"I've discovered that my own little postage stamp of native soil was worth writing about and that I would never live long enough to exhaust it."
- William Faulkner

Friday, February 26, 2010

back in the u-s-eh?

Howdy, pardners. Coming to you live (not really) from the bowels of the Toronto airport. I've been in Canada this week for a work event, and I'm ready to get home. It's easy to slip into the idea that Canada is just an extension of the US, albeit totally incorrect, since most people speak English, they sound a lot like us (except with an upwards inflection at the end of nearly every sentence). I will admit there is a certain energy in the country right now, even though the Olympics are hundreds of miles away. I even watched the hockey game last night in a Canadian restaurant with Canadian beer and lots of intense Canadians rocking the official hockey jersey, complete with Olympic rings. Thankfully, there's not much to understand about hockey other than the puck goes into the net. Oh, and Canada LIVES for it.

Any time I am traveling, it's imperative that I am armed with a book. Well, I am, and I've got a couple of reviews for you as well. The last book I mentioned on this blog was The Book Theif by Marcus Zusak. It was recommended to me by one of my literary soulmates, my dearest Claire. And as she put it so eloquently, "this book is not a page turner, but a book to be savored." So true, Claire. I was practically entranced by the beautiful language the author uses to illustrate the life of young German Leisel Meminger. While on a train to meet her foster parents, her brother dies right in front of her, his lifeless face haunting her dreams for years. At his burial, Leisel picks a book up from the snowy graveyard, thus the title. The Book Theif is a truly captivating story of childhood, WWII Nazi Germany, love and loss. Don't worry if your local bookstore has this one in the teenage fiction section; I still can't figure out why it's there. Seriously, it's wonderful.

This certainly has never happened in the epic history of this blog: I bought and read a second book before I had a chance to review the first. That's basically all you need to know about this next one. I have a policy that if a movie I want to see is based on a book, I read the book first. So when I saw the previews for Shutter Island, and after hearing the rave reviews from Harris, I picked up a copy and practically devoured the thing over the course of one weekend. It's one of those books where you don't realize you're reading fast until you look down and you've finished 60 pages. I really hate to say too much about this one for fear of giving anything away. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I'm dying to now.

So, it's on to the next selection: In the Sanctuary of Outcasts. It's always a good sign when every bookstore I enter is completely out of copies of a particular book. Lemuria in Jackson finally got some in (signed!), and I got one just in time to leave on a jet plane. If you're not familiar with the story, here's a quick run-down: Neil White was a successful magazine publisher, who after some shady finanical dealings, is convicted and sentenced to prison in Louisiana...which just happens to also be a leper colony. His relationships with these "outcasts," as well as fellow inmates, becomes more and more important to the author as his life on the outside crumbles. It's really well-written, and I'm all about supporting a Mississippi author (he lives in Oxford). Review to come soon! Thanks for the recommendation, MK.

On another note, my sister Harris has re-entered the blogging world! If you love all things beauty (and frankly, who doesn't?), you will love her blog. She's a great writer with lots of cool tips and trends to share. Check her out!

I started this post in one country and finished it in another. Glad to be home to my little family! Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

wish list wednesday

What am I wishing for this Wednesday?

* To be friends with The Pioneer Woman. Ree, call me!

* That these gift cards I got for Christmas weren't burning a crazy hole in my pocket.

* Some cast iron cookware so I can make real cornbread and such.

* That it weren’t so cold in Toronto. Serious brrr, people.

* To have an Olympics party like you are my fave did!

What’s your wish?

Friday, February 19, 2010

with a little help from my friends...

...at Real Simple!

Harris sent me this link yesterday, and I think it's simply wonderful. It's all about new uses for old household items. Holy creativity, Batman! Now if i could just remember them...

This here's one of my faves: At a party, stash ice in a colander set on top of a bucket or a bowl. Water will drain out, and guests will get only the solid stuff.

Have a great weekend, buddies.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

wish list wednesday

What am I wishing for this Wednesday?

* An Ork Poster. Aren't they great? I would be all over a Tokyo one. (Photo from OrkPosters.com)

* That I loved to run. Or loved to participate in any form of exercise.

* A Mrs. Meyer's scent diffuser in every room of my house. Basil is my favorite. Mmmm.

* That I could read my magazines as quickly as they come in.

What’s your wish?

Monday, February 15, 2010

i hate meatloaf

I really do. I hate the food, I hate the word, and I hate the singer (his music, of course; I'm sure he's perfectly delightful in person). I feel like the little brother in A Christmas Story when he's playing with his food before his mom makes him pretend to be a piggy. But Kell loves it, so being the generous and loving wife I am, I attempted to locate a recipe that I would be able to make while keeping my gag reflext in tact.

So I'm being dramatic, but I mean I really don't like it, and I REALLY don't like raw ground beef. Ew. Still, if you by chance are a fan of the traditional dish topped with ketchup and nostalgia, perhaps you'll consider this a delicious dish.

Diner Meatloaf "Muffins" (can't even talk about it)

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup ketchup, divided
1 1/2 pounds ground beef, extra lean (raw)
1 cup finely crushed fat-free saltine crackers (about 20)
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, chopped carrot, dried oregano, and minced garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Cool.
Combine onion mixture, 1/2 cup ketchup, and the remaining ingredients except cooking spray in a large bowl.

Spoon the meat mixture into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Top each with 2 teaspoons ketchup. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160°. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

all you need is love

Happy 10th Valentine's Day, Kell!

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love."

I Corinthians 13:13

Friday, February 12, 2010

snow day!

This is what I saw out my window this morning (actually it's what I saw outside the bay window in my kitchen this morning)...
Just enough snow to close down state government, and I couldn't be happier.
Have a warm weekend!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

wish list wednesday

What am I wishing for this Wednesday?

* That Kell knows how much I appreciate it when he puts my cell phone in my purse every morning so I don’t forget it. Awww…

* To be able to go to Jazz Fest this year! Simon & Garfunkel!!

* A nice stand mixer. I think this tangerine one would be perfection in my kitchen!

* That I could find all my missing iTunes. Where ARE y’all?

* To be able to limit my cupcake intake this Valentine’s day.

What’s your wish?

Friday, February 5, 2010

all the frizzy ladies

Now put your hands up!

Have you ever used Argan Oil? Harris recommended it to me, and I am a total believer. I put it on my hair after I get out of the shower (before curl product, of course) and sometimes I use a little in the morning on dry hair, too. It makes mine feel sooo soft and cuts the frizzies, which if you have horse hair like I do, is quite a feat. Give it a try! I get mine at Sally's, and it's about $8 a bottle. Love it!

Have a smooth weekend, friends.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

wish list wednesday

What am I wishing for this Wednesday?

* That there were such a thing as NetFlix for books. Wouldn’t that be economical and convenient?

* An iPad. Have you seen this thing? O. M. G.

* That I could decide whether to wear blue or black Sunday!

* The cookbook, Sweets: Soul Food Desserts and Memories. I made the strawberry cake from this book via Joy the Baker, remember?

* The “tea sub!” Don’t you love? I’m a tea drinker now, you know (spotted on A Cup of Jo – she’s adorable, btw).

What’s your wish?

Monday, February 1, 2010

as promised...

White Bean Chicken Chili
Approximately 16 cups – 3 POINTS per cup (it makes a TON and freezes well)

32 oz. fat free chicken broth
2 – 15 oz. cans cannellini beans
2 – 15 oz. cans Great Northern beans
1 – 15 oz. can Navy beans
½ medium onion, chopped
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 packet McCormick White Chicken Chili Seasoning
2 tsp. ground red pepper
4 raw chicken breasts

Cut chicken breasts into small pieces and put in Crock Pot. Add onion. Dump all remaining ingredients in crock pot and cook on Low for 8-10 hours.

*** Our grocery store was out of Navy beans, so i just did 3 cans of either the Great Northern or the cannelinis. Also, when I made this recipe, I put all the ingredients in the Crock Pot before I left for work. When I came home it was done! I put a little shredded cheese on top with some crushed tortilla chips, too. I'm totally sick of the word "yummy," so I'll say it is most palatable.
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