Saturday, 21 September 2019

Fall Tomato and Mushroom Stew

Fall Tomato and Mushroom Stew

I was home on the first PD day of the school year with my three kids and an extra one. We had both mushrooms and tomatoes in the house that needed cooking. I just started and this is what developed. I love cooking with doTerra essential oils, I find that the flavors really pop. So this was my stew for a fall day.


1 large baked potato 2 cups cubed mushrooms
3 cups Tomatoes: if using cherry cut in half, if other types cube.
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp pink salt
2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
½ cup milk


1 drop cilantro essential oil
1 drop ginger essential oil
1 drop oregano essential oil
3 drops turmeric essential oil

Note: I use oils, but you can use fresh or dried to taste.


In a large saucepan melt butter and add oil. Sauté mushrooms until reduced, add salt and pepper and Italian seasoning. Once mushrooms are fully cooked add the cooked potato and the tomatoes. Simmer until most of the tomatoes are popped and sauce is thickening. Add the essential oils at this point or add dried herbs. Reduce heat to simmer and simmer until desire consistence stirring occasionally. Add the milk and simmer another five minutes and serve.

 Finished Product
 In Progress
Simmering down.
The oils I used.

Friday, 20 September 2019

One Shot - Lee Child - Jack Reacher Book 9

One Shot
Jack Reacher Book 9
Lee Child
Penguin Random House Canada
ISBN 9780553815863
eISBN 9780440335474

I have already read all the other 28 Reacher novels and short stories that were not Tom Cruise movies. It was a little harder reading this one because of having seen the movie. It is difficult not to overlay the images and scenes from the movie with the book. But in the end, I did enjoy the story. It is not my favorite Reacher story, but it is also not my least favorite. I have read 29 Reacher stories in the last 25 weeks. And only have a one left to go to have read all of them in well under half a year. I started on a whim by picking up the current release because the description caught my attention when I was looking at it as a gift for my father. That first one, Past Tense, was great and many since have been excellent reads. Like books 7 and 19 this storiy revolve around a character from Reacher’s past. But back to this story.

In this story Reacher sees the news about a sniper who killed five victims apparently at random. The shooter, whose name is being broadcast nationally and around the world. Reacher guaranteed the guy if he broke the law again, he would bury him. But The only thing the guys will tell the police or his lawyer if to get Reacher, Jack Reacher. Once Reacher gets to town, things get interesting. He is hired by defense counsel as an expert witness. But soon the pieces are not adding up. And after an attack on Reacher things really start heating up.

Reacher works with the lawyer, a news reporter, and an owner of a gun range. To Get to what really happened and why. 

The Reacher stories always entertain. And this one was worth the read. Especially to compare it to the movie. 

Books by Lee Child:
Jack Reacher Books Publishing Order:

Killing Floor
Die Trying
The Visitor /Running Blind
Echo Burning
Without Fail
The Enemy
One Shot
The Hard Way
Bad Luck and Trouble
Nothing to Lose
Gone Tomorrow
61 Hours
Worth Dying For
The Affair
A Wanted Man
Never go Back
Make Me
Night School
The Midnight Line
Past Tense
Blue Moon

Jack Reacher's Rules

Reacher Short Stories and Novella’s:
No Middle Name – Complete Collected Short Stories
Stories in No Middle Name Collection:
Too Much Time
Second Son
Deep Down
Guy Walks into A Bar
James Penney’s New Identity
High Heat
Everyone Talks
Not A Drill
Small Wars
Maybe They Have A Tradition

No Room At The Motel
The Picture of the Lonely Diner

Other Short Stories:
The Fourth Man
The Christmas Scorpion
Faking a Murderer with Kathy Reichs
Cleaning the Gold with Karin Slaughter
Good and Valuable Consideration with Joseph Finder

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Eucharistic Miracles - Joan Carroll Cruz - And Eucharistic Phenomenon in the Lives of the Saints

Eucharistic Miracles:
And Eucharistic Phenomenon in the Lives of the Saints
Joan Carroll Cruz
TAN Books
ISBN 9780895553034
eISBN 9780895559487

Two different books by Joan Carroll Cruz were recommended to me, this volume and The Incorruptibles: A Study of Incorruption in the Bodies of Various Saints and Beati. I picked up both but this was the first I have made it through. Both are on topics that fascinate and to be honest concern me a little. I love being part of a tradition that is so rich in history and to be honest miracles. I read this book slowly only reading a section or 2 a day at lunch. The only other book I have read on Eucharistic Miracles is Heavenly Hosts: Eucharistic Miracles for Kids by Kathryn Griffin Swegart, and I began this one after finishing it because I wanted to go deeper on the subject. And this volume did not let down.

This book begins with a photo of consecrated hosts that have remained fresh and incorrupt for 250 years. From the Basilica of St Francis in Siena. They were stolen in 1730 and then recovered. They are the focus of chapter 16. The sections in this volume are:

Author’s Preface
Introduction: The Catholic Teaching on the Holy Eucharist

— Part One —

1. Lanciano, Italy—8th century
2. Braine, France—1153
3. Ferrara, Italy—1171
4. Augsburg, Germany—1194
5. Alatri, Italy—1228
6. Santarem, Portugal—early 13th century
7. Florence, Italy—1230 and 1595
8. Daroca, Spain—1239
9. Olmütz, Czechoslovakia—1242
10. Regensburg, Germany—1257
11. Bolsena-Orvieto, Italy—1263
12. Paris, France—1274 and 1290
13. Slavonice, Czechoslovakia—1280
14. Offida, Italy—1280
15. Hasselt, Belgium—1317
16. Siena, Italy—1330 and 1730
17. Blanot, France—1331
18. Amsterdam, The Netherlands—1345
19. Macerata, Italy—1356
20. Brussels, Belgium—1370
21. Middleburg-Louvain, Belgium—1374
22. Seefeld, Austria—1384
23. Dijon, France—before 1433
24. Avignon, France—1433
25. Turin, Italy—1453
26. Morrovalle, Italy—1560
27. Alcalá de Henares, Spain—1597
28. Faverney, France—1608
29. Paterno, Italy—1772
30. Bordeaux, France—1822
31. Dubna, Poland (now Dubna, Russia)—1867
32. The Two Miracles of Stich, West Germany—1970
33. More Eucharistic Miracles

— Part Two —

34. The Eucharistic Devotion of the Saints
35. Eucharistic Miracles and the Saints
36. Eucharistic Fasts
37. Raptures and Ecstasies
38. Miraculous Receptions of Holy Communion
39. Voices and Visions
40. Tears, Fire and Light
41. Levitation
42. The History of Eucharistic Devotion
43. The Holy Eucharist and Ourselves
44. Spiritual Communion
Selected Bibliography

It would have been very easy to rip through this book. But by slowing down and reading it over several weeks I was really able to focus and reflect upon the miracles presented in this volume. Some of them I have encountered before, but this volume goes into much more details. And many this was my first encounter with the events presented.

For the most part the stories in part one of the book are in chronological order. Only chapter 7, which focuses on a miracles in Florence in 1230 and 1595 and the final section are not a chronology. One of the things that amazed me most is that the miracles are almost always different. There may be some similar characteristics, the sight and smell of blood, the taste of blood or flesh, glowing and yet they are almost all unique. Much like the saints, no two saints because saintly by the exact same path, no two Eucharistic miracles are identical in how they happened.

We have stories of Eucharistic miracles going back to the first Christian communities. And some that extend right up into our lifetimes. I am especially fascinated by stories of saints and saintly people who lived for long periods on just the Eucharist for sustenance. And I really appreciated the last section on spiritual communion.

This book was a deeply moving read. And it was incredibly inspiring. I will likely return to it and read it again, maybe in a year or two and reread it with my children when they are a little older. And After reading this volume I have added a few more by Cruz to my to be read pile.

A great book for all Catholics. And will be eye opening to other discerning Christians.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

Other books by Joan Carroll Cruz:
Angels and Devils
Eucharistic Miracles
Lay Saints: Ascetics and Penitents
Lay Saints: Martyrs
Lay Saints: Models of Family Life
Lay Saints: The Noble and The Humble
Miraculous Images of Our Lady: 100 Famous Catholic Portraits and Statues
Miraculous Images of Our Lord: Famous Catholic Statues, Portraits and Crucifixes
Mysteries, Marvels and Miracles
Prayers and Heavenly Promises
Saintly Men of Modern Times
Saintly Women of Modern Times
Saints for the Sick: Heavenly Help for Those Who Suffer
Secular Saints: 250 Canonized and Beatified Lay Men, Women and Children
See How She Loves Us: 50 Approved Apparitions of Our Lady
The Incorruptibles: A Study of Incorruption in the Bodies of Various Saints and Beati

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

7 Days Compassion - Team Body Project - Alex and Daniel Bartlett

7 Days Compassion
Team Body Project
Alex and Daniel Bartlett

This is the fifth program from Team body project that I have completed this year. At the time this review posts I will have worked out 88 days in a row using the TBP website and app. This past summer I wrote a piece called Starting Over in Southwestern Ontario! A Fitness Update! What I started with was the workout videos from team Body Project, and specifically Real Start Just Move. You can watch that video on YouTube, or even workout with it. I have been a member of Team Body Project for three years now, but only just started the videos. I am in my 50th year, and I really needed to get back at it. 

Team Body Project is a website, an app and a community. And the community is part of what makes this an excellent resource for your health and fitness. The private community on Facebook and the forums on the website are very supportive and encouraging. But what really helped me is that the workouts in the Real Start program are geared for anyone. Each video has three participants. Daniel and Alex lead the videos and Natasha and Lisa. Natasha usually works out at a harder pace, and Lisa at a modified level. After doing the three Real Start programs and The Development Plan, I gave this one week program a spin. 

This is a one week program. And the workouts include a combination of Circuit, Low impact, Boxing, Cardio, Standing, Pilates, Mobilisation, and Resistance work. All of the videos are either just Alex or Daniel in the gym or studio. This is very different from the other four programs I have done.

The gear you will need:
Light Dumbbells (Optional)

The workouts are:
Cardio Compassion 
Resistance Compassion
Movement Compassion
Cardio Compassion 2
Triple HIIT Compassion
Boxing Compassion
Compassion Complete

What I found hard about this program was the slower pace. The Especially the two videos Triple HIIT Compassion and Boxing Compassion. Both of these videos are at a much slower pace. And all the exercises are ones I have come across in other TBP videos. But really slowing down, focusing on the movement and engagement was much more difficult than I expected. The videos range from 20 minutes to 29. And the series as a set is a great break between some harder focused programs. I can see myself coming back and doing they after 4-6 weeks of more intense programs, or picking and pulling videos from this series for active recovery days. 

This is a great program and excellent switch of pace. It is 1 of about 20 programs that are included in the paid memberships. And I encourage you to give TBP a try. 

And do not just take my word for it check out Kylie Young’s story or the other testimonials on the site. I can say that TBP is one of the best resources for health and fitness that I have ever come across. 

A great program thank you Alex and Daniel. 

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Saint José Boy Cristero Martyr - Fr. Kevin McKenzie

Saint José: Boy Cristero Martyr
Vision Books
Fr. Kevin McKenzie
John Herreid (Illustrator)
Ignatius Press
ISBN 9781621642428
eISBN 9781642290769

I picked this book up to read because my interest in this saint was sparked by the novel Nicholas Gilroy: Viva Christo Rey, written by Father Stephen Gemme and Deacon George O’Connor. After a brief encounter with stories about Saint Jose in that story I had to read more about the saint. And this book did not disappoint. I have picked up a few other books from the Vision Books series on the lives of saints. But have not got around to reading them yet. But after how much I benefited from reading this story, they have jumped way up in my to be read list. But back to this book about Saint Jose.

I need to state first that this is a new and revised version of a book originally published as Blessed Jose: Boy Cristero Martyr. Doing a side by side comparison the books are very similar. A few chapter titles are changed, and some chapters in the original are combined as sections in the current edition. But there are enough differences that you could read both versions, because of changes of wording. But most readers will settle for reading one or the other.

I can understand while there is such devotion to this saint in Mexico, and among those of Mexican heritage. I do not know how any Catholic could read this story and not be inspired. Or be encouraged in the small trials and issues they experience in their lives. The author shares how he experienced the story of Saint Jose in the sixth grade. That story by a visiting teacher he states:

“he told us the story of a Mexican boy who was martyred for his faith and never stopped shouting, “Long live Christ the King!” When I heard about this fourteen-year-old boy, explosions went off in my twelve-year-old heart. If José could give his life for God, then I could do something for God too.”

Father McKenzie also states:

“When I looked for more about José, I couldn’t find a single book about him in English. That was 1993. In 2004, I decided it was time for me to put his story in writing. This book is the result of ten years of research, during which time I obtained copies of what I believe to be every historical document ever written about José.”

This volume is that book. It is the story of José Luis Sánchez del Río who at the age of 14 died because of his love for God, and for his faithful devotion the Catholic church. He died a martyr because he would not renounce his faith. He was condemned by his own god father, who was a politician, and mayor and was trying to size power. He died even though his father sold everything he had to ransom his life. It is the story of incredible devotion and bravery. And the story reads like an adventure novel, a case of truth being even better than fiction.

An excellent read. If you only have a passing knowledge of this saint, I strongly encourage you to read this book.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Father Kevin McKenzie:
Saint José: Boy Cristero Martyr
Blessed Jose: Boy Cristero Martyr


The Theodore Books:
The Adventures of Theodore
The Return of Theodore