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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.

More September beauty…

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Menu Plan Monday

Good morning and welcome to a long overdue Menu Plan Monday post! I have been trying to get back into a menu plan posting routine, but haven’t been very successful.  Hopefully this post will get me back on track for a while and the motivation to menu plan will come back.

This week is full of easy favorites while C & I tackle a few projects around the house.  Have a great week!!

Salsa sloppy Joes with oven baked fries

Sausage cheese dip with Fritos scoops

Sausage bake with salad

Pizza night

Grocery night

Fall apart pork chops with butter roasted potatoes and salad

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

Tacos make a great weeknight supper because they are quick, easy and so tasty.  I was looking a little different way to make them just to change things up a little and I found this recipe at Yummy, Healthy, Easy.

I may now have a new favorite taco recipe.  These were so good!  Please excuse the photos. I was in a little too big a hurry when I took them so they are not the best. 

IMG_95281 tbsp. olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup finely diced onion

1/2 cup tomato paste

4 tsp. chili powder

1 pound ground beef

taco shells

Your favorite taco toppings (I used salsa & cheese in the photo above and also had sour cream.)

IMG_9512In a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil, onion and garlic.  Cook this until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. 

IMG_9514Add the tomato paste and chili powder.  Add the ground beef and cook until there is no pink left in the meat. 

IMG_9516Fill the taco shells with the meat mixture and top with salsa and cheese.  I then placed the tacos in a 300 degree oven just until the cheese was melted.  Serve with your favorite toppings.

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