Friday, April 17, 2015

Quote Wall #6

Quote Wall is for everyone to comment and share their favorite quotes of the week. Be it from a book, movie, other people - whatever you like! Share them in the comments and I'll put them up on the Quote Wall page!

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see." - Arthur Schopenhauer -

Monday, April 13, 2015

Honey Mustard Salmon

This recipe is courtesy of Cooking Classy!

If you're looking for a really quick, easy, and yummy salmon dish, this one is perfect. It takes hardly any time and makes little mess.

2 salmon fillets, cut into 4 pieces
1 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with greased aluminum foil.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the dijon mustard, honey, and garlic. In a shallow dish, mix together the Panko bread crumbs, parsley, and lemon zest. Add olive oil and toss to evenly coat the crumbs.
  3. Brush the tops of your salmon with the honey mustard mixture. Then dip the coated salmon in the bread crumbs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat until all of the salmon fillets are coated.
  4. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Serve with steamed asparagus and lemon wedges.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Day #14: Illness

So my body decided that it needed a forced shutdown. Wednesday I woke up with leringitis - which pretty much takes away my voice and saps my energy. Annoying, but still workable. Thursday morning I woke up with the stomach flu. Which is a lot less workable, and I stayed home from work to sleep.

Normally, I can have a love-hate relationship with being sick. On the one hand, of course you feel awful and look awful and there's just nothing fabulous about it. On the other hand, though, it does give you some down time. Catching up on TV shows (which I haven't done in a while), reading, eating ice cream and other "invalid" foods.

But the stomach flu is an entirely different matter. I was too tired to watch or read anything. All I did was curl up underneath a blanket on the couch and shut my senses off to the world. If I wasn't sleeping, I was too miserable and nauseated to want to do anything except die. Forget ice cream and other treats; it just made my stomach more upset and I was stuck with eating ice chips and that's about it.

I have, since then, returned to the land of the living. I did get some reading done in between being awake and asleep. My voice has been returned to me and I can stand up and walk around without feeling like I'm going to pass out. But I'm still very exhausted. I feel like a sponge that has been wrung out one too many times, and what appetite I possess is still totally and completely gone.

Tonight I meet four YA authors, and while I probably should just go back to bed after my shift at work, there's no way I'm missing these authors. So glad I get to sleep tomorrow.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Day #13: Pottery & Author Events

Happy belated Easter and all that! I hope you guys enjoyed my special Easter recipe that I posted, in lieu of my usual reading update (I figured I should have something special for Easter). Also, I apologize for my erratic updates and absences. I've been a little busy with stuff.

So, in news - The Reading Hedgehog, my other blog, is back up and running. And I'm enjoying it ten times more. I have a few new things on it, such as weekend recaps and a new reviewing format! Maybe you should check it out at some point. ;-) Still in book news, I've been prepping for upcoming author events. On the 10th, I am meeting YA authors Victoria Aveyard (Red Queeni), Danielle Paige (Dorothy Must Die; The Wicked Will Rise), Sara Raasch (Snow Like Ashes), and Heather Brewer (The Cemetery Boys). So I've been trying to read all of their books before the big day. I have also, of course, been planning for my trip to Nashville on the 29th, where I'm going to meet YA author Sharon Cameron (The Dark Unwinding; A Spark Unseen; Rook). I've been clothes shopping and scouring touring websites to figure out what I want to see in Nashville. If any of you have any ideas of must-see places for a history/book/food nerd, please let me know! Recommendations would be welcomed.

I also had two separate  girls' nights with some friends a few weeks back - the first one we went to a pottery place where you can paint your own designs. My results were returned a couple of days ago!

To commemorate Sherlock's return!
A bookmark jar! I have so many bookmarks; I needed a place to put them.

The second girls' night we went and saw the new Cinderella movie. That was a lot of fun. I needed a fluffy, fairy tale story. And all in all, I liked the movie a lot. The casting was perfect and the changes they made to the story, while subtle, were very good.

That pretty much brings you up to date on what I've been up to. I of course will be posting about how the author event goes; really, really looking forward to it!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Italian Easter Bread

This recipe is courtesy of Grains of Earth!

I put myself in charge of Easter dinner this year because I had a ton of new recipes I wanted to try out! While everything turned out delicious, this Ukranian Easter bread was my pride and joy. It turned out so perfect. Yes, that is a whole duck egg in the middle. The great thing about this bread is you can make it for anything - just leave the egg out of the middle. It won't compromise the bread shape and you can save it for Easter, to make it special.

2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 1/2 cups milk
pinch of salt
1/3 cup salted butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups (approx.) flour
1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp water
6 eggs, dyed or not (your choice)
pearl sugar

  1. In a small saucepan, warm the milk and butter together, just until the butter is melted.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast, salt, eggs and sugar. Add the warm (too hot and it will kill the yeast) milk mixture.
  3. Add one cup of flour, mixing in between, until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. You may end up using more than 3 1/2 cups of flour; that's fine.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth.
  5. Placed in a greased, covered bowl, and let rise for 1 hour.
  6. Punch dough down and divide into 12 pieces. Roll the pieces out into 1-inch thick ropes about 14 inches long. Taking two pieces, pinch ends together and braid, then form into a loop and pinch together.
  7. Lining a baking sheet with greased aluminum foil, place braided circles on it.
  8. Once you've braided all of your loops, cover the sheet and let rise for 1 hour.
  9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  10. When the circles are done rising, brush with the egg wash. Place a whole, raw egg in the middle of each circle. The egg will bake through in the oven. Sprinkle the circles with pearl sugar as generously as you like.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool on a rack.
  12. NOTE: because of the eggs in the middle, this bread does need to be stored in a refrigerator. If you don't put the eggs in the middle, store it like any other bread!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Bookworm's Corner #5

The Bookworm's Corner is weekly updates on anything bookish! What I've read through the week, any books I've bought this week that I'm super duper excited about, recommendations lists, book news - whatever! This is where the Bookworm wades in.

What I've Finished

Bone Gap by Laura Riby
YA, mythology retelling
4/5 stars

In the small Illinois town of Bone Gap, strange things are afoot. One day, a Polish girl named Roza entered the lives of brothers Sean and Finn - and then she was gone, like so many others in their lives. Everyone is convinced she just left. But Finn knows differently. Finn saw the strange gray man who moves like cornstalks in the wind. Finn saw him take Roza. And Finn will do everything he can to bring back the girl his brother loves. Even if no one believes him. When I first started reading this book, I was confused as all hell. Magic realism is a genre that I'm still getting used to, and I'm not sure I ever will. So throughout the majority of Bone Gap, I scratched my head and declared it one of the weirdest books I had ever read. But I was curious to see how it would end. I wanted answers. More than halfway through, I suddenly understood that it was a loose retelling of the Hades/Persephone legend. And suddenly everything made sense. This book isn't being marketed as a retelling, and maybe it's an accidental retelling, but thinking of it as one clears up all the nigglies and puts some sense into the weirdness. And this realization pushed the rating up to a 4-star rating, where it might have been as low as 2 stars. The characters are all very fascination and interesting, and as I got to know Roza, I became emotional invested in her and Sean. I never was invested in Finn and Priscilla "Petey", though I loved Petey's no-nonsense and Finn was just an oddball. If you're looking for a weird, engaging, surprising read, look no further.

Dracula by Bram Stoker
4/5 stars

Something is amiss in London. A creature stalks the dark streets, tormenting young, gentle Lucy, leaving strange bleeding marks on her throat. His presence sends the inmates of a local sanitarium into a frenzy. The only way to hunt this creature down before he destroys anyone else may lie with strange Professor Van Helsing, who studies lore and legend and the accult. But even he may be no match for the creature. I really, really wish there was a way I could have read this book having no clue what was going on. What was it like picking this book up the first time it was published, before it was a classic and had been destroyed with numerous bad movie adaptations? Dracula is spooky and deliciously Gothic. The narration style - through journal entries and letters - is extremely effective, and the insane asylum an absolutely perfect touch. I dearly wish someone would make a movie that is actually close to the book, because it's chilling and creepy and awesome.

 Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass: #3
YA, fantasy
3/5 stars

Celaena Sardothian, the King's assassin, has been dispatched to a neighboring kingdom to assassinate its royal family. But Celaena has other plans. She's looking for answers - about herself, her inherited power, and how to destroy the ruthless, cruel king of Adarlan. But a monstrous army is amassing and Celaena is running out of time. I knew that this series would eventually impress me. The world building was too good from the beginning not to; I just can't stand Celaena. However, we follow several characters in this third installment, so we actually spend very little time with Celaena. And with Celaena being separated from her love interest, Chaol, I was able to appreciate everyone. The world building continues to impress me, and the plot is getting thicker and more complicated and more engaging. I even found myself liking Celaena just a tiny bit in the end. Once she faces her inner demons and stops being pathetic and broken down, she is pretty awesome. I only hope her awesomeness continues. And as always, the ending pulled a twist that was totally epic. I can't wait to see what happens next; I'm officially hooked to this series. It lived up to expectations in the end.

What I'm Currently Reading

Percy Jackson's Greek Gods by Rick Riordan: On page 259
Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales: This week, I read N/A
Anderson's Best-Loved Fairy Tales: This week, I read N/A
Wolfsblood by Hazel West: On page 216
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling: On page 363
Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie: On page 175
- Antigoddess by Kendare Blake (just started)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Day #12: Hanging Out With Myself

Today I needed time to myself. So I decided to make a date with me. ;-) As a reward for completing a side job, filing my taxes, and getting through a boat-load of emotions, I had a day out in town. Just me and my music and a cool breeze through the car window.

There were two major used book sales going on in town today, so I hit the first at ten o'clock, then hung out in downtown until the next one opened. I visited a used bookstore I haven't been in for a while, popped in and out of some antique shops, and stopped by a local tea and dessert parlor to enjoy a cup and a nice fresh brownie - as well as a couple of sheep-shaped dark chocolate Easter truffles (oh my gosh, those were good!). It was so nice to sit in a window seat and read while sipping some hot orange spice tea.

After that, I walked down to the last book sale. In total, I came home with 20 books. All of them ranged from $0.50 to $2.00. There was some great finds. And when I got home, I just felt so much better. Relaxed and happy and excited and refreshed. I've spent the rest of the day recording videos, shifting my bookshelves to make room for the new books, and moving my hedgehog downstairs - as the weather is turning warm and sunny and my bedroom is just getting too hot for me and him to sleep up there.

I had a funky week, but I feel loads better now. And tomorrow I might be going to the beach!