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Friday, August 12, 2011

Book Review: Voltaire's Candide

I picked this up from one of our bookshelves, it's been sitting around the house for a while and Boy said he liked it. It was also short which is certainly a point in it's favor. I found it surprisingly entertaining. I was also surprised to have one of my coworkers claim it to be their favorite book when he spotted me reading it. While I wouldn't claim it to be a favorite, it is a good book and brings up a lot of things to think about. I found myself fortunate to have copy with explanatory notes as many of the references are few centuries out of date.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Book Review: Jean M. Auel's The Land of Painted Caves

I was so thrilled so see this book coming out this year and was eager to read it. Although it is quite lengthy it is a fairly quick read due to a fast pace and easily understandable sentence structure. The last in the series, I was a bit disappointed it seemed as though that author sort of ran out of steam. Much of the first part of the book I found difficult to plod through as the exploration and description of cave after cave I found not exciting enough to maintain my attention. After the first part the book is significantly more interesting. Unfortunately the author continued to focus heavily on her main character and many of the other characters that seemed interesting suffered from lack of character development. I would loved to see the main character's daughter come into her own as a character and source of plot development, but the daughter often seemed to be an after thought. The main character's impressive list of accomplishments became increasingly difficult to believe. I think it would have been sufficient for the character to be present for many of these historical events as an observer rather than an active and often key participant. This final book was not quite as good as the first few in this series but that may be in part now that I am old enough to notice the repetitive plot elements and be bored by them.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book Review: Thomas Steinbeck's In the Shadow of the Cypress

As part of not having to go to school this summer I chose to indulge myself in reading for pleasure. Ah, books I have missed you! This one was recommended to me by my grandmother. It was very engaging and enjoyable. At less than 250 pages I thought it would be a quick read, but this is a bit more than fluff! The plot is complex and the author enjoys showing off an impressive vocabulary. I had to look up a lot of words from this book and there were a few that even dictionary.com couldn't explain to me. The story focuses in on one generation then skips a generation before surrendering the answers to questions the plot's twists and turns poise. Overall I found this to be an above average historical novel that was enjoyable and stimulating given the high reading level.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lemon Poppyseed Scones

In trying to be healthier I've been playing around with whole wheat flour, so far it's going pretty well and these scones were scrumptious and according the online calorie counter I used only 310 calories a piece. They made great breakfasts with tea or coffee while they lasted.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Stray Cats

So around the time I left off posting this winter, one my neighbors was forced to move and asked me to find homes for her three outdoor cats, after several months in my yard I am pleased to tell you I finally found a no-kill shelter that could take them and these sweeties have all been adopted out! Just sharing their pics with you now though really I should have posted earlier to see if they could find a home that way!
This one is Tommy

 This black and white one is Baby, she is really hard to get a picture of because she wants to be held!
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Friday, May 27, 2011

Butternut Squash Bread Pudding

Wow! well it certainly has been a while! No excuse I suppose but we've been busy just trying to keep up with expenses like everyone else these days.
This was a fun recipe I got to try while Boy was out of town so I only had to cook once for the week! And I got to use my pretty baking dishes! This recipe is from myrecipes.com http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/butternut-squash-parmesan-bread-pudding-10000000701119/ . I really enjoyed adding a little fresh sage from the garden though I found processing the squash to be s little more time consuming than I expected.
Recipe:
Ingredients:
  • 3 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1/2 tsp salt divided
  • cooking spray for the pan
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 2 cups 1% milk ( I used 2%)
  • 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan ( I subbed the green can terrible I know but cheaper!)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 8oz cubed stale french bread or about 9 cups
Directions:
  1.  Arrange squash on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray sprinkle lightly with 1/4 tsp salt and roast at 400F for 12 minutes or until tender. When you take this out of the oven lower the oven temperature to 350F.
  2. Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes or until it softens, add the garlic and saute for one more minute. Remove from heat. Allow to cool while you prep the next step.
  3. Combine in a large bowl, remaining 1/4 tsp salt, milk 1/2 cup cheese, pepper, nutmeg, eggs, and egg whites in a large bowl stirring with a whisk. Stir in squash and onion mixture. Add bread and stir lightly to combine. Let soak for 10 minutes, then place in a 2 quart baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes or until lightly browned. 
Notes: This was good but personally I love a little more intense of flavors so I think I would double or triple the garlic, pepper and nutmeg next time. I suggest this if you like intense flavors but then again, maybe I'm just weird! Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fried Breakfast Potatoes

Happy quintuple 1! Just thought I'd point out today's date: 1/11/11, got to notice it now since it's gonna be a long while until 2/22/22!
These are the fried potatoes that went with the frittata, pretty simple and easy, just a few steps, more time consuming than the frittata though so if want these with that you should start a bit earlier.