Thursday, December 23, 2010

Potato Soup

Working on a lower fat version of potato soup, and combining a few recipes and making some swaps, here's what I came up with, and we thought it was pretty good.

2 cups diced potatoes, with some of the peel, boiled until tender
1/4 cup butter (I used the "blend" of butter and olive oil)
2 cups finely diced yellow onions
1/2 cup flour
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup instant potato flakes
3 cups skim milk
1 cup low fat sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp tobasco
1 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt, pepper to taste

Saute the onions in the butter for about 10 minutes or longer until very tender. Mix in the flour, and cook for another few minutes, stirring until the four is absorbed.  Heat up the stock and stir in the potato flakes.  Add this mixture slowly to the onions.  Add milk, sour cream, cheeses and seasonings and cook until bubbly and thickened.  Add in the potatoes right before serving.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Apricot Bread Mix in a Jar - Gift!

I made these apricot bread mixes for some associates at work.  They are easy, and a nice present, I think!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Muffaletta Salad

I made this Muffaletta Salad for our "pot luck" today at work.  It tasted really good, except I don't think I would use the food processor the next time.  My food processor just smushed everything up, even though I didn't run it very long.  I think just chopping the veggies -- maybe processing the first 7 ingredients for the dressing -- would be better.  I didn't use the Bibb lettuce cups, but otherwise, I followed the recipe.  Yummy.

The picture's not mine, it's from the web site.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Crunch

Made this today for a family birthday party tonight.  I smells good; I hope it tastes as good.  The store was out of pumpkin, so I used pumpkin pie filling, and left out the sugar and pumpkin pie spice.  Hope it turns out OK.  It looks pretty in the pan.  I'm not a big fan of plain old pumpkin pie, but I like the flavor of pumpkin, so this should be good. Here's  link to the recipe.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pasta House Pasta con Broccoli

I made this pasta dish tonight for dinner and we liked it.  I used real garlic (instead of garlic powder), sauteed with the fresh mushrooms (don't really like canned mushrooms.) I used milk instead of the half & half, but added 1/2 cup of low fat sour cream to make it a little more rich.  I also added about 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.  Very tasty.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Potato, Broccoli, Corn Chowder

I made some really tasty soup.  I boiled 5 potatoes, chopped in cubes.  I sauteed onions & garlic and made a white sauce (flour, vegetable stock, milk, salt & pepper), adding 1/2 cup sour cream, 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp. chili powder, 1 Tbsp. tomato paste, a sprinkle of hot sauce and some cayenne pepper.  After that thickens, add 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese, 1/2 c. parmesan cheese, the boiled potatoes, about 2 cups of chopped broccoli (I used frozen that I cooked in the potato water) and 1 cup of frozen corn.  Add more milk or vegetable stock if it's too thick.  We liked it!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Carrot Pesto Bake

I got a new cookbook from the bargain rack at Borders, The Essential Vegetarian CookbookI make my first dish from the cookbook, and while it wasn't a big hit, I think it has potential.  Basically it was a lasagna, where the sauce is a white sauce with cheddar cheese, shredded carrots, and pesto.  The recipe didn't call for any salt -- which was a mistake. Also, I would have liked the carrots to be cooked before baking in the pasta -- so they were softer.  I think you could substitute other veggies or a mix of veggies in place of the carrots -- broccoli, peas, or spinach, maybe.  I think a little hot sauce would be good, too.  If I make this again, it will be a little modified.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

This Year's Christmas Ornaments

Every year I make Christmas ornaments for my family and try to have them done to give them at Thanksgiving.  Usually involving using my embroidery machine.  This year's ornaments use a pattern from Embroidery Library.  I'm really happy with how they turned out.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Embroidered Towels

My mom redecorated her bathroom and asked me to embroider some towels for here.  I thought they turned out pretty.  These were built-in patterns in my machine.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Camping Trip and a simple recipe

Went camping for a 4-day weekend.  It was heavenly -- beautiful.  Kind of sad, since it's the last trip of the season.  Now we have to clean up and put away the camper.  Hopefully we'll be back at it in March, or April at the latest.

The weather was perfectly "fall."  We saw lots of deer, and that kept Mollie (our dog) entertained.  Also the thousands of squirrels running around.  You'd think she'd get used to it, but each squirrel seems to be important to her!

I made a simple spaghetti casserole and I wanted to tell you how I did it.  I was going for a lasagna-type dish, only simple.

First layer (8 x 8 inch pan):  10 oz. spaghetti, cooked.

Second layer:  8 oz. low-fat cottage cheese, one egg, beaten, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, salt & pepper.

Third layer:  Mozzarella cheese

Fourth layer:  Spaghetti sauce.

Bake until bubbly!

Suggested additions:  You could add a layer of veggies (zucchini, egg plant, spinach, or a mixture.)  Also, you could certainly put meat in the sauce or use "meat crumbles."

I don't have a picture of the food, so I'll post some of the camping.

This one was taken out of the camper window!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl

Personally, I don't like my soup in a bread bowl, but my husband loves it this way.  So he gets his in a bread bowl and I take mine in a ceramic bowl with bread on the side.  That way, I don't eat too much bread, either.  I made Browny's Clam Chowder.  I didn't put celery in, because I didn't have any.  I used butter instead of the bacon.  I had to add a significant amount of salt, probably because of the absence of the bacon.  I used low-fat sour cream instead of the half and half.  And non-fat milk.  We really thought this turned out great!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Authentic Thai Peanut Sauce

This sauce is wonderful and I have some left over for other things.  I just sauteed some veggies, added some peanuts and spaghetti and poured the sauce over it.  Yummy!  Add some hot sauce if you want it spicy.  Get the recipe here.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Spicy Apple Bars

Going to a bonfire tonight and I think these Spicy Apple Bars will be a great treat.  I made them just like the recipe except used 1/2 Splenda and 1/2 sugar.  Also, I'm not a fan of walnuts so I used pecans.  They have a stong fall spice taste, but the bits of tart apple just make these bars delicious!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Vegetable Soup

This Quick Fall Minestrone has something for everyone.  I told my family, if you don't like something, pick it out.  It has a really good flavor.  I read all the comments on the original recipe and I added a can of tomato paste, a jalapeno pepper, and used 8 cups of vegetable broth. I followed the recipe for the rest.

This was  a hearty soup that required a lot of chopping, so if you aren't interested in chopping, try  a different recipe!  I served the soup with garlic cheese bread.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Three Cheese Mac n Cheese

Tried a new recipe for mac n cheese -- risky in my house, because they are all fans of "the box" (yuk.)  This is also a bit healthy, but not really very low fat. I made it just like the recipe (with the full fat evap milk!)  It was a success.  Very tasty.

Sorry -- this picture doesn't look very good.  It tastes better than the picture looks!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Apple Recipes

I tried a few new apple recipes and I thought they were worth posting.  The first was Bread Pudding Apple Pie.  It turned out rather cakey, but moist and full of apples.  I didn't put it in a crust -- just baked it in a pie pan.

I wanted something for breakfast instead of the banana bread or muffins I usually make, so I made some Apple Cinnamon Scones.  They aren't very sweet, but I like that.  They are moist, though, and good with coffee!

It's apple season!  Give these a try.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cheap Scarf

This scarf came from a thrift store dress that I paid about $5 for.  I think it's pretty, and I have a lot it will go with.  I just cut strips from the front and back of the dress, so the scarf does have a seam in it, then I narrow hemmed the long edges.  It is important the the fabric look the same from the wrong side.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Tater Crust Tuna Pie

We really like this recipe.  I make it often, but the name always gives us a chuckle.  My husband calls it "'Possum Pie."  Anyway, it's got some fat in it, but it tastes good.  Tater Crust Tuna Pie is a Taste of Home recipe that I got in a crate full of recipe cards many years ago.  But I found the recipe on the internet so I could share it with you.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tilapia with Hash Browns

This sounded like a really strange combination when I read the recipe, but I decided to try it.  We really liked it.  I used fresh green peppers because I didn't have any roasted red peppers.  It was a nice combination.  Here's the link for Tilapia with Hash Browns.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Baked Chiles Rellenos with Smoky Tomato Sauce

I found this recipe in Vegetarian Times Magazine. It was really tasty, but I think it would be better as a side dish.  It doesn't have any protein or many carbs in it -- maybe you could add some rice or something to the filling to make it more substantial.  It was quite a bit of work for a side dish.

Also, I don't really think it's necessary to roast the poblanos before you stuff and bake them.  They got really mushy and ripped quite a bit when I removed the seeds.  I ended up brushing the egg onto the peppers after they were stuffed and then sprinkling the panko crumbs on top.

The sauce was very spicy, but I used a very big chipotle pepper, so cut down on that if you don't like it so spicy.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

New T-Shirt

I made this t-shirt using Kwik Sew #3790.  I really like the way it turned out -- it fits well.  I may make some more of these.  I used the serger for part of the construction -- I haven't used my serger for a while -- It's in desperate need of a tune up.  So I added that to my list . . .

It's hard to tell from the picture, but my t-shirt is backwards from the pattern.  Be sure you put the pattern pieces on the right side of the fabric -- several pieces are cut out from a single layer.  If you do put the first piece on the wrong side, make sure you put the REST of the pieces on the wrong side, and then whenever it says "left" in the instructions, you have to think "right."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Recipes

I've made a few new recipes that I wanted to tell you about.  First, I made " Doc's Corn and Potato Chowder" but I made a few changes.  I used fresh veggies, not frozen. I used soy milk and fat-free evaporated milk.  I added a couple teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning and about a cup of cheddar cheese.  I didn't have the roasted garlic mushroom soup so I used regular cream of mushroom and added some garlic to the veggies.  I thought it turned out really tasty.

Tonight I made "Orzo and Artichoke Hearts" and it was a little different, but we liked it.  I used jarred roasted red peppers.  I really didn't know what they meant by "mini red and yellow peppers." And I used real mozzarella instead of vegan cheese.

I heard on the news that President Clinton has changed to a no animal protein diet.  He's lost 20 pounds.  You know he's had heart problems so it's probably a good thing for him.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I've "changed my operation"

My son used to say that when he was little -- he would tell me "I'm going to change my operation."  I've decided that I want to split my blog into two separate blogs -- one for books and the other for hobbies and other musings.  Books are really more than a hobby to me.  It's part of my job, and my calling.  I'm trying to become a more serious book blogger, so I can join other book bloggers in activities, organizations, etc.  Some of these activities require "followers" so please become an official follower, if you are so inclined.

The new blog is called The More You Read, The More You Will Know and I hope you enjoy it.  There will always be a link to the blog on the left side of this one, under "My Blog List."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Southwestern Tortilla Soup

I really like these types of soup.  This recipe was from  I added a cup of cheddar cheese, and some Morningstar Farms Meal Starters chicken strips.  I could have left the chicken strips out -- they were really mushy.  But the soup was really good otherwise.  I really like the beefy crumbles meal starters, but haven't had much luck with the chicken strips.  Anyone have any suggestions?  I need some type of fake chicken.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Review Copy -- Death Benefits

Here's my first review of a book that hasn't been published yet -- I received a review copy from the publisher to review.

Royce is miserable. He’s been moved from Nova Scotia to Vancouver (pretty much all the way across the country, for those of you unfamiliar with Canadian geography) because his grandfather can no longer take care of himself. Royce is not attending high school because, after contracting mono he missed so many days that he talked his mom into letting him stay home until the next school year. I thought this situation was a bit contrived (what mom would agree to such a thing) but it makes the story work.

Death Benefits, by Sarah Harvey, is a story about a teenage boy growing up and realizing that his struggles are not that different from his ninety-five year old grandfather’s. Nina, Royce’s mom, has had such bad luck keeping caregivers for Arthur (Royce’s cantankerous grandfather) that she hires Royce to take care of Arthur for six hours every day, Monday through Friday. Royce is in it for the money. His intention is to buy a car and get back to his friends in Nova Scotia as quickly as possible, and surviving his grandfather’s verbal abuse and vicious mood swings is the fastest way to do it.

Of course, the relationship becomes much more. Royce does his best to understand his grandfather’s mood swings – and begins to realize his grandfather’s unhappiness is not that far from Royce’s. “Why does everyone treat him like his brain’s as feeble as his body? I mean, yeah, sometimes the cogs slip, but most of the time he knows exactly what’s going on. He just doesn’t like it very much. I know how that feels.” Royce begins to understand his grandfather (who is a famous cellist) when he explores the many old photo albums in his grandfather’s closet.

This book was enjoyable to read. Arthur’s character is very real – if anyone has ever dealt with aging parents or grandparents, his character rings true. Royce is a bit too good to be true, but his maturation throughout the story is satisfying. I’m not sure how appealing this story will be to teens. I think it will take some marketing on the part of teachers and librarians. I believe girls, especially, will enjoy the book, but I don’t think they’ll pick up a book that’s about a teenage boy babysitting his 95-year-old grandfather without some prodding. A very heartwarming, satisfying read.

This review has also been posted to my librarything account:

Thursday, September 9, 2010


It took me a while to get into the book Incarceron, by Catherine Fisher.  It was very confusing, but I think that was by design.  Sometimes I think, after I complete a really good book (Ten Cents a Dance)  that it takes a while to get into any new book because my mind is still in the last enjoyable throes of that reading.

Incarceron is a science fiction adventure book.  Apparently there are two different worlds -- a prison world, where many years ago all the "bad" people were sent, and the "real" world, which apparently by decree is stuck in the 19th century.  Everyone in the "real" world thinks that the prison is a utopia.  But as the reader finds out, it is far from it.

The books is about these two worlds coming together to find out about each other -- through just a few characters.  The author has designed some very imaginative technological systems that make the book very enjoyable and entertaining.  Young sci-fi readers will definitely enjoy and will clamor for the sequal, which comes out in December.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Some sewing and some cooking . . .

I made a cute skirt for "back to school."  It was really simple, and I like the way it turned out. 

I also made a pasta casserole that everyone really liked.  It was even good left over.  Here's what I did.

Boil 8 oz of macaroni.

Saute some green pepper, garlic, and mushrooms in a little olive oil until soft.  Add one jar of marinara sauce, one can of tomato paste, and a couple of tablespoons of sugar.  Let the sauce simmer to get the flavors to come together.

Into the warm, drained macaroni, add 1/2 cup fat free sour cream, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, 4 wedges of laughing cow light Swiss cheese, some salt and pepper.  Place macaroni mixture in the bottom of a casserole dish.  Top with one to two cups of shredded Monteray jack cheese.

At the last minute, add a package of soy "meat" crumbles to the tomato sauce.  I use Morningstar Meal Starters.  Pour the sauce on top of the macaroni and cheese.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until bubbly.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ten Cents a Dance

I know I've said it before, but I love historical fiction.  This book takes place right before and right after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  The author, Christine Fletcher, does a great job of setting the mood and the scene.  The main character, Ruby, is a sixteen-year-old in Chicago who has been forced because of family circumstances to quit school and go to work in the meat packing industry.  Totally disgusting.  When she finds out about an opportunity to be a "Taxi Dancer," she lies to her mom, and begins to lead a double life.  These dancers make quite a bit more money, but they walk a fine line between simply dancing and becoming a prostitute.  Ruby grows up very fast.  She makes mistakes, but she's savvy and spunky and this is a very satisfying read.  My own mother was about Ruby's age, and although she was a farm girl and didn't lead a double life, the stories of life during the war, the rationing, the stars in people's windows, and the constant worrying were situations that my mother and her family also dealt with.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Cute Sign

I finally got a sign made for our camping spots.  I think it turned out really cute.  The pattern is from Embroidery Library.

I've tried to find embroidery patterns of a fifth-wheel, but haven't found any I'm happy with yet, so I thought the beach scene was appropriate, because no matter where we are, if we're in the camper, I feel like I'm on a beach vacation in Cancun!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Cheddar Corn Chowder and more . . .

I made an Ina Garten recipe for Cheddar Corn Chowder the other night.  It was good, and I tried to make it a little healthier than her recipe.  I left out the butter.  I used vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.  I used skim milk instead of the half and half and added 1/2 cup fat free sour cream, some hot sauce, and some extra salt.  (I halved the recipe, so you would have to add a cup of sour cream, if you were making the whole batch.) I also used jarred roasted red peppers instead of fresh red pepper. I'm sure it wasn't as rich and creamy as the original recipe, but it tasted great.  And I was guilty enough about the bacon fat, so I just couldn't do the cream!

Last night I made "Cheesecake Factory" Crab Cakes with remoulade sauce.  They tasted so good -- but they fell apart while I was frying them.  Probably had something to do with the fact that I only used an egg white instead of the whole egg.  I'll do better next time. The remoulade sauce was so good I need to think of some other stuff to put that on . . .

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Very good sci-fi book.  I liked Skinned by Robin Wasserman because it was a look at what the future could be, and it made me uncomfortable.  The premise is that you can get a new computerized body and download the contents of your brain.  Wasserman thought of a lot of details about the complexities of this existence that made it seem real (and unpleasant.)  This book takes place in the future, after nuclear devastation, disease, plagues, and floods.  You name it.  There is a strict cast system in place.  There are drugs to change your mood to whatever you want.  She describes a lot of futuristic technology (some maybe not so far in the future.)  I thought this book did a good job of setting the scene and provided a lot of food for thought about what is "life?" This is the first book in a trilogy, and the other two books are already out, I believe.  I think some good companion reads would be Uglies by Westerfeld or Unwind by Shusterman.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Really Good Murder Mystery

The Aniversary Man by R.J. Ellory was one of the best murder mysteries I've ever read.  It keeps you guessing until the end.  It's about a copycat serial killer.  And, I didn't realize until the end of the book, that all the serial killers in the book are real, or as real as Ellory could make them.  It was easy to read, although it took me a while to get used to all of his sentence fragments, but I really had trouble putting the book down.  I would highly recommend this one.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Some sewing projects

I make most of my husband's boxers.  I enjoy doing it -- it's an easy, quick project.  I almost always use fabric from my stash (sometimes they are very outlandish!) so they are also cheap -- I only have to buy the elastic.  Since my embroidery machine was working ferociously this weekend, I took the opportunity to make some boxers.  This was old fabric, left over from some project for my son (he's 20 now, and this is SPACE JAM fabric) so it has been in my stash for awhile.

I also sewed up some flannel pajama pants for my daughter.  This fabric was purchased for this project, but I think it was probably purchased at least a year, and maybe two years ago.  They turned out warm and soft!

How would my life be better with a NEW serger?

Off and on, I've been looking at sergers.  My serger is, the best I can calculate, about 18 years old.  I purchased it right after "differential feed" was introduced.  It  has served me well, but it is very cumbersome to thread and adjust the stitches.  I find I use it less and less, because my regular sewing machine is newer, and I'm not enthused about using my "antique." The new sergers are so much EASIER and have so many more features.  Coverstitching would be a dream come true.  In all my dreams, I've never even considered that I would ever have a Husqvarna serger!  The cream of the crop, as far as I'm concerned.  I'm dreaming of all the knit fabrics I could sew . . . the cloth napkins I could make . . . 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Embroidered baskets

I'm very happy that I finally finished embroidering my baskets in my sewing room.  This has been going on for probably close to a year.  I did the last three today, and I'm pleased with the way they turned out.

They were done with patterns from Embroidery Library.

Another summer project

I found 4 sets of dish towels embroidered by my husband's grandmother.  They were just in a box with a bunch of stuff in storage at the farm.  These are the really nice, big, linen dish towels embroidered with the days of the week (or the "chores" of the week.)  They were yellowed and stained and really looked like they probably should be trashed.  I have never had the opportunity to try the "magic potion" for getting the yellow stains out of old linens.  There are various recipes but they all usually involve "Biz."  So, I used the internet and picked my formula.  I filled a big plastic tub out on my deck with hot water and a strong solution of Biz and Oxyclean.  I put all the towels in the solution and left them there for over 24 hours.  Several times I went and stirred them up.  I could see the water getting yellow as the towels became whiter!  I wrung them out the best I could and put them in my washer to rinse only.  I hung them to dry.

I was really pleased with the results.  I can find a few small spots and discolorations if I really look for them, but the difference is astounding.  I should have taken a "before" picture, but of course I never thought of that.  I plan to give a set to each of my sisters-in-law.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Isn't this just the cutest thing you've ever seen?  Embroidery Library had book lovers patterns this week.  I think I bought them all! Hopefully not many of my friends and family look at this, because I think I will make some of these for gifts.

I have been doing quite a bit of sewing lately, I just haven't had a chance to take pictures of my projects.  I'll be posting some more of my creations soon!

Friday, August 27, 2010

An interesting mystery

The Brutal Telling, by Louise Penny, is my latest read.  I really enjoyed this mystery which is the sixth of her "Chief Inspector Gamache" series.  He's a detective in Canada.  The setting is a little village in Canada that is richly described and each and every character has a unique and well-defined persona.  I like the fact that you aren't sure who committed the hideous murder until the end, and the path of discovery really kept my interest.  This book also made me want to visit the Queen Charlotte Islands, off of the coast of Canada, but I'm not sure I could survive the airplane ride to get there.  I would give another Inspector Gamache novel a try sometime, I think.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Freefall, by Ariela Anhalt was a very good young adult novel.  Luke and Hayden are best friends at a private high school.  During an initiation rite that involves jumping off a cliff, the new kid, Russell is pushed/falls off the cliff and dies.  That's the question -- did he fall or was he pushed.

The turmoil that Luke goes through during the rest of the book is painful to read.  He can't talk to anyone, he loses all of his friends, and just really becomes a totally different person.  I thought this was very realistically portrayed, and I felt his pain in my gut.

I think young adult readers will like this book, and it should provide some excellent moral quandaries for discussion.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Two New Recipes and Dessert

Tonight I tried Jammin' Salmon Burgers and Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, both Food Network recipes. We really enjoyed the whole meal.  Here are the minor changes I made:

For the burgers, I didn't use grape seed oil, just canola oil.  Didn't have fresh dill, so used dry.  I served these on our "healthy" whole wheat thin buns with lettuce.

For the salad (possibly the best pasta salad I've ever had), I didn't have capers so I used a couple of green olives.  I didn't have fresh mozzarella, so I just used the regular stuff.  I used bow tie pasta and I FORGOT the parmesan and the basil -- I'm so mad about that -- I'm sure it would have been good and I have a lovely basil plant out on my deck!!  I'm going to put some basil in for the leftovers, but I don't really think the parmesan is necessary.  I will probably just put 1/2 a cup in.

For dessert, Strawberry Banana Frozen Yogurt.  After I made the peach last week, I just had to keep going, and this was wonderful.  I used frozen strawberries, and a frozen banana (I freeze them after they get too ripe and use them for banana bread, etc.)  I cooked them with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup Splenda -- I still haven't got up the nerve to try all Splenda.  The peach I made last week froze SO hard, that I wondered what I did wrong.  After doing a little research, I decided that I needed some fat in the yogurt.  All the recipes said to use full fat yogurt or to add a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream.  I don't even know what full fat yogurt is.  Every yogurt at my grocery store says low fat.  So, after the fruit cooled and I mashed it up real well, I added 2 cups of vanilla yogurt (low fat) and 2 tablespoons of cream.  The finished product hasn't been in the freezer long enough for me to tell if the fat made a difference, so I'll let you know.

I haven't dirtied that many dishes in a long time! These recipes are definitely worth a try.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Raven Summer

I like the way David Almond writes.  It's easy to read and the message doesn't slap you in the face, it's subtle and usually I think about his books for some time after I've finished them.  I've not read Skellig yet but I enjoyed Clay.  I also enjoyed Raven Summer.  The cover really draws your attention to the book, with the little baby's hand.  The story begins with the main character finding a baby abandoned.  But the baby is only the catalyst that allows him to meet the other characters in the book, that allow the story to unfold.  You'll be surprised where it takes you.  I very often read books without reading the back or the flap, then I'm really surprised, as in this case, and the message and tone of the book was unexpected, but enjoyed.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Spectacular Now

This book, The Spectacular Now, by Tim Tharp was a finalist for the national book award and I don't know why.  The main character, Sutter, is a high school senior and an alcoholic.  He is constantly drinking and never wants the think past today (the "Spectacular Now.)  He's always the hit of the party and keeps everyone laughing.

The book is written in the first person and reminds me of The Catcher in the Rye, which I didn't like very much either.  Sutter, predictably, can't keep a girlfriend, or even a close boy friend.  He hooks up with a very shy, nerdy girl (Aimee) who falls in love with him because he's the only person who has ever shown any interest in her.  Aimee starts drinking with him. 

I won't give the "ending" away, but not much happens.  I don't get the message of this story.  Is it, "High school drunks shouldn't corrupt quiet shy nerds?"  That's not a very powerful message, in my opinion.

Monday, August 16, 2010

More Peaches!

I made the most delicious Peach Frozen Yogurt with fresh peaches from the orchard.  It was easy!  I've made ice cream several different times, but this is the first time I tried frozen yogurt.  I used fat-free greek yogurt -- after reading a bit about making frozen yogurt, I think you need a little fat -- it freezes REALLY hard, and if there were more fat in it, it would be more creamy.  But it tastes great!  I also didn't use the vanilla sugar the recipe called for -- I used vanilla yogurt.