I love books! I really enjoy reading (or listening to the audio books) because it gives me a chance to escape reality. So today, I am rambling on about Books. Leave a comment with your favorite book or series so I can add it to my reading list.
I’ll admit it, I have an addiction to old books. I collect them and put them on display in my house. Why? Because I love their smell, the feel of them, the pages feel, and the hard cover with cloth on it. It feels authentic when I look at them. It’s like a nostalgia but, not really.
I really appreciate that this sponsor allows me to write how I feel and doesn’t tell me what to write. The only request was that I keep it family friendly (which means no cussing). I can do that! I can edit!
Back to the blog post…
My favorite books are poetry type books. Dr Seuss and Shel Silverstein are my favorite children’s authors. I had One fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish memorized through about 1/4 of the book.
When my kids were little, I would tell them I could read with my eyes closed, hold the book over my head, and then recite the story on the page. They were blown away… until they learned to read. Then the gig was up.
A natural disaster leaves the young girl wandering alone in an unfamiliar and dangerous land until she is found by a woman of the Clan, people very different from her own kind. To them, blond, blue-eyed Ayla looks peculiar and ugly–she is one of the Others, those who have moved into their ancient homeland; but Iza cannot leave the girl to die and takes her with them. Iza and Creb, the old Mog-ur, grow to love her, and as Ayla learns the ways of the Clan and Iza’s way of healing, most come to accept her. But the brutal and proud youth who is destined to become their next leader sees her differences as a threat to his authority. He develops a deep and abiding hatred for the strange girl of the Others who lives in their midst, and is determined to get his revenge.
The story is well written and really draws you in. I read that the author put a lot of research into writing the books too. They are amazing!
And now I pass it onto you… What is your favorite book or book series? Tell us in the comments below.
I have not fallen off the planet, I just needed to take some much-needed time for quiet introspection. I was having a really hard time and I tried to get back into blogging and YouTube but it just wasn’t happening for me.
Those of you who know me in real life know that at the end of June I actually got a job! I was thrilled. I was on cloud nine. It looked like my life was taking the turn I needed. And then about two weeks later I was fired. I was devastated.
I don’t know why I was fired and they didn’t have to tell me because it was during my probation period but, they said it wasn’t my performance. I did very well. I have some ideas of why but nothing that I can prove. I would love to know why because if it’s something I can fix, then maybe it will help me keep a job.
I really appreciate that this sponsor allows me to write how I feel and doesn’t tell me what to write. The only request was that I keep it family friendly (which means no cussing). I can do that! I can edit!
Back to the blog post…
Not knowing why, I felt like I didn’t have a good direction to go. From a comment made during my firing, I know it’s something in my background. I spent time researching my background and ordered a full background check. Nothing. I am a good girl. All I can tell you from that background check is that I move a lot, have kids and a husband, own land in Tennessee, and no one can spell my name correctly.
But for bettering myself? Yea, I have no idea. That is why I decided to check out from social media (except for family) and really take a good hard look at my life. Like, I really met it face to face. I finally believe the doctors (from years ago) who told me I would never work outside my home again. I believe them now. I didn’t want to believe them before but I fully do now.
I am never going to be able to hold a job outside of my house so I need to focus on what I do best. As much as that hurts to say, I accept that. I don’t have to like it to accept it. So I am accepting it.
And now I will focus on what I am best at… Writing. Because I am not letting this depression get the best of me! I set goals for this month to keep me focused.
Goals for this month
My goals for this month are easy so I can get back into my groove.
Each week I will make six posts.
Each post will start with a letter of the alphabet. Nov 1 is A. Nov 2 is B. Nov 3 is C. And so on.
All posts will be about positive things or will be about something that I am grateful for.
I am hoping to get on YouTube video in each week but we’ll see how that goes for now. I am definitely working on this.
I want to make it to where this is my full-time “job” so that I make it my habit.
I am looking forward to this. Since I won’t be getting a job… ever… I am back to blogging full-time! WOOHOO!
I decided to post every other Wednesday on websites I have visited throughout the last two weeks that I found interesting, neat, weird, useful, or anything else that strikes my fancy.
I’ll try to limit it to about five or so. If you find a website that looks cool, let me know in the form at the end of the post. If you don’t want me to use your name, I won’t. I’ll just make one up.
Website #1: DNRC Interactive Wildland Fire Map
This past month theDNRC Interactive Wildland Fire Maphas been my daily check. We’ve had Wildfires near our home. While I don’t think it would jump a river to burn our town to the ground, the smoke was unreal and we left so we could keep breathing.
Website #2: AirNow
Going hand in hand with the first website is the AirNow air quality map. It helped us decide which path we would take out of the state. Usually we go one route but that one was covered in smoke worse than our area. We decided to go the other route instead.
Website #3: The Spruce
I was searching for a gluten-free recipe ideas for a cobbler (because I miss cobblers!) and I found this gem of a website. I started on this page (a recipe I can alter) and ended up browsing her whole gluten-free recipe collection. I am a fan! I am also learning about canning food from there. This is something I have wanted to learn for a while.
I have been slightly busy lately. I did get a job for a bit. I worked two weeks before I was fired. I can’t get anyone to hire me so I am considering the fact that, eventually, I may need to move. I dread this idea because Montana is perfect for me. I spent time thinking about it and deciding where to go but I am just not sure yet.
I traveled to southern California to get away from the smoke of the wildfires raging in Montana. The trip was nice but made me realize how much I really love it in Montana. When I go back, I am going to double down on either making my own money or getting a job. I’m not really holding my breath on either though. In five years, I have not had any luck with either except for a spurt of income here or there.
I was thinking of starting YouTube back up but, I am working on the motivation… I figured, if I started blogging again, I would get motivated to do YouTube. Is it working? We’ll see.
The CV Axle, The Drive, and Why Does No One Listen To Me?
Ever since I started therapy years ago, my big complaint is that no one listens to me. I am not taken seriously. Let’s take this trip as an example.
No to CV – Part 1
Before we left, like a month or so before, my son took the car to a mechanic. He’s a good mechanic and I needed the CV axle changed out. We had the part and everything. He dropped the car off and left for So Cal. I got a call that it wasn’t the CV axle and it was the (forgot which part) instead. I asked if they could change the CV axle anyway and they insisted it didn’t need changed. It was fine. So they got the part, fixed it, even drove it to my apartment. But, they didn’t change the CV axle. Meh. Fine. Whatever.
I drive the car to a few out of town places and I can still hear the occasional sound of my car wanting the CV axle changed. It sounds… off. The wildfires start, the smoke rolls in, and we debate on leaving and heading south. The smoke was pretty thick. I mean, the state was on fire, it was bad.
I have asthma but my youngest son has worse asthma than I do. I was starting to feel dizzy just walking through the apartment to use the bathroom. I forgot to screenshot the air quality map but it was pretty bad. It wasn’t the worst level, but it was really close.
We finally decided we did need to leave because we had the doors and windows shut and it was still hard to breathe. Plus, with the doors and windows shut, it was hot as hell in my apartment. So, we finally packed up and left. I snapped this picture at one of our stops.
There was so much smoke filtering the sun that I could walk around with no sleeves on and we could stare directly at the sun without solar viewing glasses. Each stop was a quick, “Get out, go pee, get back in, and let’s go.”
Starting to worry
I was starting to worry about the car around Missoula. I could really hear the metal on metal sound. I didn’t say anything to my ex or my older son in Cali because I didn’t want to worry them.
We slept at a rest area near Billings where the sky was clear. It was so nice to breathe again without feeling like I was snorkeling through Jell-O. We were still coughing up crap (and we still are to this day) but it was easier to breathe, we could stop for longer rest breaks, and Jack-Jack was able to run around a bit at the stops.
We made it to Buffalo, Wyoming for a gas stop. When we were pulling into the gas station, I heard a sound that I am not sure what the hell it was but it wasn’t good. I pumped gas and then tried to drive off. It was horrible. The car was shaking when I tried to move. The only blessing is that we broke down right in front of a mechanic shop.
No to CV – Part 2
I went over and they said it was the power steering pump, ordered the part, and let us hang out in their parking lot (because, like, where were we going to go?). One of the ladies came to the car and offered to buy us a hotel room for the night and watch our cat. I was really happy about that but we were fine car camping. They were great! I mean, they really went above and beyond… except they wouldn’t change out the CV axle.
At that point, I was just happy they changed out the power steering pump and still happy that they worked to get us in the day the part came in (usually it takes a week to get your car worked on. They were booked.) The next morning, they got the power steering pump changed out, and we got on our way.
We can still make it!
And that is when I really started to worry about the car. I was consistently hearing a clicking sound (for lack of a better description) and feeling the grinding every time I turned. I started having issues with it vibrating when I hit 65 mph so I started driving anything below that.
We made it out of Wyoming and into Utah. I HAD to drive highway speed through Salt Lake City area (it was a little south of it, I think) because I didn’t feel like being run over. We made it out of the heavy traffic and by then, I was a nervous wreck. The car felt like shit, it was vibrating so bad I half expected to watch a tire run off from my car, and the grinding was worse.
I still didn’t say anything because I thought we’d be able to make it to the Lancaster area without having someone come rescue us. (I was wrong)
I can’t drive 55! No really. I can’t.
So, after Salt Lake City, I found a private/public rest area to take a nap in because my adrenaline rush wore off. They have nice rest areas! It’s at a Chevron station that has a HUGE parking lot. We parked in the back and I slept for a bit. Then we headed off to the next rest area once it was cooler outside.
The ride there was slow. I could do about 55 mph without it shaking to pieces while I drove. So, to everyone in Utah driving on I-15 southbound… I am so sorry. I know I held up traffic and I apologize profusely… and thank you for not running me off the road.
After rest area #2 in Utah, we headed on with our trip and I knew I was going to have a hard time. I could only go 50 mph without it shaking to death.
We made it to the Moapa exit in Nevada. I slept for a bit because it’s really draining to drive a carthat you aren’t sure is going to fall apart while you are driving it down the interstate. I was seriously worried I was going to end up killing someone when the car fell apart.
Then we headed out again. I was dreading driving through Las Vegas but we made it through. I drove at about 65 mph with the car shaking horribly the whole way. I white knuckled the steering wheel. I won’t lie… I was terrified. My chest hurt from the stress.
Once out of Las Vegas, I slowed back down to 50 mph. Then we hit the mountains coming into California.
You shall not pass!
Driving up the mountain pass this time was like trying to bike uphill. I was happy when I hit 35 mph. We made it almost up the mountain when the car overheated and I had to take an exit to let it cool down. We sat there for about an hour… maybe. And then headed to the rest area the was not too far from there. It had overheated by the time we got there.
By then, it was getting hot, we were miserable, and the car sounded like it chewing metal while we drove. We couldn’t go very fast at all. I was updating the guys in So Cal to how bad it really was at this point. I figured it was close enough for a rescue if I needed it.
Eff this! Come get me!
Back on the road, we made it to Barstow where we stopped in a park and parked under a tree for shade. I needed Benadryl from the extreme heat and I was starting to get a headache. I took my medicine and sent messages of how we were staying right there until it cooled down.
After chatting through text about how bad the car was doing, my older son decided to come get me with his friend… and I was totally cool with this idea because I didn’t feel like getting stranded in the desert with no cell signal! I also mentioned that, oh yea, by the way, no one will change out the CV axle. He wasn’t happy.
They stopped to get some parts to help fix the car and then headed there. I slept for a bit enjoying the shade while we waited.
And my car is toast
When they showed up, first thing they did was check the fluids. I had already checked all the fluids (except the transmission fluid) and they were good. When they checked, the coolant was low. WHAT?! I was so mad.
Then, I was like, “Hey, let me drive this so you can hear the grind.” Only when I drove it… no noise. I was so pissed at my car I could have spit fire. After a little bit of inspecting, they decided to test drive it. They didn’t make it out of the parking lot before stopping and saying, “Oh hell no! This is getting fixed here!”
We found a parking lot that was flat so they could fix it. They started taking it apart and saw how bad it was and decided to call for a tow. Only, the AAA that we have, only covers seven miles for towing. You gotta be fucking kidding me. Who the hell needs a seven mile tow??? It was going to cost $780 something to tow it back to my ex’s place.
So we debate amongst ourselves on what to do. The meds were all fine by then and my headache was gone, so I said I could just drive the car while they followed. I mean, I drove it this far, right! Right? Hehe.
It’s like slowly driving the car into the ground
We started driving and Oh. My. GAWD. We could safely do about 40 mph… if you want to call it safe. The car was shaking to death. We would pull over to let people pass then pull back onto the highway. And then I hit a railroad track… I could feel the wheel shaking and it sounded like the car was coming apart at the seems.
My older son had to take over after that. We were safely doing 25 to 35 mph the rest of the way back to his place. The front driver side tire looked slanted and you could see the shaking from the follow car at times.
My car is now parked in a garage awaiting repair. And guess what needs to be replaced…
The CV Axle! It’s the CV axle! It needs changed. Who’d of thunk it!? It was like a huge mystery that no one would have guessed!
I am not mad at the second mechanic. They fixed the main problem of the moment and went out of their way to get us in ASAP to fix it. I thank them.
But the first mechanic… why didn’t you just change it out? We had the part! I was willing to pay for it.
I am over being pissed off but THIS is what I keep saying. No one will listen to me. It’s like I am yelling into a void. Is it because I am a woman? Cuz I will totally have a sex change if it means someone will finally fucking listen to me!
Why won’t people listen to me? I want to know.
Anyway, we are here now. I am making pizza today. I will be working on a YouTube video for my gluten-free flour recipe. We’ll be here for a least a couple of weeks. I’ll keep you updated. we’ll probably be here a couple of weeks. I miss home but this is okay for now because at least my CV axle will be changed out (and everything else we ruined by driving with a bad CV axle)
Well, this year hasn’t been the best. But it hasn’t been the worst either. I can honestly say I am looking forward to therapy on the 7th though. February was just my shit month which is why I haven’t posted.
The biggest thing was that my cat, Gizmosis, died. I was devastated. I am dealing with it okay, I think. I am not sobbing daily anymore. I just get a bit teary eyed now. Here is the last picture I have of him.
To start out the month, it was going okay. I have my new tattoo gun (actually two of them – one for lining and one for shading), needles, ink, transfer paper, and everything I need to start learning how to tattoo. I did my first tattoo just above my knee. for a first, it wasn’t horrible. I do have a long way to go though. I tattooed one person for practice. As soon as I have more needles, I will be able to practice more.
Therapy and hurting myself (not like that!)
Then I went to therapy where I discussed a lot of my plans and I talked about stuff that bugged me. I showed off my stupidly long scarf. Then I mentioned walking home. I was thinking of calling my son to come get me because it rained and the ground was freezing. As I left, I changed my mind because I needed exercise.
I walked home because I thought maybe I would feel more invigorated and then I could blog! I needed to do that. I hadn’t posted anything. As I walked, the ground became less “a little icy” and more “a solid sheet of ice”. I walked slowly across the roads and then walked on the snow because it was crunchy and had texture and the ice would give way so I had a little bit of traction. This was going well until I was about half way home.
I was crossing the road and decided to walk in some truck tracks for more traction. That was kind of okay for about two steps, next thing I know, I am face down on the road. Oh. My. God. The pain didn’t quite hit right away. In fact, I didn’t really feel anything wrong until I tried to get up. That is when I knew I done fucked up. I had to slide myself over to a snow berm to crawl up so I could get up. Walking the rest of the way home was more like limping very slowly.
Since then, my shoulder is still really messed up. My knee healed but my shoulder is really messed up. I had an MRI yesterday and I’ll find out Monday how that is. But I am able to use it a very little. At least now I can type again without crying. That’s a plus!
Still Looking for Work
I am still looking for work but now I am thinking work at home is my only option. I have talked with a few people about moving but I want that to be my last resort. If I can make $800 a month, I can pay all my bills and survive. So right now, that is my goal… no matter how small it is.
I’m making myself available as a virtual assistant, working on illustrations for a children’s book (which I learned how to do!), and hopefully will have one done and ready to publish soon.
At first I was saying by the end of March but I don’t think that will happen. My plan for now is to have the draft ready by the end of March and to have a book ready to publish by mid-April. This is my very first illustration I attempted. I just grabbed the first picture I found and did it. I created two styles and I kind of like them both. Here are the samples. But first, the original picture.
First lesson learned? I need to really brighten the pictures so they look better as the illustrations. But I do like the styles.
I also found a company that I can back that I will be selling products from. It’s a health and wellness business. And I am trying to find my Mark make-up seller information. I know I have it I just can’t find it.
Between all those, something has to give!
And back to Blogging
Now that I can type again, I will be blogging more. Probably not daily but my goal is to write a little something every day and then post when it’s long enough. I’ll have a post about twice a week if I can keep it up and still be able to work on my other projects.
I was asked if I am still going to do YouTube videos. I really want to! But that may just have to remain a hobby for now. Let me get the promising stuff done first, then I’ll think about YouTube.
I found a VEGAN cheese sauce that I actually like! I can hear it now, “But Dotchi… Bacon and cheese isn’t vegan.”
I know! That’s why this recipe is so cool. It is vegan but it tastes like Bacon Cheddar spread you would buy for crackers, only it tastes better… and spicier. I should warn you: I like spices. You can adjust the intensity to your liking though.
First the recipe because it drives me nuts when I have to scroll through 40 pages of recipe tales to get to the actual recipe. I am adding links to the stuff I use. I get nothing for this (I wish) this is just to help new cooks and those unfamiliar with some of the ingredients.
Further down I will tell the story of how I got to this…
Spicy Bacon Vegan Cheese Sauce
Ingredients List in order of use (don’t judge it by the ingredients)
Step 1 ingredients
2 cups Sweet Potatoes (the white ones, not yams) peeled and cubed
You could use regular russet, red, or golden potatoes.
I use white vinegar because that’s what I have but you can use Apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, or anything else you like. It will taste a little different. I’ve been known to use any wine I have lying around *cough*.
Put the potato pieces and carrot pieces in a pot with enough water for boiling.
Bring to a boil and then reduce heat for about 20 minutes or until the food pieces are fork tender. Fork tender means it’s really super easy to stab it with a fork.
Once tender, drain the veggies and place them in a food processor (or blender. I’ve done both. Either works just fine)
Step 2 of Spicy Bacon Cheese Sauce
Add all the other ingredients into the food processor or blender.
Turn on your food processor or blender and run it until everything is blended and all smooth and creamy like.
You may need to stop and scrape down the sides in between running it. Sometimes I do. Sometimes it cooperates.
It will look like this:
Serve this over veggies, pasta, potatoes… I really loved it on broccoli!
How I discovered Spicy Bacon Vegan Cheese Sauce
Okay, now for the rambling chatty part.
My friend, Java, is allergic to milk and cheese. One of the things we’ve been trying to find is a cheese substitute. We ran into a few problems…
1. Some “non-dairy” cheeseshave casein, a milk derivative, in them.
To me, that is as stupid as putting peanut oil on cashews(even when they aren’t salted!) or putting soy lecithin in almond milk and then declaring it a safe alternative to soy (I think they all switched to sunflower lecithin – another allergen of mine but not as unreasonable as soy lecithin).
2. Daiya has xanthum gum, which isn’t very kind on the digestive system. And I didn’t really care for the taste. It’s been awhile and I haven’t retried it. It didn’t win me over though.
3. Some are impossible to find in the areas we live. I live in NW Montana and shop in Montana, Idaho, and Washington. Java lives on the east coast in a southern state.
4. We needed to avoidCashewbecause of dietary restrictions on Java’s end plus, it’s impossible to find it not drenched in peanut oil.
What we’ve tried…
I tried various alternatives I found, like a box of Macaroni and Chreese. It was gluten-free, dairy-free, and supposed to taste like regular macaroni and cheese. I know what regular macaroni and cheese tastes like. It wasn’t even in the same ball park. It was like macaroni and dirt vomit.
I tried a few others and they just flat sucked. They didn’t even have a hint of cheese flavor. They either tasted like dirt, vomit, bitter lemons, or something like that. They just were not good.
We also tried whatever store brand we could actually eat. But none of them had a good flavor.
Mouth feel – It’s not really a criteria, but it does help.
And I haven’t even touched on mouth feel yet! (<- Hahaha, see what I did there!)
I am not a huge “mouth feel” kind of person. I survived on puree mush for quite a while. If it just has the flavor I am mostly happy. Hell, I drank pizza that wasn’t too bad!
BUT, mouth feel does compliment or destroy a food. If it’s supposed to be “melty and delicious” but comes out tasting like ass and having the consistency of curdled milk… nope nope nope!
Alternatively, if it’s supposed to be like pancakes, soft and fluffy, but comes out kind of flat and dense but tastes pretty okay, I can handle that.
But it takes a LOT to make “mouth feel” make or break something for me.
My worst mouth-feel story was vegan chocolate pudding. It had maple syrup, avocado, and cocoa powder. I like maple syrup. I like avocados. I like chocolate. So I didn’t think it would be too bad. I thought it might taste a little weird with the avocado.
But, meh, I made it anyway. I have never gagged so hard on something before in my life. It coated my mouth with a goo that felt like snot, acted like glue, and clung to my uvula for dear life. Luckily, the stomach acid helped clean it off as it went rushing by. It was absolutely horrible!
Vegan Cheese Google Search
The other day, I was surfing around Google looking for something not food related when I found this link…
It’s gluten-free. It’s vegan. It’s cheese-ish. It looks like cheese sauce. It’s freaking orange!
She created hers from another recipe. You can find ithere. It’s a nut-free, yeast-free, dairy-free, vegan, cheese-like sauce.
I looked at both and noticed that I would not be eating those because they call for soy sauce or coconut aminos. I can’t have soy. The coconut aminos are too expensive for me. Also, I can’t have lemon or paprika. Almond milk is out for us but I could use coconut milk. I altered the recipes to suit my needs and started cooking.
I made the first batch with the substitutions and it was pretty okay. Was it cheese-like? No. Was it a good substitute? Yes. I think it was.
Sharing the cheesy joy – the substitutions
Then I wanted to make it and share it with my older son and that’s when I ran into problems. He can’t have garlic, onion, lemon, or mustard. Also, I can’t have paprika. So there went a lot of flavor.
I substituted paprika for chipotle because I didn’t have any cayenne or mild pepper. I felt ground jalapeno would be too much.
I added honey instead of lemon (a common substitution for me) because vinegar went in for mustard. I figured the lemon was probably for smoothing out the taste which is why I picked honey and not lime juice (which I am out of).
I think the mustard added zing to it so when I substituted it to share I just added vinegar since mustard is just mustard seed ground and LOTS of vinegar.
I skipped substituting the garlic and onion since chipotle is so much stronger than paprika.
I used sweet potatoes because I don’t react to them like russet potatoes (which is a rather painful reaction I would like to avoid).
I tinkered with the recipe a couple of times. I tossed one batch because it was too… something. It just wasn’t tasty. FINALLY, I came up with the recipe you see above but not with as much nutritional yeast.
I liked it okay but I decided to add just a LITTLE bit more nutritional yeast. Fun fact: The nutritional yeast lid has two sides. One for sprinkling nutritional yeast and one for accidentally dumping too much into the blender. Whoops.
I decided it couldn’t be worse than some of the other concoctions I have come up with so, I blended it in.
Vegan SpicyBaconCheese Sauce was born!
Then I tasted it. I couldn’t place the flavor at first. Cut me some slack… I haven’t had bacon, real or fake, since August 25, 2010. I had my son try it and I said, “Does it taste cheddary to you too?” He replied with, “It tastes like cheddar bacon spread you put on crackers.”
That’s when it clicked in my head! OMG! He was right! That was the flavor! I made cheddar bacon cheese sauce. Wait! No… I made VEGAN cheddar bacon cheese sauce. I also added too much chipotle. It was setting my face on fire.
I cut back on the chipotle, took out the black pepper I had added to my first batch, and carefully measured the nutritional yeast to see how much got to the “bacon cheddar” flavor. (1/4 cup for mild flavor, 1/3 cup for awesomeness)
We ate it by itself. I ate it with half the nutritional yeast which I think has a less bacon flavor but I like it. We also ate it on rice noodles. Today we ate it on broccoli and that is honestly my favorite way. It tastes so much like cheddar when on top of broccoli that I kind of impressed myself.
I finally dubbed it “Not-Cheese”and added it to the family recipe book.
I am more excited now about trying other recipes of homemade non-dairy cheeses and I’ll let you know when I try them.