Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Books. Lots and lots of books

In the last week I've read some books.

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, by Caroline Preston. It has a very interesting format; it tells the story in a "scrapbook" style. Little bits and pieces of various things like movie tickets, telegrams, and photographs create a collage on each page. It was a very quick read since there are only a few actual sentences per page. It was fun, and I like the happy ending.

Labor Day, by Joyce Maynard. A novel written from the point of view of a 13 year-old boy, very recently made into a movie starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. The boy is the son of what I had hoped would be the main character. It's the story of a family torn apart by heartache and sorrow and their efforts to become whole again. The story begins when an escaped convict from a nearby prison meets the boy and his mother in a Walmart-type store and asks if he can stay with them in their home until the police stop looking for him. I wanted to like the book more than I did. There is a lot of the boy's personal narrative; he's interested in girls but unsure how to approach them. He's discovered what to do with himself in the middle of the night. Ahem. He's interested, disgusted, and mortified by what his mother is doing in the next room with this man who during daylight hours is more of a father to him than his real dad has ever been. I had to turn the book back into the library before I could review it. I wish it had had more substance, and I wish the story could be told from the mother's point of view. I think I'll read another of Maynard's books to see if I think she's any good. Other of her books besides this one have been made into movies, so apparently there's something there for some people.

When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead. Very strange, but intriguing juvenile fiction. I'm still trying to decide what I think about it. It involves time travel in a very different way and at the end when all was made clear I thought it was very satisfying.

Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn. I kept checking to see, but this nasty book was, indeed, written by a woman. Filled to bursting with profanity and an obsession with genitalia and crude, coarse, meaningless sex. Ick, ick, and ick again. Do people really want to read about that stuff? I kept waiting for it to turn around and be "good", and for the characters to ever exhibit any redeeming human qualities at all, but it never did. The only time the female character was anything approaching moral or kind or feminine or loving was when she was pretending to be those things. Dark and horrifying, but not in a good way.

It's been the kind of week where I'm glad I didn't lay out any money for books. The library is like a free preview, a try-before-you-buy kind of set up. I won't read any of these books again (and reading books again is one of my favorite things!) but I do hope to see the movie Labor Day when it comes out on dvd to the library. I'm interested in the mother's story and would like to see it brought to life by Kate Winslet.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Another Monday,

time again to figure out what we'll have for dinner this week.

In the fridge/pantry I've got the following things* that need to be used up this week:
  • a lb. of fresh spinach
  • a big head of broccoli
  • 3 links of sweet Italian sausage
  • a 1 lb. package of bacon that's missing 3 slices**
  • half of a head of green cauliflower
  • romaine and leaf lettuce
  • cheese ( parmesan, cheddar, provolone)
  • ham
  • several potatoes
  • garlic croutons
Meal plans that will use up those ingredients for dinner:
  • spinach/bacon quiche (spinach, bacon, provolone. I've got a pie crust in the freezer)
  • Beef noodle stir fry*** (broccoli)
  • White bean and sausage rigatoni (Italian sausage and parmesan cheese. The penne {rather than rigatoni}, white beans, and crushed tomatoes will come from my food storage)
  • cheesy ham and potato casserole with caesar salad (potatoes, ham, lettuce, parm and cheddar cheese, croutons)
I think that with leftovers, a wedding reception on Saturday, and date night that will be all the cooking I have to do this week. I will also bake bread twice this week, and pressure-can some ham stock made from the ham bone after I cut all the spiral-sliced ham off it.  I don't really care too much for cauliflower, green or otherwise, so I might try to give that away.

My grocery list includes:
  • 1 1/2 lbs. sirloin tip steak
  • a container of feta cheese
  • dry mustard
  • orange juice and milk again later this week
and I think that's it!

*I always have what I consider to be "staples" on hand. Eggs, milk, butter, flour, onions, beans, canned veggies, breakfast foods, juice, various types of pasta, etc.
**The missing 3 slices of bacon went into a roasted brussels sprouts dish I made last night. It was really good. I don't know where I got the recipe but I didn't invent it. It had a couple of small apples, a small onion, a pound of brussels sprouts, the bacon, maple syrup, butter, salt and pepper, and then roasted in the oven. When it came out I stirred in some apple cider vinegar.
***From Nony here. I will use broccoli (that I have on hand) instead of the green beans, like she does.