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.