Monday, December 19, 2016

Life Changes

2016 has not gone quite as planned. Pregnancy definitely put a brakes on my vegan food game, I don't know the last time I actually picked up a cookbook to plan or execute a meal. Bed rest put a stop to shopping and cooking, then early delivery and a C-Section erased all desire to spend time in the kitchen.

Surprisingly, reading was not a priority. Bed rest just tends to be exhausting, despite its name, and I had no interest in books.

But baby is healthy and at home, my desire to cook and read is slowly returning. My cookbook collection got a boost from two new books.

Image result for isa chandra super fun times               Image result for but my family could never go vegan

I love Isa Chandra, so this cookbook was a must have. Kristy Turner's first book is one of my absolute favorites, so I decided to splurge on her newest book. I have yet to try any of the recipes from these books, but am looking forward to preparing a meal for my family to celebrate the holidays and all the life changes 2016 has brought us.

I don't have the time to read mediocre books anymore, so I am really picky about what I am reading these days. The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen was a good use of my time. For some reason, I love books about small towns and inns. This book tells the story of Jane Fairmont Bell who feels inadequate for many reasons including her overbearing mother in law. I love that Jane comes into her own and that this is not a predictable love story. There are moments of intrigue and mystery in the book and the author does an excellent job of creating characters that I found endearing and interesting.
Image result for the innkeeper of ivy hill

A free copy of this book was provided by Bethany House Publishers.

I look forward to all 2017 will bring and wish you and yours a year filled with good vegan food and great books.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Christian Lit and Other News

Finally, my Master's Program is done and I am free to read, cook and relax. Unfortunately, Netflix seems to have stolen hours of my time. I recently fell in love with the series Blindspot, and am counting down the hours to tonight's episode.

It's so nice to actually have leisure time, and I have fallen into a reading rut with formulaic romances that just pass the time. So, I was happy to get a chance to read The Domino Effect by Davis Bunn (a free copy was provided by Bethany House Publishers). This financial thriller kept me up many nights and I even passed it on to my aunt who is in the business of banking. Esther Larsen, named after my favorite biblical character seems to have a perfect life, but is suffering from extreme loneliness and an attack of conscience. The book chronicles her life changing to one that is full of love and friendship, but it happens in totally unexpected ways. Davis Bunn describes an impending financial crisis without boring me to death and actually kept me reading. I loved that Esther was competent and didn't melt into a puddle every time something bad happened. Even though she did form life saving relationships. Davis Bunn has done an excellent job of keeping the reader thrilled and engaged.

This year Vegan MOFO will actually take place in November. Each day has a different prompt which I am looking forward to trying out. Will I make it through the entire month? No clue! But it will be fun to try.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Reading is Fun......

My Master's Degree Program is finally winding down, and I am beginning to have free time in the evenings. Unfortunately, most of this time has been spent watching Netflix (Ms. Fisher's Murder Mysteries, Doc Martin) rather than reading. I have been getting back into the swing of things, but have found myself mostly tied up with YA or middle school novels (Mr. Lemoncello's Library, Wonder, Diary of a Part-Time Indian).

Books that deal with the issues of slavery, racism and segregation are always so difficult for me to read. Ironically I read two books that addressed these topics from very different perspectives. Counted with the Stars by Connilyn Cossette and Stella by Starlight by Sharon Draper.

Counted with the Stars tells the story of a young girl that is sold into slavery after bad business choices made by her father. Kiya has some very demeaning experiences, but still doesn't face the circumstances of the Hebrews around her. How many of us have really thought about what it means to be a slave? I shudder to think of it and Connilyn does a great job of conveying the emotions of the slaves, Egyptian and Hebrew. The anger, disgust and shame! Another thing I thought about when reading this book was how it must have felt to experience the plagues. The author made me realize that the common folk must have had no idea what was going on. The rumors that must have swirled around. I hardly read biblical fiction because there is so much room for disappointment, but Connilyn Cossette did an excellent job. (A free copy of this book was provided by Bethany House Publishers.)

Stella by Starlight will be a read aloud for my fourth grade class next year. I think my students will be able to fully understand how blacks living under the yoke of racism and prejudice must have felt. It has some scary moments as life does, but is a must read.

Reading is fun! I am reminding myself of this more each day, but I realize that it is more than fun. It can open your mind and help you to imagine clearly events that have shaped your reality. I look forward to tackling more difficult times and topics through the words of these authors.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Happy New Year!

The Christmas trees have been put away, and in my case all the goodies have been eaten. I do mean all! I seriously over indulged during the holidays and am doing my best to get back on track.

One of my favorite bloggers Bianca from Vegan Crunk started a 28 day detox using The Abundance Diet, so I decided to give it a try. I cannot follow the plan exactly the way it's set out, but have chosen a few recipes that will hopefully get me back on track. I had my first smoothie that included spinach, surprisingly I actually enjoyed it.

A few times I have ordered lunch from a delivery service---Sprout you can check it out on Facebook. For eight dollars, you can have a really delicious vegan lunch delivered to your work place. It was here that I first tasted soy curls, I was amazed and had to try at home. I couldn't find them in Nassau so resorted to Amazon and it was absolutely worth it. I love these things, the texture is amazing! I recently reordered directly from Butler's and would advise you to do the same as the price is better on this site. Sweet and Sour, Barbecue and Jerk, all are possible with Butler' Soy Curls.

Over my holiday break, I finally got a chance to visit Lil Mustard Seed Cafe on Rosetta Street. I had the mushroom burger! Best homemade burger ever! I wish they were open on weekends or later in the evenings just for me to drop by and have that burger.

So, I spent my holidays doing more than eating, I read a lot! I recently discovered The Nerdy Book Club, which has caused me to buy more books in a single time period than I ever have before. My classroom library is growing and my brain is exploding with all the great children's literature I have read.

Thanks to Bethany House Publishers, I was able to read The Midwife's Choice by Delia Parr. This is the second book in the series At Home in Trinity. This book delved into the lives of the other characters and showed how women in a community could stand together and make a difference. I love stories about midwives and stories that tell how important they were to communities, particularly in a time when women did not have many rights. This book has a serious cliffhanger, I want to find out what happens next!

Alas, my holidays are over and it's back to school and work! But wait, I can see the Easter holidays just a little ways off......