Sunday, December 14, 2014

Weekly Update: December 14, 2014


What a crazy week. The recent nor'easter dumped a LOT of snow around here... enough to bring The Today Show  to our little town. The favorite quote from the broadcast:

"I feel like I walked into a Christmas card here!"

The storm thwarted my shopping plans, knocked out power, and left me achy from shoveling, but it sure is pretty. I'd say a White Christmas is guaranteed!





About the books//

I made progress both reading and listening, but didn't finish anything this week. In print, They Were Sisters is turning into quite an emotional read. Dorothy Whipple tackles domestic violence (1940's style) in this novel and I am alternately enraged and teary.

On audio, Finding Florida is getting really good! I'm up to the 20th century with NASA and the creation of Disney's empire taking center stage. Can all this stuff really be true? Pretty disturbing if it is... further reading is definitely required!


On the blog//
My Year in Books Timeline 
Review:  The Hotel  by Elizabeth Bowen
Tuesday Intro:  They Were Sisters  by Dorothy Whipple

In the kitchen//



With all the snow and cold, this was a week for comfort. I tried a new recipe for Slow Cooker Red Lentil Soup from Vegan in the Freezer  that was incredibly easy and tasty. Just sure to have extra broth on hand - I needed to add more liquid.

I also made Skinny Shrimp Alfredo Pasta Bake from  Damn Delicious. This lightened up version of the classic was surprisingly good and can be prepared ahead of time. Be prepared to wash dishes - I used an impressive number of pans and bowls, and even a cookie sheet!

Coming up this week//

After two events last night I'm partied out today, but we're celebrating my brother-in-law's birthday this evening. Tomorrow I will finish my shopping, for sure! Then there's the wrapping...

As for the blog, a few more reviews need to be written this week and then I'll take Christmas week off. Look for my lists of favorites before New Years.

My daughters come home on Friday and Saturday... I can't wait!

This post will link to It's Monday, What Are You Reading?  hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.




46 comments:

  1. We have about a .0000000001% chance of a White Christmas so I'm going to have to enjoy what I see of yours. Beautiful!

    Here's my Sunday Salon. I'd love to have you stop by!

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    1. Deb - It's like a winter wonderland around here :)

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  2. No December sow as yet! I'd love to come to your house for those delicious looking dishes! Save some for me! Happy reading week!

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    1. Harvee - I will... stop by any time ;-)

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  3. Oh my gosh, that photo is gorgeous but I'm glad all that snow is not here! Stay warm.

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    1. Kathy - And I'm glad I get to go to Florida next month!

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  4. Ooh, it does look like a postcard! And that red lentil soup looks like something delicious and comforting for a snowy day. Thanks for sharing.

    I am also going to check out We Were Sisters.

    Enjoy your new week, and here are my MY WEEKLY UPDATES

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - We all loved her postcard comment! The red lentil soup was surprisingly good... my daughter had it for lunch all week.

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  5. All three girls home at once? My brother comes home from college today and we're very excited--but my sister who lives in SF won't be able to make it this year. Hard when everyone "grows up!"

    The snow looks beautiful...but I'll take our 60 degrees right now. ;) I'm a cold weather wimp. And wow that shrimp alfredo looks delicious!! Hope you have a great week JoAnn.

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    1. Trish - Thanksgiving was our first "grown up" holiday with one of the girls spending it with her boyfriend's family... not sure I'm ready for that yet! Can't wait to have everyone home this weekend :)

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  6. All that snow does look beautiful! Our entire town shuts down when we get 2 inches of snow (and all the bread and milk is sold out if there's even a warning!) so I don't think we'd know what to do with ourselves! I'm definitely curious about the Finding Florida book now. My husband works in the space program and we've had many phone conversations with him up on one of the towers at Cape Canaveral so I think it'd be fun to read how it all started. Or maybe disturbing. Have a great week and stay warm!

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    1. Katherine - We laughed because there was enough snow here to bring in the national news, yet the schools didn't even have a snow day... 2 hour delay, but they opened :)

      I'm starting to think the Finding Florida book is more disturbing than entertaining now... will really need to do some fact checking.

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  7. I feel the urge to order a copy of the Dorothy Whipple book, but I'm going to try to restrain myself, at least until I read the one I already have on the shelf. The red lentil soup does look delicious. I am trying to cook more with lentils, so I am collecting recipes. Happy Sunday and I hope your week goes wonderfully.

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    1. Lisa - I'm surprised more people don't read Dorothy Whipple... she is such a wonderful writer and observer of human behavior. The soup was my first time cooking red lentils. I've used brown and green before, but really didn't think there was a lot of difference in taste.

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  8. Can I be a little jealous? The same recent nor'easter looked more like Niagara Falls around here...I don't think I've ever gotten so wet during a two-block walk from the bus stop. It is pretty, and I'm glad you've recovered from the inconveniences and that it's adding to your Christmas cheer.

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    1. Audrey - Don't be jealous. We're still feeling the after effects of the storm. Daily power outages from heavy snow in the branches (actually nightly outages) leave my alarm clock blinking and an empty pot programable coffee maker. Oh, the hardships ;-)

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  9. I downloaded the shrimp alfredo recipe--in the mood for "light" comfort food. It's snowing right now (nothing like what you got, though) and this seems warm and cozy. Finding Florida sounds so interesting--I visit Tampa regularly but overall know very little about the state.

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    1. JaneGS - Light may still be a stretch with that shrimp alfredo, but it's definitely healthier than the full-fat version... and still tasty. My take on Finding Florida seems to go back and forth between interesting and horrifying. I'm really going to need to do some investigating.

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  10. That storm missed us. It sure is pretty. We are enjoying mild weather which was nice for my shopping. Not sure if we will have a white Christmas. I was just thinking about my favorite of 2014 selections.

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    1. Nise' - This has been one of the most beautiful snowfalls we've had in years, but I still think you're lucky that you missed it! I just started looking at my list of books for the year and choosing favorites isn't going to be as hard as usual... not sure if that's good or bad.

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  11. A Dorothy Whipple with a bowl of lentil soup sounds like a wonderful way to spend a snowy day.

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    1. Anbolyn - It's just about perfect!

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  12. Enjoy the family when they are there! like the sound of the Shrimp Alfredo dish!

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    1. Thanks, Mystica. It's been months since we've all been at home together.

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  13. We had the parties last weekend. Two plus a golf tournament was enough for me. I'm such a homebody. You are really getting me excited about that Florida book. I'm living in the middle of all that now. Do I really want to know the details, or will it scare me to death and make me want to move to Bali?

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    1. Sandy - The author of finding Florida definitely has some biases, but the book sure would stir up a good discussion amongst locals. I probably should have looked for something a little more balanced, but this is much more interesting. Maybe a fact-finding mission to Bali would be fun though ;-)

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  14. We are snow free after getting a bunch of snow before Thanksgiving. Not sure if our Christmas will be white or not. That is a beautiful pic. And Finding Florida sound very interesting- I may have to read that one.

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    1. Greg - Finding Florida may not be the most balanced history of the state, but it sure is entertaining!

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  15. I normally watch the Today Show and I somehow missed that! finding Florida does sound interesting! Merry Christmas if I don't stop by here again before then!

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    1. Peggy Ann - I would have missed The Today Show myself, but my brother in PA texted around 7AM to alert me. Merry Christmas to you, too!

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  16. Snow!! How beautiful!! I am really missing snow here this year, we just haven't had any. In fact we are having an unseasonably warm December here in the mitten state - we are looking at 50 degrees today! I think there is a time and a place for that temperature and December isn't it!

    Finding Florida sounds good! In fact, I think I might get it for my dad for Christmas! Thanks for including it on your blog, I would never have known about it!

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    1. Erin - Wow, 50 degrees?! It's been a long time since we've seen that temperature. Hope you get some snow before Christmas.

      Finding Florida is a little inflammatory, but that makes it more interesting :)

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  17. Wonderful photos JoAnn. They could be Cristmas cards. I'm glad you are enjoying your books. Have a great week.

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    1. Thanks, Pat. Speaking of Christmas cards, I really need to do mine this week ;-)

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  18. Enjoy having your daughters in town - that will be fun!

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    1. Thanks, Sarah. We always have a lot of fun together.

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  19. That soup looks yummy. Perfect for the weather. Emma @ Onceuponalittlefield

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    1. Emma - I've gotten into the habit of making soup every week in the winter. Last night it was Mexican Chicken Chowder... another favorite.

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  20. Mother Nature really threw you a curve--hope you're able to get all your tasks completed before the holiday. It does look pretty, though.

    I've printed out the shrimp bake recipe...I may give this a try on Christmas eve.

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    1. Catherine - The roads are clear now, so even though we still have most of the snow it isn't creating any problems. Hope you like the shrimp bake. If your family doesn't care for whole wheat pasta, I'd use regular penne.

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  21. Snow is beautiful -- in moderation! I'm hoping for a few flakes on Christmas. Enjoy your time with your daughters!

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  22. That does look pretty! I imagine it's less alluring when you are stuck inside, though!

    I hope you have a great time with your daughters. My sister just got home from college so we will all be together for the holidays soon. :)

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  23. Oh my your white Christmas is looking beautiful. I'm sure it wrecks havoc with socialising, powerlines, heating bills etc but, by golly, it does look divine :-)

    We Were Sisters is sounding more and more like my kind of read. I look forward to your review.

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  24. The snow is gorgeous! (easy for me to say, cause we don't have much). That soup looks awesome

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  25. Never a good thing when The Today Show comes to your town - but you're right, it is beatiful! Enjoy having your family together and happy holidays!

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    1. Lisa - Ha ha! You know you're in trouble when they broadcast national weather from your town. Our temps are supposed to warm this week, but I still doubt all the snow will melt.

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