Stir Fried Rice

This is really just my version of what I think I heard one day on the Food Network. (But don’t hold me to that.). Either way, my family likes it and it’s a great way to use up leftover meat and veggies you might have lying around.

This is a really easy dish to pull together, but it takes a bit of planning, inasmuch as you have to make the rice then, or make it the night before.  It’s really better to let the rice get sticky overnight by making it the day ahead. (Great idea if your already making something with rice the day before.).

I usually just reach to the freezer to see what frozen veggies I have available. Broccoli, corn, green beans are all good choices. Really, if you like it, it’ll be good in the rice. Then check out the fridge, do you have some veggies in there that need to be used? Zucchini? Mushrooms? Onion? Tomatoes? Yeah, this is that kind of recipe. Get the fresh veggies chopped up into smaller pieces and thaw any veggies that you’ve gotten out of the freezer.

Get out your BIG pan. You don’t have to have a wok, but something that’s going to let you maneuver the ingredients around after it’s all combined is really what your looking for. I have a wok-like sauce pan that I use for this recipe and it works well, but I’ve also used a stock pan with success (the stock pan just makes it harder to stir everything).

If you’re going to add meat (chicken or shrimp are my favorites) I’d cook them up now. If you’re doing chicken breasts, smash them up with a mallet, but that’s not necessary. If you use the mallet, cover the breast with saran-wrap so you don’t have chicken breast all over the kitchen. If you don’t have a mallet, no worries. Just cube the chicken up (after its thawed just a little, but not entirely – strictly for ease of cutting). I add just a tad of oil (vegetable) to the pan to cook up the meat. When it’s nearly done, I add the vegetables and get them happy.

When that’s done, I start the magic. You’ll need soy sauce (leaded or unleaded sodium content), rice wine vinegar and sugar. I start with 2 teaspoons of soy sauce into the veggies/meat mixture, about 1 teaspoon of rice wine vinegar, and a big pinch (1 teaspoon) of sugar. When you’ve gotten that mixed into the veggies, add the rice. You’re going to need to add more soy sauce and rice wine vinegar, but that will be based on your personal preference.

For instance, at our house, I’m pretty sensitive to the salt in the soy sauce, but my husband and daughter think “the more the merrier!”. So I flavor it to my tastes (the mildest in the family) and put the soy sauce on the table. One of the ways I can tell when it’s close is when it begins to ‘look’ browner. That means, I’ve gotten enough soy sauce in it. It shouldn’t be a full-on shade of chocolate, but a tinge of brown isn’t bad.

Feel free to adjust the rice wine vinegar and sugar, but go slowly on them. Especially the sugar. It isn’t candy, but the sugar brings out some of the natural favors.

With that, you’re done! This is an easy meal for our family to make (and eat). Happy Times!

Stir Fried Rice

Ingredients

1-2 T. vegetable oil
any type of meat (and as much or as little as you choose)
any type of veggie (and as much or as little as you choose)
4 c. cooked rice (make before hand or night before)
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. rice wine vinegar
1 T. sugar
1 egg

Directions

Heat a large wok/pan to medium-high.  Add vegetable oil.  When heated quickly cook the meat.  Remove from pan.  Next, saute veggies (add oil if needed).  Remove from pan (or shift to the sides).  Crack and scramble egg in a bowl and pour into the center of the pan.  Cook the egg and then add meat and vegetables in to the pan.  Add cooked rice and mix together.  Begin adding soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sugar to taste.

I read… crap

One of the things I’ve learned about myself is that I’m a trollop when it comes to my reading material.

If you look at my Goodreads list, you’ll find a lot of stuff on there that isn’t “literature.”

It’s just plain trashy.

And at one point, I was ashamed of it.  But how can you blame me for being ashamed?  I run a Common Reader program.  I talk about author quality, writing styles and various other academic issues.  And yet, my Kindle is just trash!

Until I realized that it really doesn’t matter, as long as I’m constantly reading, challenged by the work in front of me.

A friend and I decided to read The Vampire Academy series together after I’d seen the movie previews.  I don’t often feel compelled to read along with a movie series, but I thought it looked like something I might enjoy.

Ummm, no.

I get that it’s a young adult series.  I know that it isn’t literature.  But, it did help me remember what I know about writing.

There has to be a plot.  The characters, even in a made up world, have to do things that follow the path the author’s laid out.  When they act out of character, I call a spade a spade.  I allow for character growth in saying this.  Sometimes an author just paints him or herself into a corner they can’t remove themselves from without breaking character.  As a reader, I get to call the bluff.

Understanding that even in the worst writing, I can still learn about writing is key.  We often worry about what our kids read.  My thoughts, today, reflect the idea that it doesn’t matter what they read – so long as they read broadly.  No genre is taboo, or verboten.  They all have value.

Why is this a story? Open Letter for Francesa and Esiason

Today’s sports news hosts a story about WFAN broadcaster, Mike Francesa, and former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason taking issue with the Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy for using his CBA 1-3 day paternity leave. 

Dear Mike & Boomer:

The most magical memory I have of my three children’s deliveries is not their precious faces, or their soft gentle coos.  No in fact, it’s quite the opposite.  I stand in awe that my body could create, host and deliver another human into the world.

Pregnancy is a beautiful opportunity many families enjoy.  I have had the privilege of three full-term deliveries.  Each is special and hard in its own way.

But, I take offense at your reported lack of compassion for the Murphy family for several reasons.

1) The simple idea that anything would come before family.  Baseball is a game that some men have the opportunity to play professionally.  It isn’t war, and it isn’t heroic.  Nothing trumps family, no matter how many zeros or contracts are attached to the salary.

2) Each of you lack the basic anatomy to describe why a woman might need or want her husband around following a delivery.  Just as I can not tell you how to best get through a prostrate exam, you cannot and should not comment on how or why a family might feel it best to support a woman who’s just given birth.  I for one will just state, that the days after my three deliveries were nothing but a blur, not to mention how incredibly difficult it was to just get up and “feed the baby.”  Regardless of family support, my husband and I both decided to become parents.  His support during the first couple of months was critical to our family’s success.  His contribution to the process did not end with conception.

3) Regardless of your own family choices, you have no room to single out a particular family, in the national media.  By singling out the Murphy family, you’ve done more to cause chaos and uproar than any national conversation on women’s rights could ever do.  You both singled the Murphy family out  during what should be one of the happiest times of their life.

4) Baseball’s season is 162 games.  Murphy’s paternity leave removed him from only 2% of the regular season games.  Rarely, if ever do three games determine whether or not a team makes the playoffs.  And, if they do, it would unfair to blame it all on one player.  Murphy started 155 games last year, with 78 RBI, hitting 13 home runs, and a .286 batting average.  He’s a decent player, but it’s not likely to sway an entire season.

5) Both of your comments make the assumption that the birth of a child is a common, everyday occurrence.  It might have been for you and your families, but for some, the birth of a child is a lifetime of prayer, hope and faith.  It is something many families haven’t had the chance to experience.  Maybe your individual responses are at the heart of what’s wrong with our culture.  We simply fail to value life.

In short, back off.  Until your ovaries, cervix, and vagina are installed, and one of you is carrying Daniel Murphy’s child (which might just actually might be one of the best reality TV shows ever pitched), you have little to no opinion in what goes on inside the Murphy family.  Your comments helped create a national news story about a non-issue.

No gimmicks.  No c-sections because of a game.  No story.

Bee in my #tutu

When I saw this story posted on Facebook, I was upset.

If you haven’t heard, SELF Magazine emailed Monika Allen asking for permission to use this photo.

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The problem is, they used it in their segment called “BS Meter” which basically calls out certain trends.  And, it seems that they don’t know how to do it with grace, or even with a tongue in cheek demeanor.

SELF Magazine stated, “NEW RUNNING TULLE A racing tutu epidemic has struck NYC’s Central Park, and it’s all because people think these froufrou skirts make you run faster. Now, if you told us they made people run away from you faster, maybe we would believe it.”

So in essence, Monika believed she was being spotlighted for running 26.2 miles in a fun get-up.  However, the “professional journalists” at SELF Magazine opted to take the low road.

The kicker? Monika Allen was running in a marathon while undergoing chemotherapy for brain cancer.  And she makes and sells tutus and then donates the money to promote girls being active in running sports.

Yes, I’m pissed at bad journalism.

Yes, I’m pissed at bullies who hide behind a national masthead.

But more importantly, I’m pissed that the photo could have been me, or you.

You see, I’ve come a long way in a year.

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And I guarantee you, if SELF Magazine had emailed me to ask for my permission to run a photo of me in their national magazine, I’d have said, “HELL, YES!”  It would have been a source of pride for me to know that my work was noticed, and that I might, just maybe be able to help others.  Just a touch of encouragement!  Yeah for the little guy!  Yeah for me!

Because trust me, if SELF Magazine had been at that 5K back in May, they’d have made fun of the fat girl running.  AND, that I got passed by a pregnant woman.  Little would they have known that I was running for my mom, or mother-in-law.  They’d have just seen the fat girl, coming in dead last and found some sort of punch line.

EXCEPT, you and I know, they wouldn’t have done that.  There’s no way SELF would have made fun of me, because I am the image they sell.  I’ve torn those inspirational stories out of their magazine and posted them on my wall.

Woman loses 105 pounds.

Mom of Three leads the weigh!

Whatever catchy phrase they put with it, they sell to my demographic. The woman who’s desperate to try anything, ONE LAST TIME to make the change of a lifetime.  There’s no way they offend my target audience.  Because, who would they then tweet about avocado toast and Wendy’s new line-up?

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So when they took advantage of a seemingly normal woman, running in an outfit they didn’t approve of, they didn’t understand the whole story.

When the backlash started, SELF’s initial apology was trite to be sure.  

In a statement to NBC 7, SELF apologized “for the association of her picture in any way other than to support her efforts to be healthy.”

“Of course if tutus make you run with a smile on your face or with a sense of purpose or community, then they are indeed worth wearing, for any race,” the statement read.”

Now, with a bit of outrage and a few cancelled subscriptions, here’s the Twitter message:

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It’s not okay.  Why would you try to break down someone because they wear matching shorts, shirts, socks and shoes?  If they’re doing their best, SO THE FREAK WHAT?  Since when did we have to tear each other down to make a sale?  Since when isn’t it enough to actually believe none of us get out of life alive.

I’m not a tutu girl, but come on, taking cheap shots at the little guy to make someone snarl in agreement for 15 seconds is childish.  Even if you didn’t know she had cancer, she’s still running a marathon, which makes her a mean mama-jama in my books.  But to know that she’s running a marathon while undergoing chemotherapy?  She is literally a ROCK STAR.

So here’s my take away, I’m even more dedicated to standing with those who fight the good fight.  Who do hard things, not because someone will notice, but because it makes them feel alive!  Because it’s finally something they can control when everything is seemingly out of whack!  When I run, it’s just me and my brain telling my legs when it’s time to go and when it’s time to stop.  I’m in charge of it all.  

And it’s a truly beautiful feeling.

 

 

 

 

Your Lenten Fast?

As a Methbyterian (Methodist/Presbyterian), I am pretty comfortable with the idea of Lent.
 
 The 40 days prior to Easter is called Lent. These days are set aside by many Christians as a time to prepare for the sacrifice of the perfect offering. Forty days is a big deal in the Bible.
 
 Most people fast during Lent. The basic idea of fasting is to abstain from something as a sacrifice. For some, they fast from food or certain foods, or from certain luxuries. I know of one who will spend lent working on a more positive language tone. Whatever your fast looks like, it’s typically a time to refocus on God’s truth in our lives.
 
 So today as I get my ashes, I’ll be focusing on preparing my heart for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. But I will also be working on cleaning out my body!
 
 I’ll be giving up sweets as my fast. By sweets, i mostly mean the things I now crave: candy bars and cokes. It’s all in an effort to focus back on what matters. Some will say, “That’s just a weight loss thing.” Yes but it’s also something that helps me focus on what’s important in my life. I believe as I regain control over this, I’ll see my control come back in other areas as well.
 
 I tend to have an obsessive personality. Meaning, I can get pretty laser beam focused on a project. When that focus wanes, it might as well disappear. My faith walk and health walk have both slipped and it’s time to center back on them.
 
 So, I’ll be focusing on getting my brain back into devotionals. With a crazy life, it’s challenging, but, it has to happen. I can’t live without the big guy’s guidance. And, I’ll quit trying to self-medicate with sweets.
 
 So, do you celebrate Lent? If so, what is your fast?
 
 
 – I have fat fingers. Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

It’s not about the cookie

I have spent a lot of time hearing, “Hello, would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?” this month.
 Our daughter Madz has a goal to sell as many as Girl Scout cookies as she can. Okay, technically, she wants to sell 2,000, but I’ve curbed that number to, whatever we can manage.
 But, she sells, not me.
 I am transportation, management, supply and training. She’s the sales force.
 I know some parents find it easier to just take the sheet or cookies to work/church and sell for their daughter.
 Yeah, that would take less time and energy. And I wouldn’t have spent countless hours during the weekends sitting outside of businesses or in my car while she asked, “Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?”


And I probably wouldn’t have to sit by this smelly trash can.
 But while sit here with the wafting remains of whatever that is, she’s getting told:
 “No.”
 “No, thank you.”
 “{silence}”
 “Yes, when I leave.”
 “Do you have…”
 Some people are really nice and reaffirm much of what I love about living here. Others, well, they probably had a bad day and deserve some grace. Even if it is hard for me to give them.
 But, I’ve learned it’s not about the cookies.


Here’s what it’s really about:
 
 Watching your daughter learn to make change and having them count it back to her customer.
 
 Watching her ask for an additional sale when someone hands her a $10 or $20, and have the people actually agree to her sales tactic.
 
 Helping her learn to visit with someone with a disability.
 
 Watching her organize.
 Interacting with her as she asks me to do a specific task to help her organize.
 
 Watching her interact and learn to make small talk.
 
 Watching her learn to multi-task as she restocks her table and sells cookies.
 
 Helping her meet people who are different and who have different life stories.
 
 Helping her respond positively, no matter what she’s heard in response to her request.
 
 Hearing her answer questions posed to her.
 
 The real truth:
 It’s about spending countless hours with your girl, watching her grow and mature.
 
 That’s my take-away.
 
 So, yes, it’s easier for me to do it. But, what would we both miss if I did?
 
 And, besides, who’d smell this trash? ;)
 
 – Court

Paper #1: Directions

LENGTH: 2 pages

FORMATTING: typed, double spaced, with 1″ margins and Times New Roman 12 pt. font. 

SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS: The paper should illustrate an interpersonal conflict you’ve recently experienced or witnessed.  THIS IS NOT BASED ON TELEVISION, BOOKS, MOVIES, or any OTHER TYPE OF MEDIA.  What was the driving factor causing the conflict?  How was the conflict resolved?  If the conflict has not resolved, what are some tools that might lead toward a resolution?

DUE DATE: March 3, 2014, 6 p.m.  

LATE WORK POLICY: Papers will be accepted late with a 20 point deduction for each calendar day the paper is late. The day I receive it my hand is the calendar day it will be accepted. For example if you turn it in on Friday, but I don’t know anything about it until Monday, I will consider it to be turned in on Monday. This means you will need to make arrangements with me by phone or email that you are turning it in late.