Month: January 2014

Hey, It’s Okay Tuesday: Biebs, karma, and cold weather

I’m linking up again with Amber from Airing My Dirty Laundry for Hey, It’s Okay Tuesday! This week, it’s okay…

…to not be one bit shocked that Justin Bieber is in the slammer.

…to secretly hope he’ll be deported. That’s possible, right?

…to think that woman who blogged about how much she hates mothers has no soul.

…and also to hope her own mother disowns her. Karma’s a beeyotch.

…to sit under an electric blanket so you can enjoy ice cream without freezing.

…to want snow but not want to shovel it.

…also, to want snow but not want it to be so damn cold.

What are you okay with this week?

Ten on Tuesday: stalky

1. Am I the only one who stalks the mailman when I’m waiting on a package?

2. And also, blogs. If you have some sort of “you might also like…” linky on your posts, prepare to be post-stalked. Especially if I’m trying to avoid working on posts of my own. (But I’m a good post-stalker and leave lots of comments, so win-win.)

3. I just found this girl’s blog and she tells the best stories. The ‘Karly’s Keywords’ posts had me in stitches. I may or may not have read all of them.

4. Also: Pinterest stalking. Totally a thing. Excellent way to see if we would be good friends in real life. You also post inappropriate humor, death by chocolate recipes and an outlandish number of cute baby animals? We should pursue this further.

5. Totally switching topics…I can’t believe January is almost over. Where did it go?

6. It’s trying to snow here, but it’s mostly just sleeting and melting. Apparently there is more snow in Atlanta right now than in my yard. Not fair.

7. Typos in magazines really bother me. Like, you’re a nationally delivered publication with a giant editorial board, surely you have a copywriter to catch these errors?!

8. I found a vegan bakery nearby that I never knew existed, so now I’m planning an epic cupcake eating expedition for Valentine’s Day!!! I can’t wait. Apparently they have flavors like chocolate peanut butter, carrot cake, chocolate peppermint, coconut, orange cream…oops, I’m drooling.

9. I finally figured out how to add a Pin button to my blog pictures…so now if you hover, you’ll see my little Pinterest cat pop up in the upper left-hand corner. It wasn’t nearly as hard as I assumed it would be, thanks to this tutorial.

10. Also–I finally got a treadmill! It’s just a little one, nothing fancy, but I’m so excited. Now I can watch TV while I work out. So. Much. Win.

Healthy eating: kale, quinoa & sweet potato soup

Today I have an easy, healthy and tasty recipe to share with you: kale, quinoa and sweet potato soup. This dish requires only four ingredients, freezes easily, and is not only vegan but also free of soy and gluten. The combo of ingredients stuffs a ton of protein, fiber, iron and other vitamins & minerals into a fairly low-cal package, making it a great healthy option for “diet” days or anytime you need to get the maximum nutrients possible from your meal.

You’ll need:

  • Three quarts vegetable stock (about twelve cups)
  • Several cups washed chopped kale
  • Five or six large sweet potatoes
  • Cooked quinoa–I cook a 26-oz. package of Bob’s Red Mill Organic Quinoa, which yields about twelve cups

 

Peel and chop up the sweet potatoes and add them to the vegetable stock. Cook over medium high heat until potatoes are nearly tender; add kale and cook an additional ten minutes. Dish quinoa into bowls and ladle soup over the top; add salt & pepper or other seasonings to taste.

Obviously this makes a LOT of soup. If you’re cooking for one or don’t plan on freezing any of the soup for a later date, then you might want to halve this recipe to avoid soup burnout. I prefer to store the soup and quinoa in separate containers in the fridge so the quinoa won’t soak up all of the broth overnight, but if you’re ladling this into single-serve Ziploc containers to freeze for later then I wouldn’t worry about separate storage.

So now you know what I’m eating this week! Do you have a healthy dinner recipe to share with me? (Don’t forget, you still have time to add your healthy recipes to the January Recipe Writers link-up!)

Random Thursday: My favorite snack food

I should probably list something healthy, right? Since I’m on this New Year’s health kick? But don’t worry, I won’t be that person. While I do love snacking on oranges and apples with peanut butter, I have plenty of perfectly unhealthy snacks to share with you, including but not limited to…

  • Chocolate. In just about any form–in a pinch chocolate almond milk will do.
  • Ice cream. The coconut milk kind is the best.
  • Chips and dip. I rarely buy chips because I have trouble sticking to the serving size.
  • Root beer. I’m not a soda person per se and almost never drink any, but I could guzzle this by the two-liter bottle.
  • Strawberry lemonade. Which is weird, because I’m not big on regular lemonade.
  • Tapioca pudding. 
  • Oreos.
  • Homemade chocolate chip cookies.
  • Cereal. 
  • Bagels with vegan cream cheese. Another thing I try to buy very rarely, so I won’t overindulge.

What are your favorite snack foods?

Book review: ‘Hats Off to Murder’ and ‘One For the Rook’

(Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of the books mentioned below in exchange for a review; however I was not compensated for writing a review and as always all opinions are my own.)

 

I’ve loved mysteries since I was a kid reading Miss Marple paperbacks, trying to unravel the clever crimes and identify the killer; so obviously I jumped at the chance to review D.S. Nelson’s Blake Hetherington mysteries, Hats Off to Murder (e-book, 65 pages) and One For the Rook (e-book, 117 pages). You can find both of these mysteries on Amazon for $1.59 apiece (£0.99 for you Brits).

In Hats Off to Murder, we’re introduced to the milliner Hetherington, a slightly older gentleman who owns a hat shop and as such finds himself making observations on his customers based on their choice of headwear. Whether a customer is wearing a Stetson or a bowler, he deduces something of their character and lifestyle based on their taste in hats. When two of his customers die, Hetherington becomes suspicious that their deaths may in fact be fowl play, and takes it upon himself to snoop about in search of clues.

What immediately hooked me is D.S. Nelson’s writing style. Her prose is very reminiscent of Agatha Christie and she’s got a talent for clever turns of phrase and the sort of sly British humor I so love. What ultimately made this story less than stellar for me was the length; things felt a little too pat, almost rushed even, as the plot wrapped up quite quickly. I felt like the author spent a lot of time setting up the premise of the story and then the quick climax and payoff was a bit disappointing. (Two stars out of five–it was okay.)

The second Hetherington novella, One For the Rook, featured the same wit and warm prose but was a much more satisfying 117 pages. I felt like the extra length really gave the plot time to develop. (Though, being the book hound that I am, I could honestly have done with an even longer book!) This time around, Hetherington stumbles over that most classic of murder mystery head-scratchers: a body in the garden, bludgeoned with Hetherington’s own prize pumpkin, no less. Who killed the man, and why? Was it a crime of passion arising from a local quarrel, or is a dangerous criminal operating in the neighborhood? And will they kill again?

Through a series of careful deductions, Hetherington once again sets out to succeed where the police have failed and catch the murderer before they can wreak more havoc. This book made me think of the various British mystery TV miniseries I’ve enjoyed over the year; you can almost see yourself standing in the allotments and uneasily eyeballing the neighbors, wondering if any of them are trustworthy! The influence of Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are very apparent in Hetherington’s careful, logical deductions from the tiniest of details. (Three stars out of five–I liked it!)

Overall I enjoyed reading these stories and I’m eager to see what mysteries Hetherington will uncover in the third book in the series, slated to be released sometime this year. He’s a unique character and I really enjoy the overall color of Nelson’s writing; her novelettes a perfect little addition to the “cozy crime” section of my library.

  • You can find Hats Off to Murder on Amazon here or on Amazon UK here. 
  • You can find One For the Rook on Amazon here or on Amazon UK here. 
  • Follow D.S. Nelson on Twitter or check out her website!

 

(Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of the books mentioned above in exchange for a review; however I was not compensated for writing a review and as always all opinions are my own.)