Peanut Butter Oatmeal Apple Smoothie

So one day I had gone through all the smoothies I had previously reviewed and thought-can you make a smoothie with applesauce?

Well  after a quick google search-I found this Peanut Butter Oatmeal Apple Smoothie from With Salt & Wit

Ingredients:

  • 1 Apple or 1 Cup of Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 1/2 Cup of Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon of Peanut Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons of Old Fashioned Oatmeal
  • 1 Scoop of Vanilla Protein Powder (Optional)
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 1 Cup of Ice
  • Whipped Cream (optional)

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Add to serving glass and garnish with whipped cream, if desired.

I did’t like it. I thought it tasted weird. I would not majke this agai.

Under the Sea Graham Crackers

So we went old school with the book on Tuesday, so it’s time for an old school recipe today.

Ingredients:

  • Graham Crackers
  • Blue Frosting (Or buy white and dye it with food coloring)
  • Fish Sprinkles

Directions:

  1. Take a graham cracker and frost.
  2. Add sprinkles.
  3. Eat & enjoy.

Thoughts after making:

This one my niece made and she loved it, just like me. Delicious.

For more recipes using graham crackers, go to Sour Cream Lemon Pie

For more recipes, go to Lavender Earl Grey Tea Shortbread Cookies

Recruited

Recruited (Alias Prequel #1) by Lynn Mason

So I had never seen the show Alias, but came across these prequel novels and became a huge fan of them. After reading the whole series I did watch the show, but I liked the books better.

So this series is supposed to be a prequel to the show and this novel starts off a little slow as it sets everything up.

In this book Sydney Bristow is a college student with a serious knack for languages, espechially Russian. One day, she is approached at a job fair to join a “bank”, revealed to be SD-6 a secret division of the CIA.

She is a perfect candidate as she only has one relative, her father, who she is not close to; speaks and reads other languages-particularly Russian, is a good actress, and ticks off several other boxes on their list.

Hire her!

At first she isn’t sure but decides the join the group going on her first mission.

Will she be able to handle being a CIA operative? Can she balance her college life, friendships, and secret missions? Or is she in way over her head?

Hmm…

Thoughts After Reading:

I really enjoyed this book as I thought it was a perfect setup for the series and keeps the pace great. It leaves you not wanting to wait to read what other butt-kicking she does.

Lavender Earl Grey Tea Shortbread Cookies

So in A Fragile Design, they have tea time quite a few times throughout the book. That made me think I need a tea recipe, and I decided on borrowing this one from my sister blog, JaneAustenRunsMyLife

Ingredients:

  • 3.5 Cups of Flour
  • 3/4 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp of Lavender Earl Grey Loose Leaf Tea
  • 1/2 Tsp of Salt
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1.5 Cups of Unsalted Butter

Directions:

  1. Pulse flour, sugar, tea, and salt together for one minute in a bowl or food processor.
  2. Add butter and vanilla extract.
  3. Pulse until shaggy dough is formed, about two mins.
  4. Remove blade and transfer dough to a working surface.
  5. Work dough until it comes together and shape it into two discs.
  6. Place each disc on parchment paper and transfer to refrigerator for 30 mins.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  8. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  9. Roll dough out to 1/4 inch thickness and cut out cookies using a 1 inch wide cookie cutter.
  10. Transfer cookies to baking sheet.
  11. Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are a light golden brown.

Thoughts After Baking:

Like my sister blog, JaneAustenRunsMyLife, I too over chilled the dough and the dough was too hard that the cookies came out small. But they were extremely delicious and I couldn’t stop eating them!

For more recipes from JaneAustenRunsMyLife, go to Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

For more cookie recipes, go to Ginger Cardamom Meyer Lemon Crinkle Cookies

For more Earl Grey Tea recipes, go to Earl Grey Infused Blueberry Smoothie

For more shortbread recipes, go to Basic Shortbread

For more desserts, go to Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Cake

A Fragile Design

A Fragile Design (Bells of Lowell #2) by Tracie Peterson and Judith McCoy Miller

Arabella Newberry is angry with her father and his choices. Instead of caring for his family he decided to force them to join the Shaker Community, where all share in the toil and all are cared for.

Years have passed, and Arabella is old enough to fend for herself and decides to leave. She plans to go with her best friends Daughtie and Jesse and head to Concord, MA to find her mother’s relatives, and if she cannot-move on to Lowell, MA and work in the factories.

That night of their escape, Jesse does not show up, but the girls continue on their way. They make it to Concord and see Arabella’s family, but they have just moved back and don’t have a lot of money, so they continue on to Lowell, MA.

Plan B!

There in Lowell, the girls stay at Addie’s boarding house, like Lily did in the previous book, and begin working in the factory. Arabella adjusts well, while Daughtie has a harder time.

Taylor Manning has just moved from England to work with his uncle on the designs for the factory and this English rascal has his eye on Arabella-who is not interested in getting involved with a man and especially one doesn’t serve God.

Meanwhile, things are heating up in the town as it is growing more and more each day and the factory owners are losing their control. To add further troubles, lots of Irish women are disappearing. As the Irish are seen as low and not wanted, the police and people don’t care-saying the girls are running off.

They are being kidnapped.

But then a mill girl disappears and all begin to worry. Who could be behind this? Where are the women? And will they find the culprit before another one is kidnapped?

Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this one was not as interesting as the first book, Daughter of the Loom, but I liked that they realistically showed how the Irish people were being treated. It was an interesting story and mystery.

For more Bells of Lowell, go to Daughter of the Loom

For more historical fiction mysteries, go to Ruby in the Smoke

Top 8

Top 8 (Top 8 #1) by Katie Finn

So, I loooooved this book when I was a teen.

Rereading the book, I still think it is good and holds up even though it is 12 years later. The author incorporated a lot of social media and kind of fused Facebook and Myspace together (Myspace is where the term “Top 8” comes from) which helps as it becomes a fusion of the two and is still relevant to today. There are still some terms that today’s teens won’t know like “top 8”, a razor (cellphone), etc. They are constantly on social media but videos aren’t really a thing so its not as topical but I think teens could still get into it.

I also liked the use of the pictures and objects for profile pics, how we meet our characters through their profile, the IMs (now would be texts or group chats) as I think it really captured teen style and life. Although looking at the profile pics it makes me wonder what these people are doing now.

Plot Summary:

So the book starts off with relatively popular Madison MacDonald getting ready to head to the Galapagos Islands for Spring break.

Madison does well in school, is pretty, has the lead in the musical Dane (a modern adaption of Hamlet set in rural Kansas), loves to read, is on prom committee, just won school secretary, has a great group of friends, a new boyfriend, and just had her pink laptop fixed.

Life seems pretty great for Madison, and she returns from the vacation all rested, happy, but missing social media, especially Friendverse which she is always on. There was a distraction ob the boat, a cute guy, but she didn’t spend as much time with him as she is taken. 

But when she comes back her whole world collapses. Most of her friends will not speak to her, she’s been unfollowed and blocked by her friends, her profile is completely changed with lots of spelling mistakes, her profile says she likes weird things, she dumped her boyfriend Justin on a post, shared a bunch of pics from a friend’s party (getting him grounded), reveals the story of her friend Schuyler getting a nose job, revealed that her two couple friends cheated on each other, propositioned one of her best friend, Lissa’s, boyfriend, propositioned another guy, said a lot of bad things about the drama kids, was mean to all her friends, insulted the head of the prom committee, and more.

WHAT!

Obviously someone is framing her and trying to destroy her reputation But who? And why?

She meets up with her friends: Schuyler (the one she revealed about the sailing accident/nose job), Ruth (her best friend), and Lissa (her french loving friend who’s boyfriend the fake Madison hit on). She convinces them she didn’t do it, and they decide to help her root out who did this. First, she has to deal with the fallout: try to mend things with people, and then starts a list of who would want to destroy her…

Suspect 1) Kittson Pearson

Kittson is the most popular and beautiful girl in Putnam High. She is head of the prom committee, can get anything she wants, and is now dating Justin, Madison’s ex? Could she have done this to Madison to engineer their breakup? She may look like a blonde bimbo, but she is cunning, talented, and a whiz with computers-making a pretty professional looking prom website.

Hmm…

Suspect 2) Conner Atkinson

Conner Atkinson wanted to be secretary on student government and was beat by Madison, demanding a recount. He also asked her out but was rejected as Madison was dating Justin. Could he have done this to get rid of her and take over her student government spot? Did he break up her and Justin as he wants to be with her? He is the school’s Internet Liaison and could have found a way to get into her profile.

Suspect 3) Travis MacDonald

Travis is Madison’s annoying little brother who likes to do all he can to make her life hard. Her “Q” isn’t working (I feel you Madison, my E is having issues unless I hit it hard) and her parents let her use her brother’s computer to write her report on Queen Victoria. When she goes in his room she sees a note of her brother’s-him trying to figure out her password. Could he have figured it out and hacked her profile? When they were in Galapagos they had to pay an arm and a leg to go online-something Madison wasn’t going to do, but Travis spent a large portion of his time online. Is he the one who messed up her Friendverse Account.

Hmmm…

Suspect 4) Sarah Donner

Sarah Donner and Madison have been competing for the leads in plays their whole high school lives. She had beat Sarah out for several leads in he past but Sara really wanted this one. Sarah has been campaigning for her to be moved from understudy since day one-Madison is too tall, she doesn’t look farm girl enough, she’s not off book, she’s too pitchy, etc. Could she have done this to freak Madison out so she doesn’t want to do it? Try to get her kicked out of the play for her against school rules profile?

Hmmm…?

Madison was intent on winning Justin back, but she ends up spending more and more time with Jonathan “Nate” Ellis, the guy she met on the Galapogas Islands, and has a lot of fun with him. He tries to help her find out who her mystery hacker is-but mostly is just what most 2008 teen girls dreamed in a guy.

Madison and her friends investigate but it turns out Kittson is actually pretty nice and fun, the two becoming close friends-she even gives Madison a quick makeover and tries to help her win Nate. Conner is revealed to be a great guy and Madison matches him up with her friend Schuleyer (they are adorable together). And Travis just has a crush on a girl and was trying to email her (adorable). Sarah was just extra jealous and Madison and her work out their problems.

With that, Madison has no one left on her list? Who could hate her so much they want to hurt her so badly?

Thoughts After Reading:

I love this book!

I love how Madison learned a lot from what happened and reformed her character, no longer gossiping or talking bad about others. But also how she wasn’t the best judge if character, Justin? Really, this brainless caveman? Or how Kittson is her nemesis, but after one afternoon with her she realizes she was wrong about her and they become good friends.

The mystery is good- I knew half of the answer but I didn’t see the rest of it coming. I love it and recommend it.

For more Young Adult mysteries, go to Ruby in the Smoke

Daughter of the Loom

Daughter of the Loom (Bells of Lowell #1) by Tracie Peterson and Judith McCoy Miller

The year is 1828, Lowell, MA has been created to be the textile capital of the United States with factories, girls from all over working them, and a promise of prosperity for all.

Yay!

All except Lily Armbruster. Lily was born in the town before it was named Lowell, before the factories, and she hates the changes that were made. Her brother Lewis sold their farm and stole the money, her fiancé Matthew Cheever betrayed her by working for the Boston Association, and her father died of a broken heart from losing the farmland.

Lily has decided she is going to destroy the Boston Association and the mills, by being hired as a factory girl and sabotaging it from the inside out.

She moves into a company owned boarding house and finds herself befriending the other workers and the boarding house keeper, Miss Adelaide, they all becoming her family.

Even though she doesn’t want to harm her friends, she is determined to not be deterred from her goal. But before she can start anything, someone else starts sabotaging the mills. Could this be a sign from God that she is on the right track? Or does someone have their own vendetta against the mills.

Hmm…

Matthew keeps coming back into Lily’s life trying to get together with her, even though she constantly rebuffs him, but will she change her mind? Is he the man she is supposed to be with? He’s not the only bad penny to turn up as her brother Lewis also decides to return to Lowell with nefarious reasons why.

Hmm…

Will Lily continue her vigilante justice? Or give up her plan? And if Lily isn’t the one sabotaging the mills, who is?

Thoughts After Reading:

I found this to be an extremely compelling historical fiction novel. I loved reading about Lowell, and went down a historian rabbit hall researching more about it.

For more historical fiction mysteries, go to Ruby in the Smoke

For more mysteries, go to Pretend You Don’t See Her