Wordless Wednesdays

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Top Three Favorite Cookbooks


This has been a particularly odd week, for a couple of reasons:

1) I have been staying up until midnight (AT LEAST) every single night thus far. Why, oh why, oh WHY, OH WHY do I continue to make such idiotic decisions concerning my sleep?? Now, because I have been staying up so late, I am just sorta drifting through each day in a bit of a domestic trance. Wow. DOMESTIC TRANCE. I bet those are two words you never, ever would have associated together. During the day, I can make it to about 3:00 pm; then suddenly, I am dyin'. Just dyin' here, folks. BUT THEN...we have dinner, we put the blessed babes to bed, and then ZING!!! I am sailing the adrenaline seas with a fury, and then I lose my mind, try to conquer the world in 2.5 hours flat, fail as usual, and then kick myself all the way up the stairs to bed at a most grotesque hour. It's quite a sight!
2) See reason #1.

And so, my dear friends; because I am lacking the simplest of comprehension skills at this moment, I shall keep this fairly simple and share three life-changing cookbooks with you. My absolute, all-time favorite, TOP THREE FAVORITE COOKBOOKS, to be excruciatingly precise!!!!


Feast your eyes upon...THIS!

The Motherlode.

Favorite #1: "A Homemade Life: stories and recipes from my kitchen table", by Molly Wizenberg. If you have read more than two entries of my blog, you know by now that this book has a very, very prominent place in my kitchen, in my heart, and in my LIFE. Well, I might be getting a little carried away. Nevertheless!! I reach for this often, whether I'm in the mood for Ms. Wizenberg's scones or banana bread, and I never fail to get lost in one of the wonderful chapters whilst the aforementioned goodies are baking. Go buy this. NOW. That is all I can say.
Note on the scones: I use dried currants and orange zest in lieu of the candied ginger and chopped pistachios. Sometimes you just can't mess with tradition! Note on the banana bread: I do not use the chopped candied ginger. In case you haven't figured it out, I'm not a huge fan of candied ginger. The texture...it's just...it's like...just...WEIRD. Now after that incredibly deep and descriptive confession...

Favorite #2: "MAD Hungry: Feeding Men & Boys", by Lucinda Scala Quinn.

I like sub-titles. Just so you know.

Wow. Where do I even begin with this glorious, marvelous tome? This...this...MASTERPIECE is indispensable. If I had to pick a winner out of my top three, it is quite possible Mad Hungry would win by a nose. Now, look here. I have three boys. The author has three boys. I can relate to her tremendously. Not only is this book chock-full of outstanding recipes, but there are pages and pages of sage advice concerning issues such as: what constitutes a boy-friendly pantry, the importance of teaching your boys to cook for themselves (and actually cook, not just heating up a hotdog in the microwave), a list of simple skills and recipes to teach your guys before they leave the nest, the importance of establishing the comforts of home for your guys, and much, much more. It's extraordinarily practical, and I reach for it time and time again. I love cookbooks that double as excellent reading material! I will even go so far as to say that even a family full of girls would benefit from the sheer practicality of all of the delightful recipes. And...(just one more thing)...this book is ADORABLE. The graphics make me smile- and often. :-)

And now..
This...this formidable volume. Such voluminousness in this volume. "The Whole Foods Market Cookbook: A Guide To Natural Foods with 350 Recipes", by Steve Petusevsky and Whole Foods Market Team Members. Once again, we have a most sensible combination of education and deliciousness. This is one of those cookbooks that will take you a lifetime to cook through, and you might never actually cook through the entire beast. But no matter. Preparing ANY of these recipes is an eye-opening experience in that it makes you realize how simple great food really can be. I turn to this volume when I feel like we need to "clean up" our diet a bit, and stick to some seriously fresh and simple recipes. The kids and Steve have loved everything I've tried so far, which just goes to show you that healthy doesn't mean yuck. I have really enjoyed learning more about the world of whole foods, grains, and legumes through this cookbook, and while I realize that this confession makes me sound like a completely hopeless nerd, I am quite okay with that, and I shall continue to expand my culinary horizons. Note: The Chicken Piccata a la Florentine is to DIE FOR!! Unfortunately, I am having serious trouble finding the link for this glorious concoction, but I promise I will post the recipe at a later juncture.

So there you have it. Deliciousness abounding!! You can try to find these at your local library (although Mad Hungry is fairly new; I'm not exactly sure how that works), or just take the plunge and *gasp* buy them! Now it's your turn, dear readers! You tell me: What is your favorite cookbook(s), and why? I'm listening! :)

Note: As the Pioneer Woman says,"This ain't no paid advertisement!!" The above authors have in no way, shape, or form contacted me to promote their cookbooks, and LISTEN UP, BLOGGER. IF YOU DARE DELETE THIS POST BECAUSE YOU THINK I'M ADVERTISING, WE WILL HAVE WORDS BEYOND WORDS ABOUT IT. DON'T. EVEN. THINK. ABOUT. IT. This is not a paid advertisement, this is not a paid advertisement, this is not a paid advertisement, and OH YEAH, THIS IS NOT A PAID ADVERTISEMENT. Have I made myself clear? Okay.

On that cheery note, have a wonderful Fourth of July! Stay tuned for more adventures!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fab Five Frantic-ness

Hi there. How are you? How's your day going? Any special plans for the weekend? What about me, you ask? I'll tell you.

Panic, bookgroup, potato salad, no mayo, peas, basil, dijon vinaigrette, disappointing, panic, no time, lobster buoy (i'm not sure if that's the correct spelling), no time, shower, frizzy hair, no time, panic, books, brownies, Pinterest, strawberry spinach salad, Toy Story 2, shower, books, water, phones, panic, makeup, will my pictures upload properly, picnics, meetings, hating Facebook lately, no summer this year, nail polish, and three hours.

And panic.

And so to commemorate my oh-so-incredibly balanced state of mind, here are five photos of things that bring comfort, balance, peace, and happiness to my soul (other than the obvious husband, children, and my raggedy Bible).

This is my kitchen sink when it's fearfully and wonderfully clean. Ahhh.

Every morning, I drink a tall glass of ice water, frantically followed by a cup of Plantation Mint Tea. Same glass. Same mug. Every. Single. Day. It has to be this way. I might not function properly if this order is not observed. I might walk backwards down the street. And we CAN'T be having that.

My little lobster buoy. It hangs on my garage. I love it. My mother-in-law brought it home for me after a 40th anniversary vacation out east. I look at it, and I see Maine. I can almost smell the salty waves crashing wildly against the huge, jagged rocks. I cry. Much. Not really. BUT ALMOST.

My books. I read. MUCH. I simply do not understand people who do not love to read. Note: I do not recommend the top book in the stack, "1632". Spine-tingling cheesiness abounds!! As a member from our bookgroup said,"It's like a 600-page beer commercial," and (this is my favorite), "It's a Harlequin romance for men!" Well said.

My beloved piano. While I no longer have the time to practice 4-5 hours a day, I treasure every single second I can playing Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Beethoven, and many other wonderful composers. Note: My 4.5 year old took this picture. Not bad, eh? I thought his grasp of composition was really quite outstanding. I'm also not one bit prejudiced. Nope. Not AT ALL.

Ahhh...I'm already starting to feel a bit more relaxed after viewing these photos. Also... I KNOW it's Saturday, and I am SO SORRY I did not keep my Fab Five Friday commitment to ya'll. Yesterday was non-stop craziness, but that's done with, so I promise I shall re-commit myself to being consistent with this exhaustive-and-not-soon-to-end photo series. Thank you for not hating me. Have a delightful weekend!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fab Five Friday Foto(s) of zee Birthday Boy

Today, my precious wittle Lucas Nathan turns one. How I love this wee child. He is such a tremendous blessing to me; I can't even begin to describe it. When I gave birth to Lucas, God knew I desperately needed an easy baby after such a painful pregnancy, and that is exactly what I received. God is good. All the time, folks. A few other items I've been reflecting upon:

1) I have lost 45 lbs. over this past year. YES.
2) After I had Lucas, I decided to become an optimist. Yes; it's a decision, and you know what? I have never been so content and balanced before in my entire life. So how's that for taking a stand for optimists everywhere?

And now....

My beautiful boy.

And now, if you would excuse me, I need a box of Kleenex and a newborn to sniff. Happy Father's Day to all of you menfolk out there! Eat some baby-back ribs, delight in your wife, and wrestle your kids.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fab Five Friday Foto(s) in record time

It's Friday. You know what that means!!

Or do you...?

Hah. I'm just messin' with you. Due to the fact that ALL THREE of my boys are sleeping right now, and I'm starving (and dreaming of eating even more granola bars than last week), AND I need to get the pizza dough going in the breadmaker for tonight's pizza, AND I need to mentally prepare myself for taking the precious offspring to Woodmans for a grocery run tonight, AND I need to order more photos for some scrapbooking madness, *pant, pant, pant*, tonight shall be...

FAB FIVE FRIDAY FOTO(S) in record time!!

I'm busy, man. I've got stuff to do. Like eat granola bars. I love granola bars. I talk about granola bars alot. I've recently just realized this. I made oatmeal this morning. It was lovely.


Here we go.

This set shall be entitled, "A Birthday Jaunt in Lake Geneva, WI."

Because that's exactly what it is.

One day, When I grow up and nobody can tell me what to do, or where to live, I shall have a small cottage on the ocean in Maine for the summer, and a equally small cottage in the mountains in North Carolina for the winter. The End. Such are the thoughts that are inspired within me when I gaze upon lakefront homes. Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fab Five Friday Foto(s) Part 32.85

Tired. Unmotivated. Sweaty and smelly (hey. I just went running!). Mountains of laundry to be folded. 2-year-olds who won't surrender to bedtime. Must. Make. More. Granola Bars! So good. Blackberry cabernet sorbet. Tired. Tomorrow is Starbucks day, tomorrow is Starbucks day, tomorrow is Starbucks day. Clean towels. Clean sheets. Yes. Small victories. Good garage sales. Homemade pizza.

Yep. I guess it's been a pretty good day. A pretty good week, even. And the highlight of our week was...

FAB FIVE FRIDAY FOTO(S) coming to you live (almost) from Chicago!!!

Yes indeedy; Steve and I took the precious offspring down to Navy Pier on Tuesday, and we had an amazing time. I do love Chicago, and I find myself very comfortable there. But, as the old saying goes, "You can take a girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of a girl."

Or something like that.

And that kind of sums me up.

So here we go.

A lovely view from the top floor of the Chicago Children's Museum. Thank You, Lord; for reciprocal admission. YESSS.

My wonderful, adorable, beautiful, gorgeous 11-month old. He leaves me breathless with gratitude.

My cute little swashbuckler.

Father and sons. Tallness abounds.

Mommy and sons. A severe lack of tallness abounds.

One of the many beautiful, beautiful homes we gawked at on our leisurely drive home. Why, oh why do they not build homes like this any more?? I cannot tell you how this injures my soul. I. Love. Old. Homes. And old trees!! AND I DON'T CARE WHO KNOWS IT!!!!

So there.

I hope we can still be friends despite my acting in such a scandalous manner. Sometimes I simply cannot help myself. On that note, Happy Friday, and Happy Spring, Wisconsin!!