one pot cooking

one pot cooking

Our cookbook project brought us to a shelf that held mostly baking books (641.8) which would have been tough for our dinner project.  Luckily the shelf was also the start of the section with one pot recipe cookbooks! (641.82)

IMG_0561

One pot recipes are so popular because of the promise of a quick clean up.  Since washing dishes is usually my job in the house, I was down to take this on.  And while the recipe we chose only used one pot (a wok to be more specific) I didn’t have much of a break in the dish-washing department.  We decided on a stir-fry which involves a lot of prep before hand since the actual cooking happens so fast which means lots of tiny bowls.

IMG_0582

It also requires a lot of reading and re-reading before you actually get started.  In this project, Trent does the prep work and I try to actually cook.  It was pretty successful this time, although he had to jump in and take over during a few key (chicken cooking) moments.  I am not as speedy as I need to be on the wok!  And you need to be or everything will taste terrible!

IMG_0584

Some takeaways:

  • Trent already knows how to make amazing stir-frys (my opinion not his) so he had to ignore his own cooking impulses when making this dish.
  • Stylish One-Dish Dinners is good, but not worth buying
  • Fish sauce smells terrible and makes you think dinner will be terrible but is actually pretty good!
  • The recipe, Chicken Walnut Stir-Fry was okay, the main takeaway for us is that it inspired us to use more Napa Cabbage in stir-frys.

IMG_0586

Until next time!

BKLST: Books about Reading!

BKLST: Books about Reading!

Here are some of my favorite picture books that are all about reading picture books!

Lola Loves Stories is about how a book can inspire your imagination!  Lola reads a book with her mom or dad and the next day she pretends to be the characters in the books that she loves!  My favorite part is when she reads a book about friendship and then meet up with her friend Ben for cappuccinos!

How to Read a Story is a step by step guide on how to enjoy a great story.  The book covers important steps like finding a great book, a perfect reading spot and someone to read with!

Duncan the Story Dragon is a great book written by a local author, who has visited my school library! Duncan is a dragon that loves to read, so much that his excitement causes him to breathe fire which as you can imagine is terrible for books! I read this one as an introduction to taking care of books.

The Book With No Pictures  has truth in advertising, there are no pictures and shows kids a book can be just as entertaining without illustrations.  Preschoolers often request this one because of the hilarious things that it makes the reader say!

WKND

WKND

So what have I been up to?? Well I watched Glow this weekend.  My prediction is a bunch of wrestling workout classes popping up in NYC and LA in the next few months!  I also had a feast at Monnik on Friday with my friend Anne.  I like this spot because you can get a tiny sample of beer instead of a full pint, that is the amount of beer that I want to drink.  Any more and my drink-nursing habits leaves beer too warm!  We also split three dishes (fries were a major component of this meal) and drinks and it only came to 15 bucks each!  I love a great and cheap meal.

I read a lot this weekend as well.  A great book for kids called The Wild Robot by picture book author Peter Brown and a YA (but could easily be for middle grade) book Jordan Sonnenblick called Falling over Sideways that made me burst out in tears in the middle of Heine Bros! (this happens more often than I’d care to admit!)

So all in all a very relaxing weekend!  This week I am planning to do some work in my library, take a couple walks, and then head out on my second road trip of the summer!

 

friday

friday

flaming

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!  If the weather holds I am hoping to wander around New Albany at their Bicentennial Park concert series.  If it is rainy I might take my wandering to the Speed Museum, or honestly just stay in and binge Netflix’s new series, Glow!

I’ve been catching up on some long form magazine reading this week.  Here are a couple of articles that I am still thinking about:

  • My Family’s Slave by Alex Tizon. (The Atlantic)  Tizon talks about Lola, a constant in his life and his struggle after realizing as a teenager that she was his mother’s slave.  There was also a great follow up to this article on NPR’s podcast Code Switch.
  • The Addicts Next Door by Margaret Talbot. (New Yorker)  Talbot writes about the heroin epidemic in West Virginia and how that effects communities there.  Especially interesting to me because of recent news about cuts to drug rehabilitation programs.

The rest of the time, I have just been reading Glamour.

See you next week!

 

grown woman reads: spring

grown woman reads: spring

I read so many books for kids and teens during the school year, so summer is my go to time to catch up on fiction for adults.  Here are my most recent favorites:

alice

What Alice Forgot is by Australian author Liane Moriarty and was a pick for my book club this Spring.  We wanted something lighter after reading a book about suicide and depression. Many of us had seen HBO’s mini series Big Little Lies and wanted more from Moriarty so we went with this one.  It is about a woman who is about to turn 40 and falls off her bike in spin class, hitting her head. She wakes up thinking that she is 29, happily married, and about to have her first child.  In reality she is divorcing, has three kids, and looks a lot like the suburban moms that she vowed to never become.

It is a great premise and made me think about how much a person’s life changes in a decade.  Not just your appearance but your attitude, friendships and desires.   There is an feeling that it is a negative thing for a person to grow and change and what I liked about this book is that while it spent a lot of time being dismissive towards Alice’s growth, we get a satisfying part (for me at least) when you are able to explore how life changes over the course of 10 years.  The book gives you a chance to see all of the sides of the story and you learn that there really is no “good guy” or “bad guy.” In normal life, that usually doesn’t happen, does it?  No one sets out to be a monster, problems occur when you decide that the other person has become one.   Sounds a bit heavy, but don’t worry, it is a great beach read!

 

homegowing

I had Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi on my list to read for MONTHS but couldn’t get it at the library (too many holds) so I finally broke down and bought it on Amazon.  I know! I never buy books, but this was worth it.

Homegoing is a beautiful debut book that follows a family though many generations, starting in the late 18th century in the Gold Coast (now Ghana).   The first two chapters follow half sisters that have never met.  Effia marries James Collins, a British governor at Cape Coast Castle, her sister Esi is captures and sold into slavery in America.  The following chapters follow the children in the generations that follow.

I saw this book more as a collection of short stories, at the start of each chapter you find yourself dropped into a new world and just as you get your bearings the story stops and you move on to the next person.  You don’t have time to mourn the end of one story because you are immediately wrapped up in the next experience.   I found that I had to stop at two stories at a time.  First because the book is so beautifully written that I didn’t want it to end.  And second because it moves so fast that I needed to pause to take in what I was reading.

IMG_0499 (1)

When I was in high school, my Spanish teacher bought me a copy of The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende.  This was after I told her how much I liked the film version.  She shook her head and said, as soon as you read the book you’ll hate the movie.  A few days later there was a copy on my desk.  That book was a life changer, so whenever I see a new book by Allende, I read it.  Its never as good as House of the Spirits (and my teacher was right, I hate the movie now.  I mean, for the whitewashing alone! You want to tell me that Jeremy Irons is the best person you could find to play Esteban Trueba???) but it is always enjoyable.

The Japanese Lover is the story of two women.  Alma, a Polish Jewish girl, is sent to live with her distant relatives in San Francisco at the dawn of World War Two. She eventually falls in love with Ichimei, the son of her family’s Japanese gardener.  The two are torn apart during the war, Ichimei and his family are sent to an internment camp in Utah.  Throughout their lives, they reunite many times but can never stay together.  Irina is a young Moldovan immigrant who works in the nursing home that Alma now resides. They form a close bond and with the help of Alma’s grandson, Seth, she starts to uncover Alma’s past, while trying to hide from her own.

There are a lot of twists in this book and unfolds slowly, bringing you to a very satisfying ending.  What I love about Isabel Allende is how much she loves her characters, each person gets a deep dive so that you feel like you really know them.  This holds true in Japanese Lover.  I think this book got mixed reviews for having  too much going on in the story (Japanese internment, the birth of Israel, human trafficking, AIDS) and because of this, the settings feel unbelievable and rushed.  To me it shows were Allende’s loyalty lies, with the people.  I ended up caring for them even if the world they live in feels a bit incomplete.

cooking with curry

cooking with curry

T and I went to the library to get a new cookbook and when he saw the shelf that was randomly chosen, his face fell.  Vegan food!

IMG_0500

641.5636 takes you to the magical world of vegan cooking. Don’t get me wrong I know that vegan food can be amazing!  I’ve dabbled with vegan meals after Beyonce’s 22 day vegan program and it was pretty great.  Also follow Ruth Vaca’s instagram (@yourfriendlyvegan) and her food looks so good!  So we soldiered on and picked a book by what I thought had the best the cover:

IMG_0501

The book was vegetarian, not vegan but it was on the shelf so it still counts!  And the recipe that we chose (lentils with eggplant and potatoes) was vegan.

Indian vegetarian cooking from an American kitchen was published in 1998, and did not get a ton of great reviews.   There were lots of complaints about the seasoning being too bland.  We agreed and ended up adding a lot more spices than the recipe had perscribed. Maybe Vanatha Prasad thought Americans couldn’t handle traditional Indian seasoning?  Who knows.

IMG_0502
Is that all??

My job for this dinner was chopping.  I am terrible at getting everything close to the same size (better for even cooking) so I need all of the practice I can get!

IMG_0503

The end result was pretty good, but not very photogenic.  And it really could have used some chicken!

Let me know if you have a favorite Indian cookbook that we should check out!

WKND: Des Moines

WKND: Des Moines

 

Here are some highlights from my fun filled trip to Des Moines, Iowa!

The Library!

IMG_0515

The library, of course!!  I try to see the main library of every new city that I visit, this is my artsy shot of the central library in downtown Des Moines.  So many things that I love about this place.  It was new (built in 2006) and obviously had a modern library mindset when designing the space.  New books were attractively displayed right by the checkout stations for a quick visit.  Meaning, how do people use the library today?  The main collections were organized in an intuitive way.  The kid space was fabulous.  Displays were lowered to a child’s level and there were other activities for children to explore during their visit (legos, audiobooks, toys for babies).  I also really loved how they set up their picture books: IMG_0519

The programming at the library was great too! I took a lot of flyers for ideas later.  Sarah, Maya and I went to a storytime so that I could take notes for my upcoming preschool storytime at school! We had a blast!

IMG_0521

Our Wanderings!

After breakfast we spent the mornings wandering around Des Moines.  The first day we went to the Central Library and the neighboring Sculpture Park.  The next day we stopped by the weekly downtown farmer’s market (a great spot to people watch and eat delicious cookies) and shopping in the East Village district which I highly recommend if you are looking for a great neighborhood to explore!

Coffee!

IMG_0549

So many great coffee places in Des Moines.  I liked the brand new coffee shop, Horizon Line, which gave me nice Brooklyn vibes.  The menu was limited but the iced coffee was on point.

I also loved Ritual Cafe, which reminded me of college and had been blessed by Buffalo, NY goddess, Wendie Malick.

Crafts!

IMG_0560

Whenever Sarah and I get together, we craft.  I started working on my loom and Sarah worked on her Cacti while we watched Pretty Little Liars on Netflix.

Art Terrarium!

IMG_0555I want to plug my favorite shop of the trip, Art Terrarium.  It is a combination plant shop and art gallery and I wanted to buy everything in it.  It got me thinking about what kind of store I would have if I took two things that I love and combined them.  The answer I came up with was Magazines and Ice Cream!

Togetherness!

IMG_0538

Oh man, I love these guys so much that I got teary towards the end of the trip!  I can’t wait to visit Des Moines again!