Pizza Siciliana

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Thoughts Before Reading:

This recipe comes from an old cookbook from the ’70s, Time Life’s American Cooking: The Melting Pot, and covers all kind of recipes from the different cultures in the USA.

I am Sicilian so when I saw the pizza I had to try it. I decided to not make the pizza dough with the recipe they gave but followed every other facet.

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Unlike the familar round Neopolitan pizza,  Sicilian pizza is a newcomer to the pizza-loving Americans. It’s soft, breadlike crust and rectangular shape actually make it a more practical recipe for the home. The ingredients for the garnish are flexible; you can substitue such items as sliced cooked sausage, black olives or anchovies for the mushrooms and peppers-or add any or all of them to the recipe given here.”

-Time Life, 1971

Ingredients:

Pizza Dough

  • 3 Cups of Lukewarm Water (110 to 115 degrees F)
  • 2 Packages of Dry Yeast
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Sugar
  • 8-10 Cups of Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon of Salt
  • 4 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon of Unsalted Butter, Softened

Directions:

  1. Pour 1/2 cup of lukewarm water into a cup and sprinkle with yeast and sugar.
  2. Let the mixture rest for 2-3 mins, then stir.
  3. Place the cup in a warm, draft-free place (such as an unlighted oven) for about 10 mins, or until the yeast bubbles and the mixture doubles in volume.
  4. Place the 8 cups of flour and the salt in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center.
  5. Pour in yeast mixture, the ret of the water, the vegetable oil; and with a large wooden spoon incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet.
  6. Continue to stir until the ingredients are well combined and can be shaped into a ball.
  7. Transfer the ball onto a floured surface and begin to knead; pressing the ball with the heel of your hand, pressing forward and folding back.
  8. Knead until dough is smooth, and an elastic medium-firm; (incorporate the 2 more cups of flour if you need to).
  9. With a pastry brush, coat the bottom and the sides of the dough with butter.
  10. Place dough in a bowl and a warm drat-free place for 1-1.5 hours, or until the dough doubles in size. Punch it down with your fists and replace in the bowl to rise again.
  11. Meanwhile, prepare the tomato sauce.
  12. When dough has completed its rising, punch it down and then cut it in half.
  13. Roll out each half to fit in a jelly-roll pan.
  14. Place the dough on the pans and then stretch it with your fingers so hat it fills the edges and corners.
  15. Drape with a towel and place in warm, draft-free place until dough has risen double.

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Ingredients:

Tomato Sauce:

  • 4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup of finely Chopped Onions
  • 1.5 Teaspoons of finely chopped Garlic
  • 3-1lb cans of solid packed Tomatoes and their liquid
  • 1 Tablespoon of Basil
  • 1 Tablespoon of Oregano
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Pepper
  • 1.5 Teaspoons of Salt
  • 6 oz can of Tomato Paste

Directions:

  1. In a 10-12 inch heavy skillet heat the olive oil, until a lught haze forms.
  2. Add the onions and garlic, stirring frequently until the onion become translucent.
  3. Stir in tomatoes and their liquid, oregano, sugar, black pepper, salt, and tomato paste.
  4. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for an hour.

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Ingredients:

Pizza Garnish:

  • 1 lb of Mozzarella Cheese, coarsely grated
  • 1/2 Cup of finely grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Cup of thinly sliced Mushrooms
  • 1 Large Green Bell Peeper; seeded, deribbed, and thinly sliced
  • 1 Large Red Bell Pepper; seeded, deribbed, and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Cup of thinly chopped Onions
  • Chopped Sausage
  • Sliced Olives
  • 1/4 Cup of Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven tp 500 degrees F.
  2. Divide the sauce in half and coat the top of the dough.
  3. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 mintes, then sprinkle with mozzarella, Parmesan, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, olives,  and sausage.
  4. Dribble the olive oil on top and bake for 10 minutes longer.\Cut pizza into squares and serve at once.

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pizzasciliana

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Thoughts After Baking:

Here is what I thought about this pizza:

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It was amazing! The sauce was the best I have ever had and the only one I will ever make for pizza again. It was just so fantastic!

fantastic

You should definitely try this out for yourself!

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For more Italian recipes, go to Italian Wedding Soup

For more recipes, go to A is for Applesauce Cake

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Cape May Court House: A Death in the Night

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Cape Night Court House: A Death in the Night by Lawrence Schiller

This story is based on the true story and case started by Dr. Eric Thomas against Ford Vehicles, but then took a strange twist down adultery, and possible murder.

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This case took place back in the ’90s. Dr. Thomas, his wife Tracy Rose Thomas, and 18 month old daughter Alex all got into the car to take sick Alex to the hospital. For some reason, Tracey was driving the car while being pregnant, and she was the only one killed and injured.

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The autopsy should she died from blunt force trauma, consistent with smacking her head in a car accident, however there were some suspicious marks on Tracey’s neck that brought up questions.

suspicious Hmm

Her family was shocked at the death, and also thought it was a bit strange. Why would Tracey drive, she never drove when pregnant. And right before she died, Tracey had called in the middle of the night and made her parents promise to make sure, that if anything happened to her to take her daughter.

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Things got stranger still, right after Tracey died. Dr. Thomas asked Tracey’s family, the Roses, to remove every image of Tracey or else they wouldn’t be able to see Alex again.

What?

Even more suspicious Dr. Thomas remarries his old sweetheart Stephanie, very quickly and without even mentioning it to Tracey’s family. As the Roses become more and more skeptical, they discuss their views with the cops, bringing to light the strange way in which Dr. Thomas had answered questions after the accident, even switching and mistakenly answering things.

Sad but true.

Meanwhile, Dr. Thomas decides to open a case against Ford, blaming the car company’s faulty airbags on her death.

bigmistake

Of course, Ford would never wish to payout and they start investigating, discovering that Dr. Thomas had been having an affair with Stephanie long before Tracey died. And a lot of debts, debts that were paid for by her life insurance.

Interesting

Interesting

Was Tracy Thomas killed in a car accident, or was the accident a cover up for murder?

urkelgif interesting hmm

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Thoughts after Reading:

I thought it was good, the only thing I didn’t care was the endless facts on cars, car safety, etc.

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Yes, it was very dry and I just wanted to skip it all.

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But the rest of the story was very interesting, but inconclusive. As it is real life, we don’t get a nice tidy ending; in fact all we get are more questions.

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For more non-fiction, go to The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City & Sparked the Tabloid Wars

For more book reviews, go to A is for Alibi

A is for Applesauce Cake

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Thoughts Before Baking:

So I have wanted to make an applesauce cake ever since I was a child. I used to love reading the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books, and one of the things the mothers were always making for their children was applesauce cake.

Well I decided it was time to stop thinking about making it and actually try it.

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This recipe comes from myrecipes.com

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Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 8 Tablespoons (1 Stick) of Unsalted Butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg, (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1 Cup of Thick Applesauce
  • 2 Cups of Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Nutmeg
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Ground Cloves

Glaze:

  • 6 Tablespoons of Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 Cups of Confectioner’s Sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the Oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan, lining the bottom with parchment and butter paper.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in egg and set aside.
  5. In a separate bowl, stir baking soda into the applesauce. Set aside.
  6. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ground cloves, and nutmeg.
  7. Pour the batter into pan and bake until top springs back when pressed (about 50 minutes).
  8. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 mins.
  9. Make the glaze by mixing the lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar. Spoon glaze over cake.

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Thoughts After Baking:

It was amazing!!!

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I took it to a pot luck and it was instantly gobbled down.

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For more cake recipes, go to Lemon Meringue Chiffon Cake

For more dessert, go to Lemon Bars

For more recipes, go to Breakfast Omelet

A is for Alibi

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A is for Alibi (Kinsey Millhone Mysteries #1) by Sue Grafton

So before I begin the review let me first say how upset I am at Sue Grafton. I’m signed up for all her news updates, but I received nothing about the newest addition to the series, X.

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I was first was introduced to this series when I was reading an Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, seven years ago. One of the books they recommended was J is for Judgement.

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Not too long after I found the book at a library sale, but after I bought it I realized it was part of a series.

So I decided the only way to read it would be to start from the beginning, with A is for Alibi.

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So the book takes place in the ’80s.

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Kinsey Millhone is thirty-two year old, twice divorced, no kids, private investigator living in Santa Teresa (parody of Santa Barbara), CA.

Every book starts off with this short piece of info and the closing remarks to her case. We then flashback to the actual mystery.

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Nikki Fife was convicted of her husband’s murder eight years. She believes herself to be wrongfully accused and wants to hire Kinsey to find out who actually murdered him.

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Nikki first became involved with her deceased husband when she was his mistress. She was married to him for four years, of which he was only faithful for six months. Nikki said that at first she was angry and listened in phone calls, followed him around, wrote down every infidelity; but by the time he had been murdered; Nikki didn’t care anymore. She just wanted to move forward with her life.

As Kinsey looks into Nikki’s case, she discovers that an accountant named Libby Glass, twenty-four, also died from ingesting ground oleander four days after Laurence Fife died. The police couldn’t tie the two cases together at the time. Libby’s boyfriend Lyle Abernathy believes that she was seeing some “Santa Teresa attorney”.

Who done it?

Who done it?

Kinsey starts questioning and looking in the case; from the cute laywer Charlie Scorsoni, Gwen Fife the ex-wife, Lawrence’s two children, and Nikki’s deaf son Colin.

WhoDoneIt?

As Kinsey continues to investigate she discovers that there are a lot of questions and a killer that most definitely does not want to be caught.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this was a good introductory novel. Kinsey was an interesting, different, and fun character. After I read it, I eagerly wanted to read the next books in the series.

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I thought the book did have a few issues. It was easily solvable and Kinsey made one huge mistake. Getting involved with a possible suspect never turns out well.

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But otherwise I really enjoyed the book.

likeit

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For more private investigators, go to Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters

More ’80s books, go to The Dollhouse Murders

Breakfast Omelet

Key lime pie murder

Thoughts prior to cooking:

This recipe is from Key Lime Pie Murder (Hannah Swensen Mystery #9)When I first read this recipe it sounded really tasty, except for one thing: the cream of mushroom topping. Now not being from the Midwest, I can’t stand my meals being too hearty. So I made a few adjustments…

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Ingredients:

  • Non-stick cooking spray or butter
  • 1.5 lbs of skinless sausage links
  • 8 Slices of bread (Any kind)
  • 2 Cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 Cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 Cup of finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of salt
  • 1.5 Cups of milk
  • 1/2 Cup of half-and-half, or cream
  • 1 Tablespoon of mustard
  • Sliced mushrooms

Directions:

  1. Spray the inside of a 9 x 13 pan with non-stick cooking spray or rub with butter.
  2. Cut the crusts from the bread and throw away. Take the rest of the bread and cut it into one inch cubes. Toss them into the 9×13 pan.
  3. Cut the sausage links into fourths and sauté them until they are lightly browned.
  4. Drain the fat from your sausage. Put the sausage on top of the bread cubes.
  5. Sprinkle the grated cheese on the sausage, then the chopped onion, and finally the green bell peppers.
  6. Whisk the eggs with the salt, milk, half-and-half, and mustard. Pour the mixture over the top of the casserole. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  7. Next Morning: This takes about an hour to a hour and a half to cook.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  9. Take the casserole out of the fridge and remove the plastic wrap.
  10. Lay the sliced mushrooms over the top and place it in the oven.
  11. When egg is cooked, remove from the oven and enjoy!

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Thoughts after cooking:

It didn’t photograph well, but trust me this thing is absolutely delicious.

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It had everything you could want in a breakfast food.

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It smelled and tasted good that we practically devoured the whole thing. I know I will make it again.

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For more Hannah Swensen recipes, go to Chocolate Covered Cherry Delights

For more breakfast recipes, go to Brioche French Toast

For more recipes, go to Lemon Bars

Key Lime Pie Murder

Key lime pie murder

Key Lime Pie Murder (Hannah Swensen Mystery #9)

It’s summertime in Lake Eden, and that means that it is time for the Tri-County Fair!

Double double yay

As always there are loads of events, games, rides, and food booths. Hannah was planning on only suppling cookies to a booth, The Cookie Nook, but when a friend becomes sick, Hannah steps in to take her place.

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Yep, this year Hannah will be judging the bake-off; sampling all kinds of bread, cookies, pies, and more. She’s not in this alone, as the other two judges are home economics teacher, Pam, and instructional aide, Willa.

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In fact the whole Swensen family is taking part in the fair this year: Hannah’s mother Delores is running a dunk tank for the Lake Eden Historical Society;  Andrea, entering the mother-daughter beauty pageant with her daughter Tracey; and Hannah’s youngest sister Michelle is trying for the Tri-County Queen.

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What starts out as good eats, fun times, rodeo ramblings, and a quest to eat a deep-fried chocolate bar turns sour when Willa is murdered.

Murder

Now Hannah is on the case, trying to discover who is behind this killing.

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Did it have something to do with the robbery of the Rodeo entry fees? Was it someone who was upset with Willa disqualifying them from the Tri-County Queen contest? Could it have been someone who was upset that Willa gave them poor reviews on their baked good, causing them to win nothing and destroy their reputation as best cook? Was it a student flunked by Willa? Or was it someone unknown?

Sad but true.

Hannah soon realizes that she knows very little about who Willa is and her past. Why did she travel all over the United States, working in Washington, California, and Florida? Why did she break up with her fiancé two months ago? Why did she have her hair done and purchase a new outfit, when she had very little money?

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As Hannah starts looking into this crime, she discovers that she needs to watch her step, or else she might meet the same fate as Willa did.

Sabrina the teenage witch salem dum di dum dum dum

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Thoughts After Reading:

Now I thought the title, Key Lime Pie Murder, was a stretch. There is hardly any Key Lime pie in the book, just the one case when they sample it for the fair.

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And to add to it, Hannah never even made a Key Lime pie, nor does she add it to her shop’s menu, like in Lemon Meringue Murderwhich would tie the book together. Instead, I felt that since the book failed to revolve around any dessert, a rarity, they just picked one they thought sounded good (which didn’t).

I don't think so.

I don’t think so.

The story itself was good, and the mystery interesting as we have to figure out why someone would have killed Willa. I think that it was easily solved, but in a good way, rather than feeling lazy or stupid.

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The only qualm I have with Hannah in this book is that she really seems to use Norman a lot, and he takes it like a doormat.

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I think that out of all the books, this one shows how right her boyfriend Norman is for her, than her other boyfriend Mike. Mike is too controlling, in the sense that he is a cop and cannot allow vigilanteism, not to mention the ego-burst of having your girlfriend be better at solving these crimes. The opposite of this is Norman, who doesn’t care about her investigating as he enjoys jumping in with her. He also is amazingly sweet in how he takes care of her cat, treating it as if it was Hannah’s sick baby. In fact, in this book more than any other, I could see Norman and Hannah happily married, a Tommy and Tuppence of the midwest.

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For more Hannah Swensen Mysteries, go to Cherry Cheesecake Murder

For more book reviews, go to A Change of Fortune

Lemon Bars

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Thoughts Before Baking:

This recipe is from Paula Dean’s cookbook The Lady & Sons, Too!: A Whole New Batch of Recipes from Savannah. I really wanted some lemon bars and like Dean’s recipes, so I thought I would test them out.

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Crust Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups of Flour
  • 1 Cup of Confectioners/Powdered Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 Cup (2 Sticks) of Butter, at room temperature

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Lightly grease a 13X9 inch pan.
  3. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Cut in the butter to make a crumbly mixture.
  5. Press the mixture into the prepared pan, (you may need to coat your fingers with powdered sugar/flour to keep it from sticking to your fingers).
  6. Bake for 20 mins.

Filling Ingredients:

  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 Cups of Sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons of Flour
  • 6 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice

Directions:

  1. Mix the eggs, sugar, flour, and lemon juice.
  2. Pour this over the baked crust and bake for 25 mins.
  3. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired, when the bars are done.

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lemonbars

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Thoughts After Baking:

I thought it was pretty tasty.

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It wasn’t as light and fluffy as I usually like it, but otherwise perfect.

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For more Paula Dean recipes, go to Polka Dot Macaroni and Cheese

For more lemon recipes, go to Sour Cream Lemon Pie

For more bar cookies, go to Apple Orchard Bars

For more desserts, go to Chocolate Covered Cherry Delights

 

A Change of Fortune

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A Change of Fortune (Ladies of Distinction #1) by Jen Turano

We were first introduced to Lady Eliza Sumner in Gentlemen of Her Dreams as she attends a dinner banquet. This book, however, is her story.

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When Lady Eliza Sumner lost her father, fiancé, fortune, and faith; she decided she would track down the criminal who stole her wealth and make him pay.

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Pretending to be a governess, and hiding what she looks like with a disguise, she prepares to use this to infiltrate high society and catch the thief.

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Mr. Hamilton Beckett is a widower with two children, and also the “catch of the season”. He doesn’t wish to be constantly paraded in front of single women as they all hope to catch his fortune.

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However, he and Eliza cross paths when she is asked to participate in a banquet when a guest is unable to.

Hamilton finds himself going along with Eliza as he is after the same guy. Eliza doesn’t enjoy this as she doesn’t want his help, nor her employer’s daughter, Agatha. Agatha wants to be a newspaper reporter and is insistent on using her investigative skills to catch this thief.

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At first Eliza is intent on not trusting anyone, but when all try to help her and show their care for her; she starts wondering if maybe her plans aren’t the ones she needs to follow after all, maybe God has something better in mind.

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Thoughts After Reading:

So I had read Gentlemen of Her Dreams and was not impressed. It was mostly the storyline of Gidget, just in historical fiction.

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However, I really enjoyed this book. I thought the characters were a lot of fun and interesting.

likeit

There were some really funny scenes when the girls are trying to break into the thief’s house, only to discover that the Beckett brothers are doing the same thing.

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It was a great read, I highly recommend it.

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For more historical fiction, go to The Italian Wife

For more investigative reporters, go to The Saint Valentine’s Day Cookie Massacre

For more reviews, go to No Limits

Broken Lasagna with Zucchini-Tomato Sauce

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Thoughts Before Cooking:

I got this recipe out of Food Network Magazine July/August 2012 issue. That pasta on the cover looked so good, I just had to make it.

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Ingredients:

  • Salt
  • 2 Large Zucchini, coarsely grated
  • 12 oz of Lasagna Noodles, broken into bite sized pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Cups of Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Grated Lemon Zest
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup of Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

  1. Grate the zucchini
  2. Break up the lasagna noodles
  3. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  4. Toss the zucchini with 1/2 a teaspoon of salt in a colander set over a bowl. Let it stand 10 minutes, then squeeze out the excess moisture.
  5. While the water is boiling, cut the cherry tomatoes in half.
  6. Heat the butter in a skillet, tossing in the tomatoes. Let the tomatoes cook until blistered and slightly softened, (about 4 minutes).
  7. Stir the zucchini and lemon zest into the tomatoes. Lightly crush the tomatoes with a wooden spoon, and cook until zucchini is crisp-tender, (about 4 minutes).
  8. When the water is boiling, add the pasta. Stir to keep it from sticking.
  9. Let the pasta cook for 12 minutes, then drain the pasta. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  10. Transfer the zucchini-tomato mixture into a large bowl. Add the pasta and cheese.
  11. Add about 1/4 cup of pasta water and toss, adding more water if needed.
  12. Season with salt, pepper, and extra cheese.

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brokenlasagna

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Thoughts After Cooking:

Sorry no picture. I completely forgot to take one, but will add one when I remake it. Yes, remake. I just Loved This.

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That I have made it quite a few times, and will continue to do so.

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One time I ran out of noodles and made it with regular pasta which worked just as well as the lasagna.

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For more recipes from this Food Network Magazine, go to Oven-Crispy Creole Seasoned French Fries

For more pasta recipes, go to Spaghetti Limone Parmeggiano

For more recipes, go to Chocolate Cherry Delights