May 302016
 

IHCCLocalSeasonal

This week at I ♥ Heart Cooking Club it’s time to make a recipe with ingredients grown locally. Black-eyed peas are grown in Florida during this time so I chose this recipe. I love black-eyed peas!

Black-Eyed Peas and Greens Soup  (adapted from this recipe)
1 lb. boneless country pork ribs, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 1-in chunks (I used boneless pork chops)
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 white onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp. Winn-Dixie crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup cider vinegar  (I used white wine vinegar)
1 tbs. dark brown sugar
6 oz. Winn-Dixie dried black-eyed peas, rinsed
2 bunches green kale, (about 1 lb.) stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped
Season pork generously with salt and pepper

Heat a large heavy pot over medium-high heat until hot

Add 2 tbs of oil and pork and cook, turning occasionally, for about 6 minutes, or until browned all over

Using a slotted spoon, transfer pork to a plate

To pot, add remaining 2 tbs of oil, onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes

Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, or until onions soften

Add vinegar, sugar, 1 tsp of salt, and 10 cups of water and bring to a simmer

Return pork and any of its accumulated juices to pot

Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes

Stir in black-eyed peas, cover, and simmer for 1 hour, or until peas have softened slightly

Working in batches, add kale, letting each addition wilt before adding next

Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until pork and beans are tender

Season soup with salt and pepper

Ladle into bowls and serve

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Thoughts
I had all the ingredients on hand and the pork chops were getting close to the “use by” date so I cooked them the way the recipe said and then stored in a baggy in the fridge until I was ready to make the soup. I  added it back to the pot when the recipe said to. I was afraid being cold for a few days would make them tough, but they simmered in the soup and  were so tender and yummy. I thought this soup was amazing, but my son thought it was a bit too spicy, so next time I make it I’ll cut back on the red pepper flakes. I’ll also use less kale because we both thought there was too much compared to the amount of peas. I made cornbread to go with the soup.

This is another “will make again” recipes!

Also linking to:
May 252016
 

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Murder Run by Shelly Frome

Paperback: 244 pages
Publisher: Sunbury Press, Inc. (August 15, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1620066165
ISBN-13: 978-1620066164

In this crime novel, a wayward handyman grapples with the suspicious death of his employer, a fragile choreographer who secluded herself in the Litchfield Hills. As the fallout mounts, the reader is taken to various locales in and around Manhattan, an escapade in Miami Springs and back again to the hills of Connecticut until this twisty conundrum is finally laid to rest.

 
Excerpt: Chapter One

“Wake up, pal, we got a situation . . . Hey, I’m talkin’ here. Maybe she makes it, maybe she don’t. I’m sayin’ you better move it!”

The voice came out of the past. The words cut into the here-and-now of the Connecticut night.

Left with just the dial tone, Jed Cooper hung up, got off the cot and tried to get his bearings. Though he’d been house-sitting this junk trailer for a while, he still had to grope around to find the pull cord for the lights. He waited a few seconds more and punched in the unlisted number of the “she” the guy must’ve been talking about.

It was busy.

He reached for his jeans, work boots and a pullover sweater, got dressed and called her number again. No luck. He hit redial three more times and gave up.

Scuffing past the frayed wires hanging across the water-stained ceiling, banging into the space heaters as he jerked open the little frig, he took a few swigs of bottled water and thought it over. There was no hope of getting a bead on who the street-wise caller was. And there was still only one person who could possibly need him at this hour and was close by. Plus, chances were the guy had disconnected her phone.

Jed straggled out into the March dampness, skirted around the rusty snow plow blade and hurried up the path. He slid behind the wheel of the Chevy pickup, cranked the old motor, gave it hardly any time to idle and took off onto Green Hill Road.

Off the beaten path in the Litchfield Hills there were no street lights. Under the misty cloud cover, his brights only made matters worse. And way out here his cell phone was useless.

Taking the dips and rises as best he could, he began to have second thoughts. Granted the guy had to be talking about Miss Julie. Putting aside what in God’s name he was doing at her place, what if he was laying in wait? And even if he’d split, what were the repercussions? Could Jed just tear into a single woman’s hidden drive this late at night? And then what? Check things out, or call up to her window to see if she was okay? Or, hoping no one had spotted him, ring her bell? Suppose he got no answer?

Besides, there were too many incidents already on his record. One more, and he’d had it.

But then again, she’d gotten so skittish today she didn’t even let him finish his chores. Told him to put down the chainsaw and completely changed her mind about clearing the drive. “If I can see the road, someone can see me,” she said. “I want you to go up to the attic and put a latch on the crawl space.”

But why? What was that all about? She didn’t say, wouldn’t tell him.

His pondering tapered off as he dealt with the pitted lane. Straining his eyes, he took an immediate left onto Nonnewaug Road coursing past the stands of maples.

For a second he caught a glimpse of what could’ve been a Lincoln parked by the side of the road. Not just any Lincoln though–a Continental, the vintage one with the single blade fenders and squared-off hood. It was another flickering memory out of the past but had no bearing right now. Or did it?

Focusing hard, keeping his mind on what he was doing, he made a sharp right. Gearing down, he spun his wheels navigating the muddy patches, shot forward as he cleared, eased onto the gravel, jerked the hand brake and killed the motor. He got out onto the drive at the side of the weathered cape, glanced up and spotted a flitting shadow under the gabled window. He’d wired-in motion detecting flood lights for her that should’ve lit up the area but nothing snapped on.

He thought of calling out. He thought of rushing over to the road to see if the Lincoln was still parked there partially hidden under the trees. He thought of putting this whole thing down to some kind of hoax.

Just as he was about to honk the horn and damn well do something, he heard the cellar door slam shut.

Yelling out, Jed reflexively ran around to the back in time to see a burly shape make for the tree line. Which was a stupid move, slogging through underbrush and waist-high weeds and briars. Plus, whoever it was had a hitch in his stride and couldn’t possibly know where he was or what he was doing.

Jed took off after him. But, despite everything, the guy kept changing direction. Like a gimpy street kid ducking down a dark alley and then darting here and there through the traffic. Like Jed himself used to do way back then.

Rushing straight ahead, Jed tripped over a tangle of bittersweet roots, warded off the sprays of honeysuckle lashing across his face and kept going until it finally dawned on him. Even if he caught up, the guy outweighed him and could take him out with a few punches. He was obviously leading Jed on, away from the house and it didn’t much matter in which direction.

Jed turned around and headed back for the cellar. Banging into things, he brushed past the mess the guy had made, located the breaker panel, flipped the switches and climbed the stairs as the lights came back on. He called her name as he passed the kitchen and cut around the dining room but there was no answer.

 

Goodreads

Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble Buy Button     Amazon Buy Button     Indiebound Button 2
 

About The Author:
shelly-frome Shelly Frome is a member of Mystery Writers of America, the film columnist at Southern Writers Magazine, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at the University of Connecticut, a former professional actor, and a writer of crime novels and books on theater and film. His fiction includes Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Lilac Moon, Twilight of the Drifter and Tinseltown Riff. Among his works of non-fiction are The Actors Studio and texts on the art and craft of screenwriting and writing for the stage. Murder Run, his latest crime novel, was recently released. He lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina.

Author Links:
Blog
Twitter
Facebook

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May 222016
 

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Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Every Wednesday for Books That Caught Our Eye, Leslie,  Serena, and I will each share 2 books that grabbed our attention from today’s Mailbox Monday post. We hope you’ll join us by posting a comment letting us know the books that caught your eye.

I only had one book in my mailbox last week:
For years I’ve been looking for a cookbook with recipes that had about 10 ingredients or less that were easy to find at most any store and that was quick and easy. About two weeks ago I was checking out cookbooks at the library and saw one for the slow cooker, which most of you know is my favorite way to cook. Anyway, I took the book home and when I started going through it I felt like I had hit the cookbook jackpot. All the recipes in this are quick and easy with normal everyday ingredients. I was in love, with a cookbook. So I did what I had to do, I ordered it so I’d have it for my very own. I haven’t had time to make anything from it yet. But I will. I’ll probably make every recipe in it. This author has a few other cookbooks and yes, I plan to buy each one.

Make It Fast, Cook It Slow by Stephanie O’Dea
6455286 Make It Fast, Cook It Slow is the first cookbook from Stephanie O’Dea, the extremely popular slow cooking blogger: affordable, delicious, nutritious, and gluten-free recipes to delight the entire family. In December 2007, Stephanie O’Dea made a New Year’s resolution: she’d use her slow cooker every single day for an entire year, and write about it on her very popular blog. The result: more than three million visitors, and more than 300 fabulous, easy-to-make, family-pleasing recipes, including:
Breakfast Risotto Vietnamese Roast Chicken Tomatoes and Goat Cheese with Balsamic Cranberry Syrup Falafel Philly Cheesesteaks Crème Brulee–and much more. Make It Fast, Cook It Slow is the perfect cookbook for easy, quick prep, inexpensive ingredients, and meals that taste like you spent hours at the stove.

If you’ve checked this cookbook out before, what did you think?

May 222016
 

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Simple Woman’s Daybook
May link up

Looking out my window: the sun is shining brightly

I am thinking: it would be a nice day to take a walk along the river

I am thankful: I finally found a back wiper for my car

One of my favorite things: Coffee-Mate Sugar Free Vanilla Caramel

I am wearing: my jammies

I am creating: right now, not a thing

I am reading: The Quality Of Silence by Rosamund Lupton

I am watching: I just recently started watching Alaskan Bush People and am totally addicted

I am hoping: to take a day trip this week

I am learning: that sometimes what you thought you wanted is the last thing you wanted

In my kitchen: I’m going to try a few new to me recipes from my new favorite cookbook Make It Fast, Cook It Slow

Board room: DIY headboard, found here, pinned to this board

Post Script: SparkPeople is the best site I’ve found for anyone wanting to start tracking their food or workouts, find challenges or recipes with nutritional values, workout videos and much more. And it’s free!

Shared Quote: Ephesians 4:32 – And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

A moment from my day:

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Closing Notes: I love my dog very much, so you’ll probably will be seeing her a lot on these posts. I’m helping her heal from being a puppy mill dog, and she’s helping me heal from the loss of my husband and babydog Patches.

May 202016
 

 May 19th

seeing ~  my dog and cat laying beside me

hearing ~ the fan humming

smelling ~ decaf coffee and SF Vanilla Caramel Coffee-Mate

tasting ~ the above mentioned coffee

feeling ~ happy, I’m going to a movie this afternoon with my bff

I saw that The Simple Woman posted this and thought I’d do it too

May 152016
 

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Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Every Wednesday for Books That Caught Our Eye, Leslie,  Serena, and I will each share 2 books that grabbed our attention from today’s Mailbox Monday post. We hope you’ll join us by posting a comment letting us know the books that caught your eye.

My mailbox had 3 books this week:

The first two were wins from Beth Fish Reads
25110515 Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
The book that inspired the hit film!
Sundance U.S. Dramatic Audience Award
Sundance Grand Jury Prize

This is the funniest book you’ll ever read about death.

It is a universally acknowledged truth that high school sucks. But on the first day of his senior year, Greg Gaines thinks he’s figured it out. The answer to the basic existential question: How is it possible to exist in a place that sucks so bad? His strategy: remain at the periphery at all times. Keep an insanely low profile. Make mediocre films with the one person who is even sort of his friend, Earl.

This plan works for exactly eight hours. Then Greg’s mom forces him to become friends with a girl who has cancer. This brings about the destruction of Greg’s entire life.

Fiercely funny, honest, heart-breaking—this is an unforgettable novel from a bright talent, now also a film that critics are calling “a touchstone for its generation” and “an instant classic.”

The Haters by Jesse Andrews
29811260 From Jesse Andrews, author of the New York Times bestselling Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and screenwriter of the Sundance award–winning motion picture of the same name, comes a groundbreaking young adult novel about music, love, friendship, and freedom as three young musicians follow a quest to escape the law long enough to play the amazing show they hope (but also doubt) they have in them.

Inspired by the years he spent playing bass in a band himself, The Haters is Jesse Andrews’s road trip adventure about a trio of jazz-camp escapees who, against every realistic expectation, become a band.

For Wes and his best friend, Corey, jazz camp turns out to be lame. It’s pretty much all dudes talking in Jazz Voice. But then they jam with Ash, a charismatic girl with an unusual sound, and the three just click. It’s three and a half hours of pure musical magic, and Ash makes a decision: They need to hit the road. Because the road, not summer camp, is where bands get good. Before Wes and Corey know it, they’re in Ash’s SUV heading south, and The Haters Summer of Hate Tour has begun.

In his second novel, Andrews again brings his brilliant and distinctive voice to YA, in the perfect book for music lovers, fans of The Commitments and High Fidelity, or anyone who has ever loved—and hated—a song or a band. This witty, funny coming-of-age novel is contemporary fiction at its best.

The next book is from TLC Book Tours
28194005 Follow The River Home by Corran Harrington
Daniel Arroyo has suffered a lifetime of guilt over the sudden death of his infant sister, who died when he was eight years old. He now lives his middle years between that guilt and worsening episodes of PTSD from a Vietnam he left thirty years ago. When a violent encounter on a dusty highway forces Daniel to face what haunts him, he finds himself pulled back to the neighborhood of his youth, where old houses hold tired secrets. What really happened on that steamy August afternoon? The answer comes spilling from the old neighborhood, and Daniel begins to find his way home. Corran Harrington takes the reader along the Rio Grande, from its headwaters to the sea.

And the last was a book I requested
Hearts of Fire by Voice of Martyrs
hof Eight women from eight very different backgrounds. Yet the struggles they each faced rang with eerie similarity. These courageous women from across the globe-Pakistan, India, Romania, Former Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, Nepal, Indonesia-shared similar experiences of hardship, subjugation, and persecution, all because of their faith in Christ. Yet all of these women have emerged from adversity as leaders and heroines.

May 142016
 

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This week at I ♥ Heart Cooking Club we’re making any recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi. I decided to make:

Seriously Zesty Bread Salad (adapted)

5 oz.  rustic bread,stale or fresh (I used ciabatta)
Salt and pepper
2 small cucumbers (15cm long), cut into 2cm pieces (I used 1)
3 tomatoes, cut into wedges (I used 1)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced (I used 1/4, and cut them up in small pieces)
1 red pepper, cored and cut into large pieces (I used 1/2)
1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped (I used dill)
2 tsp sumac (optional)(I didn’t use this ingredient)
Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon (I used 1/4)
1 garlic clove, crushed (I used 1/2)
1 1/2 tsp red-wine vinegar (I used 1 tsp.)
3 tbsp olive oil (I used 1 1/2 tbs.)

Preheat the oven 325F

Spread out the bread on a roasting tray, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with some flaky salt

Bake for 20 minutes until crispy and golden, then leave to cool

Mix all the other salad ingredients and adjust the seasoning to taste. Just before serving, mix in the toasted bread, using your hands

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Thoughts
YUM! I loved it! It was light and fresh and one of the best tomato/cucumber salads I’ve ever tried. I loved the toasted bread, it gave the salad a nice crunch. It was simple to make and had easy to find ingredients. I plan on making this again!

 

I’m linking this recipe to:

I ♥ Cooking Club

Weekend Cooking

Souper Sundays 

May 112016
 

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Where We Fall by Rochelle B. Weinstein

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (April 19, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 161218443X
ISBN-13: 978-1612184432

By all accounts, Abby Holden has it all. She’s the mother of a beautiful teenager and the wife of a beloved high school football coach. And all it took to achieve her charmed life was her greatest act of betrayal.

Coach Ryan can coax his team to victory, but he can’t seem to make his wife, Abby, happy. Her struggles with depression have marred their marriage and taken a toll on their daughter, Juliana. Although this isn’t the life he’s dreamed of, he’s determined to heal the rifts in his family.

Chasing waterfalls and documenting their beauty has led photographer Lauren Sheppard all around the world. Now it has brought her back home to the mountains of North Carolina—back to the scene of her devastating heartbreak.

For the first time in seventeen years, a trio of once-inseparable friends find themselves confronting past loves, hurts, and the rapid rush of a current that still pulls them together.…

Thoughts
This book is full of all kinds of emotions and will keep you glued to the pages even when you should put it down to do other things.

There are many aspects to the book…friendship, love, betrayal, humor, sadness, secrets, mental illness and more.

The characters feel real, the situations and emotions are ones many of us have gone through and felt, and that makes this book an exciting but emotional read.

If you’re looking for a book that will take you on a journey of many emotions, pick up of this book.

Meet The Author
616LTzZyT0L._UX250_ Rochelle B. Weinstein is the author of What We Leave Behind and The Mourning After. Her third novel, Where We Fall, releases April 19, 2016. Ms. Weinstein lives in South Florida with her husband and twin sons. She is currently writing her fourth novel, a family drama based in Miami Beach, Florida

Author’s website
Facebook
Twitter

 

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May 082016
 

The Bridge Ladies cover

The Bridge Ladies by Betsy Lerner

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Harper Wave (May 3, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062354469
ISBN-13: 978-0062354464

A fifty-year-old Bridge game provides an unexpected way to cross the generational divide between a daughter and her mother. Betsy Lerner takes us on a powerfully personal literary journey, where we learn a little about Bridge and a lot about life.

By turns darkly funny and deeply moving, The Bridge Ladies is the unforgettable story of a hard-won—but never-too-late—bond between mother and daughter.

Thoughts
I love books about mother/daughter relationships and this book is a winner. The author tells it like it was, the good and the bad.

Her relationship with her mother was strained at times, but when she moves back to be near her mother who needed surgery, she gets to see her as she is with her friends and how they see her when she starts sitting in with her mother’s bridge club ladies.

The book takes you on a journey that many of us would love to go on with our mothers. I know I was close to my mom, but rarely got to spend time with her and her friends. Now I wish I had done it more often.

This book is perfect for all women I think. It’s a quick read and I know I’ll want to pick it up again.

 

Betsy Lerner AP

Betsy Lerner is the author of The Forest for the Trees and Food and Loathing. She is a recipient of the Thomas Wolfe Poetry Prize, an Academy of American Poets Poetry Prize, and the Tony Godwin Prize for Editors, and was selected as one of PEN’s Emerging Writers. Lerner is a partner with the literary agency Dunow, Carlson & Lerner and resides in New Haven, Connecticut.

Find out more about Betsy at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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May 082016
 

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Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Every Wednesday for Books That Caught Our Eye, Leslie,  Serena, and I will each share 2 books that grabbed our attention from today’s Mailbox Monday post. We hope you’ll join us by posting a comment letting us know the books that caught your eye.

I didn’t get anything in my mailbox last week, but I did buy some cookbooks. Why can’t we pass up a good deal on a book? Especially when the deal is as good as the one I found last week. I went to Dollar Tree to find a small pair of kids scissors so that I could keep them in my purse for coupons etc. because the only small pair I had were curved and they aren’t good for cutting coupons. I like the ones for kids because they have covered tips and I don’t have to worry about them jabbing anything or taking them in or out of a case. Anyway, I decided to go check out the books because, well, I love books and they are only a dollar there. Sometimes I don’t find anything that interests me, sometimes 1 or 2, but last week I hit the jackpot. I found 7 that I wanted. I actually saw more that I liked but didn’t think I’d ever use them, so I made myself pass on them. It was hard because I’m on a cookbook kick right now.

Here’s what I brought home:

cookbooks

 

Step By Step: Baking (Love Food) by Parragon Publishing

Emeril’s Kicked-Up Sandwiches: Stacked with Flavor by Emeril Lagasse

Simply Satisfying: Over 200 Vegetarian Recipes You’ll Want to Make Again and Again by Jeanne Lemlin

The Epicurious Cookbook: More Than 250 of Our Best-Loved Four-Fork Recipes for Weeknights, Weekends & Special Occasions by Tanya Steel, The Editors of Epicurious.com

The River Cottage Family Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Fizz Carr

The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2012: The Year’s Best Recipes, Equipment Reviews, and Tastings by America’s Test Kitchen

Lost Desserts: Baked Alaska, Souffle Rothschild, Charlotte Russe, and many more recipes from legendary restaurants and famous chefs by Gail Monaghan

May 082016
 

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Ha! I just noticed that it looks like I have the top buns on the wrong bottom!

Mini Baked Ham Sandwiches (adapted)

1 pound Deli ham shaved
1 pound Swiss cheese thinly sliced
1 stick Butter
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Minced onion dried
1 12-pack KING’S HAWAIIAN Original Hawaiian Sweet Dinner Rolls

Melt butter and mix in mustard, sauce and onion.

Cut the entire pack of rolls in half, horizontally (keeping all top and bottom halves separately in tact).

In a 9×13 inch pan, place bottom half of rolls and cover with ham and cheese.

Cover ham and cheese stacks with top half of rolls.

Drizzle butter mixture over top of rolls, making sure onion is evenly distributed.

Refrigerate over night.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes and, once finished, separate for serving.

 
Notes:
I wasn’t paying much attention when I bought the ham and cheese because I didn’t buy 16oz. like the recipe says. I only bought 12oz. each. I also bought the ham and cheese from the grocery section because I didn’t want to stand in line at the deli counter.

My take:
I thought they were really good but had too much of a mustard flavor so next time I’ll use less dijon mustard. I like lots of meat and cheese so next time I’ll make sure I buy the right amount. And, even though we liked the ham and cheese, I’ll stand in that long line next time.

Anthony:
He thought they tasted good, didn’t think there was too strong of a mustard taste and didn’t mind that there was less meat and cheese. Of course he never eats more than one piece of thin meat on his sammies, and rarely eats cheese, except for burgers. That’s ok, more for me.

Final thoughts:
Will definitely make these again.

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Hosted @ Kahakai Kitchen

May 072016
 

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30 Minute Meals by Hannie P. Scott

Are you looking for delicious and quick recipes to feed your family? This simple and easy cookbook has step-by-step recipes that are easy to follow and only take 30 minutes or less to make! With a nice variety of recipes, this book is your “go-to” cookbook when it comes to cooking for your family and friends. This book includes recipes for any occasion!

Thoughts
I love recipes that are quick and easy. This book is filled with recipes like that. They all use ingredients that we probably have in our pantry or fridge already, and they only take around 30 minutes.

The book includes a list of abbreviations and conversions. There are a variety of recipes including Simple Shrimp Gumbo, Asian Meatballs, Sweet & Spicy Salmon, Creamy Chicken Spaghetti, Roasted Asparagus(love!), Sriracha Zucchini and Meditrranean Vegetables.

I’ve only tried one recipe so far, but as I was going through the book, I saw many that I want to try. Few ingredients and 30 minutes. I love this cookbook! It will be one I go to over and over.

If you like few ingredients, quick and easy, please check this cookbook out. I think you’ll love it as much as I do.

 

wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads

May 042016
 

 

 1. What’s something fun you’re looking forward to on your May calendar?
Going to a nearby park and walking along the river

2. What are some images that come to mind when you hear the word mother?
My mom read from the Bible every single day from as far back as I can remember, so the first image I have of her is sitting in her chair reading her Bible. She loved to sew and did so just about every day so I see her sitting at her sewing machine, but also sitting in her chair crocheting or knitting, or in the kitchen making us something yummy, like the best ever chicken and dumplings.

3. What’s something beautiful you own or have seen that’s made of glass?
I love stained glass. I’ve never seen one that I didn’t think was beautiful.4. Was today typical? If not what made it unusual?
Not at all! I dream a lot and remember what I’ve dreamed, but you know how a lot of people have dreams that are caused by something they actually hear? Like their phone rings and they start dreaming about a phone ringing? Well that’s never happened to me until this morning. It started thundering and raining about 3:00 this morning, and all the thunder woke me up. I fell back asleep for about 30 min. and had a dream that a man was being chased by a bunch of cops. The man flipped his car and when he crawled out there was a shoot out. Bang bang bang bang bang. The guns being shot woke me up to a bunch of loud thunder that sounded very much like my dream.

5. What is a quality you wish you could have more of?
Money. That’s not a quality? Ok then, I’ll say patience. I’m a little short on it sometimes.

6. What’s the next major purchase you need to make? Will it happen in the month of May?
Redoing a kitchen. Probably not goint to happen in May.

7. What responsibility/job/work did you dislike while growing up but has proved helpful to you as an adult?
I really didn’t dislike anything when I was growing up. I didn’t have any chores because my mom did everything. I did keep my room neat because I was O.C.D. even back then. I always put everything back in it’s spot when I was finished with it so my room was never messy.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I love reading and watching movies. I’ve learned that my mood can dictate whether I like the book/movie or not. I’ve re-read books and watched movies again, and my thoughts the second time didn’t always match what I thought the first time. Depends on my mood. Does this happen to you?

May 032016
 

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Hosted by Joy @ Joy’s Book Blog

I’ve been upping my steps. The highest day had 7055 and the lowest had 2928. I hope to be more consistent this week.

As for strength training, I did good. So good that I pulled a muscle in my right shoulder, which has given me trouble for many years due to 28 years of taking care of Henry. He was a big man, 6’2. I’m only 5’0. Anyway, I lifted too much and too high and my whole arm was hurting/semi numb for a few days. But it’s better now. I don’t think it will ever be 100% again. My pinkie and side of my hand is numb most of the time and my shoulder pops over and over if I use it or lay on it.

No yoga, chi-gong etc.  Sheesh, just do it!

For food I plan on making:
Tuesday: Veal patty sandwiches. I’ll wrap mine in lettuce, Anthony will use buns.

Wednesday: Slow Cooker BBQ Drumsticks with Honey-Sriracha Roasted Brussels Sprouts for me and mashed potatoes and corn for Anthony.

Thursday: Vegetable Curry

Friday: Wings and chef salad from Hungry Howies

Saturday: Meatloaf, Sauteed Zucchini

Sunday: We’re having a family cookout. We’re having Gardein Chipotle Black Bean Burgers, a kale salad, baked beans, and corn on the cob. And I can’t get together for a meal with my daughter in law with out her also making macaroni salad. It’s the best in the world. Really it is. Honestly!

Parmesan Tuna Patties for my lunch

May 032016
 

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Failure Is Fatal
by Lesley A. Diehl

Fatal_final_ebook_1Failure Is Fatal (Laura Murphy Mysteries)
2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Creekside Publishing (January 21, 2016)
Paperback: 324 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0997234909
E-Book ASIN: B01AYNXO64
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Someone at Professor Laura Murphy’s college appears to be playing a joke on her by planting sexually explicit stories in her research results, but the joke turns deadly when one story details the recent stabbing murder of a coed. Laura’s close friend, Detective Derrick Pasquis from the local police, asks for her help in interviewing the prickly suspects who resist intervention from outside the campus community. Eager to search out clues, Laura ignores warning signs that playing amateur sleuth may jeopardize her newly developing romance with Guy. And of course her usual intrusive manner puts her at odds with everyone on campus—colleagues, the college administration, the head of campus security and fraternity members. Is there no one Laura can’t offend in her eagerness to find the truth? The closer she gets to solving the crime, the more it appears that the past—the coed’s, that of a prominent faculty member and Laura’s own—is the key to the murder. Caught in an early winter blizzard, Laura must choose between wandering the mountains and freezing to death or taking her chances with a killer clever enough to make murder look like the work of an innocent student.

Excerpt from Failure is Fatal

I felt more comfortable in the shadows, but uncertain where I might be stepping without my flashlight to guide me. My foot touched something soft. Yikes! Oh, it was only a pile of clothing, dirty probably. Oh, ugh. This is silly, getting worked up over a pile of clothes. Calm down. I was tempted to pick up the clothing and put it somewhere. I stopped myself. Now was not the time to be tidy and certainly not in a house I was burglarizing. I sidestepped the clothing, steadying myself with a hand on what I thought was a bureau. Funny, it felt like glass, not wood. I removed my mittens and slid my hand up the side of the smooth object until I felt wire mesh. Oh no, it can’t be. Probably just a terrarium with a few turtles in it or frogs. Frogs were okay. I needed to check to be certain. I turned on the flashlight. Yup. My worst nightmare. The beam reflected back the cold, unblinking reptilian eyes of a snake! Why did I have to look? I hate snakes, hate them, hate them, hate them. Why is this one smiling at me? In the light I could see feeding instructions printed in large letters on a card taped to the front of the glass cage: “Do not let Harry out. His next scheduled feeding isn’t until Sunday. He’s kind of grumpy.” Another card held the dates of previous feeds; the last one listed as three weeks ago.

I grabbed for the handle of the door behind me, and turned it. I slammed the door behind me, waving my flashlight frantically around the room. No more glass cages sprang into view. I leaned backward into the door and felt my heart thumping heavily in my chest. Why was it frat guys always preferred scales to fur in their choice of pets? I shone the flashlight at my feet and toward the bottom of the door to assure myself that snakey hadn’t followed me into the room. Don’t be silly, the top was on the cage. But how securely?

 

LES DIEHL
About The Author
Lesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York. In the winter she migrates to old Florida—cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport. Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as her literary muse. When not writing, she gardens, cooks and renovates the 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats and, of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to their work.
She is the author of a number of mystery series (Microbrewing Series, Big Lake Mystery Series, Eve Appel Mystery Series and the Laura Murphy Mysteries), a standalone mystery (Angel Sleuth) and numerous short stories.

Visit her:
Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook

Purchase Link:
Amazon

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Tour Participants
May 2 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW
May 3 – I’d Rather Be Reading At The Beach – REVIEW
May 4 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
May 5 – Readsalot – INTERVIEW
May 6 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 7 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST
May 8 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW
May 9 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 10 – Island Confidential – REVIEW, GUEST POST
May 11 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
May 12 – Author Annette Drake’s blog – REVIEW, INTERVIEW
May 13 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
May 14 – ReGina Welling Author Spotlight – SPOTLIGHT
May 15 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

May 012016
 

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Simple Woman’s Daybook
 

Looking out my window… It’s 80℉ right now but the high is supposed to be 93℉. The sun is shinning on and off and a while ago I heard the Sand Hill Cranes that visit us on a regular basis. The had a baby recently and it is adorable!

I am thinking about going back to the new chuch my bff Angie and I tried on Palm Sunday. We want to see what the service is like on a non-holiday.

I am thankful… that my husband’s uncle received a cancer free test result

One of my favorite things… a new favorite of mine is a chef salad from Hungry Howie’s. It’s so so so good!

I am wearing… black pants and a black & white boho top

I am creating… A recipe box from a kit I bought at Michaels a long time ago and never did anything with

I am reading American Housewife by Helen Ellis

I am watching… For Peete’s Sake. It’s so good!

I am hoping to go to Mount Dora this week with Kilah. We didn’t get to go yet, life got busy

I am learning  sign language. It’s not as hard as I thought it would be

In my kitchen… Tonight we’re having cubed steak, baked potato and salad

Board room… DIY Flip Flop Wreath, found here, pinned to this board

Post Script… This is a great site for any movie lover with or without kids who wants to know about profanity, violence and gore, and sex and nudity. Kids In Mind

Shared quote… From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere -Dr. Seuss

A moment from my day…

GZLT5972

 

Closing Notes… I’m going to work harder this week to eat low carb/low sodium meals

Apr 292016
 

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Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup
1-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 28 oz. can Rotel (diced tomatoes & green chilies)
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can corn
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 package taco seasoning

Combine all ingredients except chicken in slow cooker and stir.
Place chicken breasts on top.
Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Prior to serving, remove chicken breasts, shred them, and return to soup.
Garnish with low-fat sour cream & shredded cheese, avocado, cilantro, etc.
Serve with warm corn tortillas.

Adaptions
Oh boy did I adapt this recipe!
1. I used 3 large breasts.
2. I left out the can of tomato sauce and the onion.
3. I added a package of ranch dressing mix.
4. I used two cans each instead of one of the 3 beans and the corn.
5. I used 2 taco seasoning mixes.

When it was time to take the chicken breasts out and shred them, I took half the soup (no chicken) out of the slow cooker and put it in a container to freeze.

I garnished with sour cream, chopped onion, shredded mild cheddar cheese.

When I want it for dinner again I’ll take it out to to thaw, add a pound of browned ground chuck and reheat it.

 

Thoughts
This was really good, lots of taco flavor and the ratio of the ingredients was perfect. I was going to eat a hard crusty bread with it but we had some left over cornbread from the night before and Anthony said he was going to eat that instead. So I did too, not sure I’d like it with the soup. I shouldn’t have worried, they were really good together. Anthony buttered his and then crumbled it up in his bowl. I just ate mine buttered, but did occasionally dip it in the soupy goodness.

This got a thumbs up from both of us.

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