"I cannot live without books: but fewer will suffice where amusement, and not use, is the only future object." -- Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Michael Hardeman - Narrator -- Gina's Dream

Michael Hardeman — Narrator

By accident, I meet Rocky Mountain Mike (Michael Hardeman) on Twitter. His name was familiar from his political parody songs played on online radio shows. On his Twitter profile, I learned he also narrated audiobooks.
Michael Hardeman
After contacting Michael regarding an audiobook project, I learned he had been a DJ and radio show host for more than 20 years.
After many years in radio, Michael returned to college to get a BS in electronics engineering technology and he worked in engineering and software development for the next 20+ years.

Over time, Michael had also been writing, producing and performing political parody songs and audio sketch comedy. He developed a variety of songs that are played on various radio stations and you can find them on his YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSB-tl1Xbo8jtq8q45N7STQ.

In 2013, Mike and a friend, made a comedy album based on his political parody songs called Politically Incoherent. Within the first weeks after launching the album, it became #1 on iTunes Comedy, #1 and #2 on Amazon Comedy and #3 on Billboard Comedy, according to Michael.

Today, Mike continues to write and produce audio sketch comedy and political parody songs like The Electoral College —the Chipmunks Song. He also sells large format color photographs he takes in various national and state parks as well as other scenic locations which have been featured in major outdoor magazines.

Michael Hardeman
 Available at Google Play:

Gina's Dream -- Now Available as an Audio Book


Gina's Dream
An Environmental Manifesto Wrapped in a Science-Fiction Romance
Now Available as an Audio Book (English)

30% Off until 10/29/2020

MERIDA, MEXICO -- Expat, Ria Stone published her first Smashwords fiction eBook, Gina’s Dream in 2013. 

In Gina’s Dream, Kit Brennan, SETA’s (Space Exploration Through Astronomy) Assistant Director, meets an unusual woman at a convention. She claims she is an alien. What is he to believe? What is he to do?

Kit’s co-worker sees her as a threat, first to his friend and then to humankind. The co-worker seeks to discover Gina’s secrets and to stop her.

Gina has broken the emissaries’ primary rule by telling Kit who she is. But, she is here to defend her world from a future invasion by humans. As Gina’s safety is threatened, what will she do to defend herself?

Caught in the middle between his co-worker’s fears and her defense, Kit has few choices but to let Gina follow her dream.

What would you do if you met an alien?


Now, You Can Listen to Gina's Story!

Find Gina's Dream Audio Book at Google Play at:
Michael Hardeman narrates Gina's Dream. 


Yucatán Writers Association Blog Tour

Yucatán Writers Association Presents its
First Members Blog Tour


Yucatán Writers Association Blog Tour 
November 21, 2020 - December 21, 2020

Over the next 30 days, visit our members' blogs or websites to see what's new. Our members are authors, writers, bloggers, vloggers, poets and more.

Ria Stone

Betty Steinmuller 
New Publication -- From Havana - A Novel

Cherry Muhanji
Author: Her -- A Novel
Blog: https://cherrymuhanji.blogspot.com/

Egyirba M. HIgh
Berijoy's Bliss

Judy Jones

Ralf Hollman
Author: The Modern Yucatan Dictionary


Sunday, October 18, 2020

Hotplate: Three and Four Bean / Pea Salads

I am on a bean kick!
I used to make a great three bean salad with canned and drained Kidney beans, Green beans and Garbanzo beans with a ready-made Italian dressing.
Look at me now, cooking dry beans!
While I can get fresh green beans here and maybe dry kidney beans, I wanted to use the “Use What I Have” method rather than run to the store during a pandemic in a hot zone to get these items.
I used the recipes under Resources below as guides.

Hotplate: Three and Four Bean / Pea Salads

The day before making these salads, I made about a cup of Pinto beans, one cup of Black-eyed peas and about two cups Black beans from dry beans. The peas and Garbanzo beans came from cans.

There are plenty of how-to cook dry beans tutorials available like:

How to Cook Black-eyed Peas

No amounts are noted because you can make any size bean salad you desire

I made three sample combinations as a test.

Black beans, cooked and drained
Pinto beans, cooked and drained
Black-eyed peas, cooked and drained
With ready-made Italian dressing
Black-eyed peas, cooked and drained
Green peas, canned, drained and rinsed
Garbanzo beans, cooked and drained
Black-eyed peas, cooked and drained
With DIY Vinaigrette per Wikipedia with lime juice and dry parsley.
Wikipedia Vinaigrette:
3 parts oil
1 part apple cider vinegar
Herbs / Spices
Pinto beans, cooked and drained 
Garbanzo beans, canned, drained and rinsed
Black beans, cooked and drained
With DIY Vinaigrette

I liked all three bean/pea salads but I liked #2 and #3 because of the DIY Vinaigrette. The DIY Vinaigrette had a surprisingly light and bright flavor. 
Spending with Pennies

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Microwave: Mug O'Black Bean Chocolate Cake

In a search for black bean recipes, I was surprised to find recipes for Black Bean Chocolate Cake, including a mug version.

As usual, I adapted the mug recipe to what I had on hand. Also, the original recipe was for two mug cakes. I created a one cake mug version.
I actually used black beans I had just cooked. I used a different method than the one noted on SpruceEats (see Resources below).
I put about a half of cup of dry black beans (rinsed) into a container and filled the container with water and let the beans soak for several hours. Then, I transferred the beans to a pot and added about 1 1/2 cups of water. I brought the beans to a boil then lowered the temperature to a simmer and let the beans simmer for about an hour or more. When I checked the beans, they were soft. I turned off the beans but let the covered pot sit on the counter to cool down before I put the beans into a jar and then into the frig.

Microwave: Mug O’Black Bean Chocolate Cake


1/4 Cup Black beans, cooked and drained
1 TBspn Flour
1 TBspn Cocoa powder
1 TBspn Honey
1 TBspn DIY milk (milk made with lactose-free dry milk)
1 Tspn Vanilla flavoring
1 Egg
1/4 Tspn Baking powder
Topping: Honey
Suggested extra toppings: almond slivers, chocolate syrup


Add beans to mug.
Use a fork to mash the beans. Stir and mash until all the beans are mashed.
Add flour and cocoa powder.
Stir and mix ingredients until thoroughly mixed.
Add honey, milk and vanilla.
Stir ingredients thoroughly.
Add egg and baking powder.
Whip and stir ingredients thoroughly.
Put mug in microwave, cover with a saucer.
Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
Tip mug over and use a fork to help the cake slide onto the plate.
Add topping(s).

I was surprised, this turned out well. It tastes like chocolate cake with a subtle flavor of the black beans.

Spruce Eats
How to Cook Black Beans

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

DIY: Coffee Stain Remover

I thank the "Gentlemen's Gazette" YouTube Channel for this idea and many more.


We all have our little pet peeves. One of mine is coffee in the morning. I struggled for months trying to figure how to make a cup of coffee without spillage. Sounds silly.

 I have almost nailed it. I, now, use a large commuter coffee cup with a screw on lid. But, if I did not screw the lid on in an exact manner, it would leak when I took a sip, so I have stained a lot of tops. I am more careful, now, so I usually do not have any spillage.

But, when I had a spill recently, I found the Gentlemen's Gazette's video on clothing stains and how to remove them.

Spray coffee stain with rubbing alcohol, blot with cloth, then hand wash garment.

I tried the advice for removing coffee stains and it worked!!!

Monday, October 12, 2020

Refrigerator: Vanilla or Horchata Chia Pudding

Chia seeds are incredibly small, amazing and alien.
By Magister Mathematicae - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15245222

While I sprinkle Chia on many dishes, but Chia pudding has become a favorite dish.

Refrigerator: Vanilla or Horchata Chia Pudding


1 Cup Dry Milk mixture (Lactose free)
1/3 Cup chia seeds
1/2 TBspn white sugar
1 Capful vanilla extract

Or just use 1 Cup of Horchata and eliminate, sugar and vanilla.

Makes about 11oz.


Combine milk, chia seeds, sugar, and vanilla extract in a container with a lid.
Stir to mix thoroughly.
Add lid.
Put in frig overnight.
The Chia seeds will absorb the liquid, expand and jellify.

The next day, serve pudding, offer various toppings like: fresh fruit, dried blueberries, raisins, crushed nuts, sesame seeds or other items.

Over time, the pudding will thicken, add more liquid to keep it the consistency desired.*

*The more milk/Horchata I added, the more pudding I had as the Chia continued to expand.

DIY: Two-Tone Blouse Conversion and the Back Stitch

A simple blouse and a small success.

After retiring from desk jobs, and living in a “buy what you need culture”, it did not take long to realize I did not have many basic living / survival skills.

Besides continuing to learn how to cook, I need to Up My Game in various areas like food preservation, sewing, home repairs, saving $, understanding nutrition and health standards, and more.

So, many of the YouTube DIY Crafts videos are helpful in learning basic skills.
You have to admire YouTube creators, not only for demonstrating their area of expertise and creativity but also for their abilities to produce quality videos which require planning and organizing their script and tools.

To make a video also requires a wide range of skills including: writing, staging, filming, lightning, audio production, editing and more.
 DIY: Two-Tone Blouse Conversion

I got the idea for making a “Two-Tone” blouse conversion from BlueprintDIY:

Basically, you take two shirts or blouses and cut them in half and then sew together one piece from one shirt/blouse to the alternate half of the other shirt/blouse. But, take a look at the video for specific instructions.
I enjoy this shirt because I was not wearing either of the two blouses very much, so now I like wearing my two-tone blouse. I have not sewn the other halves together yet, to make another two-tone blouse.

Sewing: the Back Stitch
During this process, I learned a new sewing stitch, the Back Stitch. Now here is where I am going to complain a bit. While I like the DIY Craft videos, many of them make the process look simple but it's never as simple as it looks.
Back Stitch from Wikihow

Also, often I can't follow the steps in many of the DIY Craft videos, so I go to the internet to look for articles on the same topic like the Back Stitch and even there many articles include moving videos which drive me crazy.
Moving videos make me physically ill. I have to cover the moving image with my hand in order to read the text. So, even though I have offered a link to an article on how to make a Back Stitch. I had a lot of trouble following the steps due to my issues with moving images.

While I can watch a DIY Craft video or a movie like a continuous story, I can not follow the video's steps in making a craft. It is a struggle.
Not sure but my problem may be related to:

Microwave: Mug O'Salmon & Vegetables, Mushrooms, Rice and Egg as a Toast Topping & Salad

A two-fer.

Perusing the frig contents, I had mostly eggs, a cucumber, a carrot, potatoes, salsa, cooked rice, LO canned salmon with vegetables, Italian lettuce and LO canned mushrooms.

This is when the ingredients come before the recipe.

Hmmm, we could make a mug of “fried rice” with salsa and an egg, but can’t add lettuce. Ok, what else? Maybe a salmon salad. I’m warming up.

Ok, we’ve got salmon with vegetables, cooked rice, an egg, mushrooms. Let’s start with this combo.

This reminds me of Jack Monroe. While this recipe does not resemble her recipes, the salmon brings back memories of her creamy salmon pasta.

Microwave: Mug O’Salmon & Vegetables, Rice with Egg as a Toast Topping


1 Slice Multi-grain bread, toasted
A dab Olive or vegetable oil
1-2 Drops Hot sauce
1-2 TBspns Cooked rice
1 TBspn Canned salmon with vegetables
2 TBspns Canned mushrooms, diced, drained, rinsed
A dollop DIY Milk
1 Tspn Mayo


In a mug, add a dab of vegetable oil.
Add hot sauce (a tip from Jack).
Add cooked rice.
Add canned salmon.
Add mushrooms.
Add egg.
Stir ingredients thoroughly.
Add milk.
Stir thoroughly, again.
Place in microwave.
Cover with a saucer.
Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
If the liquids have not cooked away, return to microwave and cook 1-2 more minutes.

When I removed the mug, I realized the mixture was heavy. So, I made some toast, spread it with mayo and spread about 1/3 of the mixture over the toast.


A leftover success!!

Salmon with Vegetables, Mushrooms, Cooked Rice and Egg Mixture Salad

Using some of the remaining mixture from the recipe above, I'll make a salmon mixture salad for lupper, using some of the Italian lettuce, chopped olives, shredded cheese, cucumber and carrot.

DIY Mayo, Apple Vinegar, Yogurt and Paprika Dressing

Starting with an almost empty jar of mayo, I added about a dollop of yogurt, apple vinegar, and paprika. Then, I shook the jar vigorously to mix the ingredients. I only used a dribble of this mixture on the salad.

I have fallen in love with Italian lettuce, it is crispy and textured and it has more flavor than iceberg lettuce.

Actually, that one mug of salmon with vegetables, mushrooms, rice & egg made 3 meals. The above salad was my second salad made with the mixture.

Freaking Frugal: A YouTube VideoLog of a Dumpster Diving Couple

Freakin Frugal: A Dumpster Diving Couple on YouTube

I started watching Mr. and Mrs. Freakin Frugal because I wanted to understand Dumpster Diving.

I have watched a lot of their videos at:
They are genuine, funny, and offer great ideas and information.
Mrs. Freakin Frugal is the video producer, Mr. Freakin Frugal, her partner, offers a different perspective.
I enjoy their exchanges, it's so Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. But, I do appreciate his focus on tools and machinery because he gets some good dumpster finds, Mrs. Frugal might miss. Plus, he is adorable.
Mrs. Frugal not only offers videos on their dumpster diving and Curbside Treasures adventures as well as a discussion about their finds, she offers cooking tips, recipes and other perspectives on how they use their finds.
I would love to know more about their donation efforts and how they are planning for their future.
Below are just two links to the Freakin Frugal videos:
This one is more of an intro video where Mrs. F talks about herself, her family and her approach to making videos and more:
An example of Mr. and Mrs. Freakin Frugal dumpster diving:

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Microwave: Mug O'Diana's Bread Pudding

Part of searching for recipes are the surprises.

Don’t recall what I was originally searching for but I found a video with a Royal chef regarding Princess Diana’s favorite dessert, bread pudding with raisins.

So, of course, I adapted the original recipe and converted it to a mug recipe.

Mug O’Diana’s Bread Pudding
(Adapted from:

Soak 1-2 TBspns raisins in vanilla flavoring overnight. Store in frig.


8oz coffee cup
1 TB Olive oil (or margarine)
1 1/2 Multi-grain Bread slices, torn into small pieces
1 Egg
1 1-2 TBspns Sugar or honey
3 TBspns Cream, or DIY milk, or yogurt
1 Heaping TBspn Pre-Soaked raisins with residual liquid
1 Tspn Vanilla, if desired
2 Dashes Cinnamon
Garnish: Almond slivers

Add oil to bottom of cup.
Add egg, sugar, cream.
Add raisins and any residual liquid.
Add extra vanilla, if desired.
Add cinnamon.
Stir to mix well.
Break bread into pieces into cup.
Push bread down so all pieces are soaked in mixture.
Stir to mix well.
Microwave 2 minutes on high.
Garnish with almond slices.
Serve with fresh fruit.


Chicken Tostados Using Leftovers

Tostados are a forgiving dish.
This recipe is not the classic beef and refried beans Tostado. See Resources below for traditional Tostado recipes.
I struggle to use up perishables and avoid waste.
As I surveyed the frig, I had LO carry-out chicken, lettuce, cream, black beans, corn tortillas, rice, cucumbers, cottage cheese, mixed vegs, and eggs, I knew I had to use these in a limited timeframe.
I planned on making pickles from the cucumbers but I was not sure about the rest.
Originally, I thought I’d make tortilla chips from the corn tortillas,  then the light bulb went off, no, I am going to make tostados and the rest of the ingredients fell into place.
Chicken Tostados Using Leftovers (LO)
You can buy pre-made Tostados and sour cream, but I choose to make DIY Tostados and DIY Sour Cream, see post below for instructions.
LO Canned Black beans
LO Carry-out chicken, diced
Canned Salsa
Perishable lettuce
Shredded cheese
DIY Sour cream
Place 1 or more Tostados on a plate.
Add a layer of black beans, drained.
Add a layer of diced chicken.
Top with 1-2 Tspns of salsa.
Add shredded or torn bits of lettuce.
Sprinkle shredded cheese over the lettuce.
Dribble DIY sour cream, to taste, over lettuce.

Yum, yum!
It's when I make something like this that uses sour cream do I remember how good sour cream is on many dishes.
The Mexican Grocer
My Latina Table

Sunday, October 4, 2020

No Bake: Lime Cream Cake Freezer Dessert - Experiment #1

You are going to see several No Bake Lime Cream Cake Desserts here because I can't seem to make the same one twice. This has a lot to do with the ingredients I have on hand and my own "cooking" abilities.

This will be one of those desserts I won't be able to duplicate because I was also trying to use some leftover cream and yogurt, so I probably won't have this combination of ingredients on hand at the same time, again.
One of these days, I hope I can come up with a Universal No Bake Lime Cream Cake Refrigerator Dessert.

No Bake: Lime Cream Cake Freezer Dessert - Experiment 1
1/2 Cup cream
1/2 Cup condensed milk
1/2 Cup evaporated milk
2-3 TBspns Yogurt
3 dollops lime juice concentrate
6-8 sugar cookies, crumbled
Add cream, milks and yogurt in a bowl.
Stir and whip with a spoon until smooth.
Add lime juice.
Mix liquids thoroughly.
Make thick layer of cookie crumbs on the bottom of small rectangle microwaveable glass loaf dish with a cover.
Add 1/2 of cream mixture, no need to use it all.
Top with 2 crumbled cookies.
Sprinkled top with lime zest.
Put in freezer.
Freeze overnight or 6-8 hours.

Personally, I like to let it defrost a bit before serving, it makes it easier to divide the portions.
This No Bake: Lime Cream Cake Freezer Dessert came out pretty good. It was very tasty, just the right about of lime. But, it could have used more crumbled cookies.

No Bake: Blueberry Cream Cheese / Yogurt Refrigerator Dessert

No Bake: Blueberry Cream Cheese / Yogurt Refrigerator Dessert

8 Sugar cookies
1/2 8oz Package Cream Cheese
2-4 oz Plain yogurt
4-6 TBspns Canned Blueberry pie filling


In a bowl, mix cream cheese and yogurt together.
Stir until smooth.
Add more yogurt to make mixture thinner, if desired.
In a dessert or small bowl, add a layer of 4 roughly crushed sugar cookies.
Add a thin layer of cream cheese/yogurt mixture. It is not necessary to use all the mixture.
Smooth layer out to sides of bowl.
Add blueberry filling, spread fulling to sides of bowl.
Top with a layer of crushed sugar cookies.
Refrigerate overnight.

DIY Fix: What to do with a broken Spray Nozzle

What to Do With a Broken Spray Nozzle
Again, this DIY craft adventure has been surprising. I save shampoo bottles, body spray bottles, cleaning solution bottles with spray, pump, and squirt tops, and more, and reuse them for various DIY cleaning solutions, diluted shampoo, DIY hand soap, and DIY hair spray, for example.

When I got tired of trying to fix the spray pump on my shampoo bottle, I went to Youtube to find repair ideas. I found some but they did not work, so I exchanged the faulty spray pump top with a dishwashing bottle squirt top.

Watching YouTube DIY videos and reading articles about living frugally inspires creativity and imagination.
I’ll try to fix the spray bottle at another time.

Using Pasta Water and Vegetable Water in Soups

While I do not have a large frig, I like my frig. But, I can’t save everything. Already, I have bottles and containers of stale beer, pickle juice, tea, coconut creme, sesame creme, lime juice concentrate, cranberry and other juices, so I am tight for space, so I do not often save my pasta water or vegetable water.

But, recently, I made a batch of pasta and saved the pasta water.

I had just cooked a whole patti pan squash in a pot of water and had saved the vegetable water.

After making the pasta, I decided to use the pasta water and squash water to make chicken broth.
I did not include quantities here because I just used what I had, about 1-3 cups of each.

Using Pasta Water and Vegetable Water in Soups
Pasta water
Vegetable water
Onion flakes
Garlic powder
Ground black pepper
1 chicken bouillon cube
Extra water if needed

Add a dollop of vegetable water to a pot.
Add spices and bouillon cube.
Stir to mix well.
Heat on medium-high for a few minutes while stirring.
Add extra vegetable water, if needed.
Add pasta water.
Add remaining vegetable water.
Add extra water if needed.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer.
Simmer for about 5 minutes.
Divide broth into individual serving freezer containers.

Hours later, I wanted to see how the broth tasted.

So, I emptied one serving into a large bowl and added about 2 TBspns of diced leftover chicken.

I covered the bowl and microwaved it for 4 minutes on high. (Microwave for 2-3 minutes if broth is not frozen.)

Be careful when removing bowl from microwave, the soup will be very hot.

I was pleasantly surprised, the soup had a smooth tasty flavor.