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The rants and recipes found here are solely mine.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Five


I've read so many books since the last time I did a review, that I can hardly remember what I read.

Here are just a few.

Joy School (Ballantine Reader's Circle) by Elizabeth Berg

I loved this short novel and read it in one sitting. It brought me back to what it was like to be thirteen years old again. Katie, the thirteen year old heroine of the book, is new in town. Her mother has died and her Army Colonel father is distant and angry. It seems no one likes her at her new school and she's having trouble fitting in. She just wants a friend and so she falls in with a few girls who aren't quite perfect matches for her. She learns a lot from them while also falling love with a much older man. I started this early one Saturday morning and finished it in just a couple of hours. I found it so true to what it was like to be that age again. Excellent book.

The Stand: Expanded Edition: For the First Time Complete and Uncut (Signet) by Steven King

This book is about 1200 pages long, so it took me a very long time to read it. It was great to take along when I was shuttling my mom around for all of her appointments following her knee surgery (although it was really heavy to carry!) I found myself trying to carve out time in my day, just to read it. King does that to me. He gets in my brain and makes me want to read incessantly. It's the version of the story that King originally wrote, adding four hundred pages to the one that was originally published. I read the other version many, many years ago and wanted to see what King had originally wanted to say. This is King's most popular book, according to a review on Amazon. I found it riveting, again. The entire world population is wiped out by a superflu let loose accidentally by a secret military installation. I loved the characters in this book, King gets you right into their minds. Their intertwining stories of what they did immediately after the plague, how they combated the loneliness, and how they found company are chilling. If you haven't read King, this one is intense, but it's a good one.

Multiple Blessings: Surviving to Thriving with Twins and Sextuplets by Jon Gosselin, Kate Gosselin, and Beth Carson

I'm a huge Jon and Kate Plus Eight fan. I've watched this family since their first documentaries filmed a few years ago. The sextuplets are now four years old and I'm still watching. Maybe it's because I have only one child that I find it so fascinating, but I think it's more than that. I'm a lot like Kate. I would have to be as organized and cling to routines like lifelines just like she does. There's no other way you could survive so many kids in one house! The book is delightful. Another one that I read in practically one sitting. It's much more faith filled than I expected. That aspect of Jon and Kate's life doesn't transmit to their reality show. As well, you learn in the book more about their innermost thoughts, fears, and the extreme stress that they went through. It hasn't been easy for them, but God has a plan for them and they've left it up to Him. So far, I think it's working!

I've started several books and put them down again just because they haven't caught my attention. I figure life is too short to try to push yourself through something that's just not doing it for you! I've got a stack home from the library, though, that are very intriguing.


The Living Room Tour Carol King

Her voice just gets me and her duet with her daughter makes me cry every time. Carol King is timeless. If you don't have any of her work in your collection, you must get some.


Baked potatoes baking in the oven. I just hate microwaved baked potatoes. They get all wrinkled and ugly and the texture is just all wrong. Bake them in the oven and you have a crisp-tender skin and a fluffy inside. When I can't be home to get them in the oven, I just set my oven timer to turn on at the right time.


Oven Fried Chicken
This recipe originally appeared in In the Kitchen with Rosie, Oprah's chef. We've loved this recipe since the book came out. I like to marinate the chicken in the yogurt mixture or in a pinch, I'll use fat free buttermilk. Below is the original recipe. Be sure to customize it to suit your family's preferences.

light vegetable oil cooking spray
6 chicken drumsticks, skin removed
3 whole chicken breasts, halved and skin removed
3 1/2 cups ice water
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt

For The Breading
1 cup dried Italian breadcrumbs--I like to use half Panko crumbs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon creole seasoning
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 dash cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with 3 sprays of the vegetable oil.
Put the chicken in a large bowl with the ice water. Put the yogurt into a medium bowl.
Set both bowls aside.
Toss all the breading ingredients into a large, tightly-sealing plastic bag. Seal and shake well to mix.
Remove 2 pieces of chicken from the ice water. Roll each piece in the yogurt.
Put the chicken into the plastic bag, reseal, and shake to coat thoroughly.
Transfer the breaded chicken to the prepared baking sheet.
Repeat the process until all 12 pieces are breaded.
Spray the chicken lightly with the vegetable oil.
Place the baking sheet on the bottom shelf of the oven and bake for 1 hour, turning the pieces every 20 minutes to allow even browning.
Serve hot or at room temperature


A new haircut and color. I'm trying grow my hair out into a different style. I hate growing my hair out but, it is time for a change. I've been going to the same salon, Rocco Altobelli, since I was in college. When we lived out of state, I would long for a great haircut and miss this salon tremendously. When you move, sometimes it takes a while to find the stylist that works well for you. I had some seriously weird hair experiences moving so much! My stylist, whom I call Hairy Mary, and I have been together for ages now. My colorist is new, but she's fabulous and so kind. I think a really good haircut is worth EVERY penny. I scrimp and save so that we can fit it in the budget.

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