Red Wine & Mushroom Chicken
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (I used 3..since there are 3 of us)
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
Fresh mushrooms, sliced, as many as you want
1 sprig fresh tarragon (Also did not have fresh, so I used about 2 tsp-ish dried)
3 1/2 tablespoons port wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
(I also added about two cloves of garlic and some fresh black pepper)
In a deep skillet, heat oil on high. Coat chicken with flour, add to skillet, reduce heat and cook on low for 10 minutes (or until cooked through). Remove chicken breasts to a platter and keep warm.
To the same skillet, add the shallots, saute for 1 minute, then add wine and heat until reduced by half. Add stock and heat for 5 minutes until sauce thickens.
Meanwhile, in a small pan, saute mushrooms in a little oil. Add tarragon to mushrooms, then add both to the chicken and wine sauce. Cook all for 7 minutes, stir in port and cook for 5 more minutes.
Arrange the chicken on a platter and spoon sauce over it. Garnish with parsley. Serve.
Growing up, I always liked my first name. It is a pretty name and combined with my middle name, kinda rolls off the tongue. Except for when mom yelled it when I was in trouble. Then it sounded like I should run and hide. Hah!
When I made it to middle school, it was the first time I had ever had classmates named Donna. There were numerous Donnas in my class and even a Dondi, which was odd. That’s one of my mom’s pet names for me (which she still uses even though I am 47 years old) and I liked it. She was an okay girl and I think she was nice to me. But some of the other people with my name..weren’t.
I remember asking people to start calling me by my middle name. Mostly in my own head, in my own stories, and imagination. I hated my name so much and wanted to change it. I knew it was a dumb thing, because I had always loved my name.
I also was very tired of people singing “Donna” by Ritchie Valens. I still hate that song. I also hated “Donna the Prima Donna” by Dion. Thankfully, it was never sung to me that much. *shudder* There is one song called “Donna” which is a big favorite. It is “Donna” by Art of Noise. Man, that “Into the Battle with the Art of Noise” is still my favorite album of theirs.
As I got older, I didn’t mind it as much. When I did run into other women named Donna, they were a very very nice. Many just as persnickety as I am, with difficult personalities. Really. I can be difficult. It didn’t bother me as much because none of these people were mean to me; they didn’t fit what I thought someone with my name would be like. Rather, what other girls named Donna were like.
When I discovered Ye Olde Internets, I started using the handle Danicia. I used it /everywhere/ and met heaps of people through Usenet. Yeah, really old school there. Everything was using Danicia. You couldn’t find me by my real name…ever on the intartoobs. Well, until I had to use my real name while working for BioWare.
I’ve known people for over a decade who still don’t know that my real name is not Danicia (dan-EE-see-ya), but is Donna. I’ve kinda gotten used to it by now; rarely does anyone still call me Dani. I’m asked if I have a preference; I don’t. They’re both me and I love both names.
“My name is Raymond J. Johnson, Jr. Now you can call me Ray, or you can call me J, or you can call me Johnny, or you can call me Sonny, or you can call me Junie, or you can call me Junior; now you can call me Ray J, or you can call me RJ, or you can call me RJJ, or you can call me RJJ Jr.” ultimately ending with, “but you doesn’t hasta call me Johnson!” – Yes. I am that old.
Last night I attempted to have a board game night, but instead it was spent driving around and not getting to play games at all. Not that this is particularly interesting, but it did keep me from playing catch up in the Blog Through A to Z Challenge. This means THREE blogs tonight!
My first catch up blog is “C”. Concentration. I have a very hard time with it.
Tonight, I was pretty happy to be cuddling up to some delish chicken & garlic pizza and some tasty chocolate stout. I was all set to write my blogs, when I was distracted by a friend’s comment on Twitter about Draw Something A bunch of my co-workers and, well, everyone I know practically…is playing it. I quickly abandoned my blog and installed the free client.
2 hours later, I’m back at my blog, waiting for friends to respond to my games & challenges. I might have said on Twitter, “I has a delicious beer. I just downloaded “Draw Something”. I think I’m just going to draw penii (penises?).”
So here I sit, distracted by the game and my friends are sending me wacky drawings. I completely forgot what my original “C” topic was going to be and I’ve got no clue what I’m going to write for “D” and “E”.
Pardon me whilst I draw a monkey with a banana for Ken.
Why yes, to no one’s surprise, my “B” blog will be about…BEER.
I first started my foray into beer in high school. I know, who didn’t? Well, back then the drinking age in Texas was 18. I drank a LOT of the standard cheap beers, which I never did like.
I would find things like Anchor Steam, Fosters (back in the old big tin oil can days), Red Stripe, and the like. There wasn’t too much variety to be found in Texas…well…anywhere hardly at that point.
I pretty much stopped drinking beer and mostly drank cocktails. As I got older and my palate changed, I started trying something different. Guinness. I liked it much better than the pale ales & lagers from my younger days. Still, it wasn’t exactly what I wanted out of a beer.
Finally, more and more craft beer started showing up in Texas. Red Hook, Alaskan, Sierra Nevada, and more. This pub my ex and I used to hang out at called JW Rovers in Round Rock, had a “Drink your way around the World” or some such challenge. If you drank X amount of beers, you got into this great club. Name on the wall, special T-shirt, and events.
So we set out on a journey to explore every beer style we could manage to get our hands on. I decided I hated fruit beer (Sorry Pete’s Wicked) and loved Stouts (Thanks Red Hook for the now defunct Starbuck’s version of Double Black Stout). I fell in love with Belgian beer, and decided I just wasn’t up for Canadian beers. Okay, so I’ve changed my opinion on Canadian beers after spending 5 weeks in Montreal. ❤ Unibroue now. Same for the Griffon Red Ale by Brasserie McAuslan/McAuslan Brewing.
I digress. HOW I DIGRESS.
I’ve since discovered heaps of places to find information about craft beer on the internet. I’ve been lucky to live in hubs of good beer, both large independent brewers and small craft brewpubs. I discovered so many great beers while living in Seattle, and was gobsmacked by the craft brew culture which exploded in Austin over the last 10 years. (Hint: Look for Jester King in bottles. They’re definitely selling in SoCal right now.)
All my best outings are paired with beer. I enjoy sharing beer and teaching people about beer, just as I do board/card games. That’s why I’ve always been so passionate about my Board Game/Beer Geek meetups. Maybe you’ll join me at one and learn about great beer and fun games.
I am so late to the party! I had seen something about this challenge float by on the Twitter feed for my co-worker, Margaret Krohn. She and I feel very similar about communities, gaming, and fostering an inclusive environment. It’s been awesome getting to know her; we don’t get to chat as much since we work in different buildings.
At any rate, I was intrigued. I went into this new blog with great intentions of posting regularly. In this, I have failed. I had a few great posts (I hope?) around PAX East last year; it is fitting that I’m kickstarting the blog again right in time for this year’s PAX East.
I’m kinda behind on the blogging, so I’ve missed getting on the sign up list for the Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge. No matter. I am still going to participate!
My “A” blog is going to be about…acceptance!
For many, it is very hard to accept things about yourself. On the outside, I accept that I am overweight. I accept that I am older than many of my peers in the gaming industry. I accept that I have a pain disorder and am not as mobile as I once was. I accept that I talk too much, and I also accept that for a good much of the time, I’m an extremely quiet person. I can be obnoxious and very rigid in my ideas of justice. I hate playing with rules lawyers, but sometimes, I am one myself. I accept that my sexiness is from within. I accept that people won’t think I’m sexy. I accept that my tattoos are off-putting to many people. I accept that I have been a big jerk to people in my life.
And that is okay. It all makes up who I am. There is no room for regrets or not accepting these things, because it means denying who you are…and that who you are is a-okay.
I meet a lot of people in gaming & geek culture who are always talking about how they’ve been afraid to accept their “geekiness” and let “their geek flag fly”. They say, “you are so comfortable with yourself.”. I teasingly say, ‘That’s because I don’t give a flying fig what people think about me.”.
Really, this is only partly true. I care deeply about what my mother thinks of me. I care very much about the opinions of my peers, friends, and loved ones.
What I am really saying is…All those people who want to tell me I’m to fat/old/stupid/ugly to be sexy/smart/caring/worthy of love? They can kiss my big fat butt. I accept my flaws. I accept my passions. I accept I may be wrong from time to time. None of this makes me less of a person or not worth love.
EVERYONE is worth love. Accept that you are weird. Accept that you are just a bit different from those around you. It’s not bad to be different. Sometimes it just takes time to figure out that the only person who truly matters is you. If you don’t love yourself, how can you expect wonderful loving people to find you?
I accept myself for who I am and I wouldn’t change it for the world.