Favorite Things 3
Winter weather has me dreaming about spring. In the meantime, I’m sharing some big tennis news, a really great book that both Shawn and I enjoyed, my favorite way to add ornamental plants around the house, and of course, my favorite foods (hello chia pudding!).
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Tennis Life Lessons
First, some good news. I got bumped up to 4.0! It’s been a goal for awhile and took way more work than I thought it would, but I’m finally officially 4.0, computer rated. It’s fun hitting those goals!
My tennis life lesson lately? There’s a familiar life quandary that makes me think of tennis — doing things by choice is different than having them forced on you.
Getting laid off vs quitting is a great example. You may hate that job and want to quit, but getting laid off feels devastating.
In tennis, it’s good to get up to the net on your own terms. Let me explain.
If your opponent isn’t strong at the net, it can be effective to “force” them up to the net, by hitting a drop shot.
This “getting to net” situation is a great way to think proactively in life. Don’t make someone force you there, tackle it head on!
What I’m Reading
Well, I’ve been reading some amazing books lately, including a sci-fi novel (a category I don’t often read) that I absolutely loved!
Here are some favorite books I’ve read recently:
- Ready, Player One by Ernest Cline. ★★★★★ Fiction. I read (listened) to this book as a fast weekend read. And I knew Shawn would love it so he read it too. The main character, Wade Watts, lives in a dystopic future and takes part in a virtual reality game, the winner of which will receive a vast fortune. It’s told really well and kept me fascinated throughout.
- Counterfiet by Kirstin Chen. ★★★★☆ Fiction. This dark comedy tells the story of Ava, a straight-laced lawyer who gets entangled in a counterfeit bag scheme with her old college roommate, Winnie. I enjoyed this book. The story is well-told and entertaining.
- Educated by Tara Westover. ★★★★★ Memoir. I almost stopped reading this book because it seems dismal at the beginning. I persevered and at some point realized that this story hit a little too close to home. Tara has a brother who is mentally unwell and as a result abusive. Her family is so brainwashed by religion that they turn their backs on her because she believes differently. In some ways, this mirrors my own life, but hers has many more extremes. It is a very interesting read and once I got past the beginning, I read this one with intrigue.
- Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty. ★★★★★ Fiction. I like Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies and this book was great because there was lots of tennis references which I enjoyed. She’s a great story teller and delivers interesting characters.
- The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley. ★★★★★ Fiction. Jess searches for her missing brother and the twists and turns of this plot found me engrossed. Besides, I enjoyed the narrator’s voice via audiobook.
- Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. ★★★★★ Fiction. You really must listen to this one via audiobook. It includes multiple readers, but the voice of Daisy is my favorite. It’s a very gritty, raspy voice. I was mesmerized by the plot and the storytelling from beginning to end.
- Atomic Habits by James Clear. ★★★★★ Non-Fiction. This is a great book for learning about motivation and rewards for creating positive habits in your life. I will probably read this one again, although I’ve subsribed to many of his interviews via podcast for continued motivaion.
On my list to read soon:
Cheat Day by Liv Stratman, Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory, The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andres, and This Time Next Year by Sohpie Cousens.
I also have my own book coming out soon, The Girl Who Ate the World. Sign up to get more information, including how to pre-order. I’m very excited about it!
What I’m Watching
Of course there was the French Open, which we enjoyed all the way to the finals. We made some time for TV this month, and here are some of my favorites:
- I Love That for You. I love Molly Shannon (she has great energy!) and I loved this show. The awkward humor from the main character kept me hooked and seeing both Shannon’s on-air and real-life personas was a nice twist too.
- Physical on Apple+. Holy cow, the inner voice of the main character is right on point, at least with me. Somehow hearing it in a character was a bit disconcerting. And I my inner voice is more self-center and not as critical of other people, unless they’re mean people. I’m definitley highly critical of mean people.
- Severance on Apple+. What a mind-bending show. I’ve often thought of employment as a form of slavery — the company literally owns anything you produce while on the clock! This show brings this concept to life in a sad, sad way. But they did a great job of interspering humor and intrigue. It’s a great show!
- For All Mankind, Season 3 on Apple+. Let me just state that I loved this show in season one. Seasons 2 and 3 have been a bit of work for me to like. And if you’re a stickler about science, I think there’s a lot in this show that will drive you nuts. But it’s a good watch and the scenes of space travel are so inspiring!
- Ready, Player One We loved the book so much that we decided to watch the movie. Shawn swears we watched the movie before, but I remember NONE of it. So, we watched it again. And I realized the movie is not half as good as the book.
- Australian Open. We truly enjoyed watching a lot of tennis. It was sad to say goodbye to Roger Federer on the pro tour last year. The rumor is he is considering commenting at Wimbledon this year so that’s something to look forward to!
What I’m Listening To
Podcasts and Music. That’s what we’re talking about here. Here are some favorite albums, shows, and/or episodes that I’ve listened to recently:
- The Sunshine Place. A friend recommended this podcast and it is produced by Robert Downey Jr so I figured it had to be good. All that said, I struggled to get into it. The narrator’s voices are a struggle for me to listen to (kind of grating to the ear) and it felt like the storyline jumped around way too much. It’s about a cult in the 70’s and it was interesting until about episode 4. That’s where I trailed off.
- Duolingo Podcast. I recently subscribed to both the Spanish and French Duolingo Podcasts and am enjoying added ways to “immerse” myself in those languages. I also use the app to quiz myself most days. I added Dutch to the list, because why not.
- Phil Collins. I recently watched Rick Beato talk about Against All Odds on his YT channel. If you haven’t watched Rick Beato break down a song, you’re missing out! This guy knows his music theory and explains it with great passion and simplicity. This, of course, caused me to get the chords to this song and try to learn to play it on the piano. I have a Notes page full of piano songs I want to learn! Rick called Phil the Master of Melancholy and there’s definitely some truth to that!
Food as Flowers
Last year I focused on food plants as ornamentals. So rather than buying a bunch of annual flowers to plant in in my pots, I planted peppers, purple kale, and strawberries. Jalapeños and ornamental peppers can be stunning. I encouraged the strawberries to vine up small trellises.
Most of these are in planters because we have too many bunnies that will devour things planted in the ground. This was the fate of my swiss chard. Hare today…goon tomorrow.
Food I’m Loving
There’s no end to the food I’m passionate about, but here are some recent favorites I want to share with you:
- Balsamic Vinegar — I received some California Balsamic Vinegar as a gift from Chef AJ for appearing on her YouTube Live show. I’m now in love with this stuff and can’t wait to get some more. I like drizzling it over my dishes right before serving them.
- Baked Potatoes — I go through different phases and right now I’m in a vegan baked potato phase. I love them! I will add steamed broccoli and some vegan yogurt on top and I’m in heaven! They’re very filling, too, which is nice.
- Chia Pudding — I’ve been making a lot of chia seed pudding and I have to say, I love it! I love adding a dollop of peanut butter or vegan whipped cream on top. It’s so satisfying! Of course, I use ground chia seeds and that produces a creamier texture.
Mary left this review of our Whole Wheat Waffles.
I have made whole wheat waffles before. Let’s just say they were healthy. These are actually wonderful and still good for you.
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- Nice Cream — If you’re looking for the perfect healthy dessert, this banana nice cream is the way to go. It’s made with only 2 simple ingredients and is ready in minutes!
- Pancakes Without Eggs — Did you know you can make pancakes without eggs? It’s true. In fact, I think they’re just as good if not better. I hated keeping eggs around in the kitchen and cracking them, etc. Cooking without eggs is the only way to go if you ask me!
- Vegan Banana Cream Pie — Everyone’s bananas for bananas! I’m tickled pink to see this banana cream pie soaring to new heights on the site. I think it must be the new pics!
- Vegan Key Lime Pie — Speaking of pies and pictures, this is another recipe that’s benefited from a few tweaks (new pictures). This pie is perfect this time of year because, well, key limes are in season!
- Miso Tofu — I love to make a batch of this miso tofu and grill it, bake it, or cook it in the skillet, or air fryer. Then we can serve it with salads, burritos, sandwiches, noodles, and more!
Monday — Make this Vegan Taco Soup on Monday for dinner and enjoy the leftovers throughout the week.
Tuesday — I cannot get enough of this Vegan Tuna Salad. You can serve it on sandwiches, salads, or even as a soft tacos on a corn tortilla. You can even make your own homemade vegan mayo.
Wednesday — I can eat sandwiches any day of the week and that’s why I’m recommending this Fried Tofu Sandwich. It’s easy to make and that special sauce takes it to another level!
Thursday — These Vegan Lentil Meatballs are perfect for cooked spaghetti and marinara sauce. We love serving this meal with steamed broccoli. Another favorite over noodles is vegan chicken parmesan patties. So good!
Friday — We typically have pizza on Friday nights and that’s one reason this Vegan Deep Dish Pizza is the best! This is a thick crust that serves up a delicious filling, and it’s all vegan!
Saturday —This Vegan Jambalaya is a perfect dish because it’s entirely stovetop (no oven required). This recipe is infused with flavor and keeps you coming back for more!
Sunday — On Sunday, we focus on sweets. Maybe you’ll have a dinner of Orange Tofu, but dessert is the focus for me. This week I’m recommending this Vegan Peanut Butter Cake with a yummy Vegan Peanut Butter Frosting. Can there be too much peanut butter? I think not!
So, now it’s your turn! What are YOU having this week?
2 Responses to Favorite Things 3
this is new for me and planning meals ahead sounds good will follow this plan thanks for sharing the idea n recipes
So glad you liked it, Jenny! I do think planning helps a lot. It can help prevent recipe burnout (having the same dish over and over!).