Thursday, July 14, 2016

Books 17-20

17. My Name Is Asher Lev, Chaim Potok. While I was reading this book I didn't realize the significance of it to myself, but a few hours after I finished and was still thinking about it, it occurred to me how relatable this story is to single adult Mormons. Having a strong faith connection but not living up to expectations is an extremely common story for people in my life. This is definitely a book I will recommend, and those are hard to come by for me.

18. Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, John Gray. This is a second book that has become important to me and that I will recommend. The premise is ridiculous (men and women are literally from different planets--he refers to it several times throughout the book and I could not stop myself from rolling my eyes) and there are definitely some outdated ideas about men and women. But, even through all of that, I found my eyes really opened to some fundamental differences in perspectives and communication that have caused minor issues in my (really, really great) relationship. I feel like after reading this book and putting these things into practice, there will be no challenges that can't be worked out. Sounds naive, but I have noticed a real difference already. Read this book.

19. Attachments, Rainbow Rowell. This book is adorable. It's a great story and it won't make you feel sad or hopeless and that's pretty rare in fiction these days. It's also a Y2K throwback, which is just a bonus. This book passes the mom test, and I would even read it again.

20. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Oliver Sacks. I would never have read this book if it wasn't recommended to me, and I still had to skim through a lot of the neurological jargon, but the stories were interesting and I found a lot of connections. It also surprisingly had some implications to my view of teaching special education.

Currently reading Dracula and still listening to East of Eden (and loving it. I adore that book). Tomorrow is halfway through the summer and I've read 42% of my pages. I'm bringing a Nook on a trip to Utah and I've never used an e-reader so hopefully that doesn't hinder my reading because I'm planning on tackling some important books (Ready Player One, Goldfinch, David and Goliath, and Americanah). Please bless I have a lot to report in about 10 days!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Lost count of CSA weeks

Okay last week my CSA was GOOD. I still didn't use up everything (I am very embarrassing and if there are any freegans in the area I need them to contact me so I can stop throwing away perfectly fresh and organic vegetables) but I did the best job I have ever done.

I got:
lettuce
kale
beets
carrots
onions
squash
zucchini
fennel
cucumbers
sage

I finally did that thing I imagined I'd do all summer where I cooked several different meals throughout the week (three in one day, which I'm not sure I have ever done). It was extremely time consuming and I don't know why I thought I could do that often. Cooking takes TIME.

But, I honestly made some good things.

Just a regular salad with lettuce and cucumbers, for one. I found this dressing at a grocery store in New Hampshire over Fourth of July weekend (Simply Dressed Lemon Vinaigrette) that still has some junk in it but tasted light and good. I put it on cabbage and ate it just like that in NH and then put it in this salad with an apple.

Sage was probably my favorite spice that I've received so far and I put it in sausage for breakfast sandwiches and also in cheddar and sage biscuits. Turns out my best bet is to use my CSA stuff for not the healthiest food and then I'll love it (I also used zucchini and squash with TJ's orange chicken + coconut rice and it was the bomb.) The breakfast sandwiches were SO good (a fried egg, a thick slice of extra sharp cheddar cheese, sausage with sage mixed in, and not-store-brand English muffins) and the biscuits had a lot of potential but a) I'm not really precise enough at baking and b) I didn't make them thick enough! One I accidentally made thicker than the rest and it was the only one that puffed up in the oven and it was the best one. I need biscuit practice.

Thursday was the day that I just went over the top with food. Sausage, egg, and cheese for breakfast, then I made a variation on this salad for lunch (I roasted the fennel and carrots along with it) and was surprised at how much I liked it. Then I made beet chips and some were good and some weren't sliced thin enough. I NEED a mandolin. I also need a better spiralizer. I'm trying to declutter my life but also constantly talking myself into buying more kitchen appliances. (Just took a break from writing this blog to purchase both a spiralizer and a mandolin.) A good trick for beet chips is to coat them in salt and oil and then let them "sweat" for 20 minutes. They stayed nice and flat. Then I made roasted corn chipotle pasta salad with nothing from my CSA (okay actually I used half of an onion) but it was delicious. Highly recommend.

This week I got similar stuff (including one purple pepper) but I'll be out of town for most of it so if I get a chance to make any good recipes I'll note them here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Books 14-16

If you have been anxiously awaiting another book review post and getting worried about me falling behind in my reading, you're not alone. Me too.

14. Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty. I loved this book! Two friends recommended it and I was looking forward to a quick, friendly read, if you know what I mean. It was exactly that. I sped through almost the whole thing in one beach day and it killed me to wait to finish the next day (during Sunday School, whoops). Takes place in Australia, which was fun and fairly new to me. Plenty of surprises.

15. The Moon is Down, John Steinbeck. I have read a few other Steinbecks (including East of Eden, which is my favorite book), but I hadn't even heard of this, and after reading it I wasn't surprised. It's basically WWII propaganda, and very popular propaganda at the time, but it hasn't gotten much attention since, which I learned from reading the introduction to my copy (something I almost never do). It was a short, which was nice, and the story was compelling.

16. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer. This story was nuts. I didn't really know anything about it before reading it, and most of my knowledge of Mt. Everest came from the IMAX movie I saw at least a few times in middle school (mentioned in the book). The tale was tragic and even a little gory, and convinced me to never even aspire to summit Everest.

I was on the type of vacation that doesn't allow for lots of reading this past weekend, but I have big reading plans to catch up! Currently listening to East of Eden and reading Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus and My Name is Asher Lev. I'm trying desperately to get back on track. Will report hopefully soon!