Friday, February 17, 2017

An Overdue Update: 2/17/17

Sanibel Sunrise

Good morning from Sanibel. It's been far too long since I last checked in here! So far this month we enjoyed visits from our oldest daughter, my brother and his girlfriend, and friends from home. We traveled across the state to visit old friends, and tomorrow my sister and brother-in-law arrive for winter break. Our popularity seems to increase when we're in Florida... and I love it!

Read recently//

Old Age: A Beginner's Guide by Michael E. Kinsley

Meh. I read this book now because it was written by Mike Kinsley, on my tbr list, and available on the shelf at the local library. Twenty years ago, while still in his 40s, Kinsley was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. While this slim book includes a lot about PD, it's not really about  PD. The focus is on aging, or the 'end-game' for baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964. Old Age is a quick read, but it didn't sit quite right with me... probably due to the final essay. In it, Kinsley proposes that boomers pay off the national debt. Our parents, the Greatest Generation, paid their debt to society with their lives through two world wars, while privileged boomers opted out of Vietnam. He feels boomers should leave a financial legacy instead. What?

"Is it simply long life that you covet, or is it long life with all your marbles? Isn't the final boomer game really competitive cognition?"

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

This is another book I picked up because it was available on the library's new fiction shelf, and I loved it! Set in NYC during the financial collapse of 2008, it juxtaposes the lives of a wealthy Lehman executive with that of his Cameroonian immigrant chauffeur. The immigration aspect is especially timely now and it offers an interesting perspective on the issue. I haven't read anything quite like it. Thank you, Susan, for the recommendation. This is my favorite book so far this year.

Current reading//

Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope 
The #PalliserParty continues. Progress has been embarrassingly slow this week; I am beginning chapter 32 today. If my sister is in the mood to hang out on the beach and read, then I'll definitely be more productive next week ;-)
 "It is better to have a false husband than to be a false wife." - Lady Glencora  
"... men and women ought to grow, like plants, upward. Everybody should endeavour to stand as well as he can in the world..."  - Alice Vavasor

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
After a false start a few months ago, I'm finally in the mood for a psychological thriller and this fits the bill nicely. Not very far in yet, but there's definitely something strange going on in this marriage. I feel a sense of dread settling in... should be an exciting ride!


It's hard to avoid getting sucked into political news... there seems to be something new every. single. day. BUT, this past week I've been enjoying college basketball (well, not so much Syracuse's loss to Pitt), the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, and I finally watched Florence Foster Jenkins.

In the kitchen//

As we move into "high season" on the island, restaurants are becoming more and more crowded so we opted to have a special Valentine's Day dinner at home. I made this Sheet Pan Shrimp Boil from Damn Delicious ... and it was! This is an interesting twist on the classic low-country boil - parboiling the potatoes and corn-on-the-cob, then finishing them on a sheet pan in the oven with shrimp and andouille sausage. My photo isn't quite as pretty as hers, but you get the idea.

I also tried these Oven Baked Beef Tacos from Six Sisters' Stuff... yum.

Photo of the week//

Morning beach walk... love these two!!

The week ahead//
I'll be spending time with my sister and brother-in-law... that will mean biking, shopping, dining out, and, of course, plenty of time on the beach!

What's new with you? Have you read any good books lately?

Saturday, February 4, 2017

My New Favorite Kitchen Gadget: The Sprializer

I've always loved kitchen gadgets. From a cherished Cuisinart food processor purchased shortly after college, to various crockpots, a pasta maker, bread machine, waffle makers, and a panini press, various machines have made their way into my cupboards. Some have stood the test of time, while others have ended up donated or broken.

These days my primary concern when deciding whether or not to invest in a new kitchen is cupboard space... especially  here in my small Florida kitchen. (I'm still undecided about the InstaPot and welcome your thoughts.)  Last spring, after months of deliberation, I finally purchased a spiralizer. We have been trying to eat more vegetables and cut down on carbs, and spiralizing seemed like a creative way to advance the cause. I was right!

The spiralizer//

Many are available on amazon, and they vary widely in price, number of blades, and durability. I compared countless product reviews before purchasing the moderately priced OXO Good Grips 3-Blade Spiralizer with StrongHold Suction. (Please note: I am not an amazon affiliate.) The three standard blades offer all the variety I need... basically,  spaghetti, fettucine, and ribbon cuts. And I am especially impressed with the suction - it stays in placed beautifully!

I like this particular model so much, I bought a second one to give as a Christmas gift and then a third for my Florida kitchen.

The recipes//

There are entire cookbooks devoted to spiralized recipes and Inspiralized: Turn Vegetables into Healthy, Creative, Satisfying Meals by Ali Maffucci appears to be "the Bible." I bought a copy of this book for myself and one to go with the spiralizer I gave as a gift, BUT it wasn't necessary. All the recipes you need are available online.

Zucchini noodles, or zoodles, are quick and easy... heat some olive oil, sauté a little garlic, toss in the the zoodles, season, and you're done in 5 minutes.

Here are my current favorite recipes, all available online:

This is from (the best recipe source) and is a new favorite. I've made it twice in the last two weeks.

Recipe and photo from skinnytaste... so quick, so easy, so delicious! I used the orange fettuccine blade for this one.

... a perfect cold side salad from peas & crayons. Scroll down for recipe.

Recipe and photo from (again). Lots of ingredients in the recipe, but oh so good.

I've lost count on how many times I've made this one. It's from Cookie and Kate and is my daughters' favorite.

A vegetarian meal idea from next time I might try spinach instead of kale and use
gruyere cheese. I thought this was an excellent meal, but my husband missed having meat.

Do you spiralize? Would you like to?

Weekend Cooking, hosted at Beth Fish Reads, is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.



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