Monday, January 26, 2015

Easy Black Beans

"You can cut your risk of heart attack by nearly 40% if you eat a three-ounce serving of black beans daily."  Reader's Digest

That's enough motivation for me to eat black beans at least once a week!  I have lots of black bean recipes, but the best I've ever tasted were at a Cuban restaurant inside the Miami airport.

None of my recipes tasted quite like those, so I kept tinkering until I created something close.  These are great as a main dish over rice, or just as a side.

Enjoy this simple and nutritious recipe!

Easy Black Beans

4 14 ounce cans black beans
4 t garlic powder
2 onions, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
1 t cayenne pepper
2 t chili powder
2 1/2 t cumin
2 1/2 t coriander
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
juice of two limes

Combine all ingredients in a large pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  After one hour, turn heat to lowest setting and simmer one hour more.  Serve over rice, top with fresh tomatoes and hard boiled eggs, if desired.  Makes 8 servings.

Do you have a favorite black bean recipe?

Have a great week and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 19, 2015

I Have a Dream

In honor of Martin Luther King Day, The Governor's Sons, a different kind of Civil Rights story, is free today at Amazon!

I did some research on Dr.Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech" recently, and learned some interesting facts about it from Wikipedia

Although it is one of the most memorable and powerful speeches ever made, on the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 27, twelve hours before the March on Washington where it was to be presented, Dr. King still didn't know what he was going to say.

The speech has been shown to have had several versions, written at several different times. It has no single version draft, but is an amalgamation of several drafts, and was originally called "Normalcy, Never Again."

When Dr. King did give his speech, toward the end, noted African American gospel singer Mahalia Jackson shouted to King from the crowd, "Tell them about the dream, Martin." King stopped delivering his prepared speech, and started "preaching," punctuating his points with "I have a dream."

As King waved goodbye to the audience, he handed George Raveling the original typewritten "I Have a Dream" speech. Raveling, an all-American basketball player from Villanova, had volunteered as a security guard for the event and was on the podium with King at that moment. Raveling still has custody of the original copy and has been offered as high as $3,000,000 for it, but claims to have no intention of selling it, with plans on leaving it to his children instead.

Have you ever read Dr. King's "I Have  Dream Speech" in its its entirety? If not, check it out here.

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Humor: Don't Force the Issue

"When I say humor is a great addition to most any piece, I mean humor that's actually, well...funny."  Robert Masello from Robert's Rules of Writing (Rule 78. Make 'Em Laugh)

Humor is a good way to lighten the mood of a narrative during scenes filled with darkness and intensity, and a nice dose of it is a great addition to any story.  As Masello says, "...it's the leavening agent that can lighten up even the heaviest material."  But not everyone is born with a sense of humor.  So, if humor lacks from the individual, it shouldn't be forced into print.  Whatever is trying to be written as funny by the humorless writer, might come off as sounding stiff and unnatural to the reading, or viewing audience.

F. Scott Fitzgerald was hired as one of many writers to transform Gone With the Wind into a screenplay.  What I just learned recently, from the GWTW But Not Forgotten Facebook Page, was that he was let go because he couldn't make Aunt Pittypat sound funny!  Who can ever forget Aunt Pittypat riding off during the explosions, as the Yankees are approaching to attack Atlanta?  Flabbergasted and flustered she yells, "Uncle Peter, my smelling salts..."

Some people are naturally funny.  Those that are tend to be laid back and don't take themselves too seriously.  They can see the humor even in serious situations, and are usually optimistic.

But it takes more than funny people to make the world go around. Those who aren't funny sometimes tend to be more serious, tense, critical and pessimistic.  If you've ever said to someone (or someone has said to you), "You have no sense of humor," and you've gotten a reaction like this (or you've reacted this way, after angrily slamming down a fist), "I DO SO have a sense of humor,"chances are, that person (or you) may very well not.  But that's okay, not everyone is born with the humor gene.

Now, if you're a funny person and a writer, and you have a humorless friend who's a writer, too, let him know you'd be happy to help infuse a little humor into his narrative, if he's at all interested.  Even if he claims there's plenty of funny stuff he's already written, offer to read it and see if it sounds funny to you.  If someone has to stretch and strain to be funny, and what's written is beyond their "comfort zone," that can be some pretty painful  reading.

Do you or don't you have a sense of humor?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Playing It Safe with the Muse

"Of all the ways writers find to waste time, waiting for the muse to show up has to be the most common, and fruitless, of them all."  Robert Masello from Robert's Rules of Writing (Rule 9:  Lose the Muse)

I think "the muse" is good old fashioned imagination--nothing more, nothing less.  And imaginations can create great stories all by themselves, or be inspired by some form of external stimulation.  A talk show topic, news story, conversation, painting or photograph can easily get those creative juices flowing.  And just asking the question "what if?" in any situation can open the door to a fascinating narrative.

Not only do I think of imagination as "the muse," I see it as "the safest muse."  Finding this elusive creature in a bottle or a pill (or a combination of the two) can lead to devastating circumstances.

Unfortunately, many of the greatest American writers were alcoholics.  Several died young from complications due to their addictions, while others committed suicide, or attempted it, often more than once. 

Did their addictions enhance their artistic abilities, or was alcohol just used as way to self-medicate from the other problems in their lives?

Here's Listverse.com's Top 15 Alcoholic Writers:

Jack Keroac
15.  Hunter Thompson
14. Raymond Chandler
13.  John Cheever
12.  O. Henry
11.  Tennessee Williams
10.  Dylan Thomas
  9.  Dorothy Parker
  8.  Edgar Allan Poe
  7.  Truman Capote
  6.  Jack Keroac
  5.  William Faulkner
  4.  Charles Bukowski
  3.  F. Scott Fitzgerald
  2.  James Joyce
  1.  Ernest Hemingway

I don't know about you, but based on the lives of some of the aforementioned writers, I think playing it safe with "the muse" can lead to a longer, healthier, happier life!

What do you think?

Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Off For Christmas

Is Christmas really only three days away? Every year it seems to slip up on me faster! I'll be taking time off from blogging to get ready for the big day and big year ahead, but I'll be back January 5. Merry Christmas to and Happy New Year to you and yours!