Friday, October 20, 2017

Foodie Fridays: Yum Yum Chicken with Broccoli and Soy Bean Spaghetti

Once again I felt the need come up with a quick and easy recipe using convenient ingredients.  My favorite way to cook chicken is to place it in a crock pot with a cup or so of liquid and letting it cook on the HIGH setting for three hours until it is so tender it falls apart.  I will use just about any liquid, and I happened to have a bottle of yum yum sauce in the pantry, so I thought I would try it.

Yum yum sauce is pale orange and creamy, but by the time the Yum Yum Chicken was done it was neither!  Instead the chicken has a bronzed look and tastes almost like pulled barbecue chicken.  I could have used it for pulled chicken sandwiches, but I had my heart set on a pasta dish, since I just bought some bean-based pastas and wanted to give them a try.  Of the various flavors I had on hand, I chose soy bean spaghetti, mainly because of its orange color which complemented the chicken.  I was worried that bean pastas might fall apart when cooked, but the spaghetti was surprisingly resilient and actually less likely to break than wheat pasta.  I even liked the taste!

The rest of the ingredients are pretty predictable.  I used up the remainder of the Trader Joe's Autumnal Harvest Pasta Sauce I put on last week's pizza, but any sauce would probably work.  I happen to love the combination of chicken and broccoli with pasta (as in my recent easy recipe here), but next time I may try greens and mushrooms as the vegetable.  Any type of pasta can be used instead of the soy bean variety.  I can't wait to try the four other bean pasta flavors I have in my pantry right now - even on a low carb diet these pastas are acceptable.  Feel free to substitute any liquid for the yum yum sauce when making the chicken, but then of course it would no longer be Yum Yum Chicken!

Yum Yum Chicken and Broccoli with Soy Bean Spaghetti

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 bottle (16 oz.) Terry Ho's Original Yum Yum Sauce
1 bag (12 oz.) microwaveable broccoli florets, cooked
1 bag (7 oz.) Bellabondonza Organic Soy Bean Spaghetti
2 C. pumpkin or butternut squash pasta sauce

Coat the inside of a crock pot lightly with cooking spray.  Place the chicken in a single layer on the bottom and pour the yum yum sauce over.  Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours, until the chicken is very tender.  Reduce the heat to WARM and shred the chicken in the pot with two forks.  Stir in the cooked broccoli, tossing to combine.  Cover and keep warm.

Cook the soy bean spaghetti according to package directions (3-4 minutes in boiling water).  Scoop the pasta into the crock pot with the chicken mixture, reserving the pasta water.  Add the pasta sauce and toss (rather vigorously!) until all of the ingredients are combined, adding reserved pasta water as needed if the mixture seems dry.  Serve warm.  Serves 6.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

This 'n That Thursdays: Weird and Wonderful Jack O' Lanterns

The ever-popular puking pumpkin!
(from The Cut)

Let's take a break from all things supernaturally nautical this week and look at some wickedly creative jack o' lanterns instead.  From the sublime to the sickening, these transmogrified gourds are just amazing!  See for yourself, starting with the weird:

Conjoined twin pumpkins
(from HubPages)

Big pumpkin cannibalizing little pumpkin
(from Flickr Hive Mind)

Little pumpkin cannibalizing big pumpkin
(from Handmade by Mother)

Predatory pumpkin chowing down on human arm
(from Extreme Pumpkins)

Split-faced pumpkin's skull
(from Mashable)

Split-topped pumpkin's brain
(from Skull-A-Day)

And now for the wonderful:

Giant pumpkin cheeseburger
(from ABC 7 Chicago)

A cute pumpkin owl
(from Brett Bara)

Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater's home, perhaps?
(from House Beautiful)

Edvard Munch's The Scream in pumpkin form
(from Design Stack)

Cozy pumpkin flames in the fireplace
(from Dump a Day)

Coastal-themed pumpkins in a seaside setting
(from Apartment Therapy)


With so many pumpkins from my very first pumpkin patch this year, I may actually carve my own jack o' lantern, but I doubt that I could ever be creative enough to come up with a design as unique as any of the ones here!  There is, however, one jack o' lantern design that is just too frightening to even contemplate recreating:

The terrifying Trumpkin!
(from ShareTu)


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Wish List Wednesdays: Pier 1 Haunted House Cookie Jar

If you are looking for last-minute Halloween dΓ©cor, the Haunted House Cookie Jar (on sale for $14.88, reduced from $29.99!) from Pier 1 would be the perfect place to store your holiday treats.  This earthenware jar is decorated with spooky bats and cats, plus a sinister raven perched on the removable top.  Be sure to order quickly if you want one, as this item is on clearance now.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Terrifying Tuesdays: Leviathan (1989)

From IMP Awards

Like yesterday's short story, today's movie choice features a mutated sea creature.  However, in "Leviathan" (1989) the mutation is a deliberate experiment by humans rather than an accidental freak of nature.  The crew of a mining colony finds a sunken Russian ship and one of the crew members sneaks back a souvenir, with dire consequences for everyone.  The cast includes Peter Weller, Richard Crenna, Ernie Hudson, and Hector Elizondo.  While the plot of cast members being picked off one by one by an unknown horror is standard, the premise is unique, which makes this movie worth watching.  The movie is available free online at HDGO, and you can see it here, but once you do you may never want to watch a film about science gone wrong again!

What is it? (from Horror Homework)

Gore Guide (0=none to 5=extreme): 3 (not extremely gory, but some scenes are rather grotesque and disturbing)

Monday, October 16, 2017

Mysterious Mondays: "The Derelict" by William Hope Hodgson

From Goodreads

"The Derelict", by William Hope Hodgson, is one of many short horror fiction stories associated with the sea written by this English author, sailor, and soldier, whose own unique life experiences helped shape the settings for many of his works.  This tale concerns a very peculiar infestation aboard an ancient derelict vessel.  The unsettling ship is definitely not one that you would want to set foot upon once you know its secret!  You can read the story here, or you can listen to a very well done audio version here.

From Horror Delve

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Weekend Wardrobe: Cognac, Latte, and a Touch of Cream Fall Travel Wardrobe

From Pinterest

One of my favorite fashion colors is cognac, that warm orange- brown tone often seen as an option in leather accessories such as shoes, purses, and belts.  There seems to be a lot of apparel available in shades of this color for fall right now, so I took the opportunity to pair it with warm tans and a bit of creamy white to create a fall travel wardrobe I would love to own.  A fourth color could be added for a bit of contrast, if desired (an icy light blue would work so well here), but for this very short weekend trip I decided to limit the options.  Even though our weather is disgustingly warm and humid right now, I am going to pretend I live in an area where a coat is currently needed (sometimes - okay, most of the time - I really miss Colorado's cool, dry climate!).  In a cooler climate, this is what I would wear in transit:

Clockwise from top left: Land's End Women's Cotton Boatneck Top in Camel Heather Berries; Land's End Women's Cotton Modal V-Neck Cardigan Sweater in Camel Heather; Land's End Women's Leather Belt in Papaya; Land's End Women's Long Sleeve Military Jacket in True Khaki; Seychelles Wake Chelsea Boots in Cognac Leather; Land's End Women's Mid Rise Chino Straight Leg Pants in English Tan; Center: Ralph Lauren Arlington Leather Tote in Cognac.

And here are the items I would pack:

Clockwise from top left: The Steel Shop Gold Steel Wide Cuban Link Necklace; Just Libby Women's Silk Blend Ombre Oblong Scarf in Brown; Free People Days Like This Cardigan in Brown; Land's End Women's Relaxed Supima V-Neck T-Shirt in Ivory;  Land's End Women's Relaxed Supima Crewneck T-Shirt in Bittersweet; Urban Expressions Lucy Crossbody Bag in Cognac; Johnston & Murphy Gwynn Loafers in Cognac; Land's End Women's Mid Rise Straight Leg Chino Pants in Warm Khaki; Land's End Women's Shaped Layering Turtleneck in Ginger Glaze/Taupe Tan Print; Center: Elliott Lucca Cosette Leather Satchel in Cognac.


I just had to add the snowflake emojis to (1) show how well that blue hue would look with this wardrobe and (2) try to convince myself that cooler weather must be on the way to Georgia!  Otherwise, I may really have to pack up this collection and head to a cooler climate, perhaps in pursuit of a cognac-tasting event like the one described here?


Friday, October 13, 2017

Foodie Fridays: Easy Autumn Pizza

As I mentioned last week, I have not had much time for cooking lately so I have been taking short cuts, but I still want to eat delicious and relatively healthy foods.  We recently received a Trader Joe's "Fearless Flyer" touting all of their autumn-themed edibles.  Since I love everything about autumn, including the foods, I stopped by when I happened to be in the area (I rarely get to Trader Joe's because we live a little too far away).  I picked up a lot of intriguing items, one of which was their refrigerated fresh whole wheat pizza dough, which I have been wanting to try but had not yet had the chance.

This week we finally got some rain so I have been spending more time indoors, but of course life can never be that easy so the one day I thought I would have more time to cook I ended up having to take our dog Ruby to the vet because she suddenly became lame.  I decided that day would be perfect for using the pizza dough to make an easy main dish, incorporating many of the Trader Joe's items I bought earlier.  In addition to the dough, I had some frozen autumnal vegetables, a pasta sauce with pumpkin as an ingredient, and burrata cheese.  With a couple of leftovers in the fridge added, I was able to throw together a pizza full of fall flavors.

The result was so good it was all I could do not to devour the whole thing by myself!  When I do finally get a chance to spend more time cooking I will make my own pizza dough, roast up some fresh vegetables, and possibly even make my own pasta sauce, but seriously I am not sure I could improve upon my Trader Joe's-inspired version.  I have never had an autumnal pizza before, but I am certainly going to be making some version of this one again!

Easy Autumn Pizza

1 bag (16 oz.) Trader Joe's frozen Julienned Root Vegetables
1 bag (16 oz.) refrigerated whole wheat pizza crust dough
1 C. Trader Joe's Autumnal Harvest Pasta Sauce
2 C. baby kale
1 T. olive oil
1/4 C. shredded cheese
1 container (8 oz.) burrata cheese

Roast the frozen root vegetables according to package directions.  Remove from the oven and set aside.  Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

While the vegetables are roasting, place the pizza dough on a well-floured surface and roll out to about 12 inches in diameter.  Place the dough on a pizza pan and top with the sauce.  Spread the baby kale leaves evenly over the sauce and sprinkle very lightly with olive oil.  Sprinkle with the shredded cheese.  Top with the root vegetables.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Turn off the oven and remove the pizza.  Pull apart the burrata cheese and spread it evenly over the top of the pizza.  Return the pizza to the hot but turned-off oven for five minutes to melt the burrata cheese.  Remove from the oven and serve immediately.  Serves 6.

Note: If you do not have burrata cheese you can use fresh mozzarella, but do give the burrata a try if you have never had it.  This cheese is a ball of fresh mozzarella wrapped around a creamy center that is a bit like ricotta in texture but much creamier.  Melted over pizza, it is just divine!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

This 'n That Thursdays: Haunted Ship Tours

From Hooked Gamers

Today I thought we would visit some haunted ships, in keeping with my nautical horror theme for the week.  About half of my finds are in California for some reason - either the folks there really like haunted ships, or those ships just naturally gravitate to the West Coast (perhaps a bit of both?).  Anyway, let's get these tours started:

1) The Queen Mary Haunted Encounters and Attractions at Night (Long Beach, California) - the Haunted Encounters daytime tour and the Attractions at Night tours allow visitors to learn about the haunted reputation of the RMS Queen Mary, a retired British ocean liner which served as a troopship during World War II, earning the nickname of the "Grey Ghost" because of her stealth and color.  The Queen Mary is listed as one of the Top 10 Haunted Places by Time Magazine.   Find out tour dates and ticket purchase information here.


2) Star of India Haunted Tales Tour (San Diego, California) - for two nights only (October 21st and 28th for 2017), lantern-led tours on the Star of India feature tales of ghostly legends from the ship's past.  The Star of India is the world's oldest active sailing ship.  She began service in 1863, so you know that she and her past crews must have been through some pretty harrowing experiences! The Haunted Tales tour is included with general admission, which you can book here.


3) USS Hornet History Mystery Tours (Alameda, California) - this after-hours tour of the USS Hornet is offered once a month.  Visitors learn the history of this decommissioned aircraft carrier, getting a chance to enter areas not usually open to the public, and alleged "paranormal hotspots" are investigated.  Also, just for Halloween, there will be a one-time family-friendly Special Halloween-lite Live Aboard Overnight stay (October 21-22)!


From Wikimedia Commons

4) USS Yorktown Ghost Tours (Mount Pleasant, South Carolina) - like the USS Hornet, the USS Yorktown is a decommissioned aircraft carrier, and has an equally haunted reputation.  Nightly 90-minute guided ghost tours are available on most days, and you may even catch sight of one of the 141 men who lost their lives while serving aboard this historic ship.  Check out tour information here.

From Patriots Point


From Corpus Christi CVB

5) USS Lexington Haunted House Tours (Corpus Christi, Texas) - believe it or not, there is a third decommissioned aircraft carrier reputed to be haunted.  The USS Lexington will have Haunted House Tours (I suppose the ship is the "house"?) throughout the month of October (more information here).  During World War II the Japanese claimed to have sunk this ship four times, but each time she reappeared to fight again, earning her the nickname of the "Blue Ghost".


From Onahu Moose River & Western Railway

6) William A. Irvin Haunted Ship Tours (Duluth, Minnesota) - the William A. Irvin is a retired lake freighter now open seasonally for daily tours, including the Haunted Ship Tours in the month of October (see schedule information here, and ticket information here).  Like many ships, the William A. Irvin has had her share of tragedies, and she has been the site of many paranormal investigations, which you can read about here.  Apparently the alleged hauntings are more than just rumors!

From Go Trippin!


From Wikimedia Commons

7) USS Salem Ghost Ship Harbor (Quincy, Massachusetts) - the USS Salem is a decommissioned US Navy heavy cruiser and is the only one still in existence.  Regular tours are suspended for the month of October, when the ship is transformed for the Ghost Ship Harbor event.  Most of the attractions are conducted as immersive "games", but if you purchase the Paranormal VIP Experience ticket you get to participate in a guided tour led by paranormal experts who will take you to restricted areas on the ship and regale you with tales of the paranormal history of the USS Salem (find schedule and ticket information here and here).


Most likely there are more haunted ship tours out there, but the seven listed here should be enough to "float your boat" if you are looking for a very different type of shipboard experience!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Wish List Wednesdays: Steam Ship Silicone Steamer Lids

I am notorious for letting pots boil over.  The best solution I have found is a vented silicone lid, which covers the pot but allows venting of steam so that the pot can boil without boiling over.  I already have one silicone lid that works perfectly well, but when I saw the Steam Ship Silicone Steamer Lids (set of 3 for $12.69) I just could not resist (and coincidentally, they fit this week's ship theme posts quite well!).  My original lid does not fit all pot sizes, so the three different sizes will come in handy.  Most of all, though, I just get a kick out of the image of steam rising from the smoke stacks of the little ship on top!

From The Green Head

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Terrifying Tuesdays: Ghost Ship (1952)

From Listal

There is something truly terrifying about the thought of being trapped on a haunted ship.  There is no escape, and nowhere to run.  Your only option would be to jump into the water if you were desperate to get away, and then visions of "Jaws" (1975) come to mind!  "Ghost Ship" (1952) is a little gem of a movie about a luxury steamer yacht supposedly inhabited by ghosts.  A young Canadian couple (played by real-life couple Hazel Court and Dermot Walsh) buy the boat, scoffing at its haunted reputation.  A series of incidents convince them that the ghostly inhabitants may actually exist, leading them to call in the services of a psychic investigator and a medium.  What exactly was the past of this ship, and why do restless spirits haunt her?  Watch the movie and find out!  Even those who do not care for horror movies can watch this one, as it is not especially scary.  You can see the film at HDGO online for free here.

From Pinterest

Gore Guide (0=none to 5=extreme): 0

Monday, October 9, 2017

Mysterious Mondays: A Sailor's Tale of a Haunted Ship

From Motion Elements

Today's very short sea-themed horror fiction does not have a title, but it is such a creepy little well-told tale that it would be great for spooky storytelling at Halloween.  This story by Welsh-British author Horatio Clare, published in The Telegraph a few years ago, is told from the point of view of a sailor whose mother comes to visit him aboard ship.  What she sees comes as a shock to her son, and it will startle you as well!  Read this brief but effective narrative here.

From Why? This Website

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Seasonal Style: Autumn Southwestern Neutrals

From Ralph Lauren

While searching for inspiration for an autumn seasonal style post, I came across this Ralph Lauren outfit and loved its stylish but cozy, comfortable look with the earthy neutral black and tan color combination.  The room below is equally stylish, cozy, and comfortable in the same color scheme.  Both the apparel and the room are lovely on their own, but could easily be jazzed up with the addition of any color - just imagine turquoise jewelry on the model above, or some turquoise throws added to the sitting areas below.  I could would be happy to own this outfit as well as the living space!


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Weekend Wardrobe: What I've Been Wearing Lately, What I Will Be Wearing, and What I'd Like to Wear!

My favorite new shirt!

I've added several new pieces to my fall wardrobe this year thanks to some weight loss as a result of my low-carb diet.  This week I thought I would show a few outfits that I've been wearing lately which highlight some of my recent apparel purchases.  I've also added alternative tops that I already own to each outfit to show how I will be wearing the pants now that the weather has cooled down here:

Clockwise from top left: Land's End Women's Supima Cotton Contrast Sweater Polo Shirt in Bright Cherry Stripe; Coldwater Creek The Creek Crops in Fresh Red; Serengeti Crab Embroidered and AppliquΓ© Top.

Because I have short legs, the red cropped jeans I bought recently from Coldwater Creek fit like ankle pants on me, which I love!  The unusually warm weather we had last month had me wearing summery outfits, and I wore these jeans with a red-striped white polo shirt similar to the one above but sleeveless rather than short-sleeved.  As the weather is now (slightly) cooler, I plan to wear the fun navy and white striped top with the red crab appliquΓ© that I bought last year with these jeans.

Clockwise from top left: Jones New York Non Iron Easy Care Striped Sleeveless Shirt ( no longer available); Land's End Women's Not-Too-Low Rise Slim Leg Jeans in Smokey Olive; Dorothy Perkins Ivory Bird Print Shirt (no longer available).

Just before I left New York, my sister and I went to her local TJMaxx for a clothes shopping spree.  I bought a pair of olive green pants similar to the pair shown above.  I also found a black and white pinstripe sleeveless blouse much like the one above, and wore both pieces to a dinner with some of my sister's friends.  Earlier in the year I purchased a cute bird print rolled-sleeve blouse at my local HomeGoods store, again similar to the one above, that I will wear with these pants this fall.

Clockwise from top left: L.L. Bean Women's Short'Sleeve Crewneck Pima Cotton Tee in Deep Teal; Rafaella Denim With Benefits Jeans in Rich Khaki; L.L. Bean Women's Duck Print Signature Lightweight Flannel Shirt in Darkest Gray.

HomeGoods is always a great source for reasonably priced apparel.  I found some very lightweight jeans in a mustard tan color a lot like the one in the image above which are perfect for our warmer climate.   I already had a short-sleeved t-shirt in a spruce green color like the one shown above (one of the new Pantone fashion colors that I love), and it works well with these jeans.  It is now cool enough to also pair these jeans with my new L.L. Bean duck print top, and I will be wearing this outfit soon!

Clockwise from top left: Coldwater Creek Owl About You Tunic in Vanilla Multi; Coldwater Creek Knit Denim Slim-Leg Leggings in Spice (color no longer available); L.L. Bean Women's Deer Print Signature Cotton Turtleneck in Fawn.

The bird theme continues!  On one of our rare chilly days this year, I got to wear my new owl-print tunic with these leggings from Coldwater Creek (sadly no longer available in this beautiful color) to lunch with friends.  The L.L. Bean deer print top is also new, and is light enough to wear with the leggings now.

I still want to add a few new pieces to my fall wardrobe, and I've put together some outfits with items I am thinking of purchasing to see if they will work for me:

Clockwise from top left: L.L. Bean Women's Long-Sleeve Crewneck Pima Cotton Tee in Deep Teal; Coldwater Creek Hidden Stretch-Waist Chinos in Saddle; L.L. Bean Women's Duck Print Signature Lightweight Flannel Cotton Shirt in Darkest Gray.

I need some new chinos, and I really like the ones shown above from Coldwater Creek in the saddle color.  It would work well with a spruce-colored long-sleeved t-shirt I already have (a lot like the one pictured) as well as my duck print shirt.

Clockwise from top left: Coldwater Creek Anytime Striped Easy Care Tunic in Black; Stio Women's Rivet Cord Pants in Russet Brown; Dorothy Perkins Ivory Bird Print Shirt (no longer available).

I like my sleeveless pinstripe shirt so much I am thinking of buying a long-sleeved version from Coldwater Creek (I think I should probably be a spokesperson for this company!).  I love the russet brown color of the corduroy pants in the image above, and I think they would pair well with both the pinstripe tunic and the bird pint blouse that I already own.

I've kept my clothes shopping to a minimum for most of the year, but I really needed to update my wardrobe so I've been having fun doing just that in the fall colors that I love!  Many of the items I bought will work for more than one season.  I think I will only be adding a couple more pieces, and then I will be done for a while.  At least I hope so, because it is about time to start Christmas shopping - yikes!