Booking It: August 2014

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The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer – I’m not sure what possessed me to pick up this huge book. Probably some blogger mentioned it or I saw someone read it on GoodReads. I’ve never read anything by Wolitzer before. This is the saga of friends who meet at summer camp in the 70s, following them into the present day. It wasn’t bad and I did keep reading it to the end, all 481 pages. But there was a time 100 pages in where I thought about stopping, and I kind of wish I had. There’s not a lot of depth to it, although the characters are fairly interesting. Might appeal more to those who are in their 50s and can remember the historical and cultural events that take place in the novel.

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo – Adorable little novel, part graphic novel-ish, aimed at the 8-12-year-old set. Flora is 10 and loves comic books, specifically the great Incandesto. When she spots a vacuum transforming a squirrel into a superhero at her neighbor’s house, things get a little wacky and a lot fun. This is incredibly quirky, but there is nothing I wouldn’t read aloud to my 5-year-old, which I love. Innovative, sweet, and a happy ending. It won a 2014 Newberry Medal as well.

The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes - I think Moyes did a beautiful job with this historical fiction-modern fiction cross. Such an interesting story, set in WW1, an era I am honestly not familiar with at all. Jill recommended this highly to me, and I recommend it to you, especially if you like historical fiction. 

The River of Time Series by Lisa T. Bergren – I knew I wanted to reread this wonderful series before the final book, Deluge, was released in August. It is a YA, historical fiction, time travel, Christian-y series of novels. Yes, that sounds weird, and I put off reading them for awhile because of that. But Mary insisted I read them … and once I started I couldn’t stop. They were just as delightful in the reread. Romantic, exciting, funny, and just all-around wonderful. Five stars from me! I think Bergren did a fabulous job wrapping up the series with Deluge. I cried, I grinned, and it was extremely satisfying as a novel.

Have a New Kid by Friday by Kevin Leman – I really like Dr. Leman and his methods. While I don’t agree with everything he writes, I do see better behavior from my children when I follow through with his disciplinary techniques.

Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis – The amazing story of Katie Davis’s journey to becoming a foster mother of many children in Uganda and a world-changer at a very young age. I reviewed this for a magazine when it first came out, so this was another reread. But Katie’s story inspires me so much to get out and DO something. I was glad to get this copy at Allume last year that had an update on one of the big stories in the book.

Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy – Classically Maeve. Lovely collection of short stories based around the Dublin neighborhood Chestnut St. Everyone’s cheating, everyone’s unhappy, but by the end they are all a little bit better. Except for the ones who are truly awful. I enjoyed it more than other short story collections by her, but maybe because I treasure her words more now that she has passed.

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian – I’ve been a fan of Bohjalian since I listened to Midwives in my car years ago. This one is less mystery than the other tales I’ve read by him. We read the words of Emily, a teenager who loses everything when the nuclear power plant where her parents work explodes, and her father is blamed for the crisis. I found the juxtaposition between Emily and Victoria from The Language of Flowers to be interesting, since both novels follow homeless teens for a while. Close Your Eyes is truthful, sad, and utterly readable.

Abandoned: Lolita by Nabakov. Just could not do it. Too icky. I recognize that the writing is excellent, but too many mental images I do not need in my life. I think I made it about 150 pages.

What have you read that’s great lately?

This will be added to Bookin’ It at Life as MOM and Twitterature at Modern Mrs. Darcy

Bacon & Cheese Popovers {Secret Recipe Club}

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Bacon and Cheese Popovers

Well y’all. I simply could not resist a bacon and cheese and bread thing this month! Can you beat that combination? Especially when I heard Saturday was National Bacon Day!

Now I’ve never made popovers before, and I don’t have a popover pan or even a jumbo muffin pan, but I wasn’t going to  that stop me once I saw this recipe at The Keenan Cookbook.

At their site, married couple Chris and Rachel share their family’s favorite recipes, old and new. They offer lots of deliciousness there, from Berry Almond Cake to French Onion Soup (one of my favorites, and a sweet story on that post!).

I couldn’t resist these popovers as my Secret Recipe Club reveal for this month once I saw them, though. I just have regular muffin tins, so I split the recipe into 18 instead of 12 popovers. They are small, but just right for little ones or a quick snack. I cut the cayenne a little bit too, and it was just right for me. If your family enjoys spicier things, you can go back to 1/4 teaspoon.

Enjoy!

IMG_4486

Bacon & Cheese Popovers

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 18 small popovers

Bacon & Cheese Popovers

Adapted from The Keenan Cookbook, these make a great, eggy breakfast bread on a Saturday morning.

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 c. milk
  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour (or 1 c. AP + 1/2 c. white whole wheat)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 tsp. dried minced onion
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 6 slices bacon, fried crisp and chopped

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450F. Spray 18 muffin cups with nonstick spray. (If you have a popover pan or jumbo muffin pan, use it and make 12 muffins.)

In a large bowl, mix together milk, flour, eggs, salt, cayenne, and dried minced onion until smooth. Add 1 cup cheese, two-thirds of the chopped bacon, and rosemary and stir to combine.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling about two-thirds full. Sprinkle remaining cheese and bacon over muffins evenly.

Bake at 450 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350. Bake another 10 minutes until very brown and a tester comes out clean.

Immediately poke each muffin with a skewer, toothpick, or sharp knife to let steam release. Serve hot.

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Saturday Linky Love

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Happy holiday weekend! Hope you have some good plans for these three days. My in-laws are visiting, so I’m not sure what we’ll be up to.

Here are some great links for this week.

Reading offline: Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian. I’ve been hesitant to read anything else by him since The Night Strangers scared me half to death, but my friend Brandi assured me this one would not have ghosts. Close Your Eyes is his latest novel, just published last month.

So, what did you read that was great this week? Link up here. You can grab the code for the button in the sidebar, if you want. Please link back here and add the PERMALINK to your post, not your home page.

How Can Small People Be SO Hungry?

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Check out Snacktime: Let’s Try Not to TOTALLY Ruin Our Dinner, OK? by Jessie Weaver at Foodie.com

I am simply astonished at how much little people eat sometimes. Joshua, for instance, is especially baffling. He is 17 months old and not quite 21 pounds. How is it that he can pack away more food than his brother and sister combined most days?

For breakfast, the kids definitely eat more than I do. A LOT more. The night seems to have done them in, and they are ravenous.

The afternoons are another prime example. And I want to offer snacks that will get in some extra nutrients and won’t ruin their dinners.

Most of these recipes I’ve collected on Foodie fit the bill. They fill up tummies without being too heavy. Frozen fruit cups are our favorite as of late – I made some mostly following the recipe, but without sugar or frozen pineapple concentrate. It’s one that is very easy to customize. Next time I will add some grape halves, because I love frozen grapes.

I would honestly love to offer my kids veggies and dip, cucumber slices with egg salad, or green smoothies. But they would be left sitting there, and it would be a waste of my money. Maybe someday. But for the time being, I try to pick out recipes that my kids will actually eat, like popsicles, yogurt parfaits, and – their favorite – popcorn.

What do you serve for afternoon snack?

This is a sponsored post for Foodie.com, a site for collecting your favorite recipes. 

Favorite Freezer Meals

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Favorite Freezer Meals

I’m asked often about meals that are good for the freezer. I do a lot of freezer cooking when I can, just to get on top of the hunger of three little ones! Even when we’re eating dinner in the dining hall, they have to have lunches packed or at home, breakfast, and snacks.

To make it easy on me and as a great go-to to send to friends, here are our favorite freezer meals that I know work well, because I’ve tried them again and again! I hope to update this list as we add more to our repertoire.

Breads & Breakfast Things

Main Meals

Snacks and Other Stuff

My advice to you is to take a risk. Most things can be frozen with success. Don’t be scared!

Saturday Linky Love

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My mom is visiting this week, and she said my dad commented on how prolific I was this week on the blog. I assume he means compared to normal, or least normal lately. I’m falling into the rhythm of back-to-school, and I’ve been getting up at 5:30 and using the time to read my Bible, then write for awhile. It seems to work well for me, and I am excited to invite some discipline and schedule into my life.

(If you missed it, I shared an absolutely delicious, simple, gluten-free dinner recipe; was late picking up my kid the first day she rode the school bus (and cried about it); guest posted at Modern Mrs. Darcy about how we make things work in our family; and wrote a little devotion that I read at my MOPS group’s first meeting this week.

And now, on with the links!

Reading offline: While I was writing this post, the last book in the River of Time series, Deluge, was released for e-book. Quickest $4 I’ve ever spent. I am trying to finish this quickly so I can GO READ!!!

So, what did you read that was great this week? Link up here. You can grab the code for the button in the sidebar, if you want. Please link back here and add the PERMALINK to your post, not your home page.