Monday, July 30, 2012

Book Review: I Choose to Live by Sabine Dardenne



Description from Goodreads:
"The Dutroux Affair" shook the whole of Europe. Marc Dutroux had been convicted of rape, but was released early from prison for good behavior. He went on to kidnap several young girls, torture them in his basement dungeon, and leave some to die. There were many apparent missteps in the case, and there was a huge public outcry against Belgium's judicial system. In the middle of the immense machinery of investigation and justice, there was Sabine Dardenne herself, Dutroux's last victim. She was held captive for 80 days and survived. Far from sensationalizing the horror, her story, dignified and restrained, is ultimately uplifting.

My thoughts:
The horror that Sabine went through when she was kidnapped is just unimaginable. In this book she held back alot of details, so you can't even imagine how much worse it actually was. I'm not really sure how these sexual predators here in the US and across seas, get released so easily only to re-offend again. Sabine describes her living conditions, which is no more than a hole of a space hidden in the basement, and that there was sexual abuse. It's so sad how Marc Dutroux, her kidnapper, had her so brainwashed, she thought her parents weren't even trying to get her back. What a miracle she was rescued unlike some of his other victims. This is overall a great book but I felt it could've been more in depth like other books I've read that are similar to this. Still worth the read!

I rate this book 3.5 out of 5 stars!


 
 *In accordance with the FCC guidelines, if you make a purchase from the Amazon link above, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you for the referral.*
 

Tomato and Basil Scrambled Eggs Recipe



Breakfast is my favorite. Usually I don't eat it at breakfast time, but lunch or dinner instead. This recipe is such an easy way to dress up scrambled eggs. I just love the whole tomato and basil flavor combo, so what better than to add it with eggs? It's even better this time of the year with all of the garden fresh tomatoes! They are favorite thing about summer! Enjoy!

Tomato and Basil Scrambled Eggs (print recipe)

What you need:
2 tablespoons finely sliced onion
6 eggs
6 large fresh basil leaves, minced
10 grape tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, if desired
bacon grease or butter

Directions:
In a large frying pan, saute onions in bacon grease on medium heat for about 1 minute. Add eggs, basil, salt and pepper, cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring to scramble. Add tomatoes and cheese, stir and remove from heat when eggs cooked through. 

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

This recipe was shared at:
Makin You Crave Monday at Mrs Happy Homemaker
Mix it Up Monday at Flour Me With Love
Mealtime Monday at Couponing & Cooking
Weekend Potluck at Sunflower Supper Club
Foodie Friends Friday at A Lil Country Sugar
Fantastic Thursday at Five Little Chefs
Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Tasty Thursdays at The Mandatory Mooch
Whatcha Whipped Up Wednesday at DJ's Sugar Shack
Cast Party Wednesday at Lady Behind the Curtain
Totally Tasty Tuesdays at Mandy's Recipe Box
All My Bloggy Friends at Love Bakes Good Cakes
Tuesday Talent Show at Chef in Training

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Book Review: Mind of a Killer by Lee Emerick



Description from Goodreads:
What would you do, if as a child you witnessed brutal murders in your dreams?
The media describe you as psychic; the medical profession believe you are insane!
Your parents take their own lives as they struggle to live with your strange gifts.
Do you break down; mentally crack under the strain of the horrific visions and media attention? Or do you put your bizarre gift to good use and catch those responsible for their crimes?
Ian Rivers was that child. Now he is out to catch whoever is responsible.
To catch a notorious serial killer known as The Hacker, Detective Ian Rivers puts to work his famed psychic abilities to track him down.
From a young age, Rivers has been able to see through the eyes of murderers as he observes them committing their crimes from within his own dreams.
In his most challenging case yet, Rivers finds that the serial killer he is tracking down can talk back to him in his dreams. As much as the dreams can aide Rivers and the case, The Hacker also prospers from the strange gift and is able to use it to remain one step ahead of his pursuer.
As The Hacker targets Rivers family and friends, Rivers finds himself in a race against time to out smart serial killer and attempt to figure out how he can be seen by him in his dreams.

My thoughts:
This book was interesting, but it didn't really grab me like some books do, it was average. I liked the storyline and it did keep me interested, but I felt the if the book had been much longer, there could've been more detail involved and more of a story. Overall it was good, and it wasn't a waste of time by any means, but not spectacular either. 

I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars
 

Classic Fried Green Tomatoes and Creole Remoulade Sauce Recipe



I was beyond excited when my friend Dena brought over some goodies from her Mom's garden. I knew we had to make some fried green tomatoes when I saw the green tomatoes in the bag! Yum!! Fried green tomatoes are super easy to make as well as the remoulade sauce. They pair well together and the flavors are so good!! These recipes are the perfect addition to any Southern Cajun meal! Enjoy!!

Fried Green Tomatoes (print recipe)

What you need:
4-6 green tomatoes, cut in 1/2" slices
salt and pepper
creole or cajun seasoning
cornmeal
bacon grease or vegetable oil

Directions:
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Season tomato slices with salt, pepper and creole seasoning. Coat tomatoes in cornmeal and fry in hot grease about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.


Creole Remoulade Sauce (print recipe)

What you need:
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup green onions
1/2 cup yellow onions
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup celery
3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
3 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons horseradish
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until fairly smooth. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour prior to serving.  

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

Recipe Source: Emeril 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Peanut Butter and Chocolate No Bake Oatmeal Cookies Recipe


 

I am starting to accumulate quite a few cookbooks these days. It seems everytime I go to an antique store or garage sale, I always find a new cookbook I just have to buy! My favorite type of cookbooks are the church or group ones where everyone submits their tried and true recipes. I found this recipe in a cookbook from Royalton, MN called Feeding the Flock from Tri-Parish Lutheran Church. I adapted it some from the original, but they turned out great! My Mom always made a recipe similar to this, but never added peanut butter. It is a good addition and gives it great flavor.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate No Bake Cookies (print recipe)

What you need:
4 cups quick cooking oatmeal
1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons peanut butter

Directions:
Combine butter, sugar, milk, vanilla, cocoa and peanut butter in a medium sauce pan over and heat until it reaches a rolling boil. Boil for one minute and remove from heat. Combine oatmeal and chocolate mixture in a large bowl, until mixed. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper until chilled and hardened. 

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



Monday, July 23, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Pasta Sauce Recipe



This recipe is right up my alley! It screams summer produce and pasta, two of my favorite things! Do you believe I've never roasted peppers before though?? That's one thing I will have to cross off the foodie bucket list!! The most time consuming part of this recipe is the pepper roasting and peeling. You could always do that ahead of time too and refrigerate until using. 

I just love the flavors in this sauce. It's a nice blend of tomatoes and peppers and it's oh so flavorful. I used it as a sauce for ravioli, but it would also be great with penne pasta. Take advantage of fresh tomatoes right now and make this sauce! You will love it!!


Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Pasta Sauce (print recipe)

What you need:
3 red bell peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
1 1/2 cups tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 cups half and half
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Preheat the broiler. Cut the peppers in half and remove all the seeds. Lightly toss the peppers in olive oil and place skin side up on a baking sheet. Place under the broiler until skin is blackened and they start to soften. Remove from oven, cover with aluminum foil and steam for 5 minutes. Remove skins from peppers and chop into small pieces. 

In a sauce pan, saute peppers, onion, and garlic in some olive oil for about 10 minutes or until garlic and onion start to soften. Add tomatoes and basil, saute for 5 more minutes or until tomatoes start to fall apart. Using an immersion blender, blend the sauce mixture until you reach the consistency you like. (I left mine somewhat chunky. You can also use a regular blender, but be careful as the sauce is hot)

Mix the cornstarch with the half and half until smooth and add to sauce mixture. Bring sauce to a boil to thicken and immediately reduce heat. Stir in parmesan cheese, stir to melt. Remove from heat and serve!! 

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

Serve with:
Easy Garlic Cheese Bread
 Buttery Garlic Bread
Mini Garlic Monkey Bread

This recipe was shared at:
Tomato Blog Hop at Katherine Martinelli
Meatless Monday at Healthy Mommy, Healthy Baby
Makin You Crave Monday at Mrs happy Homemaker
Mealtime Monday at Couponing and Cooking
Recipe of the Week at Family Fresh meals
Church Supper at Everyday Mom's Meals
Weekend Potluck at Sunflower Supper Club
Foodie Friends Friday at A Lil Country Sugar
Tasty Thursdays at Mandatory Mooch
Thursday's Treasures at Recipes for my Boys
Fantastic Thursday at Five Little Chefs
Creative Thursday at Michelle's Tasty Creations
Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Cast Party Wednesday at Lady Behind the Curtain
Whatcha Whipped Up Wednesday at DJ's Sugar Shack
Recipe Round Up at Gooseberry Patch
Totally Tasty Tuesdays at Mandy's recipe Box
All My Bloggy Friends at Love Bakes Good Cakes
Tuesday Talent Show at Chef in Training
Good Recipes Online


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Lemon Blueberry Summer Squash Bread with Lemon Glaze Recipe



Oh yes, another recipe with summer squash! My goal for the summer is to try and make it as many different ways as possible. So far I've made Cheesy Squash Rice and Shrimp with Tomatoes and Summer Squash. It was time for something sweeter, much sweeter!!

This Lemon Blueberry Summer Squash Bread was awesome! The flavors were excellent and in the words of my daughter Ella, "You can't even taste the squash in it!" It turned out with a muffin like consistency and the lemon glaze topped it off perfectly! Enjoy!!


 Lemon Blueberry Summer Squash Bread (print recipe)

What you need:

bread:
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup apple sauce
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups grated summer squash
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

glaze:
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 tablespoon butter

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two loaf pans.
 
Combine sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest in a mixing bowl. Add the melted butter and applesauce and mix with an electric mixer to combine.

Add the eggs one at a time, and beat until the batter is mixed, about 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. 

Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl, and beat until just combined into a batter. Add the grated squash and blueberries and fold in gently with a spoon until mixed.
Divide batter into 2 loaf pans and smooth the top with a spatula. 

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour until cooked through. Remove from oven and when bread is slightly cooled, remove them from the loaf pans and set them on baking sheet. 

Mix all of the glaze ingredients and microwave 30 seconds at a time until it reaches a smooth consistency. Usually about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Spoon glaze over the top of each loaf.

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

This recipe was shared at:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Review: Secrets She Left Behind by Diane Chamberlain



Description from Goodreads:
One afternoon, single mother Sara Weston says that she's going to the store--and never returns. In her absence, she leaves her teenaged son alone with his damaged past and a legacy of secrets.
Keith Weston nearly lost his life in an act of arson. He survived--but with devastating physical and emotional scars. Without his mother, he has no one to help him heal, no money, nothing to live for but the medications that numb his pain. Isolated and angry, his hatred has one tight focus: his half-sister, Maggie Lockwood.
Nineteen-year-old Maggie Lockwood spent a year in prison for the acts that led up to the fire. Now she's back home. But her release cannot free her from the burden of guilt she carries. She grew up with Keith Weston, played with him as a child...and recently learned they share the same father.
Now the person Keith despises most is the closest thing he has to family--until Sara returns. If Sara returns.... 

My thoughts:
This book is the sequel to one of Diane's other books called Before The Storm. This one tells more of Keith and Maggie's stories and the struggles they go through after Maggie is released from jail, which happens to be the same day as Sara disappears. There are alot of tough situations for both Maggie and Keith and they happen to go through alot of the same feelings and emotions. I love that Andy has a girlfriend, and Marcus and Laurel have a great relationship. This is your typical Diane Chamberlain book, which has some of everything including drama and mystery. It touches so many topics which keeps it interesting throughout the book. She has a true storytelling talent and this was as good as the rest I've read by her. 

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars
 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Product Review and Recipe: Driscoll's Raspberry Ricotta Dip



Thanks to the amazing folks at Driscoll's, I am able to share an awesome recipe with you today! We are huge fruit eaters at my house, and whenever we pick up some Driscoll's raspberries, they never last long at all! My daughter sneaks them all before I get a chance to eat any! I also know when I do choose the Driscoll's brand, they will be flavorful and the quality is great.


The excellent thing about raspberries, is they are such a heart healthy fruit. Raspberries are even certified by the American Heart Association. You can read more about the nutritional info, and great health benefits here on the Driscoll's website!! They also have alot of amazing recipes for all types of berries! You will definitely find a few recipes that you will love! If you prefer recipe videos, you can also visit Driscoll's on YouTube!

This recipe for the Raspberry Ricotta Dip is a winner! I decided to serve it on some toasted french bread slices and it was the perfect dessert. After my 5 year old daughter tasted it, she said I was the best "cooker" ever! This recipe is also super easy to put together and would work great as breakfast, a snack or dessert! It's so fun, pretty, flavorful and is good for you too! Even better!! I hope you enjoy!

Driscoll's Raspberry Ricotta Dip (print recipe)

What you need:
1 cup part skim  ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons vanilla yogurt
3 tablespoons raspberry jam
3 ounces Driscoll's raspberries

Directions:
Blend ricotta, yogurt, and jam with a wire whisk until smooth. Stir in raspberries to blend. Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate until well chilled. Serve on toasted bread, muffins, bagels or use as a dip for bananas, apples or peaches.

*I received the product above at no cost, but the opinion in this review are 100% my own*

Recipe source: Driscoll's (slightly adapted)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Shrimp with Summer Squash and Tomatoes Recipe



It sure is summer squash season in Minnesota right now. My one plant, which is gigantic BTW, is averaging at least one a day to be picked. I see alot of new recipes with summer squash on this blog in the near future! I will be trying a variety of ways to serve it, so it's something different all the time. 

This recipe is an instant favorite. I just love the flavor. It's so fresh and bold. The shrimp goes great with the squash and tomatoes and it's fairly quick to make from start to finish. My 5 year old daughter Ella even loved it. Her plate was cleared so fast, I couldn't believe she finished it all. You will love this one! We sure did!


Shrimp with Summer Squash and Tomatoes (print recipe)

What you need:
1 medium summer squash, cut into 1/4 inch slices
12 ounces medium sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups campari tomatoes, quartered
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
1 teaspoon fresh basil, minced
salt and pepper
olive oil

Directions:
Heat some olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high to high heat.  Add squash slices in a single layer and cook for a couple minutes on each side until they start to brown. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add more olive oil to skillet if needed. Add shrimp and garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper. and saute over medium high for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and herbs and cook for about 2 more minutes or until shrimp are cooked through and tomatoes start to soften. Add squash and stir. Remove from heat and serve with a side of rice or pasta.

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

Recipe Source: Weight Watchers (slightly adapted)

This recipe was shared at:
Recipe of the Week at Family Fresh meals
Recipe Round Up at Gooseberry Patch
Fresh Produce Tuesday at 2 Sisters 2 Cities
Manic Monday at Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen
Mix it up MOnday at Flour Me With Love
Makin You Crave Monday at Mrs Happy Homemaker
Mealtime Monday at Couponing and Cooking
Seafood Blog Hop at Katherine Martinelli
Foodie Friday at Simple Living
Weekend Potluck at Sunflower Supper Club
Foodie friends Friday at A Lil Country Sugar
Thursday's Treasures at Recipes for my Boys
Creative Thursday at Michelle's Tasty Creations
Fantastic Thursday at Five Little Chefs
Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Cast Party at Lady Behind the Curtain
Whatcha Whipped up Wednesday at DJ's Sugar Shack
Totally Tasty Tuesdays at Mandy's Recipe Box
All My Bloggy Friends at Love Bakes Good Cakes
Tuesday Talent Show at Chef in Training
Good Recipes Online

Restaurant Review: Goodfella's Bar and Grill in Ronneby, MN


I am super picky when it comes to burgers. I've never eaten a fast food chain burger in my life and the burgers I've eaten have been mostly homemade. When I find a restaurant that has a phenomenal burger, I really need to rave about it. You will find those types of burgers at a restaurant called Goodfella's in the super tiny town called Ronneby, in central Minnesota. This place is so worth stopping at!

Goodfella's recently won the 2012 Burger Battle for the best burgers in the area. They have over 20 burgers to choose from on their menu and they weigh in at a 1/2 pound!! If you are brave enough, you can also try the 2 pound burger! We had a large group eating the evening we stopped by Goodfella's and the service was great along with the amazing food. The have a wide variety of other items on their menu besides burgers.

I decided to start my meal off with a Bloody Mary. Goodfella's Bloody Mary's are perfect with tons of flavor.


 The burger I ordered is called The Haystacker. This burger was way too good. The breakfast flavor goes great with the burger. It comes with one egg, hashbrowns, 2 strips of bacon and American cheese. 


 I chose the Pickle Potato soup as my side and it was to die for! I could've eaten a few bowls of that!


Alyssa ordered the Elvis Burger. It comes topped with peanut butter, bacon and American cheese. She really liked it!


 Grace had the Appetizer Sampler. It had a great variety and the quesadillas looked fabulous!


Here are some pics of what everyone else ordered!





You will not be disappointed with the Food at Goodfella's! The prices are reasonable and the quality is great!

You can find Goodfella's at:
14351 78th St NE
Ronneby, MN
320-968-4197