Audiobooks · Books · Media · Movie Night · Movies · One of My Favorites

Movie Night: The Hunt For Red October

Back in 1990 I stepped into one of my local movie theaters to check out a new movie starring Sean Connery and a host of other favorite performers. It was an experience I didn’t expect and has been repeated frequently over the years. The viewing of the film, that is.

The Hunt For Red October came from the Tom Clancy book of the same name, published in 1984. The story is about a high level Russian submarine that may, or may not, be defecting and the high octane multi level chess game (my description) of the efforts to find her before the Russians can sink her.

The film clocks in at 2 hours 15 minutes. It is worth every second.

There’s a funny thing about me and this film. I enjoyed the first viewing so much I went back a few times to try and spot the technical details I enjoy in films. (I’m one of those geeks who love the extras on the DVDs – I love the behind the scenes stuff.) I finally gave up because inevitably I’d find myself walking out 2 hours later having totally gotten lost in the plot. It is that good.

The book, in case you are interested, is as good. If you are not experienced reading Tom Clancy consider this fair warning. He didn’t write small books, nor did he write simple plot lines. Brace yourself with an estimated page count of 387, I don’t recall how many characters or subplot lines. Consider the movie the condensed version. ๐Ÿ™‚

Even after all these years, I have no idea how many viewings, I love this film. I must, I own two copies and I have both the paperback and the audio version of the book.

The cast is the cream of the crop. The production values are stellar. The story is compelling, and if you like edge of your seat adventure, this is the film you should see.

Have you seen, or read, The Hunt For Red October?

Around the House · Shopping

Touching Base

It’s been almost a full year since I first tried these products and I thought it a good time to let you know how things have evolved with a couple of my very favorites.

L’Bri Pure N’ Natural

Last year a friend of mine asked what I was interested in for a Christmas present and I mentioned that I wanted to try the L’Bri shampoo and conditioner. Needless to say, Santa came through! In more ways than we thought.

I’ve always been a bit particular about the products I use on my hair. Some garden variety stuff leaves it dry and lifeless while the better quality items tended to require a bit extra to help my hair be its best.

Imagine, then, my amazement to try a shampoo that isn’t high sudsing, cleans well, smells great, and doesn’t require a huge amount. A little dab will do you – really! Top that off by not requiring a conditioner to de-tangle and the cake is truly iced.

A few months later I realized that my hair, which is notorious for either growing like a weed or taking its time to decide if, or when, it might add some length, had added a full 6 inches. Yes, six inches of growth. And not a split end or frizz in sight.

I love the skin care, too! Easy to use, not harsh, does the job and the results are what I would expect from a very high end department store brand.

I’ve added Citrus Melody Body Wash to my shower caddy and enjoy not only the lovely scent but the great clean, too.

Check out the full line of L’Bri Pure N’ Natural by clicking HERE.

Canagrow Programmable Timer

I have used a timer for decades to have the lights come on before I get home so I don’t have to fumble around in a dark house. This one has 20 on/off programs that you can set in addition to random, 7-day and countdown functions.

I bought this from Amazon to replace a very old unit that had finally bit the dust. I admit I was a bit surprised to find something so flexible and easy to use. I recently discovered it has additional features I wasn’t aware of.

What I do know is that it does the job exactly as I asked it to, was easy to program, and made living with the occasional power outages a lot easier because of its battery back up.

All in all, these items have exceeded expectations beyond anything I could have anticipated. Why not check them out yourself?

Cooking · Dining · Food

Nibbles For When You Don’t Want a Meal

In my house, we have what is referred to as a Nosher’s Run. This is a collection of nibbles, or snacks, that are collected in lieu of a full sit down meal. It is a great option for movie night, game night or when we just want something a bit out of the ordinary.

The Domestic Geek posted a great appetizer recipe that is very versatile and easy to make. Check out the video:

You can find the recipe here.

Not into Brie or cranberry sauce? How about substituting cream cheese along with a different fruit or bacon? Why not check out the puff pastry cups instead of the crescent dough?

Speaking of cream cheese, why not take advantage of the flavored cheese spreads or make your own?

You could go a bit crazy and start playing with chicken nuggets mixed into the cheese mixture. Think buffalo flavors or perhaps an oriental flavor profile. Or, how about pulled pork?

If you receive a pot of chutney or onion jam for the holidays, why not try those?

These versatile nibbles could be a great option on a snack buffet.

How would you make this recipe your own?

Gifts · Musings · Shopping · YouTube

Getting Into The Holiday Spirit

I admit this year has been quite an interesting one and as we start towards the end of year holidays, I’m finding it a bit of a slow start. I’m not one to spend a lot or buy a lot just to spend but I do enjoy finding beautiful things and getting ideas that I can bring home. Or share. ๐Ÿ™‚

I saw this the other day and was fascinated. If you are like me and love beautiful ornaments, this will give you a bit of a wow moment.

Come Shopping!

I love my UK folks! I especially love it when they take me along on their travels.

Luke Catleugh recently posted a wonderful London shopping trip that made me smile. Check it out:

I love to find stores that still decorate their windows. Holiday window displays are magical things.

Looks like Maggie will be having a magical Christmas, too! Such a good dog!

I’ve been browsing shopping sites and catalogs trying to find ‘just the right gift’. It isn’t easy. I like to feed folks but that isn’t easy, either. ๐Ÿ™‚

What are you planning for the holidays this year?

Audiobooks · Books

Reading Table: Nemesis

Nemesis by Lindsey Davis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve loved the entire series but this book is quite special. It brings all the strings from all the books in the series together and provides a most interesting and satisfying solution to a problem that has been around for a long time; Anacrites.

I have to give it to Ms. Davis, she writes a very excellent mystery in addition to creating a magnificent world to host it. She literally brings Rome (city and empire) to life in ways that I can’t imagine anyone else doing, much less attempting.

As a side note, I haven’t binged a book series in decades, so the ability to find, and dive into, this one has been quite a wonderful ride. Of course, it is also the entry into the Flavia Albia series, which I have also inhaled with great enjoyment.

The readers, Christian Rodska and Simon Prebble, were fantastic.

A fitting end to a wonderful series and a great beginning to another.

View all my reviews


Holiday Extravaganza

Video, that is. Maybe a bit of music, too..

If you are looking to find a wide array of holiday films, specials, and classics check out your streaming services. Disney+ has been adding quite a bit of seasonal programming and Amazon Prime even has a special search button to find those favorites. I think PlutoTV has already begun a channel devoted to holiday programming.

Granted, you probably won’t find everything you want to see, but you might be shocked/surprised to see what is available.

One of the yearly favorites in my home is the Muppets Christmas Carol. We are also fond of the Prep and Landing specials, too.

Have you noticed the yearly fireplace videos are back, too?

Before we know it we will be up to our ears with holiday baking. A perfect accompaniment to baking, package wrapping, and decorating would be the month long Holiday Radio Shows on RadioOnceMore. Check out their website with the program guide here. Note their special holiday programming begins December 1st but they also have some Thanksgiving shows at the end of November.


Audiobooks · Books

Reading Table: Murder In An English Glade

Murder in an English Glade by Jessica Ellicott

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this series! I admit that I was first drawn to it because Barbara Rosenblatt is the reader of the audiobooks. Her on-point presentation only serves to highlight great characters and some rather interesting mysteries.

I like the way the regulars keep evolving. It is a great change from the cookie-cutter books where we find ourselves still in the same situations by book 24 that we were in book 1. Not so here!

This latest addition to the series not only brings a few twists and turns mystery-wise, but it provides some character growth, not to mention a bit of the hidden history of at least one of our favorite characters.

Beryl & Edwina are interesting ladies of a certain age and in a certain age. Their experiences bring about some food for thought when it comes to how people are affected by life. While Edwina is coming to terms with life in an English Village, Beryl is becoming aware of how her preconceived notions of life as an American Adventuress are not always in tune with folks who are from a totally different background. You could almost call their evolution as a coming-of-age story.

I definitely recommend this series and this book if you are looking for a cozy mystery. And, if you enjoy Barbara Rosenblatt’s work, definitely grab the audio version! They are delicious!

View all my reviews

Cooking · Dining · Food · Recipe of the Month

The Holiday Meal Revisited

When we think of the ‘Holiday Meal’ many of us think of the roasted turkey or ham (or both) with loads of different sides and a collection of pies, cakes, and cookies that will require the loosening of the belt or the wearing of the comfy clothes.

Some cooks are genuinely terrified of roasting the bird. If they have little to no experience with roasting a chicken a turkey can not help but be scary.

Then there are those years when the tried and true are just boring and repetitious. Of course, there will always be those traditionalists who insist The Meal be exactly the same every year, but what if maybe we tried something a little different? Since many Americans repeat the same big meal menu for Thanksgiving on Christmas, there might be room for a change.

At a time when shortages are rampant and items that used to always grace the holiday table might not be available, now seems to be the perfect time to experiment a bit.

The recipes Iโ€™ve included keep the spirit of a Make A Fuss Meal and that meal can be created for any reason, not just the Holidays. True, most of them are not diet friendly. That being said, there are dozens of alternative recipes available at the touch of finger to keyboard.

Hereโ€™s What Iโ€™m Thinking

How about a spectacular main course accompanied by easy side dishes? For those who love their traditional sides, they could be used. Dessert could be a showstopper or a collection of the usual goodies folks look forward to.

Basically, what you have is a blueprint for a meal that can be easily customized and created. And, if you are lucky to have a group over for The Meal, some of it could be divvied up among guests to bring. Sort of a pot luck, you know?

Check out the November Pantry Magic Holiday Meal Revisited recipe collection here.

Happy Cooking!

Cooking · Food

Easy Meals: Roast Pork Shoulder Steaks

When the weather turns a bit chilly and it isn’t quite comfortable enough to be outside using the grill, I love to tuck a couple pork shoulder roasts on my broiler pan and put them in a moderate oven for about 90 minutes to get them brown, juicy and flavorful. To make it even better, I’ll add potatoes to bake alongside.


If you have a broiler pan, now is the time to use it! I spray both the bottom and the rack of mine with nonstick spray and be sure to add about 1/4 cup of water into the bottom of the pan. That way any juices or fats that render won’t smoke.

Roast Pork Shoulder Steaks

Comfort Food! Easy, flavorful, and perfect for company.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Easy, Pork, Roast
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Author Janet


  • Broiler Pan
  • Cookie Sheet
  • Aluminum Foil


  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • dried sage
  • 1 – 3 lb Pork Butt Steak – Bone-In


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Spray the broiler pan with non-stick spray to aid in clean up
  • Season the meat when you place it on the broiler pan
  • Roast on the first side for 45 minutes, flip meat to the other side, season, and return to the oven for the remaining time.


If you don’t have a broiler pan, line a cookie sheet with foil for easy cleanup and use it instead. be sure the cookie sheet is rimmed on all sides.
You can add potatoes to the oven before you put in the meat.
The general rule of thumb is one steak for two people.ย  The steaks tend to be more tender than chops and won’t dry out during the long cooking period.ย 
If you are concerned about smoke from the draining fat, add 1/4 cup of water in the bottom of the broiler pan.
Finish with

Because the main portion of the meal is pretty much hands off, you have time to add a side salad and easy dessert.

This meal would also be a great option for a dinner party or holiday meal. ๐Ÿ˜‰