It’s Monday and we went skiing!

 

 

 

 

We spent a weekend away at Dodge Ridge. It’s probably the closest ski resort to us and it’s a slightly less than 3 hour drive. The husband and I took ski lessons and the kids did snowboard lessons. The 5yo didn’t last the full class but the 7yo loved it! I discovered I’m not a big fan of skiing but at least I tried it and I’m glad I did!

We also did lots of eating.

At The Pie Pizzeria in Sierra Village, a tiny place run by just two people, a really scrumptious pizza with salami, Italian sausage and artichokes. I tend to prefer thin-crust pizzas but this one, though a thicker crust, was nice and crispy underneath and not too bready.

 Also a nice breakfast at the very friendly Sweet Pea’s Bakery in Mi-Wuk Village.

Currently…

 

Reading:

 

 

The Plotters – Un-Su Kim

 

Watching:

 

Listening:

Just finished Beastie Boys Book and wondering what next!

 

Eating:

 Sushi for dinner

Drinking:

Lots of water

Last week:

I read:

Sabrina – Nick Drnaso
Half-Hazard – Kristen Tracy
My Sister, the Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite
I posted:

Library Loot (March 13 to 19)

Standalone books that need a sequel #toptentuesday

National Geographic’s 100 Dives of a Lifetime – Review

The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo is an enchanting read

 

 

badge
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

 

Advertisements

#WeekendCooking Muffins and Financiers

 

I recently tried two new-to-me muffin recipes and both of them were great!

Chocolate chocolate chip muffins

I used this recipe from Pretty Simple Sweet but buttermilk isn’t something I have at home and I didn’t want to go out and buy some. So instead, I used whole milk yogurt, thinned with some whole milk. And it turned out great. It’s not too sweet (although that may be because I reduced the sugar by 20g) and it’s nice and chocolatey from the cocoa powder and the chocolate chips. I didn’t have quite enough chocolate chips though! I had just slightly less than a cup but it was enough for me!

 

Mixed berry muffins

Recently I picked up a bag of frozen berries from Costco. You know Costco, those bags are huge. I made some berry-banana smoothies from it but decided I also wanted to make some berry muffins. I was curious about this recipe from King Arthur Flour, supposedly some famous department store recipe (a name I wasn’t familiar with). The recipe is actually a blueberry muffin recipe but my bag of frozen berries was a mixture of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. So I went with that! The recipe called for 1/2 cup of the berries to be mashed but since I had frozen berries, I didn’t do that. As usual I decreased the amount of sugar (I find American recipes to be a little too sweet) but just slightly as I wasn’t sure if these berries were sweet enough. And I always appreciate websites like KAF’s which allow for weighted measurements. One of my favourite tools in the kitchen is the digital scale and it makes it so easy (and accurate) to add ingredients to the bowl. Anyway, if you do try this recipe, ignore the part that says “fresh preferred”. This recipe worked great with frozen berries!

 

Chocolate Financiers

I wasn’t quite sure if I had had a financier before. Maybe at a high tea once? But it didn’t have a lasting impression and I couldn’t tell you for sure what one tasted like. They aren’t exactly something I can easily find in my suburban town. So I decided to try making it. Once again, Costco to the rescue – their bag of almond flour is huge and priced well.

I don’t have a financier mould (which are small rectangles) but I did have a silicon mini muffin tray. And that worked out great. This recipe from Wild Wild Whisk was easy enough to follow (it’s adapted from a recipe by Thomas Keller). But I was too lazy to pipe out the batter and instead used a spoon to pop it into the mini muffin moulds. And that still turned out fine! You do have to prepare the batter ahead, as it sits in the fridge for an hour. And I especially liked browning butter – it smells so good. It was delicious and so very chocolatey that one mini one was just perfect.

I might give this Brown Butter Financier recipe from David Lebovitz a try too. Interestingly, it doesn’t require refrigeration before baking.

Apparently they’re called financiers as their shape (the original rectangle) looks like a bar of gold!

Have you made financiers before?

 

 

 

Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs

Library Loot (March 13 to 19)

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

 

 

Happy Wednesday! I’ve got a bit of an eclectic mix from the library this week. How about you?

Claire has the link-up this week.

 

Half-Hazard: Poems – Kristen Tracy

I found this on the “new arrivals” shelves and was attracted by the cover.

Half-Hazard is the Winner of the Emily Dickinson First Book Award from the Poetry Foundation for a debut by an American poet over forty.

Half-Hazard is a book of near misses, would-be tragedies, and luck. As Kristen Tracy writes in the title poem, “Dangers here. Perils there. It’ll go how it goes.” The collection follows her wide curiosity, from growing up in a small Mormon farming community to her exodus into the forbidden world, where she finds snakes, car accidents, adulterers, meteors, and death-marked mice. These wry, observant narratives are accompanied by a ringing lyricism, and Tracy’s knack for noticing what’s so funny about trouble and her natural impulse to want to put all the broken things back together. Full of wrong turns, false loves, quashed beliefs, and a menagerie of animals, Half-Hazard introduces a vibrant new voice in American poetry, one of resilience, faith, and joy.

I’ve had this on my TBR list for a while.

In a surreal, but familiar, vision of modern day Middle East, a centralized authority known as ‘the Gate’ has risen to power in the aftermath of the ‘Disgraceful Events,’ a failed popular uprising. Citizens are required to obtain permission from the Gate in order to take care of even the most basic of their daily affairs, yet the Gate never opens, and the queue in front of it grows longer.

Citizens from all walks of life mix and wait in the sun: an activist journalist, a sheikh, a poor woman concerned for her daughter’s health, and even the cousin of a security officer killed in clashes with protestors. Among them is Yehya, a man who was shot during the Events and is waiting for permission from the Gate to remove a bullet that remains lodged in his pelvis. Yehya’s health steadily declines, yet at every turn, officials refuse to assist him, actively denying the very existence of the bullet.

Ultimately it is Tarek, the principled doctor tending to Yehya’s case, who must decide whether to follow protocol as he has always done, or to disobey the law and risk his career to operate on Yehya and save his life.

 

Beastie Boys Book – Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz

I’ve got this as an audiobook and it is amazing! There are so many guest narrators like LL Cool J, Jarvis Cocker, Rosie Perez, Rachel Maddow and so many more. But I think I’ll need to borrow the physical book itself too just to see photos and whatever else is in there.

A panoramic experience that tells the story of Beastie Boys, a book as unique as the band itself–by band members ADROCK and Mike D, with contributions from Amy Poehler, Colson Whitehead, Spike Jonze, Wes Anderson, Luc Sante, and more.

Formed as a New York City hardcore band in 1981, Beastie Boys struck an unlikely path to global hip hop superstardom. Here is their story, told for the first time in the words of the band. Adam “ADROCK” Horovitz and Michael “Mike D” Diamond offer revealing and very funny accounts of their transition from teenage punks to budding rappers; their early collaboration with Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin; the debut album that became the first hip hop record ever to hit #1, Licensed to Ill–and the album’s messy fallout as the band broke with Def Jam; their move to Los Angeles and rebirth with the genre-defying masterpiece Paul’s Boutique; their evolution as musicians and social activists over the course of the classic albums Check Your Head, Ill Communication, and Hello Nasty and the Tibetan Freedom Concert benefits conceived by the late Adam “MCA” Yauch; and more. For more than thirty years, this band has had an inescapable and indelible influence on popular culture.

The kids’ loot:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you get from your library this week?

 

This post contains affiliate links from Book Depository.  If you buy via these links it means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). 

Standalone books that need a sequel #toptentuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

Standalone Books That Need a Sequel

 

Tough topic! It seems like a lot of books I read these days are already part of a series! So I know there’s no way I’m going for ten. Maybe five.

Cinnamon and Gunpowder – Eli Brown

This rollicking foodie-pirate book needs a sequel! It was just such a delight to read and I still relish all those descriptions of food aboard the pirate ship.

Fledgling – Octavia Butler

Well I just wish we had more Octavia Butler books but since some of them were series, I’ll stick to mentioning this standalone unconventional vampire novel. I loved Butler’s take on vampire mythology and the great characters she created.

Ballet Shoes – Noel Streatfeild

Of course this will never happen, but a reader can dream. Ballet Shoes was published in 1936 and I read it when I was a kid, and I read it and reread it so many times. Streatfeild passed away in 1986 and while she did write quite a few different dance-related books, I think I always loved the Fossils the most. I’d love to read about them as adults!

 

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told – Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman

Ok so this is not a novel. It is a memoir. But seriously, I want more Mullally-Offerman books, and they also need to be made into audiobooks because this was one of the best things I have ever heard.

What are some standalone books that you’d like to read more of?

 

 


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

 

 

 

National Geographic’s 100 Dives of a Lifetime – Review

 

 

 

I have to admit that scuba diving scares me. I had many chances to learn – I’m from Singapore and lots of people in Singapore scuba dive and there are so many lovely spots in the region to scuba dive at. But I never did. There’s something about the open water that puts a tremble in my hands. I love to swim – and I’m quite a good swimmer – but I like to swim in a swimming pool, where I can see the bottom and the walls and know where things start and stop. The open sea is not for me.

But I do love the sea and beaches and got to live for a year right across the beach in Brighton, England, and that is still one of the best years of my life.

My kids also have a fascination for things underwater. And my 5-year-old and I sat down and went through the book together, he marveling at all the wrecks sharks and rays, me mesmerized by all the corals and the manta rays. And who knows, maybe one day my kids will learn to scuba dive and go and explore some of these amazing and beautiful places.

So you don’t have to be a diver to appreciate a book like this. The beautiful photos are impressive but the book also opened my eyes to many places I’ve never heard of, like Wakatobi National Park in Indonesia which looks like a gorgeous beach resort (and which I’ve bookmarked as a possible future travel destination!). I was intrigued by the various shipwrecks that I would never have heard of if not for this book, like the S.S. Thistlegorm, a WWII steamship on the bottom of the Red Sea. There’s the remote, relatively untouched Ascension Island in the South Atlantic, where Charles Darwin once stopped at. And even a missile silo in Royal City, Washington, where divers can “indulge your inner James Bond”.

This was a great book to pore over and dream up travel plans with.

 

 

 

I received this book from its publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for a review.

Check out the rest of the tour stops here

Pick up your copy from: National Geographic | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo is an enchanting read

Dark, magical, and bewitching, The Night Tiger transports the reader to colonial Malaya where weretigers supposedly roam, strange deaths are happening in a sleepy town in Ipoh. A young boy is searching for a missing finger and is mysteriously connected to a woman trying to make some money as a dance hall girl.

Choo permeates her story with all the sounds, smells and tastes of Malaysia. She brings in so many Malaysian foods that I am often left hungry after reading a few chapters (Malaysian and Singaporean foods are quite similar).

She deftly weaves in a variety of folklore and superstitions like the pontianak and weretigers. It’s a great mix of supernatural and historical. And overall, a beautifully written, magical tale blended with some mysteries that left this reader guessing until the end.

It’s Monday and I’m reading My Sister, The Serial Killer

Happy Monday you guys!

Hope you all had a great weekend.

 

 

 

We took the kids to the optometrist and it turns out the 7yo’s prescription has increased! Luckily the 5yo is still spectacles-free.

We tried a new-to-us ramen place and I gave the spicy ramen a try. It was more peppery than I would have liked though! But I liked that they had lots of grilled pork belly.

 

Currently…

 

Reading:

Half-Hazard – Kristen Tracy

My Sister, The Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite

All You Can Ever Know – Nicole Chung

 

Watching:

Season 2 of The Big Family Cooking Showdown

Listening:

Beastie Boys Book

Oh wow this is such a great audiobook! The cast of narrators is amazing! From Rosie Perez to LL Cool J to Jarvis Cocker.

Eating:

Homemade whole wheat walnut bread – recipe from Ruby Tandoh’s Crumb

Drinking:

Yorkshire Gold with milk

Cooking:

Maybe this crispy spinach pizza from Smitten Kitchen. Although I may reduce the number of cheeses and keep it to mozzarella and gruyere and then add some bacon!

I made a lemon-butter-garlic salmon pasta a couple of weeks ago and still have the other part of the salmon (I bought that really large piece of salmon from Costco) and so I may make that again.

 

 

Last week:

I read:

Magician’s Land – Lev Grossman
The Perfectionists – Simon Winchester
The Night Tiger – Yangsze Choo
The Cloud Roads – Martha Wells

 

I posted:

The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World by Simon Winchester

Book Beginnings/Friday 56 with The Night Tiger

Library Loot (March 6 to 12)

2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist

 

 

badge
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date