JOOK!

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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.

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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.

~HAPPY THANKSGIVING~

FirstThanksgivingBig

#MondayMotivation

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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.

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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!

RELAX.

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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.

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Conflicted

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Even with 9/11 and Charlie Hebdo and Nigeria and Kenya and now Paris, never mind the gross disregard for human dignity and history in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan…

I can’t prescribe to  the attitudes we’ve been hearing since Friday, the loud and angry voices of people saying refugees and immigrants are to blame.  Nor can I prescribe to the declarations against Muslims and Islam.

I stand with the likes of Aaron Rodgers, an American football player and his comment after a fan in the crowd shouted some off-color remark during the moment of silence to honor those victims of the Paris terror attacks:

“I must admit, though, I was very disappointed with whoever the fan was who made a comment that I thought was really inappropriate during the moment of silence. It’s that kind of prejudicial ideology that I think puts us in the position that we’re in today as a world.”

Make no mistake, I believe we (the Western world and all who support  peace and moderation) are at war with extremists that threaten our way of life, our liberty, our very existence.  All extremists are purveyors of hate and should shouted down, hunted down, silenced, destroyed.

That said, we in these United States [in particular] must not submit to fear and xenophobia.  We have a special responsibility, not to save the world — far from that — but to uphold the ideal that our nation has stood for these 239 years and counting, and eloquently written in the poetic verse inscribed, as below:

From the “New Colossus” on The Statue of Liberty, a gift from France given to the United States in 1883.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

That’s the America I want to live in.  That’s the America I believe in.

 

Friday Faves, Issue #13

What’s that up in the sky?  It’s a bird!  It’s a plane!

No, it’s another SUPER edition of Friday Faves, faster than a speeding bullet, stronger than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and here for you to make your day and weekend a whole lot better.  ENJOY!

Destination of the Week:  Off the beaten path for Westerners, but one of the several regions that would provide good insight into a very different part of the world. Balochistan.

Quote of the Week: A pretty simply phrase to encourage:  “Breath, Motherfucker!” ~ Wim Hof

Band of the Week:  BECK. Missed his band wagon the first time through.  Circled back over the last few years. Great rendition of one of his most popular songs here.

Meal of the Week: Sigh.  Let’s just be honest.  Not much inspiration this week. But a stalwart nutrition source I CAN share. If you want a reliable, plant-based protein source, Plant Fusion is your ticket.  Have a go, to get up and go!

Website of the Week:  Providing 50 years of Critical Thinking, Creative Expression for kids in the San Francisco bay area. PAW. #worthit

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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!

Two Keys to Success: Managing Accountability and Expectations

keys

Sitting in a meeting this morning I had a particular “moment of clarity”, to coin a phrase from Pulp Fiction (and the Big Book).   A couple of simple concepts came to mind that can make a big difference in how things go in your work life, and home life too.

Two keys to success are centered around Accountability and Expectations.  Get those two figured out, and ingrain them into your life.  The result will be progress toward your goal.  The result will be success.

Let’s start with a couple definitions.

According to the dictionary, Accountability refers to “the state of being accountable, liable, or answerable.”  In other words, it means being responsible, being aware, and taking ownership of any given task or set of tasks, and the associated outcome(s).  It means you won’t pass the buck. It means you have to be able to explain, if asked, what happened, whether it’s good, bad, or otherwise.

Under Expectation, you can find this definition: “the act or state of looking forward or anticipating.”  Clarity in communication is critical to how expectations are conveyed.  If you’re the Setter of Expectation, you need to make things clear and concise to who ever is being given the Expectation to live up to.  Being reasonable, though a somewhat vague concept, is equally clear in setting expectations.  Empathy helps here also, to have some idea of what the other party is feeling and will experience when they try to live up to that expectation.

All pretty simple, right?  But perhaps somewhat opaque?

Here’s an example of how these traits played out in a recent business transaction.

There’s this one project I’ve been working on of late.  The buyer is in southeast Asia.  We were trying to get a deal done to sell a piece of equipment.

We’d sent the proposal a while and the buyer came back interested in making a purchased.  We’d gone around on the commercial terms, including financing, logistics, etc.  Before long we came to agreement.  We offered a discount for a favorable payment term. They seemed pleased with that.  We thought we were on our way.  Expectations had been carefully and completely worked out on both sides.  We expected the order to come any day.  And it did.

Then the unwieldy bureaucratic requirements by the buyer’s central office stepped in the middle of the road.  Sent with the order was a separate agreement document that needed to be included.  This requirement was in addition to the standard purchase order document and involved quite a few (proposed) clauses/requirements.  We had done a few other deals previously with this buyer, but no such agreement had been required.  Expectations changed.

The agreement needed original signature and countersignature to proceed.  No money could change hands until the agreement had all the required sign-offs.  Sigh.

We reviewed the document with our legal department and by and large were ok with the agreement language.  We struck two sections from the agreement, which the buyer accepted.   This approach and related result was promising.  There was give and take.  We were in agreement with amendments. Things were aligning reasonably.

We sent the original signature agreement document via courier service.   A week later it was delivered, but the buyer then explained they really needed two copies, not one.   They hadn’t mentioned this clearly in previous communications.  We would have to send a second set via courier.  Nominal, extra costs would be incurred.

The cost of shipping across the Pacific is not cheap. Doing it twice is (obviously), twice the cost. Every dollar counts. Every dollar spent on costs not accounted for in pricing cuts into profits.

As a show of good faith and to get the deal done, we agreed to split the courier service charges with the buyer.  Fortunately we were able to create Accountability for both sides, and bring the deal close to fruition.

By creating and managing expectations and accountability through the process, we were able to reach mutual concession and thus, move the deal forward to close.

At least I hope so.  We’ve followed a good process to manage two of the factors that are critical to positive outcome:  Accountability and Expectations.

The deal’s not done yet tho’.  We’ll see.  ONWARD.