Wife Life: Savory Sausage Scramble recipe

I am making a lifestyle change and part of it is seriously limiting starchy carbs and junk food. You know how most diets have cheat days? Well I’ve had a cheat LIFE, and it’s time to hunker down. But I love breakfast and everyone knows the best part of breakfast is carbs. I usually have a big breakfast on the weekend which typically includes a sausage, egg and cheese biscuit, or some Eggo waffles and bacon. I’ve already been incorporating a green smoothie several times a week, so making that my Monday-Friday mainstay isn’t a big deal. And I do love oatmeal topped with fresh berries & a splash of cream, or sliced banana, shredded coconut, and honey. But what about when I want something savory instead of sweet?

This recipe is actually adapted from my brother in law. He made it the last couple times I came to visit my sister and it’s not only delicious, but satisfying. I prefer chicken sausage and included my favorite brand, but of course you can sub out turkey sausage or even a meat substitute. Same with the cheese. You can also change this to make it an omelette. Have fun with it!

SAVORY SAUSAGE SCRAMBLE
Serves: 1 
Ingredients:

2 eggs
2 links Applegate Farms chicken & apple sausage
2 mini sweet bell peppers
1-2 tsp shredded Mexican cheese blend
Salt
Pepper
Butter

1. Cut of stems from peppers, remove inner seeds, and chop to your preference. Cut the sausage into bite size pieces. 
2. Crack the eggs into a bowl and add pepper to taste. Whisk until well mixed.
3. Melt some butter in a small pan over low heat (you only need about a teaspoon).
4. Pour in the eggs, sausage, and peppers. I don’t like my cheese to stick to the pan so I sprinkle it on in the last few seconds, but you can add it at this step. 
5. I like a soft scramble so I keep the heat really low and the eggs are on for a minute or two. If you like more solid eggs, 30-60 seconds on low-medium heat will do.
6. Plate and enjoy! 

I love this recipe because it tastes similar to the egg skillets I sometimes order at brunch, but without the potatoes or too much cheese. If I don’t have the peppers, I’ll do just the eggs and cheese but add a sprinkle of Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel seasoning. I don’t like Mexican for breakfast (weird, I just have a mental block) but you could also do this southwestern-style and add avocado & salsa.

Wife Life: Southern Vegetable Soup recipe

While you’re planning your Thanksgiving menu, don’t forget to think about the weekend! You don’t want to be fighting the shopping crowd at the drive through, and the leftovers always go quicker than you think. During my cleanse at the start of the month, soup was my dinner for the day. I hate soup normally because it’s not hearty enough. Especially vegetable soup–the canned version tastes like baby food! So I had to adapt this to be hearty and satisfying. It’s perfect as is for the day after Thanksgiving when you’re emerging from a turkey coma and want something a bit lighter. I plan to make this ahead of time so I have a few quick and easy meals ready for after Turkey Day.

Roll that beautiful bean footage! Actually, the soup does not photograph well but it’s delish.

SOUTHERN VEGETABLE SOUP
Makes 6-8 generous servings

Ingredients:
1/2 lb fresh green beans
1/2 lb okra
4 cloves garlic
1 bunch collard greens
1 bunch scallions
28-oz can diced tomatoes, low sodium
32 oz chicken stock 
1 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
Pepper
Italian seasoning

Note:  Frozen veggies will do if you don’t have fresh, but I encourage you to buy fresh if you can. If you have leftovers, the fresh veggies won’t get mushy as quickly. 

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Wash and chop all your veggies, as small as you want. I like larger pieces so I have something to chew. The collard greens will be a bit unwieldy, just make sure you run the water over both sides of each leaf (perfect time to use the hose attachment on your sink) and wipe down the leaves to dry them. This will take care of any dirt that is hiding in the nooks and crannies. If you like, you can save all the spare veggie bits to make vegetable stock (I’ve never done this but I saw this tip on Facebook).

2. Heat up a tablespoon of your preferred oil and toss in the minced garlic and scallion whites. This will caramelize them a bit and give the broth a richer, more roasty flavor.

3. Once the garlic and scallions are fragrant, add in chicken stock, tomatoes, and all your chopped vegetables. Season with a generous amount of pepper and Italian seasoning. I use Italian because it’s a nice mix of several herbs like parsley, rosemary and thyme so I don’t have to buy individuals of those.  With the chicken stock, you really don’t need any salt.

4. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes.

5. Serve and enjoy!

VARIATIONS

This is just a base but you can make any soup with a combination of chicken, beef or veggie stock and your favorite vegetables. You can add shrimp and link sausage to this one for a sort of jambalaya stew. You could do a crab boil soup. You could sub out the okra for zucchini and add some meatballs for an Italian stew. The possibilities are endless!

 

Wife Life: Pesto Parmesan Salmon Recipe

Since fall hit I’ve been a real domestic, cozy mood. I had so much energy  this week from that hour of extra sleep that I tried something new. Salmon is one of my favorite foods but I usually make it one of three ways–sauteed with salt & pepper, with a honey ginger soy sauce, or crumbled up in fried salmon croquettes (one of my favorite childhood recipes from my mom). I was coming off a 3 day vegetarian cleanse so I just wanted a different taste. Pesto sauce is one of my kitchen MVPS and it didn’t disappoint. I served this with a lemon orzo and roasted brussels sprouts. Very Italian, but no bread in sight! Best of all, G-Dub even liked it. Salmon is his least favorite fish (unless I make the croquettes) because “it always tastes like salmon” but the strong flavors in this dish made it more palatable for him. It’s a win win! 


PESTO PARMESAN SALMON WITH LEMON ORZO

Gorgeous crust on that salmon, nice char on the brussels sprouts and you can see the seasoning on the orzo. Yummy! (P.S. Don’t come for me and my paper plate. I recycle!)


Servings: 2 
Prep Time: 2 minutes    Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients
2, 4oz salmon filets 
1 cup orzo
2 tbsp panko crumbs
2 tsp basil pesto sauce
2 tsp parmesan cheese
2 tsp butter
1 tsp lemon juice
Olive oil (spray or bottled, either is fine)
Italian seasoning
Pepper
Salt
(Note: I don’t measure spices because I just sprinkle until it looks seasoned)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a small pan or oven safe dish with just enough olive oil to coat it. You don’t need more than 1 teaspoon of oil if you’re pouring from a bottle.
  2. Put on a pot of water (about 2 cups). Lightly salt the water and put on medium high heat to bring to a boil.
  3. While the water is on, mix together the panko breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese in a bowl. Add a dash of salt and pepper.
  4. Season the salmon to taste with the Italian seasoning. Place the salmon in the pan skin side down (if your salmon has skin, otherwise don’t worry about it). 
  5. Spoon the pesto over each piece of fish in a thin layer. Top with breadcrumb mixture and sprinkle any leftovers into the pan then put in the oven.
  6. Set your timer for 20 minutes if you like your fish well done, 10 minutes if you like it medium and 15 for medium well.
  7. When your water starts to boil, add the orzo and then lower heat to a simmer. Stir occasionally. Pasta should be done in about 10 minutes.
  8. When the orzo is cooked, drain the water off like you would spaghetti. Return to the pot and add lemon juice, butter, and Italian seasoning to taste. 
  9. Serve pasta alongside orzo and your vegetable of choice. Top the orzo with the breadcrumbs from the pan. Mangia!

As you can see, we had our dish with roasted brussels sprouts. I didn’t include them in the recipe because it’s literally throwing them on a sheet pan, sprinkling on some salt and pepper and a couple sprays of olive oil PAM. They’ll cook in 20 minutes along with the salmon. Super easy, super quick and super tasty!

Sorry To Bother You Again: The Black Futurist Playlist

Sorry To Bother You was such a deep movie, and it put me in a mood to digest more media like it. My review (despite its length) just barely scratches the surface and there was a lot of stuff I didn’t get to. So if you’re interested in doing the same, here are my recommendations.

WATCH

Atlanta (FX, 2016-present)- If you aren’t watching this show, you should be. It’s hard to describe but most episodes are kind of like a magical realism black Seinfeld. But then there are episodes that veer into very weird territory (especially in the second season).

Bamboozled (A Spike Lee Joint, 2000)- This isn’t science fiction, but it is a satire very much in this vein.

Dirty Computer (2018)- This 45 minute visual album is sci-fil all the way. The protagonist is a black queer woman whose identity is literally being erased by technology. The music shows her journey of self acceptance and rebellion against the status quo. 

Get Out (2017)- Also something you should have seen by now, but it’s still very much in the vein of STBY and I’d be remiss to leave it off. 

Lamborghini Angels/ITAL (Roses)/Audubon Ballroom (Lupe Fiasco, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1, 2012)- There’s a lot packed into this 12 minute music video if you listen and watch closely. Interestingly, while this video was officially released it is no longer on Lupe Fiasco’s or his former record label’s official YouTube/Vevo page, even though all of his music videos push the envelope. I’d love to hear your conspiracy theories if you’ve got them. 

“Negrotown” (Key & Peele, 2015)- A comedy sketch that cuts so deep you have to laugh to keep from crying. 

READ 
“When Survival Equals Destruction- Let’s Talk About Sorry to Bother You” by TaLynn Kel

“Sorry To Bother You is Great Science Fiction, People” by Wired.com Culture Editor

“The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates- This longform essay is sci-fil only in the sense that reparations is seen as an impossible fantasy by most. Yet, Coates deftly rips apart the idea that slavery, segregation, Jim Crow, and the civil rights struggle are ancient history. It’s an idea that only benefits the system of white supremacist capitalism that America is built on. Germany paid reparations to Europe after WWII. When apartheid fell in in South Africa there was reparations and a restorative justice panel–why should the US be different? 

Futureland by Walter Mosley- This writer is best known for his noir detective novels starring the rakish, smooth, but troubled Easy Rawlins. Remember that Denzel Washington movie, “Devil in a Blue Dress”? That was based on the first book in the series. Mosley is also a very talented sci-fi writer and this collection of stories remains one of my favorite.

Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction in the African Diaspora”, edited by Sheree Thomas- Another great collection of black sci-fi, this one pulled from black authors across the ages, including W.E.B. DuBois. If you read nothing else, check out Derrick Bell’s story “The Space Traders”, which is even more interesting in light of the current administration.

LISTEN

Everybody (Logic, 2017)- I actually reviewed this album in a post last year. I’ll link it here so I won’t repeat myself, but the TL;DR of it all is that this is a conscious concept album that bangs. Give it a try. 

“If Your Love Cannot Be Moved” (Stevie Wonder ft. Kim Burrell, A Time to Love, 2006)- Stevie Wonder is best known for his love songs. This isn’t one of them. It’s a deep cut, not one of his singles, but the lyrics remind you that Stevie lived through segregation. He was born in 1950 (just like my parents!) and started his music career in 1961, just 7 years after Brown v. Board of Education integrated schools and another 3 years before the Civil Rights Act ended segreation altogether. When he says “You can’t say we shall and not fight through hell. . . You can’t shout out peace and then vanish in the crowd” or “You can’t free the slave to enslave them differently”, he means that shit. This is a revolution song, no doubt about it.

They Don’t Really Care About Us” (Michael Jackson, HISTORY, 1995)- The title says it all. But in case you forgot, they (whether that be the Republican Party, patriarchy, the 1%, or corporate interests) don’t care about anything but what they can get out of you. So get off your ass and VOTE in this election and everyone that follows. 

“Sorry To Bother You”, but you need to watch this movie

I watched this movie over the weekend with my husband and we were both left wanting more. There was so much context and subtext in this film that I know I need to watch it at least two more times to get the full picture. But it’s so profound that I really feel the need to sit and wrestle with it first.

There are plenty of spoiler free reviews about this mind-blowing movie, and this isn’t one of them. I went scouring the internet to find some critique and analysis of the film and, strangely enough, came up wanting. Somehow there are dozens of thinkpieces on “A Star Is Born” (which is the THIRD REMAKE of a film that came out in 1937 and tells a fairly predictable show biz story) but none on this amazing film. But one woman’s failed Google search is another woman’s blog post idea! FYI, this is going to be long.

Quick synopsis: LaKeith Stanfield (of Atlanta fame) plays Cassius Green. He lives in his uncle’s garage and is desperate to find a job to help his uncle, who is several months behind on the mortgage, from losing his home. Cassius gets a job as a telemarketer and shoots up the ranks using his white voice. Meanwhile, the other employees (including his best friend and a traveling union rep) attempt to go on strike and form a union to get better pay and benefits, and he crosses the picket line because the money he’s making is just too good. Of course he loses his friends and his girlfriend (a protest artist played by Tessa Thompson) as he gets rich and gains notoriety within the company. Then he finds out the company he’s working for is evil (not normal evil, but sci-fi dystopia evil) and has to figure out what side he’s on.

I’m going to make my points roughly in the order that the movie takes, so here goes. 

The White Voice ™.


If you’re black (or any person of color), you probably know what this is. This movie made me think about how much code switching I do. Turns out I actually have 3 different voices. My natural voice is high pitched but sits in the middle of my range, quiet and slightly monotone, with a slight drawl and soft consonants. My White Voice (warmer tone, higher up in my register, more upbeat, faster paced, and with crisp enunciation) is for networking events, job interviews, and any time I have to deal with the bank or something like that. I developed my Lawyer Voice after entering practice and realizing that while men could talk like they were having a couple of beers at Hooters and still be taken seriously, I couldn’t. And my White Voice wasn’t quite doing the trick either. So my Lawyer Voice is slightly lower pitched and declarative with deliberate pacing. 

This part of the movie drove home how much Black people have to perform for the white gaze. When you think about it, even the title There is also a poignant scene where Cassius is at a work party being pumped for information about “the hood” because since he’s black, surely he’s shot someone before or been in a gang or at least raps. His boss starts a chant and pretty soon the whole room is yelling “RAP! RAP! RAP! RAP!” I cringed so hard because we’ve all had some version of that moment. Cassius complies, is terrible, and then leans into minstrelsy by simply shouting “N***a shit! N***a shit! N**a, n***a, n***a shit!” At first he’s elated when people start to cheer for him, but as it turns into the audience shouting along with him you see the moment where his eyes dim and he realizes, These people only care about how I can entertain them. It was so hard to watch because it was just so damn real–look at what happened to Colin Kaepernick! The fact that he dared to use his fame to bring attention to black people getting murdered by the police caused him to lose his football career. 

How physical comfort undermines resistance. 

Cassius starts his job with the sole intention of making enough money to save his uncle’s home. Then he discovers that he can live a comfortable life. Soon enough, the accolades are rolling in and he begins to dream of advancing and becoming a Power Caller, one of the highest paid employees at the company. Cassius was down with the struggle when he was broke, but once he got a taste of money and power he turned his back on his friends.  He gets really friendly with his white coworkers and lets them gas him up with celebratory high fives and dances every time he closes a sale. He moves out of his uncle garage and into a fancy downtown loft with expensive furniture. 

When Cassius gets confronted by his girlfriend Detroit, his best friend, and the union organizer, Squeeze, he lashes out. He says that they’re hating, that he can support the strike from the sidelines, and that what he’s doing has nothing to do with what they’re doing. I’m pretty sure every black person who’s ever worked in corporate America has met a Cassius. If there is more than one black person at your mostly white job and you think you don’t know a Cassius, it’s probably you. 

Capitalism is designed to dehumanize. 

I don’t know how you made it this far if you are avoiding spoilers, but if that’s the case this is your ABSOLUTE LAST CHANCE TO BAIL. Everybody ready?Well after Cassius becomes a Power Caller he is faced with the ultimate test of complicity: the company he works for is a subsidiary of megacorp Worryfree , which is trying to create the perfect workers. At Worryfree, poor people can erase their debts for life in exchange for what is just slavery with better marketing. They wear generic factory uniforms, have living quarters that look like prison cells, and get three cafeteria meals a day along with a lifetime job at Worryfree. 

But in case that message didn’t get through to you, there’s a huge twist.  Cassius gets called in for a meeting with the CEO, who offers him cocaine adn says he needs to show him a video about a new opportunity. Cassius is clearly impaired and says he needs to go to the bathroom first. Well, he takes a wrong turn on the way to the bathroom and runs into the room where some nightmarish looking half-human, half-horse creatures are being held. Have you ever heard the saying, “he’s such a workhorse”? The corporation is trying to create the perfect workers by genetically engineering a new species called “equisapiens”. There was some really good costuming and visual effects because they look realistic and creepy as hell. Had I seen this movie in the theater I probably would have jumped out of my seat! 

Cassius’s boss tries to calm him down by showing him a video about how the equisapiens are stronger, faster, and (hopefully) more docile than humans. They will triple WorryFree’s profits. But WorryFree knows that the equisapiens will rebel, so they want an inside man to be the “MLK of horses”. They’re  willing to pay Cassius $100,000 to turn into a horse for 5 years, and at the end he’ll receive the super secret reversal serum (which sounds made up and nonexistent if you ask me). He refuses to do so and goes on TV to expose them. 

Throughout the film we see clips of a show called “I Got the Shit Kicked Out of Me!” where, surprise surprise, people get beat up on camera. Cassius goes on the show to reveal his video footage of the equisapiens, but they make him get pummeled on and dropped in a pool of excrement before they will show it. It’s a very scathing commentary on how media not only distracts us from the issues, but how reality tv in particular is desensitizing us to cruelty. Real life example: on MTV’s “How Far Is Tattoo Far?” people who have relationship issues tattoo each other to show their true feelings. 

Despite the expose, WorryFree’s stock shoots through the roof and the Republican party praises the CEO for his innovation.  Cassius and Detroit work with Squeeze to start a big protest to cause a distraction so they can break in and free the equisapiens. The scene turns brutal because the police and SWAT team show up and start spraying tear gas and beating people up, as they are wont to do. 

Capitalism is a system, and systems are hard to destroy.

After the equisapiens are freed, things go back to normal. Cassius takes his original call center job back (now with better benefits!). He even moves back to his garage apartment which has been upgraded with the luxury furniture he bought during his stint as a Power Caller. He and Detroit are about to get cozy when Cassius sneezes. When he looks up, we see he has started to mutate into an equisapien. (That cocaine he took before the meeting wasn’t just cocaine!) Cut to credits. 

But wait, there’s more! We get one more scene during the credits. The CEO is sitting on his couch in a bathrobe looking stressed. The doorbell rings; he limps over to his security camera and sees some equisapiens on the porch. The lead one bangs on the door and says “Open up motherfucker!” in CASSIUS’S VOICE. Oh snap! We smashcut to the door being broken down and an equisapien stomps through, roaring (neighing?) furiously. Then the movie ends for real. 

A good ally is hard to find. 

Now this is just my interpretation, but I thought it interesting that when the union organizer, Squeeze, is introduced to Cassius and Detroit, he and Cassius immediately size each other up as romantic rivals. It’s true that Detroit is clearly more woke than her boyfriend. But if you’re really trying to organize a movement, you need to win over the people who are on the fence. Instead of doing that, Squeeze starts flirting with Detroit. This is a symbolic illustration of how he seduces the workers and distracts them from the larger evils being perpetuated by the company. Throughout the movie, Squeeze seems to treat the creation of the union as just a job; he wants people to march in the street but doesn’t care about them individually. And once it’s over and the workers have negotiated a (paltry compared to what the company can afford) raise, and slightly better working conditions, he’s on to the next. Meanwhile, the equisapiens are still out there and there’s no indication that WorryFree isn’t still operating. Squeeze is off to the next city to stir shit up, and help people get just enough to keep them from rioting. Kinda seems like he’s not really on their side. . .?

Final Thoughts

That fucked me up. Like, you go through this emotional rollercoaster and the main character, who ends up doing the right thing and already didn’t make the revolutionary change he wanted, gets turned into a horse person. It’s equivalent to how Martin Luther King, Jr. fought his whole life for civil rights, but while he was alive they made only incremental gains…and he lost his life in the process. People who go against the system are basically sacrificial lambs. But it’s only through violent upheaval that real change is made. 

Heavy, heavy stuff especially considering the Mexican internment camps, shootings of black and Jewish places of worship by white supremacists, and voter suppression happening as we head into election week. Resistance is painful but we can’t afford to turn a blind eye to injustice. No matter how much money you make, what title you earn, or what power they allow you to have. . . it can all be ripped away in an instant if you step out of line. And that’s not freedom, that’s just indentured servitude. 

Stay woke. 

 

Bits and bobs

  1. Life update: Things have been pretty busy lately. August I was deep into my introvert bag and trying to unplug. September was back to business at work, and it’s going to be a busy fall for me. I have four lawsuits to file before Christmas (a divorce, a bankruptcy, and two actions for quiet title) and this week at work we’re being audited. So everything is weird and kind of tense because even though the auditors gave us a list of people they’d be interviewing and cases they’d be reviewing, they’re still lurking around the hallways so people are spooked. 

    2. This month my brother, Sunny and Maya all came to visit so it has snowballed into a social month for me. There’s an end of audit work happy hour on Friday (ugh, I haven’t RSVP’d yet); I met Diana for brunch last weekend and we’re doing pedicures this weekend, and I’ve caught up with Jaleesa and Maxine on the phone. It’s been good to touch base with everybody, I have some pretty cool friends. 

    3. I’m making progress on the wellness front too. I haven’t met all my goals (which is more a function of me making unrealistic goals than actual failure) but I am set to exit age 30 better than I entered it. Yesterday I slid into a pair of work pants that I could barely button up six months ago. My strength and stamina are consistently improving. I have a three month streak of working out at least 3 times a week. I’m finally starting to feel like having a healthy lifestyle is something that is attainable for me. I’m contemplating doing some kind of clean eating boot camp going up to Thanksgiving to kind of kick start things before we go into the season of sweets and starches. ( I started to say Whole 30 but if you can’t eat bread, grains, beans, sugar, or dairy, life is just not worth living).

    4. Michael Kors bought Versace (did you know he bought Jimmy Choo last year?) and I’m ready for a VERSACE Versace diffusion line
    at Macy’s (see also: MICHAEL Michael Kors, RACHEL Rachel Roy, and LAUREN Ralph Lauren). I will be the first in line to buy a tacky blouse. And yes, it will be for the sole purpose of a IG picture of me wearing said blouse in front of the gate at my house captioned “Versace, Versace, Medusa head on me like I’m ‘luminati/This is a gated community, please get the f*ck off the property (GATE!)”

5. My husband and I have been trying to save money to pay off debt, buy a house, and other adult things so we’ve been bringing lunch from home at least once a week and cooking dinner one more night a week (4 meals instead of 3). We have saved so much money that I’m ashamed to say how much! I honestly cringe when I think about how much we could have saved have we started earlier, but c’est la vie. The reduction in fast food and Chinese takeout didn’t hurt my waistline either. The “we got food at home” budget will change your life, even with a seemingly minimal change so I highly recommend it. 

6. Went to the movies two weekends in a row. “A Simple Favor” was better than expected! It had “Gone Girl” vibes, but a little more comedy. I was a little reluctant to see “Venom” because the trailers had such a horror movie feel and jump cuts make me jump out of my skin. But it was a weird sort of romantic comedy and somehow, it worked. I wouldn’t even be mad at a sequel.