Short Story Sunday – “Falling Stars”

“In our universe, a star explodes and dies every single second and there’s you, worrying about work tomorrow.”

Tasha sighed and signed out of her Twitter account. It amazed her how exactly those words had summed up her life. Technology was a trip.

Curtis: Hello love.

Tasha: Not a good time.

Tasha slid the smartphone under the covers as her husband entered the room.

“Hey babe,” he said planting a kiss on her lips. She watched him walk away. Completely compact with everything she’d ever wanted in a man. As he slipped out of his shirt she took the opportunity to admire the dark chocolate, toned physique of her child’s father. Standing 6’1 the man had beauty and brains and had swept her off her feet ten years ago and everything else had been storybook. In less than a year they were married, Carson was born six months after that and their combined salary afforded them the luxury of the two-story house sitting comfortably between two large Oak Trees in Elmhurst Illinois.

Tasha hated those trees. They had somehow become the mocking occasion of her perfect life. Successful real-estate agent, wife, mother, and homeowner and yet here she was, stuck between two men; both just as large and overwhelming as those trees. She’d have to remember to have at least one of them cut down. Their existence, how they mocked her very life, was too much to take.

Anthony walked off, discarding of his clothing on the bathroom floor and wrapping a towel around his waist. “What time you getting off tonight?” he yelled.

“Nine, this case is really kicking my butt.” There it was. Another lie. It was her fourth lie this month. She knew because she counted. It was difficult at first, but whenever she thought about rolling around on the floor with her boss it became much much easier.

Curtis was nothing like Anthony and that reality was perhaps one of her greatest fears and pleasure too. More so than the betrayal, the lies, even more so than the sex was that these men couldn’t be any more different. It was that, their differences, that Tasha loved even more than getting caught. She smiled wickedly. Why did the thought excite her so? She’d built trust with Anthony and how she capitalized on that trust. Taking advantage of their years she played the men like strings. Pulling and tugging on their position in her life and manipulating the occasion.

Tasha met Curtis when she was just an intern at Curtis & Law and he was well aware that she was married. Tasha preferred it this way and often beamed with satisfaction. If ever there was an occasion to sleep around she’d found it. If ever there was a secret to deceit, she’d cracked the code. Her life with Anthony was secure and she made it clear she would never divorce him. Curtis was OK with that and vowed that their time together was nothing more than a thing.

Curtis: Tash, you there?

The text alert startled her and Tasha scrambled to mute the phone alert before it became noticeable. One downfall to cheating was extreme paranoia, everything was exaggerated and Tasha was sure the muffled sound of the phone could be heard through the sound of the shower. Peaking down at the screen she rolled her eyes. This was starting to get old real fast. He knew he had no right to call her that. Only Anthony called her “Tash.” Curtis had professed his love last night and somehow thought it gave him free reign to be the first man in her life. She thought she’d made it very clear that would never happen. Maybe I should just call off, thought Tasha. The dread of the workplace had become intense. Any occasion to which she had to see Curtis face in public sent her cascading through mental turmoil and she felt she would explode.

“In our universe, a star explodes and dies every single second..”

Tasha scrolled her Twitter timeline once more. Her  addiction to technology had her constantly checking her phone. Or was it nerves?

“…a star explodes and dies every single second..”

Is this what death feels like? she thought. Am I dying?

Anthony was her everything and her heart broke at the thought of what this would do to him if he ever found out and yet, the thought was quickly erased by another lie.

Please, I’m tripping. Men do this all the time. Tasha told herself to soothe the bruise of adultery seeping from her pores.

Anthony walked out of the bathroom. A towel wrapped around his waist and another one he used to dry his hair. Goodness, that’s a beautiful man. Tasha thought.

Curtis: Meet me at the spot, One hour.

Startled, Tasha scrambled to answer her text.

“Tell Curtis you’ll be late this morning,” smiled Anthony, seductively approaching his wife.

Tasha smiled a wicked smile. Poor Ant, he would never know. It amazed her how color had such an impact on the way people saw the world. Anthony would never suspect a culprit in the proper, brown haired, blue-eyed white boy that is his wife’s boss.

Tasha: I need a few hours. (wink)

Curtis: OK love.

***

“Tell Curtis you’ll be late this morning,” Anthony smiled but his blood raced. She had been with him again. He could tell by the racing of her eyes. How they searched him, bouncing back and forth between him and the cell phone she kept tucked underneath the covers. He smiled, hoping it would calm her nerves some. She was a mess and he wondered how long she would keep this up. How much longer could she take hurting herself to hurt him? How much longer would she take him into her arms, poisoning their love with the kiss of her lips? How much longer would he let her?

Anthony smiled again and let the dry towel fall to his ankles, his throbbing manhood at full salute. He would be with her again for the last time, or so he told himself. He approached her, watching as she sneaks text on her phone before pushing it back into the sheets. Anthony watched her racing eyes and let his body cover hers, hoping to calm her. At least for tonight. He swallowed hard and kissed his wife on the lips, tasting for the last time the flavor of deceit.

Advertisements

Blogger Support: Fact or Fiction?

That one follower who likes every one of your posts no matter what it is. Ever wonder if it’s real? Yea, me too.

No, I don’t believe in fake followers. I believe every subscriber is flesh and blood, despite their reasoning for doing so. I do, on occasion, wonder: when you like a post, do you click that button because you really like or agree with the content? Or is it just to show your support for the blog you just followed? And if it’s to show support, do you think it helps or hinders the blog? I mean, you can tell if someone is truly engaged or if it’s just a routine type deal so I’m just wondering. I suppose you can call this a random Sunday thought. (Hey, I like that) Do you engage blogs you follow because you are interested in the perspective or just to give the illusion that you are since you followed them? Personally, since starting this blog I’ve come to enjoy interacting with other blogs. It fulfills my need to be of service and it also helps my own blog because people generally tend to give back, not that I support for this reason at all, it’s just one of the perks to blogging. As they say, “to get support you have to give it” If the people aren’t coming to you, you have to go to the people. But I only like posts I really like or find useful in some way so I’m just wondering. What kind of blog support do you engage in? And which in your opinion is more effective? Are you a silent supporter? That is, you shake your head in approval and shout your, “That’s rights!” into the screen with no intent of seeing your words in print. No matter your method, are you sincere in your support? Is it fact or fiction?

Recipe Sunday – Potato and Beef Pie

RS

Its been a minute since we’ve had a Recipe Sunday. For those of you new to the PBS place to be, Recipe Sunday is when I share a fun recipe with you on you guessed it…Sundays. Not just any recipe, but recipes that are specifically designed to be simple for those who are not experts in the kitchen. Cooking is an area I’m not very excited about but I love getting creative and that means recipes. They put me in a cooking mood and give me the motivation I need to get going. After all, I do have a family to feed. Meal preparation is not just important, it is one of the skills I don’t think is taught enough these days.

So anyway, last week I was searching around the house for something to cook. But I was in the mood for something creative. I decided to take regular household foods we often always have in bulk, and try to see what I could do with them. This is good practice for lean days. If for whatever reason a catastrophe ensues, are you capable of creating a meal from the seemingly little things?

I grabbed:

Potatoes, Nacho Cheese, Ground Beef, Pancake Mix, Butter, and Tony Chacheres Creole Seasoning (while your at it, go ahead and chop up some Onions and Bell Pepper).

 
What a wide range of stuff huh? What exactly did I make?

 
I call it: Potato and Beef Pie

 
1. In a skillet, season and begin cooking the ground beef.

 
2. While the ground beef is cooking, cut your potatoes into squares, set aside.

 
3. Next, lubricate a baking dish with the butter. Make sure it covers the entire pan on all sides.

 
4. Your ground beef should be done now. Make sure it’s well done. Set Aside.

 
5. Make a pancake batter. (Make sure to add an egg or two). Be sure that it’s a thin mixture. If it’s too thick, add more water or milk but make sure it’s nice and thin.

 
6. Coat the baking dish with the batter. This is your crust. Using pancake mix adds a better flavor to me than regular flour. Plus, this is supposed to be a recipe made up of random foods around the house.

 
7. Heat the Nacho cheese so that it’s nice and smooth

 
8. Layer the dish: Add Ground Beef, Onions and Bell Peppers, Nacho Cheese, and Potatoes

 
9. With the leftover Pancake Batter (you may have to make more), coat the entire dish with the batter. This is your top crust.

 
10. Place this dish in the oven and bake uncovered at 350 degrees F. for one hour.

 
Regrettably, I did not take pictures so I cannot show you the end result. But when you take it out of the oven it should be a nice golden brown with delicious goodies tucked on the inside. You should be able to slice into squares or triangles or whatever shape and eat like a pie. The cheese provides just enough moisture for it not to be dry and the beef provides just enough meat to be filling. It was delicious.

 
This is an easy and efficient meal that even the kids will love. A vegetarian version can be made also. Just substitute the ground beef with ground Mung Bean, a good meat substitute.

Recipe Sunday – One Dish Blackberry French Toast

blackberry-casserole-sl-1932538-x

If you’re anything like me you love French toast! I actually enjoy them more than pancakes. Pancakes are too filling for me, I can only enjoy like two with additional sides before I’m filled to the brim. But French toast is such a light delicate sweet treat. And what I love about this recipe is that it puts me into the mind of a breakfast casserole. Not to mention it’s super easy to make. Prepare your taste buds to simply go wild. For this recipe we’ll need:

• 1 cup blackberry jam
• 1 (12-oz) French bread load, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
• 1 (8-oz) package 1/3 less fat cream cheese, cut into 1 inch cubes
• 1 Large Eggs
• 2 cups half and half
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
• Maple Syrup
• Whipped Cream

1. Cook jam in a small saucepan over medium heat 1 to 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring once.

2. Place half of bread cubes in bottom of a lightly greased baking dish. Top with cream cheese cubes, and drizzle with melted jam. Top with remaining bread cubes.

 
3. Whisk together eggs and next 3 ingredients. Pour over bread mixture. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Cover tightly, and chill 8 to 24 hrs.

4. Preheat oven to 325. Bake covered for 20 minutes. Uncover and back another 10-15 minutes or until bread is golden brown and mixture is set. Serve with desired toppings.

Now, I’ll turn my head so you can eat 🙂

Recipe Sunday – All Natural Homemade Deodorant

deodorant

Today’s Recipe Sunday comes from an ingredient given to me by a sister of mine. For the record she’s more into this kind of stuff than I am. I love natural hair, toothpaste, shampoo, soap and stuff like that, but I’m not so sure I’m on the whole natural deodorant bandwagon. I don’t particularly like to sweat though your naturally supposed to, and I’m not all that into the smell of my own DNA. However, this is a really nice ingredient for all you naturalist out there; smells good and very simple to make. You will need:

1/4 cup Baking Soda
(don’t you just love this stuff? It’s good in practically anything)
1/4 cup Arrowroot Flour OR Cornstarch / Potato Starch
6 tbsp. Coconut Oil
Essential Oil of choice

Step 1: If your Coconut Oil is solid, melt it slightly. Here’s how I do mine:

Take a piece of foil paper and a skillet. Line the skillet with the foil under a low flame. It will melt quickly, smoothly, and a lot less messy than the microwave.

Step 2: Mix the Baking Soda, Arrowroot Flour, and Coconut Oil together into a smooth paste. Make sure it’s nice and smooth. No lumps allowed.

Step 3: Add an essential oil of your choice for fragrance

Step 4: Store in your jar of choice in a nice cool place. If it gets too warm it will melt into a liquid. Do not store in the refrigerator or it will also melt into a liquid after it thaws. Just store it in a nice cool place. You can actually use this right away too.

Pros and Cons:

The positive about natural deodorant is that it lasts longer. After the initial shock of getting used to wearing it, you actually don’t have to use it every day and because sweat doesn’t make you smell, you won’t be musty. And while you will sweat, sweat is normal and good for you. It cools down the body, removes toxins, helps you to breathe better, improves circulation, and your metabolism accelerates.

The negative about natural deodorant, in my opinion, is that while it last longer, you will sweat and this can be the cause of an unpleasant smell and I just don’t play that. But, let me be fair: The sweat itself does not smell actually; the smell comes from the bacteria in your skin breaking down the sweat secretions released from the sweat glands. So it really depends on finding that happy medium of what works for you. While sweat itself does not smell, sweating more can make you smell even though it’s not the sweat that stinks but the bacteria that works with the sweat. Hope I didn’t confuse anyone there, but I think you so get it. 🙂

Recipe Sunday: Spinach, Onion, and Swiss Frittata

l210500737I know, Recipe Sunday is mad late, but, better late than never is what they say. I am dying to get into this one though. I decided to switch it up a bit so this is a breakfast recipe. You can however make it a dinner if you’re a 24 hour breakfast eater like me. I’ll make pancakes and eggs for dinner in a heartbeat. But enough about me, you will need:

2 Teaspoons canola oil
2 Cups vertically sliced onion
4 Cups baby spinach leaves
8 Large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
3 (3/4th cup) shredded Swiss cheese

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Heat a 10-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 10 minutes or until tender. Add spinach; cook 2 minutes, stirring just until spinach withers.

3. Combine eggs, salt, and pepper. Pour egg mixture over vegetables in pan; cook until edges begin to set, about 2 minutes. Gently lift edge of egg mixture, tilting pan to allow uncooked egg mixture to come in contact with the pan. Cook 2 minutes or until egg mixture is almost set. Sprinkle with cheese.

 
4. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes or until center is set. Transfer frittata to a serving platter immediately; cut into shape of choice and devour. 🙂

Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce

It really don’t make no sense how good this looks. Beef stew anyone? We’ll need:

DSC_0351

• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 pounds trimmed beef flatiron steak or chuck, cut into 8 pieces
• Salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1 cup finely chopped onion
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
• 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
• One 750-milliliter bottle dry red wine
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 thyme sprig
• One 5-ounce piece of pancetta
• 15 pearl or small cipollini onions, peeled
• 15 cremini mushrooms
• 15 baby carrots, peeled
• Sugar
• Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, melt the butter in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange the meat in the casserole in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 8 minutes. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir to coat the meat with it. Add the wine, bay leaves and thyme, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.

2. Cover the casserole and transfer it to the oven. Cook the stew for 1 1/2 hours, until the meat is very tender and the sauce is flavorful.

3. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, cover the pancetta with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain the pancetta and slice it 1/2 inch thick, then cut the slices into 1-inch-wide lardons.\

4. In a large skillet, combine the pancetta, pearl onions, mushrooms and carrots. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 cup of water and a large pinch each of sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until almost all of the water has evaporated, 15 minutes. Uncover and cook over high heat, tossing, until the vegetables are tender and nicely browned, about 4 minutes.

To serve, stir some of the vegetables and lardons into the stew and scatter the rest on top as a garnish. Top with a little chopped parsley and serve.

– Contributed by Jacques Pépin