Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Wild- Cheryl Strayed (book group)

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest TrailWild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

One of my favorite genres; true adventure. The story of a troubled woman who hikes the Pacific Crest Trail alone. Loved reading about the hike, but her life story was not compelling to me. Could have used a little editing. Example: talking about the Oregon mountains south of Mt Hood: Jefferson Three Sisters and "Broken Finger". What the heck? We have no Broken Finger. Broken Top and Three Fingered Jack, yes. Broken Finger, no.

All in all still enjoyed the book, can't go wrong with the story of a long hike in an intriguing location.

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Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun new young adult series. Is the dark lung what he appears?

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Darkfever - Karen Moning

Darkfever (Fever, #1)Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Totally enjoyed his book and would rate it 4 stars for its genre. Fun read similar to the Sookie books. Will read the next one for sure.

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The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Carrie Ryan

The Forest of Hands and Teeth (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #1)The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Loved the concept, but the main character is a little annoying and inconsistent. Zombies, oh my!

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Dead Tossed Waves - Carrie Ryan

The Dead-Tossed Waves (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #2)The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Love the concept and the plot,can't stand the twit of a protagonist. This series would make a great movie. Looking forward to the next one

Why do so many books in this genre have such lame female characters. So wishy washy,

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Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The Book of Air and Shadows - Michael Gruber

The Book of Air and ShadowsThe Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Long, boring and self-indulgent. The story of a lost Shakespeare manuscript could have been so interesting, but this author sucked the life out of it. Two stars for the plot idea.

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These is My Words - Nancy Turner (book group)

These Is My WordsThese Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Couldn't put the book down. This is a tale of the old west, not gun-slingers, but the regular citizens. Of course, plenty of disasters strike, but in the midst there is a sweet love story. I took away one star for the obvious foreshadowing and lame last 20 pages

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

I am Half Sick of Shadows - Alan Bradley

I Am Half Sick Of Shadows (Flavia De Luce, #4)I Am Half Sick Of Shadows by Alan Bradley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Insurgent - Veronica Roth

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)Insurgent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wanted to love this book, but 'dauntless' Tris bugged me this go 'round. Yet another Bella. On the other hand, the story is quite interesting as the factions break down, will definitely read the next book. Hopefully, Tris will grow up a bit.

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I Remember Nothing - Nora Ephron (book group)

I Remember Nothing: and Other ReflectionsI Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections by Nora Ephron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I could completely relate to every essay in this book. Fun read, but sad at the same time. Nora's gone.

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All about Emily - Connie Willis

All about EmilyAll about Emily by Connie Willis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Quick read referencing All about Eve, but not that great.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Vacation continues

Day 3
Bike ride along river by stables
Lunch at Hola
New fishing gear
Golf at Lost Tracks
Dinner at 10 Barrel

Day 4
Green Lakes hike in the snow
Picnic and fishing at Lava Lake
Rock hounding for flagstones

Day 5
Lazy morning
Shopping at Columbia
Lunch at The Mill Brew Werks
Golf at Juniper in Redmond
Dinner at the Sheppard's

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Sunriver vacation

Day 2
Breakfast at The Sparrow. Amazing Ocean Roll and Quiche
Artists Workshop
Hike to Tumalo Falls and beyond (a little fishing thrown in)
Bend Summerfest with the McDonalds
Dick's to buy some tackle
Fishing at sunset in Sunriver

Day 1
Long walk in Sunriver and through the mall
Pool time (golf for Pat)
Lunch at Sunriver Brewery
Grocery shopping
Dinner at condo with friends (McDonalds, Koffels, Andersons). Awesome party.

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Iron Daughter-Julie Kagawa

The Iron Daughter (The Iron Fey, #2)The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Giant sigh. Really wanted to love this book but Meghan is a jealous twit, not worthy of either Ash or Puck.

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No tangle headphones

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith

A Tree Grows in BrooklynA Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Such a great book about a time gone by. Makes me nostalgic for my childhood in small town America and for the stories passed down from my grandmother.

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Recipes - Nathan

Citrus-Marinated Tofu with Onions and Peppers:

Wasabi Salmon with Bok Choy, Green Cabbage, and Shiitakes:

Tex Mex Rice bowl

With: avocado butter lettuce salad

Steak house pizza

Found this recipe in bon-appetit if you want to try it or just buy dough at store. No-Knead Pizza Dough:

Mrs Kennedy & Me - Chris Hill (book group)

Mrs. Kennedy and Me: An Intimate MemoirMrs. Kennedy and Me: An Intimate Memoir by Clint Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Clint Hill's memoir of the time he spent as Jackie Kennedy's secret service agent was so interesting.  He did not have a single harsh word to say about "Mrs. Kennedy" or the Kennedy clan.  Highly recommend.  Lots of insight into the lifestyle of the Kennedy's.

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Blue Nights - Joan Didion (book group)

Blue NightsBlue Nights by Joan Didion

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Brilliant writer.  Sad memoir.  Joan Didion had a charmed life until she lost her husband and daughter within a very short time.  This is the story of the loss of her daughter, lots of interesting anecdotes.

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekly recipes - Jill

Some tasty looking recipes...you know I like my breakfast type items too! :) ---- no not just cold cereal.  Jill
Numero Uno: 
Carrot Cake pancakes - what?? but soooo many people like them...

Numero Dos:

Asparagus Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich by Kevin of Closet Cooking

1 tablespoon butter
2 slices whole grain bread, very lightly toasted
2 slices Wisconsin Gruyère
2 tablespoons asparagus pesto (see below)

Heat a pan over a-little-below-medium heat. Butter one side of each piece of bread.

Place one slice, butter side down, in the pan, top with the cheese, pesto and the remaining slice of bread, butter side up. Grill until the cheese has melted and the bread is golden brown on both sides, about 2-4 minutes per side.

Asparagus Pesto

1 cup asparagus, blanched
1/2 cup baby spinach
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
4 tablespoons Wisconsin Parmesan, grated
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lemon, zest and juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Place everything into a food processor and puree.

Numero Tres

Burgers and Fries with a Twist! -- Chicken parmesan burgers and shoestring zucchini fries

Numero Quatro
Oven Roasted Salmon, Asparagus, and new potatoes... always a fav

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Weekly Recipes

Steamed Egg (Shawan Mushi)


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cooled chicken or fish stock
  • 1 dash sake
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped cooked chicken breast meat
  • 1 shiitake mushroom, sliced into strips
  • 2 sprigs fresh parsley, for garnish


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs gently while slowly pouring in the chicken stock, sake, and soy sauce. Divide the mushroom and chicken evenly between two small tea cups. Pour the egg mixture into each cup until filled.
  2. Bring about 1 inch of water to a boil in a steamer or saucepan. Reduce heat to a simmer, and place cups into the steamer. Cover, and steam for 12 minutes, or until egg is firm but soft and silky like tofu. Garnish each cup with a sprig of parsley, and serve.

Broccoli and Goat Cheese Quiche
1 pie crust
2 cups broccoli, cut into 1/2-inch florets
3/4 cup cream
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs
Freshly grated nutmeg
2 ounces soft goat cheese
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out dough on lightly floured work surface and press into 9-inch tart pan. Trim edges of crust. Line crust with parchment paper and weigh down with pie weights or dried beans. Bake 20 minutes. Remove parchment and pie weights and set crust aside.

Blanch broccoli in 2 quarts of boiling, salted water until tender, about 4 minutes. Plunge into an ice bath and, once cool, drain and pat dry with paper towels.

In a medium bowl, whisk together cream, milk, eggs, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Line crust with broccoli and goat cheese. Pour custard over all, filling crust almost to top. Place on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until a knife inserted into the custard comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

Slice quiche into wedges and serve warm, room temperature or cold.

Serves 6

Nutritional information per serving
Calories: 271; total fat: 18g; cholesterol: 133mg; sodium (not including additional seasoning): 88mg; carbohydrate: 20g; total dietary fiber: 2g; protein: 9g 

Guinness Corned Beef

Notes:  Use spice packet, don't rinse beef, cover with guinness.


  • 4 pounds corned beef brisket
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle Irish stout beer (e.g. Guinness®)


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Rinse the beef completely and pat dry.
  2. Place the brisket on rack in a roasting pan or Dutch oven. Rub the brown sugar on the corned beef to coat entire beef, including the bottom. Pour the bottle of stout beer around, and gently over the beef to wet the sugar.
  3. Cover, and place in preheated oven. Bake for 2 1/2 hours. Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing.


  • 2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and then cut in half
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup brined capers, rinsed
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped


Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate. Melt 2 more tablespoons butter and add another 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides in same manner. Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate.
Into the pan add the lemon juice, stock and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.


  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans beef broth
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can great Northern beans, undrained
  • 2 small zucchini, cubed
  • 2 cups spinach - packed, rinsed and torn
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. In a stockpot or Dutch oven, brown sausage with garlic. Stir in broth, tomatoes and carrots, and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes.
  2. Stir in beans with liquid and zucchini. Cover, and simmer another 15 minutes, or until zucchini is tender.
  3. Remove from heat, and add spinach. Replace lid allowing the heat from the soup to cook the spinach leaves. Soup is ready to serve after 5 minutes.


    • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
    • ½ cup water, plus
    • 2 tablespoons water, divided
    • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 lb boneless round steak or 1 lb charcoal chuck steaks, cut into thin 3-inch strips
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
    • 4 cups broccoli florets
    • 1 small onions, cut into wedges
    • 13; cup soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
    • hot cooked rice


  1. In a bowl, combine 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 tablespoons water and garlic powder until smooth.
  2. Add beef and toss.
  3. In a large skillet or wok over medium high heat, stir-fry beef in 1 tablespoon oil until beef reaches desired doneness; remove and keep warm.
  4. Stir-fry broccoli and onion in remaining oil for 4-5 minutes.
  5. Return beef to pan.
  6. Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger and remaining cornstarch and water until smooth; add to the pan.
  7. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.
  8. Serve over rice.

The Death Cure - James Dashner

The Death Cure (Maze Runner, #3)The Death Cure by James Dashner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As usual, the author was unable to keep up the pace for the third book.  It felt like it was written as a screenplay.  Thomas continues to rebel against WICKED, escapes and then returns to headquarters.  At least it wrapped up pretty well.

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Divergent - Veronica Roth

Divergent (Divergent, #1)Divergent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Love these young-adult dystopian novels. On everyone's 16th birthday they are tested to determine what 'sect' they belong in based on their temperment. Love the descriptions of each type: Dauntless, Amity, Erudite, Candor, and Abnigation. Fascinating. Of course, one of the sects tries to take over. Fun.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Scorpio Races - Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio RacesThe Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Who knew there were Scottish mythological Water Horses? Fun read. Killer water horses, love story, what else could one want?

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Recipes - Nathan

Tomato Basil Soup

Steak House Side Mac and Cheese

Chicken and Waffle Sandwiches

Black Beans and Rice with Chicken and Apple Salsa
Mexican Pizza

Garlic-Rosemary Lamb Pita

Curried Couscous with Broccoli Feta

Chinese Hotpot of Beef and Vegetables

Sunday, February 19, 2012

So Much For That - Lionel Shriver

So Much for ThatSo Much for That by Lionel Shriver
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This authored tried way too hard. Too many themes, too much alliteration, unlikable characters, a completely unbelievable story. Definitely not my cup of tea.

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The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have never read anything like this before. Incredibly imaginative. Set at the turn of the 20th century, it it the story of a circus like you've never seen, and all the people behind it. Must read!

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Thursday, February 09, 2012

The Speckled Monster - Jennifer Lee Carrell

Terrific story of finding the cure for small pox. Almost reduced to 4 stars because it took me so long to finish it but overall this is a must read for people who like history. Read like a novel.

The Scorch Trials- James Dashner

The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, #2)The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Entertaining. Reminiscent of Hunger Games but not quite as good.

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Mink River - Brian Doyle

Entertaining. Reminiscent of hunger Games but not unite as good.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar ChildrenMiss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great story, Time travel, Wales, awesome incorporation of found photos into a story. Must read.

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Never Let Me Go -Kazuo Ishiguro (Book group)

Never Let Me GoNever Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Excrutiatingly boring. This book had a couple of the right elements: sci-fi, British boarding school. First person, minute by minute narrative. Didn't like the characters. Would not recommend.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Weekly recipes

Lemon-Cilantro Chicken
Prep and cook time: About 15 minutes Ingredients:
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (5 to 6 oz. each)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves , peeled and minced
2/3 cup chicken broth (skim off fat)
1 teaspoon lemon peel , grated
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (original recipe lists as hot chile flakes)
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro , chopped
 salt and pepper lemon wedge

BASIC CHICKEN SCALOPPINE (first three ingredients).
 Rinse 4 boneless, skinned chicken breast halves (5 to 6 oz. each); pat dry. Sprinkle both sides lightly with salt and pepper. Place halves between sheets of plastic wrap; with a mallet or a rolling pin, gently pound chicken to an even 1/4 inch thick. Peel off wrap. Put about 1/2 cup all-purpose flour in a shallow container. Turn each piece of chicken in flour to coat lightly. Set a 10- to 12-inch nonstick pan over medium-high heat; when hot, add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Lay 2 pieces of chicken in pan; cook, turning once, until no longer pink in the center (cut to test), 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a platter or plates and keep warm in a 200° oven. Repeat to cook remaining chicken in 2 more teaspoons oil.

LEMON-CILANTRO CHICKEN SCALOPPINE (last 9 ingredients). You'll need to use the Basic Chicken Scaloppine (see above) and then continue with remaining directions below. Keep basic chicken scaloppine warm in a 200° oven. Add olive oil and garlic to hot pan used to cook chicken (don't wash) and stir over high heat until garlic is slightly limp, about 15 seconds. Add chicken broth, lemon peel, lemon juice, and chile flakes to pan; stir until mixture is boiling. Boil, stirring occasionally, until juices are slightly reduced, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, then stir in fresh cilantro. Spoon sauce evenly over chicken. Add salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with lemon wedges.

Quick Pastitsio
Use any short pasta--ziti or rotini also work.
8 ounces uncooked penne (tube-shaped pasta)
Cooking spray
1 pound ground sirloin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
5 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups fat-free milk
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup (4 ounces)
1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1 (3-ounce) package fat-free cream cheese
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

 1. Preheat broiler.
 2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.
 3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove beef from pan; drain. Wipe pan clean with paper towels. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add beef; sprinkle with salt. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in milk, tomatoes, and cream cheeses, stirring until smooth; bring to a simmer. Cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in pasta.
 4. Spoon pasta mixture into a 13 x 9-inch broiler-safe baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over top. Broil 4 minutes or until golden. Sprinkle with parsley.

Bacon, Tomato, and Arugula Pizza
1 pound refrigerated fresh pizza dough
Cooking spray
5 applewood-smoked bacon slices
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup lower-sodium marinara sauce (such as McCutcheon's)
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 cup baby arugula
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar

 1. Preheat oven to 450°
 2. Place dough in a bowl coated with cooking spray; let dough stand, covered, for 15 minutes
 3. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon; crumble. Add tomatoes and pepper to drippings in pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
 4. Sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal; roll dough into a 12-inch circle on prepared baking sheet. Spread sauce evenly over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Top with tomatoes and bacon. Sprinkle cheese over top. Bake at 450° on bottom oven rack for 17 minutes or until crust is golden. Combine arugula and remaining ingredients; top pizza with arugula mixture.

Skillet Baked Eggs with Mushrooms and Spinach
16 ounces fresh baby spinach or 1 (12-ounce) bag thawed frozen leaf spinach
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, preferably Vidalia, finely chopped
6 ounces mixed mushrooms (such as cremini, chanterelle, morel, shiitake, and white button), thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (1/2 ounce)

Position the oven rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 450°F. Prepare an ice-water bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water.

To cook the fresh spinach, heat 1/2 inch water in a large skillet over high heat. Add half the spinach and cook until wilted, about 30 seconds. Add the remaining spinach, cover, and cook over medium-high heat until tender, about 60 seconds. Drain well in a colander, then set the colander with spinach in the ice-water bath to set the color and stop the cooking, making sure the spinach is submerged. Remove the colander with spinach to drain.Working with a handful at a time, squeeze the freshly cooked, or thawed frozen, spinach between two dinner plates or by hand to remove any excess liquid.

Set aside. In the same skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and any liquid is released, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 45 to 60 seconds. Add the cream, nutmeg, and spinach. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.

Remove the pan from the heat. Using the back of a spoon, make 4 nests in the spinach-cream mixture in the skillet. Break an egg into each indentation. Season the eggs with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny, about 8 minutes. Serve immediately.