Thursday, August 30, 2012

Spicy Shrimp

You might not have noticed, but I've added a few handy dandy tabs across the top of my blog.  While I was working on one last week, Dave's Faves, I discovered that one of my husband's favorite meals was not listed on my blog.  So, I decided that I needed to remedy that oversight immediately.

We're kinda big on shrimp around this household.  All three of us love them.  Molly especially; it's her favorite food.  What, don't believe me?  Well, let me give you a few reasons why I know this for a fact.  One, it's one of two types of food that she will drool for (the other is ice cream).  Two, she will indignantly bark at your feet while you are either peeling or cooking them.  Three, when David grills them she will purposefully get underfoot in hopes of him tripping and dropping delicious morsels on either end of the transportation route between kitchen and outside grill.  And four, she will beg shameless putting on her best teary-eyed expression and throwing in the periodic cold nose nudge.  Needless to say, when shrimp are on the menu, it's an experience in this house.  Such is the case when I make this recipe.

I found this particular recipe a while back on Souffle Bombay's blog.  You can view her original post about this recipe by clicking here.  I always cut the recipe in half (unless we have guests) and I cut down on the seasonings a bit.  But, it's almost exactly the same recipe otherwise.

Spicy Shrimp
adapted from Souffle Bombay

1 pound of raw shrimp (don't get the small guys, get big ones!)
a little more than 1/4 cup light olive oil
a little more than 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning - I use Old Bay
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
Tabasco - shake it until it fits the mood you're my case, a lot
Cayenne pepper - again, shake it until it fits the mood you're in

Peel shrimp, remove the tails and pat dry.  Combine all ingredients except shrimp and whisk until fully incorporated.

Throw the shrimp into the marinade and stir around until they are all coated.
You can let the shrimp marinate for 30 minutes to an hour. Not much longer than that.

Skewer the shrimp onto metal or wooden skewers.

Cook on the grill for about 2 to 3 minutes per side - until all are pinked up and cooked through with a nice char. 

Remove the shrimp from the skewers and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What I Can't Do...

My friend, Nicole, had a cute blog post yesterday and I thought I'd copycat her.  Nicole talked about how on personal blogs that people are always highlighting what they can do.  Let's swing that around for a day and share a little bit about what we can't do for a's my list.
  • I can't blow up a balloon. 
  • I can't sing...I'm tone deaf.
  • I can't pick ticks or fleas off Molly.  Which is why I'm super diligent about her meds.
  • I can't write cursive very well with some letters, so my handwriting is a mishmash of print and cursive.
  • I can't do the splits...anymore.  Sucks getting older.
  • I can't eat anything that looks like it did when it was alive (i.e. lobster)
  • I can't ice skate.  At least, as far as I know...I've never tried.
  • I can't handle any situation with blood.  This includes watching movies and television.

What can't you do?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Elephant's Journey

The Elephant's Journey was recommended to me by one of David's family members.  This relative knew that I had really enjoyed Water for Elephants and had heard that this was really good.  After all, the author is a Nobel Prize winner. 

The premise of this book is actually a true story.  Back in the mid-1500s, the king of Portugal gifts the newly married Archduke of Austria with an unusual wedding present: an elephant (and his keeper).  This book follows the tale of this elephant along with his keeper from one end of the continent to another, in pursuit of their new home. 

Like almost any book covering true events this long ago, the author had to fill in bits and pieces so that the story flowed well.  Because of this, the book is considered a novel, not a true story.  But, I feel that Saramago does a pretty good job of keeping to what probably really happened.  A lot of what occurs within the storyline I could see being documented record.

Honestly, this book was not my favorite.  It's very short (200ish pages) and the story is cute, but the translation leaves much to be desired.  While the translation won an award, the punctuation and dialogue format was hard to read.  There were virtually no paragraphs and you had to piece together where a sentence probably ended in most places; lots of run-on sentences.  If the story had been properly edited and printed, I would have enjoyed it much more.  Overall, I'd probably give it a C...which I hate since I know that it's received accolades and the author is an award winner.  Oh well, it just wasn't my thing.

Do you ever read an award-winning book or watch an Oscar-winning movie and just not get what all the brouhaha is about?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Something New

OK, so I've decided that I need to learn to crochet.  And knit.  And maybe tatting too.  There are so many cute things that you can make if you know how to do these things and I am so pumped to try!  It kinda started last year when one of my best friends said that her daughter learned how to knit via YouTube.  For reals, is there anything you can't learn to do on YouTube?  Same friend told me the other day that she learned how to repair her washer from YouTube.  And hey, it worked!

So, what kicked started this idea into motion was this book.


Remember when I talked about cleaning out my Aunt Naomia's house to help her move a while back?  Well, this book was in her house and it's one of the things I was able to have at the end of that week.  It tells you how to do virtually EVERYTHING in needlecraft.  No joke.  But, I'm also a visual kinda gal, so while I looked at what was in this book, I also started to look at some videos on YouTube.  You know, the initial inspiration.

Here's what I've made so far.  The coaster was my first and it way too tight, but the dishcloth is a bit better, albeit a little uneven.


I actually bought a whole bunch of yarn the other day to start some more projects soon!  And I really think that Pinterest either helps or hurts (depending on your point of view) when it comes to this obsession.  I mean, look at all the cute things you could make!

Source: via Crystal on Pinterest

Source: via Crystal on Pinterest

Source: via Crystal on Pinterest

Seriously cute.  We'll see what I can come up with and you know I'll share pics as I finish different attempts at crocheting...and knitting eventually.  So far, I'm only tackling one at a time...crochet. 

Oh yea, and I mentioned tatting up above.  That would be the last of the three I'd try.  It's the technique doilies are typically made out of, but there's some seriously cute stuff out there for it too.  I mean bookmarks...hello!

Source: via Pauline on Pinterest

We'll see how accomplished I become at any of this...  Do you know how to perform any needlework like this?  Or want to learn too?

Friday, August 24, 2012

50 Shades

Last week, I fell into that black abyss that is the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy.  Everyone I know (minus my fellow book club-ers) were all shocked that I hadn't read it.  Well, I initially hadn't heard such great things when the series first came out, so I had thrown it on the back burner...and kinda decided to not try it.

But, then one of my favorite girls from book club, Natalie, told me she had read it on her Kindle and said, "It's really just like Twilight, only the guy isn't a vampire, he's a sexual deviant."  Umm, OK.  Then, another girl, Karlin, came to book club bearing the actual physical copies of the books.  And she LOVED them.  At this point I thought to myself, "why not?"  So, I borrowed them.

And, if I'm completely honest, I was a little scared.  I actually held on to them for about a month before I worked up the courage to crack the first cover open.

And boy, was I in for a treat...I got totally sucked in.  Let me tell you, Christian is so suave and appealing from the get-go, that I was smiling to myself after reading only 20 or so pages.  And Ana?  Well, Ana is very Bella.  And Christian is very Edward...everything from the way he dresses, the music, his old-fashioned manners, etc.  Yea.  If you've done any research about these books, you've read that the author specifically wrote them for the adult women who love the Twilight series.  And I can honestly say that she hit the nail right on the head.  There's even a little bit of a Jacob figure...only he's not Indian, he's Hispanic and named Jose.

As you gradually get to know Christian, you begin to realize that something is not quite right.  While he appears to have everything, well-groomed, articulate, shrewd can tell there's a weakness there.  And you see it, almost, from the very beginning.  He doesn't like to be touched and he doesn't show emotion well.  You learn as the books progress that Christian's way of coping with these fallacies (and the reasons behind them) is, indeed, this sexual deviancy.

I was so nervous as I progressed farther into the first book because I was just waiting  I had heard about the infamous deflowering scene...thumb interlude and all.  But, by the time I got to it, I was already so wrapped up in the two characters and what was going on, that it didn't bother me.  That part kinda made me go, "ew," but, overall I was OK.

And, as for the rest of those kinds of scenes, they aren't that bad.  Yes, they're pretty graphic, but have you ever read a real romance novel?  Instead of there being 5 scenes the entire book, there's one every 20 pages (after the deflowering scene, of course).  And while there's some pretty, umm, creative instruments that Christian likes to utilize...there's not anything I hadn't heard of through television shows or bachelorette parties.  And there's not anything that could cause any real physical harm (i.e. no choking).  With that being said, I don't get the whole obsession to run off to the hardware  Even if E.L. James makes it sound good in the, thank you.

Now...down to my real question.  I LOVE and I do mean LOVE Ana's inner goddess and her subconscious.  They are soooo hilarious.  I'm just wondering if and how they'd incorporate them into the movie...because you know there's going to be a movie, right?  I seriously don't know how it's not going to be rated XXX...but, we'll see!

One more point I want to make...I love it when books refer to classics.  Duh, one of my goals is to read as many classics as possible.  And when books allude to a particular work, I'm always more apt to move it to the top of my list (in the classics genre).  These books talk a lot about Thomas Hardy and Tess of the D'Ubervilles specifically.  These were Ana's favorites and I will be excited to pick Tess and Hardy's other works up soon.

I really enjoyed these books and the story that goes along with it.  They won't win any great literary prize...but, neither will Twilight.  In fact, the first time I read Twilight, I mentioned how after being 10 pages in I wanted to grab my red pen.  If you loved Twilight, you'll love this.  If you're looking for a hot, romantic page-turner, you'll love this.  If you're looking for something that has a complex literary plot and really makes you think...this is not it.

OK, now I'm going to brush my hands and move on to my next book...  And oh yea, I'll leave you with the funniest Pinterest board I've seen regarding this huge 50 Shades hoopla.

Source: via Shawntel on Pinterest

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pinterest Inspiration - Book Shelf

Do you remember this ol' thing?  I blogged that I was going to do something with it a little while ago...


Well, I did!  I was initially only planning on sanding and then painting it.  But, then one day I was pinning on Pinterest, and I saw THIS.

Now, wouldn't a pattern like that look fabulous on the top of this little book shelf?

So, I set about sanding and painting this bad boy.  After sanding the heck out of it, I gave it a first coat.  The paint I used is our trim paint inside, so it would match perfectly when complete.

Then, another coat.


It's amazing what just a couple coats of paint will do.  Better, huh?

Next up, I bought a wall/floor stencil from Hobby Lobby.  By the way, if you want to go to Lowe's because that seems logical, don't.  They don't carry wall stencils.  True story.  Luckily, Hobby Lobby does and I also bought some sponging applicators along with some stencil paint.  Dark cherry.  We like crimson and cream around here...boomer.


Because of the lip at the back top of the shelf and because this stencil is just so big, I had to line up the edges and make a centered pattern for my project.  As opposed to the Pinterest idea shown above, that covers the full table top.  I fully intended to continue the left side of the stencil on the right side of the shelf top as well, in case you were wondering why this looks off-center.  It is...on purpose.

Here's what this looks like post-paint application.

And here's a picture of the full, finished product.

Some of the red seeped under the stencil in the process, but I'm OK with that...kind of a small bit of shabby chic.  And I love how it turned out.  Now, to fill it with books...that shouldn't be too hard for me.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Duchess

Sometimes I watch a movie and become so intrigued that, if it's based upon one, I am moved to read the book.  This is the case with The Duchess, by Amanda Foreman.  Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, is an amazing woman and I was fascinated to learn more about her.  Truly, she was the first female "celebrity" to be bombarded with, what you would call today, tabloids.  Her limelight was highlighted in the late 1700s to early 1800s, around the time when newspapers were printed and made affordable for the everyday person.

Georgiana was the first-born in a family and was forever the favorite child and daughter.  Because of this, she was overly coddled and therefore, became obsessed with pleasing her parents.  She ended up marrying who her parents desired for her, throwing her into a loveless marriage.  In an attempt to impress her husband (and perhaps encourage him to love her), she throws herself into the upper echelons of society and politics.  Everyone comes to love her and what she stands for.  Georgiana also becomes a true fashionista with her dresses and hairstyles causing everyone to follow her newest fashion trends. 

What might be most interesting about her life, includes the relationship between herself and her best friend, Bess.  Bess begins sleeping with the Duke, Georgiana's husband, and the three manage to keep a strange marriage and love triangle.  It's truly an odd relationship.

I'm not going to lie, the book is a much drier representation of this woman and her story than the movie.  Although, there is a TON more information.  I really enjoyed it, but if you're not used to reading biographies or historical works...this might not be for you.  I only recommended it to a couple of girls in my book club, who already lean towards historical and more-dry material.  But, if you're not gutsy enough to pick up the book, PLEASE rent the movie!  It's wonderful.  I've linked the preview below!

In fact, watching this makes me want to re-rent this movie and watch it again!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Turkey Buffalo Sloppy Joes

I found this recipe in my Food Network Magazine a few months ago and since I've tried it, it's become a go-to lunch meal for David.  David loves Buffalo chicken strips and he loves Sloppy Joes.  So, what's not to love about this recipe?  I will admit that in addition to always halving the original recipe, I've mixed it up a bit from the original.  Unfortunately, there's not a printable on the Food Network website, but you're welcome to print out my adaption below.

Turkey Buffalo Sloppy Joes
adapted from Food Network Magazine (October 2011 issue)

  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped or grated
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/8 cup Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • 1/8 cup Buffalo Tabasco sauce
  • 1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 
  • pepper
  • 4 whole wheat burger rolls, buttered and toasted
  • blue cheese crumbles (optional)

In a Dutch oven, cook the first five ingredients over medium heat until the turkey is no longer pink.

The original recipe only calls for the hot sauce, not including the Tabasco.  But, the last time I was planning this recipe out, I found this PERFECT Tabasco sauce in the grocery store.  Definitely pick this stuff up and try it when you make this recipe!  Otherwise, just use a full 1/4 cup of the hot sauce.

Stir in the tomato sauce, chicken broth, hot sauce, Tabasco, brown sugar, vinegar, Worchestershire sauce and pepper.  Heat through.


I served David's lunch with two full sets of buns and some chopped carrot sticks.  He doesn't like to eat cooked carrots as a side.


However, I do.  And I had made the PW's cooked carrots the night before, so I indulged in some leftovers for lunch.  (If you're interested in that recipe too, click here.)  I also only used half a bun for each serving and ate them with a fork, unlike my husband who eats them sandwich style.  I also sprinkled some delicious blue cheese on top.  Mmmm...


This is a great recipe that's super easy and ready in minutes!  I highly recommend!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Night Road

I've alluded before about how my book club has become a tad obsessed with Kristin Hannah books.  The fact of the matter is that they tend to be so good that you just want to keep picking one up after another.  But, if I have to be completely honest, this book was not my favorite Hannah work.  The writing is typical Kristin Hannah perfection, but I felt the story was a bit predictable in a few aspects. 

The main premise surrounds a young girl, Lexi, who is new in town and desperately needs a good friend.  Lexi is the daughter of a deceased drug addict and has made her way through the foster care system.  Luckily, she stumbles into a friendship with Mia one day during the lunch period.  Mia is kinda nerdy and also happens to be a fraternal twin to Zach, the most popular and attractive boy in school. 

The twins have an over-protective mom, Jude, who also plays a major part in this story.  Once the girls become acquainted, Jude pulls Lexi aside to make sure that Lexi truly wants to be Mia's friend.  The previous year another girl had befriended Mia in an attempt to get an inside track into Zach's love life and the situation had turned out poorly...mostly for Mia.  However, Lexi has no real interest in Zach, other than the fact that he was very nice to her on her first day of school.  Because she's been alerted to this emotional weakness on Mia's part, Lexi makes a point to avoid Zach in most situations...she truly wants to be Mia's best friend forever.

The story evolves into an in-depth relationship between these three teenagers as well as their relationships with Jude.  There is a TON of foreshadowing involving drinking and, you have a pretty good idea where this story is going to go.  Without going into too much detail, there is a tragedy that strikes and how everyone reacts to this tragedy is almost as tragic as the event itself.  With that being said, the ending does come out on as positive a note as it possibly can; this book isn't a complete downer.

I would still definitely recommend this book, simply because it's well written and I tend to love Hannah's writing style.  But, if you're wanting one of Kristin Hannah's best books, I'd probably have a couple of other recommendations to give you above and beyond this one.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran

You probably remember the national news story back in 2009 that was on every news station regarding the American journalist held captive in an Iranian prison?  Roxana Saberi was and is that American journalist.  Saberi was born to an Iranian father and Japanese mother and was raised in Fargo, North Dakota.  As you can probably tell from the cover, she's gorgeous and was even Miss North Dakota in 1997.  She went on to the Miss America pageant and made it into the top ten finalist ring.

But, Saberi's true passion was journalism and in 2003 she moved, temporarily, to Iran to be a journalist and write a book on what living in Iran was truly like.  She planned to publish this book in America, so that Americans could read it and get a true understanding of this culture.  Shortly before Saberi was intending to return to American, she was detained by Iranian authorities.  Saberi had already suspected that she was being monitored by the authorities...this was confirmed during her capture. 

I don't want to go a lot into what occurred during her containment, other than to say that she is an extremely strong woman who underwent major psychological torture.  There were a couple times when I asked myself if I would have done the same things as her in the same circumstances.  In a couple places within the text you're thinking, "No, no, no!  Don't do it!"  However, you could never really know unless you were put in the same predicament.  And I, hopefully, will never have to undergo what she did.

I highly recommend this autobiography covering this time period in Roxana Saberi's life and captivity in Iran.  And I would also recommend buying (or borrowing) it in audio version.  The copy I own is and at the conclusion of the book there is a beautiful recording piece that Saberi composed and performed herself after her ordeal. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Today I thought I'd give you a mish mash of updates.  Speaking of updates, you've probably already noticed this, but I updated the look of my blog.  I kinda felt like it was time and I wanted something cleaner, brighter and simpler.  I also cleaned up my sidebar a bit and created a couple of tabs across the top.  I intend to create a couple more in time, but what you see is what I've accomplished thus far.  I like it and hope you do too.

First off, I was wondering what YOU were liking most about my blog.  I have a nifty little poll that I've created on the sidebar.  So, if you'd please fill out the poll and submit it, I'd greatly appreciate it.  And who knows, I might blog more about whatever the most popular answer turns out to be.

I told you guys a little while back about my intentions for these letters.

Well, I'm happy to say that both projects have been completed!  Here's what my "Z" looks like now, all done up and on display in my living room.


As I stated in my last update regarding these ideas, I took photocopies of our marriage license and covered the wooden letter so that it was completely encased in the paper.  I really like how it turned out and I'm displaying it with a wooden picture easel.

Next up, the wash letters!  I loved how this looked on the pin and spray painted my letters a similar silver color.


They turned out looking really cute and shiny.  However, once I hung them, I realized that because they're so shiny, the dark grey/silver color of our washer reflects a smidge off the "h."  So, the other letters don't look like the same color as the "h" sometimes, but it's just a trick of the lighting.  Funny how things can turn out in real life, haha!

To show this discrepancy with the lighting, I'll show you a picture with the camera flash and one without. 

Regardless, I love the way it looks.  I had really been looking for something to hang in this spot because otherwise the laundry room looks so cold and sterile.  I really think this adds a little bit of "umph" to the room and makes it homier.

Work on the craft room is slowly, but surely coming along.  I realized the other day, while sitting at my table, that the window faces the setting sun in the evening.  And what a beautiful sunset I got!  The pictures are a little distorted from the screen over the window, but I think you get the idea.

While I was up there, one of the things I did was emptying out all my crafting tubs and sewing box.  And lookie what I found.  My great-grandmother, before she died, made me a bible cover as well as two doll blankets.  What a find that I had totally forgotten about!  The purple post-it located in the bible cover pocket was my mom notating the details of the items.  These went into my in cedar chest immediately for safe-keeping.


I vaguely remember my great-grandmother, who died when I was around 8 or 9.  And I always remember her working on something for someone.  She made a ton of stuff, I'm lucky to have gotten these treasures before she passed.

Well, that's all I have to update you with at the present time.  I hope everyone is having a happy Wednesday!

P.S. My friend, Nicole, is having a giveaway on her blog today.  So, you should go check it out!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Daughter of Smoke & Bone


There are certain books that make it ALL the way around my book club.  It can seriously take months for the owner to get their copy of the book back simply because everyone wants to read it.  That's kind of what has happened with this book, Daughter of Smoke & Bone.  This book came out last September and entered our book rotation shortly thereafter...and I think I might be the last person in my book club to read it, here in August almost one whole year later.

Everyone I know that has read this book has said that it is such a different idea and that they've never read anything like it before.  A refreshingly original young adult read.  Here's the gist, Karou is a teenage girl who is a fantastic artist attending a Prague high school.  She has no parents and, unbeknownst to everyday citizens, she has been raised by chimaera.  Specifically, three that live in a "shop" that is labeled Elsewhere.  This magical "shop" is where certain people show up to sell teeth.  Yes, teeth.  Karou does not know why and you will not know why until about halfway through this book.  From time to time Brimstone, one of the chimaera who is also a father figure to Karou, will send her out on "errands" to round up teeth from sellers who have been banned from the shop for various reasons. 

While out on one of her "errands" Karou runs into Akiva, an angel who opens Karou's eyes to a war that is being waged...and who happens to be on the opposite side of Brimstone and the rest of the chimaera.  The latter half of this book is Karou beginning to find out what's so special about her and what her role will be in this "war," as well as what her developing relationship with Akiva can become.  Because of course, there's a romantic inclination there.  You knew there had to be, right?

What did I think of this book?  I really hate it when I'm near the last of a group reading a specific book.  Because throughout the months of others reviewing it, the book gets built up and up and up...and then inevitably doesn't live up to unrealistic expectations.  I really did enjoy this book, but I think I had my bar set way up here ::holding my hand above my head:: when I should have just gone into it with no real expectations.  I will say that I hate it when books wait until the last 50 pages to tell you what's really going on...and this book definitely did that.  Also, it leaves you with a pretty big cliff hanger, but this book is the intro to a series (what young adult book isn't anymore?) and will probably be a trilogy.  Hence the cliff hanger.  And I will admit that I'm definitely curious to find out what happens.  Luckily, the second book comes out soon!  November 6th as a matter of fact!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp

I know this is going to be a complete and utter shock, but I tried yet another Pioneer Woman recipe from her new cookbook.  Really, I'm not kidding. 

Seriously though, what did you expect?  Haha!

This recipe is quite good and quite simple.  Just the way I like it!

First, peel and rinse off your shrimp.  Then, arrange them on a baking sheet, preferably one with a lip around the edges.  There's going to be a little bit of sauce, so you don't want it to drip over the edges while baking.

Then, in a food processor combine butter, garlic, fresh parsley, crushed red pepper and the juice of one lemon.  Pulse.  Tada!


Then, just plop a spoonful on top of each little shrimp.


Bake them in the oven for 20-30 minutes and they come out looking and smelling delicious.  The PW says you can use a good crusty bread to sop up the juice in the pan...we didn't do that.  I'm trying to reduce my carb intake because since I've turned 30 the carbs seem to go straight to my hips.  Now, why is that?  It's so unfair.  Regardless, you can do that if you please, but we just had our shrimp with a little corn salad I whipped up.


And yes, I know that corn is predominately carbs too, but at least this is an attempt at healthiness, right?  These little shrimp are delicious and will definitely be worthy of a repeat!  Yum, my mouth is watering just remembering these from the picture.

I highly recommend!  For the printable (and prettier pictures), just click here!

Friday, August 3, 2012


Do you ever read a book and enjoy it thoroughly, yet get a little peeved at the same time?  That's how I felt about Seabiscuit, An American Legend.  And it is through no fault of the author or book that I feel that way.  This book is so beautifully written that I'm actually contemplating picking up Unbroken, which is Laura Hillenbrand's newest book.  Also a New York Times bestseller, by the way. 

It took me a while to pick this book up after purchasing it at the Oklahoma City library book sale...oh, maybe two years ago?  Books tend to pile up in my fact, this quote that I pinned is sooooo me...

Regardless, it took me at least two years to pick up this book.  Remember, a few posts ago, when I said that I was trying to read up all my books that have been on my to-read list the longest?  Yea, this was one of them.

First off, this book gives you a fantastic background on each of the main characters in Seabiscuit's fame/life as well as what the racing community was like during this time period (1930s).  You learn how Seabiscuit's owner is a bicycle repairmen turned car dealer who started taking in horses for trade-in on new vehicles.  That's how he got into this arena.  Crazy, huh?  And Seabiscuit's trainer was a man of few words...seriously, the man was prone to one-word answers and there was never a true interview done with him because of this.  He was a true horse whisperer.

The most fascinating piece of background that Hillenbrand covers involves Seabiscuit's jockeys.  I had no idea that life for these men could be so horrendous.  They were, literally, treated like subhumans and were traded like slaves.  Not to mention their eating and exercising habits.  I really think that when young girls' eating habits revolving anorexia and bulimia began, it was a result of someone reading up on how jockeys kept their weights so low.  Seriously.

Now, back to the reason this book was written...Seabiscuit.  This horse was hilarious.  He LOVED to eat, so much to the point that many times they had to muzzle him to keep him from eating his own bedding.  I mean, how else do you control a horse's weight right before a big race?  Plus, he liked to goad his opponents.  He loved to make eye contact with them during a race and take off, showing them up.  Then, he did his best to prance around them and huff in their faces post-race.  Priceless.

Now, at this point you're probably wanting to know why this book made me a teensy bit angry?  The build-up to the race with Seabiscuit's biggest rival, Man o' War, went on and on and on.  And on.  I thought they'd never meet up.  And this is one of those instances where truth can be stranger than fiction.  That's how it really happened.  For whatever reason, the race kept getting cancelled or one of the horses had to scratch or something.  Let me just say, that when the race finally happened in the book, I was thinking to myself, "Well, it's about time!"  And I'm sure everyone in America felt the same way.  President Roosevelt even had the radio going in the Oval Office at the time and refused to further conduct national business until he knew who won.  That's what a big deal this race was.

I really and truly enjoyed this book and all the information it shared.  I felt like I really learned something about that part of history, yet at the same time felt entertained.

There was a movie, Seabiscuit, that was released back in 2003.  The movie was based upon the writing in this book and was nominated for a bunch of awards, including quite a few categories at the Academy Awards.  I remembering seeing it when the movie came out and really enjoying it.  However, I can tell you that it doesn't show half the information the book relays.  Of course, this is always how it is when you convert a book to the silver screen.  Some major factors have to be cut.  Regardless, I remember enjoying the movie yet I would definitely say the book is better.  But, aren't they always?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Roasted Ribs

OK, so yesterday I decided to prepare ribs for the first time ever.  I'm always a little leery of making BBQ because we don't have a smoker and David's not the type to use our grill for that purpose.  BUT, I saw this recipe forever ago on the Pioneer Woman's website (shocker, I know) that looked absolutely divine.  Then, earlier this week there was a big case of baby back ribs for sale in the grocery store...and I thought why not?

You start out by mixing up your rub (my bowl is at the top of the pic below) and then rubbing mustard (I used a spicy brown mustard) on both sides of the ribs.


Then, you rub the rub (haha!) all over both sides of the ribs.


That's pretty much it.  The recipe says you can let this sit for a bit or you can pop them right in the oven.  I threw mine in the fridge and ran some errands for a couple hours.  And then my fridge smelled heavenly the rest of the night.

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees and place the ribs directly on the top rack with your foil-covered drip pan underneath.  I accidentally put mine in meat-side down first, that's why mine have little crevices in the rub.  Oops!


Then, let 'em go.  The recipe states 1 1/2 to 2 hours for baby back ribs, so I cooked mine for the full two hours.  And man o' man did the house smell delicious, not to mention the ribs sure were pretty coming out of the oven.  Let them rest for about 15 minutes, then cut the ribs up into individual pieces.


I paired mine with a delicious salad that I've semi-recreated from Longhorn Steakhouse; they have a fantastic Steakhouse BLT Salad.  All you need to have on hand to mix up this salad is: some greens (I love spinach) with Caesar dressing and a splash of balsamic vinegar, sliced red onions, sliced tomatoes, sliced bacon and some Parmesan cheese.  Because we were having ribs, I didn't feel the need for bacon and I also omitted the cheese.  The real star of this salad is the vinegar and dressing combo.  Seriously, it's wonderful.  Here's my plate...and I miiiight have gone back for one (or two) more ribs once I polished off what's pictured.


This will definitely be a new favorite in our house.   You wouldn't believe the moans and grunts coming out of my husband while he was devouring these ribs.  I think a new Dave's Fave has entered the building!

FYI, there are alterations in this recipe that include adding sauce...these really don't need sauce, but if that's your kinda thing, go for it!  For the printable, just click here!

*Note to self: need to purchase Pam Anderson's cookbook because I've already utilized her baked beans recipe numerous times and this makes two fabulous outcomes with her recipes!


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