just for fun

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

there is no grass on the other side

thirteen regional differences (week #9)
the first couple of visits i made out to nevada, i just didn't like it. everything looks different from home. i couldn't find the places i wanted to go. if it wasn't a casino, it all just blended in together. everything, houses, office buildings, strip malls, highway medians, i mean everything, is tan or light brown or sand or beige or khaki or another name for the same basic color as those other ones. everything in kentucky is colorful. everything is lush and green. there are trees everywhere and many of them bloom in the spring with white, pink, red, and lavender flowers. i think i didn't like NV at first simply because visually, it was just so stunningly different. its since really grown on me. i feel more comfortable there every trip but it will never be home in my heart.

1-2 casinos are different sorts of places in NV and those near KY but many in both incorporate water elements. i heard somewhere that some cultures think water elements like little ponds and waterfalls are lucky as well as comforting.

3-4 grocery stores are actually almost the same, on the inside. i was so surprised to walk into alberton's and discover that is was a krogers. a rose with any other name...

5-6 i'd made several trips to NV before i even spotted a church, they just look very different

7-8 houses are different. in NV, they are way more expensive, there are fewer two stories (donno why), they have different landscaping (because of watering restrictions), they tend to have less slope on roofs (which i can only guess is because they get less snow), they use a lot more tile and stucco, nothing is brick, and many more have more pools in the back.

9-10 trees are different, but i already talked about that in the introduction.

11-12 landscape. at first the mountains in NV really weirded me out. i just felt like they were so close and so big and that they were just going to fall and crush me at any moment. but now i rather like them...so strong, so mysterious. they seem to look different every day from every angle. horsefarms, on the other hand, all look the same, every one of them every day. there can be something very comforting about things staying the same.

13 me. well, i am not a different person when i'm travelling but wherever i am, the other place is lacking in me's.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

update: somewhat less frazzled

a couple of weeks ago i mentioned that i was frazzled, distracted, a wreck of fretfulness. its gotten better. there were four things i was then fretting about and this is how each of them seem to be currently going:

my husband still isn't home. that should happen any day now but we still don't know the details. some stranger will call me 24-72 hours before he arrives. talk about short notice!

i'm not moving, at least not just yet. the new apartment still isn't ready and the new apartment manager understands all my predicaments and i told her that if she needed to give it to someone else, she had my blessing.

i took my work trip and that went really well despite all the new airline regulations. i sat by interesting people on all my flights. i worked with nice people on site. i met wonderful people where i stayed. i'm terrified of my next flight on account of the plane crash today so maybe i should make my doctor prescribe me something nice before my next trip.

and the walkathon is coming along ok. it could be a lot better but i am acheiving me remarkably modest goals.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

my first time eating ground turkey

it occurs to me that i don't seem to ever share with you where i've gotten my recipe from. i certainly have not made them up. and its not that i don't want to give other people credit. its mostly that i don't know. most of my recipes are either just in my head, i've made them so many times i don't have to glance at the cookbook and so have slowly forgotten where they came from. and the rest are on bits of paper or post its or printed emails, etc all from who knows where. this one, however, i know where it came from since its a recent acquisition. unless this is your first visit here, you know that i generally participate in thursday thirteens (except i won't be this week due to travel schedule, so sorry). its kind of a good writing/creativity exercise. i'll go in spurts and have a million ideas for lists. at any given time i probably have three to four half lists agoing. i can generally come up with 8 or so on the list but then have to do some soul searching for the remaining ones. and i enjoy reading other people's lists. several weeks ago, bev at ghost works listed 13 of her favorite foods. one of them sounded very interesting, turkey curry, and she swore up and down that everyone in her family, even her children, enjoyed it. i asked her for the recipe and she graciously sent it to me. i'd never had ground turkey before and was very leery of it. i do not like turkey bacon or turkey sausage so i didn't have high hopes for enjoying turkey hamburger but since it was in something not just sitting on the place by itself and she promised it was great, i gave it a shot. you really should too.

turkey curry

1 lb ground turkey
1 cup chopped apple
1 cup chopped onion
1.5 T olive oil
2 T flour
1 T curry
1 T beef bouillon granules
1/2 nonfat dry milk
2 cups milk

in a pan, cook turkey until browned evenly, stirring a lot. drain and set aside. in a nonstick skillet, spray with nonstick spray and saute apple and onion until the onion is soft. set aside. heat the oil in the skillet over low heat. stir in the flour and curry power. heat and stir over medium-low heat until the flour begins to bubble. separately, combine the bouillon granules, dry milk and skim milk with a whisk. gradually add the milk misture to the curry mixture, continue to stir until the mixture thickens. add the turkey, apple, and onions. stir well and heat through. serve with raisin rice. the original recipe does some complicated thing with rice, but i am biologically or mentally or emotionally impared from making rice right. not real rice, minute rice, wild rice, any of it. what i can do is heat up those already cooked rice packets. so i bought the chicken flavored rice packets, tossed some raisins in and heated it up in the microwave. yum yum yum.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

its about time for some leftist propaganda

i'm left handed and excited about it. i have one of those one-a-day rip off calanders in my bathroom and its filled with fun facts and interesting people who are lefties. my husband is one of those weird right handed people but he's so cute and calls the calander my leftest propaganda. i'm generally not particularly political with this blog and actually, i'm really going to try to not be today either. i'd thought about giving good rant, but instead just a small side note. for about a month, i've seen all these 'i support israel' banners on people's side bars and such. i guess i just don't. i don't support israel, never have really particularly, not really sure why you would nowadays. i get their past, but that's just it, its in the past. i want to point out, i don't support the other guys either. i guess i'm being overly negative but i don't really think the cease fire will last either. i don't support people who blow up innocent families especially children. i don't support people who use those families and children as shields in the first place. i don't support people who kidnap and torture soldiers. two wrongs simply do not make a right. and you are probably sitting there thinking, buy wait, isn't your blogging name armywife? yes, it is. i will never sit here and say our side has done nothing wrong because we have. what i will say is that i support people who prefer peace. i support people who give themselves to a cause that improves other people's lives. i support people who honestly try to do right more than to be right (take a moment to let that soak in and think about all of our world's leaders). and as for the rest, a plague on both your houses.

so, back to my real propaganda:
tuesday is a lucky day for lefties! this day was named for the left handed schandinavia god, tiw. actually i think his other hand was bitten off in some fight, so i'm not sure if he was an authentic left hander or was just promoted to left handedness. but anyway, the day was named after him (tiw's day) and hooray its tuesday. lefties unite!

Monday, August 21, 2006

i feel kind of small suddenly

thankfully i'm still big and important to my dad and my husband and my God.

when i consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him? for great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. psalms 8:3-4, 108:4.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

there's no place like home

some people were irritated and offended by this, some people thought it was funny/cute/adorable, and a great many people never heard about it at all. i was in the last catagory until recently and now i'm in the second one.

the pope has red shoes and so do i. his are prada loafers and mine are earth mary janes.

this guy said it much better than i could:
"I mean, how can you hate a pope who’s got the gumption not only to wear red Prada loafers but to raise his hemline in order to flaunt them to the world?

"I’ll bet he saw those gleaming red Pradas in a store window or a catalogue, or maybe he was sitting around one day with nothing to do and Googled “red shoes” and the rest is history. Vanity won out. Or was it humanity?

"Frankly, I think the shoes are adorable. In fact, I have a pair remarkably like them myself. They’re not Prada, mind you—I believe I got them at Macy’s for $69—but they are hot, and wearing them makes me feel cool, one of those inexplicable chemical/biological phenomena only possible in the fashion world. "

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

yum yum yum

thirteen things i keep on hand (week #9)

in the fridge

1. tortillas. you can stick anything inside of them and you’ve got food on the go

2. baby spinach, avocados, pears, feta, and oil/vinegar dressing. i know its more than one item but they all go together in the same bowl and then into my tummy. fresh red skinned pears are the best and make the most asthetically appealing salad but sometimes you just have to deal with canned pears.

3. fresh veggies (carrots, peppers, zucchini, onion, etc). as often as possible, i try to cook meals from scratch (i know you don’t believe me based on the other items on the list but really i do like fresh, not premade foods)

4. fresh fruits. my favorite are strawberries but sometimes you just can’t get them. winter is so hard for me. you can’t get any decent fruits or vegetables and the sky is so dreary. there is no sunshine and no strawberries and it just makes me sad.

5. skim milk and chocolate syrup to make the milk tastier. you gotta have strong bones.

6. OJ, i like medium pulp and my husband likes no pulp but he tries to do low carb and avoid juice so i can drink what i want. tra da la.

in the freezer

7. stoffer’s chicken pot pies. they are just too yummy, and i will never ever look at the back of the box, just in case they are actually bad for me.

8. several lean cuisine chicken varieties, particularly the sweat and sour chicken and the thai chicken in a peanut sauce

9. grilled chicken. anytime chicken is on sale at the store, i buy up a whole bunch of it and marinate it in a couple of different things, grill them all up on the grill, and then freeze them in individual baggies for later. it just makes for such an easy lunch or dinner when i’m short on time or my travel schedule doesn’t allow me to keep many fresh items on hand.

in the pantry

10. mac-n-cheese, known in some circles kraft dinner. my favorite is the swirly twirly ones. they are fun shaped and the quickest to cook, bonus.

11. soups. when i’m sick i want brothy sorts of soups. when i’m healthy, i like creamy soups. tomato soup for grilled cheese. i don’t ever like beefy sorts of soups. and here lately i’ve gotten on this kick for 'a taste of thai’s' coconut ginger soup. it comes in a packet, found on the international isle of your grocery, and you add chicken broth and coconut milk and then whatever veggies or chicken you want to add. its also good without any additions.

12. assorted dried fruit and nuts, for random snacking and baking

13. bags of already cooked rice. they come in every flavor. all you have to do is massage them a bit, toss into microwave, and put into the serving bowl. easy peasy.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

so what do i do with the other half?

a couple of weeks ago i told you about the roasted stuffed pork loin that had the figs and green olives. and i mentioned that whenever i make that, i use half of the prepackaged meat department pork and freeze the other half. well, whenever i decide to unfreeze the other half, this is usually what i make: mustard-glazed pork with apricot-apple chutney. its got a long fancy title, but don't let that scare you. chutney is a kind of condiment, originally from india, and the root of the word is to crush. so if you lived in india a long time ago, you would just crush up the stuff you had on hand and eat your other food with it, sort of like salsa. i personally really like the combination of the mustard pork and the sweet chutney. kind of a sweet and sour combo. my husband is leery of condiments, sauces, and sometimes salsas in general so he just eats the pork.

mustard glazed pork with apricot apple chutney

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t grated fresh ginger
1/4 t cinnamon
2 medium tart apples chopped
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup chopped onion (i cut down on this since i'm not a huge fan of onions)
1/2 t dried thyme

mustard glaze
3 T apple juice
2 T Dijon-style mustard
1/2 t dried thyme
1-1/4 pounds boneless pork loin

for chutney, stir together all the chutney items in a saucepan, cover, bring to a boil over medium heat. reduce heat and boil for 10 minutes. uncover and boil for 5 more. only a small amount of liquid should remain. remove from heat and cool slightly. you can keep it up to 2 days in the fridge.

meanwhile, stir together apple juice, mustard, and 1/2 t thyme in a small bowl. cut pork into 1 inch slices. add pork to the marinade and coat thoroughly. you can marinate for 30 minutes if desired. you can broil or grill. if you broil, place pork on a broiler pan and cook about 5-6 inches from the heat for 7-8 minutes. if you grill, put pork on skewers and cook on hot coals about 7-8 minutes. i like to turn pork and brush on more sauce about half way through. serve side by side so that you can have a little chutney with each bit of pork. i like to have a salad and cooked carrots with this. i cook my carrots with just a dash of apple juice and brown sugar too. it just sort of completes the theme. enjoy!

Monday, August 14, 2006

the ways its always been

"Tradition is what you resort to when you don’t have the time or the money to do it right."
— Kurt Herbert Alder

i happened across this quote recently and i just don't think i agree with it at all. yes, sometimes tradition needs to be rethought. sometimes the way its always been done could be better. but not always. there are a lot of traditions that shouldn't be toyed with at all. my folks always get pizza and watch old movies on christmas eve and i hope they never tinker with that. and well, yeah, i also don't do change very well. if its justified, i may gripe a bit but in the end go along. if the change is not justified, then no one is going to be in for a pleasant experience. i like tradition. i find comfort in knowing exactly what is going to happen next. i find beauty in pattern and rhythm, knowing that other people in other places and times have done something the same way that i am. i'm always surprised when other people have the opposite assumption, that something is by default wrong because it is the tradition.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

current state: frazzled

i have so many things up in the air at the moment so i just feel panicky. i'm sure it will all work out in the end but i am currently fretting over:

andrew comes home in about two weeks but no one is for sure exactly when. and

i may or may not move before then, its all completely undecided. and

i have to travel again next week. i'm terrified of flying and now they've gone and changed all the rules again. i'm kind of miffed that i can't take my water, lotion, hand sanitizer, and tooth paste onto the plane. how am i supposed to sit there, without my creature comforts, and try to act calmly when i could die at any moment. i've always said that as long as i've got my toothbrush and my cell phone charger in my carry on, it doesn't matter what happens to my luggage. its amazing how just being able to brush your teeth can change your whole outlook. well, the terrorists have taken away my toothpaste and i think they should suffer the maximum penalty. and

while this isn't in the next two weeks, its coming up really quickly. i'm organizing a walkathon for CMN and the other people who were supposed to help haven't really been helping much. i don't like doing things that are mediocre, its just not in my nature to settle. i want this to be a raging success but i really have my doubts.

i can't think of anything else to fret about. that's really my fret quota up there.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

sassy, cute, and strong

Thirteen Favorite Characters
(tv, movies, books, and real life if maybe they made a movie of it)
week #8

1. buffy (buffy the vampire slayer) puns, witty phrases and comeback lines, zippy cartwheels. how can you not love someone who says, “thanksgiving is a sham with yams. it’s a yam-sham.” hee hee.

2. CJ (west wing) really, before long, you are going to pick up on a theme here...smart, sassy girls who love being feminine or maybe just love vera wang, what more could you want?

3. death (neil gaiman’s sandman) everyone who’s read the book adores her. she’s smart and cute and understands how the real world works. really.

4. mary, mary, and martha (real life) they founded the phi mu fraternity in 1852 (second oldest women’s secret society, presently know as a sorority but this group keeps the original name). the whole point of the group is to develop strong enough friendships so that later in life, after school, women wouldn’t be quite so lonely living wherever they ended up at.

5. roz (nora roberts’ garden trilogy) hayley says, “i want to be roz when i grow up" and i personally agree. strong, sexy, has wonderfully painted toes, you just can't beat that.

6. kitty pryde (x-men) might not have played big in the films but kicked wolverine’s ass in the comics. got to love that. (i know, the first swearing in this blog...but fighting in comics seems to call for that sort of thing) and hugh jackman is just too cute in a fight.

7. stephenie plum (janet evonovich’s plum series) i’m only up to book 7 in the series. right at the point where you don’t know if you want her to love ranger or joe but you know for sure everything is funny and you feel better about your own life after reading about hers.

8. joan of arc (real life) boy did she follow her convictions. i wanna be like that. i wanna follow things to their ultimate conclusion, whatever that might be for just me, doesn’t matter.

9. hermine grainger (harry potter books) ok, so she’s not especially cute or sassy, but she knows what she wants and she does it and i really admire that in a person.

10. ruth (bible) again, she know’s what she wants and she does it. except she’s one of the real people on this list. short book, very powerful story, you should definately read it when you get a chance. most of us know about the go where you go, your people will be my people part, but the rest of the story is wonderful too. great love story. boy meets girl. girl get boy to fall for her…follow God and live happily ever after. really. worked for her. worked for me too.

11. zoe (firefly the TV series or serenity the movie) stong. very powerful. she seemed to worry about what was the right thing to do and i like that in a person.

12. sophie (howl’s moving castle the movie, a book by another name) because she was ok with who she was, whether it be smart, pretty, clever, ugly, anything. i want to just be ok too.

13. some other really smart sassy girl…oh wait, i know…i think its definitely my mom. not on tv or movies or books (yet) but like so many others on the list, definitely real life hero material.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006


nobodyandco makes, as far as i could sass out from their website, only three products. all remarkably different from each other: a bookcase, a chair, and buddha pudding molds. buddha can go in the fridge, freezer, and dishwasher but he cannot go in the oven.

i feel like my religion got jipt. i can't find anyone out there who will sell me a Jesus pudding mold or a moses pudding mold or any of the other big names. there are several eastery cake pans out there but that's just not the same.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


i'm a big fan of napping but this is a little extreme. i laid down last night around 7 thinking i would take a quick nap and woke up around noon today. i didn't set the alarm since i didn't think i would be down for seventeen hours. clearly i needed some sleep. i prefer to go to church on my 'day of rest' rather than sleeping for nearly a full day. wow.

since i've been sleeping all day, i haven't gone on any adventures or seen anything interesting to tell you about. however, i did find a cute blog the other day. i don't think the writer updates all that often, but there are some very cute things at letsbefriends.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

the results are in

i've posted a new random poll over in the sidebar, please vote. i'd hoped to be able to somehow show or link the results of previous polls. that doesn't seem possible so here are the results:

are you having a good summer?

yes! 39%
it could be better 22%
its too soon to tell 6%
not really 33%

i'm in the 'it could be better' group. so sorry to all of you who voted 'not really.' i hope things start to look up for you. maybe some pizza or tacos will lift your spirits.

breaking even

i woke up this morning and took a shower. its just the sort of morning where i am simply glad to be alive and clean. the trip home was long and tiresome and its been a very strange week.

i wasn't arrested.

i didn't do anything that would cause me to be arrested.


but in retrospect, i think that a good arrest would have been just the jelly in my donut for this story...or maybe icing on the cake? that phrase always makes me think of wedding cake and i don't like wedding cake. but, like any decent buffy fan, i like jelly donuts.

this story begins with me flying to reno to work and mind my own business. instead, there was a hot rod convention (hot august nights) and my coworkers kept taking me out; i met tons of new people and did things a bit out of character. i also managed to get all my work done, in case you were worried about that.

on monday night i was peer pressured into trying oysters for the first time. we went to an oyster bar and the first thing on the menu was oyster shots. i did not do the ordering, so even if i wanted to, i could not reorder this ever again. it was, i have to say, one of the most terrible things i've ever tried to do. they must choose the biggest oysters in the bunch to stick in those shots. there was no way that sucker was going to just slide down my throat. this one required chewing. and more chewing. and then just for kicks, even more chewing. it just wouldn't go away and i thought i might die. and also, they are super ugly.

now, doesn't that just remind you of the buffy episode with the bad eggs?

then we did oysters on the half shell and they were much better. perhaps almost tasty. until i got sick. no one else got sick, so i'm not sure why i did. but in the end, i feel like i broke even. i tried eating something new, i gained some calories, i lost some calories.

tuesday night, despite my protesting to be deeply unlucky, i was dragged out to the casinos to gamble. i understand the basics of a couple of games. i've played some cards with friends for fun and one time i put some money into some slots. but that's really it. tuesday i played roulette and had a great time. we had a great dealer, joan, who told fun jokes. i was nearly run over by a short rude asian man. i watched someone else lose nearly a thosand dollars. i won a little money and then i lost a little money. at the end of the night, i walked away with nearly the same amount in my pocket as when i started.

my friends also played some poker that night which had to be one of the most boring things i've sat through. you know how baseball is so much better in real life than on tv? its kind of dull on tv unless you are a big fan. but nearly everyone enjoys a baseball game in real life. there's music and snacks and foamy big fingers and sometimes fireworks. poker is not like that. it is boring on tv and boring in real life. its mostly just old guys insulting each other with inside jokes. i went to bed early.

wednesday came and there was more hot august nights on the horizon. we headed out to the street fair and noticed a casino across the way with a balcony/patio. it seemed a great idea to get up there somehow to look out over the city. turns out, the balcony and the room on the inside of it were reserved for a private party for toyota. guard and everything. but i could see the balcony and the crabpuffs were calling to me. so i completely crashed the toyota party. i realize there are people out there with much more sordid stories to tell but i've never crashed a party before and it was tons of fun. and the crabpuffs were very tasty.

we hung out in that casino a while longer and i tell you, i saw the most ugly people in all of nevada. i wandered around and every corner i turned, i was amazed at the new level of ugly. maybe its just all that nuclear testing they did out there in the 40s and 50s. and i'm not trying to sit here and say that i'm a beauty pagent winner because i'm not. but i do comb my hair, almost always. and i did have braces when i was younger, so i have fairly nice teeth. and i also know that unless i'm at the beach or in bed, my clothing should be bigger than normal sized undies. so at the end of the night, i snatched a couple of crabpuffs, hung out on someone elses balcony, wanted to gouge out my eyes from people watching, and was not arrested. that's breaking even to me.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

screams and thrills and extra sugery things

thirteen roller coasters near me
(week #7)

1. bluegrass park on route 60 near lexington was open until 1925 and featured a wooden roller coaster called the scenic railway.

2. kentucky rumbler at beech bend park in bowling green opened in 2006 is billed as the region’s most twisty roller coaster.

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3. also on route 60 just in west virginia is a small park, camden park, with two wooden roller coasters, the big dipper and the lil’ dipper. i'm not sure which one this is.

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4. joyland park in lexington operated from 1926-1964. there was a wooden roller coaster named wildcat and then the site became a bowling alley and then a neighborhood.

5. the biggest nearest theme park is paramount’s kings island in kings mills, ohio with 13 different roller coasters.

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6. six flags kentucky kingdom operates several roller coasters in louisville including the closest suspended one. its also the only roller coaster to make me cry. come to find out, i don’t do suspended roller coasters well at all.

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7. millsprings park in paducah sprang up in mid 90s and went under in 2000. briefly there was a steel roller coaster named creek freak. anyone know if spring and creek are really interchangeable?

8. holiday world in santa clause, indiana operates three wooden and one steel roller coasters.

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9. liberty land in memphis is thinking about reopening. its been bought and sold and bankrupt and reopened a few times and may open again sometime this year, who knows.

10. riverside park in indianapolis had two roller coasters in the 70s but now it just has some swing sets.

11. coney island in cincinnati has had a dozen different rides over the last century. currently there is a steel coaster named pepsi python. guess they needed some product placement.

12. dollywood is the fifth incarnation of an amusement park in pigeon forge, TN. There has been a different ride for each version of the park.

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13. i grew up near opryland in nashville and i think that might be where i went on my first ride. its now a shopping mall with no roller coasters but i remember a long long time ago, riding this one and holding my husband's hand.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

spicy yet fruity

my mom gave me this recipe a couple of years ago (hi mom!). i love it becuase its an interesting mix of flavors and textures. its quick and super easy and requires very few cooking things so clean up is easy too.

cranberry salsa chicken:

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 T. olive oil, if you are using a nonstick pan then you can get away with some spray stuff and cut calories here
16 oz. jar chunky salsa
1 cup dried cranberries
¼ cup water
2 cloved minced garlic
1 T. honey
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground cumin
¼ cup slivered almonds
2 cup hot cooked couscous or rice or mash potatoes, its up to you

sautee chicken in oil until browned on both sides. in small bowl, combine salsa, cranberries, water, garlic, honey, cinnamon, cumin. pour over chicken. cover and cook 10-15 minutes until chicken is done. serve over your couscous or rice or taters. sprinkle with almonds. enjoy!