Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The most recent 10

Until I went through my Good Reads list, I didn't realize how few books I've actually read in the last year.  In light of that I'm tweaking my list for Carol's prompt this week.  Some of the books I read were pretty long, so maybe that's why my list is so spartan.  I'm hoping that our yet-to-meet-new neighborhood book club will help in  getting more books on my "read" shelf.

10. Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen-first book for book club and really loved this book.  Finished in a day and a half.  Can't wait to discuss it in a couple weeks.
  9.  Just One Evil Act by Elizabeth George.  I read a lot of books in a series and this was George's latest, and I love it too.  Half of the book takes place in Italy, and I enjoyed looking up real "things" that she mentions. 
 8.  It Happens in the Dark by Carol O'Connell-another series that I enjoy.  Love the characters in the book.
 7.  740 Park by Michael Gross-this book is really for those who like history and reading about architecture and NYC.  I enjoyed it, and spent a lot of time looking up the people and places mentioned.
 6.  Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Windspear-Maisie Dobbs series-love this character and the the book's time period.
 5. Solomon's Puzzle by Loris Nebbia-I included this book as a "don't read".  It taught me how to consider a books merit and a writer's style, and that all books can't/aren't great.  It was too long, had a lot of unnecessary parts, odd characters, but could have been a good book if it had been better edited.  I bought the book when I went to Annapolis for a friend as a birthday gift.  It had won an award and was a local author.  My friend had the same reaction, and the reviews proved to be spot on, for once.
 4. The Greater Journey:  Americans in Paris by David McCullough-really enjoyed this book.  I found reading about the history of Paris very interesting.  I passed this book onto my son who enjoyed it as well.  It is really only for those who like history and Paris-see #7
 3. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton-audio book-really like listening to this book, and would like to actually read the print form at some point.
 2. (current read) North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell- another audio book.  I have read Wives and Daughters so when this book came up for Craft-Lit, I was excited to read another Gaskell piece.  Am enjoying it so far.
 1. (current read) The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell-this is for the May reading for book club.  It was a recommendation by 2 Knit Lit Chicks.  I'm not sure about this book yet, and I'm not so sure the ladies in my book club are going to want to read it.  A lot of really course language which I can only tolerate in small doses, but I'm plugging away.

The photo represents 2 recent magazines that I've gotten, and have yet found time to read.  Maybe it's time to re-evaluate how I'm spending my time.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lemon-y Goodness

Another weekend of trying something new, I still have lemons leftover from the poppy seed cake, and we've using them in cocktails too-yes, there are still lemons leftover.  There was a good bit of cooking, but only one new recipe was tried.  Martha Stewart's Strawberry Jam Tea Cakes from her Cupcakes cookbook-the title to me is misleading as these are cupcakes and I'm an absolute fool when it comes to these things.  When I read tea cakes, I think of the really thin cookies my dad talked about receiving in care packages when he was in the Navy not cake-cakes.  I did over fill the cups because the recipe said it made 16 which was an odd number since my muffin tin is for 12, and I didn't want to do a partial pan-note to self-Martha Stewart is smarter than you, so follow her directions.  These cakes have a lemon glaze instead of frosting.  What's really awesome about them is you can use whatever citrus, or combo of citrus flavors you want cause you're using fresh juice and zest.  They were super moist, and I loved the bit of sweetness from the jam that is cooked inside, that balanced with the tartness from the lemon.  I will definitely make these again (and I won't overfill the tins) and I think they'd be great for Sunday brunch or a wedding/baby shower.

What'cha been cooking?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

throwback thursday. college days

Tuesday I had the good fortune of having dinner with some wonderful ladies that I met while doing my student teaching practicals for my education degree at Kennesaw State University. The last 2 semesters of the education program can be pretty grueling, and it's important that you bond with the folks in your cooperative group. We definitely did, there were about 16 of us, and 9 were guys. The four of us, Shannon, Mary, Me and Tina (pictured L-R) spent a lot of time laughing and crying, but we survived. Only 2 of us, Shannon and Tina actually got jobs in the teaching world, but we all agree that we would not have made it to the end without each other. The only thing that's really kept us apart over these last 10-ish years have been our family and job responsibilities. Luckily, we still live nearby, and with our children getting older we hope that we will be able to get together more often.
Here's our photo from dinner, I've reached out to Mary, and hopefully the next get together will include the 4 of us.
so what's happened since last we met?  Shannon has 1 son in college (almost done), a son and daughter in high school, the youngest now being 16.  Same husband, but has moved a couple times, and they are still trying to get settled.  For Tina, same house and husband, and she now has 4 (!) grandchildren-her oldest daughter was expecting her first baby last time I'd seen her.  Her son (out of college) got married this past June, and lives nearby.  Her youngest daughter (trying to find her way) is working in Florida.  Everyone is healthy and doing great, and moving along through life.  I feel so blessed to have a chance to re-connect with these ladies.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Weekend lens.

We treated Andrew to an early birthday gift with tickets to Alton Brown's show Edible Inevitable Tour on Friday.  It was a lot of fun and Alton Brown was very entertaining.  Prior to the show we tried a new Greek restaurant near my office Cafe Mezo.  No liquor license yet, but you can bring your own wine with no corkage fee-It was very good and I hope to have a chance to go there for lunch.  Mezes means small plates, and they really are small plates.

Since I leave my office at 4, I had a little time to kill before the boys rolled into Atlanta.  I went to Esorpion for a cocktail, empanada and some chips and salsa, salsa counts as a vegetable right?!  There was a little knitting too.
It was a perfect evening to walk to the few blocks to the Fox, such an awesome venue.
When the boys are home that means serious cooking.  My first time ever making Sunday gravy, it was really good, and used a LOT of tomatoes!
Andrew made biscuits-they were square-i don't know why, but it was nice to sit down and eat breakfast together.
I decided to try another Smitten Kitchen recipe-Poppy Seed Lemon cake.  It was good, but I wish it was a little more lemon-y and more moist like a cake made with buttermilk or sour cream.  I chose the recipe because it used 8 egg yolks-yikes I know, but it allowed me to use the egg whites for my breakfast for the coming work week.  I look forward to trying more of her recipes, and I need to follow her blog.
There was also some play time-Sophie really enjoyed having her "brothers" home for the weekend.
A very nice facetime call with Roy, not fun that it was from a hospital room, but a nice way to send get well wishes.
Finally, the weekend ended with a special trunk show at Cast on Cottage featuring Claudia of Claudia's Hand Painted Yarns.  She is not only a talented dyer, but a super nice person as well.  I hope she makes another trip to the Cottage at some point.  Of course, I did a "little" stash enhancement while I was there-those purchases will be photos for another time.