Favorite Five: Podcasts: Part Two

I thought I was going to make it this winter without getting sick but last Friday I could feel it attacking. Five days later; having gone through multiple boxes of tissues and having sinus pressure so bad I was in tears, I am almost feeling normal. I think by this weekend I will have kicked this thing to the curb for good.

Better late than never, here is part two of my favorite five podcast list. I hope this has encouraged non-podcast listeners to check them out or, if you already listen to podcasts, I hope you found some new ones to try.






Many of you have probably hear of this podcast. It became a runaway success when it started back in Fall 2014. The combination of suspense, murder and a sympathetic convict made for a record-breaking debut.

Serial tells one story over the course of a season with each episode building on the previous one. This season’s topic was the murder of an 18 year old high school student, Hae Min Lee, and her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, who was convicted of her murder. Obviously this was not an open and shut case or else it would not be a very interesting podcast. Instead there are many unanswered questions about Adnan’s conviction and host Sarah Koenig takes us along for the ride as she tries to answer them.

If I had to pick a favorite episode it would probably be the first one; The Alibi, because that is the one that got me hooked. Who among us could remember what they did after school 15 years ago? What is this “alibi” and why wasn’t it used in the case? These questions were intriguing but sometimes the answers led to more questions. If you enjoy mysteries of any kind you will enjoy this podcast.




Gilmore Guys

Before you brush off this as “for Gilmore Girls fans only” let me assure you this podcast stands on its own. It’s hosts, Kevin T. Porter and Demi Adejuyigbe, are funny, smart and engaging whether you are a “Gilly” or not.

Each podcast covers an episode of the Gilmore Girls and they break it down with segments such as “Pop Goes the Culture” and “The Ffffashion Report”. They often have guests, sometimes even people who do no like the show. I love that kind of “outside of the box” thinking. These guys aren’t afraid of defending their show or of having lively discussions. The guests have all been great, even the “anti-Gillys”; in fact those have been some of the funniest episodes.

I think this podcast is successful because of it’s uniqueness. Here are two hetero guys discussing a show that is labeled “for women.” Not only does this prove that Gilmore Girls isn’t just for women but it is also great to hear a different perspective. Another unique aspect is that these are not two die-hard fans; Kevin has seen the whole series and is a self-professed “Gilly” and Demi is watching it for the first time. Many podcasts about TV series are fans simply gushing about their show; there isn’t much actual discussion.  Demi is there as a set of fresh eyes, noticing issues someone who loves the show may miss. To be fair even Kevin doesn’t shy away from laughing at bad set design or ridiculous situations. They have figured out how to toe the line of being funny without being insulting which is good since most of their original listeners were Gilmore Girls fans.

Gilmore Girls reminds me of my mom; I remember coming home during college and my mom would be watching it or she would tell me about it. I regret never sitting down and watching it with her. It is great to watch a show with someone because then you have someone to discuss it with. Now, as I work my way through all seven seasons and my mom is no longer with us, I feel like these guys are giving me an outlet for that analysis I crave, with a much needed dose of humor.






Stuff You Should Know

Do you want to know what the placebo effect is? Are you confused by 3D printing? (I was.) Have you found yourself wondering how underwater tunnels work? Did you forget what amnesia is? (See what I did there.) Then this podcast is for you.

The hosts, Josh and Chuck, lead us on an endless quest for knowledge. No topic is off limits. (It seems.) They have covered everything from the Muppets to lethal injection and have done so with intelligence, respect and humor.

These guys make it work with their relaxed demeanor and chemistry.  They are obviously good friends. They pick the topic together and then they each do their own research. When they come together on the podcast the information is delivered in a conversational format so you never feel like its a classroom-like lecture. The podcasts are often sprinkled with mini segues and personal antidotes which add to the relaxed feel.

These guys have created a cable show, have weekly videos and even do live events. I think it would be a blast to seem them in person. I haven’t listened to every show; there are over 600 total, but I have listened to most of them. Find a podcast that covers something you are interested in and before you know it you will be listening to all of them.

There you have it; my five favorite podcasts! What are some of your favorite podcasts?

Have a great weekend!








Foodie Friday: Curried Hamburger Gravy

Curried Hamburger Gravy

Curried Hamburger Gravy

One of my favorite things to do as a child was to sit on our kitchen stool and watch as my mother made dinner. I asked all sorts of why and how questions knowing that this was something I wanted to figure out. Then at holiday meals I would watch my grandmother, my mom and my aunt gracefully and deftly move around the kitchen; each knowing what needed to be done and (even more importantly) how to do it. The kitchen held a fascination to it. I wanted to be part of what I saw.

Now, many years later, I consider myself a pretty decent cook. I tend to makes messes, so I am missing a bit of that grace, but I figure as long as the food is good a mess is a small price to pay! I love cooking just as much as about anything, but my favorite things to cook are “homey” dishes; especially those from my mother’s recipe box. When I make certain dishes I am transported back to my childhood when I sat and watched her cook.

This is one of those dishes. She made it countless times and it was a favorite of the entire family. It was quick and simple and inexpensive- all good things when she had been teaching all day.  Even now when I smell curry I think of this dish, not Indian food.

I have listed the recipe first, then there are pictures below for clarification of specific steps.



1lb Ground Beef (80/20)

3-4 Tbsp Flour

2 cups Milk (anything but skim)

1-2 Tbsp Curry Powder




In a large skillet over medium heat brown the hamburger. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to break the hamburger apart. Add a light pinch of salt, pepper and curry powder to the ground beef. This is to give the beef just a hint of flavor so you don’t need much. Make sure to taste as you work through this recipe.

Turn the heat to low and remove the ground beef from the pan onto a paper-towel lined plate. Make sure to drain the fat as you remove it by pressing it against the side of the pan. If there are a few crumbs left, that’s ok.

Add your flour slowly wisking as you go. The fat should soak up the flour. Keep wisking until the flour has been completely incorporated. Add the milk and increase the temperature to medium.

Stir the sauce often. A few bubbles is ok, but do not let it boil. When the sauce coats the back of the spoon it is done.

Season the sauce with the salt, pepper, and curry powder. Some curry powder is stronger than others and it is a very strong flavor, so tasting as you add is very important! I used 1.5 tbsp., but I like a strong curry flavor.

Fold the drained meat back into the sauce. Serve over rice, toast, or a baked potato.

Fat and Flour

Fat and Flour Incorporated.

Finished Sauce

Finished Sauce (Sorry its a bit blurry)







Memorial Day

Supposedly its Memorial Day Weekend…..I say “supposedly” because it is down right chilly here next to Seattle! I am originally from Kansas and by Memorial Day Weekend it was already consistently in the 80s and 90s- already hot and dry. It feels like autumn here.

Every year during Memorial Day Weekend we would hop in the family vehicle and head out to spend some time with relatives. We would visit with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and people I wasn’t real sure who they were but I knew we were related somehow. In between the visits we would visit the cemeteries where relatives were laid to rest and carefully place flowers around the headstones, making sure the gravesites were neat and in order.

You would think this would all be boring to a kid but honestly I enjoyed it. Not only was it a chance to see family we didn’t usually get to see but it was also a chance to learn about some of the people who had lived before us. I learned things about my deceased relatives that might not have otherwise come up in conversation. To me Memorial Day was about taking time to honor all those who went before- military and civilian.

This year I am too far away to go with my dad to put out flowers but I am comforted knowing someone is doing it. My sister, who is a Marine, is also unable to assist but is participating in one of the many military ceremonies of remembrance around the country. I am…well, writing this blog post I suppose.

So with Memorial Day in mind, I am sharing this picture with you. My mom had come out to the front porch to wave goodbye to me as I headed back to Kansas City. She is standing next to the Marine flag which was hanging in honor of my sister.

Eileen Ruth Grauer

My mom seeing me off.

She has been gone for almost six years now but going out to her headstone every Memorial Day is still hard. But also somehow cathartic. Not that I think the deceased are hanging around the cemetery but it gives you a chance to honor and remember them. I hope to make it out there the next time I am home.

I hope you all had a great weekend and took a minute to remember those who have gone before you.