Monday, September 7, 2020

Sunday Dinner at the Grover Hotel: Chunky Dutch Oven Chili

Image copyright Zichrini

This post contains affiliate links. If readers make a purchase through these links, I earn a small commission.

I like my Dutch oven much better than my slow cooker for meat-based dishes. I don't have to get out an extra pan to sear the meat. I can sear the meat in the Dutch oven and then transfer it to the stove. For best results, I recommend a cast-iron Dutch oven, not an enamel-coated one. The enamel chips over time. Plain cast iron lasts a lifetime with proper care.

Right now, this pre-seasoned Dutch oven by Lodge is only $49.95 from Amazon. 
The list price is $64, giving you a savings of $14.02. Prices on Amazon are subject to change.

My Dutch oven is an Amazon Basics, but they no longer carry that one. The lid doubles as a skillet on this model, which is really cool. I like my cast iron skillet from Lodge. They make good, solid products.

The way I make this savory chunky chili is extremely complicated, and only a master chef will be able to authenticate the exacting and precise steps detailed in this post.

Just fooling. I am nowhere close to being a master chef. This chunky chili is awesome, and anyone can make it. If you don't have one of the ingredients or don't want one of the ingredients, substitute something else.

The first thing I do is pour a little canola oil into the bottom of the Dutch oven and let that warm up over medium heat. A gallon of Happy Belly canola oil is $6.28 from Amazon, which is a reasonable price.

Once the oil is hot, I add the stew meat. Mine was still partially frozen. It doesn't matter. You're just searing the outside. It will be warmed through by the time the stew is done. If you don't have stew meat, brown some ground beef or chicken. If you don't want meat, leave it out and add an extra can of beans.

While the meat sears, I cut up some onion and threw it in the pot. I sprinkled the lot with Kinder's The Blend seasoning. You can use whatever seasoning you like. I rely on The Blend, which I get at Costco. It's simple and savory. You can pick up two 10.5 ounce bottles for $18.36 from Amazon. This isn't a bad price, but if you have a Costco membership, get it there instead.

While the meat and onion are browning a bit, heat your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Then add your other ingredients. 

One can of Ro-Tel. This is another item that is much cheaper at Costco, but $11.76 for a twelve-pack is comparable to what you'd pay in the grocery store.

One can of black beans, undrained. This is another item that's cheaper from Costco, but $14.99 for 12 cans isn't bad.

At this point, I stirred in a packet of Watkins chili seasoning. You can use taco seasoning and you can use other brands, but I think that once you've tried Watkins, you won't settle for anything else. You can buy Watkins seasonings from my page, or you can sign up to be a consultant yourself and get discounts on your own products. There are no sales quotas to meet with Watkins, and no representative will ever contact you unless you ask them to.

I added a can of cream of mushroom soup, which added a nice, savory flavor and some thickness. 10 cans of soup for $14.28 isn't bad.

I added a can of southwest style corn and peppers. You can get a 12-pack of 15-ounce cans for $24.21, which is comparable to what you'd pay in the store. If you don't have southwest style corn, regular corn is fine.

It took me longer to write this post than it did to add those ingredients to the Dutch oven. I turned off the heat and moved the Dutch oven to the 200-degree oven for 8 hours.

I had made my super-secret ingredient, leftover Spanish-style rice, in the instant pot the night before. You can get an Instant Pot from Amazon for $79.

With a slow cooker, you use less liquid than normal. With the Instant Pot, it's the opposite. You will need what might sound like an abnormally large amount of liquid. Trust me, the measurements are accurate. 

I also recommend spraying the inside of the Instant Pot with cooking spray, even if you are using oil or butter as well. I like Watkins cooking spray, but whatever you have will work. This four-pack of canola oil cooking spray for $7.99 is a bargain.

After spraying the inside of the Instant Pot with cooking spray, I add 1/4 cup of butter, 2 cups of rice, 2.5 (that's two point five) cups of water, and a can of Ro-Tel. If I were not using the Ro-Tel, I would add 2 3/4 cups of water or a combination of water and stock.

Then just put the lid on the Instant Pot and hit the Rice button. The pot will take care of the rest. I like to make the rice the night before to allow time for the flavor of the Ro-Tel to really blend in.

After the chili has finished cooking, stir in the leftover (or freshly made) rice and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes covered on the stovetop to let the rice warm through. Serve with a salad or tortillas if you'd like.

This is a simple and delicious meal that comes together quickly and cooks slowly while you do other things. It's inexpensive, versatile, and I think it's better than restaurant quality. 

Bon Appetit!

~Your Ornery Old Aunt Cie~

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The Icky, Sticky, Nit-Picky Legalese, if You Please (Or Don't Please)

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Saturday, August 22, 2020

Ornery Poetry Sunday: Wildfires

Image from the Lamar Ledger 17 August 2020

such a hot day
my shadow needs to cool down
under the willow
smoky haze filling the sky
world is burning around me


The Hokku (three-line stanza) is © Kyoshi Takahama (1874-1958). The Ageku (two-line stanza) was written by me.

I am well to the northeast of where the above image was taken, but there are wildfires all over the state. We are surrounded by haze. 

I will likely never publish this work in any collection. But who knows for sure?

This poem was posted to these places:

Want more Ornery Poetry?

Copyright Information
The Icky, Sticky, Nit-Picky Legalese If You Please (Or Don't Please)
Copyright 2020 by Naughty Netherworld Press

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Sunday, August 9, 2020

Delightful Repast: Crispy-Skinned Fluffy Baked Potatoes - Jacket Pota...

Delightful Repast: Crispy-Skinned Fluffy Baked Potatoes - Jacket Pota...: Baked potatoes (in the UK, jacket potatoes) are simply wonderful when done well and horrid if done wrong. There are all sorts of method...

I'm going to try this! Russet potatoes are cheaper and more plentiful than the waxy yellow potatoes I've been using since I couldn't get the russets to turn out in a way that satisfied me.

Sunday Dinner at the Grover Hotel: Superb Slow-Roast Chicken and Stock

Free-use image copyright Goumbik

Hello guests! Ornery Owl, back once again with a simple Sunday Dinner plus a kitchen staple that you'll want to keep on hand. Today I present to you a supremely simple slow-roasted chicken recipe that leaves you plenty of time to do other things while it cooks, and a follow-up slow-cooked stock to keep your other savory recipes simple and tasty.

This post contains affiliate links. If readers make a purchase through these links, I will receive a small commission and you will receive a useful product.

That being said, let's do this!

I like to roast the chicken in my Dutch oven, but if you don't have a Dutch oven, a roasting pan covered in aluminum foil will work fine.

This five-quart Dutch oven from Lodge is similar to my trusty black cast iron Dutch oven by Amazon Basics, which they no longer carry. I saw some gorgeous enameled Dutch ovens while searching for a good one to feature, but I don't recommend an enameled pot. The enamel has a tendency to chip. Go for the tried and true with simple black cast iron for the best results.

If you would prefer a roasting pan, this nonstick pan from Farberware is highly rated and competitively priced. Personally, since I acquired my Dutch oven, I haven't used my roasting pan once. Don't forget Reynold's Wrap for lining and covering the pan!

Now that we've discussed the necessary cookware, we're on to the beautifully simple recipe.

You will need one small chicken. I highly recommend finding a trustworthy local butcher. I have found that the meat really isn't any more expensive than what I was purchasing from the grocery store, and the quality is worlds better. I go to Friendly Nick's Butcher in Fort Collins ( and if you are in the Northern Colorado or Southern Wyoming areas, you should try them too.

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit (121 degrees Celsius). In the meantime, place the Dutch oven on a burner set to medium heat. (I set mine at 7, but stoves vary.)

 I used bacon grease in the bottom of my Dutch oven, but if you don't have any bacon grease, it's fine to use cooking oil, shortening, or melted butter. I set the chicken on the bacon grease while cutting the vegetables. This gives the skin a chance to become crispy on the bottom of the chicken.

I love to roast some potatoes along with the chicken but, sadly, I was out of potatoes and I live 50 miles from the nearest city. I peeled four carrots and chopped them into thirds, chopped four celery stalks into thirds, and chopped a big onion into eighths, and placed these in the pot with the chicken.

I sprinkled the chicken liberally with my favorite seasoning mix. I use The Blend from Kinder's Seasonings, but you can use any seasoning blend that you have on hand. If you have a Costco membership, I recommend picking up The Blend there for the best price, but you can pick up two 10 ounce bottles for $19.87 from Amazon through the following link.

I then added my super-secret, highly classified, and very costly ingredient, known only to elite chefs until this moment.

Nah, just fooling. I poured half a bottle of Kraft Balsamic Vinaigrette over the chicken. You can pick up 6 bottles for $27.99 (approximately $4.66 per bottle) from Amazon through the following link. This isn't a bad price, but you might be able to get it cheaper at the grocery store.

Once you have added the super-secret ingredient, you can transfer your Dutch oven to the preheated 250-degree oven and wait 4-5 hours while the magic happens. I found that 4 hours was adequate. 

Before serving, let the chicken rest for 15 minutes, leaving the lid on the Dutch oven.

The meat will be savory, fall-off-the-bone good. I almost didn't need my lovely new Jean-Patrique carving knife set!

So far, the only review of this product is mine. I gave it five stars and said this:

I just received mine. It is not only beautiful to look at, it is functional and practical. It is easy to hold a roast chicken in place while carving the meat. This set is an affordably priced conversation starter that you will enjoy having in your collection.

Get yours here. I think that you will like it too.

Now that you have enjoyed your dinner, it's time to remove the remaining meat from the chicken. The bones were already starting to fall apart, so I didn't need any extra cooking time to loosen the meat from the bones. I removed the vegetables and added four new carrots and four stalks of celery, both cut into thirds. I didn't add new onion, but you can if you want to. I added 1/3 cup of Kirkland Minced Garlic. If you have a Costco membership, it's cheaper to buy it from Costco, but you can also get it through the following link at $12.99 for a 27-ounce jar.

I added 8 cups of water to the Dutch oven and placed it in a 200-degree Fahrenheit oven for 8 hours. I let the stock rest on the stove and then poured it through a colander into a plastic bowl with a spout. I like to store my stock in the freezer in 1/2 cup size containers. To easily remove the stock from the container, I just run hot water over the outside of the container and the stock pops right out.

Rubbermaid's half-cup storage containers are reasonably priced at $7.99 for six.

I find that a dozen of these babies work well for my purposes. Any overflow goes into a glass jar and is kept in the refrigerator to be used first.

Now you know how to get the most out of a roasting chicken with minimal effort. I'm not sure why Grammarly thinks my text sounds angry. I quite like getting a big bang for the minimal buck, and these recipes provide!

Now that the only tasks remaining from the rotten old mobile home involve paper and red tape, I should be sharing Sunday Dinner recipes more regularly. Keep visiting us at the Grover Hotel to see what's cookin'!

Your Pal in Culinary Creativity,
Ornery Owl

Chef Ornery
Free use image copyright Open Clipart Vectors on Pixabay

The Icky Sticky Nit-Picky Legalese If You Please (Or Don't Please)

Content copyright 2020 by Good Stuff from Grover

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Sharing with the Grammy's Grid blog hop and possibly others at a later date. I learned my lesson the hard way about trying to participate in too many blog hops and becoming overwhelmed.

Don't forget to enter the drawing to Win Free Vanilla plus approximately $100 worth of other good stuff from Watkins this month! Please follow the link below the banner. The Grover Hotel Gang thanks you!

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Sunday Dinner at the Grover Hotel: Divine Dijon Drumsticks and Dijon Dill Potato Salad

Image copyright Bernhard Post from Pixabay

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If readers order a product from these links, I make a small commission.

The Grover Gang hopes you had a happy Independence Day if you celebrate such. For dinner here at the Grover Hotel, I made Divine Dijon Drumsticks and Dijon Potato Salad. 

This is a simple but tasty dinner that's great any time of the year.

I adapted the Dijon Drumsticks from this recipe.

The recipe above calls for marinating the drumsticks in yogurt, dijon mustard, and garlic overnight. I didn't have any yogurt, so I was going to use sour cream, but I forgot to marinate them. So I used the following recipe instead.

8 chicken drumsticks

In one bowl mix together:
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

In a second bowl mix together:
1/2 cup baking mix (you can use plain flour)
Kinder's The Blend seasoning (you can use any seasoning you like. Kinder's contains salt, pepper, and dehydrated garlic)

Roll the drumsticks in the mayonnaise-mustard mix. Then roll in the seasoned baking mix.

Bake in a 425 degree (Fahrenheit) oven for 45 minutes.

While the drumsticks are cooking, cut 5-6 small to medium-size potatoes into cubes and boil until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain and pour into a large bowl. To the potatoes add 1/3 cup of mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, Kinder's The Blend, and dried dill to taste. Stir in any other vegetables you like. I used carrot, celery, and onion. You could also chop in a couple of hard-boiled eggs.

I adapted my potato salad recipe from the following cauliflower salad recipe. I didn't have any cauliflower, but potato salad is always a winner.

This is a simple meal that doesn't require a lot of time in the kitchen and can easily be doubled.

I buy Kinder's seasoning at Costco and I use it in just about everything. It is very versatile. But if you don't have a Costco membership, you can purchase two 10-ounce bottles for $20.19 through the following link.

I get my dill and many of my other spices from Watkins. I became a Watkins consultant just to get discounts on my products. Through July, the normal $29.95 annual consultant fee has been reduced to $19.95. I save around $225 annually over the retail cost by being a consultant. You can find out more on my Watkins page, or just order products.

You can order two 96-ounce boxes of Bisquick for $20.04 through the following link.

I never buy Bisquick anymore. I found a recipe from, and the cost breaks down to a little over a dollar to make this instead. It works just the same as Bisquick.

I store my baking mix in a cereal storage container. You can get a great set of four storage containers with labels through this link.

In fact, I'm going to take advantage of that deal too. 

I mix my baking mix in a large, flexible plastic bowl, which makes it easy to pour it into the storage container. You can get the very same bowl that I use from Amazon for $7.94

I use a pastry cutter to blend the shortening into the baking mix. You can get a nice pastry cutter and dough scraper set for $9.99 through the following link.

I hope that you enjoy the recipes and the potential savings!

Your Ornery Old Aunt Cie

Ornery Owl
Free use image from Pixabay by Open Clipart Vectors

Get more recipes and other good things at the official Good Stuff from Grover blog.
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Check out Ornery Owl’s Coin Tree

The Icky, Sticky, Nit-Picky Legalese if You Please (Or Don't Please)

Content copyright 2020 by Good Stuff from Grover

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Sunday, June 21, 2020

Sunday Dinner at the Grover Hotel: Midnight Special Roast

Free Use image copyright Reinhard Thrainer on Pixabay

This post contains affiliate links. I get a small commission for products purchased through these links.

It's been quite some time since I wrote a Sunday Dinner post. My son and I are coming to the end of our struggles with getting my old mobile home ready to be sold, but it's at the point where it's so close and yet so far. Hopefully, once that's done, my posts will be more consistent.

But I didn't come here to talk about that.

I came here to talk about the Midnight Special roast.

I call it the Midnight Special roast because I either start cooking it at midnight or finish cooking it at midnight. Either way, this simple process takes 15 hours to complete. The results are a perfect roast that falls apart and is tender and delicious.

I can't take credit for this recipe. I got it from the 22 Simple Dinners e-cookbook, available free from the folks at Living On A Dime. That's right, I said free. Just follow the link below to go to the Living On A Dime website and download this baby. 

Don't be surprised if you enjoy their simple recipe suggestions so much that you want to buy their 20th-anniversary cookbook, which is available in your choice of an e-book or print version. 

And now, on to the recipe!

You will need a small roast, about five pounds. I got an inexpensive neck roast from my local butcher. If you are in the Northern Colorado or Southern Wyoming area, please consider checking out I don't get a commission for telling you about them, but once you try them, you will never want to buy meat from the grocery store again. They get their meat from trusted local farmers who are dedicated to raising their livestock ethically.

My cast-iron Dutch oven is the tried and true way to cook meat. You end up with a nicely browned exterior that you can't get from a slow cooker. Mine is a 5-quart Amazon Basics, but as of this writing, they are out of those and don't know when they'll be back in stock. I found one for you to consider, and it looks even better than the one I have. Jealous of you if you get this beauty before I do! I love the lid that doubles as a skillet.

All right, so you have your Dutch oven (or roasting pan) and you have your five-pound roast. Here is the original recipe from the folks at Living On A Dime.

1 beef roast, 3-5 lbs.
1 onion, sliced
1 can cream of mushroom soup (omit for GF and sprinkle
with seasoned salt)

Place roast in pan. Pour cream of mushroom soup and onion on top.
Cover tightly. Bake at 250° for 1 hour. Then turn down to 225° and cook for 15 or more hours; 10 hours for roasts smaller than 3 pounds.
Serves 4.

Here are the changes that I made.

I didn't have any cream of mushroom soup, so I just poured a pint of chicken stock into the Dutch oven and sprinkled the roast with The Blend from Kinder's Seasonings. I also added four carrots and four sticks of celery cut into thirds and six small to medium-sized yellow potatoes cut into quarters.

Costco makes a good, inexpensive chicken stock, but if you don't have a Costco membership, here is a link to purchase twelve quarts of Swanson chicken broth for $32.90, which is comparable to what you'd pay in the grocery store.

Watkins also makes stellar soup base concentrates and gravy mixes. Follow the link below for more. You can purchase these through my store, or you can sign up to be a Watkins consultant yourself and get discounts on everything you order. Membership is just $29.95 annually, and it's well worth it!

I purchase my Kinder's spices at Costco which is the cheapest way to buy them, but if you can't get to Costco, here is a link to purchase a standard-sized bottle for a reasonable $6.99.

So, how did the roast turn out?

AMAZING! It was so tender and tasty. But before I could eat mine, I had to take the kitchen trash containing the butcher's twine out to the bin, because my cat kept trying to eat the twine.

We have enough roast left over for one or two more meals. The 22 Simple Dinners cookbook contains several recipes for using up the leftover roast. You're missing out if you don't download this free e-book. I've gotten more use out of it than I have out of many of the hard-copy cookbooks that I've had for years.

I hope you enjoyed this edition of Sunday Dinner at the Grover Hotel. If you're an omnivore, I think you'll find that this simple and delicious slow-cooked roast might just be worthy of becoming a favorite meal in your house!

~Cie the Ornery Old Lady~

"I like cooking with wine. I sometimes even put it in the food I'm cooking." --Julia Child

Ornery Owl image is a free to use graphic from Open Clipart Vectors on Pixabay

To get more recipes and other Good Stuff from Grover, visit us at:

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Content copyright 2020 by Good Stuff from Grover

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Quoting portions of the post for educational or review purposes is acceptable if proper credit is given.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Greece - Food & Drinks - Sweets: Rizogalo.

Greece - Food & Drinks - Sweets: Rizogalo.: Rizogalo is a sweet Greek dessert/dish that is created from milk, porridge rice and starch (brought on taste with cinnamon and vanilla). It is mainly served with a glass of water (because it is really sweet). According to a good friend of mine...

In the U.S. we just call this "rice pudding." It's one of my favorite desserts. I am pleased that Bertha is still going strong at 92!

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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Cupboard: Pantry Essentials

The Cupboard: Pantry Essentials: I love to cook, and I tried to be a chef once. I had the skill, but not the temperament.  Imagine Hell's Kitchen with Gordon Ramsey six days a week. I really didn't have a thick skin back then, but I keep cooking as one of my pride and joys to spoil...


Here is my response to Sarah’s post:

Hi Sarah,
Since becoming unable to work a normal job, I've taken over the cooking too. Our household has saved a lot of money. However, there have been some creative disasters. For instance, I had gotten a whole chicken from the butcher and after picking it clean was wanting to use the bones to make my own stock. Unfortunately, terms like "simmer" are kind of subjective, as are cooking times because everyone's stove is different.

Here is the recipe I used:
Recipe Notes
Recipe yields 2 quarts (64 oz.).
1 entire cooked or raw chicken
3-4 carrots carrots
1 large onion
4-5 stalks of celery
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
4 bulbs crushed garlic
1. Place your chicken in a large pot with vegetables, and enough water to completely cover -at
least 4 quarts.
2. Bring to a boil and skim foam off the top as it cooks, reduce to a simmer. Cook chicken for an
3. If using a whole chicken- Take chicken out pot, remove meat for other recipes.
4. Return bones and skin to pot and simmer for 3-4 hours, skimming the top as needed.
5. Turn off heat, skim off the fat, strain broth through a sieve or cheesecloth to remove small
particles. Allow to cool.
6. Place in an airtight container or freezer bag to store.
7. Chicken stock can be stored in refrigerator for 3 days or freezer for up to 3 months. This recipe makes about 3 quarts.

So when simmering in my little stockpot, I usually have to put the burner setting down to 2. However, I was using my Dutch oven for this product, and I had still waters with a 2. I had to turn the burner up to 6 to see a simmer. Granted, I should have been checking on the recipe more often, but I was doing this at night because I didn't want to heat the house up during the day, and I fell asleep. I woke up at four hours on the dot and hurried to the kitchen. What I found was not stock, but sludge. I had a kitchen nightmare, to be sure.

I'm thinking that I will reduce the simmering time after removing the meat from the bones to two hours rather than four.
You are welcome to use my kitchen nightmare as a future post, should you wish to!

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Thursday, June 4, 2020

I Can't Drive 55

I Can't Drive 55: I got done with work a little early today. At about 1:30, I was turning off S Broadway onto I-55 S to leave Saint Louis.  As I was going to make the turn, I heard 'Woop! Woop!'. A cop jumped in front of me on the ramp. Then another. They both pulled...

I'm tired of posting depressing crap. You will like this story. 

An interesting little adventure to spice up the day! Many, many years ago (40 years, to be exact) when I was in high school marching band, one of the flag girls and I were driving to a game. She was exceeding the speed limit, about 65 mph in a 55 mph zone and she saw the flashing lights in the rearview mirror, so she pulled off onto the shoulder. However, the cops didn't care about her. They were after George, our drum major, who had a notorious lead foot. There were four cops on his tail, and he managed to ditch them.
I rode with George once. I'm not sure how I'm here to tell the tale. The guy was a maniac behind the wheel.

Now you should go read the post that inspired me to tell the story and give the author a cryptocurrency tip at no cost to yourself. Then you should start posting your own stories and earning cryptocurrency for yourself. 

Monday, May 18, 2020

The Writes of Jamztoma (Humble and Kind): Poem: spring 2020

A poem about living with COVID. 

Grover is a very small town where people tend to keep to themselves anyway. My son and I went to Costco yesterday. Everyone was wearing their masks. Better safe than sorry, I think.

I've been doing a lot of reading and writing too.

Faoin Scáth - Under the Shade: Morning Rain

Faoin Scáth - Under the Shade: Morning Rain: Random patter muffled overhead the ping on metal with no rhythm but also no wind today just rain A reminder that planting isn't fin...

A wonderful poem! In Grover, rain without wind is unusual.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Tackle It Tuesday: Tackling the Truth Part 1: I Suck At Blogging

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I am a walking contradiction. It isn't that I set out to deceive anyone, but I'm not always forthcoming. This may be part and parcel of the fun shenanigans played by a brain with bipolar disorder. (Type 2)

When I am hypomanic, I tend to be very forthcoming.

When I am depressed, I withdraw because I don't figure that anyone wants to hear anything that I have to say.

When I'm euthymic, it's somewhere in between, only without the self-loathing. On one hand, I don't feel like I have anything to hide. On the other hand, I figure nobody needs to know anything that I don't feel like revealing.

I have a high degree of social anxiety. Sometimes the hypomanic component overrides this, but it always comes back. This is why I may have a day where I'm waltzing around promoting my faboo posts on blog hops, and the next day I am overwhelmed and may not be able to reply to comments for a long time.

People tend to feel that someone who doesn't reply to comments right away is simply a rude a-hole. Most of the time, I find that people are overwhelmed by trying to do too many things, for instance, they may have a job and a family and are also trying to create and promote. Also, many people have anxiety and other psychological issues and these can sideline them. I tend to assume in most cases that the person who didn't reply isn't rude, they're simply overwhelmed.

There are two things that I suck at. Sheesh, I wish it was only two. Truth be told, I suck at everything, but these are the two things that pertain to this discussion.

I suck at blogging. Seriously, I am not a good blogger. Someone once said that being a blogger and being a writer are not the same thing, and boy howdy is that ever true. 

I suck at promotion and networking and all that kind of happy crappy. I seriously wish I had the money to hire someone to do it for me because I make such a mess of it. This ties into the whole sucking at blogging thing.

Here's how I messed things up this time.

On Sunday, I thought: "Say, let's do some blog hops with my Sunday Dinner post!"

On Monday, I thought: "Well, let's continue with that..."

On Tuesday, I was still trying to get to all the blog hops that I thought it would be a good idea to share that post with.

There are some of y'all out there who participate in a metric butt-ton of blog hops every week and I have to admit that I HAVE NO IDEA HOW YOU DO IT! That right there is a full-time job. Maybe (probably) I'm just stupid. But my hat would be off to you if I wore a hat. I could take off my pants, socks, or shirt, but ain't nobody wants to see that.

I have a group of goals (more like a cluster f**k of goals) that I'm trying to make happen. Some of them I've been trying to make happen for years. Admissibly, it's harder for me because I'm not a social butterfly. I'm more of a social hermit crab. My attitude tends to take one of two forms.

1) I scuttle up, present my work, and say "here ya go, love it or leave it." Then I scuttle off to make something else.

2) I scuttle up, present my work, and whimper "please don't be mean to me!" Then I scuttle off and withdraw into my shell for a week or so.

Now, let's talk about me for a minute.

I've been belittled on many occasions for not honing in on JUST ONE BIG THING WITH LASER FOCUS!!!111!! I've also been belittled for having shaky self-esteem. I always beat myself up for both of these "shortcomings." 

Why would I put "shortcomings" in quotation marks?

Because I don't think these things are shortcomings. It sucks to have poor self-esteem, but how the actual hell do people think it helps someone overcome their low self-esteem when you're berating them for having low self-esteem? Improving one's self-esteem isn't the kind of thing that happens overnight.

People with low self-esteem have one thing in common. We have all been abused. Whether this abuse comes from family, schoolmates, or society at large, we've been abused. Abuse gets internalized, and it can take a long time to reverse that process. Often, it is never fully reversed.

The self-esteem issue is a post in itself, so I'm going to table that for now.

As to being unable to hone in on one target with laser focus and pigeonhole myself into a niche, I've tried that. Again and again and again. I have failed at it every time. 

It took me 54 years to learn some important things about me. First, I have ADD. This has an effect on the way I interact with the world and what it throws at me. Combine ADD with bipolar disorder and you're pretty well guaranteed to have a person who will not do well trying to have LASER FOCUS!

ADD affects the way I write. I'm a prolific writer, but I go off on sidetracks. I learned that instead of trying to write focused novels, I need to write collections of novelettes that have a central theme and that can work together or be read as separate short stories. 

My thought process works a lot like the way time works according to Dr. Who.

What I'm getting around to is this:

My writing comes first. I get very upset when I don't do it. I hate the fact that I have to promote it. It makes me very anxious. I know that I'm an acquired taste that most people don't tend to acquire. So is my writing. I doubt that I'll ever make a lot of money off my writing. But I can't hold a normal job, so I'm trying to find alternative ways to make money.

I need to promote the alternative means, just like I need to promote the writing.

But then people get angry with me for promoting...well, anything, really.


Here is what I'm getting around to.

I didn't mean to make anyone angry at me. I'm sorry if I didn't reply to your comment yet. You may think I'm a jerk, but I didn't mean to be. I'm still trying to refine my process, and I may never be any good at any of this. 

Thanks for reading. I'm going to go make some soda bread now.

~Your Ornery Old Aunt Cie~

Monday, May 11, 2020

About Me Monday + Money Monday: Saving on Groceries

Image copyright Steve Buissine

The following is my reply to a post by Jessi Fearon, a SAHM who has a blog dedicated to debt-free living.

My only kid is 30 years old. We live out in the middle of nowhere, and I'm disabled (trying to get disability) and doing freelance work on the computer. 

I hadn't cooked in years, so I started ordering meal kits. They've helped a lot, but as my son says, I think we're growing beyond them. There is a good local butcher about 50 miles from where we live (it's about 50 miles to any city where we live!) and we are going to start getting our meat there. 

My son agreed to get in on the meal planning. He is high-functioning autistic, so a lot of food textures bother him which wouldn't come into play for someone who isn't autistic. His input is vital if I'm going to make this work! 

I have ADD, so I tend to get excited in the planning stage and then bored before I am able to implement my plans. His job is to keep me focused and on track.

Further Thoughts:

Meal kits are a great place to start (and maybe stay, if that's what works best for you) when you haven't cooked in a long time (or ever.) We have saved oodles of money by ordering meal kits from Everyplate and Hello Fresh. We used to get takeout all the time. It was costly and often not very satisfying.

I was sad when my son suggested that we should move away from the meal kits and towards planning our own meals every week. I like choosing the meals to be delivered and I like it when the box of goodies shows up at our door. However, my son is correct that we can save a lot of money by getting many of our staples at Costco and by going to the local butcher for our meat. 

I became excited again when I realized that I would be able to plan meals every week and also have a make ahead and freeze day either every Sunday or once a month. I'll have to see what works better for me with that. I've been researching recipes that lend themselves to being frozen, and also reusable, freezer-safe containers. 

Which reminds me, I'm starving. Take care and stay safe!

~Your Ornery Old Aunt Cie~

$100 worth of Watkins products would be a grand addition to your pantry. Click the link to try your luck!

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