Favorite Thing Friday: Hallow’s Eve

Standard

Perched on the navy blue sky, the stars look down and wonder why the trees are so lonely and the ground so dark.

Could it be because the leaves have bid adieu? For weeks bright orange, yellow, and red lit everything up with their happy cheer.

And how those friendly leaves loved to chatter with the breeze and the birds. They left a bit too early, the stars can’t help but think.

Moonlit Tree

The wind still talks with whistles and whispers, but no one answers except for the soft crackle of newborn frost.

Owls sit on barren black branches as a chill sinks into the night air. A crescent moon hangs with the stars, wearing a crooked smile this Hallow’s Eve.

Flurries float in the air catching the light of the moon. With winter’s first flight, the stars catch a ride and light up the ground.

- – -

Happy Halloween!

Every wonder where the traditions of Halloween originated? I wrote a post a few years ago that covers everything from costumes to pumpkins: Hallowed History. Enjoy!

- – -

c.b.w. 2014

Seated At The End

Standard

Every time the door opens she looks up. This time it’s a woman with two small children and not the person she is supposed to meet. She arrived an hour ahead of time in order to calm her nerves with a cup of tea. It’s been years since the word “date” had any meaning in her life and the idea going back into the proverbial sea of fish is terrifying, not to mention humiliating.

Her best friend picked the guy. She said he was nice looking and knew the feeling of a divorce. This could be good or bad. Two souls ripe with hurt had a shot of finding comfort in one another, but they could also feed each other’s insecurities and open a new door to Relationship Hell. Then again, nothing could happen as well. Some people just don’t click no matter what they have in common.

She rubs her temples and takes a deep breath. Once again, she’s over analyzing the situation. All those self-help and pop psychology books on her shelf have screwed up her mind more than the trauma of having to start over again. Those books are full of advice, but short on the truth. No one likes to talk about the tricky business of accepting how nothing will ever be the same. It doesn’t matter how much you reinvent yourself because the past you loved is gone. And it’s never coming back.

Fifteen minutes before he is supposed to arrive, the door opens. A man walks in and eyes each table in the cafe as if he’s looking for someone. Could this be him? He is tall with salt and pepper hair and has a kind face. Not bad at all, she thinks. She sits up straight and adjusts her red sweater. In her last text message to him, she told him to look for the woman in red.

His eyes catch hers and then look past her to someone sitting two tables down. His face lights up with a smile and twinkling eyes when he recognizes a woman who is probably half his age. In the name of preserving what is left of her self-esteem, she decides the youngster is his daughter.

Laughter and conversation surround her on all sides. So many people having fun with friends, family, or new acquaintances. And here she is sitting all alone, wondering if she looks as lost and out of place as she feels. She tried to hide it with make-up and the red sweater, but who is she fooling, anyway? Certainly not herself.

The negative thoughts are starting to win, again. Stop. Stop. Stop. Good things are the result of good thoughts. Right? At least they are according to Dr. Whoever and his latest bestselling fix-all solution. Stop. Sarcasm doesn’t help, either.

With only ten minutes to meeting time, she swishes what remains of her black tea to stir up the flavor. There is nothing worse than a bitter end.

- – -

c.b.w. 2014

Pilgrimage

bf1bc47c-6314-4247-ab19-fcb664f9436f_zpsac0b01e2
Standard

Summer is black in sunless sloughs;
shadows haunt, glaring, ghostly eyes
Hidden rivers reach through the vines;
Cloaked in mist, the traveler sighs
Forgotten dreams slumber and wait;
this mad season must find its end
Fluttering lanterns, fireflies glow
and bear witness to trees of gold

 

- – -

Photo: St-Dunstan-in-the-East, London, c.b.w. 2006
Words: c.b.w. 2014

Favorite Thing Friday: Easy Crock Pot Recipes

Standard

I am not a cook, but recent recipe finds on Pinterest have allowed me to serve hot and yummy meals. The best part is all of them require very little effort.

For years, my crock pot sat useless on my counter. This is mainly because everything that came out of it sucked. I had pretty much given up on the thing, until Pinterest came to the rescue. After finding a number of crock pot recipes in the Food & Drink section, I followed the image links and read what people had to say about each recipe. Thanks to blogs and comment sections, I learned what was worth trying and what to leave alone. Plus, I learned a lot about how to cook in a crock pot.

As someone with a stressful, full-time job, the ability to toss a few things in a pot and come home to a warm meal is pure gold. Having tested almost a dozen recipes, these are my Top 5 favorite crock pot recipes (so far).

1. Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Pork

Four ingredients are all you need for this recipe. It’s so simple, it’s almost unbelievable how good it tastes!

fee6aec87150be7860e568b2d646a50d

Click on the image for the recipe!

I highly recommend using Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce.

2. Crock Pot Italian Chicken

Follow the recipe on the pin description, rather than the link. I’ve made this a few times and it’s fantastic every single time. The only tricky part is making sure the cream cheese is soft enough to blend into the other ingredients, (microwaving it is okay!).

7886a54257044bebc5bd922f66813ed9

Click on the image to see the pin.

Rich and creamy, this simple meal is tasty over pasta or rice.

3. Slow Cooker Red Beans and Sausage

I was intrigued by using sausage in a chili-esque dish instead of beef or chicken. Sausage offers a new take on an old dish and I really like it!

7cf944421986ea5097249de03c97feac

Click on the image for the recipe.

I made a few adjustments to this recipe in that I cut down the amount of beans and added chili flavored tomatoes instead of garlic roasted. The recipe calls to serve it over rice, but I decided to serve it with soft tortillas instead.  This chili wraps up nicely into a little burrito.

4. Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

I will never go back to boxed Mac ‘n Cheese after trying this recipe. What’s not to love about creamy, tasty, and easy?!

mac-cheese-crockpot

Click on the image for the recipe.

The only modification I made was adding chunks of cooked kielbasa sausage. The result is a hearty, home-cooked meal.

5. Crock Pot Chicken and Potatoes

Simple, simple, simple! Three ingredients and some water pulls together a filling and flavorful meal.

4d718b0a28d196ba73966dd2681fd6d9

Click on the image for the recipe.

I used baby red potatoes as they are my favorite. I also adjusted the layering suggested in the recipe. To keep the chicken moist, I added a bit more water and buried the chicken within the potatoes instead of on top.

Happy eating!

- – -

What’s your favorite thing this week?

- – -

c.b.w. 2014