A Glittering Start to 2024: Reflections on Podcasts, Books, and Culinary Adventures
As we step into the promising realms of 2024, it's only fitting to reflect on the journey so far. January has been a BITTER cold month thus far, but making the best of the moments together with loved ones and focusing on the plans I have for the year has been really key to helping me stay positive through this year's journey. From enriching podcasts to captivating books and delightful culinary experiments, the year has already been filled with moments of joy and discovery.
Podcast Review: Jay Shetty's On Purpose
One highlight of my year has been diving into the profound wisdom shared by Jay Shetty on his podcast. I had made the goal of listening to 10 self growth books or podcasts this year, and Jay has me off to such a wonderful start! I've followed he and his wife on Instagram for a few years now and have enjoyed their content greatly. Upon browsing available podcasts on Spotify, I came across his On Purpose podcast, and was delighted to add it to my library.
The insightful conversations, life lessons, and practical tips have added a touch of inspiration to my daily routine. Shetty's ability to distill complex concepts into relatable anecdotes makes each episode a valuable listening experience. Whether it's discussions on personal growth, mindfulness, or navigating life's challenges, his On Purpose podcast continues to be a guiding light. If you subscribe to Spotify, you likely have free podcast listening - give it a try at the link below and let me know what you think! https://open.spotify.com/show/5EqqB52m2bsr4k1Ii7sStc
Book Review: "First Lie Wins" by Ashley Elston
Embarking on literary adventures is a cherished part of self-care, and I've completed my first book of the year already! "First Lie Wins" by Ashley Elston has set the tone for a year of compelling reads. The novel weaves a gripping tale of suspense, deception, and unexpected twists, keeping you on the edge of your seat. Elston's storytelling prowess shines through, making this a must-read for anyone seeking a thrilling narrative with well-crafted characters. I highly recommend adding this book to your reading list this year ♥
If you are an avid reader like me, I highly recommend signing up for the Book of the Month club! They offer several options each month, hardback, for just $10 a month. If you don't love what they've selected - you can skip the month and pay nothing. Sign up at my referral link here: https://www.mybotm.com/5sdp0shtxco
Here's a brief synopsis of First Lie Wins from my review on GoodReads, (it's also a Book of the Month January pick!): Don't worry, there aren't any spoilers!First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In the world of secrets and deception, Evie Porter is accustomed to assuming new identities, but her latest assignment is anything but ordinary. Guided by her enigmatic boss, Mr. Smith, Evie embraces the persona of a woman named Evie Porter in a town full of secrets. Her target: Ryan Sumner. However, this job proves to be more than just a mission.
As Evie delves into the intricacies of the town and its residents, she finds herself entangled in a complex web where identities blur, and the line between truth and fiction becomes hazy. Despite the professional facade, Ryan manages to stir something within Evie, leading her to imagine a different life.
The catch? Evie is navigating uncharted territory, and mistakes are not an option, especially after a previous misstep haunts her. Complicating matters further, her real identity, the one she has fiercely guarded throughout her life, unexpectedly surfaces in the very town she's infiltrated.
Now, Evie must outsmart her own past, staying one step ahead while trying to carve out a future. The stakes are high, and the challenges formidable. As the tension rises, Evie embraces the thrill of the unknown, for she has always thrived on a good challenge. "First Lie Wins" is a gripping tale where Evie Porter must confront her past to secure a future, all while keeping the delicate balance between truth and deception.
View all my reviews
In the realm of culinary exploration, as I promised, 2024 has already been a year of trying great new recipes that tantalize the taste buds and bring joy to the kitchen (and our bellies!).
For New Year's Eve this year, as it was our first year celebrating from our new home at the Lake of the Ozarks, my husband and I decided to take the Celebration Cruise at 10:30 pm, which rang in the New Year while on the lake, viewing fireworks on the shoreline and seeing all of the beautiful Holiday decorations from the water. The cruise website stated that they'd have appetizers and drinks on board, but we weren't sure quite what to expect, so we decided to go ahead and make something delicious to eat ahead of our journey.
My husband had recently purchased a new Traeger Pellet Smoker, which we hadn't yet had the opportunity to use with all of the hustle and bustle of moving, so I purchased a small prime rib at Sam's Club for us to use as our inaugural smoker meal.
For the most part, I followed the recipe listed on Wonky Wonderful's website, with just a few adjustments as follows: (Find the full recipe below or use my variation!) https://wonkywonderful.com/leftover-prime-rib-sandwich-recipe/
I have to admit, I think the topping on the buns is really what makes this recipe great! My husband and I learned this from our new neighbors' kids at the Lake (special thank you to the Savings family ♥ hope you're staying warm!)
Prime Rib Sliders with Caramelized Onions & Brushed Garlic Butter:
- Smoked or pre-cooked Prime rib - sliced very thin
- 12 Slider buns (I used the Hawaiian rolls, but the recipe above calls for ciabatta rolls)
- 1 yellow or white onion, sautéed until brown
- Sliced Sharp White Cheddar - About 6 full slices
- 2 Tbsp salted butter, melted
- 1 tsp Garlic powder
- Parmesan cheese (the shaker kind)
- Horseradish cream sauce
- Parsley (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Slice and sauté the onions in a well-oiled pan until brown.
- While those cook, slice up your prime rib, and slice the rolls so that you can build your sandwiches.
- Place the bottom half of the rolls in a 9x13-inch metal or glass pan, or on a baking sheet if you don't have a pan.
- Layer on the sliced beef and top with cheese, then onions, then add horseradish cream sauce to your liking (we like a lot!).
- Melt the butter, and mix in garlic powder.
- Add the tops of the buns, and brush on the garlic butter mixture.
- Shake parmesan cheese over the top to your liking, sprinkle parsley over the top, and bake for 8-10 minutes to melt the cheese (keep an eye on them so that your buns don't over-toast!)
As we savor the first moments of 2024, it's clear that the year holds promise and potential for growth, inspiration, and delightful experiences. From podcast insights to literary escapades and culinary triumphs, the journey has just begun, promising more glittering moments ahead. Cheers to a year filled with wisdom, stories, and the joy of good food! How is your year going so far?