Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Good Girl

From Goodreads:

One night, Mia Dennett enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend, but when he doesn't show up, she leaves with an enigmatic stranger. At first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand, but following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life.

From Me:
4 Stars from me!
The Chapters go from past to present and are told in revolving characters/points of view.
It's being compared to  Gone Girl-- and I don't think it's all that similar, just has a great twist.
It's a great debut novel.

Sticky Chicken for Cookbook Countdown, Cookbook Wednesday and a little bit of Hockey Memories

Number 77!!

In my very own Cookbook Countdown!
I am also  linking  this up to Cookbook Wednesday, which at the present is being hosted by Marji at "Modern Day Ozzie and Harriet" (Thanks Marji),  until Louise is back to blogging again at   Months of Edible Celebrations.

As  I said the last time I posted a cookbook for the countdown,  
this isn't even making a dent in my collection.
And it's #77!
This will keep me busy until I die. (posting from each cookbook)
I'm so glad I have a purpose in life!  A goal!  I can never give up!

This week, I whipped up a quick meal from a community cookbook, that my mom had given me a while back.
My nephews have played hockey their entire lives. 
You think I jest, but my nephew Jase, just turned 18 and he's been on the ice since he was 3 years old.
But wait! Before I get to that...
this is the cookbook I pulled off my shelf:

It has easy, easy weeknight meals.
The thing about community cookbooks--they have recipes  turned in by home-cooks,(usually the best of home-cooks) moms of the players,  wives of the cattlemen, Soroptomist business women, Church groups, etc.
We buy them to support a cause.
And usually we can find a recipe or two that is new to us and very good.

This, Sticky Chicken, was new to me.
And... as I expected... very good.

I don't even need to explain it, do I?
It was just good and easy to make after a hard day's work.
The Chicken  has a nice spicy (I used a spicy bbq sauce), sweet flavor.  It's very similar to orange chicken except it was peachy.

A pea strayed!

So, that is my Cookbook #77!
Cross another one off my list!

Now, just let me give a little shout out to my nephews, my brother and sister-in-law, my  parents!

They  spent hours and days and weeks in cold hockey rinks, traveling to and from practices at all hours (you take ice time when you can get it when you live in a town with a semi-pro hockey team and numerous high schools and youth leagues).
And most of all, they supported and encouraged the boys (and girls once in a while) who played youth hockey.
The Handyman and I are desert rats.
We moved away from Washington State years ago, because of HM's job.
No where near an ice rink of any kind.
We missed going to games and seeing my nephew's growing up on the ice.
They literally did.

Jason went from this:

To This--in the blink of an eye!

Jason will graduate from high school next month and his highschool/youth hockey career will be over.
I am so proud of him  (and his older brother)
The last team Jase was on was a traveling Jr hockey  (16 to 22 years old) team call the Outlaws.
So I have a few random photos  to share.

The Handyman and my sister-in-law watching the warm up before the game.
Ice Rinks are COLD!!

My nephew racing out of the penalty box!
Penalties are just part of the game!

And just for fun...
I found these old photos which show my brother and sister-in-law, their first time on the ice!
(haha-- I would not try it at this stage of the game)
But I would buy a cookbook to support the cause!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

All The Light We Cannot See

From Goodreads:

 Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When Marie-Laure is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris, and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge

From Me:
3 Stars.
This book won the Pulitzer Prize?
I hate when everyone loves a book and I just like it.
I feel literary insignificant.
Like I stand on the outside and can't get in.
Okay, maybe that's a bit dramatic... I liked it fine, I  just didn't love it.
There were good things...
It kept my interest.  The writing was good and the author really made me 'see' where his story took place.  I really wanted to see how the two stories (Werner's and Marie-Laure's) would converge.
Then, I was a bit disappointed.  It was so brief.  
But that's just me.  Some of my friends and fellow bloggers loved it.

An interesting side note.  
3 of my book clubs chose this book to read, review, talk about  for this month.
That has never happened before.
Stay tuned and I'll let you know what everyone in my book-clubs thinks of this book!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Food 'n Flix -- Cuban Sandwiches and Lava Cakes (FF Appendix # 6)

Food 'n Flix is a group of bloggers who get together every month to watch a movie, and then head into the kitchen and mix up something inspired by the flick. 

There is always room for another pillow in front of the tellie, and another chair around the table. So if you're a blogger who wants to join in the fun, please feel free to jump in at any moment.
 March's Flick was chosen by Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla.  She has chosen Chef.
I thought of making this grilled cheese sandwich:
I mean listen to the sound of that crunch!!! Look at how  that cheese melt pulls/strings out of the sandwich when he takes a bite!  (for some reason I couldn't embed the scene where he makes the grilled cheese.  It was AWESOME!!)
It was a great choice.
I couldn't make up my mind between Cuban Sandwiches  (obvious choice, I know) and Lava Cakes (because my good friend Mitzi makes them all the time and they are a great dessert!)
So I decided to do both. 

Believe it or not, I had never had a Cuban Sandwich before.  They were great.  I roasted a small pork roast and I finally got to use my grill press!
Which is a big thing since I paid for it about  6 months ago, but have never used it.

As I said-- I just loved this movie!!
It was such a feel good movie-- and if you're a foodie, you are in for a treat.
It's like foodie porn--watching this movie.
In the simplest form, it's about a high end chef who leaves his job and buys a food truck.  But it's so much more than that--it's about relationships too, between friends, parents and children, and wives and husbands.
It's good.
And yes, you will want to eat some amazing food after watching this.

A  recent conversation  at my house about being a foodie:
I made shrimp scampi the other night and I left the shells on the shrimp
(I did it to be ornery to the Handyman, but it does add more flavor)
2 of my sons and 1 daughter-in-law were also having dinner with us.
Handyman is complaining about having to remove the 'easy-peel' shells himself.
I say  foodie in a sentence.
One of my kids says "What is a foodie exactly"
I point to the Handyman, who is still complaining ... "he is not a foodie. He'll even eat a cheesecake out of a box"
I point to me... "I'll cook a roast with a bone-in because that's where you get most of the flavor--from the bone"  (Handyman hates to carve around a bone too).

Or something like that. 
He does like my cooking tho.

And he loved these Cuban Sandwiches!
As did I.
The recipe for these sandwiches is very simple.

Cuban Sandwiches
Compiled from many Googled sites, all are exactly the same, except some have mustard.
I chose the mustard.

1 pork roast (you can Google how to marinade and roast Cuban style if you'd like.  This one didn't say much about that, but I noticed in the movie, they did a marinade.)
I used this from Taste of Cuba dot com:

4 slices of ham
4 slices roast pork
3 slices of Swiss cheese
3 or 4 pickle slices
Yellow mustard (not spicy or dijon)
1/3 cut Cuban bread hard crust (or French bread)


If you can get your hands on fresh, crusty Cuban bread, that would work best. But if not, you can also use a 12 to 16 inch loaf of French Bread, cut in half.

Cut your bread lengthwise into two pieces. Spread mustard on the inside of each half. Layer the ham slices on one piece of bread, then top with the roasted pork. If you don't have sliced pork, "pulled" style roast pork will also work (some restaurants heap it on). Add Swiss cheese on top of the pork, and then add the pickle slices.  Place the other piece of bread on top.

You have two options for cooking your sandwich if you are using an electric sandwich press.  The first option is to use cooking spray on the press before placing the sandwich inside. The tastier option is to brush soft butter on the outside of both pieces of bread.  You will find that it's much easier to spread the butter on the outside of the bread before you actually start adding meat.

Place the sandwich inside of a pre-heated Cuban sandwich press, and press down firmly until the cheese has melted, and the bread is slightly hard to the touch.  If you don't have a press, you can place the sandwich in a hot skillet on the stove, and then press the sandwich down with another frying pan.  Some people, believe or not, use a brick wrapped in tin foil when nothing else is available. 

When finished, the sandwich should be flattened down to less than half the original size.  Slice the sandwich diagonally across the middle, so that you have two triangle-shaped wedges. Buen Provecho! Serves 1.


Moving on to my 2nd choice from the movie--
Chocolate Lava Cakes!

For the 3 of you who read this blog, you will remember that I have a homemade cookbook, which we will call The Friday Friend Cookbook, complete with recipes sent in by my good friends, far and near.  I call them the Friday Friends.
And I am in the process of making every single recipe in that cookbook and blogging about it?  (See that here) and then talking mostly about my friends, and not so much about the recipe, because, let's face it--I like them a lot!
Anyway,  this recipe should have been in that cookbook, but wasn't.
so I am adding it to an appendix.
This is the 5th one that should have been in my cookbook, but wasn't.
Mitzi's Lava Cakes.

I had to laugh, because in the movie, the critic suggested that Lava Cakes were kind of 'hum drum' fare.

I beg to differ!!
These are great.
And easy to make.
I accidentally cooked mine a bit too long.
Mitzi never, EVER cooks her's too long.
She has just the right amount of 'lava'.

 FF Appendix #6  (those recipes which should have been in the Friday Friend Cookbook, but weren't)

Mitzi's Chocolate Lava Cakes
inspired by the movie Chef for Food 'n Flix

She has the addition of instant coffee, which I think is a great taste combination,  chocolate and coffee.
So these are like little molten mocha cakes.
In Mitzi's own handwriting...

In a weird turn of events --- I noticed that Mitzi says she got this from Taste of Home Cooking School in 2008?
In October 2008!
I'll wait till you click on that link.
Isn't that too funny?

Now you can meet my friend Mitzi!
And then you will see that she is an outdoor girl!
I have posts/pictures of her with a snake, with fish, and with birds.

So I thought I'd go back about 9 years to the time we set off to find a waterfall in Northern Nevada!  It's hard to do, but we managed.
We went on a hike to Horse Falls.
The Handyman fell. He fell onto his thumb.  He couldn't do much all day, but he never complained. But if you look in the pictures,  you'll see him holding his hand funny.
Oh...this is about Mitzi, NOT the Handyman.

Us before the hike
We were empty nesters
The Storms were not
They had two little boys to take along.
I was up for that, because while I do like to hike, I am slower than everyone and I figured with a two 1/2 year old and a baby, I wouldn't be the slowest.

Hiking in Nevada looks like this...

Both the waterfall in Nevada and Mitzi!

Funky thumb!
I think he has ice on it ---in the hand he's holding the cup in.
He seriously jammed it bad!

And that's my story!
For Food 'n Flix
for my Friday Friend!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

This and That

This is me and my dad.
He passed away a year ago today.
I miss him very much.
He died suddenly, way too early and way too young (he was 75)
BUT... this post isn't about that... (we are strong in our faith and rich in  friends whom have carried us thru during this cycle of life)... I just wanted to say HEY DAD!

This post is about--THE HOUSE. 
The house I grew up in!!
We sold it today.

My parents bought that house when I was 7 years old...they lived in it for just about 48 years.
It's just a little 1959 built,  box of a house. 
But it was our home.
All of my childhood memories take place there -- it's the only home my brother remembers.
We played OUTSIDE with the neighbor kids in the days you could play outside until dark. 
Kick the Can
Ollie Ollie (what every you call it)
Red Rover
Mother May I?
And a made up game we called Black Cats and Cool Cats.

All those kids are gone now, as are their families. 
My parents and one other family were the old holdouts.
It dawned on my last month when we were up (in Washington) for my mother's memorial (she passed away in December) that I'll probably never see the old neighbors Joyce and Jack again!

The neighbor boy, Gene McLaughlin, will never know where to find me!!!
(he grew up 3 doors down and I used to dance to my parents Nancy Sinatra album These Boots are Made for Walking, on the fireplace hearth, hoping he'd come by and see me and fall madly in love with me!)
(well okay, he's dating an old high school friend of mine, I can find him if I want--but that's not the point.  He used to stop by and visit my parents once in a while--- he has no neighborhood people to visit anymore!!!)

We spent Christmases in that house---many of them!
And lazy summer afternoons.
And football!!  The sound of football games on the TV coming from the living room-- that was my dad!

My parents used to have dance parties in the 60's and 70's, in the basement!!  
Cat eye glasses and clinking cocktail glasses!  My brother and I used to sit on the steps to the basement and listen to them-- we were supposed to be in bed.
Later, BBQ's, babysitting and church swim parties!!
All of my high school dance pictures were taken in front of THAT fireplace!

Then later there were grandchildren, now in their 30's and 20's who only knew that house for their Christmas dinners, Easter dinners, Sunday dinners. OR just hanging out there.
Grandkids could do that as their was a pool table And a swimming pool and a hot tub. (the swimming pool and hot tub came after I left home--for the grandkids)
It was a cool place to be!

I could go on and on.
I am being over-sentimental. 
I know it.

My sister-in-law said last night
I didn't grow up there, but the 25+ years I have spent there makes it home.

And now... 

I am hoping that the new young couple are very excited about their first home together.. and I hope they can make as many great memories there as we have had!
Also---if they tear up the cool 1970's patchwork, piecemeal carpeting in the deep dark basement, I'll be mad!!
(I'm joking!!  I so wanted to redo my parents basement!  Wasn't there a show on HGTV called something like "my parents are stuck in the 70's?"   I always wanted to turn my parents in for that!)

I will miss this place.  

Coolest carpeting ever!
and in pretty good shape after 40 years!


The Look of Love

From Goodreads:
 Born during a Christmas blizzard, Jane Williams receives a rare gift: the ability to see true love. Jane has emerged from an ailing childhood a lonely, hopeless romantic when, on her twenty-ninth birthday, a mysterious greeting card arrives, specifying that Jane must identify the six types of love before the full moon following her thirtieth birthday, or face grave consequences. When Jane falls for a science writer who doesn’t believe in love, she fears that her fate is sealed. Inspired by the classic song, The Look of Love is utterly enchanting.
From Me:
3 Stars.
Well, actually  2.85 stars.
At first, I liked it.
Then I didn't.
Then I did again.
It's a romance/chick lit book, which I don't read a lot of anymore, but it was a fun premise -- Jane, the main character, can see love in couples.  Some who look so happy, really aren't and vica-versa.
All that is fine and it made a good story line... the thing that bothered me  (and there might be a spoiler in here) ... is the infidelity in a couple of the character's  so called 'love' stories.
I know that's just a personal thing. 
I just don't feel that is 'love'...  I think working on a marriage and lasting for 50+ years is love.
But that's just me.
And I'm not judging,  it's just that Jio's story-lines-- the ones that included infidelity, didn't even make sense to me.

Of course (spoiler again)  it all turned out as it should in the end!
Which is how a romance should, right?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Saturday Snapshot

To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken.   Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. 
Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

 A few weekends ago, Shelly, April and I went on a trip to  a distant town.
(okay, only 4 hours away--- in the west that's not very distant, but "a land far, far away, sounds more romantic than a little road trip)

As we drove, we had to stop to (shhhh---to use the bathroom.  Can you say bathroom?  On a blog?  Should I say restroom?  Okay, restroom. NO, we stopped to powder our noses, that's it.)
The Rockhouse advertises its "unique bathrooms" and "great coffee"
It's true!

 Bathroom art!

Getting our coffees

The 'famous' restroom !

Old buildings along the way...

And then...THEN... We came upon... a Winery!!
In the middle of nowhere!
We had to take a detour. 

Long story short?
We bought wine.
we had a nice girls weekend!

Friday friend recipe number 274 and 275-Grapefurit Shrimp Salad and Crispy Potato Chicken

  My Friday Friend Cookbook Countdown #274 and 275 My Mother-in-law's Grapefruit Shrimp Salad and Crispy potatoes . and you know all th...