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The rants and recipes found here are solely mine.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Five


Time of My Life by Allison Win Scotch

I heard about this book over at Booking Mama, so I put it on my library request list. I guess I was ahead of the herd, because this book arrived very quickly. It now has many more requests, so it must be getting good reviews on the net.

When I picked it up, I thought I was just going to breeze through another Chick Lit read, but this book had so much more to it. The premise is, what would you do if you could go back in time and live your life over again. Would you make the same choices? What would happen if you picked another person to marry? These are the questions facing heroine Jillian. She seems to have everything. A beautiful suburban home, a wonderful husband, and an adorable daughter. She's bored and unhappy, though. Her husband works long hours, their marriage is strained, she's tired of the relentlessness of motherhood, and her high standards and drive for perfection is driving her crazy. Hearing that an old boyfriend is getting married, she wonders what life would have been life if she wouldn't have let that one get away.

Magically whisked back in time, Jillian faces her past life with new eyes. Her choices ultimately lead her right back to where she was, but with some fantastic changes. Yes, I saw it coming, yes, it was relatively predictable, but this book got me thinking about some really serious things. Would I do it over again if I had the chance? And what would I change?

I highly recommend.

Stalking Susan by Julie Kramer

I love local authors. Julie is practically a neighbor, living just a community away from me.

Every once in a while, I need to read a thriller. A quick mystery, something that makes me want to race to the end of the book while savoring every page. This is that book.

Riley Spartz is an investigative reporter for a local television station. She recently had a horrific loss and is just easing herself back into work. While doing a story about a homicide, she begins to piece together the evidence of a serial killer. Once a year, on the same date for many years, women named Susan have been murdered. Riley begins to investigate, building a story with many twists and turns. Her news director isn't supportive of the story and forces her to investigate a pet cremation scandal, that makes an interesting side story.

I loved the inside view of an investigative reporter. The challenges they face are unique; Riley's story is extremely personal. In November, as the deadly anniversary approaches, sweeps means if it bleeds, it leads. As the book comes to it's climactic conclusion, I found myself wishing for more.

It's a page turner. I loved the local references. Loved the story. I look forward to more from Ms. Kramer.

Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray

This is what happens when I wander the aisles of my library (like a kid in a candy store). I bring home stacks of books that sound tempting at a glance. When I get home, I'm always amazed at what I've found. I absolutely adored this book. Maybe it's because it was set, once again, in my hometown Minneapolis, but references to our city were few and far between (or nonexistent). I think it was the title that grabbed me.

Ruth is a busy wife and mother who loves to bake. No, that's not quite right. She's found something meditative about baking. It's her "happy place" when things are falling apart around her. She finds comfort in the exact measurements, the science of baking if you will. She gets lost in recipes and loves to tweak them to perfection. She's doing a lot of baking lately. Both parents have moved in with her, her teenage daughter has honed her hormone driven angst to exquisite perfection, and her husband has lost his job. The story follows the family through some interesting and enlightening weeks.

A must read. I loved it--especially on the eve of my mom's surgery. I could totally relate!


Funhouse Pink

I adore Pink. I always have. I like strong women with even stronger voices (both musically and personally). Pink says what she thinks and her music is absolutely brilliant. Raw and edgy one minute, provocative the next, she hooked me on the first track. You can hear the emotion surrounding her recent split from her husband. I'd hate to be that guy (or anyone that did her wrong). Pink is one of the most talented artists of our time. Once again, she preaches and I am the choir.

(Please don't censor artists. Purchase the "explicit" version.)


Toasted Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel Bread. My favorite bread. About 1 WW Point per slice, it's my go to breakfast when my brain is still foggy. If you're not familiar with Food for Life Baking Company, you must try their products! This is what bread should be: hearty, healthy, and delicious.

When Young One was really little, he visited a friends house and had lunch there. At that point in his life, he had never had white bread. That's what he was served for lunch. I laughed so hard when he came home and said, "Something was wrong with their bread. It was all white and mushy." Ha!


We eat a lot of salmon at our house. It's one thing that Young One will eat without questioning it or examining it closely to see if there are hidden foods that he hates. I just stocked up on whole fillets for $4 a pound which is such a fantastic deal here in our landlocked state!

Maple Soy Salmon

About 4 WW Points per serving, serves 6.

One whole fillet of salmon

1/4 cup real maple syrup

2 TB soy sauce

as much garlic as you can stand

freshly ground black pepper

In a large, shallow baking dish, place salmon, skin side down. Mix all marinade ingredients and brush on salmon. Let marinate as long as you can in the refrigerator. I didn't have much time (an hour) and it was still delicious. Ginger and sesame oil would be good additions. Line another pan with foil. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Remove fish from marinade and place on foil. Brush with some of the remaining marinade and toss the rest. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes or until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.

I served with broccoli couscous (don't get excited it was just a box), winter squash drizzled with honey, and steamed veggies. Yum.


My new keyboard. Thank you Dell. My old laptop keyboard was losing keys rapidly. I think this is my third keyboard on this baby!

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Taking a little time to play with words, to play with food, and just to play!