Feb 26, 2008

Mary Kay Andrews New Book Released Today!

Finally, its here! DEEP DISH, the new Mary Kay Andrews book will no doubt have all of the southern charm and wit as her other books, plus a great story. This book will introduce a whole new set of characters, leaving Weezie and Bebe from SAVANNAH BLUES, SAVANNAH BREEZE and BLUE CHRISTMAS to hold on a bit longer. This is a story of two rivalry tv chefs and its sure to be a real hoot! I like to read her books in between others with heavier content. Its a nice change to read something that will lift your spirits and make you literally laugh out loud. This would be a great book to take either on Spring Break or to read over the summer - if you can wait that long! I suppose being from the south, I can relate to her southern characters and the way life is down here in the south. Ever since I picked up LITTLE BITTY LIES, her first book under this pen name, I've been hooked. Her real name is Kathy Hogan Trochek and she used to be a journalist for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution before writing mysteries using her real name. Her mysteries are good too, but I really like the books by Mary Kay the best! Hopefully this will be another New York Times Best Seller!!

Feb 25, 2008

No More Excuses

Its time for me to get serious about shedding these extra pounds that I've been carrying around for awhile now. I've put it off for way too long. There 's no excuse for it either. I have an eliptical workout machine at home called The Gazelle. Its low impact so it doesn't hurt my poor knees like alot of aerobic exercises do. It has tenstion bars that you can put on for more resistance. If I can just stick to the routine of working out at least 45 minutes every day and watch what I eat and drink lots of water I shouldn't have a problem losing 20 pounds. I know my doctor will be thrilled and my blood pressure will more than likely come down a bit as well. The time flies when I'm on the Gazelle because I have my iPod on and before you know it I'm done! Its just hard to stay motivated when you're doing it alone. Another resource I'm going to use is Bob Green's Best Life Diet book. I've heard its fabulous. I'm willing to give it a try!

Feb 24, 2008

Curious About Curry

Recently, I've been reading alot of recipes using the spice, curry. Curry powder is actually a blend of many spices used in Indian cooking among others. It's used in alot of Thai cooking and can be quite spicy depending on the curry used. I decided that a chicken curry dish would be a good one to expirement with. I found a recipe on Recipezaar.com called Winnipeg Chicken Curry. What a great choice! It had all of the curry flavor without being too spicy. Some curry recipes also call for red pepper flakes in addition to the curry powder, but this one did not. For a first time curry dish, I made the right choice. My boyfriend, John doesn't like things too spicy. It was easy to make and only took about 50 minutes, counting the time to measure out the ingrediants and slice the onions, etc. The sauce or gravy it makes looked alot like regualar chicken gravy, but had a wonderful earthy flavor. I served it with rice and steamed brocolli cuts to have as a side. It was absolutely delicious! It made enough that John and I each had a healthy portion and there was enough left over for either one large serving or two small servings. I definetly will be trying more curry recipes in the future.

Feb 23, 2008

A Wine Tasting

At last! I've finally found the white wine I've been searching for! For the past several months I've been on a journey of wines. Previously, more of a liquor drinker, I decided that I wanted to learn more about wines. I started my quest looking for a nice red wine. After many bottles of different reds, I finally came to the conclusion that I don't really care for the reds. Although, there was a California red Zinfindel that wasn't too bad. Anyway, I've found my white wine. It's a 2006 Chardonnay from Alice White Vineyards located in Southeastern Australia. I've had the Australian Shiraz (a red), which I do like, but this Chardonnay is more tasty than the others I've tried. I've sampled YellowTail, Kendall Jackson and even the very popular Fat Bastard. But I like the Alice White Chardonnay the best. Its not bitter, acidic or too dry. I did alot of research and even some people on the Chowhound boards recommended this brand. Its crisp, light and fruity. It goes well with chicken, seafood and pastas, especially creamy pastas. Its not too expensive either. I picked up a big bottle at the grocery on sale for $10. I'm pairing it with shrimp and veggies this evening for a light dinner. I'm so happy!

Feb 20, 2008

Cross Your Heart & Hope To Die

Book Review

This is the fourth book in the Blackbird Sisters Mysteries written by Nancy Martin. Nora Blackbird and her sisters, Emma and Libby are the central characters, but the stories are told by Nora. This book is a little darker than the first three, and has a little more violence. At the end of the third book, Some Like It Lethal, it seemed that Nora has finally come to terms with her boyfriend, Michael's criminal family history. They finally consumated their relationship and even talk of marriage and children. I was afraid the next book wouldn't be as exciting, but, happily, I was wrong. Just when Nora thinks she's ready to accept Michael and all his baggage, his family's criminal ways get in the way. Not to mention a fellow reporter named Richard, who is not only handsome and smart, he doesn't mind letting Nora know he's interested in more than her writing ability. The murderous plot is interesting and keeps you guessing at who did it. It was nice to have the new character of Richard D'Eath instead of Detective Bloom, who was in the first three books. The author knows just when to change it up a bit so the reader doesn't get bored with the characters. I really enjoyed this book, even though it looks like things may be over between Nora and her sexy bad-boy boyfriend, Michael Abruzzo. The next book in the series is Have Your Cake & Kill Him Too. I'm reading that one now and I'll have a review of it in a week or so.

Feb 18, 2008

Great American Race Day

NASCAR season is here! All the anticipation and excitement came to a head Sunday in Daytona. The weather for the race was fabulous, if maybe a little warm, but it was a good race. Not alot happened in the first half, but once the sun went down and the track started to cool, cars were going faster and drivers were getting ambitious. Dale Jr. was in the top 10 for most of the race and I thought he may even finish 3rd or 4th, but it wasn't meant to be. He ended up finishing 9th, thanks to a caution on the second to last lap. Even tho I'm happy for Ryan Newman, (his first win in 2 years) I felt a little disappointed that there was a caution right when things were getting interesting in the final laps.

I even managed to whip up a quick meal during the race. I stir-fried yellow squash, red bell pepper and onion, then added some rice and soy sauce. Then I cooked some shrimp for a few minutes in boiling water then tossed them in with the rice and veggies and added a little stir fry sauce. It was light and delicous!! The shrimp was succulant! I'm getting pretty good at my shrimp dishes. Overall it was a great race with great food!

I even managed to finish Cross Your Heart and Hope To Die yesterday before the race. Now I'm on to the fifth in the series, Have Your Cake and Kill Him Too. I'm hooked on these Blackbird Sisters mysteries. I need to finish Elizabeth Adwards biography so I can get it back to the library, but I keep reaching for my mysteries!

Feb 15, 2008

Finally A Friday

There's much to look forward to this weekend. First of all, I can sleep past 5:30am for two days! Second, I'm donating 5 large bags of clothing to needy families in my community and at the same time freeing up some space in one of the rooms at my house! I'm going to finish the book Cross Your Heart & Hope To Die. Its one of those murder mysteries with humor that Nancy Martin writes so well. The fourth in a series. My plan is to finish it so I can get back to Infidel. It's very interesting, but disturbing to know what all she went thru in her life to get where she is now. Islamic terrorism is a frightening thing. And I'm speaking of the terror that she endured living in a Muslim world. There's another book that I've been reading for awhile now called Middlesex that I'm really having trouble sticking with. It was one of Oprah's book club selections last summer and it is interesting, but I just can't seem to read much of it at a time. Alot of history about Greece, Turkey and Detroit, of all places. I honestly don't know when I'll get back to it and I'm only one-third of the way thru it. He also wrote The Virgin Suicides that was made into a movie. Honestly, I had trouble with that book too. I think its his writing style that I didn't care for in that book. With any luck, I'll be able to finish the mystery and come close to finishing Infidel this weekend.

Then on Sunday is the Great American Race - the Daytona 500! No reading will get done during those four hours! I'm so excited for this race!

Feb 14, 2008

Why I Hate Valentines Day

I'm sure I'm not the only person who feels this way about this day. I've never really been a fan of it. There's no way you can live up to the hype of it all. When I was younger, I hated it because most of the time I didn't have a steady boyfriend, so when February 14th rolled around and all the girls I worked with were receiving flowers, candy and sweet cards, I made myself busy so maybe they wouldn't notice that no one was sending me special tokens of affection. No big deal. There were a few exceptions, but not many. Now that I'm older, I feel like Valentine's Day is nothing more than an obligation to many. I think its much more romantic to get an 'I Love You' card on an ordinary day or maybe one single rose instead of the obligatory dozen. I would rather get one single rose for no reason than a dozen on Valentine's Day because that's whats expected. It's only 9:00 in the morning and already my Valentines's Day is in the dumper. I won't go into details. I just want to get thru this day so I can put another Valentine's Day behind me.

Feb 11, 2008

Switching Gears

Now that football season is over its time for NASCAR! This is going to be an exciting race year. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the Bud Shoot Out on Saturday nite with his new car and team! After having a dissappointing season last year and all the hooplah about his leaving DEI its nice to see him doing what he loves most - winning at Daytona! I was so happy to see him in the Winners Circle again. That will give him even more confidenc to carry with him thruout the year! The Daytona 500 is next Sunday and I can't wait! GO #88!

Feb 10, 2008


I finished The Alchemist this morning and then I went to church. The message Pastor Mark preached today was about having faith in Jesus Christ. I thought it was very interesting that the book I just finished hours before was basically teaching the same message. Ever since I started attending church services regularly, I've had so many of those coincidences happen. But are they really coincidences? I don't think so.

After church my parents and I went to the public library. For me, I hadn't been there in almost 15 years. That is going to change. I love our 'new' library. I could stay there all day!! I was suprised to see how many others were there too. Even tho I do like to add books to my library at home, I plan to borrow alot of them from the public library. I can't believe I waited so long to go.

Feb 7, 2008

Whats Cookin'

In my online travels looking for different recipes I've come across the message boards on the Taste of Home website. Not only are there alot of great recipes, but these boards are home to women who share not only great food, but also friendship. There are threads on cooking, there's a group called PCH which stands for Physically Challenged Homemakers, and there's a group that are avid readers. Their book recommendations are never ending. Some of them even ship books to each other to share. Its a nice online community they have created. And they are all over the US. Its obvious right away that some of them have been posting for years and have come to 'know' each other, without really ever meeting. I visit the site every morning to see what's going on. I've bookmarked it and hope to get to know the other members who have already been so kind to me.

Feb 6, 2008

Seeing Things Clearly

I love reading books. However, with my eye disease (Retinitis Pigmentosa) its getting harder and harder for me to keep focused on the text. Since one of the symptoms of RP is that my eyes don't focus together, I'm constantly blinking to keep the text clear. As I was browsing the FFB Forums the other day, someone was talking about a new gadget they were using to help with this problem. Its a wireless reader that is the size of a large paperback book, weighs just over an ounce and has 3 font sizes for easier reading. There is no glare, so its perfect for magazine reading. I don't read magazines anymore because of the glare problem on the glossy pages. There are several different brands of these readers and they range in price from around $250 to $400, depending on how much you want it to do. Sony makes one and Amazon has The Kindle, that has more functions and is a little more money. These readers are not strictly for people with vision problems, but from what I've read, this may be a cool tool for me to check out. You simply download a book (they run about $8 or $9 each and it stores up to 156 books! I think I've found my new wish list item for Christmas 2008!!

Feb 5, 2008

When Will It End?

In my community (Ocala) over the last two weeks there have been several deadly car crashes that have taken the lives of young people. I wish I could say it was a result of faulty equipment, etc. but that isn't the case. Five young men all died while speeding down an airstrip in an $80,000 2008 BMW. They were traveling at least 120mph when the car sailed 200 feet, overturned and slammed into trees 15 feet above the ground. The oldest was 20 years old. Such a senseless tragedy. Why does an 18 yr old need a car like that? Just because you have the means to buy fancy cars doesn't mean your child is experienced enough to drive it. Then a week later another teen was killed when he veered into oncoming traffic! That teen was 16! How much experience did he have? Just because your child turns 16 and is old enough to drive doesn't mean that he/she is ready for the responsiblity. Yesterday another 16 yr old was killed as a passenger in a car that was trying to pass in a no-passing zone on one of the most dangerous roads in central Florida. When is it going to stop? That's 7 kids in 2 weeks! When will parents realize that not all kids should be driving just because they have a license. If your kid doesn't act responsible enough, don't allow them to drive! And its not just kids who drive eratically - adults do it all the time. Everyone is in such a hurry to get no place! If this isn't a wakeup call, I don't know what is.

Feb 4, 2008

Back On Track

I think I've finally gotten over that awful flu I had and now I'm back to normal. I finished Some Like It Lethal by Nancy Martin over the weekend. It's the third in the Blackbird Sisters Mystery Series and I must say, I really enjoyed it. The story, although at times, unrealistic, kept my attention and wasn't so far out that it seemed ridiculous. I also like the characters in her stories, which makes it more enjoyable to read. I believe there are two more books in the series and I have one of them, Have Your Cake and Kill Him Too. I just need to find out if that is the next one in order.

I've started another book called The Alchemist. A friend recently read it and he really enjoyed it and passed it on to me. It was written in 1988 by Paolo Coelho, a Brazilian author and translated into English in either 1993 or 1994, I believe. Its an easy, quick read so I look forward to breezing thru it. I have so many books on my TBR list and I hope to make a good dent in that list this year. So far I've gotten off to a good start. Deep Dish, by Mary Kay Andrews (aka Kathy Trochek) comes out later this month. I'm really looking forward to that. Also I've heard alot about Kim Edward's The Memory Keepers Daughter. I've seen mixed reviews, but I think I'm going to pick up a paperback copy and see how I like it. But first I have to get thru The Alchemist.

Feb 1, 2008

Crazy Weather

One day its hotter than you-know-where and the next day you're wearing sweaters! This crazy weather here in Florida is literally making me sick! This cold kicked my butt! I felt it coming on and no amount of vitamin C et al was going to keep it away. Its bad enough I spent all last weekend on the couch covered up with boxes of tissues, throat drops and the telephone within arms reach of me. Then I missed a few days of work this week, too. I usually only get sick once a year and most times its in February.

I'm going to read a book this weekend that a friend recommended to me. Its called THE ALCHEMIST. Its an older book about following your dreams from what I can gather. My friend said he enjoyed it and said I could knock it out in just a few days. I'll be sure and post my review after I finish it.