Monday, January 21, 2019

A Monday Update: January 21, 2019


This photo was NOT taken today. This morning there's a blanket draped over my lap, the heat is on, and a second mug of steaming coffee is warming my fingers... and I'm still in Sanibel! The sun is shining, so I'm not complaining, but I feel bad for my friends and family in central NY where the wind chill is hovering around twenty below zero this morning!

It's been a good week here on the island - morning walks listening to RBG, a few bike rides (still on my old beach cruiser) and we picked up my sister-in-law at the airport on Wednesday. She's staying with my father-in-law for a few weeks, so there's even more family around.

Finished this week//

by Jane Sherron De Hart

I've read other books about RBG and this is, by far, the most comprehensive and complex - probably not for the reader with just a passing interest. Even as a read/listen combination, it took me nearly three weeks to finish. The audio version was excellent. It helped pull me through drier, more complex sections. Suzanne Toren was the perfect choice to narrate. I have much  more to say about the book, so look for a full review in a week or so.


Current reading//

by Vicki Baum

My "classic in translation" for 2019's Back to the Classics challenge, I didn't spend much time with this book last week. But that's more a reflection of the all-consuming nature of the RBG biography than on my level of interest or enjoyment here.



by Bryce Courtenay

This is the January selection for my book club back in NY. Obviously I won't be there for the meeting, but the book is very highly rated, was already on my radar, AND the recommending member said it was her favorite book of 2018. It's over 500 pages, so I used an audible credit to make it a read/listen combination. Just started last night, but so far I think it's going to be a winner!


On the blog//

Top Ten Tuesday: 2018 Author Discoveries


In the kitchen//

Remember that new recipe for lentil soup I had in the slow cooker last week? Well, it was really good! We gave half of it to my FIL to take home, so we had enough left for just one lunch. All three of us wanted it again, so I've already made a second batch.



In an effort to use up the miso I bought for the Maple and Miso Sheet-Pan Salmon, I decided to try the New York Times  Miso Chicken recipe. It was good enough to make again, but I much prefer their Roasted Chicken Proven├žal... a family favorite! I'm looking for more recipes that use miso if you have a favorite to share.

I'm still loving Whole Foods, too. Last week I came across a recipe for a Lentil Greek Salad with Dill Sauce that called for black (?!) lentils. I'd never heard of black lentils before but, sure enough, there they were on the shelf at Whole Foods. Guess what we're having for lunch this week?



Hope all is well in your part of the world. Did you get hit by Winter Storm Harper? What are you reading this week?

52 comments:

  1. We got rain on Saturday but that was about it from the storm. We woke up to temperatures in the 20s this morning so I'm doing a lot of whining today. The RBG looks outstanding.

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    1. Kathy - The RBG book was excellent, but a huge undertaking.

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  2. I will have to try that lentil soup recipe! I love lentils but my family is meh about them, so I'm always looking for a recipe they'll get excited about. :)

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    1. Monika - I've been adding more lentils to our diet lately. The family is slowly coming around ;-)

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  3. The snow missed us, but it is bitterly cold today! Stay warm!

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  4. The storm went south of us. I didn't miss it but wouldn't mind missing the bone-chilling cold we got instead. Your recipes sound great. The RBG books sounds good but might give me too much detail. I wonder if there is a YA biography about her? Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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  5. Ooh, I love lentil soups, stews, etc. It's time for me to gather a few recipes together and finally use that slow cooker again. I've only used it once, for pot roast.

    Enjoy your time in warmer climes. Kind of like here in California, where we've had rain storms...but mostly it's nice.

    Here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - I love my slow cooker, but now I'm wondering about adding an Instant Pot to the mix. Enjoy your CA weather!

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  6. I love lentils and you inspired me to make lentil soup last week. We have white bean and tomato soup on for tonight. Yes, horrible windchill in central PA too. Enjoy the sun! I think I need to add RBG to my audio list. Toren is great for keeping one invested in an audiobook.

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    1. Beth F - I listened to Torren narrate An Unnecessary Woman and likely others, though I can't think of them. Her voice and tone were just perfect for the RBG bio!

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  7. It is super cold and snowy here in Michigan! We got to play in it a bit on Saturday but then the zero temps hit and now we are staying cozy inside. I didn't know Florida was cold now too! That stinks! At least you know you will have warm and sunny beach days ahead very soon. :)

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    1. Erin - Cold is a relative term down here, lol. After spending so much of my life in Central NY, I practically laugh at myself even feeling cold in Florida.

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  8. This was SUCH a crazy storm. The forecast here went from 8 to 12 inches, to 4 to 8, to 2 to 4, all followed by a day of sleet or drenching freezing rain, washing away the snow. I don't think we got as much rain as they predicted, because we still have a pretty coating of snow, but it's 5 degrees out today. It's also bright and sunny but I don't think I'll go out - not just cold, but the unpredictably shoveled city sidewalks will be treacherous. Oh, well. Wouldn't you know it's going to be near 50 mid-week and raining? I made a vegetable soup with farro this weekend that I liked but didn't love, so I'm bookmarking your lentil soup to try next. Stay warm!

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    1. Audrey - That's crazy! Hope you stayed cozy inside with books and tea. I've been thinking about making Tuscan farro soup soon (NYTimes recipe) or, if it ever warms up, their Charlie Bird's farro salad.... guess I'm craving farro ;-)

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  9. 20 below zero is just too cold! I'm glad you're in Sanibel even though it's a bit chilly there! The soup sounds delicious and this is the perfect time of year for soup. Have a great week!

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    1. Katherine - I can eat soup all year long... in any weather!

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  10. I'm reading Asymmetry. Very different. Very good so far.

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    1. Midlife Roadtripper - I've been curious about Asymmetry! There don't seem to be many reviews out there yet... sounds like an unusual read. Can't wait to hear what you think.

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  11. I'll bet you're happy to be in Florida! We used to get those subzero temps when we lived in Nebraska and I can't begin to tell you how much I don't miss that kind of weather! The sun is finally out here on the coast (after six days of gloomy, damp weather) and I'm anxious to get outside and go for a walk, in spite of the chilly temps. We'll be lucky if we hit 50.

    I'm curious about The Power of One. I had a regular customer at B&N recommend it to me many, many years ago. Said it was one of her all-time favorite books. I still haven't tried it, but will be interested to read your thoughts.

    Have a great week, JoAnn!

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    1. Les - Sunshine makes everything better! People seems a lot less gloomy down here and I firmly believe it's because of the sun.

      The Power of One is instantly engaging though I'm still only on the second chapter. Back in the days of the online book groups it was very popular, but I probably wouldn't have gotten around to it without the push from my book club.

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  12. Yes, even states in the south get cold in winter, but nothing like you have in the north. I just wish we didn't get the wind. Saturday was brutal. Cold and then winds of 25-30 mph dropped the wind chill to way down in the 20's. Better today. Glad you are liking that Whole Foods nearest to you, JoAnn. Have a good week!

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    1. Kay - I'm still Wegmans number one fan, but Whole Foods is much better than the other options here. So many new-to-me products to explore!

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  13. I need to put more lentils in our diet. They are a super legume! I am reading The Suspect and it’s really good. I have not ventured very far from our cozy room this morning. Really only to make a bowl of steamy tomato soup for us for lunch. And now more steamy tea for mid afternoon. I know you know just how cold it can get here!

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    1. Patty - You need to stay warm and cozy until the weather changes up there... Brrr! I think we're going to get a couple of days around 70 degrees now, but the it's right back down to highs in the 60s and 40s or 50s overnight. That's fine with me though.Cooler temps are good for bike rides!

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  14. I'm in from the cold and warming up with some hot peppermint tea and popcorn for a late-afternoon snack! I have some good fall-back lentil soup recipes from my Moosewood Kitchen and Mollie Katzen cookbooks, but it's hard to find lentils that are certified gluten-free, so I don't use lentils as much as I used to. I do love lentil soup, though. I thought there was some scandal about the author of The Power of One, or something I heard that put me off of reading it. Will be interested to hear your thoughts once you've finished it!

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    1. Laurie C - Just looked up the author of The Power of One and there does appear to be some controversy as to whether his childhood accounts are truth or fiction. I'll read/enjoy his story as written, the delve into this a little further afterwards. Thanks for the heads up.

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  15. Hi JoAnn,
    Ah, yes, did we ever get a boatload of snow from Harper. Over two feet and windchill temps about -25-30 F today.
    I had people I know from everywhere ribbing me by email about the winter storm named Harper, because that's my last name and birth name. I had no idea the storm was named. And I am wondering how long it's been that we've been naming winter storms? So funny.
    I'll admit I did not snowshoe today or go for a walk, though I cared for the birds and helped remove snow. For a bit, before a hasty retreat to the piano and some lunch.
    I do hope your weather will warm up very soon!
    I'm racing through Small Fry to get to the new RBG bio. Oh, your description of it filled me with delight. Just what I love to sink my teeth into.
    I don't know about The Power of One, but am very curious! Will look it up.
    Cook and read until you can sit and walk comfortably on the beach.

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    1. Judith - It seems to me that naming winter storms is a fairly recent development... a little silly, too. Seems like your area got the worst of the snow. The only time I've ever been really uncomfortable on a beach walk was when strong winds whipped tiny grains of sand around so they felt like little needles stinging my face! Then I have to walk on the bike paths instead.

      The Power of One was very popular in the late 80s and into the 90s, but I haven't heard as much about it in recent years. The opening chapter drew me in immediately. Think it will be a quick read. I'm still sorting out my thoughts on the RBG bio.... so much there to process.

      Hope you get some warmer weather soon!

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  16. Your lentil soup looks good. Tonight I'm making a turkey stew. My weekly updates

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    1. Pussreboots - The lentil soup was perfect on a chilly day! Thanks for stopping by.

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  17. My SIL is in FL and complained it was in 50's today but, of course since it was 1 degree her (-16 with windchill) I didn't feel sorry for her LOL

    Congrats on finishing the RBG book, I do have the audio but, saving it for a road trip perhaps. Enjoy your week.

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    1. Diane - That's exactly why I rarely mention the "cold" weather to my siblings back up north, lol!

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  18. I can't wait to read your thoughts on the RBG book. Since I'm on the West Coast, we didn't get hit by Harper (thankfully). It's cold and windy, but not freezing. Stay warm!

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    1. Vasilly - The RBG book was an all-consuming read for me. I'm sorting out some thoughts and plan to write a review this weekend.

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  19. I can't remember, did you see On the Basis of Sex? So good!

    A hearty soup and a nice salad is my favorite winter go to dinner. Your recipes always look so delicious.

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    1. Susie - I have not seen On the Basis of Sex, but did enjoy the RBG documentary in the theater last spring. I'm a little RBGd out right now, so will probably wait and see it on DVD.

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  20. I have been an admirer of the Judge from very afar. I doubt I will get the book to read so I will look forward to your review.

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    1. Mystica - My review should be ready next week, Fingers crossed!

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  21. It's been a little cold here in California but certainly not 20 degrees. Was 38 on my drive in.
    That food sounds good but I clicked on one recipe and it's behind a NYT's pay wall. Can't view it but I can probably Google it.

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    1. Ti - Sorry, I keep forgetting that about the NYTimes recipes. Send me an email if you want the recipe and I'll copy/paste and send it to you. They changed their policy maybe 6 months ago, so now only subscribers can get to them :(

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  22. Congrats on finishing the latest RBG book. That one looks dense, I'll stick to the Notorious RBG bio on my future TBR. The Power of One looks good -- don't know why I haven't read it before. We are having a snow day today (only 10F) ... but it appears it'll be back to 50 on Saturday, how strange. Enjoy your Sanibel.

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    1. Susan - The RBG bio is definitely dense! I think Notorious RBG would be a much better place to start.

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  23. What a delight for you to be in a (mostly) warm and beautiful place! You are reading such fabulous books, too. Life is good.

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  24. I adore lentil soup -- thanks for linking to the recipe! And thanks for the reminder about The Power of One... that book has been popping up for years, and I'm glad you reminded me to consider it.

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    1. Unruly Reader - That lentil soup recipe is a keeper! I'll bet it would be really good with some Italian sausage in it, too. After reading the first 4 chapters of Power of One, I just know it's going to be a good book. I've set it aside for now - another more pressing book will arrive on Friday - but I plan to get back to it soon!

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  25. The lentil Greek salad sounds yummy. Let us know what you thought of it. I hope you've been having a great week!

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    1. Iliana - I decided I don't care for cold lentils, but posted a link to the recipe in today's post.

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  26. I think i'm going to need to take a crack at the RBG book. I've read enough about her now to really pique my interest.

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    1. Lisa - If you've already read a little about RBG, this will definitely fill in any gaps!

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