Sacred Music Friday: Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates

I’m a sucker for any hymn that uses the hymn tune Truro as it brings back fond and happy memories of my days at the First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City and the hymn “O Life That Maketh All Things New.” The lyrics to this one, though, are highly appropriate for Advent.

the value of our Roku

About a year ago I wrote that I had bought a Roku device so we could get the CBS All Access streaming service in order to watch Star Trek: Discovery. That series, the first season at least, was an absolute disaster, so bad that I cancelled CBS All Access before the end of the season. (We are hoping for a better season 2 and expect to re-up in January.)

Roku packageThe Roku has been great for other reasons, however. It gives us simple, easy access to Netflix and Hulu. We get access to streaming movies through Fandango, Vudu, and Redbox.

The Roku also provides access to the CBSN streaming news service. I have been watching more news since the democrats won the House of Representatives, and I watch CNN and MSNBC, both of which show a bias against that guy with the orange hair who lives in the White House. That is more than fine with me, but it’s nice to have CBSN for their more down the middle approach.

Then there’s NASA TV. With the excitement around the Mars InSight mission I thought perhaps Roku might offer NASA TV. In fact, they do. How very cool is that?

The Roku was an inexpensive purchase. We are getting more than our money’s worth.

coriander-crusted flank steak

coriander-crusted steakI don’t often include steak in my meal planning, but every once in a while I put it on the menu for a Saturday dinner. I pulled up this recipe for coriander-crusted flank steak with Cuban black beans.

The steak is rubbed with coriander, black pepper, and salt. I bought an eye of round steak for the recipe.

The Cuban black beans include bell pepper, cumin, tomato paste and chicken stock. We keep vegetable, not chicken stock in the pantry.

I left the cooking to Terry. She is the steak expert. This made for a delightful Saturday dinner.

NPR’s Book Concierge 2018

Once again NPR has released its annual Book Concierge. This very cool tool lists the best books of 2018 that have been reviewed or otherwise mentioned on NPR. This is more than simply a best books list, however. It is an interactive tool that allows you to select books by category, mixing and matching in a very fun way.

For example you can select Staff Picks and Eye openings Reads. You can select just Nonfiction or you can select Nonfiction and Identity and Culture. There’s a category for Seriously Great Writing. I keep intending to read a book in that category. Maybe I will yet.

Take a look. Play around. Have fun. I think you’ll enjoy it.

chicken tikka masala

Chicken Tikka MasalaI love chicken tikka masala. It is one of my two favorite Indian dishes along with tandoori chicken. Unfortunately, our local Indian restaurant (at least we have one now!) rarely makes chicken tikka masala available on its buffet. I had a hankering for the dish, so I decided to make it myself.

I have a few chicken tikka masala recipes in my database. I decided to try this one by Aarti Sequeira, of whom I am a big fan. I made the marinade as specified a few hours ahead. I took a big shortcut on the sauce. Rather than doing it in steps as the recipe specified, I threw all the ingredients into my Vitamix, created a smooth sauce and the put it into the pan with the chicken which had been cooking for a while.

The result was delightful. Very much the taste of restaurant chicken tikka masala. Terry called it “killer.” It was one of those recipes that really worked.

Sacred Music Friday: Deep in the Shadows of the Past

First-Plymouth Church, Lincoln Nebraska

our newest garden tool

When we left Gilroy in May 2015 we left a lot of stuff behind: donated to charity or given to neighbors. Garden tools were among what we gave up, including our electric hedge trimmer. We’ve gotten by fine without it, though it’s meant a bit more manual work.

Recently, however, our neighbor expressed concern about the vines growing along our shared fence. Seems in the past she has had an unpleasant experience replacing a fence due to overgrowth. I thought about renting a hedge trimmer to handle the job, but I realized that by the time I paid all the rental fees I could buy one.

So I did.

I cut back the vines by the fence and whacked down the hedge on the other side of the house which I had previously attacked by hand.

A worthwhile purchase.


hedge trimmer