Who Is Mistral Dawn?

Mistral Dawn is a thirty-something gal who has lived on both coasts of the US but somehow never in the middle. She currently resides in the Southeast US with her kitty cats (please spay or neuter! :-)) where she works as a hospital drudge and attends graduate school. Taken By The Huntsman is her first effort at writing fiction and if it is well received she has ideas for several more novels and short-stories in this series. Please feel free to visit her on FaceBook or drop her a line at mistralkdawn@gmail.com

Sunday, February 17, 2019

A Twist On A Classic #Recipe For The #Crockpot!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with my take on a yummy, classic dish.  I don't know about you, but one of my favorite things in the world is gravy.  Now, like other dishes, I prefer my gravy without meat. So, I played around a bit and found a way to make stroganoff, one of my favorite gravies, without beef! :-) Take a look and see what you think of this mushroom stroganoff recipe.

1-2 14oz package(s) white button (whole or sliced) mushrooms cleaned
1 14oz package of baby bellas cleaned
1 14oz package of shitake mushrooms cleaned
2 medium onions chopped
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 cup vegetarian worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon soy sauce (optional)
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
4-5 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
2-3 tablespoons of sour cream
Salt, pepper, and parsley to taste

Put all the ingredients except the sour cream and parsley in a crockpot. Turn the crockpot on high for 5-6 hours. Stir in the sour cream and parsley. Serve over egg noodles, potatoes, rice, or any other starch you enjoy.

Yep, that's it!  Another lazy cook's dream. Like most of my recipes, to be honest. If you don't have or don't like any of the types of mushrooms I listed, you can change up the mushrooms to whatever you prefer. You can also use canned mushrooms if that's what you have on hand.  Also, you can get chopped, frozen onions from a lot of grocery stores, so that might be another time saver if you don't like to chop onions.

The flavor of the frozen onions isn't quite as strong as fresh onions, and they are mushy even before cooking, but if you're in a time pinch or don't have any onions in the house they might be an option for you.  If you have the time, and you use fresh onions, you can caramelize the onions in a skillet before putting them in the crockpot. This will add more flavor and deepen the color of the stroganoff. Just put them in a skillet with the butter and olive oil and cook them until they caramelize. If you add the paprika to the onions in the skillet, it will help develop the flavor of the spice a bit. Add the garlic when the onions are almost done and then put the contents of the skillet in the crockpot and deglaze the skillet with the wine.

If you don't like alcohol or don't have any wine in the house, you can use 1/4 cup red wine vinegar instead. There are also things you can add to this stroganoff to make it richer or to get more vegetables in your diet.  I've found green, leafy vegetables tend to make broths richer, so you can add spinach, kale, or even broccoli if you'd like.  You can also add carrots for some sweetness and/or peas for color. If your stroganoff is a little runny, you can make a slurry by mixing a little cornstarch with cold water and stir that in to thicken it up.

Bon appetit! :-)

Saturday, February 16, 2019

#BookLovers Authors & Bloggers #ValentinesDay #Giveaway! $135 #Cash #Grand #Prize! #Free To #Enter!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

There's a new giveaway for Valentine's Day!  Please take a moment to check out the Book Lovers Authors & Bloggers Valentine's Day Giveaway!!  There are lots of awesome books and prizes!! :-)  It's free to enter, there are over 90 prizes, and the grand prize is $135 cash payable through PayPal!! :-)  Now isn't that worth taking a few minutes to check out? ;-)   Here are all the details:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much for stopping by today!  And don't forget to check back tomorrow for the next installment of Mistral Dawn's Musings! :-)

Friday, February 15, 2019

Love Me I'm A Neolib...

Hey Everyone!

As some of you may know, a political activist and folk singer named Phil Ochs wrote a song he titled Love Me, I'm A Liberal in the 1960s. The song discussed the hypocrisy and selfishness of the so-called liberals of the time. He often opened the song by declaring that "one of the shadiest of these [political opinions] is the liberals." He went on to explain that their political standing lay "ten degrees to the left of center at the best of times" and "ten degrees to the right of center when it affects them personally."

Human nature being what it is, nothing has really changed except some of the details and the labels. So, I decided to take a stab at updating the lyrics for today's politics. I'm no poet, so I'm sure these won't be up to Mr. Ochs' standards. But, hopefully, they'll give you a chuckle...and maybe some incentive to think about how you can get more involved in making life better not only for yourself, but for other people who might need some empathy or a helping hand, as well. Peace!

Love Me, I'm a Neolib

I cried when they killed little Jakelin
Tears ran down my face
And I cried when young Felipe's life was snuffed out
It's as if there's no accountability for ICE
But Sandra Bland got what she asked for
You can't disrespect the police!
So, love me, love me, love me, I'm a Neolib

I go to anti-Trump protests
And I put on my pink pussy hat
I love Emma and David and Cameron
Those kids really know what's what
But don't talk about Black Lives Matter
Those rabble-rousers just block my commute
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a Neolib

I cheered when Obama was chosen
It's way past time for racism to go
And I loved when Hillary got the nomination
If only Russians and misogynists hadn't put on such a show
But don't talk about why you didn't like her policies
Because I really just don't want to know
So, love me, love me, love me, I'm a Neolib

The dummies who voted for 45
Should all admit it came down to hate
I can't understand how their minds work
What's the matter don't they watch Last Week Tonight?
But if you want Medicare For All
I'll tell you to give me a break
So, love me, love me, love me, I'm a Neolib

I watch Chuck Todd and Maddow
I want to make sure I'm informed
And I read the Times and WaPo
They always leave me forewarned
But when it comes to independent journalists
They all deserved to be scorned
So, love me, love me, love me, I'm a Neolib

I give to conservationist charities
We all upon the Earth must dwell.
And I'll sign a petition to address climate change
Those environmental groups sure are swell
But don't you dare protest any pipelines.
I need my fossil fuel stocks to do well.
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a Neolib.

I love all the immigrants and refugees.
The US is the shining city on a hill.
And, I'll lift my lamp beside the golden door for them.
Just as long as they'll bend to our will.
But don't criticize our war machine.
Those military contractors are paying our bills.
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a Neolib.

I vote for the Democratic Party.
They let the women-folk be stars.
I love donating to those good ol' centrists.
They make sure things stay on par.
But don't talk about revolution.
That's going a little bit too far.
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a Neolib

And just in case you'd like to hear the original, which I'd recommend, I've posted a link below. Peace!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

#APC #Spotlight: The Sentient Collector (The Sentient Trilogy Book 1) By Ian Williams!

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got Ian Williams in my APC spotlight, today! Ian is an active and supportive member of the  Authors-Professional Co-op Facebook group and his near-future, cyberpunk, action, adventure, sci-fi novel, The Sentient Collector, looks great! Here's the description:
In 2058 everything and everyone is connected to the Simova network. 24 hours a day, this super intelligent system keeps a watchful eye on those it dutifully serves and provides for. But few know of its fundamental flaw. It is plagued by tiny corruptions, called Malicious Awareness and Resurgent Corruptions, that play havoc with any nearby devices. Find one of these in your home and you will soon know of their destructive nature.
For Graham, dealing with MARCs is just one part of his job as a Simova technician. He is the person you call when you face such a problem and want it removed. And yet even he does not know the truth. Unfortunately for him that is about to change.
Follow Graham, Phoenix and Kristof as they are dragged into a plot that threatens their entire city. Three characters from very different walks of life are brought crashing together in a thrilling battle of will against a seemingly insurmountable enemy.
 If you think this sounds like something you might enjoy, go ahead and grab your copy here:

Thank you all so much for stopping by! Happy reading! :-)

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

#Agent Thoth's #Personal Log: Day 918

Hey Everyone! :-)

Agent Thoth discusses more of the trials and tribulations associated with living with hominids. Incidentally, if you've missed Agent Thoth's earlier entries, you can find them here: Thoth's Journal

Department for the Preservation and Confirmation of Intelligent Life (DPCIL)
Agent Thoth's Personal Log

Day Nine-Hundred-Eighteen:
My hominid-servant has finally desisted in her efforts to smother me with toxic fumes. Though my efforts to dissuade her proved ineffective, the juvenile felid and the canid's combined tactics proved to be more successful.

My young companion devised a way to knock the wax towers from their perches through the simple expedient of flinging himself through space from the nearest access point and colliding with the cylinders on their perches. This resulted in the little idiot bashing himself repeatedly against the walls of my domicile, however it also served to snuff the noxious smells as the wax smothered the wicks when the cylinders fell from their pedestals.

Despite the fact that the fire was invariably snuffed before the cylinders reached the floor, my hominid-servant couldn't resist a display of histrionics over the possibility that my young compatriot's actions might have resulted in a conflagration within my domicile. Though, to be fair, hominids are often given to behaving in overly dramatic ways, so this was to be expected.

The canid's tactics were even more effective, though less direct. He simply placed himself below one of the lit towers and produced excessively loud vocalizations until my hominid-servant gave in and doused the evil vapors in order to restore peace. Of course, this resulted in my own ears being temporarily assaulted, but I can't argue with the results. And a brief auditory disturbance is far preferable to a slow death from asphyxiation. Considering the efficacy of combining the ingenuity of the two other non-hominid occupants of my domicile, in the future I will have to consider engaging their interests in other challenges I encounter.

It's always nice when others help you solve your problems. ;-) You may have noticed that Agent Thoth has a new look. I hope you like his new picture as much as I do, but I'd love to hear your thoughts, either way. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments. ;-) Happy reading, everyone!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Doublespeak At Its Finest

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I've got a little more of Alyce's adventure to share with you, today! Enjoy! :-)

Excerpt from Answers From Alyce:
"Given what we've just been discussing, this next exhibit may no longer need explaining, but I'd like to hear what you have to say about it, anyway," said Squid-boy

I shrugged. "It's your circus, sugar, I'm just one of the monkeys."

The small alien blinked at me. "It's refreshing to hear that you acknowledge your primate ancestry, but I would still like your perspective on the next exhibit. Also, this is a museum, not a circus."

I snickered and gestured at the hallway. "Lead on, Macduff."

"What…?" Squid-boy waved his tentacles around his head. "Never mind." He squinted at me. "I often believe you are deliberately attempting to be confusing in your communication."

I widened my eyes and put a hand to my chest. "Me?"

Yax snorted and the shorter alien turned his glare on his colleague who grinned back unapologetically. Making a gurgling sound in the back of his throat, Squid-boy turned and waddled off down the hallway without another word. Yax and I grinned at each other and followed.

It wasn't long before we came upon the next exhibit and I paused to stare at it. A cookie elf was standing at a podium making a speech, and after a few words I knew exactly what this one was about. Groaning, I rolled my eyes and looked at the shorter of my hosts. "Really?"

"At first we barely noticed when this transmission was aired. But, on closer examination, it seemed as if it would be perfect for our museum because, from what we could tell, this individual," Squid-boy waved a tentacle at the robot they had representing the sick joke of a human being standing at the podium, "is attempting to communicate the exact opposite of what his words would seem to mean. It was a paradox that, at least, bore explaining."

I snorted. "No, sugar, it sounds like you understood it just fine."

"I don't understand," said Yax. "It seems as though he is saying that a religious group will be allowed to defend itself by attacking others."

"Yep, that's pretty much what he's saying. The 'Religious Liberty Task Force' he is talking about is intended to make sure that the dominant religion is free to obstruct everyone else's liberty without interference."

The tall alien just blinked at me, so I continued. "Another of the things the First Amendment to our Constitution guarantees is freedom of religion. It also stipulates that the government cannot establish a state religion, which also prohibits the government from favoring one religion over any other religion. In spite of that, some people who belong to the dominant religion continuously try to force their religious views on everyone else using the government." I gestured at the podium. "This guy is one of those people."

"Let me see if I understand," said Squid-boy. "This human," he waved his tentacles at the cookie elf in question, "wishes to use the authority of your government to restrict the freedoms of people who hold religious beliefs that are different from his?"

I nodded. "Yep, you got it."

Coming Soon...

Monday, February 11, 2019

Something Worth Watching?

Hey Everyone!! :-)

I'm back today with another video I wanted to share. This is Bernie's response to the State of the Union speech the Toddler in Chief gave last week, and I just thought I'd share it so we can all remember what actual leadership looks like. But I'll just let you all watch the video so Bernie can speak for himself. Peace!