Also called congee in many places, it’s a dish made in several Asian countries, including China, Burma, Vietnam, Japan, Tibet, Thailand, etc.

I came across this particular recipe for Turkey Jook several years back in the San Francisco Chronicle.  The article, and the dish itself, changed my life in several ways, even made me a better guy.

Wait, what?!   “Changed my life…?!”

Seriously?  YES, and not just seriously, but also collectively:  the idea, the recipe, and even the philosophy I later linked to it.  But come on, “It made you a better person??!”  Yep.  Here’s how.

First, the idea.  I love the concept of using leftovers to make a meal. This dish is spot-on with my favorite approach of making the most of what you have in the fridge and in the pantry.

With this particular concoction, you’re actually using a turkey carcass to make your dish, which is why it goes so well right after Thanksgiving (in the U.S., which the bird is front and center on most family menus). How good is that from a minimalist, use-everything-you-got mentality?  Often times the carcass gets discarded after the Thanksgiving meal; this recipe gives you the perfect chance to use every last morsel and bit of turkey flavor goodness. And besides, you’ll get like 8 to 10 servings from one batch. Even better!

Second, the recipe. This one is super simple. So simple is it that it becomes a confidence builder for those folks aspiring to be more active in the kitchen.  Even if you’re a cooking veteran, this recipe is for you.  It’s  super delicious once the dish is complete, and it’s also versatile.  A pot of jook allows far a wide variety of garnishes to be used to enhance the flavor.

Third, it added to a blossoming philosophy I’ve mixed into my belief system.  Huh?  A rice porridge is somehow linked to a philosophy?

Yes yes, and that’s maybe the most fundamental way it’s made my life better.  So what’s the linkage between food and philosophy (for me anyway)?

The basic way of thinking is called “minimalism”, and the idea is a simple one.   Rid our lives of things that create clutter, live more simply, make the most of the things you have, foods you buy, etc.   It’s a concept I’ve tried to live by more as I’ve gotten older, and certainly since I became a parent.  I’m striving to teach my kids a simple, grateful, satisfying way to  live. Want to learn more about this philosophy?  Here’s a good place to start.

So that’s my trifecta of culinary inspiration.  All from the humble bird that goes gobble gobble, and a newspaper article in the Food Section nearly a decade ago.  So, are you ready to try?  If that turkey carcass didn’t get throw out over the weekend, have a go at Turkey Jook ~ you’ll be glad you did!

Thanks. Giving. 

Love this twist of phrase so much, and so thankful for the last two days, gotta share the, well, GRATITUDE.
Two days of celebration with two sides of the family: mine yesterday, my wife’s today. The common denominator? Easy company (if not down right camaraderie), good conversations, delicious food, warmth and respite shared.

If I think about it a bit, I suspect the early Thanksgivings celebrated by those first settlers in the American colonies had similar experiences. Together with family and friends and folks they didn’t know very well, but all happy to be together to share what they had, and be thankful.

Which is the whole idea, anyway.

Friday Faves, Issue #15

On this “Black Friday”, my mood is anything but gloomy, as we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  Chalk full of family, friends, and Soul Time, couldn’t be much more thankful.

And so,  another edition of Friday Faves to add a little more GOOD to the universe.  Enjoy the list, enjoy the weekend!

Destination of the Week:  Villahermosa, Mexico is one of the centers of the oil & gas sector in that country.  It’s also the capital of Tabasco state.

Quote of the Week: “Rebellion against tyrants is obedience to God.” -Ben Franklin

Band of the Week: What can I say?  Thinking back to the formative years,  Zebra was a band I enjoyed, embraced, and rocked to. Still think they’re cool today.

Meal of the Week:  Turkey Leftovers, Times 6 Recipes!

Website of the Week:  I’ve followed Fred Wilson for a while.  He’s a business guy, and a whole lot more.  He’s a great voice on the web and inspired me to fire up my blog. Check him out.  This particular post resonated in a special way, given the very means I’m sharing all these thoughts with you. Direct Connection, indeed.


REMINDER:   Your comments are always welcome! LOVE to hear what you have to say, GOOD or otherwise.  If you fancy twitter, you can follow more of the muse via that micro-blogging site:  my handle is @jhludlum ~

Enjoy the weekend!

10 Words or Phrases You Should Use More Often

At the end of the day, a good attitude goes a LONG way toward being more agreeable, appreciated, feeling satisfied with life.

Some of the ways you can foster a good attitude for yourself include being grateful, taking responsibility and not blaming others, helping people in need, being polite, humble, and hmm…did I mention being grateful?

Given the Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow, thought this list was rather timely.

  1. Thank You
  2.  I’m sorry.
  3. I appreciate your time.
  4. Please
  5. Let me do that for you.
  6. After you, please.
  7. Have a good evening.
  8. No problem, I’m happy to help.
  9. Great Effort!
  10. I love you.

So try some of these out.  Especially, well…all of them.  Even in this troubled world with poverty, racism, terrorism, with ISIL and other global antagonists in the news every day, it’s still the only world we have, and we have to live together.





Any day and every day, motivation is one of the keys to making the most of the day.  #MondayMotivation is one of my favorite hashtags on twitter, and it fits perfectly into the mantra of getting the most out of any day, especially Mondays.

Monday is a mindset. For most people, the work week starts on Monday.  The weekend is over. It’s time to get back at it, doing whatever work we do after a day or two of rest.

Here are the simple truths:

When you’re motivated to make the most of the day, Focus follows.  We narrow in on what we want to do, and make a plan to execute.  You’ve got your list that’s going to get you from here to here.  It’s time to go.

Once you’re focused, a Good Attitude isn’t far behind.  You’ve got the energy flowing within.  You’ve got your mind focused on the activities for the day. You’re ready to go.  That creates fertile ground for a good attitude to making it’s way to the surface, permeating your cells, pulsing through your body.

Before you know it, you’ve worked through you list, through your day, and if you look back, it’s pretty certain that you’ll have some Results to show for the efforts of the day.  Mind you, things may not have gone the way you expected, you’ll likely have run into some unforeseen obstacles, but you’ve made some measure of progress, no doubt.  Look closely if you can’t see it right away.  It’s there.

One final suggestion:  start the day EARLY.  Get after it before the sun comes up.  Before others can set the tempo for your day.  And get some exercise.  Be it a walk, a swim, a bike ride, a session with some weights, whatever.  Getting up and into the day earlier means you have time to warm up and start the day with a clear mind and purpose, establish the agenda, and start ticking items as DONE on your list.

Yep, Monday is a mindset.  But really the suggestions above are applicable for every work day.   So get MOTIVATED.  It’s up to YOU.


Friday Faves, Issue #14

Another edition of Friday Faves (delivered on Monday), served up hot and fresh after spending the weekend in the slow cooker.  ENJOY.

Destination of the Week: Tucked in the middle of Austria, a little gem called Leoben

Quote of the Week: “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” ~Winston Churchill

Band of the WeekI can’t fight the feeling any longer. Gotta go with REO Speedwagon ~ 80’s heavy hitter. Epic ballads that made your heart ache.

Meal of the Week: Filet Mignon ~ Anniversary dinner over the weekend. This review isn’t mine, but it could be. I had the same experience (less the margarita, and the four-month old baby).

Website of the Week: One of the best places to land on the web when you want down-to-earth perspectives from people just like you. And this particular piece was both uplifting and motivating.  Not sure if you can improve your lot in life?  Read on.


REMINDER:   Your comments are always welcome! LOVE to hear what you have to say, GOOD or otherwise.  If you fancy twitter, you can follow more of the muse via that micro-blogging site:  my handle is @jhludlum ~

Enjoy the weekend!



On the lighter side.

We all run into situations when someone seems to overreact to a given circumstance.  Something that seems to get blown out of proportion, someone gets a little too excited.

A few idioms then, to help communicate this very common human experience.

In English there are several phrases that come to mind…

“Don’t get your panties in a bunch!” or “You’re making a mountain out of a mole hill.”

But what about other languages?   Here are a couple of samples.

In Russian they say the equivalent of, “You’re making an elephant from a fly.”

In Spanish they say, “You’re making a storm in a glass of water.”

So whatever the language, it’s pretty clear that we humans overreact sometime.  When it’s your turn, remind yourself of this post.

And relax.