Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November Book Tally

The Passage
Blood Lite
Magic Bites
American Vampire Vol 1

Five read this month. That brings my yearly total to 68. I'm starting to prep my year end stats and I realized that I was counting a book twice! No cheating here! This month's total is correct.
Nothing read this month on my Fill In The Gaps list.
So we got vampires, vampires and more vampires. What a vamp filled month! I'd starting to OD on the paranormal a little. I think I need to find some non-paranormal fiction or even some nonfiction to read. I still have a couple of paranormal books laying around (An Artificial Night, The Bleeding Dusk, and The Fall) to finish off first. But I'm hoping to pick up some light reading to round out the year.
How was November for you?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

I added Magic Bites to my to be read list after a review on The Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell. Ass kicking female in world full of shapeshifters, vampires, and mages. Sign me up. I was not disappointed. Kate's a tough mercenary who is investigating a murder of a friend. Her investigation leads her to a pack of shapeshifters and their leader, Curran. What a hottie! I enjoyed the magic aspects of the book too. Kate's not your average girl but they didn't explain what her background was. I look forward to learning more about Kate and what she can really do. Magic Bites is a fun romp. I enjoyed the story and am looking forward to the rest of the series.
Other reviews: The Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell, Carol's Notebook, and Sam's Book Blog.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm Thankful

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Every year Mom would make us go around the table and say what we were thankful for before we could eat. It was never my favorite part of the holiday. After my attempts to get out of it, I would either say I was thankful that the Cowboys were losing or that I was thankful for our health (everyone's favorite). But I don't say thank you enough so I'll take this opportunity to thank you to the important people in my life.

My husband-Again this man is a rockstar. I'm so happy that he has a permanent job now. His job is super stressful but he works hard for us. I adore him. I'm so thankful he's in my life.

My dad-I'm so lucky to have amazing men in my life. My dad has been dealing some health challenges but he's maintained his usual fantastic attitude. He's always there for me and Tai. I'm thankful that he's my dad.

My friends-When I was a kid, I had trouble making long term friends. I kind of thought I never would make the kind of friends I have now. I'm thankful for their friendship daily.

Blogging-When I started blogging I never thought I'd been blogging this long or that I would have met so many fantastic people. Each of your comments make me so happy and make blogging so much more fun. Thank you!

Have a wonderful day with friends, family and food. Hope it's a great one for you!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cooking Frenzy

Today, I'm a cooking machine. I decided to make Thanksgiving dinner for Dad as well as a few dishes to take to our annual Thanksgiving potluck. Thankfully, I have today off to cook all this food.
Here's the menu for Dad:

Cranberry Sauce with Agave Nectar
Lima Beans (a traditional family side dish)
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Roasted Turkey

For the potluck, I'm making:
Mashed potatoes
Mashed potatoes with roasted garlic
Pear Salad With Mixed Greens and Walnuts
Pumpkin Pie Bars
Gluten-free brownies
TJ's Truffle Brownies

I love turkey so this is my favorite food holiday. We never leave the potluck with any leftover turkey so I plan on keeping some of the turkey for Dad to eat later.
What are you making this Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thoughts on The Passage and Feed

I wanted to read both The Passage and Feed close together. Since they deal with similar topics (a virus that infects out most of the human race) I thought it would be interesting to see how they compare. Overall I liked Feed better. The pacing was better and the story line was clearer. But both were terrific first books in a series and I look forward to continuing the series.
Feed is the story of Georgia, a blogger, who reports about life after the virus has hit. In Feed the virus is dormant within you but you need a trigger. Usually a bite or scratch from an infected person can cause the virus to activate. Georgia and her brother, Shaun, operate a blog about the zombies and life in America after the zombies have risen. Georgia and Shaun hit the big time when they are the first bloggers asked to join a presidential campaign. There's a lot more action overall in Feed. Shaun is an "Irwin" (like Steve Irwin) and his job, his thrill, is to provoke the zombies in order to get footage for the blog. So there are plenty of zombie encounters. I also enjoyed the banter between Shaun and Georgia. Both are fantastic characters, really well written. I also liked Buffy. I was disappointed in her storyline but understood what it added to the book. I did not like the end (really pulled the rug out from under me), but I can see where they are going with it.
Others who read Feed and posed their thoughts: My Friend Amy, Devourer of Books, and Vampires and Tofu.
In a review I read someone said The Passage was really 2 books in one. And that is a true statement. The first part of The Passage is the beginning, not just the beginning of the book but how everything started. The second part was about the after but not necessarily about the same characters in part one. Confused? Yeah I was. Nothing I hate more than investing 100's of pages caring about a character to have them disappear halfway through the book. Grr.
I really liked the first part of The Passage. A little bit of mystery, a government experiment (named Project Noah) to help people live longer. A girl on a journey, meeting those who will help and hurt her along the way. A broken man looking for a way out (actually that describes 2 characters). What's going on? What will happen? And plenty of action for me.
The second part is a little less action packed (til the end of the book, then there's more action). I feel like I would be giving away spoilers if I told you a lot about this part. But I grew to love some of the characters in the second half especially Alicia.
Oh and the creatures. In Feed they are zombies. I want to eat your brains zombies. In The Passage they are a cross between vampires and zombies. A little of both. They want to eat you. They want your blood.  They don't like the sun. They are killed by a shot to the breastbone, heart area. Both are equally terrifying.  I don't want to live in either world. Well Feed wins out a little bit since there are secured areas.
Those who read The Passage and shared their thoughts: One Person's Journey Through Books, Jules' Book Reviews, Reading With Tequila, Olduvai Reads, Layers of Thought, and Chaotic Compendiums.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Randomness

Sally at Already Pretty had a Specialty Size Bonanza this week. If you are petite, plus sized, tall, have wide feet, or narrow calves, go here for stores that specialize in your needs. Read the comments too. People chimed in about their favs too.
 I recently bought these boots from Target.
 A lot edgier than my usually choices. Incredibly comfortable though.
 I loved these too. But they didn't fit my calves. Boo!
I have been obsessed with mary janes.

I seriously need more in my shoe closet.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

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 one book week. Continuing with the Gardella Vampire Chronicles, The Bleeding Dusk.
I'm still slogging through The Passage. I'm enjoying it but I'm not getting enough reading time. I hoped I would have finished it by now but I'm about 1/2 way through.
What did you get this week?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lazy Weekend

I had a lovely 4 day weekend. After getting Veterans Day off, I took Friday off to get some stuff done. I got the basics done but wound up spending a lot of time on the couch watching tv shows. About a month ago we got rid of cable and have been happily enjoying our Netflix and Hulu subscriptions.
Here's a little of what we've been watching:
 Eureka is wonderfully quirky show. I love all the characters.
Jeff encouraged Tai to watch Entourage. I'd seen the first couple of seasons and liked the show. Tai had a lot of resistance to watching it but loves it now.
Add in a little Chuck and Big Bang Theory and it was a good weekend.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Bars

I'm actually embarrassed to tell you how many tries it took me to get this recipe. It took me 3 tries before it was successful.
Fail #1-First it took forever too cook, about an hour and half. When I tasted it, it was way too pumpkin-y. I reviewed the recipe, I noticed I forgot the brown sugar. Oops.
Fail #2-Again it took forever to cook, but I knew I had put sugar in it this time. It tasted ok and the photo looked so different, I knew I missed something this time too. So I reviewed the recipe again. I used a 28 oz can of pumpkin, not the 15 oz can the recipe called for. That's why it took so long to cook. Oops.
Finally success!
I used this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker. I did use a can of pumpkin pie filling and left out the spices. So yummy. If you need a good pumpkin dessert, try these.
Also Amy from Playing House made a different pumpkin bar that also look delicious!
Happy Veteran's Day to all the veterans and their families out there.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

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!
Just one book this week. And I'm glad. I've got a lot to finish before the end of the month including The Passage. An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire, the 3rd book in the Toby Daye series. I'm looking forward to a little urban fantasy after all these vampires and zombies!What about you? Get anything good this week?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Five Spice Pork Tenderloin With Hosin Sauce

Since it's cooler out I'm much more in the mood to cook. And when I mean cook, I mean prepare meals. I have two moods when it comes to cooking-1. cooking to satisfy hunger (ie nothing complicated just want food), 2. cooking because I enjoy cooking (experimenting with foods, trying new recipes). I've been in the second mood a lot more lately. I tend to do that with cooler weather.
One day I was in such a mood but had no idea what to make. I wanted something that would be ready in less than an hour. Since I was at the grocery store without access to my recipes, I decided to use my iPhone to find a recipe on my Whole Foods recipe app. And yes I now realize I could access my recipes stored on Google Reader with my iPhone too but anywhoo I used my Whole Foods app instead.
Since I was in a pork mood, I search for recipes using pork tenderloin and found this Five Spice Pork Tenderloin with Hosin sauce.
Imagine there's a vegetable like green beans in the empty space. Once I got home the desire to make anything more than the rice and meat left me. It was really simple to make. And it made a ton of food. We had plenty leftover for the next day. I would definitely make it again. And it would be great to serve to dinner guests.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Zombies vs Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier

I was pretty stoked when I saw Zombies vs Unicorns. I loved Holly Black's other anthology, Geektastic (check out my thoughts here). I have to say I'm totally Team Unicorn. Ever since I was a little I've loved unicorns. Like this unicorn:
Not like the unicorns in Zombies vs Unicorns. These are hardcore unicorns. In The Care And Feeding Of Your Baby Killer Unicorn, there are killer unicorns. Although I loved the story. Wen has an affinity to unicorns but her parents think unicorns are from the devil. Good times.
But I also really enjoyed the zombie stories. The Children of the Revolution was awesome. Especially since they kind of lampoon a famous couple. I think it's this one, but could also be this one.
All the stories were funny, some of them dark. Definitely worth your time to read them especially if you like zombies or unicorns, YA fiction, or funny stories that skewer popular culture.
Other folks who posted about Zombie vs Unicorns: A Fanatic's Book Blog, The Nerd's Wife, Bookworm Extraordinaire!, and Can't Find A Bookmark.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Seattle Restaurant Week: Moshi Moshi

For our last Seattle Restaurant Week stop, I choose Moshi Moshi, a sushi restaurant in Ballard. We love sushi and there wasn't a ton of sushi choices on the Restaurant Week list, so Moshi Moshi it was. This was our first visit to Moshi Moshi (which means hello in Japanese, it can also be used to get someone's attention).
We were seated in the loft portion of the restaurant above the sushi bar, so this was just next to us:
A huge LED cherry tree. It was kind of cool and give off a soft glow. Tai and I decided to do the $25 menu but also ordered a couple of extra appetizers.

First was these shishito peppers which were delicious. Not too spicy but a little kick. I'd never had them before but really enjoyed them.

Next was the eggplant dengaku (Japanese eggplant with miso paste). This is hands down my favorite new food. I'd had it before and really enjoyed it. Not a lot of Japanese restaurants carry it so we were really excited to see it here. The waitress told us this is her favorite dish and she was really glad we ordered it. She said hardly anyone ever does.
Tai ordered me some edamame. Nom nom! I love edamame.
Our meals came with miso soup. A nice traditional start to a meal.
I chose the age dashi tofu for my appetizer. It's fried tofu served with ginger, scallion, and bonito flakes in a sweet sauce. It's one of my favorite Japanese dishes. I really liked Moshi Moshi's version. Their sweet sauce was delish.
Tai got to the seaweed & octopus salad. I had a bite. It was good. I don't enjoy either octopus (usually) or seaweed. He enjoyed it.
We both opted for the omakasa for our entrees. Omakasa is chef's choice, the chef gives you what he feels is the freshest and best on the sushi bar that night. It was a good mix of sushi and sashimi.
For dessert, I got the flan (and I've totally forgotten the flavor of it!). It was good and creamy. The grilled pineapple was a great touch.
But the ice cream mochi was the bomb! Ice cream mochi is ice cream wrapped in a rice cake wrapper. It's so good. Our order came with (starting at the front) green tea, mango, and strawberry. I love ice cream mochi but was this was the best ice cream mochi I've ever had. A lot of times the rice cake wrapper isn't flavored so it's like blah. But these wrappers where flavored just like the ice cream. It really made the difference.
All in all we liked Moshi Moshi. It's too bad it's kind of far from us-about 40 minute drive. But I'd stop there if we were in the area.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Born Round by Frank Bruni

I added Born Around to my to be read list after reading about it on Omivoracious. I'm really glad I did. Born Round is the story of Frank Bruni, New York Times restaurant critic. The story starts when Frank was growing up in New York, follows him throughout his life-college, living in Rome, following George W Bush's campaign. First off I love the way Bruni writes. There is a certain amount of reflection in his stories but he's pretty honest about how he remembers.
Bruni grew up in a household where food equaled love. I grew up in a similar household. To turn down an extra helping of dinner or dessert was tantamount to saying I don't love you. What child wants to see the hurt in his mother or grandmother's eyes after turning down food. The stories about family dinners and the amount of food his family served reminded me about our own family feasts. Bruni struggles with his weight his whole life. He even turns to bulimia to try to control his weight. As someone who also struggles with my weight I could identify with a lot his inner thoughts and his attempts to stop eating, to control his appetite.
I especially loved the part toward the end when he becomes a food critic. At that point Bruni's taken up exercise and found a slightly more balanced view of food so his weight isn't what he talks about. It's more about the struggles of being a food critic. How to reserve a table without restaurant staff knowing it was him. How to pay for a meal without tipping off the staff. And writing honest reviews when chefs, restaurateurs, and their mothers write to Bruni imploring him to give them better ratings. I laughed a couple of times at the follies of being a restaurant critic.
I recommend this book especially to those who love food, those who struggle with their weight and those who enjoy a good honest memoir. Others who shared their thoughts on Born Round: KyusiReader, Bella In Lapbandland, and Food Food Body Body.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

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!
I still have a few leftover from last LL but I always keep getting more. I'm currently reading Zombies vs Unicorns and hope to start and finish The Passage before it's due back later this month. On to the loot! First Industrial Magic, the next in the Women of The Otherworld series. After seeing Magic Bites on the Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell, I immediately put it on my library queue.
What did you get this week?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

October Book Tally

Dreadnought by Cherie Priest
Lament by Maggie Steifvater
It Sucked Then I Cried by Heather Armstrong
Friday Night Lights by HG Bissinger
Ballad by Maggie Steifvater
Feed by Mira Grant
Born Round by Frank Bruni (review coming this week)

Another good month for me-7 books read. I read Lament and Friday Night Lights for the Fill In The Gaps challenge bringing my total to 28 read. And my year to date total is 64! I still don't think I'll make it to my goal of 100 but I'll be close.
How was your October?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Recap

Tai and I had the extreme pleasure of being invited to two Halloween parties on Saturday. Normally we would have chosen one to attend but since they were relatively close to each other we attended both.
One party was 80's themed so Tai and I needed to decide on 80's costumes. I was really pushing Tai to wear hammer pants but he chose to go with Mr T. I went with generic Valley girl but most people decided I was going for a Flashdance look.
We had a great time at both parties. We both really enjoyed dressing up and getting into the 80's theme!