Saturday, January 29, 2011

Weekly Recipes #49

Spicy Chicken Stir-Fry

Lamb Burger with Smoked Mozzarella (will probably use beef)

Garlicky Shrimp Fajitas

Sauteed Chicken with Warm Spices

Pan-Roasted Swordfish with Pea Puree (will probably use a different fish)

The Elegance of the Hedgehog - Muriel Barbery (audiobook)

The Elegance of the HedgehogThe Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really loved this audiobook until.....the worst ending ever. French concierge of a up scale apartment complex who creates an image for herself that makes people believe she is a lowly worker, in fact, she is self educated and interesting. A parallel story of an adolescent tenant who feels like life is worthless in her worthless family.

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Limbo - A. Manette Ansay

Limbo: A MemoirLimbo: A Memoir by A. Manette Ansay

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Memoir about a woman who developed an illness during her music training which caused her to quit, become wheelchair bound and re-evaluate her life. Not that interesting or well written.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Ben & Me - Cameron Gunn

Ben and MeBen and Me by Cameron Gunn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Loved the concept. The author went on a self improvement journey tackling one Ben Franklin virtue each week. Always enjoy reading about good old Ben, but the author's story itself wasn't that interesting.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

The Goose Girl - Shannon Hale (audiobook)

The Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern, #1)The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very cute, well-written fairy tale. Taken from Brothers Grimm, the author creatively fills in the details. Can't wait to read the sequels.

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest (Millennium, #3)The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest by Stieg Larsson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fanastic finish to the Elizabeth Salander stories. Most of the loose ends were nicely wrapped up.

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My Lobotomy - Howard Dully

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very interesting story of a man who was given a lobotomy at age 12 and his journey to discovery why. The voice of the author changes through the book as he moves from childhood, through adolescence and troubled young adulthood, to now as a productive member of society.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Weekly Recipes #48 - Jill

So I participated in a little e-mail recipe exchange a few months ago and over the holidays Nathan and I tried a few of them out. Thought we would share 2 of them for recipes for this week and then 2 new recipes that we haven't tried before. Enjoy!

Speedy Spanish Rice - We used enchilada sauce instead of tomato sauce. Tasty! Makes a pretty decent size batch of rice, but it was nice to have it throughout the week to add to burritos, snack on, eat as a side with a different meal, etc.
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 c. raw white rice
1/4 c. olive oil
2 c. HOT water
1 tsp. sea salt (fine; optional)
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 can black beans, drained

**Simmer veggies in olive oil. Add remaining ingredients, except the black beans. Simmer about 20-30 minutes or until rice is tender. Add black beans the last few minutes, just to heat through.

Pasta with Tomatoes and Goat Cheese - Creamy goodness with all that delicious goat cheese. You could definitely add chicken to this recipe if you prefer.

1 lb. penne pasta
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (more if you like or garden tomatoes)
6 oz. soft goat cheese
3/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
3/4 cup torn basil leaves

Toss tomatoes with salt to taste and let stand while you cook pasta until tender. When done, toss with goat cheese until melted. Then add tomatoes with juice, olives, basil, salt, and pepper.

Indian Butter Chicken w/ Basmati Rice

"The Best Meatloaf I've Ever Made"
- this is the title of the recipe :) We haven't ever made it, but sounds pretty tasty!

The Free Book - Brian Tome

Free Book: I am a fanatic about freedom. And I'm fanatical about coming at you hard in this book. I'm tired of seeing people beaten down by the world's ... lives while their God-given passion diesFree Book: I am a fanatic about freedom. And I'm fanatical about coming at you hard in this book. I'm tired of seeing people beaten down by the world's ... lives while their God-given passion dies by Brian Tome

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really wanted to like this book and I agree with much of what he has to say, but it didn't give me any 'aha' information, just a rehash.

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Friday, January 07, 2011

Cutting for Stone - Abraham Vergese

Cutting for StoneCutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great book. Set in a mission hospital in Ethiopia. Loved it.

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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Weekly Recipes #47 - Darla

Roasted Butternut Squash with Balsamic Vinegar

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds butternut squash
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon artisan balsamic vinegar (Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena or Reggio-Emilio) or 3 to 4 high-quality commercial balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Cut the squash lengthwise in half. Seed and cut it into 3- to 4-inch squares, with skin intact. Score the flesh with crosshatch cuts about 1/2 inch deep. Rub all over with olive oil.

Set the pieces, skin side down, on the cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 45 minutes, or until easily pierced with knife and lightly browned. Serve hot or at room temperature, sprinkled with balsamic vinegar.

  • Canola oil or good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
  • 1 whole jalapeño chile, minced (with the seeds for greater heat)
  • 8 stems fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 25-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (rice, cider or wine)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 large cauliflower, cut into large flowerettes
  • Salt
  • Juice of 1/2 large lime or lemon
  • 1/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup salted cashews, broken into large pieces
  1. Film the bottom of a 12-inch skillet with oil and set over medium-high to high heat. Add the onions, salt and pepper. Sauté over high heat, stirring often, until onions begin to color.
  2. Stir in the garlic, ginger, chile, coriander, raisins, and chickpeas. Stir over medium- high heat 2 minutes then add the vinegar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all the vinegar has evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  3. Push the sauté to the sides of the pan so the center is empty and add the tomato paste. Sauté about 30 seconds, then add the water and combine with the paste until smooth. Now blend everything together, cooking another 2 or 3 minutes. Taste for seasoning and set the sauté aside. (It could be refrigerated overnight at this point).
  4. Set a collapsible steamer in a 6-quart pot, add several inches of water, cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Add the cauliflower, sprinkling it with a little salt. Steam until the cauliflower shows a little resistance when pierced with a knife. With long tongs remove the cauliflower to a large shallow bowl.
  5. Heat the onion sauté until hot then spoon it over the cauliflower, using any liquid in the pan. Squeeze the lime or lemon juice over the sauté then scatter the coconut and cashews on top. Serve hot or warm.

1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth

2 cups frozen corn kernels, divided

1 cup frozen shelled edamame

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 (20-ounce) package refrigerated red potato wedges (such as Simply Potatoes), cut into 1-inch pieces

3/4 cup half-and-half

2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons diagonally sliced green onions (optional)

1. Place broth and 1 cup corn in a blender; process until smooth. Combine broth mixture, remaining 1 cup corn, and next 4 ingredients (through potatoes) in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.

2. Combine half-and-half and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to soup; bring to a simmer. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Top with green onions, if desired. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1 cup).

CALORIES 253; FAT 8.6g (sat 3.6g, mono 2.4g, poly 1.6g); PROTEIN 12.2g; CARB 35.6g; FIBER 7g; CHOL 17mg; IRON 1mg; SODIUM 465mg; CALC 54mg