Friday, January 29, 2016

Aunts - Scrapbook Scraplift

My old scrap room had to be converted into a nursery, and my new scrap room is not exactly set up yet, so I haven't been doing too much scrapbooking. But I managed to get some pictures printed the other weekend, and while we were hunkered down due to the snow, I did complete one scrapbook page.

This was very easy to complete because a) I used only pieces from the Deja Views The Sharon Ann Little Ones Collection My Sweet Girl Scrapbooking Kit and b) I scraplifted the design from this one by the talented Kat Benjamin.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Gluten-Free Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots

A co-worker made this and posted a picture on her Facebook page, and it looked so good that I just had to get the recipe from her and try it for myself. But as with every recipe I seem to come across these days, a few adaptations have to be made. 

So, for those of you who don't have a grocery store that sells fingerling potatoes or who don't want to use fresh rosemary, here's the lazy person's guide to making Gluten-Free Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots, as adapted from this recipe over at Southern Living.

Ingredients: (serves 4)
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme (The original recipe calls for fresh rosemary, but I didn't even have any dried rosemary. I figure, whatever seasonings Simon & Garfunkel sing about together are interchangeable.)
12-oz. package of baby Yukon Gold potatoes, halved (These will probably only be available in a 24-ounce bag, so you'll have to save half of the potatoes for another meal.)
6 small carrots with tops (I see no reason why you couldn't just use baby carrots. I also don't understand why the tops have to be left on, but whatever.)
1/2 a sweet onion cut into four wedges
cooking spray

1. Preheat the oven to 375-degrees Fahrenheit. Rub or toss the chicken thighs in a bowl with 1/2 tbsp. olive oil.
2. In a small bowl, stir together the thyme (or rosemary), salt, and pepper.
3. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, onion wedges, and potatoes with the remaining olive oil and 1/2 tsp. of the salt mixture.
4. Spread the potato mixture on a foil-lined baking sheet that has also been sprayed with cooking spray. Place the chicken thighs on top two to three inches apart. Sprinkle the remaining salt mixture on each chicken thigh.
5. Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour or until a meat thermometer reaches 170 degrees when inserted into the thickest portion of chicken.

I had no trouble cooking the chicken thighs in our oven. After one hour, the chicken was 180 degrees, so it was cooked perfectly. The vegetables were also roasted to perfection, too!

The only thing is, I do not like cooked carrots. I only like raw carrots. So the carrots in this recipe just didn't do it for me. BUT the potatoes were AWESOME. I would eat these potatoes roasted like this all day every day. I actually seasoned up the other half of the potatoes from our 24-ounce bag and roasted them up like this with a grocery store rotisserie chicken later in the week.

Despite the long cooking time, it was an easy meal to prep. It would be a great weekend meal, but I wouldn't attempt it during the week due to that one-hour cook time. We just don't have the time for that sort of thing when we're both getting home from work after 7:00. But whenever you have the time, I'd recommend making it! It's also sort of healthy, right?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Gluten-Free Meat Lover's Pizza

I don't know if it was all the meat products piled on this pizza or the gluten-free homemade crust I made for it, but my husband could not stop talking about this pizza! So, here it is: what I call my Gluten-Free Meat Lover's Pizza.

This is nothing special. Anyone can do it, and you can make it using whatever crust you want. A pre-made frozen gluten-free crust. A crust using gluten-free dough. A homemade crust. Whatever!

And then to top it, it's your basic pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese (a whole bag, if you like your pizza cheesy), one diced ham steak, 1/2 pound cooked ground beef, and pepperoni. Bake according to your pizza crust's directions.

So easy!

Usually we used the frozen pre-made gluten-free pizza crusts, but I decided to try something different for this pizza. I found it on pizza, and it's called Where's the Crust? Pizza from a website called Plain Chicken.

The crust is basically cream cheese, garlic powder, eggs, grated parmesan cheese, and black pepper. You mix all ingredients with an electric mixer, spread it into a 9x13 baking dish, and bake. I baked my crust the night before and stored it in the fridge until the next night when I just re-heated the oven, put on all the toppings, and baked the pizza for 10 minutes.

The crust is very thin, and all of our toppings were kind of sliding off the crust when I tried removing it slice by slice from the baking dish. This was the first test piece.

But if you use a spatula and then slide the pizza slice off the spatula with a knife, you can get a decent-looking pizza slice like this one.

(I let my husband eat the nice-looking slice.)

But it doesn't matter what it looks like on the plate. It's delicious! My husband went back for seconds. I did, too, actually, even though I paid for it later. (Pregnancy heartburn is the WORST.) And then my husband ate all the rest for lunch the next day.

So, yeah, I'd say this was a success. Next time, I'll try making the crust the same day as we bake the actual pizza just to see if it holds up a little bit better to all the toppings. Of course, I could just cut down on the meats, but, well, who wants that?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Sage's Eyes - Book Review

I didn't want to like this book, but I did want to find out just what exactly was up with the main character, Sage.

In case you're wondering, "Didn't V.C. Andrews die? How is she still writing new books?" Well, yes, she is deceased. And her family hired a ghostwriter to finish up some of her manuscripts. The result? Sage's Eyes.

In this new novel, Sage Healy is trying to be a typical teenager, but her adoptive parents are keeping secrets from her, and Sage keeps having weird dreams and visions about things that may have happened in her past and things that will happen in the future. She doesn't know why she has these "powers", but it's messing with her reputation at school, and her mother really doesn't want her using them. Then Sage meets a new boy at school who seems to have the same type of powers as Sage. But is he to be trusted? Just who or what is Sage and her family?

This book feels like it should really be a YA novel, but there's no way it could succeed as one the way it is written. I don't think the author, whoever he or she is, knows the first thing about young adults, judging by the AWFUL dialogue in this book. I can cut poor Sage some slack because she's obviously not a regular teen or human being, and she's living with some really weird parents. (Oh yes, in classic V.C. Andrews style we're dealing with another WEIRDO family.) But the dialogue of Sage's friends? Just no. What 15-year-old says "going steady" these days? Just because you throw in references to Skechers and Adele, that doesn't automatically place your story in the present day. You're going to need to try a little harder than that.

The ending was also pretty anti-climatic.

Sage's Eyes is published by Pocket Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, and is on bookstore shelves today. I received a free review copy for my honest review.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Gluten-Free Biscuits and Jam

There's really no meal plan this week because of #WinterStormJonas that hit us over the weekend. We didn't venture out at all, so that meant no grocery shopping. Luckily, I had been stocking up on pasta, pasta meals (like these gluten-free Modern Table meals at Target), and soup in preparation for when Babies Jr. gets here. So we were pretty well-stocked for a blizzard, too. We're just going to go through some of our supplies this week and play it by ear.

But while we were stuck at home, I also decided to make gluten-free biscuits using Gluten-Free Bisquick. I had purchased some new Smucker's Fruit and Honey Blueberry Lemon Fruit Spread that I saw in Everyday with Rachael Ray, and I really wanted to try it out! (I had tried to do this last weekend using Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Biscuit Mix, but I read the recipe wrong and ruined the entire batch and entire bag of mix. Oops.)

I had enough Gluten-Free Bisquick to make half a batch of biscuits, so that's what I did! If you have Gluten-Free Bisquick on hand, here is the recipe from the Betty Crocker website.

The new Smucker's Fruit and Honey Blueberry Lemon Fruit Spread is pretty good, but let me be clear: you do NOT need a lot of this on your biscuit, toast, muffin, or whatever. It's got a very strong flavor, which is a nice lemony/blueberry mixture, so I would start off with just a little of this fruit spread and add more if you need it.

I also think these biscuits are best when fresh and hot from the oven. But if you make these biscuits the night before, like I did, and then store them until the next morning, just pop them in the microwave (on a paper towel or microwave-safe plate) in 10-second increments until they are nice and warm the way you like them.

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Swans of Fifth Avenue - Book Review

If you are as big a fan of Truman Capote and New York of the 1960s and 1970s as author Melanie Benjamin, then you'll probably find Benjamin's new historical fiction novel The Swans of Fifth Avenue a compelling read. Benjamin is perhaps best known for her previous novel The Aviator's Wife, which was historical fiction about Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh as told through the eyes of Anne.

Perhaps I liked The Aviator's Wife better than this new book because I was at least a little familiar with the Lindbergh story, so there was a starting point to intrigue me. Not so much with The Swans of Fifth Avenue. It took me awhile to figure out what exactly the story was.

There's author Truman Capote, who, throughout the book, writes Breakfast at Tiffany'sIn Cold Blood, and then a terrible short story for Esquire magazine that is truly the climax of the story. Readers also meet the female socialites who flock to Capote, calling themselves his "swans". These women look good and have married well (sometimes multiple times), and they just use their husband's money to go out to lunch and buy new clothes and have their hair done by someone famous named Kenneth.

The main "swan" is Babe Paley, wife of William S. Paley, who owns CBS. I had no idea who this woman was, but her story (or rather, her story as imagined by Melanie Benjamin) reminded me a lot of Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Babe is a woman trapped in a marriage, a woman who wants to do more and thinks she could do more, but that's not how she was raised. And it's certainly not what her husband expects of her.

I heard people talking about this book at Book Expo America last May, so when I saw that the author was doing a book signing at the show, I thought, "Well, I better get a copy of this if it's already generating word-of-mouth buzz!" It wasn't a terrible book, but compared to Benjamin's previous novel, it wasn't my favorite. I think it was a project dear to the author's heart, as she explains in the Afterword of the book, but the characters and overall story were just not that dear to me.

The Swans of Fifth Avenue is published by Delacorte Press and will be on bookstore shelves January 26. I received a free autographed advance review copy at Book Expo America with no obligation to review.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

2015 December Daily Part 2

Last week I gave you a sneak peek at some of my December Daily album pages, and today I'm going to give you the details on what I used and how it all came together.

This year, I ordered a Pink Paislee album that was designed to be used for December Daily, a Pink Paislee Yuletide 6x6 paper pad, and American Crafts Fitzgerald Thickers in glittery gold.

Because I had taken most of my December Daily pictures on my phone and posted them to Instagram (days 1-23), I simply printed out the Instagram photos I wanted through the Walgreens photo app. Then, I kept things simple to get each picture on its appropriate page.

My Xyron really came in handy for adhering smaller embellishments.
What I like about this album is that it has pre-printed pages with space for journaling and even Christmas memories prompts, such as favorite Christmas songs!

I did have to remove a page or two from the end of this album. It had enough pages for 31 days, the number of days in December, but I just didn't take pictures for every single day, especially once we got past December 27. No worries! It was very easy to do, and I made it work.

This wasn't the fastest December Daily I've ever created (I think last year's album takes the cake for that), but I'm pleased that I was able to get it finished before the end of January.

Are you still working on your December Daily album? Maybe you're a real go-getter, and you're already starting to think about your album for THIS Christmas! I'd love to hear all about it in the comments!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Gluten-Free Football Truffles

Speaking of game day snacks, I made my husband a special treat for football season. I found the original recipe on Homemade Hoosier, but I, of course, had to adapt the recipe to make it gluten-free and to use ingredients I had on hand. Thankfully, it was super easy to do!

1 package of Glutino Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (or whatever gluten-free brand you prefer)

1 package of Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chips (I used dark chocolate chips because it was what I had in the pantry.)

1 8-oz package of cream cheese, softened

1 container of gluten-free icing/frosting (I used Duncan Hines Classic Vanilla. It says "gluten-free" right on the container.)

baking sheet

Parchment Paper or Freezer Paper

1. Crush up the sandwich cookies in a food processor (or put the cookies in a sealed Ziploc bag and hit it with a rolling pin) until you get fine crumbs.

2. In a large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese with the cookie crumbs. (I found that using a rubber spatula worked well.)

3. Line the baking sheet with the Parchment or Freezer Paper.

4. Using your hands, take sections of the cream cheese/cookie mixture one at a time and roll little balls. Then sort of roll the ends of each ball until they resemble a football. Place the football on the lined baking sheet. (While you're making these, they will look like little pieces of poop. Work past that, people! Soon they will be chocolate-coated with icing on top.)

5. Once you've rolled all the cream cheese/cookie mixture, place your "footballs" in the freezer for at least one hour to help the mixture set.

6. After an hour, melt your chocolate chips by placing them in a microwave-safe container and microwaving them for 30 seconds, stirring, and then microwaving for 10-second intervals with stirring in between until the chocolate is smooth.

7. Take the "footballs" out of the freezer and, one by one, roll them in the melted chocolate and place them back on the baking sheet.

8. Put all the dipped "footballs" back in the freezer for about 10 minutes until the chocolate is set.

9. Scoop some of the icing or frosting into a zip-top bag, close it up, and make a VERY tiny snip at one corner of the bag. It needs to be small enough so that when you squeeze out the icing, you'll get a nice thin line.

10. Remove the "footballs" from the freezer, and use the icing in the bag to "draw" thin white lines on the truffles to resemble the lacing on a real football.

Yes, my finished truffles look messy and not at all Pinterest Perfect. But that's the beauty of my blog. I am not Pinterest Perfect and neither are you and neither are most people. I think I did a good enough job with these. My husband knew they were supposed to be footballs, so it didn't really matter that I snipped my Ziploc bag corner too big and couldn't get a nice thin line of icing squeezed out. And who cares if the chocolate coating was a little uneven? It tasted great!

A bit of warning, these are RICH! If you put these out for your party guests, they will probably only be able to eat one and they will probably ask you for a big glass of milk. So be prepared!

Also, because these have cream cheese in them, I kept my truffles stored in the fridge when not eating them. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Game Day Snack Picks

The Superbowl is coming up! For some people, watching football is exciting. I will watch it, but it's not my favorite. The rules of the game are so crazy. Where was the guy's knee when he fell? Even though he caught the ball, was it a true catch or did he fumble while it was in his hands? I don't know AND I DON'T CARE.

Enough of that now.

Part of the Superbowl is having Superbowl parties! Now that is something I can get behind. Whether you're having people over at your house or attending a party and need to bring a snack, I've found some awesome ideas for party food over on my Party, Party, Party Pinterest board. Check it out below and then come back tomorrow for a gluten-free football-themed dessert!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Meal Plan Monday - January 18

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to those of you in the U.S.! I have the day off of work today, which just means I get to go to my doctor's appointments and not lose a vacation day. Woo!

Here is what we are eating this week:

Sunday: chicken with potatoes and carrots

Monday: rotisserie chicken with garlicky mixed beans and collard greens

Tuesday: pasta with meat

Wednesday: waffles, eggs, and bacon

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: on our own

Saturday: out

What are you guys eating this week? I have a feeling that the snow in the forecast is going to change up our weekend plans, but we shall see. There's a 30% chance of 10-17 inches of snow. Good thing we got the car seat in the car this past weekend when the weather was still okay!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Ricotta Pasta with Broccoli Rabe

I found LOTS of fun new recipes to try out in the January/February 2016 issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray. The recipe for Broccolini and Ricotta Pasta reminded me of something we already make, Penne with Ricotta Cheese and Greens.

broccoli rabe instead of broccolini -
it's all in the broccoli family, right?
Now, wouldn't you know it? My grocery store doesn't carry broccolini and it never has. I've tried to buy it there before, but I can't find it. They have regular broccoli and broccoli rabe. But broccolini? I guess it just doesn't exist out here or something. 

So when I went to make this recipe, obviously, I had to adapt. 

1. The original recipe calls for two bunches of broccolini. I used about half a bunch of broccoli rabe. That also means that you'll need to cut down on the amount of crushed red pepper flakes (probably 1/2 tsp.) and minced garlic (probably 1/4 tsp.) you toss the broccoli rabe with. (Unless you like your leafy greens seriously spicy.) I also didn't need to bake the broccoli rabe as long as the recipe states. Instead of 12-15 minutes, I did 7-8 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn the light on in your oven to keep an eye on your greens.

2. Yes, instead of using a fresh Fresno chile, I chose to do the crushed red pepper flakes. And instead of two garlic cloves, I went with minced garlic. (I've tried working with fresh garlic and IT JUST DOESN'T HAPPEN.) Season your broccoli rabe to taste if that's the route you go. But if your grocery store does carry broccolini, you don't have to veer too far from Rachael Ray's recipe.

3. I'm also not sure if I used fresh cow's or sheep's milk ricotta cheese. I just purchased the Galbani brand ricotta cheese. It's my go-to ricotta and it's great, whatever animal it comes from!

4. And, of course, we used gluten-free pasta!

All of these adaptations did not take away from the yumminess of the finished dish. My husband really liked it and had seconds. And then he ate the rest for leftovers the next night! Success!

I think next time I will incorporate the seasonings of the Rachael Ray recipe with the penne, ricotta, and spinach of our go-to recipe. A little red pepper and garlic could really add something to the basic-ness of just the ricotta cheese and lemon juice. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

2015 December Daily Part 1

I've been working on my December Daily album, trying to get it done so I can store it away for next year. And then start thinking about my DD album for this year!

Here are just a few pages I've completed. I'll go more in-depth on supplies and my method (or lack thereof) in another post.

I had to make my own pockets to hold the Christmas cards we got, but that wasn't a big deal. I was glad there was even space in the album I used for adding that feature.

In the past I've pre-planned my DD albums, but for 2015 and 2014, life just got in the way. Like last year, I'm once again throwing together my DD album after December. Oh well! How do you guys do your December Daily albums?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Stuffed Mushrooms with Rice and Cranberries

While looking through my What to Eat When You're Pregnant book, I came across a recipe for week 31 called Stuffed Portobello Caps with Wild Rice, Cherries, and Pecans. I knew it was not something I could serve my husband because he would look at it and think it was weird. So I decided to make it for myself for lunch.

I did have to adapt the recipe a little based on what I had on hand. The original recipe calls for wild rice, but I used Minute Rice Multi-Grain Medley rice, which is gluten-free and includes brown rice, red rice, and wild rice. I also used dried cranberries instead of dried cherries. And I left out the pecans because I didn't have any chopped pecans in the pantry.

So here is my adapted version of the recipe:

4 Portobello mushroom caps
2 eggs
1/2 cup Craisins (which are gluten-free!)
1 package of Minute Rice Multi-Grain Medley
1/8 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cook the rice according to package directions (in the microwave is fine).
3. While the rice is cooking, wash your mushrooms and make sure the stems are removed. Then place the mushrooms gill side up on a baking sheet.
4. Once the rice is done, stir in the pecans, Craisins, black pepper, salt, and eggs until well mixed.
5. Spoon the rice mixture into each of the mushrooms.
6. Bake the mushrooms in the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes. Serve the stuffed mushrooms warm.

Even without meat, this was very good and very filling. Although, if you wanted to, you could add cooked sausage to the rice mixture. You could also fill smaller mushrooms with the rice mixture and serve these as appetizers or hors d'oeuvres at a party. There's a somewhat similar, if not more complicated, recipe here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

After the Crash - Book Review

The French may be behind the times in accepting Celiac Disease and gluten-free diets, but they sure are ahead of us in getting good literature! They've had Michel Bussi's novel After the Crash for three years already, and now, in 2016, the U.S. is just now getting an English translation of the book.

It was worth the wait even if you didn't know you were waiting for it.

In 1980, a plane crashes. Everybody on board dies, except for one little baby girl. The girl's grandparents arrive to claim her as their granddaughter Lyse-Rose. Problem is, another set of grandparents say the baby is their granddaughter Emilie. This is before DNA testing could easily confirm which family the baby belongs to, so a court battle ensues, a judgement is made, and there's bad blood between the two families for the next 18 years.

But once the girl turns 18, a private investigator hired by one of the families leaves her a notebook of his findings. After she reads it, she leaves it to Marc, who had been raised as her brother. And then she disappears. Marc now has to piece together the information left in the notebook, find his sister before she does anything rash, and uncover the truth about the girl's parentage no matter what.

While I didn't get into this book right away, making it past the first few chapters was all it took to completely engross me in the story. You don't know who to trust or just what the truth might be, and the suspense kills you! This will definitely be the IT crime novel of 2016.

After the Crash is published by Hachette Books and is on bookstore shelves now. I received a free advance review copy at Book Expo America with no obligation to review.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Meal Plan Monday - January 11

Photos from this weekend!
Alright kids. It was a very productive weekend. Stay tuned to the blog for more about what I was working on (while binge-watching the Netflix series "Making a Murderer"!!). What did you do this weekend?

We've got another full work week until the three-day MLK Jr. weekend. Wahoo! Here's what we're eating this week. (An asterisk means it's a new recipe.)

Sunday: chicken tortilla soup

Monday: turkey burgers and fries

Tuesday: tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches

Wednesday: Broccolini & Ricotta Pasta*

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: Where's the Crust? Pizza*

Saturday: Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots*

Friday, January 8, 2016

My Sweet Audrina - Book Review

V.C. Andrews sure does know how to write a story about truly bizarre families. My Sweet Audrina, a novel originally published in 1982, is just one of those cra-cra stories.

The story is about a little girl named Audrina who isn't allowed to leave her home, who doesn't actually know how old she is or what time of year it is, and who is forced to rock in the rocking chair of her deceased older sister (also named Audrina) in order to gain her sister's "gifts".

Along with Audrina's parents Lucietta and Damian, Audrina also lives with her aunt Ellsbeth and Ellsbeth's daughter Vera. (Another kid comes along later.) Everybody in the house knows some big secret, or rather multiple big secrets, but Audrina is the only one who doesn't know what's really going on and it makes her think she's crazy.

Throughout the book, she grows up, falls in love, and continues to struggle with what is real and what is fiction under the roof of her childhood home.

If you read this book back in the day and liked it, you'll be pleased to know that Lifetime is turning it into a movie airing TOMORROW, Saturday, January 9. Check your local Lifetime station for air times.

You'll also be pleased to know that there is a sequel to this book being published this summer. I'm sure a review copy will be sent to me, and I'll let you guys know how it is.

In terms of THIS book, well, it's very dated. I don't know specifically what time period this story is supposed to have taken place, but it must be in the 60s or 70s. The women are all submissive to the men, and the men are insensitive and act like they know everything. The dialogue is also completely unbelievable and tiring.

And then there's the whole storyline of the "gifts" of the first Audrina. I kept waiting for this book to take a supernatural turn or for there to be some sort of magic happening, but nothing of the sort happened. Trust me. When you find out what the real "gifts" are at the end of the book, you'll be totally disappointed.

I can't say I would recommend this weirdo book. And I don't have cable, so even if I wanted to watch the TV movie version of it, I can't. I'm probably not missing out on much.

I'm being pretty nice to this book, I think. For a fuller review that will save you the time from actually having to read the book, check out this review from the site Forever Young Adult. It's pretty funny and includes pictures!

My Sweet Audrina is published by Pocket Books and is on bookstore shelves now. I received a free review copy for my honest review.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Top 4 Soup & Stew Recipes

Well, hopefully, the weather where you are is getting colder because, you know, it is winter! And with (finally) colder weather, it's the perfect time to make soups and stews. Here are some of our favorite soup and stew recipes.
Loaded Bacon-Potato Soup with Cheddar and Chives

1. Loaded Bacon-Potato Soup with Cheddar and Chives
This is hands-down the best potato soup recipe I've ever found. And it's super easy to transform gluten-free, too. Just make sure to use gluten-free broth.

2. Italian Pasta and Bean Soup
I included this in our Top 10 Pasta Recipes, but it deserves to be here, too. It's a simple and easy soup to whip up on a weeknight, and it makes great leftovers.

3. Slow Cooker Beef Stew
We actually made this over the weekend. I recommend using pre-cut stew meat, and instead of using wine, I just add more beef broth. Make sure your broth is gluten-free!

4. Chicken Tortilla Soup
We've made different versions of this soup over the years, but this recipe from Fitness magazine made its way into my recipe binder. Apparently, I've never blogged about this recipe before, so I guess I'll have to do that!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Churchill's Trial - Book Review

I don't know much about Winston Churchill, so when I picked up the book Churchill's Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government by Larry P. Arnn, I expected to learn a little bit more about the man. However, the book wasn't necessarily a full biography. It focused on three aspects of Churchill's life: war, empire, and peace. And in each of these three sections, you come to know the challenges Churchill faced to be a proper statesman and continue his dedication to constitutionalism.

If you are a fan of Churchill and want to know more, or if you are a fan of Churchill and are looking for a new perspective on the man's career, then I think this book would be ideal for you. Arnn is the president of Hillsdale College and a professor of politics and history, and this background definitely shows in this book. It's not easy reading. At times it is sort of textbook-y, and all the time it is very philosophical.

If you, like me, know nothing about Churchill and are looking for a good biography to introduce you to this famous man, then I wouldn't recommend starting with this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, January 4, 2016

Meal Plan Monday - January 4

Hope you all enjoyed your holidays! As you can tell, I took last week off from blogging to just sit on my couch and do nothing but watch HSN and Evine. (How come QVC is not part of the basic cable package???)

I also planned out our meal plan for this week, sparse as it is, though I am not excited to have a full work-week again. Even though I did spend a lot of time on our couch, I actually got stuff done! I love how productive I am when I'm home!

Sunday: out

Monday: leftovers

Tuesday: on our own

Wednesday: chicken tortilla soup

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: eggs and bacon

Saturday: on our own