Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cranberry Strawberry Spinach Salad

I don't have a picture of this because... well, I was a tad bit frantic the night I made this. The wind was howling, the rain was pouring down and I was pretty sure were all going to die. I also had a house full of unexpected company for supper, about half of which were children under the age of ten. I think I may have broken some dishes that night as well. It was chaotic and crazy, but I will be making my version of this salad again, so there will be a picture added soon! [famous last words but whatever]

I found this recipe over on Darla's blog. I made some tweaks to the recipe [noted in brackets] not so much because I thought her recipe was wrong but... well, that's just what I do okay?

1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons sugar [I used 1 tbsp because I thought it would be too sweet]
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar [I used red wine vinegar]
2 tablespoons cider vinegar [I used regular vinegar]
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted 350 degrees for 10 minutes [I didn't toast my seeds]
full pinch paprika [I had no paprika so I used a little more than a pinch of Cayenne Pepper, which was a nice spicy bite to go with the sweet]

1/2 lb. (8 ounces) spinach, rinsed
1/2 cup fresh, finely diced onion
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup blanched and slivered almonds, toasted 350 degrees for 10 minutes
[The cranberries and almonds are where I deviated as well. I bought a bag of Salad Makers dried cranberries with sugared walnuts (that's why I cut the sugar down in the dressing and no toasting involved) and also added thinly sliced strawberries.]

Put all dressing ingredients in a jar, put the lid on tight and shake the crap out of it.

Put all the salad ingredients in a bowl with room for tossing.

Add dressing and toss until all ingredients are evenly distributed.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Catching Up on Book Blogs

The last two months I've been a little obsessed with buying and moving into a house. While I still have lots to do around here, my 30 year mortgage tells me to take my time. So this morning - really all weekend - I plan on catching up on my book blog reading, hopefully getting through a book, watching NetFlix movies, working on my German lessons and maybe, just maybe, I'll work on a few inside house projects. The heat index is supposed to be in the 110 degree range for the next week, seems like a perfect time to fully appreciate having central air and blowing off yard work.

Added to Wish List:
Map of Time by Felix J. Palma
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Tales from my Hard Drive by Megan Karasch

Friday, July 15, 2011

Dishing It Out

Dishing It Out (Harlequin Flipside)Dishing It Out by Molly O'Keefe

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was a cute book. The first half of the book was good, when the main characters were building chemistry. Overall the book was lacking a plot and the romance fizzled out at the end for me.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ye Olde Kitchen

This is my old apartment kitchen. This is where I did all of my cooking and attempts at baking for the last four years. 49 months if you want to be technical. I had a love/hate relationship with this kitchen.

There were things that I loved: I mean, really, for a (so-called) low-rent apartment, the kitchen was pretty huge. Another thing that I loved was that I had enough cupboards that I could keep most of my applicances off the counters. I also loved that I was allowed to paint my apartment. When I moved in the kitchen was plain old white. I wanted a tomato-meets-cranberry red, but couldn't find the exact color that I wanted so the awesome paint guy at Menard's worked on creating a custom color. I love this red. I love this red so much that when I moved out of the apartment I took the half gallon of paint with me and my new kitchen will be getting a makeover.

Things that I hated: The constant battle with the stove/oven. The burners never really lowered the temperature enough to simmer things, it was always more of low rolling boil or off. I was always in serious danger of burning things if I turned my back for a second. The oven was often temperamental - I often set the temperature 25 degrees less and for a little less time than directed. The fridge(s) were another horror story altogether. While I loved the cupboard space, the counter space was lacking when it came to serious baking projects.

All in all though, I had some good times in this kitchen. I had failures, I had successes, there were laughter and tears. There was even an episode of being severely jet-lagged, drinking an entire bottle of Jaeg and passing out at the table. Oh! And how could I forget trying to feed the pickiest German at this table? True story.

Friday, July 8, 2011


SpeakSpeak by Laurie Halse Anderson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this book alot. It was a fast read, even though I started it and then put it down for three weeks. It was perfect teenage sarcasm while dealing a serious issue. There were times I was frustrated with the main character - Just spit it out and tell someone! - and times that I cried for her. What made me angry was the parents in this story, there was obviously something wrong with their daughter and they made zero effort to be involved with her.

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Synopsis: When Melinda Sordino's friends discover she called the police to quiet a party, they ostracize her, turning her into an outcast -- even among kids she barely knows. But even worse than the harsh conformity of high-school cliques is a secret that you have to hide.

Recommended Reading:
Missippippi Trial 1955 by Chris Crowe
Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
The First Part Last by Angela Johnson

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Ginger Tree

The Ginger TreeThe Ginger Tree by Oswald Wynd

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I had great expectations of this book and was let down. Some of the writing was very well done, but there were some parts that were just BORING. It was a great idea for a plot, but not sure the format of journal entries and letters were the way to do it. There was extensive description that I felt wouldn't have been present in a journal or letter.

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