Sunday, June 14, 2015

Recipe Roundup

Well, I've been cooking. Quite a bit lately. Some of my tried and true recipes (i.e. Betty Crocker brownies) and some new ones from various blogs (thank goodness for Pinterest). Success has varied. So, here we go.

Parmesan Baked Shrimp
Parmesan Baked Shrimp from RasaMalaysia. It was good, but honestly, for one person, it's a lot of work. I also realized that I don't really care for baked parmesan and I'd rather use cracker crumbs (it's how we do it in my family) rather than panko. And, probably because I'm a southern girl, I'd just go ahead and pan fry these babies. I'd certainly recommend them as they were good, but they do require a bit of work.

Breakfast Oatmeal Cupcakes To Go
Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers
Breakfast Oatmeal Cupcakes To Go from Chocolate Covered Katie.  These turned out tasty, though they are basically baked oatmeal, so not really a cupcake to me.  However, they are filling, in addition to tasting good, and are preferable for a quick snack in the morning or the afternoon.  I did add a little coconut and some walnuts.  I also tried one other recipe from this site, which failed spectacularly.  I'm trying to figure out where I went wrong as I consider myself a fairly good baker.  Hopefully, I'll get up the nerve to try it again and it will work out.

Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers from My Whole Food Life.  I have several versions of sweet potato veggie burgers that I want to try, but this one required fewer ingredients and I had them all on hand.  Not bad.  In the future, I might use quick oats and I'd probably just pan fry them, rather than baking them.  Give them more of a burger feel.  I also think brown rice might work in place of the oatmeal.  All in all, though, I got five, two ounce patties from this recipe (one medium sweet potato, one cup of oatmeal).  Probably could use a little more seasoning, but that's an easy remedy.  Give them a try.

Quiona Fried Rice
Quinoa Fried Rice from Peas & Crayons.  Honestly, this is super easy and not brand spanking new, but not fried rice either.  I halved the recipe, but it is now one of my favorites.  I didn't add egg this time, though I will in the future, and since I had a half of a zucchini left, that was my vegetable.  I paired it with the Sweet Potato Veggie Burger for a lovely dinner.  Future preparations of this recipe will probably include shrimp or chicken.  Her tips on preparing quinoa were awesome.  Mine didn't dry totally, but I did toast it for a bit and it was wonderful.  If you're looking for something a little different but still familiar, give this a go.

There you have it.  Recently tried recipes.  Three from this week and one from a couple of weeks ago. I'll also add, that with the exception of the Baked Parmesan Shrimp, which used an egg, these recipes are Vegan.

Book Review - The Accidental Alchemist by Gigi Pandian

The Accidental AlchemistThe Accidental Alchemist by Gigi Pandian
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this book from the publisher while attending a conference. I’m so glad I did. It’s not a typical cozy mystery, though there is a murder and it is a who done it, of sorts. Zoe Faust is not your typical 20 something. She is in fact, hundreds of years old and carries her own baggage. She is resilient though and has found Portland, OR to be a place where she can settle for a while, rather than traveling constantly and living in her trailer. She is also an alchemist. She has bought a house, a fixer upper, which has a space for her to set up a lab once again, and hired a contractor to do the renovations. Unfortunately, he is killed on her front porch the day he is supposed to start.

Zoe can sense things, like poison, but she can’t really tell the police this. Adding a little more stress to the situation, when she goes to unpack her boxes she finds someone in the boxes. Well, something. A gargoyle. Named Dorian. Who needs help because he is dying. He knows Zoe from back in the day when she lived in France. In fact, unknown to Zoe, he helped her out of a tricky situation. He has a book that he thinks Zoe can use to help him. Only when the contractor is murdered, many of her books, including Dorian’s are stolen. Thus her interest in finding out who did it -- she wants/needs to get her books back. Throw a kid, Brixton, into the mix and others from the local tea shop (including main suspect Blue Sky, who has her own past), a cop, Max (who’s a little mysterious himself) and there is a lot going on.

The author blends it all well. I loved Dorian. Zoe and Dorian need each other. They are both unique in this world and it never hurts to have someone who shares, on some level, your experiences. Both are long lived and have seen many changes.

There were many other things I liked about this book. I liked that Zoe was almost accidental in her search for the killer - her intentions were to get her books back and to help Blue. Max seemed to push and pull a lot, so I couldn’t really get a feel for him, but it gets explained in the end. I liked the alchemy aspect of the book, but was a little lost at times as I’m not up on my alchemy. Zoe seems to strike a good balance between being on her own and reaching out to people and forming relationships.

The mystery resolved quickly at the end and I did not figure out who it was, though hints and clues were dropped along the way.

I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good mystery with a different element, i.e. living gargoyle. I’m looking forward to reading the next book.

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