Saturday, January 27, 2018

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine -- winner of my TBR List

 I love joining 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 then 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.
I am not always as dedicated as I should be-- I miss a lot of months --but I always enjoy it.
(truth be told I am in awe of you dedicated bloggers!)

This is so much fun!
This time the winner was:

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine
by Gail Honeyman

I really loved this book!
I gave it 4 stars, but perhaps it should even be 5 (I am very stingy with my 5 stars tho)
My friend Shelly said:  Sad. Funny. Hopeful. Eleanor is not completely fine, but I think she will be.

That's it!  Exactly.
The book is sad and funny! And hopeful and wonderful! 
Eleanor is quirky and weird and socially awkward -- but there are reasons -- she grows on you and you end up rooting for her,  crying for her and smiling for her.
Eleanor ends up having your heart.

Thanks for choosing for me.  I'll be back next week with another 3 books for you to help me choose from.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Friday Friend Recipe #179 and #180-- Chicken Dressing Casserole and Potluck Potato Salad

Come with me as I continue to countdown my Friday Friend Cookbook!

What is it, you may ask?

In a nutshell...
About 19 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!

Because  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 recipes #179 and #180

Barb's Potluck Potato Salad and Chicken Dressing Casserole

Let's talk about my friend Barbara Brown!
I have no recollection of how it was decided  she would type  up the Friday Friend cookbook.  (but THANK GOODNESS she did, or it might not have ever gotten done).  I mean, the Friday Friend Forum was facilitated by me.  I knew every one, I asked the questions, I cut and pasted and resent answers and stories to everyone.  No one had access to each other without me.
(or maybe they did and I didn't know about it?)
But somehow, someway,  she did all the hard work and typed up the whole thing!  

See below 
It used to be pristine.  Nice and neat and new.
But as you can tell---it is  very well  used by me.
It has stickers and notations and folded corners now.

All these  years later, Barb is not the only one who had the hard, hard work of typing up and making a book --- I feel I'm doing a hard, hard job in MAKING ALL THE DANG RECIPES!
And then Shelly  is doing some hard, hard work  putting all my blog posts on Shutterfly and making me some 'real' cookbooks!
You can see the back of one two photos up--next to the potato salad, which is what this post is supposed to be about. 

Last June, Barb came thru town on her way to the Oregon Coast, and spent a night or two with us.  I made her make her own potato salad--that was in the cookbook. She said it was kind of cheating since I didn't make it, but I said it was okay.
(oh look!  There is the front of a Friday Friend Cookbook that Shelly made for me--on the counter)

I invited Shelly and her husband Lorin and April and her husband Doug over to see Barb and enjoy a real original Friday Friend recipe! I do this every so often--invite them over for a  Friday Friend meal, but never by the original artist!

At this same time, I was watching Otis, my daughter-in-law's dog, while they were out of town.
Let's just say that Otis is not very well socialized (they don't get out a lot is all) and we always thought he was a little aggressive, so I told everyone to not follow the Handyman outside when he was doing the grilling. 
*sigh*  I should have known better. I should have never said a work, because as soon as I said 'dog' and 'don't'   Lorin was going to make friends with Otis no matter what.
And he did.

So  then I got so excited that Otis was not an aggressive dog I began taking pictures of Otis (whom Lorin let into my house!) hanging around people, that I forgot to get a picture of Barb and me and Shelly and April--all FRIDAY FRIENDS!
I got their husbands tho...Lorin outside with Otis, Doug inside with Otis under the table.

And one of Barb (in serious conversation) and Otis.
But--sadly none of four Friday Friends together.  What was I thinking?

The Potato Salad was a hit tho.... 

Oh yeah, she has this really delicious Chicken Dressing Casserole in the cookbook too!
I made this earlier in the year---it's a great comfort food. 
Warm and filling and kind of holiday tasting.

This is recipe #180--only 114 left to go!

I have somewhere in the vicinity of 190 left to go.
One of these days....I'll be done.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Friday Friend Recipe #178 -- Chicken Enchiladas Au Graten

My Friday Friend Cookbook Countdown #175!

Georgann's Chicken Enchiladas Au Graten

and you know all the whys and wherefores of this countdown, right? Homemade cookbook, friends contributed, Handyman said I couldn't/wouldn't do it, I'll show him, yadda yadda yadda....

...and the rest is cookbook history!

A different twist on a popular Mexican-chicken dish!
It was so popular it was entered 2x in the FF Cookbook even.
This one uses Swiss cheese instead of Jack or Cheddar which is what you usually see in an enchilada.
It didn't taste so much Mexican as it did just plain old good.

This is Georgann's  2nd appearance in the Friday Friend Cookbook Countdown.
I worked with Georgann for five years, in an elementary school library,  before we moved away (back to Nevada) and in that time we became good friends.  We had the opportunity to travel a bit to certain library functions, book buying trips and a young readers award convention to name a few things. Georgie is fun to travel with--although she always trusted me more on California freeways more than I trusted myself -- we would shop and visit and laugh together.  We just had only little hang up.  She's the kind of person who wants to share a meal.
That's right.
Share a meal.

I don't want to share a meal.  Ever.  Not even with the Handyman.  
(not that I'll always finish my meal--I do tend to take stuff home--I just don't want to share. I'm weird, I know.  Georgann got used to me thank goodness!)

Georgann is teeny.  The kind of person who 'got so busy, she forgot to eat last night'
I've never forgotten to eat. 😕

Maybe I should have shared more meals with her?!

It is hard for me to find photos with Georgann, because this was way before cell phones.  I did come across these two -- one with me and Georgann about 20 years ago and then one taken at the same time with  Traci Marques, who besides having lots of recipes in the cookbook countdown-- had  the  recipe to start the whole thing!  It was #1 in the countdown.
Georgann has since retired and Traci is an elementary school librarian counting the days till retirement!

You can see all of Georgann's recipes here.
You can see all of Traci's recipes here.

This is recipe #178--only 116 left to go!
I was checking off how many entries I had left for each person/Friday friend (as to not saturate at the end with one person) and something wasn't adding  up to me, so I did a recount and there are 376 recipes left!!!
I was devastated!  And I wrote so on Facebook -- which you know, you should never post anything serious on there --and this wasn't, I was exaggerating (slightly), it was more like "ugh!  You're kidding me right?"
But some of my friends took me literally.
What...they can't understand sarcasm on Facebook?  sheesh!
If I were really devastated, I wouldn't be posting it on Facebook.  Just so you know.

Now I know that you'll all be DEVESTATED to not have a correct countdown for now... because when I counted the 376, I didn't take into account the few recipes that  are entered into different sections -- this one for instance, was entered into both Mexican and chicken sections.
So... this is recipe #178, but I have only an estimate of how many I have left to go....
194?  196?  189?
I hope you'll stay with me for the ride!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Friday Friend Recipe #176 and #177 -- Tortilla Pinwheels and Mini Chili Rellenos

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 18 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... recipes #176 and 177

Barb's Mini Chili Rellenos and Tortilla Pinwheels

I sometimes find it hard to know what to say about the food I make (and this is why I'm not a food writer), but if you are in need of a new or different appetizer to make, you should give these a try--they are really good!

These are Barb's recipes.  And here is Barb in a sweater.

I have no words for what happened next.  I really don't.
There might have been gin and tonic involved.

Okay, so I think what happened is that Doug's mom made this sweater/cardigan and gave it to him for Christmas.  As he readily admits, it just wasn't 'right' for him. 
I still have no idea what the rest of us were doing tho!
I can guarantee you that their daughter Kim and our son Mark were glad they were not there....cuz everybody plays at the Brown's!

This is recipe #176 and #177--only 117 left to go!

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...