Hot Eats and Cool Reads: January 2012

Jan 30, 2012

Rosemary Baked Chicken with Potatoes and Mushrooms Recipe

 This is the perfect recipe to make during winter. The smell of chicken and potatoes roasting in the oven is heavenly and the taste of them is just as good! Total comfort food right here! You can use any veggies you want to mix it up. Try carrots, rutabagas, or any root vegetable. YUM! Enjoy!

What you need:
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp rosemary, finely crushed
1 tsp garlic powder
6 chicken legs or 4 chicken thighs, skin on
1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, halved and cubed
1- 8 oz container white mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, finely sliced
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix olive oil, paprika, rosemary, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add chicken and potatoes. Toss to coat well. Transfer potatoes to a 9x13 pan and bake for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, add onions and mushrooms to chicken and toss again. Take the potatoes out of the oven and stir. Add onions, mushrooms and chicken to the potatoes and bake for another 40 minutes until chicken is cooked through, stirring occasionally.

Jan 29, 2012

Book Review: Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah

 Description from Goodreads:
In the rugged Pacific Northwest lies the Olympic National Forest—nearly a million acres of impenetrable darkness and impossible beauty. From deep within this old growth forest, a six-year-old girl appears. Speechless and alone, she offers no clue as to her identity, no hint of her past.
Having retreated to her western Washington hometown after a scandal left her career in ruins, child psychiatrist Dr. Julia Cates is determined to free the extraordinary little girl she calls Alice from a prison of unimaginable fear and isolation. To reach her, Julia must discover the truth about Alice’s past—although doing so requires help from Julia’s estranged sister, a local police officer. The shocking facts of Alice’s life test the limits of Julia’s faith and strength, even as she struggles to make a home for Alice—and for herself. In Magic Hour, Kristin Hannah creates one of her most beloved characters, and delivers an incandescent story about the resilience of the human spirit, the triumph of hope, and the meaning of home.

My thoughts:
This is my first book by Kristin Hannah, and I have to say I now understand why so many people love her books! A little girl, who they eventually call Alice, shows up in the middle of town. She came from the wilderness and cannot speak or communicate. Julia Cates, a psychiatrist, gets called in by her sister Ellie, who is the police chief in town to work with the little girl until her parents are found. It's not easy, but Julia and Alice have a special bond, and they start to make progress getting Alice used to life in the real world.

I felt this book was well researched and had a great storyline. It combined a little bit of mystery along with a love story and it hooks you from the very beginning! I would recommend it to anyone who likes Jodi Picoult or Diane Chamberlain!

I rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars!

Jan 27, 2012

Lime Cranberry Muffins Recipe

 I've had a bag of cranberries hanging out in my freezer just waiting for the right recipe to come along! Today on Pinterest (of course!), I found it! I had to make a couple slight adaptations but they still turned out fabulous!! I really love how the batter turned out, so be on the lookout for other variations of these in some future posts! Muffins are a favorite week day breakfast of mine and I definitely need to make them more often!

What you need:
1/2 c. sour cream
1 c. granulated sugar
3 large eggs
pinch salt
1 1/2 tbsp. lime zest
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 1/2 c. fresh or frozen and thawed cranberries
extra sugar for topping (I used raw sugar)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix sour cream, sugar, eggs and salt together in a large bowl. Add lime zest and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and combine until moistened. Add oil. Stir until batter is smooth and combined. Fold in cranberries. 

Put batter in lined muffin cups. Sprinkle sugar on top.

Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. 

Note: You have enough batter for a 12 muffin tin and a small loaf pan. I baked the load for about 10 minutes longer than the muffins. Enjoy!!



Jan 26, 2012

Turkey and Veggie Sandwich with Cranberry Mayo Recipe

 I am a huge sandwich lover! Grilled cheese, BLT's and any regular sandwiches are right up my alley!! I really love this one because of the cranberry mayo. The slight sweetness combined with the turkey and veggies surprisingly works! I could go for another one of these right about now! It's also very versatile. You can pretty much add any veggies or cheeses that you like or have on hand.

What you need:
toasted bread (I used 12 grain)
deli turkey
sharp cheddar
red onions, sliced
cucumber, sliced


Jan 25, 2012

Cranberry Mayo Recipe

 I've been seeing so many recipes for turkey and cranberry sandwiches lately. This mayo is the perfect addition to a turkey sandwich! I loved the slight sweetness along with the savory sandwich! It is a great addition! You will love it!! I used this mayo on a Turkey and Veggie Sandwich!

What you need:
1/4 c. mayo
1/4 c. cranberry sauce
black pepper

Combine mayo, cranberry sauce and pepper until mixed. Spread on any sandwich!! Enjoy!!

This recipe was shared at:
Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage

Bacon, Turkey, and Broccoli Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe

This recipe is perfect for any grilled cheese lover! Full of bacony, cheesy goodness!

This recipe is perfect for any grilled cheese lover! Full of bacony, cheesy goodness! Turkey, Broccoli and Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sandwich from Hot Eats and Cool Reads!

Who loves grilled cheese sandwiches?? I do! Especially non traditional ones, like this recipe! You really can't go wrong with this sandwich! It's perfect for a quick lunch when served with some soup or chips, or great for a weeknight dinner! You really can't go wrong with all these flavors! They are amazing together!! Enjoy!

Turkey, Broccoli and Cheddar Grilled Cheese
2 sandwiches

What you need:
4 slices bread
2 tablespoons butter, plus additional for buttering bread
1/4 cup onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup small fresh broccoli florets
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 slices deli turkey breast, chopped
2-3 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper, if desired

In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add the onion, broccoli, and garlic. Saute for 4-5 minutes, then add the turkey and bacon. Heat through and remove from heat.  Season with salt and pepper, if needed.

Butter the outside pieces of the bread, layer the cheese, broccoli mixture and then more cheese on top. Cook in a skillet over medium high heat until both sides of the sandwich are browned and cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

This recipe is perfect for any grilled cheese lover! Full of bacony, cheesy goodness! Turkey, Broccoli and Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sandwich from Hot Eats and Cool Reads!

If you liked this recipe, follow Hot Eats and Cool Reads on Pinterest here!

This recipe is shared at: The Better Baker,


Jan 22, 2012

Book Review: Abnormal Lives by Rae

Description from Goodreads:
Engaging, provocative, and decadent, two lonely cousins make their own way in the world when everyone else abandons them.
Cousins Simone and Stefan are forced to prostitute themselves to make ends meet. Stefan is disowned by his father, rejected by his peers and family, and bullied because of his sexuality until he finally gains the courage to stand up for himself. Sadly, his boyfriend is simply using him for money and romancing women on the side. Simone has a hard time making friends, and the only friends she has are cross-dressers. All they have is each other. Their friendship is the one thing that makes them feel invincible against the hatred toward them. But when everyone is dishonest about their indiscretions, friendships fall apart. 
Abnormal Lives takes readers from the despair of a life of crime to the hope and redemption of spirituality and love.

My Thoughts:
I received this book for review from Strebor Books, the publisher. 
I really liked this book overall. Stefan and Simone were interesting main characters with a crazy life story. After their Grandma passed, they had to fend and raise themselves. Their easy way of earning money was prostitution, but it's not as easy as they thought it was.
This book kept me pretty interested throughout, but I had Stefan's secret figured out from the very beginning when Simone was digging through his bag. The ending could have been better in my opinion. It ended too abruptly like there will be a sequel. If there is a sequel, will Simone be vengeful? How much of a story could be made from that?? It will be interesting to find out.

One great thing about the books released by Strebor, is the editing. They are always on point with editing and this one fell right in line with the rest. I would definitely read another book by Rae!

I rate this book 3.5 out of 5 stars!

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Jan 21, 2012

Incredible Taco Salad Recipe

 This taco salad is my absolute favorite way to use my Homemade Ground Beef Taco Meat and Homemade Spanish Rice. I crave it all the time! It's also really good mixing all the same ingredients together and eating it with tortilla chips as a taco meat and rice dip. Either way, it's so tasty and filling!

What you need:
tortilla chips, crushed
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Sour Cream

Layer each ingredient starting with the chips, taco meat, rice, and shredded cheddar. Top with the remaining ingredients. Enjoy!!

This recipe was shared at:
Newlywed Recipe Linky

Jan 19, 2012

Mini Garlic Monkey Breads Recipe

Oh wow, these are AMAZING!! I served these with the Turkey Burger Hobo Packets and it was a great pair! I am excited to make them with some spaghetti, stuffed shells or lasagna

This recipe is so simple to make! I love garlic and I might even add more next time. I believe you can never have too much garlic!! Hope you enjoy these as much as we did!!

What you need:
2- 7.5 oz cans biscuits
6 tbsp. butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. dried basil
1/4 c. plus 2 tbsp (for topping) parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut biscuits into quarters and put in a bowl. Mince garlic, then add to butter and put into the microwave to melt. Then add basil and 1/4 c. parmesan to butter and garlic mixture. Pour butter mixture over biscuit pieces and gently toss to combine. Place 5-6 pieces of the biscuits into a greased or non stick 12 cup muffin tin. Top with remaining parmesan cheese. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until browned. Serve warm. Enjoy!!

Jan 18, 2012

Turkey Burger Hobo Packets Recipe

Great for camping, or at home! The burger and veggies are so delicious and perfectly cooked!

Great for camping, or at home! The burger and veggies are so delicious and perfectly cooked! Turkey Burger Hobo Packets from Hot Eats and Cool Reads!

I think I've found a new favorite tonight! I am so geeked! The recipe I originally found used ground beef. I decided to use turkey today, because I am still trying to complete the pantry challenge and I had some ground turkey in the freezer. This turned out fabulous! You can switch it up so many different ways, with so many different veggies for a whole new meal. I've made these before only using veggies, and it's incredible that way as well. 

Turkey Burger Hobo Packets

What you need:
1 pound ground turkey
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 dashes worcestershire sauce
1/2 white onion, sliced
2 large carrots, sliced into coins
1 large red potato, halved and thinly sliced
1 c. sliced white mushrooms
butter (optional)
salt and pepper
dill weed
non stick spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl combine ground turkey, minced garlic, worcestershire, salt and pepper until mixed. Shape into 3 or 4 patties depending on how many servings you need. 

Lay out a piece of aluminum foil. Spray a little non stick spray. Place the turkey patty on the foil, then top with onions, potatoes, carrots and mushrooms. Lay a small slice of butter on top and sprinkle with salt, pepper and dill weed. 

Fold aluminum foil into packets around the burger and veggies and place on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour.

Jan 16, 2012

Homemade Spanish Rice Recipe

This Spanish Rice recipe is the perfect addition to any Mexican themed meal. It is a favorite in our house and we make it often! Not only is it fast and easy to make, but also has great flavor. You can add black beans, corn or any other ingredients you have on hand. I have to thank my amazing sister Shannon for taking this photo!

Homemade Spanish Rice (click here to print recipe)

What you need:
1/2 bell pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1- 14.5 oz can mexican style diced tomatoes
2 c. water
2 c. instant white rice rice
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper
olive oil

In a large saucepan saute green pepper, garlic, and onion in a little olive oil until tender. Add tomatoes, water, rice, bouillon, and spices. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium- medium low. Continue cooking, covered, until rice is done, about 10-15 minutes.

Serve with:
Incredible Taco Salad
Beef, Bean and Cheese Taquitos
Bean and Cheese Taquitos

 Photo taken by:

 This recipe is #11 in the Pantry Challenge!

Jan 15, 2012

Book Review: Forgotten Bookmarks: A Bookseller's Collection of Odd Things Lost Between the Pages by Michael Popek

 Description from Goodreads:
It's happened to all of us: we're reading a book, something interrupts us, and we grab the closest thing at hand to mark our spot. It could be a train ticket, a letter, an advertisement, a photograph, or a four-leaf clover. Eventually the book finds its way into the world-a library, a flea market, other people's bookshelves, or to a used bookstore. But what becomes of those forgotten bookmarks? What stories could they tell?
By day, Michael Popek works in his family's used bookstore. By night, he's the voyeuristic force behind, where he shares the weird objects he has found among the stacks at his store.
Forgotten Bookmarks is a scrapbook of Popek's most interesting finds. Sure, there are actual bookmarks, but there are also pictures and ticket stubs, old recipes and notes, valentines, unsent letters, four-leaf clovers, and various sordid, heartbreaking, and bizarre keepsakes. Together this collection of lost treasures offers a glimpse into other readers' lives that they never intended for us to see. 

My thoughts:
This book was not as interesting as I thought it would be. I expected it to have more funny and crazy stuff rather than old photos and papers. The recipes were cool because I love cooking but I felt it was kind of boring otherwise except a few random things throughout. I work for my Mom here and there, who sells used books, and the stuff I've found in books has been pretty freaking cool. Maybe I need to add a blog post here and there of the cool stuff I've found! This book is worth looking through once, but I'm glad I got it from the library and didn't spend any money on it. 

I rate this book 2.5 out of 5 stars

Book Review: Keyshia and Clyde by Treasure E. Blue

Description from Goodreads:
Treasure E. Blue–acclaimed author of Harlem Girl Lost and A Street Girl Named Desire–is back with a heartbreaking urban love story of two star-crossed lovers up against the dirtiest dealer Harlem has ever seen.

Knocked up by a Southern preacher, Keyshia is sent to live with her aunt in New York, but after a horrific act of violence, the timid young woman becomes ice-cold–turning tricks and finding comfort in a crack vial.

Clyde and his two brothers find themselves living with a family friend after their mother is shot by their own father–leaving her institutionalized and unable to communicate, and him behind bars. Clyde’s older brother leads a decent life, working as a bank manager and trying to keep Clyde off the streets, but Clyde’s younger bro is the coldest killer in Harlem and takes every opportunity to involve Clyde in his infamous robberies-turned-blood baths.

When Keyshia and Clyde meet, they are instantly drawn to each other. Forced to pay back a large sum of cash to one nasty Harlem kingpin or risk the lethal consequences, Keyshia and Clyde use their tight game and their loyalty to pull off the impossible. And when Clyde is falsely accused of a bank hit, Keyshia vows to stick by her man–no matter the cost.

My Thoughts:
This is my first book by Treasure E. Blue. I have to say I am very impressed with the storyline and the quality writing. I am going to be reading his other books very soon. Keyshia was an amazing character, with amazing strength, and did whatever she had to do to survive. She made it through sexual abuse by a pastor, pregnancy, physical and mental abuse by an aunt, as well as drug addiction all within her early teenage years. Clyde is also a great character. I loved the way he treated Keyshia. He was also put through crazy circumstances as a child and teenager and tried to live a good, honest life despite that. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys urban books, or if you like a good drama. 

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars


Sparkling Strawberry and Blueberry Vodka Lemonade Recipe

This drink reminds me of a little bit of summer during the cold Minnesota winter. Lemonade, strawberries, and blueberries are a great combo and it would be delicious with or without the vodka. This is a drink everyone will love!

What you need:
fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed
fresh blueberries
simple syrup*
juice from one lime
lemon lime soda
pink lemonade

In a bowl, combine strawberries, blueberries, lime juice and enough simple syrup to cover the fruit. Let it sit for a few hours in the fridge before using. 

Start with putting ice in a glass. Next, put a few scoops of the fruit and syrup mixture. Then add vodka, lemonade and top off with the lemon lime soda. 


*Simple syrup consists of equal parts water and sugar, heated until sugar is melted, then cooled in the fridge until using.

This recipe was shared at:
Superbowl Eats and Treats Party at The Freshman Cook

Jan 14, 2012

Potato Chip Baked Chicken Recipe

Potato Chip Chicken, what a brilliant idea! I found this recipe while browsing some food blogs on Facebook the other day and knew I had to try it asap! I decided to use it with my favorite BBQ chips, Sylvia's Sweet House BBQ Potato Chips, YUM!! It turned out like fried chicken, but baked and I loved how it tasted. I will be making this again!!

What you need:
chicken thighs, legs, or wings
crushed potato chips
garlic powder

Coat chicken with mayo using a silicone brush. Sprinkle with paprika, garlic powder and pepper. Roll in crushed potato chips until coated. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. 

 This is recipe #8 in the Pantry Challenge hosted by Good Cheap Eats

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Jan 11, 2012

Ground Chicken Chili Recipe

This is the second time I've made chili with ground chicken instead of beef, and I think I like it alot better this way. Chili is one of the best soups to make in the winter. The slight spiciness warms you up inside. We love serving it with grilled cheese or cornbread and some shredded cheddar sprinkled on top. Yum! 

What you need:
1 pound ground chicken
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups tomato juice
1 1/2 c. spicy V8 juice
1- 14.5 oz can southwest diced tomatoes (green chiles, jalapenos, and lime juice)
1- 15 oz can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1- 15 oz can chili beans
1- 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1- 15 oz can butter beans, drained and rinsed
1 c. instant brown rice
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
salt and pepper (also additional of the spices listed above)
cayenne pepper

In a large soup pot, cook ground chicken, onion, green pepper, and garlic until chicken is cooked through. While cooking season with a few dashes of chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne, salt and pepper. 

Add tomato juices, diced tomatoes, beans, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Bring to a boil and then add rice. Continue cooking over medium heat until rice is cooked, about 20 minutes. Top with shredded cheddar! Enjoy!!

Jan 9, 2012

Book Review: Childtimes: A Three-Generation Memoir by Eloise Greenfield

 Description from Goodreads:
Three generations of black women remember their "childtimes" in this lyrical memoir spanning a century of American history. "The intimate details of loving and growing up and the honesty with which they are told will involve all readers, both black and white.

My Thoughts:
This book is a great insight to three generations of black women during their childhood and while growing up. I loved the different aspects and events in each women's life and it gives you a small glimpse of what their overall family life was like. This is a book written for young adults, but I enjoyed it as well because of the historical content. It's an overall fast and enjoyable read!

I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars!

Homemade Butter Garlic Croutons Recipe

One of my daughter's favorite snacks are croutons. She usually has them eaten up before we get a chance to eat them on a salad! This is a super quick and inexpensive way to make your own and they taste way better than store bought croutons! It's also a great way to use up dried out, day old bread!

What you need:
10 slices Italian white bread (or any bread)
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut bread into bite sized cubes. Melt butter in the microwave and then stir in the olive oil. In a large bowl combine bread and seasonings and toss with olive oil and butter mixture. Spread evenly on a cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until browned, stirring every 5 minutes. Enjoy!!

This recipe was shared at: