Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter

Have a blessed Easter.  Enjoy your Lord, family and friends.

God bless,

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Good Reads: Matador

MatadorMatador by Ray Banks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a fascinating book. Once I began reading I could not put it down. It is well written and very well edited, which made the twists and turns of the Matador's (the Hero) thoughts easy to follow.

The author's writing style echoes the disjointed memories of the Matador. He has been shot twice, once in the head, left for dead and has managed to free himself from his grave. With a bullet in his brain he struggles to remember who he is, what is his past and why was he targeted for such a death. As I read I felt as though I was seeing and experiencing the Matador's memories. It was that vivid.

Besides the Matador's experiences, this book also gives us a view of how an influx of English expats in Spain has sullied the traditional culture of the coastal cities, of bullfighting. and the native lifestyle.

I highly recommend this book. Be warned there is graphic violence.

ARC provided by Netgalley.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Frugal Kitchen: Easy Sag Paneer

This recipe literally takes only as long to cook as a pot of rice.  A wonderful and different quick meal.


1 package chopped frozen spinach
1/4 package queso blanco
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 Tbsp. ground fresh ginger
2 Tbsp. oil
1 Tbsp. butter or ghee
1/4 tsp. garam masala
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt, to taste
3 Tbsp. cream

In pan heat oil and butter over medium heat.  Add garlic and ginger, cook for 30 seconds, then add in defrosted spinach.  Stir in spices, salt and cream.  Bring up to a boil, then lower to a simmer.  When it is heated through crumble queso blanco (mild Mexican cheese similar to farmer's cheese) over the top.  Gently stir in cheese.  Serve over rice.

This recipe makes three servings.  Double or triple the recipe as needed.  Leftover sag paneer can be used as a filling for an omlette the next day.

God bless,

Monday, March 25, 2013

Good Reads: Front Page Fatality

Front Page Fatality (A Nichelle Clarke Headlines in Heels Mystery #1)Front Page Fatality by LynDee Walker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was a pleasure to read this well written and edited mystery. The heroine, Nichelle, is an intelligent and capable woman that uses her skills as a journalist to solve several murders. Nichelle has some quirks, such as the love of used books and used designer shoes that added interest to her character. The secondary characters were nicely developed and almost as interesting as Nichelle.

This mystery is not fast paced in the beginning, but that allows for a good plot base to be laid before the action picks up speed. As the heroine's investigation becomes more indepth the pace of the book picks up and moves quickly to a satisfying conclusion.

There are three possible love interests in this book and I can see them creating romantic tension in upcoming books in this series. I'm not sure how many books are planned for the series, but this one reads well as a stand alone.

I can highly recommend this as a fast and fun read.

ARC provided by Henery Press.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Frugal Home Remedies: BRAT Diet

After suffering from a gastrointestinal infection it is not unusual for the symptoms to remain long after the virus or bacteria is gone.  Keep hydrated by drinking an electrolyte solution.  I prefer to mix Gatorade half and half with water.  Once any vomiting has stopped it is time to move on to the BRAT diet to bring the diarrhea under control.

B  banana
R  rice
A  applesauce
T   toast (or saltines)

Start out slowly by eating small amounts, say half a banana and a few saltines.  Try to keep a little something in your stomach to avoid heartburn.  Once your symptoms have abated you can begin to introduce bland, non fatty proteins to the BRAT foods.  I start with a boiled egg.

Stay away from dairy until you have been symptom free for 24 hours, then you can introduce plain yogurt in small amounts.  The yogurt can help introduce good bacteria back into your digestive system.

Now you can add other foods in small amounts, one at a time, to see if you tolerate them.  If symptoms reoccur, remove that food from your diet and return to the BRAT diet.

You should be diarrhea free very soon, but if your symptoms persist for more than a few days call your health practitioner.

BRAT Diet Avgolemono Soup

1 cup chicken broth
1 cup cooked rice
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Heat chicken broth.  Add rice.  In a bowl beat together eggs and lemon juice.  Stir egg mixture into soup and keep stirring until broth begins to thicken.  When hot and creamy soup is done.

This soup is a less bland way to add protein into your BRAT diet.

God bless,

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Best Laid Plans of Mice and Mennonites

My plans to travel to St. Augustine to help chaperone my daughter's middle school trip were waylaid by a nasty gastrointestinal bug.  I am finally back on my feet thanks to a special diet (more on that later) and am looking forward to seeing her again tomorrow.

Easter is coming and it is time to shop the sales.  There will be better deals next week, but if there is something you must have don't hesitate to buy it now.

This is a good week at the grocery store.  I'm seeing quite a few BOGOs (buy one get one) sales on items that we regularly use.  My list will include BOGOs on pasta, pasta sauce, bread, cookies, and mayonnaise.  Hopefully, there will be corresponding coupons.

Take care and God bless,

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Good Reads: Cropped To Death

Cropped to Death (A Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery, #1)Cropped to Death by Christina Freeburn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this well written mystery featuring Faith a young woman that was framed for murder by her con man fiancé while they were both in the Air Force. She was exonerated in that case, but can't forget the feelings of being accused of a crime she didn't commit and being betrayed by someone she loved.

Now she is back home in a small West Virginia town working in her grandmothers' scrap booking store. An innocent friend and coworker is accused of murdering her estranged husband. Faith is determined to prove her friend's innocence and sets off on a rather bumbling investigation.

The mystery part of the story is enhanced by Faith's two romantic interests, the investigating police detective and her neighbor, a prosecuting attorney. The other secondary characters are well developed and endearing.

This book would benefit from a good proofreader. The word omissions, and grammatical errors were too many.

I would recommend this author and book to anyone looking for a light read.

ARC provided by Netgalley.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Good Reads: Portrait of a Dead Guy

Portrait of a Dead GuyPortrait of a Dead Guy by Larissa Reinhart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book so much. It had some of my favorite things: small southern town, quirky secondary characters, off beat heroine (Cherry) and romance.

The author captured the vernacular of the south without overwhelming the reader by writing the conversations with strong accents or slang. The conversations were hilarious and I found myself giggling out loud.

The mystery involves solving a murder and had enough complexity to keep the reader guessing until the end.

There were several romantic interests for Cherry and one stood out as the main Hero, but they were all strong contenders. I can see romantic conflict happening in future books in the series.

I recommend this book for anyone that enjoys mysteries with amateur, female detectives. I'm definitely looking forward to the next book in this series.

ARC provided by Netgalley.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Weight Loss and Other Horror Stories

Last weekend I stepped on the scale and realized that I had done something that I always swore I would never do:  I now weigh more than 200 pounds.  I didn't get here quickly, rather it was a slow process over 16 years of one physical illness after another.  Forced inactivity morphed into voluntary inactivity.

I have every reason to want to lose weight.  It will certainly help with my blood pressure and joint issues.  But I also have medical problems to work around.  A combination of osteo and rheumatoid arthritis make exercise a win/lose proposition.  It's hard to motivate yourself to exercise when you know the result will be later pain and a wrong move will result in joint damage.

But it's time.  So, I'm setting Pam style goals for myself.  I want to walk into Target and buy something off the rack.  I figure I need to lose 80 pounds to reach my fighting weight, but have set a goal of weighing 155 pounds by the end of August.  That's about 10 pounds a month, but I'll be happy with 2 pounds a week.

I need weight loss buddies, so I will be posting updates and venting about my progress or lack thereof during the upcoming months.

Next week my daughter is going on her sixth grade trip to St. Augustine, Florida and I am going along as a chaperone.  Please pray for me to have physical strength and endurance.  I love history and am looking forward to seeing the historical sites, but being with a group of hormone surging preteens, not so much.

You have probably noticed the book reviews I have been posting lately.  As I find books that I can recommend as uplifting, educational, amusing and lacking overt sexual acts, I will be sharing them with you.  This may lead into a second blog, but we will see.

Take care.

God bless,

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Good Reads: Born To Blog

Born to Blog: Building Your Blog for Personal and Business Success One Post at a TimeBorn to Blog: Building Your Blog for Personal and Business Success One Post at a Time by Mark Schaefer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Whether you wish to start a business or personal blog, this book gives you the basic skills to get started. While not an indepth instruction manual; writing skills, advertising, publicity and software are some of the subjects covered.

I would recommend this book to a beginner blogger that needs how to information to get their blog off to a strong start.

ARC provided by Netgalley.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Good Read: An Equal Opportunity Death

An Equal Opportunity Death (Vejay Haskell, #1)An Equal Opportunity Death by Susan Dunlap
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was pleased with this rereleased murder mystery. It had good character and place development. The heroine was a capable working woman living in a small California town. A town on the brink of change as tourists and developers start moving in.

The h is falsely accused of murder and must solve the crime herself since the sheriff is convinced that she committed the crime.

I loved the investigation carried out by the h and the ending was sad and dramatic.

This is definitely a book I can recommend.

ARC provided by Netgalley.

Leftover Fried Rice

Here's is a recipe I developed to use up leftover vegetables and meat.  It's for when you have those little bits that aren't enough to reheat by themselves.


4-5 cups cooked rice
Any meat or vegetables diced
1 small onion diced
1 1/2 tsps. finely grated ginger
2 minced garlic cloves
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. canola oil


Heat oil in nonstick wok or large nonstick pan.  Add onions and stir until translucent.  Add meat and vegetables and stir until cooked through.  Add garlic and ginger, cook stirring for a minute, then add rice.  Mix well, add soy, fish sauce and sesame oil, then stir.  Push everything to the side and break eggs into empty side of wok.  Slightly scramble eggs, then mix into other ingredients.

Do all of your prep work in advance.  This moves fast and you don't have time to chop or measure while cooking.  Enjoy!

God bless,

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Good Reads: The Bracelet

The Bracelet The Bracelet by Roberta Gately
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A look into some difficult subjects: human trafficking, life in third world countries and the corruption that exists at the highest levels of government and humanitarian organizations. Fortunately, these difficult subjects are presented in the form of an interesting novel with mystery, romance and intrigue.

This book is well written with good character and plot development. Sadly, I began to find the heroine to be annoyingly naive, but her clueless behavior is probably necessary for the plot. I just don't have much patience with that kind of person.

I will gladly recommend this book to my friends and blog readers.

ARC provided by Netgalley.