Jul 172016


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.

Three books in my mailbox this week:


Bossy Flosssy by Paulette Bogan

Beach Blues by Joanne DeMaio

Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst

Jul 162016

6869096026_76b1fea4e2_t     41951

The June/July book selection @ Cook The Books is Scarlet Feather by Maeve Binchy

I’ve never read this author before so I was excited to read this book.

The book is about Cathy Scarlet and Tom Feather who are starting a catering businnes in Dublin. Add some relatives, friends, and some minor characters here and there and well, I thought there was just too many characters.

It’s a bit longer than what I prefer, and I do think it could have been a shorter and still had the same impact on the reader, but it did flow along well enough to keep my interest.

The book ended rather abruptly I thought, and kind of left me wondering what was next. Overall, this was a good book and I’m glad I read it.

There were so many foods mentioned in the book, and I wrote the name and page number of all the ones that I thought I might make. I finally narrowed it down to  two, Paella, which is mentioned on page 156 and Irish Stew which is mentioned on page 480.  I finally settled on Paella since I’ve never had it.

Here is what is said when the Paella is mentioned:

Tom said that the whole trick for the estate agents’ reception was setting up the Spanish atmosphere. Cathy said that was all very well certainly, but they must have a whole range of tapas to start. Followed by a knockout paella with all the right flavors.


I found a recipe here, and adapted it a bit:
Quick Chicken & Chorizo Paella
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
14 ounces chorizo, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 small onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon pimenton or paprika (I used pimenton, which is just smokier)
2 cups short- or medium-grain rice
1 pinch saffron threads
2 bay leaves
4 cups chicken stock
1 1/4 pounds chicken, cut into chunks (didn’t use)
1/2 cup frozen peas (I used a cup)
1 tomato, chopped
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400°F.
Heat oil in a large casserole or paella pan over high heat.
Add chorizo and cook until browned and fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add onion, red bell pepper, and garlic.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes.
Add rice (medium or short grain rice), pimenton, saffron, and bay leaves.
Stir to combine and coat the rice, about 1 minute.
Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Add roast chicken, frozen peas, and tomato; stir to combine.
Transfer skillet to oven.
Cook uncovered until rice is tender and no liquid remains, about 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven.
Fluff with a fork and serve immediately.

I had both the chicken and chorizo on the counter to use, but decided to go with just the chorizo. The next time I make it I’ll use just the chicken, then both.

This was really good and very easy to make. The paella was full of flavor and was all I needed as a main dish. The recipe made enough for 6 bowls, so there’s plenty leftovers, saving you from having to cook the next night and/or trying to figure out what to take for lunch.

Cook The Books

Weekend Cooking

Jul 082016

Friday book memes

Book Blogger Hop
The Friday 56
Book Beginnings

Book Blogger Hop’s question for this week:
What is your preferred method of following blogs?
I answered this question last week, saying my favorite way to follow was via email. But after reading so many people say they followed via Feedly, I checked it out and really liked it so now that’s how I’m following blogs. You can organize blogs into different categories, and so far I have book blogs, foodie blogs, and misc.  I love this site!

And from The Children by Ann Leary:


Friday 56:
“Did you guys hear what happened over at Mildred’s yesterday?” Everett asked. Mildred Swan is our closest neighbor. She’s widowed now, but her husband had been one of Whit’s oldest friends. None of us had heard a thing.

Book Beginnings:
One August morning in 1956, Whit Whitman sat down to a breakfast of soft boiled eggs and toast with his grandmother Trudy. They dined outdoors on the wide front porch of Lakeside Cottage.

Jul 072016


Run the World  by Becky Wade

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (July 5, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 006241643X
ISBN-13: 978-0062416438

From elite marathoner and Olympic hopeful Becky Wade comes the story of her year-long exploration of diverse global running communities from England to Ethiopia—9 countries, 72 host families, and over 3,500 miles of running—investigating unique cultural approaches to the sport and revealing the secrets to the success of runners all over the world.

Fresh off a successful collegiate running career—with multiple NCAA All-American honors and two Olympic Trials qualifying marks to her name—Becky Wade was no stranger to international competition. But after years spent safely sticking to the training methods she knew, Becky was curious about how her counterparts in other countries approached the sport to which she’d dedicated over half of her life. So in 2012, as a recipient of the Watson Fellowship, she packed four pairs of running shoes, cleared her schedule for the year, and took off on a journey to infiltrate diverse running communities around the world. What she encountered far exceeded her expectations and changed her outlook into the sport she loved.

Over the next twelve months—visiting 9 countries with unique and storied running histories, logging over 3,500 miles running over trails, tracks, sidewalks, and dirt roads—Becky explored the varied approaches of runners across the globe. Whether riding shotgun around the streets of London with Olympic champion sprinter Usain Bolt, climbing for an hour at daybreak to the top of Ethiopia’s Mount Entoto just to start her daily run, or getting lost jogging through the bustling streets of Tokyo, Becky’s unexpected adventures, keen insights, and landscape descriptions take the reader into the heartbeat of distance running around the world.

Upon her return to the United States, she incorporated elements of the training styles she’d sampled into her own program, and her competitive career skyrocketed. When she made her marathon debut in 2013, winning the race in a blazing 2:30, she became the third-fastest woman marathoner under the age of 25 in U.S. history, qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Trials and landing a professional sponsorship from Asics.

From the feel-based approach to running that she learned from the Kenyans, to the grueling uphill workouts she adopted from the Swiss, to the injury-recovery methods she learned from the Japanese, Becky shares the secrets to success from runners and coaches around the world. The story of one athlete’s fascinating journey, Run the World is also a call to change the way we approach the world’s most natural and inclusive sport.

This book is a recount of a year in the authors life when she won a fellowship to travel around the world and learn how other countries train for runs. During this year, Becky travelled to 9 countries.

She not only got to see different parts of the world and study their running techniques, she also met many interesting people and learned their cultures and ate a lot different types of food. Still, this was a grueling year of hard work, and a lot of adjusting to the differences in each country like terrain and altitudes etc. I knew training for a race like a marathon would be time consuming, very physically demanding, and would take a huge commitment, but this book really magnified that for me.

I loved that the book has a number of photos from her year of travel, and underneath each one is a description. It also includes a recipe at the end of each chapter, a few of which I want to try.

This is a terrific book for anyone who loves to running, wants to start running, or just likes to read about running. I used to be in the first category, now I’m in the last.

I’m really glad that I read this. I loved learning not only of the authors training experience, but she also tells a lot about the the places she visited and the people she met.


606bf86b-08db-42e6-8fc3-564046b1a6f5 Becky Wade is a professional long-distance runner who competes for Asics. At Rice University she was a four-time All-American and the winner of the Joyce Pounds Hardy Award, Rice’s highest athletic honor, and the Conference USA honoree for the NCAA Woman of the Year award. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Rice with a triple major in history, psychology, and sociology, Becky traveled the world on a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship and visited 22 countries to explore long-distance running cultures.

In her 26.2-mile debut in December 2013, Becky won the California International Marathon, qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Trials. Currently, she is fulfilling her dream of running professionally and chasing Olympic aspirations, while coaching and working part-time at a shelter for homeless youth.

Connect with Becky on Instagram and Twitter

Tour Stops


Jul 072016

2016photscavhuntHosted @ Gallo Organico

Here is the list of the 21 items you need to find and photograph before the autumn equinox on Thursday, September 22, 2016.

1. Wild heart” – a naturally occurring heart (like the rock above)
2. Footprint or paw print
3. Skeleton, bone or x-ray
4. Book or magazine read during 2016
5. Porch or deck
6. Camper
7. Family gathering
8. Drawing, art project, artistic photograph etc. created by you
9. Someone playing with, in, or around water
10. Bicycle
11. Fresh produce
12. Window
13. Moon
14. Buffet of food
15. Team logo
16. Map showing a trip taken during the time period
17. Twins
18. Supermarket cart, basket or trolley full of groceries
19. Seasonal cocktail or beverage
20. Someone laughing
21. Photo of you w/ a newspaper or calendar page from the hunt time period

*Alternatives – if you’re having trouble finding any of the above, you may substitute from this list (but you may not substitute for item #21):
alternative 1: Lighthouse
alternative 2: Baby (human or animal)

Jul 062016


Hosted @ BermudaOnion

This word was in an email from author Laurisa White Reyes

I’m a succor for horror, believe it or not.

1. help; relief; aid; assistance.
2. a person or thing that gives help, relief, aid, etc.
verb (used with object)
3. to help or relieve.

Jul 062016

Hosted @ From This Side Of The Pond

1. Tell us one fun thing you did to celebrate the 4th. (or the weekend for any non-USA residents playing along today)
I really didn’t do anything to welcome July other than on the 4th. My youngest son and I went to the flea/farmers market in the morning and then out to eat. Then in the afternoon we went to my oldest sons house and had a cookout and  they got in the pool, except me. I was going to, but didn’t.
2. Right now, what’s your favorite red thing? white thing? blue thing?
Red: Code Red
White: My dog has white on her, does that count? I think it does!
Blue: A top I bought at the flea market. I bought 2, a blue & a burnt orange.
3. Wave the white flag, raise a red flag, fly your freak flag…which ‘flag’ have you flown most recently? Explain.
I’m flying my “I Yam What I Yam” freak flag.
4. According to Cond Nast Traveler these are the seven best places to visit in July- a boat safari in Botswanna’s Okavango Delta, Riviera Maya Mexico (it’s whale shark season and apparently you can swim with them), Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, Pamploma Spain, St. Petersburg Russia, the Fuji Rock Festival at Mount Naeba Japan, the Salzburg Festival in Salzburg Austria.
If time and money weren’t factors would you want to see any/all of these? Which would you most like to see and why?
I’d like to go to:
The safari in Botswanna because, well, it’s a safari. In Botswana.
St. Petersburg Russia mainly to see all the amazing architecture.
Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons to see nature at it’s best.
5. Grilled cheese, pimento cheese, or mac and cheese…your favorite from the cheesy treats listed?
Pimento Cheese with Jalapenos…YUM!
6. What makes you sweat?
Heights, getting on an elevator if I’m by myself, single public restrooms that you have to lock.
7. Your favorite movie with a ‘patriotic’ theme of some sort?
I don’t have one, but the question made me curious so I looked up patriotic movies and came across John Adams, which is now going on my list to watch.  It won four Golden Globes and thirteen Emmys, more than any other miniseries in history.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
Anyone with a drivers license had to have passed a driving test. So why are there so many who don’t know how:  to use blinkers, who goes first at a 3/4 way stop, that the left lane is for passing, and on and on and…

Jul 052016


Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale

Hosted by Diane @ Bibliophile by the Sea
Share the first paragraph of the book you are currently reading
or thinking about reading soon.

Part One:
Gem city of the Foothills
Los Gatos, California

Chapter One:
On our wedding day, my fiance, James, arrived at the church in a casket.



Teaser Tuesdays is hosted @ Books And A Beat
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

page 42:
Days came and went, each blurring into the next. Endless nights out with Nadia, dinners with Kristen and her husband, and countless evenings alone watching movies from the couch. When there wasn’t anything interesting to watch, I baked.

Jul 032016


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.

Two books in my mailbox this week:

Mary @ Book Fan offered to send me this book because I’m moving to a much smaller house. Even though the house is not considered a tiny house (100-400 sq, ft.), it’s still small at a little over 700 sq. ft., and this book should help me quite a bit. Thanks so much Mary!

25111320  Living Large in Our Little House by Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell

Based on the successful blog, Living Large in Our Little House, the book is a practical and inspirational memoir about the joy and freedom of tiny house living.

Traditionally, the American Dream has included owning a house, and until recently that meant the bigger the better. McMansions have flourished in suburbs across the country, and as houses got bigger we filled them with more stuff. Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell had been subconsciously trying to live up to this American Dream when circumstances forced her and her husband into a 480-square foot house in the woods. What was supposed to be a writing cabin and guest house became their full-time abode and they quickly discovered that they had serendipitously discovered a better way of life.

They realized that by living smaller, they were in fact, Living Large. They were not spending extra time cleaning and maintaining the house, but had the freedom to pursue their hobbies; they did not waste money on things they didn’t need; and they grew emotionally (as well as physically) closer. Kerri and her husband realized that Living Large is less about square footage and more about a state of mind.

As Kerri relates the story of her transformation to a “Living Larger,” she also profiles more than a dozen other families living tiny house lives and offers practical advice for how you can too. The book will:

*walk you through the financial advantages of small space living

*help you define and find the right size house

*teach you to scale down to the essentials to be surrounded only by things you love

*show you how to make use of outdoor space

*give tips on how to decorate judiciously

and much more.

Whether readers are inspired to join the tiny house movement or not, they are sure to be inspired to Live Large with less.


Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
27213163 Running into a long-ago friend sets memories from the 1970’s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything—until it wasn’t. For August and her girls, sharing confidences as they ambled through neighborhood streets, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were beautiful, talented, brilliant—a part of a future that belonged to them.

But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where ghosts haunted the night, where mothers disappeared. A world where madness was just a sunset away and fathers found hope in religion.


Jul 022016


Leaving Blythe River by Catherine Ryan Hyde

File Size: 2543 KB
Print Length: 322 pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (May 24, 2016)
Publication Date: May 24, 2016
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
X-Ray: Enabled
Word Wise: Enabled
Lending: Not Enabled
Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde returns with an unforgettable story of courage.

Seventeen-year-old Ethan Underwood is totally unprepared to search for his father in the Blythe River National Wilderness. Not only is he small, scrawny, and skittish but he’s barely speaking to the man after a traumatic betrayal. Yet when his father vanishes from their remote cabin and rangers abandon the rescue mission, suddenly it’s up to Ethan to keep looking. Angry or not, he’s his father’s only hope.

With the help of three locals—a fearless seventy-year-old widow, a pack guide, and a former actor with limited outdoor skills—he heads into the wild. The days that follow transform Ethan’s world. Hail, punishing sun, swollen rapids, and exhausting pain leave him wondering if he’s been fooled yet again: Is his father out here at all? As the situation grows increasingly dire, Ethan realizes this quest has become about more than finding his dad.

From the bestselling author of Pay It Forward comes a story of nature revealing human nature—the trickiest terrain. Navigating an unforgiving landscape, Ethan searches himself for the ability to forgive his father—if he finds him alive.

I absolutely loved this book! Not only was this a great story, I felt like I was on this journey with Ethan, Sam, and Jone. The writing was so descriptive that it left no doubt in my mind what they were seeing. The cliffs, the water, the horses, donkey, Ruffus.

I loved that even though Ethan was afraid and didn’t like his dad at all at the time he went missing, that he still put on his big boy panties and got a search team together to go look for him. I loved that he straightened Sam out so that he was able to finally talk to Jone like he should have been talking to her all along. Jone, what a character. Well, really, they all were.

There is a sad undertone to this book because Ethan’s dad is missing on a trail, a trail with bears, but it is also at times very funny.

I could go on and on about this book, but instead, I just think I’ll recommend it to everyone. It’s not the type of book I usually read, but I loved it. A lot! It’s at the top of my favorite books of 2016. If there was such a thing as a 10 star rating, that’s what I’d give this book.


Jul 022016


My daughter and I went to Brownwood Paddock Square, which is like an outdoor mall and has shopping/dining/entertainment. It’s described as being “Reminiscent of an early century Florida cattle town”. We went early in the morning, about a half hour before most stores opened, so we could explore at a slow pace and really check everything out. It’s a really cool place and a lot of people go during the day for the shops, movie theaters (3) and restaurants. They have a large entertainment area and have live bands etc. at night, so it’s really hopping then and on the weekends. We really enjoyed the time we spent there, and would like to go back soon. We saw this feller sitting on a fence and I had to take a photo of him.

Saturday Snapshot

Jun 302016

Hosted @ Kissin Blue Karen
Today’s questions is: Household items that you love and can’t live without

Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners: LOVE them!
Pick-A-Size Paper Towels: waste not, want not
Sun & Earth Citrus All Purpose Cleaner: it’s great on a greasy stove etc.
Clorox Disinfecting Wipes: you have to wipe everything
The Works: won’t need this when we move to town
Swiffer Wet Jet: great time saver

Other than those, I can’t really think of anything else.

Jun 292016


Hosted @ From This Side Of The Pond

1. It’s officially summer (in the northern hemisphere anyway). Which summer month is best and why?
None. It’s hot. It’s humid. It’s our rainy season. It’s our hurricane season.

2. Can you swim? How did you learn?
June 27th is National Sunglasses Day. How many pair do you own?
I’ve known how to swim for so long I can’t even remember when I learned. I do know I was a young child.

I own 4 pair of sunglasses. Two are prescription, one is a purple pair my grandson gave me, and the other is a black pair with little colored peace signs on the legs.

3. What characteristic do you judge most harshly in yourself? How about in others?
I’m a procrastinator. I’ve really tried to change that, but well, I’m a procrastinator.
In others it would be rudeness. I do not like rude people! At. All.!

4. Robert Frost wrote the now well known poem entitled The Road Not Taken. What’s a road (literal or figurative) you’ve always wanted to travel, and where do you hope it takes you?
I want to travel the road that hopefully takes me to Amsterdam. Bikes and water! What’s not to love?

5. Popsicles-yay or nay? If you answered yay, what’s your favorite flavor?
Although I haven’t had many popsicles as an adult, I sure I ate a lot of them when I was a kid. My favorite flavor is Cherry.

6. Brexit-on a scale of 1-10 how knowledgeable are you on what’s involved here? (1=very knowledgeable and 10=what’s Brexit) Is this news you’ll follow or is it something you think won’t impact your life in any way shape or form?
I don’t know if I’ll follow or not, but I do think it is possible that it could impact us.

7. Share a favorite song on your summer play list.
Jordan Feliz – The River

8. Insert your own random thought here.
You know how you hear songs in your head? Like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or Row Row Row Your Boat? Songs that aren’t automatically connected to a particular person singing them. Anyway, what I’m wondering is, when we hear them in our heads, whose voice are we hearing? Is it our own voice or someone else’s?

Jun 282016


Run The World by Becky Wade


Hosted by Diane @ Bibliophile by the Sea
Share the first paragraph of the book you are currently reading
or thinking about reading soon.

Chapter 1: Trading The Start Line For The Sideline
339 miles

If I couldn’t race them, I’d just have to stalk them—from behind the barriers dividing spectators from the female Olympic marathoners snaking along the River Thames. The pavement separating me from the runners was no larger than the gap that, just weeks earlier in Eugene, Oregon, stood between me and Emma Coburn, the eventual Olympic Trials 3,000 meter steeplechase champion. Until the Big Spill, that is. In the middle of that race, every steepler’s worst fear became reality as both my body and my 2012 Olympic dreams came crashing down, the former straight into the water pit, the latter into another arduous four year wait.



Teaser Tuesdays is hosted @ Books And A Beat
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

page 76:
Our trek ended  in a warm kitchen, and my homesickness lifted with the aromas filling the room.

Jun 272016

Last week I was searching for sandwiches to see if I could find one I had never tried before. I kept seeing “Monte Cristo” and so I wanted to try one. I had the one I wanted to try, but because I am who I am,  I kept searching and then I found one here. It uses turkey along with ham.

Monte Cristo (I adapted it)
2 slices bread
1 teaspoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
2 slices cooked ham (I used thick sliced Boar’s Head ham from the deli)
2 slices cooked turkey (I used left over crock pot turkey breast)
1 slice Swiss cheese (I used Gruyer)
1 egg
1/2 cup milk

Spread bread with mayonnaise and mustard.
Alternate ham, Swiss and turkey slices on bread.
Beat egg and milk in a small bowl.
Coat the sandwich with the egg and milk mixture.
Heat a greased skillet over medium heat, brown the sandwich on both sides.
Serve hot.


Half one

This was so good! The bread was nice and crispy and the flavors of the turkey, ham and melted cheese was amazing. I normally don’t use so much meat, but sometimes you just want a sandwich that’s thick and meaty. Today was one of those days. I only ate half of the sandwich because it was so filling. I’ll eat the other half tomorrow for lunch. The next time I’ll make it with thin slices from the deli and see which one I like the most.

Try it, you’ll like it!

 Linking to: