Taking Every Thought Captive

ex-libris-commonroomblog“The mind can only be conquered by regular meditation, by deciding beforehand what direction its activity ought to take, and insisting that its activity takes that direction ; also by never leaving it idle, undirected, masterless, to play at random like a child in the streets after dark. This is extremely difficult, but it can be done, and it is marvellously well worth doing. The fault of the epoch is the absence of meditativeness. A sagacious man will strive to correct in himself the faults of his epoch. In some deep ways the twelfth century had advantages over the twentieth. It practised meditation. The twentieth does Sandow exercises. Meditation (I speak only for myself) is the least dispensable of the day’s doings. What do I force my mind to meditate upon?”


The Reasonable Life, by Arnold Bennett

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Asian Cookbooks for Kindle

The Thai Slow-Cooker cookbook, with 87 reviews, most of them highly positive. Only 3.74 for the Kindle version.

Reader Review:
I love Thai Food, but thought that it was too complicated and would take too long to prepare the meals, so I never even attempted to try and cook it. When I saw this cookbook, I knew it was the answer, not only does it give you great recipes, but they are for a slow cooker, so you can fix it and forget it, and it will cook for you all day while you are doing errands or working.
This really is the complete Thai cookbook for slow cookers. It gives you background info about Thailand and Thai food, gives you information about ingredients you will need, kitchen tools needed and much more. It then gives you recipes for any Thai dish you would want to make, such as:
Noodles & Rice
Vegetable Dishes
Seafood Dishes
Chicken Dishes
Meat Dishes
Salads & Sides
Sauces & Pantry Staples

And it even provides you with conversion tables. You can’t go wrong with this cookbook. I would highly recommend it for any Thai Food lover.

Chinese Take-Out Cookbook, 2.99, or free for prime members.

Also 2.99, Simply Ramen, a complete course in preparing Ramen meals at home.

1.49 for Most Popular Chinese Recipes Quick & Easy: How to cook Chinese recipes and save on restaurant and takeout bills!

1.99 for Family Style Chinese Cookbook: Authentic Recipes from My Culinary Journey Through China

At 9.99 for the Kindle version of The Adobo Road Cookbook: A Filipino Food Journey—from Food Blog, to Food Truck, and Beyond, I’d just spend the extra fifteen dollars for the paperback.

(all links are affiliate links)

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Filipino Cooking

Pork shanghai lumpia

Pork shanghai lumpia

Banana leaves are good for wrapping up meat for barbecueing. you can also line baking pans with them instead of greasing the pan.

Sayote (Chayote) can be served:

by cooking in salted water, peeling, removing fibrous center and serving like boiled potatoes. You can eat the seeds.

Cook, peel, cut and use in salads like potato salads.

Peel, dice, cook until tender, season and butter to taste for a vegetable side dish.

Peel, grate, fry with onions, salt, and pepper as you would hash browns.

Peel, cut, add to sauted garlic, onion, and tomato. Simmer 15 minutes.

Sweet potato carrot soup
Combine in saucepan and bring to boil:
6 cups broth
3 sliced carrots
1 chopped onion
1 sweet potato peeled and chopped

Add and simmer 40 minutes- 1 bay leaf, 1/2 t. curry powder (personally, I’d use more)

Cool, puree in blender. Return to heat, stirring in 1/2 t. lemon or calamansi juice and chopped fresh parsley. Serve.

Use green cooking bananas in place of potatoes in boiling stews and soups, cooking just until tender. They take on the taste of whatever you cook them with.

Banana fritters:
sift together a cup of flour and 2t. baking powder..
mash 4 large or 8 small ripe bananas and add to teh flower, along with 1/3 cup of sugar. Add milk if the dough is too stiff. Heat oil in a pan, drop by tablespoons into hot oil, even oil so the balls rise as the simmer. Fry until golden. Serves 4-6

Pomelo salad
Remove thick outer skin and thin inner skin from 1 pomelo
Break sections into small pieces. Add 1 or 2 sliced bananas and a handful of roasted peanuts. Stir with 1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing, a teaspoon each kalamansi juice (or vinegar) and sugar, 1/4 t. salt.

Basic Viand
Saute in about
1 T fat
1 mashed garlic clove
1 chopped onion

Add 1/2 Kg of ground beef, cut up beef, pork, or chicken, brown slightly

Add 1/2 to 1 cup of water, a medium tomato, diced, 1/2 knorr chicken cube.
Cover and tsimmer until tender.
When meat is tender, add 1/2 to a cup of any cut up vegetables you like- cabbage, green beans, peppers, pechay, kangkong, orkra, sayote
add salt or soy sauce to taste. Sever over rice.
(add leafy veggies like kangkong last, as they need only be steamed 5 minutes).

You can substitute a small can of sardines or anchovies for the meat, and add the veggies at the same time, since the meat is already cooked.

Above recipes from The New Plain and Fancy Cookbook: An Adventure in Eating in the Philippines, published in 1978 by Summer Linguistics Institute (which own the guest house where we are currently staying) The copy left in our room is the fourth edition. SIL now makes a later edition of the cookbook (1988) available online for free- get the link here.

Here’s another recipe I am going to try when we get into a house:

Rellenong Bangus (Stuffed Milkfish)
1 large deboned Milkfish (now available in the supermarket.) If you cannot
buy deboned, follow these instructions. Clean 1 large bangus, removing
the scales and gills, leaving the head and tail. Gently pound body of fish with rolling
pin until soft. Break spine near the tail and just below the head. Carefully pull out
skeletal bones from head opening (they will come off easily if the fish has been
pounded thoroughly). Turn fish shell inside out carefully, remove as much meat as
possible from skin without breaking it. Return shell to right position, marinate in 2 T
soy sauce, 3 T kalamansi juice. Set aside. Boil the fish meat for 5 minutes and
remove the bones (if you are cooking a boned bangus).
2 T cooking oil
Saute in the oil
1 clove chp garlic
2 T chp onions
2 T chp tomatoes, peeled
1/4 C cooked pork, finely cut
When brown, add and cook for 10 minutes
Bangus meat
1/2 C frozen peas or canned peas without juice
1 sm box raisins
2 t soy sauce
salt to taste
Put all mixed ingredients inside the bangus skin passing it through the neck. Fry in
deep hot oil until brown. Garnish it with celery, sliced tomatoes and onion rings.
Slice the bangus for serving.

You can also find free filipino recipes here (as well as other places on the internet)

Special Fried Lumpia
1 K ground pork
1/2 C shelled shrimp, finely cut into strips (opt)
1 large finely chp onion
1/2 C finely chp carrots
1/2 C frozen green peas
1/8 t black pepper
3 T Worchestershire sauce
2 T patis
Place a tablespoon of this mixture in
30 lumpia wrappers (available in the supermarket)
Roll it into desired size. Fry it in deep boiling oil for 10 minutes. Serve hot with Sweet
Sour Sauce (see recipe below).
Sweet Sour Sauce
1 T cider vinegar
3 T white sugar
1/2 t salt
1 T catsup
1 T cornstarch
1 T oyster sauce
1 C water
Mix all ingredients and boil it for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened.
Mix together
1/2 K ground beef
1/2-1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/2 t Vetsin (MSG)
1/2 C chp onion
1 C chp cabbage and/or
1/4 C chp sinkamas and/or
1/4 C bean sprouts
Steam covered until meat is cooked. Cool. Wrap in lumpia wrappers in small rolls
and fry in deep fat (at least 1/2-1” deep in frying pan).
Banana Lumpia
Cut in half lengthwise ripe saba (cooking bananas). Dip each half in a mixture of
brown sugar and cinnamon. Wrap each half in one lumpia wrapper. Fry until crisp.
Nice to serve on bamboo barbecue sticks.
Lumpia Shanghai
1/2 K shrimp (shelled and deveined)
1/2 K ground pork
1/4 K water chestnuts (apulid), cut up
1/2 C dried cut up mushrooms, (or canned)
1 small onion, chp
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T soy sauce
Saute mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Wrap small amounts in lumpia
wrappers and fry. Serve with sweet and sour sauce.
Sweet Sour Sauce (for Lumpia)
Mix together and boil until thick
2 T vinegar
3 T sugar
1 T soy sauce
1 T cornstarch
1 C water
Serve hot.

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Sewing Card, Reindeer

reigndeer-sewing-cardPrint on card stock, or print on paper and paste to a piece of a cereal or cracker box you’ve cut to size.   For holes for lacing, put the card  on a box or just on the table with a piece of correguated cardboard underneath. Use a thumb tack to poke holes where the dots are.

If you have a child who needs small motor skill strengthening, he can do the poking.

You could make bigger holes by tapping a nail through the places you see the dots.

To sew, lace a blunt needle, or use a plastic needle designed for plastic canvas work, or, if the holes you’ve made are large enough, take a piece of pipe-cleaner- the shorter white ones actually designed for cleaning pipes would be best, and Amazon carries them if you can’t find them elsewhere. (aff. link)

You fold the pipe cleaner in half, and about a cm down from the bend, twist the pieces tightly together, leaving an opening at the bend for your string or yarn.

You can use Christmas cards and postcards for lacing cards, too- just use a hole punch to go around the edge and make lacing holes for your younger child, or a child with disabilities.  Sometimes I would tie the lace to one corner of the card and then let my child lace the rest- anchoring the end to the card helps some kids stay on track.  I have some cards some of my kids laced 25-30 years ago which I still hang on the tree every year.

Not this year, though, since we are in the Philippines and all our Christmas stuff is back in the States.

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Free Kindle books: God be thanked for books:

they are the voices of the distant and the dead, and make us heirs of the spiritual life of past ages. — Channing.colorful book border

  • Unless otherwise noted, books are free but this can change without notice. Doublecheck.
  • If you click a link and it doesn’t finish loading, just hit refresh. Sometimes the page just kind of hangs for some reason, I am not sure why.
  • If I don’t say, “I loved this book” or “I read this,” Or something along those lines, I haven’t read the book. I haven’t read most of these. I’m just your book bird-dog, sniffing up potential good reads.
  • I use various search methods to come up with titles. Then I read the blurbs, a couple of the best and worst of the reviews, and sometimes scan the free pages.
  • I screen out so many this way that I end up *not* posting more books I’ve looked over than I post. And yet, still some duds slip through.

vintage BOOK with owls lettering

Rose in Bloom, by Louisa May Alcott: After Little Women, I think I like this and Eight Cousins best.

vintage BOOK with owls lettering

Mother Carey’s Chickens: my favorite of Kate Douglas Wiggins’ books.  It’s a sweet read for girls of a certain age.  There is a touch of romance but it’s very nebulous and won’t fill a girls head with nonsense.  Lots of good stuff on making do, making the best of bad circumstances, carrying on in hard times. It might make more sense if you’ve read Kingsley’s Water Babies first.

vintage BOOK with owls lettering

Old Christmas, by Washington Irving

vintage BOOK with owls lettering

The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle- an adventure from the days of knights and chivalry and a firm code of honour and loyalty and more.


Subject to change without notice: Free Titles were free at the time I copied and pasted the links. But they don’t always stay free. The older, public domain books should, because they are all in the public domain, but sometimes….

Shameless money grubbing: I thought this was common knowledge, but it turns out it’s not- these are affiliate links. If you click on a free title and download it, I get….. nothing. If you click on a free title and while you are at Amazon also buy something else, I get….. something. Depending on what you buy, it will probably be somewhere between 4% and 7.5% of what you spend (I don’t get a percentage on penny sales) but I don’t pretend to understand how all of that side works. People have tried to explain, but they start with numbers and my ears buzz and I can’t hear.

Also, Swagbucks remains my favorite source for free Amazon gift cards. And if you haven’t joined, please click on the link and join so that I can keep getting free Amazon gift cards because I am still shameless. Of course, if you regularly shop on line, you can also sign up for ebates, and then always check ebates first, before you do your regular shopping. You can get quite a tidy sum back on the purchases you were going to make anyway, which is not a bad deal. And then you can use the money for books- or for other things.=)

Don’t have a Kindle? : You don’t have to have a Kindle to take advantage of these offers. You can read them on various free reading apps. I often read mine on my laptop if they are short enough books. Or I will start there to see if I want to finish it later or remove it from my Kindle already. If you’re curious, this is the Kindle I have, and I have used others and mine remains my favorite. Mine has Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi and I don’t have commercial screensavers. Personally, I don’t like Kindle Fires because I am a crank like that.

If you like these free listings, you should also like my Facebook page, because I list other free titles there several times each week.

Yes, my Kindle gets slow because I stuff it too full since I have no sense of proportion when it comes to owning books, both real and virtual.

You can left click on a title on your Kindle and delete it from your device, while still keeping it in your list of titles at Amazon in case you want to add it back to your Kindle later without paying for the title all over again. Don’t delete it from folder at Amazon unless you want to rid yourself of it permanently. Now that I have my tricksy little new phone, I have added it to my list of devices to which I can download devices. Woot!

commentary sources: Most of the blurbs and book descriptions above are not mine, but come from reviews on Amazon’s page.

To organize the books on your kindle

Thanks for reading!

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