and cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes.  Stir in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, beef broth and Italian seasoning.  Bring this to a boil for about 3 minutes.

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Spray your slow cooker with non-stick spray and pour about a cup of the sauce into the crock.  Place the roast in the crock and cover with the rest of the sauce.  Cook on low for 5-6 hours or until the roast is cooked through.

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Fried Pork Chops

If you are a regular reader here, you know that I don’t fry food a lot.  Every once in a while, I get an urge for something fried and when I make it, the reason I don’t do it a lot comes right back to me.  These chops were really good, but my whole house smelled like grease after I made them.

I have to say they were worth it.  Check out the original recipe at Deep South Dish.

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4 bone-in pork chops

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup self rising flour

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

1/4 tsp. granulated sugar

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. seasoning of your choice (I used Penzey’s BBQ of the Americas.)

2 tsp. onion powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

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Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  While the oil warms, combine all of the remaining ingredients except the chops in a pie pan.

Dredge the chops in the flour mixture to completely coat them.

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Carefully put the pork chops into the skillet.  Don’t overcrowd the pan, but you should be able to cook two at a time.  Fry until browned on the first side, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Flip the chop and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes or until cooked through. 

Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to let the excess oil drain.

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Book Beginnings

Along with thousands of other readers, I am a huge fan of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.  While impatiently waiting for “Written In My Own Heart’s Blood” to come out, I read her novella “A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows” which tells the back story of Roger McKenzie’s parents.

It was two weeks yet to Halloween, but the gremlins were already at work.”

Roger’s father, Jerry, is a Royal Air Force pilot during World War II and the “gremlins” are hard at work on the plane he is flying.  This short story is a great addition to the Outlander series and fills in quite a few blanks about Roger’s life.  It just wasn’t long enough!

Please join me at Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings.

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