On The Dinner Table: Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

As I’ve mentioned I love soups. Making soup is something that calms me, and it’s always a comfort to have a nice bowl of warm soup when it’s cold and snowing. I came upon this delicious recipe and it was a success in my home. I hope you enjoy it as well!

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 Medium Onion, diced
  • 1 Medium Carrot, diced (I used about 3-4 as we like carrots)
  • 2 Stalks of Celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 32 oz. Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 tsp of Thyme
  • 1/2 tsp of Sage
  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice
  • 3 cups of milk, more as needed
  • 1/4 cup of all purpose flour
  • 2 cups cooked, cubed chicken breast or thigh
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Steps:

In a large stock pot, sweat the onion, celery, and carrot in the butter over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and cooking a few minutes longer. Sprinkle in the 1/4 cup of all purpose flour and cook out the raw flavor, about a minute. Add the chicken stock, stirring while doing so, add the thyme and sage, along with the wild rice. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally. After 25 minutes, check if the rice is tender, if not, cook another 10 minutes.

When rice is tender, add the milk to the soup along with the cooked chicken. Bring up to a simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, until heated thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. When done, serve with some crusty bread, or a sprinkling of parsley or thyme.

Happy Eating!

What can Tats do for you?

There are numerous ways we can empower ourselves, online courses, sports, blogging, traveling, just to name a few. But another has come to mind that I have on my list of things to do, however I need to find the perfect piece of art first. I’m talking about tattoos.

I love the look of tattoos, especially sleeve tattoos on men. Sorry, not sorry. I’m a sucker for certain things in life, beards, tattoos, and kilts. If you have all three, I may be your biggest fan.

My personal reasons for being picky on tattoos is that I want them to mean something to me, before I put them on my body forever. I have several in mind, but currently with the pandemic we are experiencing, several shops are not available in my area, and I have gotten recommendations on where to go, so it’s really about getting it done, when I can.

What tattoos do you have? Are they special, or simply you like the artwork of that person and wanted it on your body? I don’t judge others for their tattoos, I figure, it is your body, your choice (sounds familiar). My preference is for smaller designs and if I’m getting them, I want to see them, so I’m more interested in forearm, fingers, ankles (probably the most painful areas to get ink but, so be it.)

The only downside I see to tattoos is that when you get one, you become addicted and soon you have many more. That’s okay, as I have a list of things I would love to get….I’m prepared.

Do you feel tattoos can be empowering? Do you find tattoos to be beautiful on women? What tattoos would be ideal for you or your partners to have, like a couples tattoo?

I would love to see your ink, let me know in the comments what you have, what you love about tattoos, or simply what you would like to get. Pictures are great, but if you don’t have them, stress not, I’m happy to read about what you have.

Start empowering yourself in new ways, if that means getting a tattoo, do your research about your local artists, and find one that has high recommendations. And I can’t stress this enough, FOLLOW THEIR DIRECTIONS FOR AFTER CARE. They are the professional and know more than you do about caring for your new tattoo.

Be strong, be beautiful, be you

Brandon

*Warning – The information you are about to read may include discussions of true crimes, graphic details, and crime scenes, this may be too graphic for some people, please use discretion when reading*

This case is one of the first I had ever read about, and it broke my heart, that people who, hated someone simply for being different, could kill them in cold blood, along with two other innocent people. This case caused great controversy, but also allowed people who identified as gay or trans, a platform to voice their opinions and be heard.

You will learn about the case of Brandon Teena, who had not yet gone forward with a sex reassignment surgery, but who fully identified as male as was living life as a man in most ways. In December of 1993 Brandon was gang raped, assaulted and eventually murdered by two men, John Lotter and Tom Nissen. Brandon’s murder and that of Matthew Shepard five years later, led to increased lobbying for hate crime laws in the United States.

Brandon Teena was born Teena Brandon on December 12, 1972. Brandon began to identify as male during his adolescence, however his mother rejected his male identity and referred to him as her daughter. JoAnn Brandon was outraged over how her son was identified and portrayed in the movie Boys Don’t Cry, starring Hilary Swank.

In 1992, Brandon had gone through a psychiatric evaluation and it was determined that he was suffering from a severe sexual identity crisis. During counseling sessions he eventually revealed that he was raped.

During 1993, living life as a male, Brandon moved into the home of Lisa Lambert and was dating her friend Lana Tisdale. At this same time, he began associating with ex-convicts, John Lotter and Tom Nissen. December 19, 1993, Lana bailed Brandon out of jail and questioned him as to why he was kept in the female section of the jail. He stated he was a hermaphrodite and was pursuing a sex change operation. They continued to date.

Tom Nissen and John Lotter

Christmas Eve, 1993, at a party Nissen and Lotter, grabbed Brandon and forced him to remove his pants, proving to Lana, that Brandon was a female. Lana looked, but said nothing. Afterwards, Lotter and Nissen assaulted Brandon, forced him into the car and then drove him to a meat-packing plant where they gang raped him. Returning back to Nissen’s home, Brandon was told to take a shower, but was able to escape through the window.

Returning to Lana’s home, Brandon was convinced to file a police report, even though Nissen and Lotter warned Brandon to not tell the police or they would “silence him permanently”. Going to the emergency room as standard rape kit was assembled, but later lost. Sheriff Charles Laux questioned Brandon about the rape, but became especially interested in his transsexuality, and when the questions became rude and unnecessary, Brandon refused to answer.

Nissen and Lotter, learned of the report about the gang rape, and began looking for Brandon. Not finding him, the police questioned them, but, Sheriff Laux declined to arrest them because “What kind of a person was she? The first few times we arrested her she was putting herself off as a guy.”

On New Year’s Eve, 1993 at approximately 1 am, Nissen and Lotter drove to Lisa Lamberts house and broke in. They found Lisa and demanded to know where Brandon was, but she refused to tell them. They found Brandon under the bed. Asking Lisa who else was in the house, she replied that Phillip DeVine was there. They shot and killed DeVine, Lisa Lambert, and Brandon in front of Lisa’s child. The child was not harmed.

Brandon Teena, Philip DeVine, Lisa Lambert

Nissen and Lotter were arrested and charged with murder. They were both convicted, Nissen with life in prison, and Lotter got the death penalty.

In the aftermath of this horrible crime, laws have been created to help prevent these types of crimes from happening or going unpunished. In this world, we all need to be kind and understand that everyone has a different path than the one we are on.

Please be ever alert, make good choices and stay safe

The Birthday Trip

For years now I have been planning a trip. I call it my Birthday Trip. I hope to take a vacation with those women who are nearest and dearest to me and visit Europe. Specifically Eastern Europe. The cities and countries I would like to visit are ones that can be found on most travel tours, however there are specific things I would like to do while there. Below is my outline, and I would LOVE to hear your feedback as to what other places or things I should add to my list.

Germany, specifically Berlin. I have previously been to Munich and it’s gorgeous. I loved it completely and I have high hopes for Berlin. As many people are, I’m interested in the history of Berlin primarily during World War 2. I want to see Checkpoint Charlie, the Berlin Wall(or what is left of it), The Brandenburg Gate, and the Holocaust Memorial. Of course you can’t travel to Germany and not enjoy the cuisine and beer. So that is certainly something I will take part in as well.

I have been to Austria previously, and I loved Salzburg. We did spend time in Vienna but it didn’t seem like it was enough time to fully enjoy it. Things that I wanted to see and do in Vienna are Schönbrunn Palace, St Stephens Cathedral, Spanish Riding School and the Lipizzaner horses, Hundertwasserhaus, The Imperial Crypt and the Capuchin Church, and the Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial. Not to mention the wonderful pastries, coffees, and chocolates the city has to offer.

Prague is a city that has been on my list since I first started traveling in high school. I don’t know why the city has also intrigued me but it has. A few things that are on my need to see list include; The Infant Jesus of Prague, the Astronomical Clock and old town square, the Charles Bridge, the Old Jewish Ghetto, and The Lennon Wall. I’m sure I’m missing many other attractions, but that just means I’ll have to return in the future.

My favorite history teacher in high school was from Hungary. I’ve wanted to see Budapest for several years and this birthday trip seemed to be the perfect time to do so. On my need to see list I have, Fisherman’s Bastion, Great Market Hall, The River Danube and the Chain Bridge, Shoes on the Danube Bank, The Jewish Quarter, House of Terror (sounds ominous), and the Dohany Street Synagogue. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m willing to see the castles, and restaurants as well, but some of these things are on the list simply for my love of history.

I want to visit Poland, as there is a lot of history there, and honestly my family can trace their history to Pomerania, which at the time was part of Germany, but now part of Poland. However the city I would like to spend more time in is Krakow. In Krakow, there are many things to see and do of course, some on my list include, St. Mary’s Basilica, Wieliczka Salt Mine, Jewish Quarter, Schindler’s List Passage, Auschwitz Concentration Camp. I was privileged to visit the Dachau Concentration Camp in Germany when I was there, and it was a very humbling and solemn location, I can only imagine how Auschwitz will affect me, but I feel it is something I need to see, simply to never forget.

Be strong, be beautiful, be you

Micro Needling – Is it for you?

What is Micro Needling? Who would benefit from this? Why should you do it? I’ve asked myself these questions and researched this option as well. Here is what I found out, please only use this information as it is intended, not to diagnose any medical conditions or counteract instructions from your doctor.

What is micro needling? Micro needling is simply using a derma roller with small needles embedded in it, to prick the skin. Also described as a collagen induction therapy. This treatment is minimally invasive, and can help with acne scars, large pores, and fine lines and wrinkles.

There are various benefits from having this treatment done. Brighter, firmer skin, smaller pores, and faded scars. But beauty comes at a cost, micro needling with a doctor can cost up to $700 per treatment, and is not covered by insurance. But there are risks as well. Bleeding, bruising, infection, and peeling can occur.

Micro needling is done in a doctor’s office, however there are some rollers that you can use in your own home, but these don’t puncture the skin much at all, so you may not get as much benefit from them.

Be sure to use care after a micro needling session by applying a serum. The best serum to use after a micro needling session is a hyaluronic acid. This is super moisturizing and after needling, it will penetrate deeper providing more benefit and hydration. Do not use Vitamin C or other retinols for a full 48 hours after your session, as this could cause damage to your skin.

Have you had this treatment done? Would you have this treatment done? I would be willing to try it honestly. Minimal pain, maximum benefits. Let me know your thoughts by leaving comments.

Be strong, be beautiful, be you

Who Killed John Lennon?

While trying to come up with a topic that would get us talking, I had started to look into conspiracy theories. And one that was mentioned to me was so obscure that I had to look into it further. Have you heard of Steve Lightfoot and his theory that Stephen King killed John Lennon?

Steve Lightfoot has been claiming for the last 30+ years that Stephen King and not Mark David Chapman had shot and killed John Lennon on December 8, 1980. He says that the government, the prison system, and Yoko Ono are all covering up the fact that Stephen King murdered John Lennon, with the governments blessing.

Mr. Lightfoot states that the evidence is in front of us, in the bold print headlines of Time, Newsweek, and US News and World Report magazines. He says that there are government codes that prove that Mark David Chapman was a pawn and knowing this information, Mr. Lightfoot fears for his life.

Dec 8, 1980, John Lennon signing an autograph for Mark David Chapman

Mr. Lightfoot states that the picture of John Lennon signing an autograph for Mark David Chapman, on the day of his murder, was actually an autograph for Stephen King. I will allow the fact that in 1980 Stephen King may have shared similar physical traits with Mark David Chapman, such as dark hair and glasses, however, you can clearly see in the photograph that it is not Stephen King in that image.

While researching this obnoxious “conspiracy theory” I found no other indications that anyone truly believes Mr. Lightfoot, and his website ranges from ethnic slurs to vulgarity, to the ramblings of someone who has devoted his life to accusing an innocent person of a heinous crime. While he’s accusing one man of murder, he accuses the American people of accepting these “lies” about the murder of John Lennon but the next sentence is asking for our support, sponsorship, and money to help him prove the “truth”.

I for one, 100% believe that Mark David Chapman killed John Lennon, and as he pleaded guilty to the crime, is serving his time in prison. I honestly don’t know if Mr. Lightfoot has any supporters, but if you believe his theory I would love you to comment more about it and explain your beliefs.

Be strong, be beautiful, be you

The House That Coco Built

Hello my lovelies. It’s been a crazy week and a crazy day. So this post is coming super late, and I apologize since I don’t like to do it this late.

Today is Friday and I was thinking about fashion icons. We all have people we want to emulate for one reason or another. Maybe we like the way they accessorize, or how the wear a scarf as a belt.

One of my favorite fashion icons is the fabulous Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel.

After World War 1, she created the sporty chic look instead of the corseted silhouette that had been the norm.

As most of you may be aware she was a trendsetter and has been credited with the little black dress, the Chanel suit, perfume, and handbags. The interlocking CC logo was designed by Coco herself and is still used by the brand even today.

To quote Coco, “A girl should be two things, classy and fabulous.

Even if owning a Chanel suit, dress, or handbag isn’t in your budget, you can still embrace the ideas that Coco had.

“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” I know that you are all beautiful and I can’t wait for you to embrace your inner goddess and “don’t be like the rest of them darling”.

Coco is just one strong fearless woman who changes the world. Consider what you are capable of, and “add more lipstick and attack”.

Be strong, be beautiful, be you

Pork Chops O’Brien

Looking for a tasty dinner? Do you need a fresh idea for this week? Look no further. You can easily make this recipe in advance and then pop it into the oven on the night you need it. Great for family dinners, pot lucks, or even as a dinner for someone else.

  • Ingredients:
  • 4 – 6 Bone in Pork Chops 1/2 inch thick (You can use boneless as well)
  • 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Can (10.75 ounces) Condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 can (2.8 ounces) french-fried onions, divided
  • 1 package (28 ounces) frozen O’Brien potatoes, thawed
  • 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
  • Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a skillet over medium high heat, brown the pork chops in oil, approximately 4-5 minutes on each side. Set aside.
  • In a bowl, combine the soup, milk, sour cream, pepper, and 1/2 cup of the cheese and 1/2 cup of onions. Fold in the potatoes. Spread this mixture in a greased 13×9 inch baking dish. Arrange the chops on top and sprinkle them with seasoned salt.
  • Cover and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the pork is tender and cooked through. Uncover and sprinkle remaining cheese and onions on top of chops. Return for another 5 – 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

This recipe is great as your entire meal is in one dish, if you choose to add a fresh salad or crisp vegetables to your plate these porkchops will still take center stage. Please, if you try this recipe, let me know how you like it and how it turned out!

Happy Eating!

Dirt on Depression

Today I wanted to talk about something that I have had for more years than I can remember. Depression. I don’t use it as a crutch as some people may do, and I’m not here to judge, you do what you need to do. I live with my depression every day. Some days are better than others, but for the most part I feel about the same. Not exactly sad, but not happy, sometimes numb but mostly blah.

Like many people in this world, I have medication I take, and it’s still a work in progress on getting it to the right levels. As anyone can tell you, one treatment that works for one person, may not work at all for another. I’ve had times in my life that I have not been on medication, and it has not only affected me, but those around me as well.

There have even been dark times, where I have contemplated suicide. The thought of ending it all, was something I longed for, but I knew that it wasn’t the final answer, the one I wanted. Luckily, I spoke up and talked with my doctor and those thoughts may be in the back of my head, but they aren’t something that I’m contemplating at this time. I encourage you, if you have similar thoughts or feelings, reach out to someone, anyone, and talk to them honestly. The world needs you in it.

So currently I am on two types of medications and I try to find ways to keep my spirits up. I read, do crafts, and blog. This blog has been a great influence for me. I enjoy writing to all of you and hopefully sharing some insights as well. Thank you for reading my words.

But know that most people with depression hide it as much as possible. Why might you ask? We know how it feels, and we never want anyone to feel this way, so we hide it and try to make you smile instead. So when you ask us how we are, you will get the answer of “Fine.” You don’t need the burden of what goes on in our heads to weigh you down.

So instead of judging a person who is diagnosed with any type of depression, let them know that you are there and show them you care, by giving them silent company, sit with them while they binge watch TV shows, or making sure they have enough chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in the freezer. You don’t have to fix them, you don’t have to solve the issues, just by having that one person showing them love and support can make all the difference.

Depression can take on many faces. Not everyone who is sad has depression and not everyone who is happy doesn’t have depression.

Be strong, be beautiful, be you

Cora

*Warning – The information you are about to read may include discussions of true crimes, graphic details, and crime scenes, this may be too graphic for some people, please use discretion when reading*

On labor day 1994, Wisconsin was horrified when a 12 year old girl, Cora Jones, went missing while riding her bike. Her body was found five days later in a remote area. The investigation would lead to a serial rapist and murderer, David Spanbauer.

Cora Jones, was born in December 1981. She was the older sister to her brother Zack. Cora faced serious medical problems when young and had one of her kidney’s removed at three years old. Because of this, she wanted to be a kidney specialist when she grew up.

Cora was active in church and girl scouts, she was a kind and friendly kid, always willing to help others. It is sadly ironic, that one of her greatest fears was that she would be kidnapped. This fear began when she was around seven years old and to calm herself, Cora would watch a video for kids on how to avoid strangers. After time, her parents made her stop watching it, but Cora’s fears persisted.

September 5, 1994, Cora was at her grandmother’s house and went to go on a bike ride in the afternoon. She did not return, and a search for her began. Cora’s bike would be found lying in the middle of the road close to her grandmother’s house.

Sadly, the search for Cora ended on September 10, when two hunters found her body in a ditch along an isolated road, 75 miles away from where she was taken. Cora had been sexually assaulted, beaten, stabbed, and strangled.

In November of 1994, a sex offender named, David Spanbauer, was arrested when he attempted to burglarize a home. He confessed to numerous rapes and assaults and three murders, including the abduction, assault and murder of Cora Jones.

On December 8, 1994, when Cora would have turned 13, David Spanbauer plead guilty to murdering Cora. Cora’s mother, Vicki, stated, “Maybe this was our present to her, to get this guy.”

Cora’s legacy lives on, where people are trying to prevent this type of crime happening again to another child or adult. Please hug your family a little closer, and keep them safe.

Please be ever alert, make good choices, and stay safe