Saturday, July 27, 2013

Recipe Review: Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

Slowly, but surely, I've been cooking a bit more.  Lunch is heartier these days, so dinner is light.  This past week,  I tried Blueberry Baked Oatmeal from So, How's it Taste?, which I found on Pinterest.  I'm not a fan of traditional oatmeal, though I love baking with oatmeal.  So, I gave it a try.  Overall, I enjoyed it and will do it again, though I will make some modifications.  If I line the bottom with bananas again, they will not be overly ripe.  If I use ripe bananas, I'll mash them and add them to the liquid portion of this recipe.

However, I'm looking forward to trying it with peaches or an apple rather than the banana as well.  Some commenters even suggested lining the bottom with applesauce, though I'd probably also add that to the liquid.  At any rate, it made for a nice light dinner.

Book Review: Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the first book in the Hannah Swensen Mystery series.  It’s been on my “To Read” list for awhile.  I won the latest book (Red Velvet Cupcake Mystery) and wanted to read the first book in the series before reading Red Velvet.

As with most series, the first book pretty much sets up the main characters.  It was how Hannah came to be involved in the mystery of who killed the milkman (a modern day version of one) that threw me for a loop.  She knew him and she found the body, but that’s not what drove her involvement.  What drove her involvement was her desire to help her brother-in-law, who has recently passed the Detective’s exam, solve the case.  At his invitation.  Seriously?  I’m still not sure what I think about this except I don’t think a lot of the brother-in-law for asking in the first place.

The mystery itself was well done and had a gradual, but not too slow, build up to the finale, but I did it figure it out toward the end.  I liked the characters - especially Norman (the local dentist), Andrea, Hannah’s sister, and Lisa, Hannah’s assistant at her cookie shop.  I did not like Hannah’s mother and wondered why she would move back to her hometown knowing she’d have to put up with that woman on a daily basis.  (This seems to be a theme in a lot of cozy series - daughters moving back to small home towns with absolutely dreadful mothers).  However, it was balanced by Hannah’s basically good relationship with Andrea and with the other folks she knew.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, though it was overshadowed by what I thought was a ridiculous reason for Hannah’s “snooping” and “helping.”  Having said that, I’m looking forward to reading the Red Velvet Cupcake Mystery.