Monday, July 27, 2015

Lost Lake

From Goodreads:
Suley, Georgia, is home to Lost Lake Cottages and not much else. Which is why it's the perfect place for newly-widowed Kate and her eccentric eight-year-old daughter Devin to heal. Kate spent one memorable childhood summer at Lost Lake, had her first almost-kiss at Lost Lake, and met a boy named Wes at Lost Lake. It was a place for dreaming. But Kate doesn't believe in dreams anymore, and her Aunt Eby, Lost Lake's owner, wants to sell the place and move on. Lost Lake's magic is gone. As Kate discovers that time has a way of standing still at Lost Lake can she bring the cottages—and her heart—back to life?

Sometimes lost loves aren't really lost. They're right where you left them, waiting for you to find them again

From Me:
This was such a nice treat for me!
A lovely escape read--- a beach read --- a summer find!
I know it made the rounds last summer, but I've never been one to be up on the trends, so I waited until this summer, which was probably the smart thing to do for me.
I've not been into "women's fiction" for a long time, but this summer I feel that they have been the best thing for me!  And this one was at the top of the list.
I've not read Sarah Addison-Allen before, but now her books are on my wish list.
Anyone who wants an escapism read, with beautiful writing and a satisfactory ending, then this is the book for you!
4 Stars.

Friday Friend recipe #62-- Barb's Beans


Friday Friend Recipe #62: Barb's Beans

Making my way thru my Friday Friend Cookbook, one recipe at a time.
What is the Friday Friend cookbook: I have about 50 of my closest friends and family on an e-mail forum which I called the Friday Friends (from all over the county). At first, most of them didn't know each other, (they knew me) but over the past 15 years, we've answered and shared silly--and serious---questions, exchanged Secret Santa Christmas gifts, had a dieting contest in which we paid a $1 a week and that money went to a scholarship fund for a Friday Friends son's memorial scholarship, and we went on a great vacation for my 52 birthday.

AND, we contributed recipes for a cookbook.

I was looking at the cookbook the other night and I said, "I should make every recipe in here for my blog."
The Handyman--who knows me better than I know myself (this happened to be a question on the Friday Friend forum once---does your spouse/partner know you better than you know yourself?)--said, "you'll never, EVER do that."

WELL---maybe I'll show him! Maybe I will.

Which brings me to this... recipe #62


Barb's
Barb's Beans


I had no idea we liked beans so much in this family. 
Well... that's still out for discussion, because none of my children love a bean side-dish.
Apparently tho, beans in the summer time ARE the side-dish to be.
BBQ Beans, Baked Beans, Pork and Beans!
You name it, they are all in the Friday Friend Cookbook.
And  soon all will have been made and blogged about. 


This is a good baked bean recipe!
Here is the recipe below...in Barb's own words.



And now--for her story.
(I just told the Handyman that I am going to run out of Barb stories and pictures soon-- he said  to just start repeating myself.  My kids said I was good at that.)
(ahhh--those funny jokesters!)

This is not a repeat tho.

11 years ago, the Handyman's brother and sister got married.
(not to each other silly)
They had a double wedding in their parents backyard.
It was great... they had a Hawaiian theme and it was tons of fun, simple, great wedding(s).
It was really how wedding should be.  Instead of throwing rice or birdseed at the couples, we used small squirt guns to squirt them.

I am meandering.
Back to the point.
Barb loves Rich's (that would be the Handyman to you ) family so much and they loved her too, that after so many years,( of listening to her say she wished she was part of this family) they adopted her.
They really had a (fake) ceremony and she has a (fake) adoption certificate to prove it.

So here are a few pics of Barb from the wedding of Rich's brother and sister.
( my scanner is broke...I have no qualms about taking pictures of pictures.  I'm okay with non-perfection ) 

Water balloons must have been a part of the reception.
A scary part from the look on Barb's face!



And because I am okay with non-perfection....
I am not retaking this photo (of a photo).
I guess I just a laid it on top of a recipe. 

But this is a photo of Rich (Handyman)  and his siblings.
(he has many more siblings, but these are the ones that grew up in the same house as he)

A sibling photo is always nice for the parents.

(The Handyman is on the end, posing with his hand on his hip.)


(and they don't all have creepy legs--- I must have also laid a photo on top of a photo)

But dang it--they forgot Barb!
She does have an adoption certificate after all!
Family is Family.


She's made some good ones.
Mushrooms Monterey
Oven Fried Zucchini
Seven Layer Salad
Doug's Margarita
and more!




Sunday, July 19, 2015

Friday Friend Recipe #61-- Pie Delight


Friday Friend Recipe #61: Pie Delight

Making my way thru my Friday Friend Cookbook, one recipe at a time.
What is the Friday Friend cookbook: I have about 50 of my closest friends and family on an e-mail forum which I called the Friday Friends (from all over the county). At first, most of them didn't know each other, (they knew me) but over the past 15 years, we've answered and shared silly--and serious---questions, exchanged Secret Santa Christmas gifts, had a dieting contest in which we paid a $1 a week and that money went to a scholarship fund for a Friday Friends son's memorial scholarship, and we went on a great vacation for my 52 birthday.

AND, we contributed recipes for a cookbook.

I was looking at the cookbook the other night and I said, "I should make every recipe in here for my blog."
The Handyman--who knows me better than I know myself (this happened to be a question on the Friday Friend forum once---does your spouse/partner know you better than you know yourself?)--said, "you'll never, EVER do that."

WELL---maybe I'll show him! Maybe I will.

Which brings me to this... recipe #61


Betty Butner's
Pie Delight


I am not sure where this dessert got the word 'pie' in it,, because it resembles pie in no way, shape or form.
Probably from the pie filling you use as a topping.


As I've said before, this countdown is more about the friendships than the actual recipes---or rather the photographs of the recipes. 
What I lack in photography skills, this dessert makes up for in taste.
It is TASTY!!  And yummy.
Angel Food cake with a filling of cream cheese and cool whip, topped with a fruit pie filling of your choice!
I really need to learn a new word--Yummy is getting old.
Let me think...
Mouthwatering and scrumptious! 
That's it!
That is this dessert in a nutshell.




Pie Delight
Betty Butner
Enterprise, Oregon

1 Angel Food Cake
1 cup whipping cream
1 large pkg cream cheese
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 large can pie filling

Tear or cut the cake into small pieces and place into  9x13 pan.
Beat whipping cream until frothy. Add softened cream cheese and powdered sugar.  Mix until incorporated and then pour over cake pieces.
Top with pie filling and chill.







This is Betty's first appearance in the  countdown.
I've known Betty since before I was born.
She was my mom's best friend from the time they were in the 6th grade, until the day my mom died.
The photos below were taken of my parents and their best friends, Jim and Betty Butner, on their wedding day and at their combined 50th anniversary party, seven years ago.
How lucky to have life-long friends!

When I was little, we would spend the weekend with Betty and her family over "Chief Joseph Days" and there was always a carnival.
I get sick on most carnival rides, but I didn't ever want to be left out... so I would ride the milder rides, have a pronto pup (hand dipped corn dog) and cotton candy and right before we would leave for home, I would get on THE OCTOPUS!



It would spin and spin and I would get off the ride feeling nauseous and sick to my stomach.  We would then all head home and Betty would make me some Alka Seltzer.
I loved the bubbles.
I swear it made me feel better!

Those are the only times in my life that I've had Alka-Seltzer.
What a day!
Cowboy breakfast, parade, rodeo, carnival and ALKA-SELTZER!
I loved those times.  Loved those people.
I had a great childhood.  I wouldn't change a thing.
Not even the nausea? Well.....maybe.

Great dessert Betty!!



The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood

From Goodreads:
On the day John F. Kennedy is inaugurated, Claire, an uncompromising young wife and mother obsessed with the glamour of Jackie O, struggles over the decision of whether to stay in a loveless marriage or follow the man she loves and whose baby she may be carrying. Decades earlier, in 1919, Vivien Lowe, an obituary writer, is searching for her lover who disappeared in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. By telling the stories of the dead, Vivien not only helps others cope with their grief but also begins to understand the devastation of her own terrible loss. The surprising connection between Claire and Vivien will change the life of one of them in unexpected and extraordinary ways. Part literary mystery and part love story, The Obituary Writer examines expectations of marriage and love, the roles of wives and mothers, and the emotions of grief, regret, and hope.

From Me:
3 stars
It was an enjoyable book and I would recommend it, it was an easy read and kept my attention.
However.....a few things bothered me.

Like when the children in Napa, CA were trying to catch fireflies. 
There are no fireflies west of the Rocky Mountains.

That's a small detail, but I can't get things like that out of my mind.

Also,   one of the characters took the train from San Francisco to Denver and when she stepped from the train in Denver she said she had never seen mountains before until she saw the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

Seriously?  She just traveled over the Sierra-Nevada Mountains.  A range so high the Donner party got stuck there in an early snow storm and had to ---well,  you know the rest of the story.
Nevada is the most mountainous state in the United States.
Not bragging, I'm just saying that the character HAD TO HAVE SEEN MOUNTAINS---HUGE RANGES, to be able to get to Denver.
Unless she was asleep.

So, does one little line ruin a book for you sometimes?

Don't get me wrong, like I said, it was an enjoyable read,  I liked the book.
I just get caught up in the details sometimes.


Friday, July 17, 2015

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by
Every Friday, she'll pose a question, submitted by a fellow book blogger.
(stop by her Blog to find out all the details)
This week's question is:
 
Do you listen to audio books?
 
My answer?
Yes, I do.
So far this year, I've  read over 60 books and 25 of them have been audio books.
I can clean my house, go for a walk, take a drive/ride in the car--I'll even play then for the 8 minutes it takes me to get to work in the morning.
 
When I first listened to an audio book... I didn't like it, now I LOVE THEM!
I'm not sure what has changed for me---I think it is the range of good narrators now.  Or better production.   Or ???
They are just so good!  And easy.  Of course, evert once in a while you will get a story that just doesn't jive with you, or a narrator, but that happens in Paper books too, doesn' it?
We just put them down and pick up another one.
I love the fact that I can 'read' while doing other things.
It helps me get so much more reading done.
 
A few years ago, I participated in Audio-Book Week and I wrote this post about my suggestions for good audio.  It makes me laugh, because I was such a novice... I was only on my 5th audio book back then.
 
Yes, I do listen to audio books.
Good story telling is good story telling and I love a good story.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Hundred Summers

From Goodreads:
Memorial Day, 1938: New York socialite Lily Dane has just returned with her family to the idyllic oceanfront community of Seaview, Rhode Island, expecting another placid summer season among the familiar traditions and friendships that sustained her after heartbreak. 

That is, until Greenwalds decide to take up residence in Seaview.

Nick and Budgie Greenwald are an unwelcome specter from Lily’s past: her former best friend and her former fiancé, now recently married—an event that set off a wildfire of gossip among the elite of Seaview, who have summered together for generations. Budgie’s arrival to restore her family’s old house puts her once more in the center of the community’s social scene, and she insinuates herself back into Lily's friendship with an overpowering talent for seduction...and an alluring acquaintance from their college days, Yankees pitcher Graham Pendleton. But the ties that bind Lily to Nick are too strong and intricate to ignore, and the two are drawn back into long-buried dreams, despite their uneasy secrets and many emotional obligations. 

Under the scorching summer sun, the unexpected truth of Budgie and Nick’s marriage bubbles to the surface, and as a cataclysmic hurricane barrels unseen up the Atlantic and into New England, Lily and Nick must confront an emotional cyclone of their own, which will change their worlds forever.

From Me:
This is a fun summer read!
I thoroughly enjoyed every minute I spent reading it.
(and there weren't many because I blasted thru it) 
I was lucky enough to  have the perfect setting to read this 'summer' book.  I took it on vacation and sat down by the river behind our cabin--with a cocktail--and had the best time!


The setting in the book was on the coastal shore of Rhode Island (and Manhattan) so I thought it fitting I was on a rocky bank of a river in Oregon.
Kind of the same, right?

Okay, back to the book...
... this is the 2nd book I've read by Williams this summer (The First one was The Secret Life of Violet Grant), and I've enjoyed both of them.
Her writing--- her character banter is amazing.  I love it.
She just has a way with witty repartee, with characters you will love.

One thing I always love in novels is when the authors have a small connection throughout all their books. Williams does that, and again, I just love it.

Get the book, get a drink, find a beach (or a lawn chair, or a comfy chair). Go read!




Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Friday Friend Recipe #60 -- Mushrooms Monterey





Friday Friend Recipe #60: Mushrooms Monterey 

Making my way thru my Friday Friend Cookbook, one recipe at a time.
What is the Friday Friend cookbook: I have about 50 of my closest friends and family on an e-mail forum which I called the Friday Friends (from all over the county). At first, most of them didn't know each other, (they knew me) but over the past 15 years, we've answered and shared silly--and serious---questions, exchanged Secret Santa Christmas gifts, had a dieting contest in which we paid a $1 a week and that money went to a scholarship fund for a Friday Friends son's memorial scholarship, and we went on a great vacation for my 52 birthday.

AND, we contributed recipes for a cookbook.

I was looking at the cookbook the other night and I said, "I should make every recipe in here for my blog."
The Handyman--who knows me better than I know myself (this happened to be a question on the Friday Friend forum once---does your spouse/partner know you better than you know yourself?)--said, "you'll never, EVER do that."

WELL---maybe I'll show him! Maybe I will.

Which brings me to this... recipe #60


Barb's
Mushrooms Monterey




 This is a great little side dish, if you are a mushroom lover.
It was cheesy too!
I made it with chicken, but I think it would go great with some Tri-tip beef!
Or a grilled steak.



Mushrooms Monterey
Barbara Brown
Buckeye, AZ

1 lb sliced mushrooms
1 T butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1 T flour
1/4 t salt
pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Saute` mushrooms in butter till lightly brown.
Blend sour cream, flour and salt. Stir into mushroom mixture. 
Heat until bubbly. 
Sprinkle with Parmesan and parsley and cook another 10 minutes.
This can also be turned into a baking dish and baked at 425 for 10-15 minutes.




And here, once again, is our good friend and editor/typist of the Friday Friend Cookbook, Barbara Brown!
Back with her 13th showing in the blog!
(see all her recipes here .  Just click.  Go ahead.  Do it.  I'll wait.)

I just know that I'm going to run out of funny stories/fun facts about her before this cookbook is finished.

Today I am just thinking to myself...
is Barb really that short?

seen here with the Handyman and her husband Doug.

 

And then with her daughter, Kim.



 I am sure Kim must have had some kind of heel on.  Or the angle is funny.  I don't think there is 'that much' height difference between mother and daughter.
I could be wrong tho.




Monday, July 13, 2015

Friday Friend Recipe #59 -- Creme` Brulee



Friday Friend Recipe #59: Creme` Brulee

Making my way thru my Friday Friend Cookbook, one recipe at a time.
What is the Friday Friend cookbook: I have about 50 of my closest friends and family on an e-mail forum which I called the Friday Friends (from all over the county). At first, most of them didn't know each other, (they knew me) but over the past 15 years, we've answered and shared silly--and serious---questions, exchanged Secret Santa Christmas gifts, had a dieting contest in which we paid a $1 a week and that money went to a scholarship fund for a Friday Friends son's memorial scholarship, and we went on a great vacation for my 52 birthday.

AND, we contributed recipes for a cookbook.

I was looking at the cookbook the other night and I said, "I should make every recipe in here for my blog."
The Handyman--who knows me better than I know myself (this happened to be a question on the Friday Friend forum once---does your spouse/partner know you better than you know yourself?)--said,  "you'll never, EVER do that."

WELL---maybe I'll show him!  Maybe I will.

Which brings me to this... recipe #59

Meghan's
Creme Brulee`





If someone were to ask me what my favorite dessert ever is---I would have to go with creme` brulee.
I love the crunchy sugar crust on top and the creamy cool vanilla-y custard underneath.
Mmmmmm!

One of my favorite Sisters-in-law makes this creamy dessert.
It's so good.
Sooooooo    good.


Basin Creme` Brulee
I figure 'basin' is a typo and it should be BASIC, but who am I to argue with the editor/typer Barbara Brown?

Meghan Stone
Livermore, CA

4 egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
3/8 cup of sugar + 4  T
2 tsp of vanilla

Preheat oven to 300F. Heat cream in pan on low. Add vanilla. Bring to slight simmer, remove from heat. 
In bowl, whisk egg yolks with sugar till light yellow. 
SLOWLY add cream to egg mixture, a small amount at a time and whisk constantly.  Then pour mixture thru  mesh sieve, slowly into another bowl.
Divide mixture into 4 or 5  4oz ramekins.
Place on baking sheet on top oven rack.
Add boiling water onto sheet, about halfway up sides of ramekins. 
Bake at 300F for 35-40 minutes.
Remove from oven when edges begin to brown.
Cool slightly.
Put in fridge for at LEAST 2 hours.
To serve, sprinkle with 1 T sugar and 'torch'.




If you remember correctly--- and I'm sure you do because you have memorized everything I've ever written about. I mean--I'm that GOOD and  that interesting--and it's not like you are reading/following any other blogs, right, and....

Where was I?

Oh yeah... My sister-in-law, Meghan,  has her own small catering company, called Makeefe's.
While I like to cook and just talk about it a lot, she likes to cook (and is much better at it than me) and has done something about it.

Welcome to MaKeefe's! Our concept is to provide families with delicious, homemade meals delivered to your doorstep. With sports, school projects and other activities, a lot of families find themselves grabbing food on the run. It is our goal to provide with you with healthier choices, while still paying about what you would for takeout. Most dishes can be reheated within 30 minutes, some even faster on your stove top.

I I iThThat is her concept above!  I wish I lived close by--- I would never have to cook on a Tuesday again!!
Her menu for tomorrow is:
TUESDAY JULY 14th

Chinese Chicken Salad - 34.
Shredded chicken in a spicy peanut sauce, on a bed of romaine & napa cabbage with cilantro - topped with crunchy cashews, julienned carrots and red pepper, scallions and wasabi dusted won ton crisps.

Mexican Braised Beef Tacos - 38.
Tender cubes of beef are oven braised in savory Mexican spices, with tortillas, avocado and pico de gallo aside. Saffron rice accompanies.

I'm not sure which sound better!?
What would you have?



To see all of Meghan's recipes I've posted from the  Friday Friend Cookbook, so far,

We are not just sisters-in-law, but great friends!
We do EXACTLY the same things...

Meghan:


Me:



We are married to brothers.
Mine is the oldest of 12
Hers is the youngest of 12

The Handyman's parents were busy.
(and that amount includes some step and half siblings)

Now for my Meghan Story/fun-fact:
She is obsessed with the movie JAWS.
She feels the need to watch it EVERY time it is on.
I think she even took her kids to recent 'old-school' showing of it.

No fish for dinner tonight!


Meghan throwing a dinner party:



Meghan cleaning up after a dinner party!


I was going to show you how cute my brother-in-law and sis-in-law were but there faces are covered up here! 
Fer cryin out loud!



and then, I have to show off her beautiful hospitality! 
Table-scapes.
I love her.







I have to thank her friend Roslyn Brown ( I borrowed her pics from Facebook)

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is Friday Friend Recipe #59!