Thursday, January 31, 2013

Gone by Mo Hayder

Gone by Mo Hayder

If you are wondering how I am choosing my books lately, look no further then Prairie Horizons aka Lesley’s Book Nook and her best books of 2012.  I was somewhat aghast when I realized that I had only read one of the books on her top ten list for 2012!  So, I set about quietly and methodically reading them all.  So far, not a single disappointment.

The latest was Gone by Mo Hayder.

When Rose's car is hijacked with her eleven year old daughter Martha in the back seat, the police assure her that car jackers don't want children.  That as soon as he realizes that she is in the back seat, he will let her go.  

As minutes stretch to hours, Detective Cafferty has to admit that it might be something more.  

A very good mystery.  I couldn't put it down, finding excuses to read every chance I could, and staying up way too late.  I had no idea till almost the very end who the car jacker was. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Garden Tuesday ~A little fog~

Foggy morning Chattanooga TN

Foggy morning Chattanooga TN

Foggy morning Chattanoga TN

Foggy Morning Chattanooga TN

Foggy morning Chattanooga TN

Last Saturday morning, I looked out my window and saw the sun rising, shining through the morning fog, in the woods behind my house.   I love how ghostly it looks!

How does your garden look this week?

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, January 28, 2013

One Word 365 ~Yes~

Word of the year

Some of you have asked me if I had chosen a word of the year yet.  The answer is yes.  Yes, I have.  Yes I did.  Yes, it’s Yes. 

I know that choosing yes, might seem a little funny, since there are lots of articles out there teaching us how to “learn to say no.”  Well, I want to say yes more often.  Yes to things I might not normally say yes to.  Yes to things I may feel guilty about doing. 

I am currently listening to Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain, and it has been a revelation.  Now, I understand “me” so much better.  The idea that I need downtime.  I need quiet time.  Alone time.  It fuels me.  Whereas extroverts are fueled by being around people, socializing – socializing sucks the energy right out of me.  So, while listening to this book, I chose the word Yes.

oui necklace 

With all my new “me” knowledge – I want to say yes to more things.  Yes to more socializing, but at the same time, yes to spending quiet evenings at home curled up with a good book.  Yes to getting out of my comfort zone every once in a while and yes to planting my feet firmly in my comfort zone whenever I need it. 

And yes to cute jewelry to remind me to say yes more often!

I found the top “Yes” necklace at Word Baubles on Etsy.

Word Baubles packaging

I am a sucker for cute, simple packaging.  Totally loved this!

I couldn’t resist the gorgeous “oui” necklace from Poetic Designs on Etsy either!  Isn’t it so lovely?  It arrived in a cute little pouch, that I sadly forgot to take a photo of. 

I really love both of these necklaces and will probably say “yes” to buying a couple more from these vendors!

If you want to learn more about choosing your word for 2013, and see what others have chosen, stop by One Word 365.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Weekend Wine Reviews #143 The One Where I Drink Some Beer

Samuel Smith's Organic Chocolate Stout

Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout.  So, Earth Fare was handing out some samples of this for tasting.  I had a sample.  And then I bought their last 6 pack.  Chocolate.  Stout.  What’s not to love?!

Old World India Pale Ale

India Pale Ales.  Or IPA.  For those of us in the know.  I love them.  I love an intense hoppy flavor.  The hoppier the better.  This one did not disappoint.

These are my two favorite types of beer – big hearty stouts and hoppy India Pale Ales. 

What about you, do you have favorites?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Friday, January 25, 2013

Five Spiced Glazed Salmon with Sesame Green Beans

Five Spiced Glazed Salmon with Sesame Green Beans

I know what it is like to be too tired to cook after a long day at work.  When cooking just seems like more work.  But I try to only eat out once a week maybe twice.  So I look for easy recipes.  Recipes that feel special, look good, are good for me, look like I worked harder than I did. 

Five Spiced Glazed Salmon with Sesame Green Beans 

This Five Spice Glazed Salmon with Sesame Green Beans from Fine Cooking is one of those recipes.  It’s so easy. 

Five spice glazed salmon with sesame green beans

The salmon and green beans all cook in one pan which is lined with foil for easy clean up.  I added some garlicy brown rice and dinner was complete!

If you are looking for an easy weeknight meal, follow the link above!  Let me know what you think!



This will be my entry for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mediterranean Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone

The Mediterranean Slow Cooker

I use my slow cooker every Sunday once school starts and continue all the way through the school year.  It’s my little break from cooking on a Sunday afternoon.  Plus I do my wine tasting for my weekend wine reviews on Sunday afternoon – and I have learned that is not a good time for me to be chopping ingredients and using the stove!

So, I am always intrigued by slow cooker cookbooks, even though I primarily only make soup in mine.  Well, no more.  I am so excited about The Mediterranean Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone!

First of all, it has gorgeous photos by Alan Richardson! 

Photo by Alan Richardson 

Photo by Alan Richardson

See what I mean!  Gorgeous!  That was a screen capture from iPad.

The book begins with an intro about slow cookers and tips on using and ingredients for.  It is a well-thought out section.  Then it is divided into Soups, Eggs, Seafood, Poultry, Beef and Veal, Pork and Lamb, Pasta Grains and Beans, Vegetables and Desserts.  

I found so many recipes that I want to try – really too many to list, but here are a few:


  • Fennel, Leek and Potato Soup
  • Chickpea Cream Soup with Garlic and Rosemary
  • Bean and Greens Soup
  • Spicy Chicken and Vegetables
  • Cooked Water (Tuscan Mushroom, Tomato and Egg Soup) *


  • Spinach and Feta Omelet
  • Mozzarella, Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomato Bread Pudding *


  • Halibut with Cherry Tomatoes and Arugula
  • Poached Salmon in Court Bouillon
  • Chunky Fish Tagine
  • Tilapia with Romesco Sauce


  • Spicy Chicken with Green Olives
  • Balsamic Chicken with Capers
  • Chicken with Chorizo, Red Wine, and Roasted Peppers
  • Chicken Legs with Sausage, Tomatoes and Black Olives

Beef and Veal

  • Porcini Braised Beef
  • Beef Short Ribs with Carrots and Black Olives
  • Meatballs with Feta and Tomato Sauce

Pork and Lamb

  • Pork Ribs with Tomato Balsamic Sauce
  • Braised Lamb Shanks with Red Wine and Spices
  • Portuguese Pulled Pork

Pasta, Grains, and Beans

  • Polenta with Spinach and Ricotta
  • Chickpeas, Roasted Peppers, and Bacon Salad


  • Roasted Beets
  • Vegetable Tagine
  • Tzimmes


  • Two Berry Clafouti
  • Apple Raisin Souffle Pudding
  • Rice Pudding Brulee
  • Blushing Pomegranate Pears

Seriously every thing sounds good!  Next week I am making the Cooked “Water” (Tuscan Mushroom, Tomato, and Egg Soup) and the Mozzarella, Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomato Bread Pudding. 

I’ll leave you with another gorgeous photograph by Alan Richardson!

Photo by Alan Richardson

I will post reviews of the recipes, but I expect good things! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Garden Tuesday ~ Frosty Cardinals


Frost on lambs ear

frost on weeds



My frosty garden this week.  We had the promise of snow, but instead  had a sleety-spity very cold rain.  Boo. We did get out of school two hours early and had a two hour delay the next day, so all was not lost.

How about you, how is your garden this week?

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Lemongrass and Ginger Oh My!

Lemon Grass and Ginger

Look what I found!!  Please tell me that I am not the last person alive to know that you could get Lemongrass and Ginger all finely chopped in a tube!  Organic! 

I can not find lemongrass around here and usually try and buy and freeze some whenever I go to Atlanta.  But the other day while shopping at Walmart, I found these!  I was practically giddy with excitement.  They are in the cold refrigerated section of the produce department and you store them in the fridge.  Fresh lemon grass whenever I want it!!  Organic even!!

I didn’t really need the ginger, since I can get it regularly, but I grabbed it anyway.  They also had basil and red chiles!!! 

Thai and Vietnamese food whenever I want!! 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Weekend Wine Reviews #142 Purple Moon Merlot

Purple Moon Merlot

Purple Moon Merlot, 2009, $3.99, Trader Joes.  We say:  plum, light, short finish.  Not complex, but pleasant.  Buy again:  $3.99 for a pleasant red – yes!!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A little bird watching for Saturday Pet Blog Hop

Tuxedo cat bird watching

Next month is the Great Backyard Bird Count.

Black and white cat watching birds

I think someone started a little early.  Except instead of hearing her whisper, “one, two, three” I heard, “breakfast, lunch, snack..”

This will be my entry for The Saturday Pet Blogger Hop! 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Hoppin John

Black-eyed peas

Like every good Southern girl, I had Hoppin John for New Years.  The black-eyed peas represent coins and the collard greens represent dollars.  A little good luck never hurt anyone, plus I adore black-eyed peas. 

I am about to say something that might shock you.  As a matter of fact, you should probably sit down.

I made my Hoppin John without a lick of pork.  No bacon.  No ham hocks.  No hambone.

I know.

Hoppin John

And even though you can’t tell from this blurry, sad photo that I took, it was very good!  Seriously did not miss the pork.  I am not kidding!

As a faithful food blogger, I try to be on the continuous search for new recipes.  So, rather than my tried and true porky goodness recipe, I found one Food52 that intrigued me.   Food52 Slow Cooker Hoppin John had no pork, and yet it was delightfully flavorful.  I think it was the Old Bay Seasoning.  I’ve never used Old Bay in Hoppin John – as a matter of fact, I think I’ve only used it for shrimp boils. 

This was so good, there is no reason to limit it to New Years.  Go check it out, make it, and let me know what you think!



This will be my entry for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake

I loved every single thing about The Homecoming of Samuel Lake: A Novel  From the sweet Southern charm of some of the characters to the decidedly evilness of others. 

Samuel Lake is a Methodist preacher who gets moved around a lot.  So, his daughter, Swan is used to being a preacher's kid and being the new kid in town.  When Samuel is not assigned a new position, the family is forced to move back home to Arkansas with Samuel's mother. 

I totally fell into this book and was faced with the dilemma of wanting to reading it quickly and wanting to savor it.  I thought that the characters were well drawn, possibly a smidgen stereotypical, but that only added to the charm.  I had trouble reading parts of it...the cruel treatment of people and animals by one of the characters.  But I've known someone almost exactly like him, and I know people like that exist. 

The writing was perfect:

"Add this to the fact that he preached with what some considered undue fervor, frequently thumping the pulpit for emphasis and saying things like "If you believe that, say 'Amen!'" when he knew full well that Methodists were trying to give up that sort of thing,"

"Her parents certainly loved God.  Swan did, too, she was sure, even though she ben His rules with some degree of regularity, and prayed only When It Was Important.  She'd never been one to wear God out with small talk."

Really, I became so emotionally involved with this book, that about halfway through it, I started thinking.."nothing bad better happen to these people" and "this better have a happy ending." 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013