Top Ten Books for Fall

September 23, 2014 Reading Nook 0

top ten for fall

Fall! Pumpkins! Changing of Leaves! It’s still in the 80s/90s here, but I’m hopeful that soon we will have deliciously cool weather. And hopefully not devilishly frigid winter. It’s Tuesday, which means that I have a list for you! I love lists. Especially bookish lists. The gals at The Broke and the Bookish have asked us to list our Top Ten Books on our Fall TBR.

Spoiler Alert – I probably will only read a handful of these books by the time Christmas rolls around.  Maybe more. Looking back at my Spring and Summer TBR lists, some of these are repeats and most of my lists for those posts are still half-read. Ah well.

Top Ten Books to Read This Fall

Fall TBR Books

1. Drood by Dan Simmons – The plan is to post details on the readalong tomorrow…but if I miss tomorrow, go ahead and grab your books for an October/November readalong.

2. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury – Because what screams autumn more than this deliciously spooky tale? (I’ll be listening as part of the Something Wicked Readalong Hosted by Ti of Book Chatter and Sandy of You’ve Gotta Read This!)

3. American Gods by Neil Gaiman – Ugh. Will I ever actually read this book? I promise I want to!

4. Bag of Bones by Stephen King  – People keep recommending this one to me. Les–I’m looking at you! (who’s up for a readalong in December? Because nothing says Merry Christmas like a King readalong?)

5. Night Film by Marisha Pessl – Seedy, dark. Not quite a spring book, I’m thinking.

Fall TBR Books

6. Bellman and Black by Diane Setterfield – I keep hearing this one termed as a ghost story (and yes, I have heard it’s a letdown but I’m willing to take the risk).

7. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - Ok, maybe not a fall book but I’ve just recently learned how short this one is…so why not.

8. Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – Gaiman, Graveyeards, perfect for the upcoming Dewey’s Readathon. Can’t wait!

9. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly – Another that I’ve had on my shelf for too long. Though I can’t remember if this one is better suited to RIP or Once Upon a Time.

10. Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen – As in Mrs. Edgar Allan Poe.

If you’ve been living under a book blogging rock, Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings is hosting the ninth edition of RIP (Readers Imbibing Peril) Event. Many of these books will count towards RIP and I made the lovely images above before I remembered that I have Dracula on audio and would love to listen to that. So, hopefully I can make room for Dracula as well. And already mentioned is the Something Wicked This Way Comes readalong in October. Lots of fun fall events coming up!

Readers Imbibing PerilSomething Wicked Readalong

 

 What is on your fall reading list?

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Changing Tastes – Sunday Post 95

September 21, 2014 Reading Nook, Sunday Salon 27

Sunday Salon

Happy Sunday everyone! Many moons ago (last month) I drafted some posts for when I went on my trip to Toronto but time got away from me and I failed to finish them. One of them was the Top Ten Tuesday for that week–books I own but am not really sure I want to read anymore. As I was scouring my shelves for books that I’m not sure I want to read (I can assure you this number is more than 10), I started taking a look at how my tastes in books has evolved over the years.

Sometimes I think about how blogging has changed my reading tastes and what I would be reading if not for blogging. How has reading changed my tastes? Before blogging I was a pretty devoted author-reader. I would gobble up anything I could by an author that I enjoy (yes, Jodi Picoult I’m looking at you), but these days there is much more breadth in my author selection. I don’t think that there is any real reason to this except that I realize there are so many authors and omg not enough time to read them all.

Before blogging I’m not really sure how I learned about new books. Probably Oprah’s book club or People Magazine. Bahahaha–I’m mostly kidding. Or am I? Honestly, I can’t remember! A lot of the older books on my shelves are ones that were prize winners, best sellers, and yes, Oprah’s selections (in her defense she has had some great picks amongst the cruddier ones).

Now I have you lovely people to introduce me to books. Twitter. Publishers. Constant book overload. I’m aware of more authors now than I was 10 years ago and I also have a better handle on what my bookish tastes are. I read less formulaic books these days, less women’s fiction, even less classics (sad about that last one). I like to think that I’m getting more variety in my reading these days, but I’m not sure that’s always the case. Though regardless of what I’m reading (or not reading), I’m in a comfortable and happy place.

But what to do with the books on my shelf that I’m not sure I want to read anymore? Do I leave them in case my interests swerve again? Admittedly some of my apprehension in picking these books up (or taking them off my shelf) is related to me making a habit of not knowing what books are about when I acquire them. I’m not sure what these books are about and whether I’ll like them or not. Some cases I’ve read other books by these authors and enjoyed them but they’re not books that I loved.  For example, I enjoyed Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts and The Honk and Holler was a nice read but did I enjoy them enough to keep Made in the U.S.A on my shelf? Here are some books that I’m not really sure whether to keep around or not. Have you read any of them?

Stormy Weather/Lucky You – Carl Hiaasen  |  Animal Husbandry – Laura Zigman |  I Am Charlotte Simmons – Tom Wolfe  |  Made in the U.S.A. – Billie Letts  |  The Patron Saint of Liars – Ann Patchett  |  Child 44 – Tom Rob Smith  |  Monsters of Florence – Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi  |  The Zoo Where You’re Fed to God – Michael Ventura  |  The Satanic Versus – Salman Rusdie

I have noticed that while my reading tastes have changed a bit over the years, my book buying habits have also changed. As my shelves overrunneth with books, I’m less likely to casually buy books, especially at library sales. If a book comes home with me, it’s because I really want it. This is also why I’ve stopped accepting many books for review. I’m much more selective in my reading choices.

Have your reading tastes changed over the years? What changes have you noticed?

 

hearts sunday monday reading

…linking up to Kimba’s Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Sheila’s Book Journey

Books Recently Finished: I listened to Breakfast at Tiffany’s and then started to watch the movie. I knew absolutely nothing about the story before going into the book and so I was a bit surprised. Holly Golightly reminds me a bit of Jay Gatsby in a way–a bit misunderstood, someone who has remade herself, someone who has a bit of a tragic downfall (well, “bit” is an understatement for Gatsby). What do you think? I also finished Kindred by Butler (ebook). Full post coming soon.

New Books in the House: No actual books but I have been going a little crazy with audiobooks lately. I picked up Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay (currently listening to this), Persuasion by Jane Austen, The Feminine Mystique by Betty Frieden, The Death of Ivan Ilynch by Tolstoy, Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple, and Gulp by Mary Roach. I…I don’t know what happened there.

New Books on my E-Reader: Better news for my e-reader than audiobook player. Ahem.

Books on the Nightstand: The Sparrow! I’m hoping to finish it very very soon and then I’ll pick up another book for #Diversiverse. Not sure which–maybe Cisneros or Silko or Mamaday. Something shortish.

What do you have going on this Sunday? Reading anything especially good?

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Operation Use My Grill

September 20, 2014 In the Kitchen 16

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Operation Use My Grill

 

Imagine me doing my “Yay I know how to turn on my grill dance.” Except that one time that we were out of propane and the two other times when Scott had turned off the propane and I didn’t realize it. But otherwise, I know how to turn on my grill! And actually kind of sort of use the grill for cooking things.

If you’re new here (hi!), I challenged myself a few years ago to pick a kitchen thing (or in this case an outside kitchen thing) and spend the month using it. You can see past Operation Use My Kitchen Stuff here.  July was our grill month and we rocked it!

Lessons Learned:

  • Thermometers are friends. There were a few times when we had to throw the chicken back on the grill because it wasn’t cooked long enough. And the first time we cooked steak, it was too overdone. After going through a few thermometers, we finally splurged on a ThermoWorks. It works beautifully.
  • The grill has different temperatures. There is also such thing as indirect and direct heat. I’m still trying to figure all of this out. #headdesk
  • Grilled fruit is delicious. Like seriously.
  • Parchment paper doesn’t really belong on the grill. I learned this when my pizza dough was too sticky to put it directly on the grill. It all worked out in the end, even if the paper did nearly catch fire.
  • Prep everything before you start using the grill–especially if you’re grilling something a little more fragile like fruit/vegetables.

The Recipes:

Meats: Strip Steak, Ribs (started off in the smoker), Fajitas (Big Book of BBQMolasses Glazed Chicken Thighs, Cornish Hens (Big Book of BBQ, started off in the smoker), Bacon Wrapped Burgers (Big Book of BBQ–pic from the book), Grilled Drumsticks (Big Book of BBQ).

The ribs were the best we’ve ever had–I loved the smokiness from the smoker but the flavor from the quick grilling at the end. And the molasses glazed chicken thighs were my favorite of the bunch. There are still many things I’d love to cook–some salmon (which we’ve done before but not in years) and more chicken.

bbq

 

Fruit/Dessert: Grilled peaches, grilled pound cake (with blueberries and blueberry ice cream), grilled pineapple. I was in love with it all. And it allowed Scott to eat fresh fruit without compromising taste. The peaches were a hit with the girls. I didn’t put them directly on the grill because they seemed too tender but I bet they would have been good that way, too.

grilled dessert

 

Veggies/Sides: Corn on the cob (YUM!), Potato Salad (from Big Book of BBQ), Asparagus, Zucchini.

grilled veggies

 

Pizza!  Ok, so the pizza on the grill was a bit of a flop, but it was a fun experiment. On a whim I grabbed a package of Betty Crocker pizza dough mix instead of making my own dough. You know, the whole busy working mom thing. It was a disaster–the dough was too sticky for me to do anything more than spread it out on parchment paper and then throw it on the grill. I called up to Scott and yelled “We need a backup dinner!” After grilling the dough on both sides, I decided to just throw it on the pizza stone in the oven with the toppings. Good news was the entire thing came together in about 15 minutes and it ended up being pretty delicious. It’s BBQ chicken with red onions on my half. So, next time I’ll make my own dough and then follow Beth Fish Read’s instructions on grilled pizza. The Pioneer Woman inspired the assembly of ingredients.

grilled pizza

 

Where Do I Go From Here?

SO. Operation Use My Grill was a huge success. We used our grill more this summer than in all of the other summers combined. Fun random fact–the day that we got the grill was also the day that I joined twitter. Ha! I feel like such a badass for knowing how to turn on the grill and for actually being able to make some things on my own. I’d like to experiment a bit more with the pizza and grill some fish. I think we still have a ways to go before we perfect chicken on the grill. But really, we grilled meats, veggies, fruits, *dessert!* I’m pretty pleased with how Operation Use My Grill turned out.

What’s next? Freaking Fondue. I say that because I’ve been trying to get that fondue pot out for years now. I keep stalling and thinking of new Kitchen Things to play with instead. Have a favorite fondue recipe? I’d love for you to share!

What’s your favorite thing to make on the grill? Anything out of the usual?

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Linking up with:

weekend cookingEvery weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking.  “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.”  Hope you’ll join the fun!

 

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Bloggiesta – Fall 2014

September 18, 2014 Blogging Thoughts 16

bloggiesta

Bloggiesta!! First, sorry about the double posting today. I know, bad Trish. But I’m planning on posting on Saturday and Sunday and I figured twice in one day was better than every day? I know that’s not really logical.

So, this weekend is Bloggiesta which is a virtual “fix up your blog” party. And my blog needs a bit of work and since Scott will be back in town I’m planning on escaping for a little bit of ME time. At least that’s the plan in my head. Can you believe that last year when I participated Evie was THREE WEEKS old? Holy cow.

On my To-Do List:

  1. Update Reviews by Title and Reviews by Author Done!!
  2. Figure out if I add a signature to my posts if it will add a signature to all my old posts? Yup. Total Fail unless I want to amend 1,000+ posts
  3. Get my email inbox to one pageBarely. 49 emails in my inbox. Still have some work to do!
  4. Fix signature on old posts
  5. Fix links on old “Trish’s Reading Nook” posts
  6. Figure out why the “related posts” plug-in only works for certain posts Decided I don’t care. :)
  7. Tags/Categories. Groan. Down to 12 categories. I think I need to convert more categories to tags and delete some tags, but I’m happy with the progress.
  8. Scour mini-challenges  Completed one. Sadly I wasn’t interested in many of the challenges this time.
  9. Visit participants. Some!

Posts to Draft:

  1. Operation Use My Grill
  2. Kindred Review
  3. Top Ten Tuesday – Fall List (half finished)
  4. Drood Readalong
  5. Sunday Salon (topic??)

Mini Challenges:

  1. Anchor Texts from The Book Wheel. Added anchors to my Reviews by Title and Reviews by Author. Love this!!

Things Not On My Original List:

  1. Install WP Super Cache plugin. I think it has helped my blog loading speed!
  2. Update Operation Use My Kitchen Stuff Page. Long overdue.
  3. Created template post for a bookish questionnaire that I’m stealing from Laura. Yay Rainy Day Post!

Final Thoughts:

I got a lot done on Thursday and Friday but fizzled during the weekend. Not surprised as it’s always tougher to get computer time with the littles and the busyness of our weekends. I still want to tackle my email a bit more and continue to stay on top of my post drafting so that I can hopefully have more free time to comment rather than spend all my free time drafting posts. I’m super bummed about the whole signature thing but I guess it’s easy enough to just to manually add it to each post.

Want to help me out with a blog topic? I’m looking for personal-type post ideas. Ask me anything??

Are you participating in Bloggiesta? What was on your agenda for the event?

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Listening To Right Now

September 18, 2014 Life, Music 7

listening to

Good morning Lovies! Now that I have a teeny tiny commute again, I’ve been listening to lots of audio but also some radio as well (The Spectrum on Sirius XM in the car and Pandora on the Internet). It’s been a while since I’ve shared what I’m listening to and I’m loving Hozier’s “From Eden” so hard that I had had had to share it with you. Below are others that have been making my feet dance or my heart ache a bit.

Hozier – From Eden – You may have been hearing Hozier’s “Take Me To the Church” recently but I’m absolutely in love with his “From Eden” single. Below is a live version and I may have watched/listened to this video more times than I’d care to admit.

Alabama Shakes – Always Alright - I’ve highlighted Alabama Shakes on the blog before and I love them so much that I’ve created a Pandora station that has become an awesome mix of newer and older bluesy, jazzy, soulful music. Yes, please give me Alabama Shakes and Otis Redding in the same 10 minutes, thank you! Below is “Always Alright” from the movie Silver Linings Playbook. Oh my goodness can that Brittany SING! Love her.

Grace Potter – Apologies – For some reason “Apologies” will occasionally play on my Phoenix station on Pandora. I’m not entirely sure why since most of the music that comes on the station is much much more upbeat, but I finally had to buy the single to listen to again and again. I have heard Grace Potter on the radio but the radio songs don’t quite affect me like this one does.

First Aid Kit – Silver Linings – First Aid Kit is a Swedish duo and I don’t know anything else about them except for this folksy song below. I love it, though! This one is a Sirius XM Spectrum find.

Milky Chance – Stolen Dance – Another Sirius XM Spectrum find. It isn’t my favorite of the bunch but it’s quirky and catchy and I find myself smiling everytime it comes on the radio. And everytime Scott’s finger’s migrate to the next station, I have to slap his hand out of the way. Unfortunately he doesn’t appreciate my music. <smirk>

 What have you been listening to lately? Anything you think I’d like?

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Top Ten Authors I Need to Revisit

September 16, 2014 Reading Nook 28

Top Ten Tuesday

 

It’s Tuesday! Which means another Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today the gals ask us to dish on the top authors we’ve only read one book from but NEED to read more.

Looking over my list of book posts from over the years, it’s easy to see that I read a lot of books by a lot of different authors. While the list doesn’t reflect my pre-blogging reads, there are a lot of one hit wonders over there. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to read more books by these authors–it’s more that there’s only so much time available and so many other authors to read. No, this doesn’t explain by King has appeared on that list so many times…  My brain does not always work logically.

So, Ten Authors I Need to Revisit:

1. Ian McEwan – I’ve mentioned McEwan a few times on the blog recently, and while I loved loved loved Atonement I haven’t yet picked up another book by him. That’s not true, when Elle was a newborn I picked up Saturday but immediately put it down for something a little more brainless. I have both Amsterdam and Saturday on my shelf. Which should I start with?

2. Sherman Alexie – I so enjoyed The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and have picked up a couple of other books by Alexie over the years. I think what’s been holding me back is that they’re mostly short story collections and for reason I can’t seem to get into them as I can a novel. I have Ten Little Indians and The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven on my shelves. I plan to pick one of them up later this month for #Diversiverse.

3. Jonathon Safran Foer  – You’ve been reading my blog long enough to know that Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is one of my favvvvvvvvvvvvvvorites, right? But I’m scared that Everything is Illuminated won’t live up to my high high expectations. It’s just there, taunting me from the shelf. I haven’t decided if I want to read Eating Animals or not.

4. Isabel Allende – Years and years ago I read The House of the Spirits on my college roommates recommendation. I both loved it and felt intimidated by it all the way up until the end. Though I’m still collecting Allende’s works and hoping that one day I get the courage to pick something else up. Zorro seems like a fun choice? Or maybe

5. Amy Tan – Another author whose books I collect. I read The Joy Luck Club last year and really enjoyed it. What others have you loved by Tan?

6. Charlotte Bronte – I would say Emily Bronte but we all know that she only wrote Wuthering Heights. I read Jane Eyre years ago and really need to revisit it, but maybe Villette should be my next read by Charlotte? Or should I give Anne a chance with The Tenant of Wildfell Hall?

7. Ann-Marie MacDonald – I so loved Fall On Your Knees, but The Way the Crow Flies is another huge chunkster and I always have to work myself up to starting those. And then I’ll have read all of the novels that MacDonald has written and that’s sad. How’s that for logic?

8. Michael Pollan – Food guru! I loved listening to The Omnivore’s Dilemma and have The Botony of Desire on the shelf. I should pick it up, huh?

9. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Theme of this post is “read one book by an author and absolutely love it, start collecting other books by author, and then avoid them all.” I’ve been meaning to read The Purple Hibiscus since the second I devoured Half of a Yellow Sun. I also have The Thing Around Your Neck on my shelf and desperately want Americanah. What have I been waiting for?!

10. Jeffrey Eugenides – See comments directly above. I don’t have The Marriage Plot waiting for me on the shelf, but I do have The Virgin Suicides. I almost nominated it for the October Readalong Gang but decided against it. So, Middlesex remains my only Eugenides read.

Which authors do you want to read more?

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The Sparrow Readalong – Midway Check-in

September 14, 2014 Reading Nook 16

sparrow readalong

You made it halfway through The Sparrow Readalong!! Ok, some of you cheater cheaters have already finished and some of you haven’t gotten far yet. That’s OK! If you have already finished, please keep spoilers at bay. We all know something is coming, but let us get there on our own. If you haven’t read the book or you’re not quite halfway, be aware of potential spoilers below. If you’d still like to join us this month, it’s not too late! Hurry and grab a copy of the book!

AND IF you haven’t read The Sparrow before, I can only speak for half of the book but it’s pretty dang good. Russell’s writing is the stuff that you can dive deep into, the characters are ones that I want to hold close, and there are so many nuggets within the pages that I’ve been dogearing my copy like crazy. Yes, I dogear.  (And if you’re reading along and have not received a bookmark from me, let me know!)

dogeared pages

The official Halfway Point is tomorrow, and if you are writing a post you can write about what ever you’d like (up to page 200). If you don’t have any direction, below are some prompts for you. Feel free to answer in the comments or answer them in your own post. Please note that you do not need to write a halfway post if you don’t want to…

1. How is The Sparrow matching up with your expectations going into the book? Are you surprised by anything?

2. Do you feel the switching back and forth between past and present to be effective?

3. Which characters do you want to hug and squeeze? Any you’d like to strangle?

4. Any other thoughts? #copoutquestion

If you wrote a mid-way post, link it up below! I’ll have a finale link-up at the end of the month.

 

sparrow

My thoughts:

1. I knew two things going into The Sparrow: Religion and Space. I was a little worried that the book would be preachy and technical. While there have been a few technical parts, the religion part has been very present but never in a negative or pushy way. I love Anne’s balance to the group and I respect Emilio’s sense of duty to the church. It still surprises me that he could go to space on blind faith alone–really that any of the members of this ragtag group would go. The first 40 pages were rough going and I did some re-reading once I got further into the book (back to the beginning), but otherwise I’m surprised at how easy it is to get sucked into this book.

2. Love the switching back and forth–and of course Russell is such a tease with dangling little tidbits of information, but it sure does make returning to the book much easier!

3. I adore Anne–I think she’s my favorite of the group. She’s so matronly and loving but also sassy and lighthearted. I’m intrigued by Emilio and learning more about what makes him tick (and also what happened on Rakhat). Jimmy makes me smile and I’m just not sure about Sophia. I love when she shows moments of tenderness but she’s so protective of herself and her feelings. DW is obnoxious, George is just there. Are there other characters? Oh, the modern priests all run together in my head. I have a really really tough time separating them out from one another.

4. Nope. You’ve seen my dogears. I’m bracing myself for the ending, even though I still have no idea what will happen. There are about eleventy billion quotes I’d love to share but my copy is in the other room.

 

hearts

 

Curious to know which book won the most votes for the next Readalong? Drood by Dan Simmons! It was super close with Alias Grace and Drood fighting most of the time. Poor Bone People was last on the list but I still urge you to read it. Such a moving book.  More details on the readalong coming soon, but get your doorstops copies ready!

readalong gang

 

See you Sparrow Readeralongers in two weeks (or on Twitter using #SparrowRAL).

Happy Reading!

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Molasses Glazed Chicken Thighs

September 13, 2014 In the Kitchen 13

grilled chicken

 

When Scott and I were working on Operation Use My Grill this summer, I knew that chicken had to be on the agenda. Mostly so that we could figure out how to properly grill chicken. See, when I think of chicken on the barbie, I think of dry, chewy, tasteless…well, that pretty much sums it up. When I saw this recipe for Molasses Glazed Chicken Thighs from Southern Living’s Big Book of BBQ, though, I had a lightbulb moment–why had I never tried grilled dark meat? By nature it’s usually more flavorful than its white counterpart (and the other three in my family prefer dark meat anyway).

So, try we did. And they were a huge hit with everyone. So much so that we cooked them again for a second time and now that grill season is coming to an end (who am I kidding, we’re in Texas), I might try these in the oven as well.

 Molasses Glazed Chicken Thighs

(from The Big Book of BBQ)

Prep: 15 min | Chill 8 hours | Grill 10-12 min

Ingredients:
12 skinned and de-boned chicken thighs
3/4 cup molasses
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp pepper

Directions:

1. Mix together the last six ingredients in a bowl or ziploc bag and add the chicken. Chill for 8 hours and turn occasionally.

2. Preheat grill to medium heat (between 300º and 350º). Remove chicken marinade and discard marinade.

3. Grill chicken thighs, covered with grill lid, 5-6 minutes on each side or until a thermometer reads 170º at the thickest part of the thigh.

My Notes: Both times I made this recipe I used bone-in thighs (skin removed). I also only used 4-6 instead of 12. The cook time was obviously a lot more than 10 minutes, but we’re still experimenting on just how long these babies need to cook on the grill. Why did I use bone-in? Because I hate trimming boneless thighs. And I guess I could just not trim the fat, but growing up as a breast meat girl, I just can’t.  The second time I made the recipe I only had about 1/4 cup of molasses so I amended all of the other ingredients a bit (without doing any math or accurate measuring). The meat was still delicious. Both times I chilled for less than 8 hours. I will note that they were more flavorful when I chilled them for longer than an hour.

 What’s your favorite way to prepare chicken thighs?

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Linking up with:

ook it up Challenge - small

I cooked these molasses glazed chicken thighs from The Big Book of BBQ as part of Cook it Up: A Cookbook Challenge. The idea of the challenge is to dust off your cookbooks and put them to use. Link up the first Saturday monthly on Love, Laughter, Insanity.

 

 

weekend cookingEvery weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking.  “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.”  Hope you’ll join the fun!

 

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Evie’s Baby Quilt FINISHED!!

September 11, 2014 Crafty 35

baby quilt

The moment that I found out I was having another girl, I immediately began scouring my favorite quilting blogs for inspiration for her quilt. I sought out advice on Twitter and Hannah (of Wordlily) started sending me different ideas. I believe she’s the one who introduced me to the Urban Lattice design (originally from Me a Mom) and seeing the top from Lee of Freshly Pieced sold me on the design. It’s too bad that the Me a Mom quilt has since been deleted as it means that the tutorials she provided for the quilt are also gone. While I didn’t use her design exactly (her centered squares were much smaller than mine and the white space much larger).

Once I had the design, I needed to find the fabric. Since Elle’s quilt is pink, I was thinking I would make Evie’s in purple tones (the accents in Evie’s room are purple). But after shopping, I decided to use one line of fabric rather than picking up fat quarters in a color range. I fell in love with Honey Honey from Moda, bought the layer cake, and started cutting and sewing away!

honey honey fabric honey honey fabric honey honey fabric

 

I finished up the quilt top (which was a breeze) by the time Evie was a month old, but then the nagging to finish Scott’s quilt was too much for me to ignore. I knew I had to finish his quilt before I started quilting Evie’s, plus I knew that I wanted to do some free motion quilting on her quilt and I had to work up the courage. Once I finished Scott’s quilt, I quickly outlined all of the blocks using a straight stitch and then practiced and practiced my free motion stitches (this basically means that instead of the machine sewing in a straight line, I control the movement of the stitches with my hands).

And let me tell you. Free Motion Quilting is tough! I could never seem to get my tension right and when I finally did, my bobbin needed to be replaced and I’d have to start all over figuring it out. But, it’s done. It looks pretty good for my first attempt, and I’ve promised myself that I won’t look too closely at the bad stitches (or the places where my tension is clearly off) or all the places where I had to start and stop because of my thread breaking. If nothing else, I learned a lot and feel a bit more confident.

It’s not perfect, but I’m proud of the quilt and I love how all of the colors work together. The finished quilt is 48×60 and perfect for snuggling up on the couch. In fact, Elle has already commandeered it a few times.

IMG_8097 baby quilt baby quilt baby quilt baby quilt

When did I find the time? During naps and 20 minutes here and there. Sometimes I’d close the door to my craft room and get two inches of stitching done that I then spent all my time unpicking. Some moments were so frustrating, but it came together.

What’s up next? My Christmas top needs to be quilted, but it’s huge and I don’t know how I’m going to tackle it. I’ve also started piecing together little squares for a Farmer’s Wife Quilt. And then maybe a little something else that I can’t really talk about yet. Oh ya, and then the hexies. No shortage of crafting going on here!

Much love,

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Quiet by Susan Cain [Audiobook]

September 9, 2014 Reading Nook, Review 23

quiet audiobook

Title: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking
Author: Susan Cain
Narrator: Kathe Mazur
Published: 2012; Pages: 333
Audio Duration: 10 hrs, 39 min
Genre: Non-fiction
Rating: I *need* a paper copy for all the highlighting

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible

In Short: The world is full of introverted individuals; Cain explores many of the attributes assigned to and realized by introverts and how the introverted personality type can be one of quiet power.

Why I Listened: As an introvert, I knew I needed to experience this book. Listening was the fastest way I could get to it.

Thoughts in General: For as long as I’ve known about introverts and extroverts, I’ve known that I was an introvert. Sadly, though, I always thought that being an introvert equaled being shy. It wasn’t until a year or two ago that I learned that being an introvert and an extrovert is more about how one recharges energy rather than having anything to do with shyness (Cain talks a great deal about being shy and how this is not limited to introverts). It was a game changer for me when I realized that introverts recharge during quiet activities or time alone and that big boisterous meetings or large groups could be exhausting to an introvert. Yes yes yes! This is me! Now I know why I’m cranky when I don’t have any time alone or at least quiet time.

Susan Cain’s carefully researched and thoughtful book, Quiet, seeks to expel many of the myths surrounding introverts and extroverts (such as extroverts make the best leaders or introverts are all shy). I found myself nodding quite often while listening to her examination of the work force and how introverts and extroverts work within groups, alone, and with different managerial types. I even texted my former boss and recommended that she read this book.

Cain talks about relationships between introverts and extroverts (I’m not sure where Scott lies on the spectrum…possibly an ambivert, but he is certainly not an introvert like I am) and how different combinations of the personality types can best work together. She explored the classroom and teacher/student relationship (I want my sister to listen to this section as she is teaching 4th graders). And the section that made me sit up and pay close attention was the section relating to introverted children. I suspect Elle of being an introvert and I appreciate the wisdom that Cain provided on how to relate to introverted children.

While I loved listening to the audiobook, I do wish that I had a paper copy to highlight and mark up. I know that I’ll eventually seek out a paper copy and read through much of the text again. There is a lot to be learned from Quiet and it is a book that everyone can take away at least a little something. The bottom line for me was that we all need to recognize our own limits and strengths and then play towards those. Being introverted is not a limitation and it certainly isn’t a negative. Cain’s insight on introverted children made me aware at how social agenda is so greatly pushed and how I can be a more sensitive mother to listen to who my child is and not who society thinks she should be. Of course this is true of anything, but sometimes we need a gentle reminder?

Some Quotey Goodness:

“In most settings, people use small talk as a way of relaxing into new a relationship and only once they’re comfortable do they connect more seriously. Sensitive people seem to do the reverse. They enjoy small talk only after they’ve gone deep. When sensitive people are in environments that nurture their authenticity, they laugh and chitchat just as much as anyone else.”

“Relationships make everyone happier, introverts included, but think quality over quantity. The secret to life is to put yourself in the right lighting. For some it’s a Broadway spotlight, for others it’s a lamplit desk.”

Ok, so it’s tough to jot down quotes when listening and even these are typed up from my listening and might not be exactly correct. Heather from Capricious Reader provides many many great quotes from her review of Quiet.

A Note on the Audio: The best way that I can describe Kathe Mazur’s audio narration? Quiet. No really, her narration was slowly paced and softly spoken. I did up the speed to 1.25x but otherwise her narration perfectly fit the tone of the book.

Bottom Line: Read it or listen to it. While there might not be anything earthshattering in Quiet, it will help you understand your own introvertedness or the introvertedness of others around you. Plus it’s just an endlessly fascinating topic. And! It’s currently only $2.99 for the Kindle or Nook!

 Are you in introvert? Do you find yourself misunderstood because of it? Or are you an extrovert with introverts in your close family?

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