Wednesday, November 30, 2022

November 2022 Reads

I can't believe we're already at the time of year where I consider what I want to clear out of my netgalley backup log before the year ends, or when I start thinking about sinking into several mindless reads during no man's land between Christmas and the New Year.

What I read in November:

Engrossing Reads

Abolitionist Intimacies by El Jones - I've never read a book like this before, and didn't really take too much notice of the title until I got further into it. Plainly, it makes incarceration and all that goes along with it intimate, especially for people with no first hand knowledge of it. I hope it finds its way into the hands of people who are opening their minds to abolition. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review. 

The Innocent Wife (Detective Josie Quinn #16) by Lisa Regan - I had to abandon my Sunday to do list to finish this one - so many layers and quite a few players in this case, and the quality of the writing and consistency of characters was the same as the previous 15.  Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review. I pre-ordered also but cannot resist reading as soon as I  get my hands on the newest book in the series! Publishes December 12

When She Was Good (Cyrus Haven #2) by Michael Robotham - I totally forgot a #1 (Good Girl, Bad Girl) existed until I saw #3 come up on Netgalley and we all know I will not skip a book in a series so I grabbed this from the library. I like Robotham's writing, and it took me a bit to recall the story but I settled into this quickly. It was also good, and I'm looking forward to reading the third. OCNJ library

The Good Lie by A.R. Torre - I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Intriguing and a good story. This is the second book I've read by this author and I grabbed a third I'm hoping to get to soon. OCNJ library

Passed the Time Just Fine
The Last Party (DC Morgan #1) by Clare Mackintosh - I liked the characters, and if there's a second I'll read it. Lots to unpack with secondary characters which I hope continues in a next novel. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bublitz - This was very promising, I really liked the concept behind how and why it was told but it was not an easy read. This is in no way a feel good book so you have to be in the head place for that. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

The Prisoner by B.A. Paris - Not everything necessarily connected here, but it kept me reading and I finished it within 24 hours. That still counts for a lot in the Era After Covid. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review 

Not For Me/Did Not Finish
When They Find Us (Agent Victoria Heslin Thriller #3) by Jenifer Ruff - Not my cup of tea, but I finished and will continue with the series. Paperback, own, NFM

What have you been reading?

how to cook seafood like a pro

If you’re like most people, seafood is something you only order in a restaurant. But cooking seafood at home can be easy and delicious – you just need to know how to do it! In this guide, we will teach you the basics of cooking seafood. We will cover everything from choosing the right ingredients to preparing your dish. So whether you’re a novice cook or just looking to expand your repertoire, read on!

Via Pexels

Choosing the Right Ingredients: 

The key to any great seafood dish is fresh, high-quality ingredients. Start by finding a reputable fish market with a variety of choices. Look for bright eyes, shiny skin, and clear gills on your fish – these are all signs that it’s fresh. When selecting shellfish such as shrimp or clams, make sure the shells are intact, and there’s no discoloration or off odor.

Cleaning and Preparing Your Seafood: 

Once you have your chosen ingredients, you need to prepare them for cooking. Start by rinsing them in cold water and patting them dry with a paper towel. Next, for large pieces of fish like salmon fillets, remove any scales and trim off any bloodlines. For shrimp, remove the shells and devein them by cutting a shallow slit down the back of each one. 

Cooking Your Seafood: 

There are many different ways you can cook your seafood. You can bake, fry, steam, poach, or even grill it! 


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place your seafood in a greased baking dish and season with your favorite herbs and spices. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the fish is opaque throughout. 


Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat with oil of your choice (olive, vegetable, canola, etc.). Add the seafood to the pan and cook for a few minutes per side. Remove from heat and drain any excess fat on paper towels before serving. 


Place 1 cup of water in a pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the seafood to the pot in one layer (depending on size) and season with herbs of your choice. Cover the pot and steam for a few minutes. 


Poaching is a great way to cook delicate seafood such as scallops or shrimp. Place 2 cups of water in a shallow saucepan over medium heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and add your seafood to the pan. Simmer for a few minutes. 


Preheat an indoor or outdoor grill over high heat and lightly grease with oil prior to cooking. Add your prepared seafood and season with salt, pepper, and other herbs of your choice. Grill each side for a few minutes until cooked through, flipping once during cooking time. This grilled lobster tail recipe is a great example of seafood you can cook on the grill!

Serving Your Seafood: 

Once your seafood is cooked, it’s time to enjoy it! Serve the dish with steamed vegetables, a fresh salad, and some crusty bread. Don’t forget the lemon wedges for extra flavor! If you are short on time, serve it over a bed of cooked grains such as quinoa, brown rice, or farro. 

By following these simple instructions, you can easily create delicious seafood dishes in no time. Experiment with different ingredients and cooking methods to find what works best for you – with practice comes perfection! 

This post was written with the Life According to Steph audience in mind

Monday, November 28, 2022

Snippets of the week(end) 11.28.2022

I was off last week and at the shore from Saturday on. Monday I cleaned and organized and fretted all day about the big ass couch being removed through a very small door in our apartment. Sweat and swears and a quite large tip later, the Got Junk guys were taking off with it. I collapsed on the bed in relief mostly because there was nowhere else in the apartment to sit. Ben was very upset, he hates change. I rallied to go to the Dollar Store and ShopRite late.

My Dad and Carol arrived on Tuesday and we all went on beach walks and arrived home to the delivery of the LoveSac couch. I had no idea it would come when it did and we ended up putting it together instead of waiting for MFD to arrive the next day. We celebrated by sharing Motrin and they put my 
Christmas cards together. It was a good day to be me. Stephen, Aubrey, and my niece and nephew arrived Tuesday night. 

Wednesday Carol and I picked up bakery goods and last minute items at ShopRite. I made compound butter. Loungey afternoon that I spent in my apartment with Little Stephen while I did an air fryer turkey using Casa de Crews recipe - highly recommend. 
We took a family beach walk after MFD arrived, hunting for treasures. I got a phone call from a contractor at 4:15 scheduling work for Monday morning at 8 and am so so relieved the couch shit got done when it did so that was all possible. Taco bar dinner using frozen meat from Friendsgiving

Thanksgiving the kids were not feeling great so it was just adults at the table and me & Aub on a post-dinner walk and a few of us up for Jared's arrival at night. My turkey was too dry for my taste. Some years you win, some years you lose. My Instagram caption says it better - thankful for all of my communities.
Friday started rainy and ended up lovely. We did some creating at Glazed Over Pottery on Asbury followed by a trip to the thrift store then World Cup watching (Stephen & Jared in Philly for that and Dad & Stephen to the arcade) followed by Santa on the roof! This kicks off my holiday season every year.
Saturday was small biz shopping on Asbury, with a check in via bike by the Troll of Asbury Avenue AKA Uncle Mike. Little Stephen did more arcading with his army.
We did some shell painting and marshmallow gun shooting in the afternoon followed by a fam beach walk, ice cream tasting (six flavors from Jeni's) and Surviving Christmas. 

Sunday morning MFD and I cleared the porch and moved stuff around in our apartment getting ready for work happening today. He took off with the animals, and Stephen, Aub, Jared, and the kids were gone by early afternoon. Dad, Carol, and I took the shells down to the North Street Tree before the rain came through. The tree is up this year due to beach replenishment work happening now. Couch day with three Hallmark Christmas movies, reading, Boyar's salads and soup and leftovers, and the Eagles. Hashtag superfan made it to half time. I think? 
I was up until 11 packing up my car and finishing a book.

Another great long fam weekend for Thanksgiving despite illness circling. 

Monday, November 21, 2022

snippets of the weekend 11.21.2022

Friday lunch monthly wellness massage with Sarah at Blossom Bodywork. My night was not as glam - I got my flu shot, returned something which took me into a dead mall where I saw a sad and lonely Santa and a notepad that made me laugh, a quick Target trip to get that $10 off $40 of food Circle coupon, a run through Aldi for their supreme pizza (you cannot beat the price), stopped at my brother & Aubrey's to pick up the Thanksgiving turkey aka Phoenix according to my niece the turkey namer. Couched it reading until bed.
Saturday was industrious. I sorted clothes and cleared my room while packing for the shore, then did the same for the dining room table and kitchen area. It feels so good to do this even though I am the one who caused both messes in this case. I ran a few errands to return items and of course perused Marshalls/HomeGoods while doing so. At around 1 MFD and I loaded up my car with things and dogs and I headed back to the shore. After unpacking the car I took the best friend dogs to the beach. Salmon and asparagus for dinner and books all night.

I had plans for an industrious Sunday as well, but most things fell to the wayside while I finished a book and started another. I did make it to The Islander on the boardwalk for its last day in existence. I have loved this store my whole life. I am annoyed at people online acting like this is a world event. These people want to retire and after 40+ years of running this store, let's wish them well and let them get on with it. I also picked up a few items from ACME and a few things from the hardware store. I also painted my nails, did the end of the day beach walk with the best friends, and did a facial at night including gua sha to help with my jaw clenching.

We were home by 9 and I was dead asleep on the couch not moving all night by 10. 

Thanksgiving week. I am thankful and I am off. I celebrated by sleeping 10 hours last night!

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Saturday, wait

This week kicked my ass. It started off tired since we had a wedding Sunday night. Tuesday Kim was in town so we did HomeGoods together and stayed up past midnight talking. The title of this post is of course from Friday I'm in Love.

Wednesday I was in the city for a full day in which I got very little computer work done, but did have meetings and lunch with coworkers and walked over three miles. I was dead on my feet when I got home and zoned out watching The Goldbergs. 

All the trees are up in Center City, which prompted me to ask about our tree at home and thankfully we discovered that last year was the end year of our tree, it went to the curb with lights out. Whew. I got another ordered for a good deal so I was happy.

I also had a heinous dentist appointment Wednesday and after over a week of excruciating tooth pain, I was expecting the worst. No tooth crack. No root canal. No cavity. Intense clenching of my jaw from subconscious stress is causing insane inflammation in the connective tissue around my teeth. Fucking tooth fibers! Have you ever. I’ve been going to her since 2010 and this is the first time she’s seen it in me. All the shit we’ve been through personally since 2010 and this never happened…I blame the fucking government and Brett Kavanaugh. Seriously though not sure why this is happening now. To mitigate, I’m trying Plackers to start, motrin, indica gummies before bed, stretching, and massage. Otherwise overall sort of puzzled as to how to combat it  - I don’t feel personally stressed daily, haven’t stopped any wellness practice I have in place to combat normal stress, and had no idea I was even doing this. My dentist said at least it’s not your heart or stomach.  A good reminder that the body does keep the score.

I went for my monthly wellness massage yesterday and it is always one of my favorite days of the month. I was especially glad to go after I knew what was happening with my face and jaw so she could focus on that. It's fantastic to walk in, tell someone what is wrong, and they work through that with you and you leave feeling relief. Go see Sarah at Blossom Bodywork - I'm sure she will arrange a gift notification if you want to give a massage as a gift this holiday season.

Speaking of holiday season, I am pumped for Thanksgiving. I am heading back to the shore today after I run 498 errands. This week has been chock full of errands. I’ve been everywhere and twice. No, seriously, some places I have purchased things and returned in the same week and they are mostly dog jackets and I feel fine about that. 

One of those errands was for a new shore apartment couch. We are having a door installed in place of a window and a window added and our furniture cannot stay as it is now for that to happen. So the current couch which is just over two years old must go, and since the doorways are a nightmare, we got a modular. I’m really excited for this reconfiguration but was worried we wouldn't find something that worked for us. We went to Lovesac, caught their Black Friday event, and got 0% financing which sealed the deal. We got a dark amethyst fabric because the one I wanted was too much extra but maybe in the future because you can order additional cushion covers.  It's a light blue but I also love the light peach. We did not get the large sac chair MFD wanted.

Also. Who made Black Friday like a month long event? What is happening?

Nancy Pelosi does not exactly align with me, but I appreciate her leadership and service through some big, de-stabilizing events over the past 20 years. I am sorry she was and is a target for extremism and violence. Thanks for holding the line, Madame Speaker. I look forward to a younger crew of leaders in the House. Let's go.

Speaking of Houses, PA democrats won control of the state house for the first time in 12 years. There was a measure in place for state GOP leaders to ram a ballot measure through for an abortion ban in the state constitution. Every single election counts, every single fucking vote counts and the people of Pennsylvania stopped that. 

I struggled through a book most of this week, flew through another, and hope to settle in with some favorite authors this week. I'm off, allegedly.

donald trump running for anything. Biden running for re-election. Fox News. Twitter. elon. Billionaires. Racist dog whistles and owning the libs over legislation and actual work. When I run out of coffee. People who ran on inflation making investigating a non-government official named Hunter Biden the first order of business instead of combatting inflation, which they were never planning to do but a lot of you fell for anyway
Pets. And a visit from my mom and nephew. 

Have a good weekend, miei amici.

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