Pumpkin French Toast

PumpkinHalloween

Happy Halloween everybody! I was trying to figure out the best post for Halloween, and I decided that October begins the rise of pumpkin everything, so what better recipe than a pumpkin one?

pumpkins

Thoughts Before Cooking:

So I found this recipe on Pinterest from Cooking Classy and thought it would be great to make with my nieces and nephews. I love pumpkins and French toast. What could go wrong?

FrenchToast

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Ingredients:

  •  3/4 of Cup of Milk
  • 1/2 Cup of Pumpkin Puree
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 tbsp of Packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp of Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp of Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp of Ginger
  • 9 Slices of Texas Toast (Or Brioche or Challah Bread)
  • Butter
  • Maple Syrup

Directions:

  1. Preheat an electric griddle to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. (A non-stick skillet set over medium heat also works fine.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together milk; pumpkin puree, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger until well combined.
  3. Pour into a shallow dish.
  4. Butter the griddle and dip the bread into the mixture. Then rotate and coat the opposite side.
  5. Transfer to griddle or pan, and cook until golden brown. Flip to cook the other side.
  6. Serve with butter and syrup.

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Thoughts After Cooking:

I didn’t really like it.

IDon'tlikeit

None of the ingredients blended together that well, and there wasn’t any pumpkin-y taste in it.

However, my nieces and nephews helped me make it, taking turns in whisking and mixing, so maybe that was the reason it didn’t blend as well. Maybe I should have whisked each ingredient separately. I might try again, and if I do , I will post an update.

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For more Pinterest recipes, go to Cinnamon, Banana, & Peanut Butter Rice Cakes

For more holiday posts, go to With the 4th of July Comes Apple Pie

For more recipes, go to Regency Ginger Cookies

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The Barter

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Thoughts Before Reading:

The Barter, by Siobhan Babcock, is a paranormal story, with a spirit bridging the distance between the early twentieth century and modern times. In 1902, Rebecca has grown up without a mother, as she died in childbirth. She has lived well as the daughter of a doctor, and while cared for still hasn’t matured emotionally to being a grown woman. When she agrees to marry her childhood friend, she does not quite understand what will be expected of her as a farmer, wife, and mother.

whynot

In modern times, Bridget is under a lot of stress trying to figure out who she is. Once an ambitious lawyer working up the success ladder, when she became pregnant, she traded in briefs and long working hours for motherhood.

Flirty-seeya

She loves her daughter and spending time with her, but finds it hard trying to settle in her new dynamic as no longer bringing in money but relying on husband for financial support. She also has trouble befriending the other moms in her neighborhood, as she feels inadequate in their experience of child-rearing, crafting, and other mom-ly traits. To make matters worse, her home seems to be the resting place of a ghost that only she and her baby can see.

Girl on a Train, The

AAAAAAAAAAHHHHH! I’M GETTING OUT OF THIS HOUSE!!!!

As Bridget tries to find her place in her new role, she also attempting to discover what the ghost is after.

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Thoughts After Reading:

While this book packages itself as a supernatural mystery, it actually is more of social commentary, discussing the duality women feel who find fulfillment in working outside and inside the home; and the issues they face from moving from one plane to another. What is interesting about this novel is that it doesn’t show one better than the other, but is instead trying to bring to light the difficulties women have.

Except my baby

And EVERYTHING!!!!! Except my baby

Rebecca’s storyline was harder to become involved in than Bridget’s. Rebecca, unlike Bridget, has no idea as to what she wants. While Bridget wants to stay at home caring for her baby she loves, but finds herself unfulfilled as she misses factions of her old life but doesn’t want to give up her new life. Rebecca on the other hand is immature and while initially excited at the idea of “love” and a “relationship”, finds herself not ready for the commitments asked by her husband. While she insists she doesn’t love him, she still desires him and goes back and forth between “only loving him like a brother” and using his body to fulfill her sexual needs. This split of spirit makes Rebecca hard to connect to and very unenjoyable.

I doesn't work

It doesn’t work

I would give this book three out of five stars as I enjoyed the way they presented Bridget’s character and issues in discovering who she is and wants to be, amid what culture, society, her friends, and her family are pressuring her to be. However, the Rebecca storyline was lacking and there was no real mystery in the text.

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For more supernatural mysteries, go to Pride & Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged) 

For more mysteries featuring a stay at home mom, go to Grime and Punishment

For more not in a series mysteries, go to The Missing Mah Jong Player

For more mystery reviews, go to Thorns of Rosewood

Regency Ginger Cookies

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Thoughts Before Baking:

So what could go better with a supernatural, Austen inspired novel, than some cookies in Regency style?

Pride&Prescience

Not much! So this recipe comes from Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder.

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When I saw it was Regency inspired I thought I might give it a go. Hopefully they won’t taste bad.

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Ingredients:

  • 3/4 Cup of Melted Butter
  • 1 Cup of Brown Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 4 Tablespoons of Molasses
  • 2 Teaspoons of Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons of Ground Ginger
  • 2 1/4 Cups of Flour
  • 1/2 Cup of White Sugar in a Small Bowl

Directions:

  1. Melt butter and mix in brown sugar.
  2. Let mixture cool and then add egg.
  3. Add baking soda, molasses, salt, and ginger. Stir.
  4. Add flour and mix it in.
  5. Chill for at least 1 hour
  6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Roll the dough into balls, rolling them in the white sugar.
  8. Place them on a greased cookie sheet.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until brown.

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regencygingercookies

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Thoughts After Baking:

So I’m sure you have noticed my earlier writing that I hoped they would taste good. You see I don’t like molasses. I hate how it tastes and smells.

So how did I like it? I loved the cookies. They tasted a bit like gingerbread, but not quite; lighter and fluffier. I loved them and will most likely make them again in the future.

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For more Hannah Swenson Recipes, go to Butter Berry Cookies

For more cookie recipes, go to Dark Choco Almond Butter Cookies

For more desserts, go to Strawberry Shortcake

Pride & Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged)

So I was about to review this book, when it hit me, why do it when my big sister blog already has it covered?

So here we go with an Austenian fused mystery, and perfect for October with it’s supernatural elements!

janeaustenrunsmylife

Pride&Prescience

Pride & Prescience: Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged by Carrie Bebris

So as I’m sure you are aware, whether from reading my post Happy Birthday Pride & Prejudice; or perusing your local bookstore/library; there are a lot of sequels to Pride & Prejudice. But unlike those that write about the Darcy children, or married life of Lizzie & Darcy, this one is a mystery.

IndianaJonesHmmMaybe

Yeah, at first I wasn’t sure about it, but when I started reading it, I actually enjoyed it. I solved the mystery quickly, but it was very well written and worth reading. There were a few things I didn’t like, but I’ll save that until the end.

So are you ready to take on this mystery?

splitupScoobyDoo

So the book begins at the after-the-wedding-next-day-breakfast. Jane was just married to Bingley, and Elizabeth to Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth is happy about how everything went, and even more…

View original post 4,892 more words

Spaghetti Limone Parmeggiano

My-Fathers-Daughter-by-Gwyneth-Paltrow

Thoughts Before Cooking:

I really wanted to make this recipe as it is super hard to find recipes that use actual lemon juice from a lemon and not just the lemon zest.

Of course I don’t have as much money or resources as her so I had to do a few things differently.

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Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lbs of Spaghetti
  • Coarse Salt (I just used regular)
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 1/2 Cups of finely grated fresh Parmesan Cheese + some for later
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3-5 Tablespoons of Pasta Water
  • Handful of Basil Leaves (~4 Leafy Stems)

Directions:

  1. Shred Parmesan cheese.
  2. Boil the spaghetti in boiling water according to package directions.
  3. Grate the zest from the lemon (the lemon peel), and place it in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Cut the lemon in half and juice it. Add juice to the bowl.
  5. Add the parmesan cheese, pepper, salt, and olive oil to the bowl.
  6. Mix until it forms a wet paste.
  7. When the spaghetti is cooked, drain it BUT save your water.
  8. Add 2-3 tablespoons of pasta water to the large mixing bowl.
  9. Add the spaghetti and toss throughly, coating all the noodles. Add more pasta water if needed.
  10. Roughly tear in the basil leaves.
  11. Serve each portion with salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese.

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pasta

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Thoughts after cooking:

So in the preamble to the recipe Paltrow says [direct quote]:

“Again, easy peasy. Not only can this be made while the pasta is cooking, you have plenty of time to make a lovely salad and assemble a cheese plate for after dinner.”

Yes it is easy, but uh no you cannot have this done by the time the pasta is cooking. Parmesan cheese takes forever to grate, especially that much. Do it first as it will make everything a lot easier.

thatwasclose

I also hated how there were no pictures of this pasta in her book, instead all we have is a picture of a lemon. That’s not helpful when I am trying to gage whether my sauce is thick enough.

I doesn't work

I doesn’t work

However, this was amazingly delicious and I will definitely make it again.

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For more pasta recipes, go to Broccoli and Tortellini Salad with Pesto

For more recipes, go to Dark Choco Almond Butter Cookies

Thorns of Rosewood

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Thorns of Rosewood (The Rosewood Series #1) by G. M. Barlean

In the Thorns of Rosewood, by G. M. Barlean, Gloria Larsen is an intelligent and talented reporter, and she’s out to find her birth mother.

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She only knows three things about her mother: she grew up in Rosewood, Nebraska; was over forty when she had her, and gave her up when she was accused of murder in 1974.

thenannygasp

Gloria loves her adopted parents, but has always wondered about what really happened with her family. When Gloria comes across the information that Rosewood is looking for a new editor of their newspaper, she jumps at the chance and heads to the small town, eager to find her “real mom”.

thiswillbeeasy

However it won’t be that easy, as four women were accused of murdering the judge’s wife, Naomi Waterman Talbot. Which one is her mother? Betty? Debbie? Tanya? Josie?

urkelgif interesting hmm

She’s read numerous reports on the women, but they all seem one-sided and eager to paint the women as villains. But were they? Or were they innocents vilified?

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Gloria is eager to find out.

As she looks into whether the women are alive and where they might be, she discovers that they are all still alive and living in a rest home in Lincoln, Nebraska. One hour away.

fantastic

She journeys out to talk to them.

When she gets there she blows the whole thing. She demands to know their story behind the accusations and gets tossed out.

life'snotfairPrincessBride

A few weeks later Gloria calls the rest home back and apologizes telling them the real reason she wants the story, she wants to know her mother. A week later, she gets a call back inviting her to tea.

plotthickens

The women agree to give Gloria a full confession, but only if she promises to publish after their deaths.

What?

Gloria isn’t happy, but agrees.

It turns out that the women were all in the same class together with Naomi and their friend Mari. Each woman tells a portion of their story, starting in 1950 when they first met Naomi.

Their friend Mari used to date Doug Talbot, who was the son of the most influential man in town. Naomi came to town with her red hair, curvy body, low cut tight fitting clothes, and promiscuous ways. She was with Doug, got pregnant, and married him netting her spot on the top of the social circle.

Hate her that's so raven

Naomi had multiple run-ins with the girls as she hated that they wouldn’t play by her rules. She was a master manipulator, inviting Debbie to her reception and then getting her thrown in jail for “assault”.

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Naomi is given a position at the bank as Chief Lending Officer even though she knows zip. She also ends up being Tanya’s boss.  Tanya is very intelligent and has worked hard to have a good position, but Naomi makes everyday at work horrifying. She ends up being demoted to teller.

horrible

Josie is a teacher, in fact the one who is instructing Naomi’s child. She notices that Doug Junior is very lonely and having some issues. She believes that Naomi is the root of it all. When she tries to talk to her about it, Naomi almost gets Josie fired.

Hate her that's so raven

The more time that Gloria spends with the women the more she enjoys their company an who they are. She loves them all, but doesn’t know which she would want as a mother. And she can’t help but wonder if they really did kill Naomi.

HMMM

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Thoughts after reading:

This is a very different mystery as instead of having something happen and you try to solve it, we instead get the whole story piece by piece. It is almost more of a regular fiction story than mystery.

And it was a truly compelling read and near impossible to put down.

cluelesstravistwothumbsup!

You should definitely read it for yourself.

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For more Midwestern mysteries, go to Strawberry Shortcake Murder

For more stand alone mysteries, go to The Missing Mah Jong Player

For more book reviews, go to Grime and Punishment

Dark Choco Almond Butter Cookies

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Dark Choco Almond Butter Cookies

Thoughts before baking:

So my cubicle at work was the kind of placeholder for objects, until I was hired. Subsequently I have a broken printer, an out of date phone, and a ton of boxes throughout the space. One day I was going through the boxes, looking for the perfect one to store some things and I found this recipe on a Vitacost box. They sounded good and are gluten-free, dairy-free, and low in calories. So I thought, let’s make them!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Almond Butter
  • 3/4 Cup of Natural Sweetener (I used Agave Nectar)
  • 1 Large Egg (or 1 tablespoon of flax and three tablespoons of water)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 3 oz of Dark Chocolate Pieces or Chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Combine the almond butter, natural sweetener, egg, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Stir.
  4. Add chocolate.
  5. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheets.
  6. Let them cool, then enjoy.

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DarkChocoAlmondButterCookies

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Thoughts after baking:

They were delicious!

joker-yum

I thought they tasted great and ate a bunch. My niece didn’t like them as she thought they weren’t sweet enough and the texture of the almond butter was strange, but I loved them. I will definitely be making these in the future.

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For more low-calorie recipes, go to Cinnamon, Banana, & Peanut Butter Rice Cakes

For more cookies, go to Butter Berry Cookies

For more dessert, go to Strawberry Shortcake

For more recipes, go to Broccoli & Tortellini Salad with Pesto

Grime and Punishment

Grime&Punishment

Grime and Punishment (Jane Jeffry #1) by Jill Churchill

Thoughts Before Reading:

So the first book I read in this series was From Here to Paternity. I got it for free from the library and hated it (more on that later). For some strange reason I thought I would give the first book a go to see if it was good, and when I read it, I loved it!

As you might have guessed, all the books in the series are reworking of famous films/literature. This one is of Crime and Punishment.

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The story is that widowed Jane Jeffry is doing a great job raising her kids. She has hidden from them the real reason dad was out that night when a car crashed into him, is there for her kids in carpooling, cooking, cleaning, supporting; but even supermoms need a little help.

seriously

She’s supported by her husbands life insurance and interests, letting her be a stay at home mom, and she can even afford a cleaning lady to come in. When her usual person retires, she and her best friend Shelley, the next-door-neighbor, manage to score the best cleaning lady in the neighborhood.

YayHappy-Success-GIF

On the day of the new cleaning lady’s fist day, it is also one of Shelley’s legendary PTA parties. Fed up with people always bringing the same thing, no main courses, and at least one poorly done meal, she now assigns each mother a specific dish, one they can drop off early in the day so everything is ready to go at meeting time. Everyone is used to this and Shelley just leaves her door open as she trusts her neighbors and the cleaning lady will be there.

IDon'tlikeit

That day Jane stops by early to see Shelley, and finds out that their new cleaning lady called in sick. Replaced this morning by another cleaner, who from far away and behind, looks just like her.

weird

Jane and Shelley visit, when Jane realizes she forgot to make her dish. She helps some other ladies drop off food, cleans up from the morning, runs around doing errands and finding ingredients. When she has everything completed, she goes to drop off the salad, happy to have made it under the wire. When she gets home she gets a call from Shelley. It turns out the cleaning lady is dead

StarTrekTheOriginalSeriesHesDeadJim

The police come and start the investigation, one sexy detective paying Jane a lot of attention. In fact they all pay her a lot of attention, thinking she is highly suspect in the cleaning lady’s murder.

Murder

It soon is figured out that the murder meant to kill the original cleaning lady, Edith, rather than the replacement. It turns out Edith is very nosy, and her urge to snoop has netted her something big, and a death wish.

Jane is on the case to figure out who the killer is and clean up her neighborhood. Hopefully she can sweep up the answers before she is the next victim.

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Thoughts After Reading:

In some ways it was very similar to Mrs. McGinty’s Dead, the cleaning woman is nosy and discovers a real tidbit, being murdered for it; but in other ways it is very enjoyable. I loved it so much I had a hard time putting it down, eager to discover which suburbanite is the murderer and what really happened the night Jane’s husband died.

I encourage you to read it as it was fantastic. Yes:

cluelesstravistwothumbsup!

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For more mystery reviews, go to A Stitch Before Dying

Cinnamon, Banana, & Peanut Butter Rice Cakes

 

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Thoughts before reading:

Now I know not everyone likes rice cakes. In fact, when most people think of rice cakes they think of  this:

family-guy-rice-cake-o

But I love them.

So as I just reviewed the book A Stitch Before Dying, where the Black Sheep Knitting group find themselves in a Health Spa full of only healthy food, so I thought “Hey, what better time then to review this healthy recipe?”

I found this great recipe on Pinterest. It was on the blog Deliciously OrganizedOf course when I took the recipe, I made it my own.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Banana
  • 2-3 Rice Cakes
  • Peanut Butter or Almond Butter
  • Cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Take your peanut or almond butter and spread it on top of the rice cakes.
  2. Slice a banana and place the slices on top of the peanut butter.
  3. Add a dash of cinnamon.
  4. Eat & Enjoy!

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CinnamonBananaPeanutButterRiceCake

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Thoughts after cooking:

I LOVE this recipe!

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It is great as a breakfast or snack; delicious and healthy for you. The perfect combo!

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For more recipes, go to Strawberry Shortcake