Saturday, September 29, 2012

Weekend Cooking: Simple Asian Meals by Nina Simonds



I picked up Simple Asian Meals to find quick weeknight dinners. There are plenty to choose from except I picked the one meal that took longer than 30 minutes to make: Sumptuous Balsamic-Glazed Short Ribs with Garlic. I've been on a short rib kick. I love how tender and flavorful they can be. But this recipe takes about 3 hours to make. Not something I'd make on a Tuesday night but it was a delightful Sunday night supper.
It was fairly easy to make but it did take a long time to cook. But the meat was super tender and delicious. I would make this again.
I have a few other recipes earmarked to try like Saucy Hoisin Pork Roll Ups and Seared Black Bean Chicken over Crisp Noodles. Overall great cookbook.


Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

This was my eleventh read for Foodies Read 2 Challenge.

Friday, September 28, 2012

October Pin It and Do It Challenge

It's time again for Pin It and Do It Challenge hosted by Trish of Love, Laughter, and A Touch of Insanity.
As you know I'm obsessed with Pinterest and super excited to be participating in this challenge again. Just like August, I'll be going for the Pin Obsessed level (8+) and going to try to make at least 3 non food pins (crafts, cleaning, etc).
I hope you join in too. It's a lot of fun to actually make those things we pin!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lola and The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins


After reading Anna and The French Kiss, I knew I had to read Lola and the Boy Next Door. I’m glad I did. The book left me with a smile on my face.
While I didn’t always agree with Lola, I liked her. I admit I’m in awe of people who wear crazy outfits (retro dresses, rocker boots, vintage duds). Plus she wears wigs. I have always wanted to be the type of person who wore wigs. If I were 17 I would want to be Lola in a heartbeat. I liked that she had the courage to wear whatever she liked and the creativity to design her own outfits. At first I liked Max. I thought it was cool that he went to brunch with her parents and tried to be a good boyfriend despite the obstacles. As the book wore on, my opinion changed. I didn’t like him so much but you weren’t suppose to. In fact you were supposed to be screaming at the book, begging Lola to dump him. Lindsay, Lola’s best friend, was cool. I wish she would have gotten fleshed out a little more. I was super excited that Anna and St. Clair were supporting characters. I wouldn’t call them cameos. I liked how Anna and St. Clair fit into Lola’s world. I loved how super involved Lola’s parents are. Overprotective, but involved. I hate it when teens are running around and there’s no parents at all (I’m looking at you, Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist). Lola’s parents (two gay men) demand to know where she is at all times, demand to know her friends and boyfriend, but they are there for Lola no matter what. Some of the best parents in YA book right behind Mr & Mrs Wolfe (Underdog by Markus Zuzak).
Then there is Cricket. I love how Perkins writes these crazy perfect guys. Cricket is exactly what I would have wanted at 17 and probably been too blind to see. Totally adorable, geeky. Sigh, Cricket. And seriously if that's supposed to be him on the cover, I need a better definition of stylish guy. Nothing wrong with a plaid shirt but in my mind, Cricket pulled it off with some flare. 
Again plenty of teen drama and angst but Lola gets her HEA so I was pleased. Seriously, I grinned like a goofball for more than half the book. As you probably figured out, I loved it. Loved it just as much as Anna and The French Kiss. Read it. Others who shared their thoughts on Lola and The Boy Next Door: A Room With Books, Books Devoured, Midnight Coffee Monster, Library Queue, My Overstuffed Bookshelf, Fluttering Butterflies, and Reading In Winter.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Library Loot


Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Another big haul of books. I had the opportunity to go to four different libraries this week. I can't help but browse the shelves at each of them.
I spotted this one on Lisa's blog over the weekend. She mentioned a couple of recipes I wanted to try so I added it to my library queue.
Born Under A Million Shadows
This one caught my eye on the shelf.
Low Carb Meals In Minutes
Looking for quick lunch and dinner ideas here.
Let Them Eat Cake
This one looked light and fun.
How To Eat A Cupcake
Another one that looked light.
More Make It Fast, Cook It Slow
I'm a huge fan of O'Dea's website, A Year of Slow Cooking. I read it religiously when she was doing the crockpot meal a day. I still read it even though she publishes less frequently. I've already got a few meals marked to try.
The Winter Sea
After hearing nothing but good things about Kearsley's books, I finally picked one up!
The Not Yet
An interesting looking dystopian book set in New Orleans.
Her Fear Symmetry
I've had this on my tbr list forever.
Suite Fran├žaise
One for my Fill In The Gaps Challenge.
Bossypants
I'm a huge Tina Fey fan. I can't believe I waited so long to pick this one up.
Bunheads
I've seen some good reviews of this one so I wanted to try it.
The Treachery of Beautiful Things
Squee! I'm super excited for this one!

What did you get this week?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Series I Haven't Finished

Top Ten Tuesday  is an original feature/weekly meme created  at The Broke and the Bookish.

Today's topic is those series that I haven't finished yet either because I didn't like them or I'm just procrastinating. 


I read the first book in this series. Just haven't gotten around to the second.
I read the first one 2 years ago and still have not gotten the second in the series. I enjoyed the first one.
I read the first in the series two years ago and just didn't enjoy it enough to continue. Sad cause I heard a lot of good things about it.
I had mixed feelings about continuing this series. I liked some of the characters but not sure if I liked them enough to continue.
Another one I was mixed on. I enjoyed parts of the Iron Thorn but still unsure about continuing the series. 
Another series I should be reading. Just haven't gotten around to it.
I really enjoyed the first one of this series. I just haven't gotten around to picking up the second. 
Again another one I enjoyed but I haven't gotten around to the second in the series or reading more Briggs.
Just didn't care for this one.
I know I read this one a few years ago. Sadly I remember the movie more clearly. I don't know why I didn't continue the series. I might have to start over. 

What series are you behind in? Is there a certain series you just couldn't get into?

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Queer And Pleasant Danger by Kate Bornstein

A Queer and Pleasant Danger caught my eye. I can't remember where I saw it. But I'm glad I decided to read it. Kate does a great job of explaining her history in such a humorous way.
Kate was born Albert Bornstein. Albert grew up in a typical Jewish household in New Jersey. As a young boy, Al knew that he was different. He didn't feel like a boy, he felt like a girl in a boy's body. But he spent his youth trying to reconcile his feelings with his body. He develops an eating disorder in high school that helps him feel more feminine. After college, Al drives across country and winds up in Denver where he's introduced to Scientology. I found the whole Scientology piece fascinating. I don't know much about Scientology (which has changed since Al was a member). I loved learning about while Al immersed himself in it. Al traveled around the world, met interesting people and learning more about himself.
Al eventually becomes Katherine (Kate) and spends a lot of time ruminating on the meaning of gender. Kate's written books exploring the topic of gender and put on plays and productions about gender. At the end of A Queer and Pleasant Danger, Kate realizes that she's not entirely a woman nor is she entirely a man. She didn't say it but she was talking about the third gender. I had a hard time putting A Queer and Pleasant Danger down. Kate's story was appealing. A life long search for who she really was. Plus the stories of those she connected to. I'd love to read Catherine/David's story.
My favorite thing about A Queer and Pleasant Danger was that Kate tried to be honest, as honest as possible. When she didn't remember a timeline, she would say so. When she believed someone else's lies and presented them as truth, she would say so. When she embellished, she would say so. But this memoir isn't for me. Kate wrote her memoir for her estranged daughter and two estranged grandchildren who are still a part of Scientology. While Kate was still Al, he was excommunicated from Scientology. That whole story is pretty interesting so I recommend you read the book to find out why.
Overall I highly recommend A Queer and Pleasant Danger. Others who shared their thoughts on A Queer and Pleasant Danger: Amy Reads, Shelly's LGBT Book Review Blog, and Kelly Vision.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Miso Glazed Eggplant

I have to thank Uwajimaya (my local asian grocery store) for posting about Miss Mochi's Adventures on their facebook page. It's no secret that I'm trying to learn to cook more Japanese food so I found Miss Mochi's full of recipes I couldn't wait to try.
One of our favorite dishes at Japanese restaurants is the miso glazed eggplant. I've also seen it called broiled eggplant with miso paste. It's absolutely delicious. I attempted to make it once years ago and failed. I hadn't thought about making it again until I saw it on Miss Mochi's blog.
It turned out perfectly. I'm super excited that we can have this at home any time we want.
I followed her recipe exactly and it was easy. I'll be making again and again.







Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fry Day: Onion Rings

Back to the continuing story of our frying adventures. Last time I showed you the fried twinkies we made. This week it's deep fried onion rings.

Linda's Fried Onion Rings

1 onion 
1 1/2 cup flour
9 oz of beer 
oil for frying

Heat oil to 350. Slice onion into rings. Separate rings. I left the small pieces in the center together and fried them as a clump.
Combine flour with beer. Pour slowly into the flour. I find mixing with a fork works best. It's up to you about the type of beer you use. Some of the flavor will come through.
Dip rings in batter. I found a wooden skewer worked well to drudge them through the batter. Add 2-3 rings to the oil at time. After a few minutes flip the rings over carefully to get an even golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Plenty by Alisa Smith & JB MacKinnon

Plenty has been on my tbr list for ages. I've been interested in eating locally for years now. I really enjoyed Smith & MacKinnon's journey and it inspired me to eat more locally.
One reason I wanted to read Plenty is that Smith & MacKinnon live in Vancouver, BC, just a 2 hour drive from where I live. So they were eating foods I could find here. While I was reading this, I would immediately get hungry for salmon, oysters, and mushrooms. Plenty reminded me about the bounty of my local area and encouraged me to get creative.
The only thing that bothered me about Plenty was that Smith & MacKinnon had tons of time to roam over the 100 surrounding miles looking for items that they might have had to give up. One reason that people give up eating locally is that they can't find beer/wheat/chocolate/coffee with local ingredients. If  most people can't find local food at their nearest grocery store, then finding local food isn't that important. Or the local product is twice the price of the nonlocal product, then most people will buy the nonlocal product. Eating local (or all organic for that matter) is hard. I gave up trying the 100 mile diet. I decide on what's important for me to eat local and spend my money on those items.
Overall I really enjoyed Plenty. Others who shared their thoughts on Plenty: Books and Stuff, Love Apples, Bookwormbethie, and Sweet Tater Blog.
This was my tenth read for Foodies Read 2.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.


This is the third time I've checked out this book. Perhaps the third time is the charm?
Another one for the Fill In The Gaps challenge.
I spotted this one Christine's loot earlier this month. I was pretty happy to find this one on the library shelf.
I grabbed this one since I'm hoping to find a few more bean recipes. 
I'm hoping this one has some good meal ideas. 
After seeing Olduvai's review, I found this one the library shelf. 
I wanted to read this and was pretty happy about finding it on the library shelf.

What did you get this week?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Avgolemono Soup

A couple of weeks, I picked up O, The Oprah Magazine Cookbook. Over the weekend I was leafing through the cookbook looking for recipes I could make during the week. I spotted this Avgolemono recipe. I love this Greek lemony soup when I go to restaurants, but could I make it myself? I happened to have all the ingredients in the kitchen so I headed into the kitchen to give it a try.
OMG, yummy. I was a little worried since I was adding raw eggs to the soup. But by tempering the eggs first, it all worked it out ok. I'll be making this one again.
This my ninth read for the Foodies Read 2 Challenge.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Julie & Julia by Julie Powell

I was very resistant to reading Julie & Julia due to despising Julie in the movie version of the book. But I had always wanted to read the book, so I decided to give it a try. I didn't love book Julie but I understood her a whole lot better than the movie version of herself.
Julie Powell is about to turn 30. She is an office drone, unhappy with her work life. Julie wants to have a baby but she has PCOS and is having a hard time conceiving. Night after night, Julie comes home to her husband, eats some takeout or a quickly prepared meal, then vegs out in front of the tv. I could understand the lack of movement she was feeling. Julie didn't feel like she had anything to look forward to. One day after a conversation with her husband, Julie decides to work her way through Mastering The Art of French Cooking  (MTAFC) by Julia Child. Her husband encourages her to set up a blog where she can chronicle her adventure.
While I give Julie props for attempting every recipe in MTAFC, I found her reasoning for it a little misguided. She thought it would take her out of her mundane life which it did to some extent but she also hoped she would have changed. Maybe she did but I certainly didn't see it at the end of Julie & Julia. Perhaps her follow up book, Cleaving, might explore how she changed.
I know a lot of people had complaints about her potty mouth. If I was completely honest about what happens in my kitchen, you'd know I swear like a sailor while I'm cooking. Especially when it's hot and I've got the oven and the dishwasher on. If I'm sweating, I'm cursing. Her swearing didn't bother me but I think I have a higher tolerance for that. I didn't like that she called her readers bleaders. I'm assuming that's an amalgamation of blog and reader. Thank goodness that didn't catch on.
Overall, Julie & Julia was an okay read. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Others who shared their thoughts on Julie & Julia: Reading In Winter, Life in The ThumbWords from Willow, What Amy Read Next, The Novel World, and In The Next Room.
This was my eighth read for the Foodies Read 2 Challenge.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Weekend Cooking: Breaded Mushrooms

I pinned this breaded mushroom based on the picture. Who wouldn't want to make them? They look delicious.
Source: notecook.com via Linda on Pinterest

But after reading the recipe and the comments, I realized that I needed to make some adjustments.
As you can see not as pretty as the pinned one.

Breaded Mushrooms
(adapted from Notecook)

8 oz mushroom, cleaned and de-steamed
3 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese
4 Tbs panko bread crumbs
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper
1 egg

Heat oven to 450. Mix cheese, bread crumbs, garlic powder, black pepper, red pepper together. Dip mushrooms in egg, then dip cheese/bread crumb mix. Place breaded mushrooms on a baking sheet, lined with foil and sprayed with oil. Bake for 6-8 minutes, flip mushrooms, then bake for another 6-8 minutes.



Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.