Grilled Herbed Chicken & Potato Foil Packs

Reposted from https://www.lecremedelacrumb.com/grilled-herbed-chicken-potato-foil-packs/.

grilled-chicken-potato-foil-packs-103-680x1020Grilled Herbed Chicken & Potato Foil Packs

Grilled herb chicken & potato foil packs are a fun and simple summer dinner that the whole family will love.

Ingredients

  • 6-8 boneless skinless chicken thighs OR 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 – 1 1/2 pounds potatoes (red or gold potatoes work best in this recipe), thinly sliced (about 2 cups potato slices)
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms

Instructions

  1. Stir together seasonings and set aside. Add oil to a bowl along with chicken, potatoes, and mushrooms and toss to coat everything in the oil.

  2. Lay out 4 12 x 12 sheets of nonstick foil on a flat surface. Divide chicken, potatoes, and mushrooms between each of the foil sheets. (If using thighs there should be 1-2 per foil sheet, if using breasts there should be 1 per foil sheet) Sprinkle with seasoning mixture.

  3. Fold foil over the chicken-potato-mushroom mixture and scrunch the ends of the foil together to close off the foil pack.

  4. Place foil packs on preheated grill and cook for about 10-15 minutes, then flip and cook another 5-7 minutes. Check the chicken for doneness, once cooked through, garnish with fresh herbs if desired (such as thyme, rosemary, or oregano) and serve immediately.

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Lyrics to “The Streets of Edinburgh”

Of late a beautiful song by The Proclaimers is really capturing my imagination.  The song is called “The Streets of Edinburgh.”

Please watch the official video from youtube and read its lyrics here below:

“Streets Of Edinburgh”

Along these broken pavements
I let my mind run free
The past and the present
Seem just the same to me
The people I have loved most
Among these stones did dwell
And in the plainest language
Their stories they did tell
They pass, they pass
They pass, they pass
The streets of Edinburgh
Hold half the world for me
In scores, in droves
The living and the ghosts
The streets of Edinburgh
Mean most to me
Depending on your viewpoint
This place is blessed or cursed
And in the years I’ve lived here
I’ve seen the best and worst
An air of sordid passion
A look of dirty grace
But not right in your face
It’s not that kind of place 

They pass, they pass
They pass, they pass
The streets of Edinburgh
Hold half the world for me
In scores, in droves
The living and the ghosts
The streets of Edinburgh
Mean most to me

 

Down greasy potholed roadways
I watch the traffic crawl
But for the cars and buses
I give no thought at all
I think about the future
I wonder at her health
How with this human wealth
She does renew herself

 

They pass, they pass
They pass, they pass
The streets of Edinburgh
Hold half the world for me
In scores, in droves
The living and the ghosts
The streets of Edinburgh
Mean most to me

Pumpkin Pie Fudge

Recipe courtesy of Candy Steiner.

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup fat-free evaporated milk
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 Tbsp corn syrup
2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
9 oz white chocolate chips
7 oz marshmallow fluff
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Line a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil. Spray with nonstick spray or line pan with parchment paper

Stir together the sugar, butter, milk, pumpkin, corn syrup, and pumpkin pie spice in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer reads 234 degrees F (soft-ball stage).

Remove pan from heat. Stir in white chocolate, marshmallow fluff, and vanilla until well blended. Pour into a greased, aluminum foil or parchment paper-lined pan. Let stand 2 hours or until completely cool. Cut fudge into squares.

In the mood for art

Sometimes independent authors simply don’t want to write, research, or promote. The last few days I’ve been in that category much of the time, spurred perhaps by first the completion and release of “Cleopatra VII: Egypt’s Last Pharaoh” on 10 October followed by the Audible release of “Empress Wu Zetian” on 23 October.  It’s been a good month, but naturally a busy one with two new releases.  And sometimes, a girl just wants to have fun!

What did I find myself doing? I have no children at this time. No husband. My friends all live hundreds or thousands of miles away (at least the ones I talk to regularly). I feel like I am a terrible cook.  What is a girl to do when she’s not in the mood to work?

Apparently for me, it’s playing in Photoshop.  A few days ago a special offer at Depositphotos.com prompted me to buy a 100 image pack — way more than I think I need in a year — for $100. Usually you have to subscribe to get $1/image with them. But knowing that as I continue to work, I continue to need book covers I went ahead and invested.  That itself becomes a toy — there’s always so many interesting images to find and download.  Unexpectedly my brain has jumped ahead and decided that I need to create the cover art on planned books for the series that I have no started yet.  So, being in the mood for art, I sat down and played.  First on the 25th and now this morning.  Here are the results.

In the Hildegard cover I take a photo of an abbey and put onto it a carefully extracted and sized nun. The portal image of the abbey originally shows a courtyard behind it, but I replaced that with the bright sun to represent heaven and signal that Hildegard was a mystic renown for her visions.  Likewise, the gold text is designed to represent to you that she is a canonized saint.

 

The Margaret of Wessex cover uses a stained glass window rendering of Margaret that you can visit in Edinburgh. I pick up the gold from her skirt and black outline the title to resemble the window behind it.

 

None of these books are started yet. But when you are in the mood to create art – you gotta create!

From personal journaling and books to food: dramatic changes to this blog

This wordpress blog is now about 4 1/2 years old.  It started as a book blog and as a place to preserve my favourite articles written for Yahoo Voices (2012 to 2014) before Yahoo dismantled the service.  It also became a place for me to journal in public, as many blogs do.

Hypatia of Alexandria webTimes have changed.  Since starting this blog I have written eight Legendary Women of World History biographies, completed the Peers of Beinan science fiction series, and experienced dramatic social changes in my personal life.  No human in my life when I started this blog is still in my life.  My mother has died and I do not maintain contact (nor ever wish contact) with my surviving blood relatives.

I’ve also grown as a spiritual being, including grown much more private about my life and my experiences. This is in part due to success.  A largely anonymous and unnoticed author can speak in public without being heard.  That, happily, is no longer the case.

The result:  much of the older content on this blog is now deleted.  By my count, about 35-40% of what was here is now gone.  The world doesn’t need to hear the specifics of my past lives nor the slings and arrows of what is today a relatively recent past.  I have close friends now who are finally, at long last, proven trustworthy.

Nine through Thirteen (Image above: in 2005 Doctor Who returned for a whole new generation. From left: Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor [7 October 2018 — present], Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor [2014 — 2017], Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor [2010-2013], David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor [2005 — 2010], Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor [2005] and John Hurt as the Doctor of War [2013])

 

My interests have naturally evolved as well.  Four years ago “Doctor Who” was a vague impression left by browsing for new ornaments at a Hallmark store in November: an odd blue box and an odder thing called a ‘”dalek.”  Today my brand new website created in the winter of 2018 features music from series 8 – 10 of Doctor Who as played by Peter Capaldi.

12 leaves TARDIS

 

(Image left: Peter’s Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor emerges from his TARDIS – Time and Relative Dimension in Space).

 

It’s a welcome change.  I am very proud of the new website.  But the website also means that this blog simply no longer functions as it once did and no longer needs do.

Going forward, expect this blog to focus much more on food and recipes which I like to collect and refer back to here rather than other places.  Though my culinary skills have much to be desired, copying favourite recipes and reposting them here allows me to find what I like best quickly and easily — even if I never acquire the skills needed to actually successfully make any of them.

I hope you like these changes and will enjoy what I find interesting and fun about food.

 

Bon appetit!

 

Teaching in the SCA: the class that taught me how to write the Legendary Women of World History Series

Many of you know that for over 20 years I was a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, a medieval recreation group mostly centered in the United States and Canada that focuses on the time period between 600 and 1600 CE.  I was known at first as “Anne de Lyons” when I played as a student at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln (SCA chapter: Shire/Barony of Mag Mor, Calontir), but quickly shifted to a nuzhen persona once I took Asian history courses at UNL.

sands point demo 2009

As my life took shape I eventually took up my passion for birds and made it part of the SCA in 2006 while living in Brooklyn, New York. Now known as “Biya Saman,” I focused my research on both falconry and aviculture in medieval China, engaging in a four year long research project asking “what happened to the Derbyan parakeet” that were often talked about in some of the great poems of the Tang Dynasty.

In 2010 I completed my research and had the opportunity to present it in Chicago at the November “Royal University Midrealms” event.  Here is that course entitled “Talons and White Crests.”

Talon and White Crest class handout

Why is the class important?  Because ultimately it taught me how to organize my research into a smooth, easy to understand narrative.  It is the beginning of my narrative history approach and the way I approach and write each Legendary Women of World History book.

Not everything from my research made it into that class of course.  There was much I could not do. But the point was to teach students who had no background in Chinese history, language or culture; no background with parrots or the quirks of living with them; and no background in falconry as practiced in either medieval Europe or Asia.

When teaching students with absolutely no experience or background in your subject, I find it helpful to use a narrative method, to make it all about the story which is exactly what you find in the above course and in each Legendary Women of World History biography.

As I came to do with the appendices of my books, I deferred technical information to my class handout.  Open up the handout from the above link and you’ll find I really explain how parrots and birds of prey are different (and yes, people often don’t know even the most basic differences between them).  Deferring the technical stuff allows me to focus on the story and maintain clarity.

 

Talons and White Crests was an important step in learning how to write the Legendary Women of World History.  I hope you will enjoy it.

Happy Easter/Resurrection Sunday. My alternate hypothesis.

OnTheCrossToday is Easter Sunday/Resurrection Sunday 2018.  It’s a day when Christians celebrate as almost exclusively historical the alleged crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ whom they believe to be the Son of God.

I’m going to assume most of you know the official story told by the Church.

But in the spirit of free thinking and philosophy (warning: the apostle Paul says philosophy and individual thought is dangerous and we must not allow women to speak their minds here), I would like to offer to you a more historically plausible explanation for what happened in the 1st Century CE, for the origins of what became the Church and the Christian religion.

In brief: the church came first and invented Jesus as the “Son of God.”

So let’s go back to the beginning.

Cleoptra-955

The first century CE was the height of the Roman Empire as most people think of it. After defeating Marc Antony and Cleopatra in 30 BCE, Octavian Caesar has himself proclaimed the first Emperor, “Caesar Augustus” in 27 BCE and ruled until 14 CE as a living god in the eyes of the State and of the people.  In the Roman province of Judea, the Julius Caesar put an end to the in-fighting that still raged among the Hasmoneans and appointed Antipas to rule the region on behalf of Rome. In 40 BCE the Roman Senate set up Antipas’ son Herod as “king of the Jews” in a move that proved to be satisfying to the Romans but only the Romans. Chaos ensued with a string of governors and other rulers who attempted to maintain order and keep peace in the area — if only to keep the flow goods constant regionally from Egypt through Judea, and ultimately back to Rome.

It was, in essence, one very big mess — and that was only the secular side of things. Religiously things were in even more disarray, chaos stretching back centuries. The same in-fighting that led to the rise of Judah ben Maccabee continued into the common era. It was a time and a place ripe for revolution — religious and social.

Among the religious establishment were Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes (see http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/pharisees-sadducees-and-essenes).   These three groups more or less controlled religious life in Judea and, as you might expect, not everyone was happy with it. Organized religion in any form has a habit of becoming corrupt, of being easily bribed by power and money and the Pharisees and Sadducees were not exempt.

Across Judea educated women and men gathered together to express their displeasure at the world around them.  They organized and came together as communities to address abuses in the system around them. Leaders emerged decrying injustice for the poor and disadvantaged. They preached against poverty and the systems that made the rich richer and the poor poorer. They taught that we should help each other and do everything we can to alleviate suffering.  They taught tolerance and acceptance. Peace. Love.  They were not against the rule of law, but insisted that laws be just. They insisted that all people were people and that no person could own another.

forgive-optimizedThey fed the hungry. They clothed the naked. Sometimes they rioted to demand justice.  Sometimes they were rounded up by the authorities and put to death. Some were even crucified by the Romans who really did not care much to distinguish between a Jewish woman opening her home kitchen to the hungry and the zealot who believed in a conquering messiah (a pharisee teaching).  The name “Christian” was applied to all of them.

The Christians were not founded around a leader. They were not a cult to begin with.  They were a social-progressive movement founded around a mutual recognition that the world around them was a mess and they believed they could do something about it.

Then came a man named Paul. Paul (Saul) was a pharisee. He believed in a messiah. He believed in an oral Torah and the written Torah attributed to Moses. He believed in an afterlife and a fiercely patriarchal god who not only punished the wicked but considered most forms of female sexuality wicked. Paul unified Christianity and infused it with long held beliefs from the pharisees.  What was once about feeding the poor and healing the sick was now about his version of God and his belief in a messiah that had already come.

Stories were invented to support Paul’s claims.  Church oral history was put in service of Paul’s messiah who became the sole source of church teachings.  The original church leaders were turned into disciples of this one great master, this messiah, this “king of kings and lord of lords.”

To make it stick, the Gospels were written around Paul’s messianic mythology. And this figure — Jesus (a Latin name) – had to be defied.

Paul invented Jesus Christ. He took a beautiful social movement and he made a religion out of it designed around what Paul felt God was like and what he believed to be true about God.  Jesus was made in Paul’s image.

 

Now is it possible that there really was a Jesus Christ, a historical person who really was everything attributed to him and really was the center of the Christian movement of the early 1st century?  Perhaps.  But as a scholar, a historian, a philosopher I am forced to ask:  which is more likely: that every word of the New Testament is true and Jesus Christ lived, died, and taught everything attributed to him by people living decades after his alleged death and resurrection — or that Christianity began as a Jewish social movement designed to help the disadvantaged and that Jesus was invented later by Paul and others with a vested interest in hijacking the movement for their own purposes?

Time and time again we see “men of faith” using religion to service their ambition.  I see no reason to believe Paul was any different.

Though Jesus Christ is likely the imagination of the politically ambitious, the original movement centered around kindness and healing IS VIRTUOUS.  It is my hope that the church will rededicate itself to those wonderful teachings again and take a leading role once more in ending poverty, hunger, and disease. Christianity can be so much more than what it is today.

 

Happy Easter.