May 242015


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, Serena, Leslie 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 had a pretty good mailbox again last week:

The Year My Mother Came Back by Alice Eve Cohen
Untitled-16 Thirty years after her death, Alice’s mother appears to her, seemingly in the flesh, and continues to do so during the hardest year Alice has had to face: the year her youngest daughter needs surgery, her eldest daughter decides to track down her birth mother, and the year Alice gets a daunting diagnosis. As it turns out, it’s entirely possible for the people we’ve lost to come back to us when we need them the most.

Although letting her mother back into her life is not an easy thing, Alice navigates it with humor, intelligence, and honesty. What she learns is that she must revisit her childhood, and allow herself to be a daughter once more, in order to take care of her own girls. Eventually, understanding and then forgiving her mother’s parenting transgressions leads her to accept herself and to the realization that she doesn’t have to be perfect to be a good mother.


Dark Wine Waters: My Husband of a Thousand Joys and Sorrows by Frances Simone
18528262 One woman’s heartbreaking story of a marriage destroyed by her husband’s addiction to alcohol.

The dynamics of codependency are illuminated in this gripping tale. Author Fran Simone describes her husband’s attempts at treatment and subsequent relapse, his suicide, and her own recovery through a twelve-step program for families.


Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan
fals “What are my qualifications to write this book? None really. So why should you read it? Here’s why: I’m a little fat. If a thin guy were to write about a love of food and eating I’d highly recommend that you do not read his book.”

Bacon. McDonalds. Cinnabon. Hot Pockets. Kale. Stand-up comedian and author Jim Gaffigan has made his career rhapsodizing over the most treasured dishes of the American diet (“choking on bacon is like getting murdered by your lover”) and decrying the worst offenders (“kale is the early morning of foods”). Fans flocked to his New York Times bestselling book Dad is Fat to hear him riff on fatherhood but now, in his second book, he will give them what they really crave—hundreds of pages of his thoughts on all things culinary(ish). Insights such as: why he believes coconut water was invented to get people to stop drinking coconut water, why pretzel bread is #3 on his most important inventions of humankind (behind the wheel and the computer), and the answer to the age-old question “which animal is more delicious: the pig, the cow, or the bacon cheeseburger?”


Thank You for Your Service by David Finkel
17568768 No journalist has reckoned with the psychology of war as intimately as David Finkel. In The Good Soldiers, Finkel shadowed the men of the US 2-16 Infantry Battalion in Baghdad as they carried out the grueling fifteen-month “surge” that changed them all forever. Now Finkel has followed many of the same men as they’ve returned home and struggled to reintegrate – both into their family lives and into society at large.

In the ironically titled Thank You for Your Service, Finkel writes with tremendous compassion not just about the soldiers but about their wives and children. Where do soldiers belong after their homecoming? Is it reasonable, or even possible, to expect them to rejoin their communities as if nothing has happened? And in moments of hardship, who can soldiers turn to if they feel alienated by the world they once lived in? These are the questions Finkel faces as he revisits the brave but shaken men of the 2-16.

More than a work of journalism, Thank You for Your Service is an act of understanding — shocking but always riveting, unflinching but deeply humane, it takes us inside the heads of those who must live the rest of their lives with the realities of war.


What I Thought I Knew: A Memoir by Alice Eve Cohen
6390349 At age forty-four, Alice Eve Cohen was happy for the first time in years. After a difficult divorce, she was engaged to an inspiring man, joyfully raising her adopted daughter, and her career was blossoming. Alice tells her fiancé that she’s never been happier. And then the stomach pains begin.

In her unflinchingly honest and ruefully witty voice, Alice nimbly carries us through her metamorphosis from a woman who has come to terms with infertility to one who struggles to love a heartbeat found in her womb – six months into a high-risk pregnancy.

What I Thought I Knew is a page-turner filled with vivid characters, humor, and many surprises and twists of fate. With the suspense of a thriller and the intimacy of a diary, Cohen describes her unexpected journey through doubt, a broken medical system, and the hotly contested terrain of motherhood and family in today’s society. Timely and compelling, What I Thought I Knew will capture readers of memoirs such as Eat, Pray, Love; The Glass Castle; and A Three Dog Life.


The Fortunate Pilgrim by Mario Puza
22037 Before The Godfather and The Last Don, there was Puzo’s classic story about the loves, crimes and struggles confronted by one family of New York City immigrants living in Hell’s Kitchen. Fresh from the farms in Italy, Lucia Santa struggles to hold her family together in a strange land. At turns poignant, comic and violent, and with a new preface by the author, The Fortunate Pilgrim is Italian-American fiction at its very best.




Exile: Part 3 of Guy Erma and the Son of Empire by Sally Ann Melia
25265532 13-year-old Teodor has found a way to escape from kidnap, how long before he is safely home?
13-year-old Guy Erma has run away from everything he has even known and no longer knows what the future holds.
They escaped through dark tunnels and back alleys but they also discovered a hidden terror that now threatens their entire planet.
Two boys as different as two boys might be. Their adventure has forged an unexpected friendship, but do they really trust each other?
Dare they share their darkest, deepest secrets?


The Jesus Cow by Michael Perry
23131089 Life is suddenly full of drama for low-key Harley Jackson: A woman in a big red pickup has stolen his bachelor’s heart, a Hummer-driving predatory developer is threatening to pave the last vestiges of his family farm, and inside his barn is a calf bearing the image of Jesus Christ. His best friend, Billy, a giant of a man who shares his trailer house with a herd of cats and tries to pass off country music lyrics as philosophy, urges him to avoid the woman, fight the developer, and get rich off the calf. But Harley takes the opposite tack, hoping to avoid what his devout, dearly departed mother would have called “a scene.”

Then the secret gets out—right through the barn door, and Harley’s “miracle” goes viral. Within hours pilgrims, grifters, and the media have descended on his quiet patch of Swivel, Wisconsin, looking for a glimpse (and a percentage) of the calf. Does Harley hide the famous, possibly holy calf and risk a riot, or give the people what they want—and raise enough money to keep his land—and, just possibly, win the woman and her big red pickup truck?

May 232015


Cozy Food: 128 Cozy Mystery Writers Share Their Favorite Recipes
by Nancy Lynn Jarvis

Paperback: 246 pages
Publisher: Good Read Mysteries; 1 edition (May 15, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0983589178
ISBN-13: 978-0983589174

What happens when 128 cozy mystery writers get together to do a cookbook? You get more than 220 recipes that are as varied and interesting as an amateur sleuth’s day job. Regional recipes come from every part of the United States and England — a couple find their way from Australia and Italy, too — and from diverse times. There are recipes from people looking to keep gluten out of their lives, eat vegetarian, or make a treat or two for their furry four-legged friends. And yes, there are recipes that appeal to the sweet tooth, lots of them, in fact. There’s no mystery about what happens when cozy writers get together. They bring the wit, inventiveness, and adventure found in their books right along with their recipes. The recipes are introduced by their authors and linked to the writer bios in the back of the book. You can look up your favorite cozy writer and see which recipes are their favorites; they’ll tell you what the recipe means to them. Or you can enjoy a dish and then link to the recipe’s author’s biography and books. Either way you enjoy the cookbook, you’re sure to find great new recipes to make and terrific new cozy authors to read.

This is a wonderful book for anyone who loves cozy books, food, or both. In this book, 128 Cozy Mystery Writers share their all time favorite recipes and I loved seeing what they all chose.

Table Of Contents:
Starters and Beverages
Soups and Crumbles
Salads and Dressings
Pasta and Casseroles
Main Course Dishes
Veggies and Sides
Desserts and Pies
Cakes, Cupcakes, and Frostings
Cookies, Bars, and BrowniesBreakfast, Brunch, Lunch, and Teatime
Quick, Easy, Quirky, Saucy, and Even Pet Treats

There is also a section called Cozy Author Biographies. There are so many other bits of information about these authors in the book, and I loved learning all these interesting facts. One thing I learned about author Joan H. Young, author of the Anastasia Raven Mysteries is that she has been writing stories about the outdoors since she was 7 years old, with “The Adventures Of Skippy The Field Mouse”.

Before each recipe there is a paragraph or two about the book the recipe is from. I’m not familiar with all the authors or their books, so I loved reading these.

There are so many yummy recipes in this book that it would be a very long post if I listed all that I want to try. I’ll give you the one I want to try first.

We don’t eat hot dogs very often, but when we do we like different toppings at different times…cole slaw, hot dog sauce, chow chow, relish etc. When we want hot dog sauce, I buy it in a can from the store (yeah, I know). The problem with that is that while it’s ok, it doesn’t have the taste that I remember from my childhood. So when I saw this recipe, I knew I wanted to try it. In the snippet for this recipe it says “It surely tastes like what I remember!” That’s all I needed to hear! So here is the recipe:

A Michigan from New York (hot dog sauce)
from Death Dangles A Participle (Miss Prentice Mystery #2) by E.E. Kennedy
(page 200)3 lbs. finely ground lean beef, sauteed and well-drained
10 ts. chili powder
14 oz. can tomato sauce (or less)
Scant 1/4 cup good hot sauce, NOT Tabasco!
3 tsp. garlic powder
3 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. black pepper
3 tsp. ground cumin
Make sure the beef is cooked into tiny particles.
(Hester used a pastry cutter to achieve this, chopping the beef as she browns it.)
Blend all ingredients well BEFORE cooking.
Add the tomato sauce, but sparingly.
The mixture should ultimately be just barely moistened.
Simmer for 2 hours, stirring frequently.
Results are best if you use non-direct heat, such as a crock pot on low for six hours or double boiler.

There is some controversy about using tomato sauce. Some say there should no tomato in this sauce, but this recipe turns out with a very authentic-tasting result..


My crock pot is my favorite kitchen appliance, so I love that this is best in a crock pot.

If you love cozies, or food, or both, this book is perfect for you. Not only will you find a bunch of recipes to try, you’ll learn about new to you cozy writers and series you’ve never heard of.

I would recommend this book 100%. It’s a book I’ll keep and go to when I want to try a new recipe.




May 222015


Thank You for Your Service by David Finkel

page 56:

He writes of another nightmare, or starts to, but doesn’t finish because it is day sixteen now, and he has made it past Level 1, past Level 2, and arrived at Level 3. He can wear shoes with laces. He can shave unsupervised, and go to the Loaf ‘N’ Jug. He’ll finish writing later when he’s alone again, but soon he’ll be getting his first visitor, Sascha.

The Friday 56

May 192015

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


The Red Hat Club by Haywood Smith

We didn’t start out as Red Hats. We started out in the late sixties as Mademoiselles, self-proclaimed crème de la crème of Atlanta’s Northside High, Dykes High, Westminster, and Lovett, full of ourselves and drunk with the power of our blooming sexuality and good looks. Coming together from different schools, different religions, and different backgrounds, lifelong friendships were forged as Mademoiselles.


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

page 148
I squeezed his arm. “You go on ahead. I need to make a pit stop.”
He stopped me with a frim grip on my elbow. “Georgia” – the only time he called me by name was when I was in trouble – “do not ask me to go in there by myself.”


May 192015


30 Day Walkabout Challenge (I walked 1-2 miles every day)
Tues. 5/12: Incorporate some of the changes in the article 14 Ways to Add Variety to Your Walks into your workout.

Wed. 5/13:  12 repetitions of each of the moves in 8 Strength Training Exercises for Walkers (skaters squats, forward lunges, calf raises, planks, supermans, pendulums, push ups, triceps dips)

Thurs. 5/14: 4-Minute Lower Body Stretching Routine

Fri. 5/15: Walking goes by faster with a soundtrack, so today’s challenge is to create a playlist to listen to on your walk. Or, pick out a podcast or radio show to listen to for some brain food.

Sat. 5/16:  30-Minute Indoor Power Walking Workout

Sun. 5/17: 2 sets of 10 repetitions of each of the moves in 8 Strength Training Exercises for Walkers (skaters squats, forward lunges, calf raises, planks, supermans, pendulums, push ups, triceps dips)

Mon. 5/18: Your challenge for today (on top of walking for 30 minutes) is to accumulate 2,000 extra steps (or 1 extra mile) during your daily activities today.


Healthy Habits Reset Challenge
Tues. 5/12: Your challenge today is to clear your house and/or workspace of all visible mess and clutter. You might be surprised at how much more focused you feel!
Organize Your Life, Piece by Piece

Wed. 5/13: Your challenge today is to cut out pictures, quotes or other images that inspire you and remind you of your goal. Arrange these pieces in a collage and hang it where you can see it every day for an instant boost of motivation!

Thurs. 5/14: Think about the people in your life who you admire. Have any of them already reached the goal you’re trying to achieve? Receiving advice from someone who’s been in your shoes can be so valuable and helpful!

Fri. 5/15: Today, your challenge is to write down three of your greatest strengths. Keep them in a place where you can see them every day. You deserve to be reminded of how awesome you are!

Sat. 5/16: Positive Self-Talk Leads to Success

Sun. 5/17: Take a few minutes to reflect on a time when you felt on top of the world. Can you recapture that feeling and use it to help you take steps toward your goals today?

Mon. 5/18: Your challenge today is to recognize every time your mind is headed toward a slump and then take steps to correct it.

May 152015


Category: YA Fiction, 100 pages
Genre: Science-fiction and Fantasy
Publisher: Dickson House
Release date: May 17, 2015

I don’t want to go… Do I have to go?

13-year-old Prince Teodor of Freyne knows his duty to the memory of his father and his kingdom. Always, he must help those less fortunate than himself. Yet a frightening nightmare fills him with foreboding, but still he must do – into the Dome.

13-year-old Guy Erma lives in the shadow of the Dome, he has no father and no mother and his future is uncertain, he must start earning a living when he turns 14. He knows not where he will live or even how he will eat, and his only dream is to enter the military academy – at the heart of the Dome.

Two boys as different as any two boys might be. One act of cruelty will throw their lives together, but who dare they trust?

This is book one in the series. The book is about two boys, one a prince and the other is an orphan. Even though they live in such different worlds, they are very similar. Once they meet they will depend on each other more than they ever could have imagined.

The story takes place in the Dome on a far away planet and you can tell that they author put a lot of thought into the world she was creating. Her writing is very visiual and takes you on a fast pased journey. You have to pay attention to what you’re reading. Even though I did, there were some parts that I just didn’t “get”. Still, I liked the story and the characters and the twists. I liked how the book helped me see their world. Even though I’m not a sci-fi fan, the book was entertaining and I think both kids and adults would enjoy it.

There are a few illustration that give a glimpse into their world and a list of words in the back with their meanings. That added so much to the book.

I enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read books 1 & 2.

Meet The Author
7907957Sally AnnMelia was born in Wallasey, England, in 1964, and moved to the South of France when she was eleven. She spent her teenage years living in the cosmopolitan city state of Monaco and became immersed in its many languages and cultures. An English girl in a French school, for three hours each week she would sit at the back of the class as her colleagues learnt English. To pass the time, she wrote stories. This led to a lifetime of writing novels, scripts, stories and articles.

In her working life, Sally writes marketing communications and manages large international websites.

In 2010, Sally joined the Hogs Back Writers, a club located on the outskirts of Guildford, and she set about turning an old manuscript into this novel: Guy Erma and the Son of Empire. Sally currently lives in Farnham, and she is married with two children.

Connect with Sally:  Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Pinterest

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May 142015


Most of you reading this know I don’t like a messy/dirty house. But since I lost my husband, I haven’t really cared much. About housework or much of anything. Except for family, that’s what I care about, my family.

My house is still pretty clean, but I’m not a fanatic about it any more. Since I’m thinking about moving closer to town and that would mean living in a smaller house, I need to get rid of everything I don’t absolutely have to have…or want.

I found Declutter Your Home In 30 Days @ SparkPeople and thought it would be a good thing to do. So, here goes… I’ll update on this post.

Day 1: Medicine Cabinet
Toss expired medications, hotel shampoos that you’ll never use, and throw out lotions you’ve had since 1990. While you’re at it, give the mirror a quick wipe, too.

Day 2: Shower
Get rid of the extras and empties in your shower. Invest in a shower caddy to keep everything organized and in one spot.

Day 3: Makeup Drawer/Bag
Go through your makeup bag or drawer and reassess some of the items. Hot pink eye shadow you haven’t touched since 1980? Toss! Lipstick that doesn’t smell quite right anymore? You know what to do. If you haven’t used it in a year, it’s time to trash it.

Day 4: Linen Closet
Over time those neatly stacked towels start to shift and folded sheets somehow end up on the floor. And why is your kiddo’s baseball bat in there, anyway? Take stock of what’s in the linen closet, straighten what you want and consider donating items you haven’t used in more than a year to charity.

Day 5: Nightstand
Nightstands collect books, water bottles and electronics along with gobs of dust. Clear it off, wipe it down and leave only the bare minimum.

Day 6: Dresser
Dressers can hide a lot in their drawers. Open every drawer, refold messy clothes and match every sock. Start a donate pile of any clothes you no longer need and a toss pile of holey shirts and socks you can part with.

Day 7: Master Closet
Add to those donate and toss piles by going through your closet. Follow your gut: You know what you’re regularly wearing and what haven’t worn in ages. Try not to let sentimentality get in the way of decluttering!

Day 8: Entryway/Mudroom
Check the entrances to your house for out-of-place clutter. Kids kick off shoes and drop bags; adults leave keys and mail. Come up with a system for stuff that should be there (like hanging hooks or a coat rack or shoe cubbies) and instill habits to keep the space clear otherwise.

Day 9: Coat Closet
Coat closets often become hiding places for more than just winter jackets. See what’s been hiding in its depths that belongs somewhere else and what you can pull out to toss.

Day 10: Kitchen Drawers
Why so many crumbs, kitchen drawers? And why is this burned spatula still hanging around? And why are there still baby spoons in the silverware drawer when your youngest child is in kindergarten? Toss or donate! Then organize so the things you use the most are the most easily accessible.

Day 11: Kitchen Cabinets
When you’re quickly cleaning up after dinner it can be easy to throw pots and pans and bowls into cabinets willy-nilly, so take time to straighten cabinets and organize items if their placement isn’t working for you. Infrequently used items can go in a pantry or other storage spot to free up more space for items you do use all the time. Those storage containers without lids and those lids without matching containers? Now’s the time to toss the lids. Use the containers themselves as storage caddies for small items in drawers or cabinets throughout the house.

Day 12: Pantry
Give your pantry an organizational once-over. Organize canned goods by type, check expiration dates and get rid of foods you’ll never eat (like that trendy food you tried and hated). Unexpired and shelf stable foods can be donated to your local food pantry.

Day 13: Spice Rack
I recently went through my spice rack and was appalled that some of my spices were purchased more than four years ago. If you’ve got spices that could be in kindergarten, you’re probably not using them very frequently in your favorite recipes, so it’s likely safe to toss them. Plus, fresh spices will taste better anyway!

Day 14: Refrigerator and Freezer
Many people try to give their fridge a look once a week or so to toss any leftovers that are moldy, but you likely don’t think about condiments and other fridge staples. Check all the bottles and jars and toss any that are expired or that you just never use (like that hot sauce you tried and decided you hated).

Day 15: Junk Drawer
Junk drawers by their very nature are designed to hold junk and odds and ends that don’t really belong anywhere else. But give it a look to see if there’s any obvious trash, and see if there’s anything you could move to another spot. You just might find that set of keys you thought you’d lost forever.

Day 16: Under-Sink Storage
If you’ve got pedestal sinks throughout the house, you get off easily on this chore. But if you’ve got under-sink storage, like under the kitchen sink, look under there to see what’s been hiding and what needs to go.

Living Room
Day 17: Mantel
A fireplace is lovely–except when it’s covered in clutter and junk. It takes away from the beauty of a roaring fire! So if your mantel is a storage place for DVDs or books or mail and other items that don’t belong, try to find a spot for the unnecessary items to clear it off.

Day 18: Bookshelves
Bookshelves are great for storing and displaying books, art, accent décor, family pictures and more. But they can be a problem when they start to be holding places for extra clutter that makes them look less attractive. Give your bookshelves a glance to see if there’s anything that doesn’t belong. Then rearrange the items so it looks deliberate, not haphazard.

Day 19: Storage Furniture
Go through that console table in the living room, the armoire in the guest bedroom and the trunk sitting in the corner of the basement. See if you really need its contents—and if you even need the actual furniture itself!

Home Office
Day 20: Office Desk
Workspaces can be hard to keep clutter-free. When you’re at your desk, you’re working or paying bills rather than focusing on keeping it clean. So do a sweep of the surfaces in the office and asses what you can keep and what you can toss.

Day 21: Filing Cabinets
Filing cabinets can get filled in a hurry, so go through yours to see what you can shred or recycle. You probably don’t need that phone bill from 2005.

Day 22: Mail
Junk mail, bills and magazines pile up faster than dust bunnies. Clear your mail storage area and come up with a system for discarding junk immediately and storing bills that need your attention where they won’t get overlooked. For instance, keep a small recycling bin just inside the front door so junk can go straight from the mailbox into the bin.

Other Spaces
Day 25: Laundry Room
The most likely clutter offender in my laundry room? A shirt that’s “dry clean only” that has been laying there unlaundered for eons. If that’s the situation in your house, label and hang a reusable bag for dry cleaning and get the clutter off the floor. Other laundry offenders include coins and receipts that fall out of pockets and end up on the dryer. Clear it out!

Day 26: Porch
Porches can get cluttered quickly with gardening equipment that never got put in the shed and shoes that got left outside because they were muddy. Take stock of the porch and put items in their proper spots.

Day 27: Hobby Room
Have a space or work room for hobbies or home improvement items? See what you can pitch or donate and what you can better organize.

Day 28: Basement
Now that you’ve gone through your house and properly stored things in their rightful places or gotten rid of them, check out your actual storage spots. If you’ve had boxes of books packed away for years, chances are that you don’t need them (and won’t miss them). Can you rearrange anything to make more space? Can you sell or donate anything you don’t need? Is it time to rent a dumpster and really clear things out?

Day 29: Garage
The garage can be quite a chore, so leave it for the weekend and a day when it’s beautiful outside. Get rid of what you don’t need, pump up flat bicycle tires and get that lawnmower ready for spring!

Day 30: Car
When you’re finished with the garage, don’t forget about your car. Get rid of the obvious trash (empty water bottles, wrappers, etc.) but also check the glove box for expired insurance cards you can toss and snacks that melted last summer.

Your Bonus Project
You know that area in your house or life that needs to be organized. If it didn’t make this list, your final project is to organize that space, whether it’s the attic, a loft space, an offsite storage unit or bin full of your childhood stuff.

Breaking down a massive job into smaller more manageable steps can make a task like decluttering your entire life seem slightly more manageable. In just 30 days, you’ll have a noticeably less cluttered house, and maybe you’ll even find a few things you thought had disappeared forever! Plus, you might make a few bucks at a garage sale or feel really good about donating some quality items that you no longer need.

May 132015



Series: Going Against the Grain – Italian Style!
Paperback: 188 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 18, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1499222432
ISBN-13: 978-1499222432
This two-part book is a vital adjunct to any home attempting to be gluten-free. The first part guides you through early diagnosis and is an essential guide for any beginner diagnosed with celiac disease or some form of gluten sensitivity. You will learn how to identify symptoms of the disease, how celiac disease is diagnosed, and the consequences if left untreated. It will help you to understand how to read labels and how to manage your gluten-free home in a shared environment. It outlines practical advice for parents of children with celiac disease as well as tips for eating out and dealing with social settings such as special occasions or when traveling. Honorary foreword provided by renowned Dr. Peter HR Green, MD – Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University.

Growing up authentically Sicilian, Nuccia Ardagna thought that getting rid of gluten meant giving up her favorite traditional foods, but that could not be further from the truth! Nuccia combines her passion for eating amazingly Italian with her new dietary needs to bring you scrumptious, traditional Italian (and Sicilian) recipes. From simple, classic appetizers to decadent desserts you thought you could never enjoy, every recipe is easy-to-follow and offers beautiful full-color pictures throughout. You can feel confident about entertaining guests and family with these mouth-watering recipes. You can eat healthier, feel better, and truly enjoy living gluten-free while never having to sacrifice great taste! In this book, Nuccia not only shares her personal story with celiac disease but also the recipes she grew up with at home and uses to entertain guests. Look for the bonus section at the end of the book along with a section dedicated to her favorite links and resources.

We hope you enjoy the book and find it helpful in your journey.


I don’t have a problem with gluten but know a few people who do. I was surprised to learn through this book that if you celiac disease there is a lot more to managing it than just avoiding gluten.

The first part of the book is a wealth of information about celiac disease from the symptoms to how to manage it on a daily basis. The author tells what celiac disease is, what the symptoms are, about her diagnosis, how to manage it, how to read food labels, what other health problems can occur due to celiac disease and more.

The second part of the book is full of recipes that anyone can enjoy. They are all pretty easy to make with ingredients that are easy to find. The recipes range from starters to desserts and they all look yummy. Yes, there are color photos and they will make your tummy growl. I haven’t made anything yet, but do have a list of some I want to try.

Anyone who suspects they, or someone they know has a gluten intolerence should read this book.

Author’s Bio:

unnamed-32Nuccia Ardagna loves to travel to the place of her roots: SICILIA! Being Sicilian, she grew up with mamma, nonna and all her zie learning all the tricks of the trade and creating DELICIOUS Italian food from scratch. When diagnosed with celiac disease she was forced to learn new habits and, now, after trial and error and experimenting, wants to share her exquisite culinary creations with you.

She IS a true Italian to the core.

Connect with Nuccia: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

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Linking to Weekend Cooking

May 132015

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.

My word is from:


The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Their light playing over the wet flowstone walls.

noun flow·stone \ˈflō-ˌstōn\

Definition of Flowstone
: calcite deposited by a thin sheet of flowing water usually along the walls or floor of a cave

First Known Use of Flowstone

Wondrous Words Wednesday

May 122015


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


The Road by Cormac McCarthy

When he woke in the woods in the dark and the cold of the night he’d reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him. Nights dark beyond darkness and the days more gray each one than what had gone before. Like the onset of some cold glaucoma dimming away the world. His hand rose and fell softly with each precious breath. He pushed away the plastic tarpaulin and raised himself in the sinking robes and blankets and looked toward the east for any light but there was none. In the dream from which he’d wakened he had wandered in a cave where the child let him by the hand. Their light playing over the wet flowstone walls. Like pilgrims in a fable swallowed up and lost among the inward parts of some granitic beast. Deep stone flues where the water dripped and sang. Tolling in the silence the minutes of the earth and the hours and the days of it and the years without cease. Until they stood in a great stone room where lay a bleck and ancient lake. And on the far shore a creature that raised its dripping mouth from the rimstone pool and stared into the light with eyes dead white and sightless as the eggs of spiders. It swing its head low over the water as if to take the scent of what it could not see. Crouching there pale and naked and translucent, its alabaster bones cast up in shadow on the rocks behind it. Its bowels, its beating heart. The brain that pulsed in a dull glass bell. It swung its head from side to side and then gave out a low moan and turned and lurched away and loped soundlessly into the dark.

May 122015


My head has been hurting really bad so I haven’t felt like doing much walking or anything else for the last few weeks. I think it’s from my glasses because it starts after I read something. I finally made (my son made me make it) a really past due appointment for the Thursday to get an eye exam and glasses.

30 Day Walkabout Challenge
Tues. 5/5: Walked 1/2 miles.
Learn more about calculating and measuring exercise intensity in Reference Guide to Exercise Intensity and then pay attention to your intensity during your walk today!

Wed. 5/6: Walked 1/2 mile.
10 repetitions of each of the moves in 8 Strength Training Exercises for Walkers (skaters squats, forward lunges, calf raises, planks, supermans, pendulums, push ups, triceps dips)

Thurs. 5/7: Walked 1/2 mile.
Read What to Eat After You Work Out

Fri. 5/8: Walked 1 1/2 mile
Read Goal Buddies Are Golden (my goal buddy is my daughter Kilah)

Sat. 5/9: Walked 1/2 mile
Read Find the Perfect Workout Shoe for You

Sun. 5/10: Didn’t count steps
10 repetitions of each of the moves in 8 Strength Training Exercises for Walkers (skaters squats, forward lunges, calf raises, planks, supermans, pendulums, push ups, triceps dips)

Mon. 5/11:   Waked  1/2 miles
How to Walk with Proper Form and Technique


Healthy Habits Reset Challenge
Tues. 5/5: Get the word out about your goal. Make an announcement on Facebook, write a blog entry, etc.
I posted on my blog, Google+ and Twitter, and will post updates every Tuesday.

Wed. 5/6:  Read Stop Procrastinating Your Goals! and follow the prompts:

Thurs. 5/7: Research topics related to your goal.

Fri. 5/8: Identify at least one obstacle that could get in the way of your goal. Then, come up with a preemptive action plan to avoid getting derailed before it happens.
(If I don’t exercise first thing in the morning it may not happen. Solution~ do it as soon as I wake up).
Read 1 Step Back, 2 Steps Forward

Sat. 5/9: The Importance of Setting Medium-Term Goals
Find ways to break up that big goal into smaller, attainable goals along the way to keep yourself motivated.

Sun. 5/10: Spend about five minutes quietly imagining how it would feel to finally reach your goal. Carry that feeling with you today and use it to fuel your choices.

Mon. 5/11: Get Inspired with These Quotes!

May 102015


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, Serena, Leslie 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 had a pretty good mailbox last week:
Hunter:  Book 2 of Guy Erma and the Son of Empire by Sally Ann Melia
How dare you? How dare you hold me captive? 25265439

13-year-old Teodor was taken by the vicious Battle Borgs of Dome and now he must fight to survive.

13-year-old Guy Erma has been offered a chance to fight for his place in the Dome Elite. Only who will be his opponent? Will he face a Battle Borg of Dome?

Once they were heroes. These men died as heroes in battle. Now they have been reincarnated as the fearsome vanguard of the Dome Elite. They are the Battle Borgs of Dome

Two boys as different as any two boys might be. They face the same enemy, the same danger, the same fear – dare they trust each other?

Same Time Next Week: True Stories of Working Through Mental Illness by Lee Gutkind 22542567
In any given year, one in four Americans suffers from a diagnosable mental illness—and yet there is still a significant stigma attached to being labeled as “mentally ill.” We hear about worst-case scenarios, but in many—maybe even most—cases, there is much room for hope. These frank, often intimate stories reflect the writers’ struggles to overcome—both as professionals and as individuals, as current therapists and as former patients—the challenges presented by depression, bipolar disorder, OCD, and other mental disorders. These dramatic narratives communicate clearly the rewards of helping patients move forward with their lives, often through a combination of medication, talk therapy, and common sense. Collectively, these true stories highlight the need for empathy and compassion between therapist and patient, and argue for a system that encourages human connection rather than diagnosis by checklist.

Return to Food: The Life-Changing Anti-Diet by Sherry Strong
22790194 Chances are if you are feeling flat, fat and tired, or are experiencing chronic illness, you are not eating real food. If you want to bounce out of bed feeling fit and fabulous you must find out what is and isn’t real food. This book challenges prescriptive approaches to diet, eating and food, with arevolutionary philosophical approach based on science and studying the healthiest, longest living people on the planet. This approach has seen thousands of people develop a more pleasurable, healthier, and more sustainable eating lifestyle.”

No Longer a Slumdog: Bringing Hope to Children in Crisis by K.P. Yohannan
12131142 “He would lock me in a small room with the animals. Days turned into weeks, and my stomach would growl. He never gave me enough to eat,” said Nadish. “Weeks turned into months, and my body would ache. The work was hard, and there was never enough time to rest. Months turned into years, and I began to think that this would never end.”

But through a miraculous event, Nadish found his way back into the loving embrace of his mother. Dr. K.P. Yohannan’s book, No Longer a Slumdog, unveils the true-life accounts of many of South Asia’s children, like Nadish. The message hits hard. He speaks of “winds of change” and a powerful move of God.

The children’s stories tell of going from a life of heartache and poverty to finding joy, laughter and a bright future. Despite the affliction these children face, Yohannan shows us there’s opportunity for change as many find new life in God’s redeeming love.

No Longer a Slumdog inspires faith that a better tomorrow is truly possible.

The Secrets Of Midwives by Sally Hepworth from Stacy’s Books 
21853678A novel about three generations of midwives (a woman, her mother, and her grandmother) and the secrets they keep that push them apart and ultimately bind them together

The Secrets Of Midwives tells the story of three generations of women devoted to delivering new life into the world—and the secrets they keep that threaten to change their own lives forever. Neva Bradley, a third-generation midwife, is determined to keep the details surrounding her own pregnancy—including the identity of the baby’s father— hidden from her family and co-workers for as long as possible. Her mother, Grace, finds it impossible to let this secret rest. For Floss, Neva’s grandmother and a retired midwife, Neva’s situation thrusts her back 60 years in time to a secret that eerily mirrors her granddaughter’s—a secret which, if revealed, will have life-changing consequences for them all. Will these women reveal their secrets and deal with the inevitable consequences? Or are some secrets best kept hidden?

Danny Gospel by David Athey
2597346A disillusioned mail carrier still known by his childhood nickname of “Danny Gospel,” due to his family’s free concerts, sets off to find a woman who appeared in his apartment and kissed him before disappearing mysteriously.





The Red Hat Club by Haywood Smith
221576 Meet Georgia, SuSu, Teeny, Diane, and Linda–five women who’ve been best friends through thirty years since high school. Sit in when they don their red hats and purple outfits to join Atlanta’s Ladies Who Lunch for a delicious monthly serving of racy jokes, iced tea and chicken salad, baskets of sweet rolls, the latest Buckhead gossip, and most of all–lively support and caring through the ups and downs of their lives. When Diane discovers her banker husband has a condo (with mistress) that he bought with their retirement funds, the Red Hats swing into action and hang him with his own rope in a story that serves up laughter, friendship, revenge, high school memories, long-lost loves, a suburban dominatrix, and plenty of white wine and junk food. From the 1960s to the present, The Red Hat Club is a funny, unforgettable novel that shows the power women can find when they accept and support each other.

Be Sweet by Dianne Hunt
1551564 Same mom. Same dad. Completely different lives. Who’s to say which sister has it sweeter?

Viney Haverford always told her daughters to “be sweet.” But the only thing sweet about Charlene Haverford these days is her sweet tooth. Little sister Janni is the nice one. The one with the intact marriage, the great kids, the stable life on the family homestead in Tappery, Michigan. Charlene’s the sister who left town heartbroken and humiliated but built a sweet life for herself half a continent away: High-octane job. Red BMW. Seaside cottage. And an uncomplicated relationship with a great-looking man.

Charlene might not be the sweet sister, but she still craves sweets, like the incomparable maple syrup from her family’s own maples. Which is why she’s finally come home. And to make sure her tightfisted sister doesn’t botch plans for their parents’ 50th anniversary bash. And to show the local gossips that she’s not the loser they think she is.

But Charlene’s time in Tappery proves stickier than anticipated. Sweet Janni has turned moody, Mom’s acting paranoid, Dad may be sneaking around with a local widow, the local police seem to be stalking them all, and the little twinge in Charlene’s mouth has morphed into a full-blown, sugar-induced toothache. A hunky local dentist offers delicious diversion. But just when things get cozy, a series of revelations open both sisters’ hearts to sweet possibilities they never even imagined.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
3254246 The searing, postapocalyptic novel destined to become Cormac McCarthy’s masterpiece.

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.

The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, “each the other’s world entire,” are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.

The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve
5191 Who can guess what a woman will do when the unthinkable becomes her reality?

Until now, Kathryn Lyons’s life has been peaceful if unextraordinary: a satisfying job teaching high school in the New England mill town of her childhood; a picture-perfect home by the ocean; a precocious, independent-minded fifteen-year-old daughter; and a happy marriage whose occasional dull passages she attributes to the unavoidable deadening effect of time. As a pilot’s wife, Kathryn has learned to expect both intense exhilaration and long periods alone—but nothing has prepared her for the late-night knock that lets her know her husband has died in a crash.

As Kathryn struggles with her grief, she descends into a maelstrom of publicity stirred up by the modern hunger for the details of tragedy. Even before the plane is located in waters off the Irish coast, the relentless focus on her husband’s life begins to bring a bizarre personal mystery into focus. Could there be any truth to the increasingly disturbing rumors that he had a secret? Fighting the impulse to protect herself and her daughter from the details of the crash and the mystery surrounding it, Kathryn sets out to learn who her husband really was—whatever that knowledge may cost. The search will lead her to shocking revelations, testing both the truth of her marriage and the limits of her ability to face it.

From the bestselling author of The Weight of Water, this taut, impassioned novel asks fundamental questions we all have about how well we can really know anyone—even those (or especially those) we love the most. Written with grace and controlled beauty, The Pilot’s Wife definitively places Anita Shreve among the ranks of the best novelists writing today.

May 062015


The Denim Blue Sea by Joanne DeMaio

Paperback: 370 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 3, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1505650747
ISBN-13: 978-1505650747

During two August weeks, denim designer Maris Carrington and coastal architect Jason Barlow prepare for their much-anticipated wedding. Guests arrive early, turning keys in charming cottage doors to begin their New England summer escape. The wedding is a reason for old friends to gather again; to meet in their shabby beach hangout and get the jukebox cranking; to walk that weathered boardwalk beneath a starry sky; to breathe the sweet salt air. “Cures what ails you,” one of the friends, Neil, always said long before his life was sadly claimed. But his legacy was not.

When Maris discovers Neil’s long-lost journal, its passages reveal a heartbreaking secret. Can truths be found within its timeworn pages? Can this leather-bound journal unite the friends as their lives begin to fray? A bittersweet family reunion, a surprising encounter from a devastating accident, a shocking confession leaving one marriage shattered–all will test the once close-knit circle. Suddenly this safe haven on the tranquil Connecticut shoreline churns with emotional turmoil, threatening even the beach wedding just days before it is to happen.

Yet like a silver cap on a breaking wave, love and friendship wash ashore with hope, ever shimmering, in The Denim Blue Sea.

Joanne DeMaio has another 5 star book in The Denim Blue Sea! This is her fifth book, and I’ve loved every one of them. This book takes place at the beach and has a beautiful cover. Anyone who knows me knows that my favorite place to be is at the beach, so this book was very comforting for me to read. There were parts in the book that were sad, but overall it was a feel good read that would be perfect for reading at the beach.

I always love catching up with characters that I loved in previous books, and we see a few of the characters like Maris and Jason form True Blend in this book, as well as a few others from her other books. This book is full of wonderful relationships and friends that are there for you no matter what they’re dealing with in their personal lives.  Along with the friendships, there is also secrets, love, revelations and lots of happy times as well as sad times.

There’s a lot going on, but it’s very easy to follow. So many emotions are within this book.The words draw you in your mind to Stoney Point and there you’ll stay, at the beach, among friends.

I recommend this book, as well as DeMaio’s other books 100% and can’t wait for her next one.

May 052015


I’m doing 2 challenges @ Sparkpeople:
30 Day Walkabout Challenge and  Healthy Habits Reset Challenge

Is there anyone on SparkPeople? It’s a great site with a huge variety of ways to help you reach your fitness goals. And it’s 100% free!!

30 Day Walkabout Challenge
I did the Walkabout in April, but wanted to do it again this month. It not only gives you physical things to do like walking and strength training, it also has articles to read to help you get the most out of your walks. I really enjoyed it. It doesn’t take much time to complete the daily tasks. The mail goal is to walk at least 10 min. a day.

Fri. 5/1:  Walked 1/2 mile.
Tell at least 3 people about your commitment to this challenge (I posted about the challenge on my blog and on Twitter)

Sat. 5/2:  Walked 1 mile.
Read how to avoid the most common walking injuries by reading 5 Common Walking and Running Injuries

Sun. 5/3: Walked 1/2 mile.
Do 1 set of 10 repetitions of each of the moves in 8 Strength Training Exercises for Walkers (skaters squats, forward lunges, calf raises, planks, supermans, pendulums, push ups, triceps dips)

Mon. 5/4: Walked 1 mile.
Incorporate some of the tips in A Guide to Walking Meditation  to turn your walk into a calming meditation session.


Healthy Habits Reset Challenge
This challenge gives you small steps to help you focus on, and accomplish, your biggest health goal.

Fri. 5/1: Write down 3 reasons why you want to reach your goal (increase indurance, get off meds & lose 25 lbs.) and read Goals That Help, Goals That Hurt

Sat. 5/2: Schedule out a block of time each day this month to devote to your goal (first thing in the morning) & read Fitting Healthy Habits Into Your Hectic Life

Sun. 5/3: Set yourself up for success by using the goal-setting worksheet in How to Set and Reach SMART Goals

Mon. 5/4: Find a buddy who has similar goals as you. Make a pact to keep each other accountable (My daughter has been trying to eat healthier and get more exercise, so she said she’d be my buddy) & read How to Get Others Involved in Your Goals

May 032015


Donna Bell’s Bake Shop: Recipes and Stories of Family, Friends, and Food
by Pauley Perrette, Darren Greenblatt, Matthew Sandusky

Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (April 14, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 147677112X
ISBN-13: 978-1476771120

The heartwarming story of how NCIS star Pauley Perrette and her two best friends created a Southern-style bake shop in Manhattan—a celebration of love and friendship with gorgeous photographs and delicious recipes.

Nestled in the heart of midtown New York is a little shop with a big story. An all-natural bake shop that specializes in Southern baked goods, Donna Bell’s is owned by Pauley Perrette, the actress who plays Abby Sciuto on CBS’s NCIS, and her two best friends, Darren Greenblatt and Matthew Sandusky. It was named in honor of Pauley’s late mother, who is the beloved inspiration for everything they bake.

It all started in 1993, when Pauley met Darren in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen, just blocks away from where the shop is currently located. The two became inseparable friends and Pauley’s Southern mom would welcome Darren to their home with mouthwatering treats. Darren loved this food and soon left his successful career in fashion to open a food truck that sold Southern desserts at the Jersey Shore. Eventually he wanted to expand and turned to Pauley and their friend Matthew—who worked in the Los Angeles food industry—for help. Soon Matthew was on his way to New York to open Donna Bell’s Bake Shop with Pauley and Darren.

With recipes for favorites like buttermilk biscuits, chocolate chip-almond scones, and peach streusel muffins; personal photographs from Pauley, Darren, Matthew, and Donna Bell herself; this is the story how one fantastic bake shop brings warmth and happiness—one treat at a time—to the urban jungle that is New York City.

As soon as I saw this book I knew I wanted to read it. NCIS is one of my favorite tv shows and Pauley’s character Abby has such a quirky fashion style and personality that makes the show a lot of fun to watch! I loved reading how the bake shop came to be, the relationships between the authors, and the authors and their families.

The recipes look easy enough and the ingredients easy to find. But, the one recipe my son wanted me to make uses frozen cranberries, and I can’t find them anywhere.

The photos are great and make the book come “alive”. It is very well written and I enjoyed it from the first word to the last.

If you love to bake, love bake shops or just love Pauley, get a copy of this book!

I’m going to NYC later this year with my oldest son and his family and my youngest son. Donna Bell’s Bake Shop will definitely be one of the places I visit.

Question: Anyone have a suggestion of what frozen fruit to use in place of cranberries? I’m thinking maybe blueberries.

About The Authors
Pauley Perrette is one of the top Q-rated actors in television and film and is on her twelfth season playing Abby on the #1 TV show NCIS. She is also a producer, director, philanthropist, activist, songwriter, singer, and writer. Pauley was raised all over the south but considers Alabama her hometown. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

Darren Greenblatt was a creative entrepreneur in the fashion industry for over twenty years. Darren’s exquisite talent for design and entrepreneurial spirit, coupled with being a lifelong foodie, was the spark that started Donna Bell’s Bake Shop.

Matthew Sandusky is coowner and head baker for Donna Bell’s Bake Shop. Matthew’s experience working in the food industry for many years and his natural talent for baking has helped Donna Bell’s flourish.

Thanks to Amanda @ Simon and Schuster
for sending me this book for review

Linking to Weekend Cooking