Saturday, August 30, 2014

Cookbook Review: Twelve Recipes

Weekend Cooking is hosted by and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. For more information, see the welcome post at Beth Fish Reads.

Twelve RecipesTwelve Recipes by Cal Peternell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had high hopes for this book, but sadly I felt that it was just okay. The whole idea of learning twelve recipes that will be the foundation of so many recipes to come. Peternell starts off by saying that this book was built from sharing these core recipes with his sons. It's more than just twelve recipes and his hope is that you can learn just one from each chapter and then build off that one to create more.

I liked that this cookbook had "Breakable Rules." Except the first rule isn't breakable and it's one that I fully believe in, it's to "taste everything and tasted often."  Even if it's a recipe you make frequently, it's important to taste during the whole cooking process.

The author rubbed me the wrong way in the way he talks about using the best ingredients. I understand that the freshest ingredients result in the best tasting meals, but not everyone is able to buy fresh baked breads and fresh everything. He does acknowledge this, but at different points in the book, I felt like he was being condescending to those who maybe can't get a nice loaf of artisan bread for toast.

The chapters that saved this book for me were the chapters on toast, soup, and pasta.  I grew up in a household where these three things (along with rice) were the staples that were always kept on hand.  Toasted bread goes with nearly any meal or is a meal in itself. Pasta is a great quick meal for when you don't know what else to do.

Soup is the key thing, Peternell preaches something we hold dear in my house. Make a big pot of soup on the weekends and then eat it all week.  Soup tastes better as the week goes on!

The book goes on sale October 21, 2014 through Harper Collins.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Reader's Workout: Color Run (Walk)

Reader's Workouts is a weekly event which is hosted over at Joy's Book Blog.


I didn't hit any of my goals this week.  It was a slightly painful week for me. I work up Wednesday and felt a sharp pain in my left shoulder. I had limited movement in my head and it turn to really move at all. I called out of work, iced it and was very thankful that I had an appointment with my chiropractor later in the day.  As the pain of that started to go away I started to get pain in my sciatic. So again I was thankful to have an appointment with my chiropractor Monday morning and now I'll be going back tomorrow (Wednesday) night for another appointment.

I'm hoping (and if you could send positive vibes my way) to be back in walking shape for Saturday.  I'm walking a Color Run this weekend.  If you don't know a Color Run is a 5K where at various points along the route you get hit with colored powder (see image above). So at the end of it all you are a rainbow mess of color.  I'm signed up with a group and I believe only 2 of us are walking. Wish me luck!

I'll report back next week, with some pictures.

Hax Writer - App review

Screen shot of what I wrote with the app.
The first thing I ever typed a story on was an old typewriter.  I loved playing with that thing.  Even if I wasn't really typing anything the sounds it made were the best. Then I 'upgraded' to an electric typewriter/word processor. It still made a cool sound when I had it the electric typewriter mode, but it wasn't the same.  Then my house made the switch to computers and I've kinda missed the sounds.

I've thought about getting a typewriter. I just don't have the space. I don't know if I would use it, but I would love to have one on display and around just to hit the keys.  While this app can't really compare to the joy of pressing down on a key and hearing the click of a typewriter, it does come close!

I first heard that Tom Hanks was a fan of typewriters last year in an Op Ed he wrote for the New York Times "I Am TOM. I Like to TYPE. Hear That?" He lists three reasons for owning a typewriter and one of them is the sound! He describes the different sounds that different models of typewriters make and how you can find the one that best suits your sound requirements.  I personal like a nice distinct click.  Think the sounds from the newsroom scenes from old movies and TV shows.

Needless to say, when the app came out earlier this month I downloaded it on the first day it was available.  I muted my TV, turned the sound up on my iPad and started to type.  I wrote a short story for a writing prompt and I don't know which caused me more enjoyment: the fun story I wrote, or writing to the sound of a typewriter.

The basic app is free and there are two upgrades you can purchase.  For right now I'm good with the basic app, I just want the sound.

Review is my own personal opinion I was not asked to review the app. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Reader's Workouts - Unbalanced Scales

Reader's Workouts is a weekly event which is hosted over at Joy's Book Blog.

I'm a Fitbit wearer, I like that it helps me keep active and moving during the week.  If you also wear one feel free to friend me!


I've been feeling a bit unbalanced the late few weeks.  I'm looking at this scale as sort of the balance between meeting my step goal, and tracking my food. I start off each week feeling as if I have the scale balanced but by the end of the week the scale always seems to tip one way or the other.

Last week I set some Mini-Goals for myself :
  1. Track everything even if I go over on calorie count
  2. Hit at least 4,000 steps a day, even if I have to pace around the house at night to reach that count
Well I started off good on tracking my calorie count and then we hit Friday night.  We went out for pizza and I really had planned to just eat 2 slices of thin crush tomato pie. I couldn't stop at just two!  So then the weekend hit and I played that mind game where since you screwed up one day you just give up.  I hate that game, I always lose!

I did, however, hit 4,000 steps a day.  There was really only one day that I didn't hit my goal of 5,000 steps.  I did A LOT of walking this week apparently.  

Mini-Goals for this week:
  1. Track everything even if I go over on calorie count
  2. Hit at least 5,000 steps a day
Good luck this week everyone!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Austen in August Mini-Reviews - List Lovers and A Darcy Christmas

The List Lover's Guide to Jane AustenThe List Lover's Guide to Jane Austen by Joan Strasbaugh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's really just a book of lists.

I really enjoyed it and think it's a great resource to have on hand. I can already tell I'll be using it as a reference for writing blog posts in the future over at CNJ JASNA.

A Darcy ChristmasA Darcy Christmas by Sharon Lathan
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

This includes three novellas by three authors.

Mr. Darcy's Christmas Carol by Carolyn Eberhart. -3 Stars
This novella changes the end of P&P so Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth don't get married alongside Bingley and Jane.  Then it follows the basic plot of A Christmas Carol.  It was an okay story. Honestly the reason this got 3 instead of 2 stars was because there was a brief visit with Anne and Frederick!

Christmas Present by Amanda Grange. -4 Stars
This was the only story to stick closely to the characters of P&P.  In this one it's about a year after the end of the novel and something special happens on Christmas.

A Darcy Christmas by Sharon Lathan -1 Star
I haven't read any of Sharon Lathan's books, but I've been told how great they are, and sadly I really didn't see it in these Christmas shorts. This novella, is broken down to all the Christmases that take place during the course of her series and her characterizations didn't work for me. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Reader's Workouts - Mini Goals

Reader's Workouts is a weekly event which is hosted over at Joy's Book Blog.

I'm a Fitbit wearer, I like that it helps me keep active and moving during the week.  If you also wear one feel free to friend me!

I'll start off by echoing a lot of what I said last time I posted a Reader's Workout:

  • Things haven't been going good for me on the fitness front, since my gym buddy had her scheduled changed for the summer I found it easier to make excuses to not go walk the track or go walk on the treadmill at the gym. 
  •  I've slacked on tracking my food 

I had promised to go to the gym and I made it that one day.  I had wrote "My plan is to get back to the gym Thursday after work, barring any disasters, I should be able to hold myself to that promise." Then the itching started, just a few bites on my legs but by Thursday I was covered in little groupings that hurt they itched so bad.  I had broken out like this back in November and went to an emergency clinic and was told it was low grade hives.  I still had some meds left over from then and tried taking them.  It helped but I kept finding new breakouts.

Last Monday I went to my primary doctor and was told not hives, and not bites.  She sent me to the dermatologist who said definitely bites, possibly bed bugs and he took a biopsy of a bite. Get results on Wednesday not bed bugs, but general bug bites. Learn Thursday someone has been coming into my place of employment with fleas.

I was the worst bit and had I know that this was the case (if the person would have spoke up sooner rather than later) I never would have had to had the biopsy, which has left a slight hole in my back that will take up to two months to heal and leave a scar. Needless to say I've been eating my series of emotions, but I'm determined this week to get back on track (I've said that before).

So to get back on track I've set some Mini-Goals for myself this week (Tuesday to Tuesday).

  1. Track everything even if I go over on calorie count
  2. Hit at least 4,000 steps a day, even if I have to pace around the house at night to reach that count
So I'll check back in next week! I hope everyone else is doing good!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Mini Book Review - Film in Five Seconds

My review in five points:

  1. Guess movie titles by decoding the pictures on each page, answers are in the back
  2. I thought I knew my movies but so many of them stumped me!
  3. Digital book was okay, but I think print book would be the best way to 'read' this book.
  4. This would be great as a party game.
  5. A must for film buffs!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

July Reading Challenge Updates

Here's Where I Stand on the I Love the Library Challenge

Books Checked Out and Read:
  • And One Last Thing by Molly Harper
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth (BCD)
  • Up at Butternut Lake by Mary McNear
  • The Messenger by Lois Lowery (BCD)
  • Son by Lois Lowery (BCD)
  • Beowulf - J.R.R. Tolkien (translator)
  • The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman (BCD)
  • Heartbreaker by Julie Garwood

Books Checked Out and Currently Reading
  • Longbourn by Jo Baker (BCD)
Books Checked Out and Not Read - Yet
  • Joie Warner's take a tin of tuna (cookbook)
  • The Everything parent's guide to sensory processing disorder by Terri Mauro
  • The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand by Jen Swann Downey
Books Checked Out but Didn't Read
  • Belle: The Slave Daughter and the Lord Chief Justice by Paula Byrne
  • Living Sensationally by Winnie Dunn (I skimmed the book and then purchased the book)
  • The Closer by Mariano Rivera
Books Checked Out for School Assignments
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Shakespeare's Kitchen by Lore Segal
  • True Stories: guides for writing from your life by Rebecca Rule

Here's Where I Stand on the TBR Pile Challenge

From my book basket

  • Knit One Pearl One by Gil McNeil
  • Time Untime by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  • The Seductive Impostor by Janet Chapman
  • The Dangerous Protector by Janet Chapman

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Writing Exercise #13 - Friday Flash 55

Describe your favorite sound

Snore. Snore, whimper. Snore, whimper. Snore, soft bark. Snore, soft bark. Snore, whimper. Snore, whimper. Snort.

Yawn. Snort. Hack. Snort. Hack, hack, hack. Gag.



Lick, lick, lick.

Click-click-click-click. Click-click-click-click. Click-click-click-click. Click-click-click-click.

Plunk-swish. Plunk-swish. Plunk-swish. Plunk-swish.

Click-click-click-click. Click-click-click-click. Click-click-click-click. Click-click-click-click.


Yawn. Snort.

Lick, lick, lick, lick.

Snort. Snort. Snore. Snore. Deep breathing. Snort.