Friday, June 29, 2012

Ratatouille Recipe

My hubby and kids really enjoyed this recipe. The flavors were so, so yummy! The recipe came from my farm co-op.

Ratatouille

1 eggplant, peeled, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 zucchini or yellow squash, 1/2" slices
1 tsp. Salt
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 green peppers, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
4 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

  1. Place eggplant and squash slices in a bowl and toss with 1 tsp. salt. Let stand for 20 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
  2. Heat 2 Tbsp oil over med heat in a large pan. Saute eggplant and squash, one layer at a time, until lightly browned. Set side each browned section on a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
  3. In the same pan, add the remaining oil and cook the onions and green peppers until tender. (about 10 minutes). Stir in garlic and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add half the tomatoes and parsley, then all of the squash and eggplant, followed by the remaining tomatoes and parsley. Do not mix the layers. 
  5. Turn down the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
Variations:

  • Serve as a main dish sprinkled with cheese
  • Add grilled sausage or sliced keilbasa

This dish can be frozen and reheated. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cold Justice by Kathi Oram Peterson

After overcoming missed connections, murder accusations, and years of living lives apart, Regi Bernard and Samuel Tanner’s "happily ever after" is finally within reach. On the eve of their wedding, however, Samuel disappears, and Regi wonders if once again he has run away from both a life with her and a membership in the Church.

Quite the opposite; Samuel has been kidnapped by the Raven Clan, a powerful Alaskan tribe, and is en route to stand trial in front of their justice council for a puzzling crime that happened years ago.

When Regi and Samuel’s close friends suspect a kidnapping, Regi—with the help of her sister, Claudia, and friend Wakanda—resolves to follow Samuel to Alaska but soon learns secrets about her fiancĂ© she hadn’t bargained for.

While Samuel struggles with his faith and with understanding why he has been accused, Regi risks life and love to set him free.


My Review

Cold Justice is the sequel to River Whispers. It starts right off with suspense. I really enjoyed the characters - Regi and Samuel . . . and even the bad guys. There was some fun humor to break up the "Holy cow! What's going to happen???" suspense, which was good for me. I loved the traveling, the descriptions and how it was all woven into the plot, making the character's predicaments even more compelling. Cold Justice is a great summer read for suspense lovers!




Cold Justice is available as a GoodReads giveaway. Be sure to enter!

Also, Kathi is hosting a blog tour giveaway for two cute Build-A-Bears. Simply leave a comment on the blog tour reviews. More details and links can be found on Kathi's blog.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Caribbean Crossroads by Connie Sokol

New college grad Megan McCormick just got dumped. Hard.

Swearing off men and relationships, Megan is coaxed into performing on a cruise ship where she meets the star performer, Bryant Johnson. Handsome and charismatic, he looks like trouble, but she can't deny the intense attraction between them.

Urged to find a wife and run the family lumber business, Bryant is torn between his family's expectations for his life and his own. However, when he meets spunky, but love-skittish Megan McCormick, settling down doesn't look so bad.

Just when Megan begins to trust again, and Bryant makes some big decisions regarding his future, her former fiance returns with a malicious surprise, taking Megan and Bryant to their own CARIBBEAN CROSSROADS.




My Review

I've loved Connie's non-fiction books, so I was excited to dive into her first fiction novel. Connie Sokol writes clean, upbeat, fun romances. If this is genre you enjoy, then you'll want to write down Connie's name and remember it!

What I Loved

I enjoyed the characters in Caribbean Crossroads - from Megan & Bryant to all the sub-characters. When they were performing, I felt like I was right there in the line up with the dancers. There's some really fun sassy dialog sprinkled throughout the book. I loved some of the jobs Megan set Bryant up with through her temp agency after the cruise. There was definitely some good humor used. If anything, I wish there would have been more.


What I Didn't Love

About halfway through the book, I started to feel like Megan was getting a bit whiny, I was a tad tired of her relationship hang-ups, and the constant hot-cold relationship. There's one point in the book that Megan decides to help one of the maids who really wants to move to the USA and start her own cleaning business. Megan decides to champion her cause. She somehow gets Bryant to get her an appointment with the cruise ship bigwig to ask if she'll basically sponsor the maid & give her a loan to start the business. At this point, I didn't think she and Bryant had the type of relationship that she could actually ask for that kind of favor. I felt like this part of the story was unrealistic & some other problems that involve this same maid were wrapped up too conveniently. There were a few other parts of the book were I wanted to see a more emotional or clear reason why either Megan or Bryant made the choices they did or scenes that were a bit on the predictable side. I also wished there would have been a point that Megan and her mom had a good heart-to-heart talk about relationships and love.

Overall Recommendation

I think this book is great for teens & college students who are romance addicts. I think adults will either love it or like it, depending on their reactions to Megan's & Bryant's hang-ups, etc. I personally enjoyed the book overall.



About the Author

Connie Sokol is a mother of seven—a national and local presenter, and a regular speaker at Education Week. She is a monthly TV contributor on KSL’s “Studio 5” and regular blogger for LDSLiving online. She is a former TV and radio host for Bonneville Communications, and columnist for Deseret News and Utah Valley Magazine. Mrs. Sokol is also the author of Motherhood Matters, Faithful, Fit & Fabulous, and Life is Too Short for One Hair Color, as well as talk CDs and podcasts. Mrs. Sokol marinates in time spent with her family and eating decadent treats. Visit her website at www.8basics.com/

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Blurry May . . . A Better June

May passed by in a blur of drug induced sleep. I was chatting with my husband a few days ago and told him I remember very little of May. I know I went to Utah to present at the LDStorymakers Writers Conference. I remember getting the nasty shots at my doctors and going to the hospital for additional tests. But the rest of the month is really fuzzy. Which is funny because I know I blogged (scheduling posts in advance is awesome!) and even worked with Don Carey & Heather Justesen to get the Storymakers Midwest Conference all set to go. But still . . . it's all a fuzzy recollection.

May 30th was my first clear-headed day. I had a great day, felt awesome. I still took it easy but I felt better than I had felt for the past four weeks. Then I spent two days sleeping to recover from that one great day. Sigh. That seems to be the trend now. I'm finally only coughing a few times a day. I'll have one really great day . . . followed by a day or two of sheer exhaustion where I sleep for almost 24 hours.

I know my body is still recovering, but I honestly want things to be better so I can get back to life, my family, my responsibilities, and my writing. But my hubby keeps telling me to sleep, rest, take it easy. I know he's right. I'm just so impatient!

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for me. I sincerely appreciate your faith. And yes, while I'm impatient, I am extremely grateful to have progressed to this point.

What's coming up? More reading and book reviews. That seems to be the only thing my brain can accurately focus on. Hopefully next week, I'll have enough energy to focus on my writing. I have a project way overdue. Thank goodness my co-author has been very patient. Thanks, Shannon!

How has life been for you?
Review Disclaimer: Sometimes a book I review has been sent to me for free by a publisher or an author. This in no way effects my review, which is my own opinion about whether the book was a good read for me, fit my tastes, and if I would recommend it to others. Other than possibly a free book, I am not compensated in any way for posting a review.