The Untold by Courtney Collins // Book Review

pic of The Untold coverThe Untold is Courtney Collins’ fictional debut novel of real-life horse wrangler and outlaw Jessie Hickman.  It is exquisitely written and utterly captivating.  The depictions of the rugged Australian outback, its people, and frontier justice, combined with the stirring emotions of a woman being hunted like an animal, were compelling and deeply engrossing.  Rich with details, The Untold is a story of redemption, freedom, and crime and punishment.  To say I enjoyed this book would be an understatement; it is the best book I’ve read all year.

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pic of baked flageolet

In My Kitchen // September 2014

As summer slowly turns into fall and produce pickings change at the market, our meals have shifted from vibrant salads and light entrées to dishes full of seasonal beans…and…more beans.  The farmers’ market has been bustling with folks feverishly picking through the dry farmed early girl tomatoes and reaching for the ripened peaches and nectarines.  Not to be neglected are the glossy globe eggplants and the shamrock green zucchini.  I’ve been happily enjoying such summer bounty, as you’ll see when you take a peek into my kitchen.

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pic of spicy nectarine and corn salsa

Surprises, Surprises! (And Spicy Nectarine Salsa)

Have you ever looked at GQ online?  I hadn’t before this week, as I thought it was mostly a magazine featuring models and half-nude women.  I am actually correct on this point, but GQ is also a magazine tailored towards fashion, health, sports, food and travel, and the general interests of men (hence all the models and half-nude women).  While I am clearly not the target audience of GQ, I do, however, like looking at some of the covers featuring my favorite screen stars, like this one of Mark Wahlberg:

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pic of luxurious foot soak

Simple, Everyday Joys

I went for a massage earlier today, a rare treat I gave to myself to relieve some stress after a long week of work.  Upon returning from my appointment, I saw a note in my inbox that read:

Thank you for being outstanding and taking great care of yourself! 

We love clients who know how precious good health is, and are deeply committed to protecting it. After all, without your health, its hard to have fun!

I appreciated this message for its simplicity and truth: taking care of yourself will protect your health and let you live a fun and full life.  Good health is not merely eating well, or exercising often, but also taking the time to be kind to yourself.

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The Catch by Taylor Stevens // Book Review

BOOKS+TAYLOR+STEVENS+INFORMACIONISTA+INNOCENT+DOLL+CATCH

Book series appeal to me for many reasons, first of which is the development of characters from book to book.  Hooked by a character in book one, such as Lisbeth Salander or Cormoran Strike, I’ll continue to read books two, three, and possibly an indeterminate number more, to see his/her history more fully fleshed out.  Secondly, I enjoy reading series where plot is advanced across multiple books, such as in Lord of the Rings and the Song of Ice and Fire series.  Each book in a series may have its own distinct plot, but there is usually an overarching story connecting all the books, forcing it along to an ultimate ending.

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pic pf Maine blueberry muffins

Cooking My Way Around the Web

Instead of sharing my own recipe this week, I’d like to share some of the things I’ve made based on other bloggers’ recipes.  I am constantly inspired by my fellow bloggers and have made many delicious foods based on their recipes.  Here are a few foods I’ve made in recent months, with some tweaks here and there to suit my own needs.  I hope you visit each of these bloggers and try out some of the recipes for yourself.

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pic of red perilla

Asian Herbs & Vegetables

My mom has an amazingly abundant garden, helped along by twelve hours of sun in the summer days and her green thumb throughout the year.  Her garden is full of vegetables you’ll see in many gardens, such as tomatoes, bell peppers, lettuce, and jalapeno.  In addition to the more typical plants, she also grows many herbs and vegetables you’ll only find in an Asian specialty market.  These plants are the real magic in her garden.  This is a look into my mom’s garden and a brief introduction to some common Asian herbs and vegetables.

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