Life is Nonfiction

Please see Sassy’s blog in Schnauzer Snips for an update on her (and her new brother Mike’s) adventures.

I like to multitask – even though I once saw a magnet that read (and I bought it for my fridge) : “Multi-tasking: Screwing a lot of things up at once”.

I could never just work on a quilt, in the quiet, I have to be also watching a movie, listening to music or an audiobook. When I was primarily working on traditional quilts from a pattern, I would watch what I call “Quilting Movies” – movies or documentaries that do not require my full undivided attention, just an occasional glance at the screen an listening to the dialogue. I have discovered that when I work on non patterned quilts – art quilts – glancing at a screen breaks my creative thought. Instead, a couple years ago I developed the habit of listening to audiobooks while I quilt.

My next discovery was that I enjoyed to listening primarily to nonfiction audiobooks and over the past 2 years I have listened to one nonfiction audiobook right after the other – while quilting, while walking my fellow blogger Sassy (and her new brother), in the car (audiobooks are exquisite for long drives), and while gardening, cooking, or cleaning. The nonfiction audiobooks I am drawn to are those that expand my view of the world, bring new insight and understanding, and contribute to helping me be a better version of myself. There are moments listening to these types of books that I had to stop sewing a moment, pause in my power walk or sit for a quiet moment in my garden when a big “Ah Ha Moment” came upon me.

Over the next couple of weeks (or more) I will share a little about audiobooks that I have found meaningful over the past 2 years. I will provide a brief summary of the book and share what were the key insights I gained from the books listed below.

Life is nonfiction.

Favorite Nonfiction Audiobooks (alphabetical by author)

  • Brown, Brené (2012). Daring greatly: how the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead. New York, NY: Gotham Books.
  • Burroughs, Augusten (2012). This is how: proven aid in overcoming shyness, molestation, fatness, spinsterhood, grief, disease, lushery, decrepitude & more – for young and old alike. New York: NY: St. Martin’s Press.
  • Cain, Susan (2012). Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking. New York: Crown Publishing.
  • Fey, Tina (2011). Bossypants. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.
  • Gilbert, Elizabeth (2010). Committed: a skeptic makes peace with marriage. New York, NY: Viking.
  • Gordon, John (2007). The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Gladwell, Malcom (2009). What the dog saw and other adventure stories. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.
  • Gladwell, Malcom (2013). David and Goliath: underdog, misfits, and the art of battling giants. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.
  • Duhigg, Charles (2012). The power of habit: why we do what we do in life and in business. New York: Random House.
  • Fiore, Neil (2007). The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play.  New York, NY: Tarcher/Penguin.
  • Guillebeau, Chris (2010). The art of nonconformity: Set your own rules, live the life you want, and change the world. New York, NY: Penguin Group.
  • Heath, Chip (2013). Decisive: how to make better choices in life and work. New York, NY: Crown Business.
  • Heath Chip & Health, Dan (2010). Switch: how to change things when when is hard. New York, NY: Books on Tape.
  • Huffington, Arianna (2014). Thrive: the third metric to redefining success and creating a life of well-being, wisdom, and wonder. New York, NY: Random House.
  • Kelly, Matthew (2011). Off balance: getting beyond the work-life balance mouth to personal and professional satisfaction. Ashland, OR: Blackstone Audio.
  • Kingsolver, Barbara (2007). Animal, vegetable, miracle: a year of food life. New York: Harper Collins Publishers.
  • Kornfield, Jack & Siegel, Daniel (2011). Mindfulness and the brain. Louisville, KY: Sounds True.
  • McKeown, Greg (2014). Essentialism: the disciplined pursuit of less. New York: Crown Business.
  • Robinson, Ken (2013). Finding your element: how to discover your talents and passions and transform your life. New York, NY: Viking.
  • Singer, Michael (2013). The untethered soul: the journey beyond yourself. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.
  • Taleb, Nassim (2012). Antifragile: things that gain from disorder. New York, NY: Random House.
  • Tolle, Eckhart (2005). A new earth: awakening to your life’s purpose. New York, NY: Dutton/Penguin Group.
  • Tolle, Eckhart (1999), The power of now: a guide to spiritual enlightenment. Novato, CA: New World Library.
  • Weber, Lauren (2009). In cheap we trust: the story of a misunderstood American virtue. New York, NY: Little, Brown.
  • White, Jennifer (2004). Work less, make more. Ashland, OR: Blackstone Audiobooks.
Listening to audiobook while I sew

Listening to audiobook while I sew

A Girl’s Gotta Eat!

Recently my friend Ali, a writer for the At Home section of our local paper, asked if I would agree to be interviewed and photographed for an article she was working on about Favorite Recipes (those recipes you nearly have memorized and make over and over again). After she interviewed me for the article and we discussed one of my favorite recipes (Real Simple’s Bean and Chicken Sausage Stew),  I got to thinking about all my favorite recipes. I love cooking nearly as much as I enjoy crafting. It is pretty nice after a Saturday afternoon of crafting in the fall to settle down to a nice stew and some crusty bread…and some delicious cookies for desert.

I have a HUGE binder of all my “clipped” recipes from the past 25 years (hey maybe I started collecting recipes when I was 4 years old, you never know…). My friend Kelvin who is a chef once said “hey can you put that binder in your Will to go to me if something happens to you?” This binder contains numerous torn/clipped recipes from magazines, from friends on notecards and scraps of paper, from old cookbooks that were so worn out I could only try to rescue my favorite recipe, all placed in plastic sheet protectors.

Below are many of my most favorite recipes that I make all the time. Thank you so much to the wonderful publications and blogs that have published these recipes online. Please click on the hyperlinked recipe name below to open the web page with the recipe.

Bean and Chicken Sausage Stew 

I love Real Simple magazine. They offer wonderful tips on cooking, decorating, dressing, cleaning, stress free living, friendship, life, family, etc. My favorite part of the magazine are their excellent easy to prepare recipes. I make this stew all spring, fall and winter long and it is a great way to get the husband to eat kale. I like to use black beans instead of the cannellini beans listed in the recipe. Using spicy chicken cajun Andouille sausage is fun in the recipe or sometimes I just tone it down with a smoked turkey kielbasa.

Winter Vegetable Soup

I am a long time fan of Martha Stewart and this recipe is from Martha Stewart’s Living. I clipped the original recipe from one of my magazines and it is one of my favorite winter soups. The acorn squash trick a couple friends taught me was to bake the acorn squash in the oven before you use it in the soup. I usually split the acorn squash in half, scoop out the middle/seeds and bake for 30-40 min. at 350 degrees. Once it cools it is easier to slice then trying to saw through a raw acorn squash (which can lead to you saying bad words out loud!)

Cajun Rock Shrimp

My friend Michele got this recipe years ago directly from the chef who created it in Seattle and she was kind enough to share. I never imagined I would be able to find a copy of it online (but I did – yay!) to share with you. The secret to this yumminess is to make the sauce a couple hours to the night before ahead of time and let it “think about itself”. It is very spicy and you may want to adjust some of the peppers in it. Serve it with plenty of fresh crusty bread to mop up the wonderful sauce! 

Beer Stew with Beer and Paprika

I am also a huge fan of Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman and her The Pioneer Woman Cooks publications and I have at least 3 of her cookbooks – wonderfully illustrated, great stories and delicious recipes. She is very generous to share many of her recipes online. This recipe is from one of her cookbooks I own but also available online. I love to make this recipe with our beloved local Deschutes Brewery beer Jubelale. I have made it with other beers but Jubelale adds a wonderful distinct yummy flavor to the stew. I also add in some frozen peas to make it more like an Irish Stew. 

Sugared Molasses Crinkles

Okay I think these are the best cookies ever and so do many friends who have tasted them! This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks Where Women Cook: Celebrate by Jo Packham (who also created the amazing publications Where Women Create, Where Women Cook, and Where Women Create Business). I was lucky to find a blogger (astillmagnolia) who had this wonderful recipe online for me to share.

I hope you try out one or two of these recipes and enjoy them as much as we do!

Kale, bean and sausage stew nearly gone bye-bye!

Kale, bean and sausage stew nearly gone bye-bye!