little men

We bought these little men hooks a long time ago. They are a bit too delicate to actually be hooks, so they've just been decoration, until now:

This is the third apartment they've hung in, and the first time they've actually been of some use! Unfortunately, this poor guy didn't survive the last move:

red beans & rice

I grew up in south Louisiana and would not touch red beans and rice. My mom made it at least once a week and I refused to even try it my whole life. My stepson recently started asking me to make it, and I did, and seriously, that is the first time I can remember ever eating it. And I liked it! I totally made it from a box mix too, but incorporated my mom's trick (I swear, she was the original Sandra Lee). All that to say that I have no idea how this recipe compares to others, but it's really good and quick and so, so easy:

12 ounces (or so) Cajun Style Andouille Smoked Sausage, thinly sliced
7 cups chicken broth
2 cans small red beans

Ok, so, all you do it follow the directions on the box, with a tiny bit of change:

Add mix and chicken broth (instead of water) to a large pot and bring to boiling.

I start this then slice up the sausage. (Make sure you pick a spicy sausage, it really does make it better!) Add to the pot.

Once boiling, reduce heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring to keep from sticking.

Rinse and drain red beans, add to the pot and cook for 10 more minutes. (Once I had only kidney beans and used cans of that instead. It worked fine, but I still prefer the smaller red beans to match the beans that are in the mix.)

Remove from heat, and let sit 5-10 minutes to thicken. Serve with corn bread.

Speaking of corn bread: I found my favorite corn bread recipe on accident, searching for a whole-wheat corn bread recipe. I like it better than any of the others I've tried, and, oddly, my family likes it best too. And it's easy, no weird ingredients like honey or buttermilk or even cream.

les mis

The year is officially half way over, and I am on pae 493 of Les Miserables which means I am officially 40.3% done. This also means I can read just 5 pages a day and still be finished with this book by my goal of the end of 2011. Les Mis is really good - great even, but only sometimes. Other times, it is so boring I have to make myself not skip ahead. So I alternate between reading 30 or 40 pages without even realizing it, and struggling to make myself read 5 or 10 pages in one sitting. I also have times when I just get so caught up in his language and words chosen, which is really beautiful at times, without paying attention to what is actually happening. I don't know how a person would even go about writing something like this and making it work, and in that regards, I do think Hugo is a genius.

When I'm finally finished reading this, I am going to see the musical and the movie, and the movie musical! I can't wait.