Saturday, November 16, 2013

Book Brief: A Couple Reviews of Excellent Reads

I just finished reading the book our club was given for this month and it was excellent! It was a tragic story that made me smile and cry. The characters were well developed and the descriptions were apt.  I know this sounds so broad and general but I don't want to give too much away! But the title and author may be helpful!

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom is set in the early 1800's in Virginia when slavery was in it's hay day. The main character is a young white girl named Lavinia who comes to live on the plantation as an indentured slave. She grows up with her black family and later gets transferred to Williamsburg to live with the plantation owner's wife, Miss Martha's, sister and her husband. Miss Martha is hospitalized at the time and Lavinia, who was her primary caregiver was taken to live with the Maddens in the eventuality that Martha was recovered enough to return home. Lavinia is groomed as the white woman she is with schooling and lady skills and ends up marrying Miss Martha's son, Marshall. And to find out how it all ends, not to mention all the nitty gritty details between Lavinia arriving at the plantation, and why is Miss Martha hospitalized, you'll have to read the book yourself!

Last month our book was also superb! And it is and/or will be very soon coming to a theatre near you! Although, our group watched the preview and I was disappointed in what I have seen so far. I will give it a go though and hopefully the integrity of the book will be upheld.
It is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. One element that was rather different was that the viewpoint of this book switches between that of Death, who is the narrator, and the main character, a little girl named Liesel who is taken by her mother to live with an adopting family during the beginning of World War 2. Myself and the group found this story to be very interesting because it is from the viewpoint of the Germans and how not everyone agreed with Hitler and the fascist party. Some even hid Jews in their homes, as Liesel's adoptive parents did.

To fund their war everyone was put on rations and even then the food wasn't enough. One discrepancy I noticed in the preview was how nice their clothes were, when Liesel and her adoptive parents lived in the poorest section of Molching. The beginning of the story is very sad with the death of her brother and the loss of her mother. The book follows her growth in reading and how she aquires new books to read. As you can guess- she steals them. Her first she aquired from an apprentice grave digger at her brother's funeral that was dropped (accidentally) in the snow, called The Grave Digger's Handbook. The second book she saved from a book burning.

This book is a really good read as it does a wonderful job showing the characters of different types of people and how their personal beliefs can effect a whole community.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Falling for Mondays: Fall favorites to start the week

Good news! I have completed two weeks at my new jobs! Hurray!! Money for groceries and gas! Thankfully though, I have tons of apples that are still hanging on in the orchard- we have several late season trees and we had such a bountiful year! I have been eating apple slices dipped in cinnamon sugar basically every day.  I am trying to store as many as I can in the fridge but there isn't a lot of room. We unfortunately don't have a cellar where we can store extra fruit... this should happen though....hmmm.

Anyhow I hope everyone has had a wonderful couple of weeks. The leaves have turned and it is so pretty! I personally love fall with it's crisp air and warmish sunshine.  When I was at the gym last Wednesday I saw this super cute little guy (no more than 2 ft tall) dressed up as Sully from Monsters Inc.! He was ADORABLE!!!!! I am not into Halloween for religious reasons (Meanings Behind Halloween Traditions)- plus I figure I can dress up and eat candy whenever I want-- adult perk!

*whisper*( I tried one of those snickers peanut butter squares-- SO yummy! About a hundred times better than a reese cup!) 
(like any of us never have a piece of candy-- let's be honest here! We all have a favorite. But we SHOULD strive to lead a balanced life and that means not eating all the candy in one sitting. I personally find that if I have one sweet a day or every other day- like a cookie, or a square of dark chocolate, one baby cupcake, or a fun size piece of candy, that I am satisfied. I got my sweet, I'm not denying myself what I crave, and I am maintaining my diet and fitness level by not over indulging.

That said here are a couple shake recipes that can easily translate into ice cream, ice cream cake, or popsicles!

Salted Caramel PB Shake

3 frozen banana halves, sliced1 pear
1/2 scoop protein powder
5 pkts stevia
2 tsp lucuma powder
1 tbsp white miso
3 tbsp PB2
1/4 C almond milk
8-10 ice cubes

Place ingredients in order first to last and blend until smooth. Serve and enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie Shake

1 banana
1 pear
3/4 C pureed pumkin
4 pkts stevia
2 tsp lucuma powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 C almond milk
6-7 ice cubes

Place ingredients in blender in the order listed and blend until smooth. Pour and enjoy!

To make either of these recipes into a pie, first make a crust for the batter. Omit the ice cubes and almond milk except for a dash as needed for blending- switching to a food processor may be easier for this. Pour batter into crust and freeze til firm in the middle or til eat'n time! *Note: the longer it is left in the freezer the longer you'll have to wait until it is cutable/servable. The first piece is always the hardest.