Monday, February 29, 2016

Friday Friend Recipe #96--Chicken Enchiladas






Recipe number 96!

Come with me as I continue to countdown my Friday Friend Cookbook
What is it, you may ask?
About 15 years ago, 50 of my closest friends and family, who had been on an e-mail forum with me, sent in recipes in different categories and we compiled a cookbook.
I decided to count those down!
Why?
Because the one night I was looking thru the cookbook and I said, "I should make every recipe in here for my blog"
The Handyman--who thinks he knows me better than I know myself, said,  "you'll never EVER do that."
Well,  maybe I will!  Maybe I'll show him!

Which brings me to recipe #96
Sylvia's Chicken Enchiladas.





When one makes a community type of cookbook, like this, one tends to get duplicate recipes...and all are printed in the book.... because they are much loved recipes from each participant. (or whatever my friends want to be called, those who sent in recipes)
You can see other Friday Friend cookbook enchiladas here.
Sometimes they vary an ingredient or two, sometimes the cooking process differs a bit, but the trouble is---most of the time, they look alike.
TASTE GREAT, but look alike.
But you know what---I'm still cooking and posting about them.
I love my friends and family.
And their cooking!

These are my sister-in-law, Sylvia (one of my favorite in-laws) Chicken Enchiladas.


Sylvia says she's not a cook, but once again, I must state that the people who don't like to cook, always have a great repertoire of recipes.  Ones that people beg them to bring to get-togethers.
So, that's just what I did with Sylvia's enchiladas.... I took them to the 2nd Sunday Church Potluck.
2 pans....right there next to the hot sauce.


I think this time I combined her recipe and mine.
I made her's but added the packet of taco seasoning to the meat.  That's all!
It's a great make-ahead too!!


This one is from an old-VERY OLD notebook of mine.  Notice that old computer printing!



And now.....ta da!
My sister-in-law Sylvia.
Here are her previous recipes:

As I said before, she is a much loved and truly important part of our family.
She is now the keeper of the SATURDAY NIGHT SALAD!
(private joke between she and I)

Here is my story about Syl.  

 One day about  20 years ago, when we were up in Washington visiting family, my  15 year old son Luke  found himself in the car with his Aunt and in conversation, she said "It's hump day".
It WAS Wednesday, after all.
But Luke had never heard that expression before.  What his young, sophomoric, teenage mind heard was  "Aunt Sylvia and Uncle Kevin are trying for a baby TODAY" 
And he was pretty grossed out!!

He couldn't for the life of him, figure out why, WHY his Aunt would be telling him this.  
He didn't tell us for a while, he just figured that Aunt Sylvia was confiding in him and he was keeping that burden to himself.
When this all came out a few days later, we laughed and laughed and Sylvia was embarrassed, but really who doesn't know what Hump Day means?!

And now for the token photos!  Yay!
These were taken quite some time ago....like  20 years ago.  I thought I'd go with the 20 year theme---this could have been the day! 
The Hump Day!!!

We were up at our family cabin.  About to play miniature golf...and there was this picture of this guy in the mini-gold window. 
We weren't sure why.

(and if I could get my shorts up any higher it would be a miracle!   Or maybe I  needed a new bra!  Sheesh, this is a trashy post, huh?)


Sylvia looks exactly the same--- there is no teasing her about it. Ex Act Lee the same. She does not age.
But the Handyman?  His hair is not so white here.
We have Deer come up to the cabin door for food--bread, fruit whatever-- we used to feed them, but we no longer do. For health reasons...their's and ours. Human food is not really good for them and they can get quite aggressive if they think you have some.
But 20 years ago---Sylvia is feeding them bread.

Family photo....Sylvia, my nephew Jeff and my brother.
They did go on to add one more son to their family.
He is 19 now.  So.... Hmmm.... maybe this was the day?
The hump day.  
I mean Wednesday of course!




My son, Dustin and Aunt Sylvia--20 years ago.
The closing of the eyes is really no accident.  He was a brat about getting his picture taken.



The whole gang!  Except for me and my mom.
20 years ago.
My dad and my husband look so..... so.....
weird.


Yay!
Number 96 is done!
442 more to go!  (I might exaggerate just a bit)

That's my Friday Friend Story!





It's Monday! What are you Reading?


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile!



It is Leap Year, Leap Day!
Yesterday I was lazy, lazy, lazy and read all day long and watched a weird French movie with subtitles in the afternoon -- the Handyman considered that reading too.

These are the books I finished up last week....



From Goodreads:
When Molly Wizenberg's father died of cancer, everyone told her to go easy on herself, to hold off on making any major decisions for a while. But when she tried going back to her apartment in Seattle and returning to graduate school, she knew it wasn't possible to resume life as though nothing had happened. So she went to Paris, a city that held vivid memories of a childhood trip with her father, of early morning walks on the cobbled streets of the Latin Quarter and the taste of her first pain au chocolat. She was supposed to be doing research for her dissertation, but more often, she found herself peering through the windows of chocolate shops, trekking across town to try a new pâtisserie, or tasting cheeses at outdoor markets, until one evening when she sat in the Luxembourg Gardens reading cookbooks until it was too dark to see, she realized that her heart was not in her studies but in the kitchen.

At first, it wasn't clear where this epiphany might lead. Like her long letters home describing the details of every meal and market, Molly's blog Orangette started out merely as a pleasant pastime. But it wasn't long before her writing and recipes developed an international following. Every week, devoted readers logged on to find out what Molly was cooking, eating, reading, and thinking, and it seemed she had finally found her passion. But the story wasn't over: one reader in particular, a curly-haired, food-loving composer from New York, found himself enchanted by the redhead in Seattle, and their email correspondence blossomed into a long-distance romance.

In A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, Molly Wizenberg recounts a life with the kitchen at its center. From her mother's pound cake, a staple of summer picnics during her childhood in Oklahoma, to the eggs she cooked for her father during the weeks before his death, food and memories are intimately entwined. You won't be able to decide whether to curl up and sink into the story or to head straight to the market to fill your basket with ingredients for Cider-Glazed Salmon and Pistachio Cake with Honeyed Apricots.

From Me:
I love, Love, LOVED this book!
I have no more words.
5 stars

But I'm a memoir lover and a food lover and a book lover!  That's like  a home run here!!  The Five stars is completely an emotional response.  Was it really that good? Well, if you love memoirs, food and books, then yes.  Yes it was!
*******



From Goodreads:
In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.


FRANCE, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France...but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another. 

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets the compelling and mysterious Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can...completely. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real--and deadly--consequences.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah takes her talented pen to the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France--a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

From Me:
It's so-SO Good!
 I was a little hesitant  to read this book at first.  While Kristen Hannah is very talented and gifted in her storytelling, sometimes her writing is not as intense as I usually like.  This book proves me wrong on that account!
It started a bit slow  --- two sisters, France, WWII --yeah,  yeah, same old story-- but it was so much more!  So Much!!  (again, I have no words)
One quarter of the way into it, that's  all I wanted to do---listen.
I did this one on audio and loved the narrator, Polly Stone, she did an awesome job.
I couldn't stop listening and then when it was done, I was sad.
We read this one for bookclub (The Lit Wits) and everyone held the same opinion---it was just so much!   I want to say  so much good, but truthfully, it was a bit Schindler's List-y, from a female perspective.
It was just good.
4 stars.


I am adding Nightingale to my Women's Fiction challenge.  I think it qualifies in a way .
And  A Homemade Life to my Foodies Read challenge--Yay! My first foodie read of the year.



*****************

So, what's up for this week?











Along the Infinite Sea

 
From Goodreads:
Each of the three Schuyler sisters has her own world-class problems, but in the autumn of 1966, Pepper Schuyler's problems are in a class of their own. When Pepper fixes up a beautiful and rare vintage Mercedes and sells it at auction, she thinks she's finally found a way to take care of herself and the baby she carries, the result of an affair with a married, legendary politician.

But the car's new owner turns out to have secrets of her own, and as the glamorous and mysterious Annabelle Dommerich takes pregnant Pepper under her wing, the startling provenance of this car comes to light: a Nazi husband, a Jewish lover, a flight from Europe, and a love so profound it transcends decades. As the many threads of Annabelle's life from World War II stretch out to entangle Pepper in 1960s America, and the father of her unborn baby tracks her down to a remote town in coastal Georgia, the two women must come together to face down the shadows of their complicated pasts.

Indomitable heroines, a dazzling world of secrets, champagne at the Paris Ritz, and a sweeping love story for the ages, in New York Times bestselling author Beatriz William's final book about the Schuyler sisters.
  
 
From Me:
2 story lines,  2 very different story lines, which works for me most of the time. This one was a little bit slow for me at the beginning, but by the half-way mark, I couldn't put it down.
While it is the 3rd book about 3 sisters, it can stand alone (each one can), although I'm so glad I read it last since Williams brings back some characters from the first book, which was also 2 story lines.
It was an enjoyable read.
 
In Goodreads, you only have the option of 1,2, 3,4, and 5 stars.  I gave it a 3.
Some people will say--only a 3?!!  But I loved it!!
3 stars means I liked it!  I really did.  I just didn't love it.
I would have given it  3.8 stars if I were given that option.
 
I am adding this to my Women's Fiction challenge for the year.
 
 
 
 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Saturday Snapshot

 
Saturday Snapshot is hosted by
 
To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post to West Metro Mommy Reads!   Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.
 
 
Last  month, we took a train trip over the Sierra Nevada Mountains to spend the weekend in Sacramento.  One afternoon we were searching for a place to have a drink, when we came upon this door in the middle of downtown---kind of the seedy, always under construction part of downtown.
We had Googled brew pubs and this name Ruhstaller's kept popping up but the address?  We could never find it---we went into one old building and they told us it was outside, around the corner, in the basement.
 
We went that direction, but there was no sign...except for these two:
 
 
 




We rang the bell.  They buzzed us in.
We went down these stairs.... (you can't really see the stairs) down into the concrete, burlap, pallet lined dark dungeon.
 
 


It was trendy and fun and we were the OLDEST people there.  It was the middle of the afternoon, so there were only a handful of people there, but we felt like the token old tourists, who stumbled on the trendy, revolutionary, brew pub.
They were very nice and fun and informative tho....
they had 5 beers on tap only.  FIVE.
I don't remember what I had, but I think between the 4 of us having a couple beers each, we did sample all 5.

And we ate peanuts!
Of course.
 

 
 
 

 
I should have gotten a better photo of the inside of the dungeon/bar, but then I'd REALLY have looked like the old lady tourist!
 

 
 
These are the stairs as we ascended up into the real world.
It was such a fun place.
 
 

 


The Time Between

 
 
 
 
I did it my friends!  
You picked, I read and now I will tell you what I thought.
 
Earlier this month I joined in a monthly meme hosted by Michelle at  Because Reading is Better than Real Life, in which we put up 3 books on the first Saturday of the month, and they you readers, vote on which one I should read, I read and then I write a blog post on the last Saturday of the month.
 
So....here I am!
The book was "The Time Between" by  Karen White.
 
 
 
 
From Goodreads:
Thirty-four-year-old Eleanor Murray is consumed with guilt for causing the accident that paralyzed her sister—and for falling in love with her sister’s husband. But when her boss offers her a part-time job caring for his elderly aunt, Helena, Eleanor accepts, hoping this good deed will help atone for her mistakes.

On the barrier island of Edisto, Eleanor bonds with Helena over their mutual love of music. Drawing the older woman out of her depression, Eleanor learns of her life in Hungary, with her sister, before and during World War II. She hears tales of passion and heartache, defiance and dangerous deception. And when the truth of Helena and her sister’s actions comes to light, Eleanor may finally allow herself to move past guilt and to embrace the song that lies deep in her heart…
 
From Me:
Thank you friends!
Last year I stayed as far away from Women's Fiction as I could.  I'm not sure why, because I've discovered that I really love it.
This book was no exception. I really enjoyed it.    I've only ever read 2 other Karen White books and while this was not my favorite (Long Time Gone was), it was right up there.  There was mystery a bit of romance  (never a bad thing) and just a really good story line.
The story was told in different Points of View---and I always like that.  I just feel I can better put myself into their shoes. 
It's a reflective read, which I also always like.
 
But besides that it was a good read, this meme was really fun for me!
I can't wait till next week for you guys to pick again.
 
And since Women's Fiction is one of my new favorite genre's, I am adding this to my Women's Fiction Reading Challenge, hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.
 
 
 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Friday Friend Recipe #95 -- Pistachio Fruit Salad


Friday Friend Recipe #95 -- Pistachio Fruit Salad

**Grrrr--I am  having trouble with Blogger this afternoon---it won't let me have a bigger font, no matter what???  **

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 #95

Traci's
Pistachio Fruit Salad


This was the hardest thing ever for me to get a photograph of!!
Jello? Spaghetti?  Mushrooms?
I am just not a food stylist, I guess.



As I've said many times, tho---it's about the friends, not the food.
But, we've all had this, right? 
And it's cream, cool and yummy, right?
At least I  think so.
It's delicious  and easy to prepare.


Oops---condensation on my bowl!  I told you I wasn't  a food stylist.


Pistachio Fruit Salad
FF Traci Marques
Los Banos, CA

2 small containers of Cool Whip
2 boxes pistachio instant pudding mix
1 20 oz can fruit cocktail (drained)
1 12oz can crushed pineapple
2 medium bananas--sliced

Mix together cool whip and pudding. Add drained fruit cocktail, pineapple and bananas.
Fold together and refrigerate for several hours. 



One of Traci's recipes, if you recall, was the, first one I made when I decided I would do this countdown.
Mexican Pizza.  You can see that here.
It was really good. Really good.  It made me think, this won't be so bad, all my friends have turned in great recipes, and they have,  but have I ever made it again?  
No.  
Isn't it funny how we tend to get into ruts and only have a standard rotation of 7-10 things? 
I say that, but the  Handyman will say he never gets to eat the same thing 2x, because I am constantly making something new. 
 (He's just thinking of me and this countdown)

I just might have to make this  Mexican Pizza again. Soon.
My mouth is wanting it.
Give me anything that is slightly Mexican in flavor and I'm a sucker!

But back to Traci.

If you've read my blog for any amount of time whatsoever (like yesterday or the day before) you know that I do a LOT of book blogging. I love books, I love blogging.
Sometimes I pick my friends on whether they read books or not.
I read  a lot, and I thought I read fast.
I have a few Friday Friends that read faster than me.
Traci is one of those.... she reads a book usually in one setting.
She  is my idol!  Oh, to read so fast!
She's an elementary school librarian--the dream job!
And...she's a LETTER WRITER!  Consistent for 20 years.
You already know she's my 'go to' friend.  (because of our emails all day long)
 We have sedentary jobs and we encourage each other to 'get out there and walk!" among other things, so when I was asking her for a picture of herself, she made joke about "oh yeah, just like lazy old Garfield, that's what I look like".  (or something like that---I can't quite recall EXACTLY, and did I write it down? No), but then she sent me a picture, cuz she's accommodating like that.
What do I notice in the background tho?
NO, not her glorious, GLORIOUS work space---surrounded by books!!
Rather her computer, where she had sent me a picture of Garfield a moment before when she answered me.

Anyway, there she is!  Lovely Miss Traci, maker of Mexican Pizza and Sausage Stars-- and Pistachio Fruit Salad!  Mmmmmmm!  
Fast Reader, librarian, LETTER WRITER!
She is so many things!
I just love her!





Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Into the Darkest Corner


From Goodreads:
When young, pretty Catherine Bailey meets Lee Brightman, she can't believe her luck. Gorgeous, charismatic, and a bit mysterious, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true.

But what begins as flattering attention and spontaneous, passionate sex transforms into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon discovers that Lee's dazzling blue eyes and blond good looks hide a dark, violent nature. Disturbed by his increasingly erratic, controlling behavior, she tries to break it off; turning to her friends for support, she's stunned to find they don't believe her. Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a meticulous escape.

Four years later, Lee is behind bars and Catherine—now Cathy—is trying to build a new life in a new city. Though her body has healed, the trauma of the past still haunts her. Then Stuart Richardson, her attractive new neighbor, moves in. Encouraging her to confront her fears, he sparks unexpected hope and the possibility of love and a normal life.

Until the day the phone rings . . .
 

From Me:
It was pretty creepy and a page turner.  
Even tho it had an extremely violent theme, I couldn't stop.  I had to keep reading to find out what happened.
Although I do kind of want to check my doors now.
If you like suspense--this is a great read.
If you can't get beyond brutal domestic violence, this is probably not for you.

In one of my book clubs, we have a lady who only likes happy books. 
She is never 'happy' with us when we pick anything other than a cozy mystery.

I discovered this book last week during BBAW--from --- AH MAN!  I can't remember. 
Of course it was on the day we were answering the question:
What have you read and loved because of a fellow blogger?

Well, this will be one of them.  I just can't remember who it is.
3.8 stars.

Monday, February 22, 2016

It's Monday! What are you reading?


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile!

This past week, it's like I discovered GOLD, as in book podcasts and I am addicted to Book Riot's podcasts, so I've been busy listening to back episodes and then writing down all kinds of new books that I want to read.
I must have been hiding my head in the sand to never have listened to these podcasts before!  
They are amazing!

Just what I need tho--more books on my TBR list! They just sound so good!

While I know that my reading includes a wide range of genres, I don't read these two genre's much:
Fantasy  and/or Sci-Fi
Historical Romance
I feel I should now as there were a couple of podcast episodes where they praise them.
Do you have any good recommendations for these genres?
Yes, I'm talking to YOU!

Also, I am now intrigued by sub-genres. (because they talk about them in the podcasts also)
Like  Regency vs Victorian vs Gothic in Historical Romance.

It's because I'm a nerd---but I want to do a book club study and read the three different types and then talk about them.  Not that I have enough time to do another book club, nor would anyone I know here (in my real life) want to join me.  But I can dream, can't I?

So...back to the subject at hand! What have I been reading?


Well.....


Last week I finished:





And this week I'm going to read:
(I've already started a couple of them, and I think they'll be some great reads!)




Happy Reading Week!








My Big Backyard (on Thursday instead of Wednesday)

Because I'm a nerd, I want to see how my backyard changes throughout the year. So! I'm going to take a few pictures of it ea...