Diva AWOL….

We have been AWOL a lot lately.  Between floods and travel we have been on sensory overload.  I hope you are still checking in a lot and keeping us on your minds.  We need all of you for the energy boost you give us each day.  Namaste, The Queen Cronista….IMG_6323

Diva Musing: Current Mood….

It’s Hump Day.  My current mood.  Happy but still my crazy bat shit self. Anyone with me today?  Namaste, The Queen Cronista….

Diva Tasting: Sweet Potato Muffins Dessert Or Breakfast….

Sweet Potato Muffins Dessert Or Breakfast
Ingredients
1 1/2 Cups Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Canola Oil
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Freshly Grated Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Allspice
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
4 Cups Canned Shredded Sweet Potato
1/2 Cup Raisins (Optional)
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease muffin tins to hold 12 muffins.
  2. Whisk together brown sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs in a small bowl.
  3. Mix together the flour, baking powder, spices, salt, and grated sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Make a well in the center, and pour in the egg mixture. Stir the egg mixture, gradually incorporating it with the flour mixture. Stir in the raisins and walnuts
  4. Spoon the batter into the tins. I like to fill each tin to the rim to make a large cap. Bake the muffins for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Take the muffins out of the oven and run a paring knife carefully around each muffin, then invert the pan, and knock one edge against your work surface to release the muffins. Serve the muffins right away.  Whip Cream or Vanilla Ice cream on side for desserts.

Diva Musing: Literary Updates….

I’m a bit of a literary snob all year round.  But tis the season for updates.  I’m not a fan of changing the Queen’s English but here you have it…..
2019 Words of the Year
Dictionary publisher Collins announces its word of the year on Thursday – and there’s no shortage of terms they could pick for 2019.
Every year, brand new words or phrases emerge to reflect the changes in society or technology. Selfie was invented with the rise of smartphones. Or Brexit, when a pithy term was called for to describe the UK’s departure from the European Union.
Collins Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) are both set to announce their words of the year soon. Contenders can be a brand new word, an old word that has made a comeback, or two existing words that have been joined together and taken on new meaning (like photobomb).
The OED says the chosen word should be “reflective of the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of this past year, but as having lasting potential as a word of cultural significance”.
The debate is one of the highlights of the year for Gyles Brandreth, co-host of Something Rhymes With Purple, a podcast all about language and its evolution.
Language is power, language is what defines us, makes us the people who we are,” he says. “We’re so blessed that the English language is our parent tongue, because it is the richest language in the world.
New words are coming into the language all the time and have been for thousands of years. Some very old words have survived a long time, some others have disappeared, and some new ones come along. And it’s always fun to discover which are the ones which have bubbled to the surface this year.”
Woke could be in with a shot this year. So could influencer. Phrases like cancel culture, where a celebrity’s career is damaged after saying something distinctly un-woke, may also be nominated. Changing gender norms and definitions could also see a term like non-binary recognised.
The Cambridge Dictionary has already announced upcycling as its own winner, based on which word resonated most with their Instagram followers.
The Guardian’s nominations, meanwhile, include femtech and sadfishing, but also a older words like pronoun (which it says “has become a signifier of the new gender politics”) and people.
People is a pretty ordinary word – and one with a long history… but the way the idea of ‘the people’ has been used over the past year, often cynically, makes it thoroughly contemporary,” wrote David Shariatmadari.
It’s also possible that something that isn’t even a word at all could again be named word of the year.
I was intrigued by the conversation that followed Oxford choosing the crying-with-laughter emoji as its word of the year [in 2015],” says lexicographer Susie Dent, Brandreth’s podcast co-host. “It sparked such controversy, people were up in arms saying, ‘It’s not a word, how could Oxford have dumbed down to this extent?’
But actually the OED’s answer was really interesting, because they said humans have been using pictorial representations of words for millennia. We have ancient hieroglyphics that show people have communicated through pictures, and who’s to say that emojis are any different? And they add nuance to words on a screen. I wouldn’t say it was my favourite word of the year by a long shot, but I loved the discussions that followed.”
Brandreth recalls some favourites of his own. “I loved Yolo when it came round,” he says. “YOLO!” he joyfully shouts down the phone a second time for effect. “Which means ‘you only live once’. I loved that one. And amazeballs, I liked that for a while.”
The Oxford English Dictionary selected toxic in 2018, a word which has been around since the mid-17th Century. The OED said the “sheer scope of its application” in recent years was notable because its use had increased dramatically in both literal and more metaphorical senses.
In 2017, it opted for Youthquake – a significant cultural, political or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people. Prior to that, it chose post-truthvape and the cry-laughing emoji.
Perhaps the most glorious winner, however, was omnishambles, which won in 2012 after its use by the bad-tempered spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in political comedy The Thick of It.
Collins Dictionary, meanwhile, has a habit of making two words its word of the year.
Sometimes this is a result of hyphenation, such as single-use last year. Ironically, the term has had a dramatic increase in use as concerns about the environment have been expressed in recent years.
Binge-watch, was victorious in 2015, as more and more viewers chose to watch their favourite TV shows in one sitting. But 2017’s winner, fake news, didn’t even have a hyphen, instead being two separate words that form a new term used regularly by US President Donald Trump.
Other previous Collins winners include photobomb and Brexit, which was naturally word of the year in 2016, when the UK voted in the EU referendum.
Speaking ahead of this year’s announcement, Dent says: “There’s one I’m hoping won’t win but I think could be a contender, and it’s from the 15th Century, so it’s a good example of a word that’s been revived.
Boris [Johnson, the prime minister] is always behind the revival of old words, like mugwump and so on. But this one was Parliament proroguing. I think prorogue will be on the shortlist this year, but it’s very very old.”
Of course, the development of language, which often involves traditional grammar going out the window, is the cause of irritation to some who care deeply about protecting the basic principles of English.
But both Dent and Brandreth say the evolution of language is precisely what excites them.
I’ve decided to be less irritated and more intrigued by the way that language changes,” says Dent. “But one of the things Gyles and I are always talking about on our podcast is how modern gripes are actually not so modern.
The ‘less’ and ‘fewer’ debate has been going on for centuries. And whether we say ‘nuclear’ or ‘nuc-u-lar’. ‘Aitch’ or ‘haitch’. And ‘disinterested’ and ‘uninterested’. Those terms have been confused for centuries.
My big bugbear used to be mischievous or mischievous, because people were putting an ‘i’ in to rhyme it with devious. I used to hate it, but now I’ve decided it’s a really fascinating snapshot of how pronunciation changes and leaves spelling behind.”
Follow us on Facebook, or on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.

Diva Chilling: Lunch at the Table….

Heading for lunch at the new Table Coffee House on campus.  Convenient and all food from scratch.  Dessert today is my “Fig Cake with Caramel Sauce” posted a week or so ago.  A must have for the Holidays.  Yum, big time.  Namaste, The Queen Cronista

Diva Rambling: Hacks for the pantry….

Hacks for dining on a budget.  Found this foraging for me.  Good suggestions: 
It is possible to eat well without breaking the bank. Here’s how.
Eating healthy is not just about organic foods and expensive grains with peculiar names. It’s also not artisanal handmade foods that could sink your budget or fish from far-off places that promise healthy fats and a steep bill.
Indeed, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to eat healthy. Actually, some of the most inexpensive and most ordinary foods are the healthiest. If you’re willing to sharpen your shopping strategy, do a little kitchen prep, and get creative with cooking, you can save a bundle. These tips and recipes will get you started.
1. Prep your own.
Peeling and chopping vegetables, cutting meat into cubes for skewers or stews, and washing your own salad greens do take some time. But, to save on dough, these are no-brainers. Cut down on prep time by keeping things simple, making only one or two dishes for a meal. As you get more experience in the kitchen, you’ll gain speed and efficiency and wonder why you ever actually paid extra for pre-chopped onions.
2. Shop smart.
Skipping between multiple stores may seem like a good way to shop sales, but you could end up spending more on gas and losing valuable time. Instead, take your entire list to a store that offers a large variety of seasonal produce, lean proteins, and must-have pantry staples at low prices, such as Walmart Grocery. Check your local store often, as seasonal offerings change regularly.
3. Be flexible when you shop.
If you’re planning to make ground beef chili, but you get to the grocery store and ground turkey is on sale, switch up the recipe, and save some cash. Likewise, it won’t matter too much if your salads this week are made with spinach or romaine, if you snack on oranges or pears, or if your veggie side dish is broccoli or green beans. Look for what’s on sale at your preferred store, and as long as you’re making a healthy choice, you may as well make a cheaper choice, too.
4. Canned is OK.
Fresh seafood is one of the healthiest foods you can eat — and also one of the most expensive. There’s nothing wrong with canned salmon and tuna. You get the same nutrients as you do from fresh, along with the convenience that it’s already cooked. Plus, you can keep it in your pantry for months. Other excellent healthy canned food choices include beans (rinse them before using to remove about 40 percent of the sodium), tomatoes, reduced-sodium broths, and fruits packed in water. This recipe for Yummy Lemon Salmon Burgers proves how inventive you can be with a simple can of fish.
Related: 16 Best Shrimp Recipes Ready in Under 30 Minutes
5. Frozen is good, too!
In many cases, frozen fruits and vegetables are just as healthy than fresh ones. Sometimes, they’re actually even better. That’s because many of the healthful nutrients in fresh produce can be lost in transportation from farm to grocery shelf. Frozen foods, on the other hand, are typically frozen within hours of coming in from the fields. That locks in nutrients at their peak.
Choose wisely, and buy plain vegetables without sauces and fruits without added sugar. Toss frozen vegetables into soups, stews, or stir-fries, or season them with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil for a simple side dish. Turn frozen fruits into smoothies, or serve them thawed over plain low-fat Greek yogurt for a protein-packed breakfast or snack.
Start using your frozen stockpile with this super healthy recipe for Garlic Chicken Fried Brown Rice that uses frozen peas, leftover brown rice, and chicken breast. And to start the day, this Strawberry Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie, which uses frozen strawberries, is a complete meal in a glass.
6. Brown rice and beans.
These foods may sound boring and flavorless, but they’re far from it. As creative and frugal cooks from Mexico to India to Italy know, these staples are amazingly versatile and incredibly delicious. Canned beans are a great deal and they’re recipe ready, but to save even more money, you can cook your own dried beans. Brown rice, unlike white rice, is a whole grain with its naturally occurring fiber, B vitamins, and antioxidants intact, so it’s always the better choice. To get started, try Easy Texas Chili with pinto beans or Escarole and Bean Soup with navy beans.
7. Brown bag it.
Eating out for lunch, especially if you’re trying to stick to healthier options, can be pricey, but packing a healthy lunch takes only a few minutes in the morning. Don’t fall for single portion packs of cut-up fruits and veggies, applesauce, dried fruits, and nuts. They’re convenient, but you can portion your own and save a lot of money. Get yourself a trendy insulated tote and a few sizes of partitioned containers, and you’re ready to pack a budget-friendly (and delicious) lunch in style.
Related: Our Top 10 Healthy Lunch Ideas
8. Lean on pricey ingredients when their flavors go the furthest.
If you’re eating healthy, you’ll welcome a big punch of flavor from foods that may cost a little more, but a tiny amount of them can make a recipe more satisfying. Feta cheese, goat cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, fresh rosemary (which lasts at least a week or more and can be used in all kinds of dishes), capers, olives, maple syrup, fresh ginger, nuts, and dark roasted sesame oil are just a few of the foods where a very small amount can transform the taste of a dish. This Asian Ginger Dressing which tastes great on (cheap!) cabbage salad uses just a bit of fresh grated ginger.
9. Your freezer is your friend.
Meats and poultry are probably the most expensive items in your food budget, so it pays to stock up when they’re on sale. But what if your family is small? No worries. Break down large packages of chicken pieces, pork chops, steaks, or ground beef or turkey into the number of servings you need for your family for one meal and then freeze them. Use heavy-duty freezer bags to ensure the foods stay fresh. Chicken and turkey can be frozen up to 9 months, steaks and chops for 12 months, and ground beef lasts for 4 months.
10. Build a plentiful pantry.
Some foods last for years in your pantry, so there’s no reason not to stock up when you find a deal on whole-wheat pasta; whole grains like brown rice, oats, barley, and bulgur; fruits canned in water; canned beans; tomatoes; and broths, to name a few. Be sure to rotate foods, putting what you just bought in the back of the cupboard. And check your stash before you shop so you’re not buying too much of any one item, even if it is on sale. With pantry basics on hand, you’re always prepared to cook up a meal on the fly, which saves the cost of ordering unhealthy pizza or going out for fast food. That’s an even greater savings in the long run.