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07 December 2016
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05 December 2016
More thoughts on eReading: If you're a long-time reader of Beth Fish Reads, then you know about my struggles at getting used to reading and reviewing eBooks (see my eMerging eReader series). My problems weren't based in the act of reading on screen, after all, I do that all day long almost every day in my full-time job as an editor. Instead, I had three issues:
- Eyestrain: At the end of the workday, my eyes are happier with print.
- New habits: I had to get used to using the electronic forms of flagging pages and marking text I needed for writing reviews.
- In my face: I simply forgot to look at my virtual bookshelf when picking my next read.
I'm thinking about eBooks because this is #CelebrateEbooks week, sponsored by Open Road Media. Check out the hashtag on your social media and follow Open Road on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to get in the celebration. Share what you love about eBooks, your initial problems and how you solved them, what books you have loaded onto your digital device, or whatever you want. I plan to follow along and am already resigned to seeing my reading list grow in leaps and bounds.
What I listened to last weekI may not be reading much print right now, but I'm still listening. I finished two books last week and bailed on another. Here are my quick thoughts.
- Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (read by Polly Lee; Harper Audio): I ended up liking Lee's performance but had mixed feelings about how Johansen pulled together the different threads of the trilogy. In particular, I wasn't happy about the ending, which had a "poof! and now here we are" element. I would have liked a few more details on how it all happened or, better yet, a stronger finish that would have better fit Queen Kelsea. Oh well. Lee was especially good at bringing the action scenes alive and keeping me immersed in the Tearling universe.
- Feedback by Mira Grant (read by Georgia Dolenz; Hachette Audio): This was a big fail on two levels. First, I should remind you how much I enjoyed the original Newsflesh trio, which cleverly imagined the near future as the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse caused by an anti-cancer virus gone wild. Problem one is that this book seems to start at the same place as book 1 (Feed) and is telling the same story but focusing on different characters. Frankly, I wanted something new. Problem two was with the narrator. Dolenz was awesome as the Irish main character but all the other people sounded the same. In fact, I couldn't the men from the women. It was so confusing. But when she mispronounced place names in the Pacific Northwest (easy to look up or research), I knew it was time to bail.
- The Clothing of Books by Jhumpa Lahiri (read by the author; Random House Audio): In this essay, originally given as a keynote speech in Italy, Lahiri mused about the impact book covers have on readers. Sounds like it could be interesting, eh? Instead, it was a bit whiny and focused on how she pretty much hates the covers of her own books. I didn't really see the point. She's an easy-to-understand narrator but is emotionally distant. I can't recommend this hour-long audiobook.
What's up for this weekAfter work today (yes, I worked on a Sunday), I have the following books queued up:
- Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman (read by Cassandra Campbell; Random House Audio): I'm excited to start this biography of Colette, who was an author, dancer, and early feminist. I've loved Colette's writing for decades and have always wanted to know more about her real life and how it compares to the one she created on the page.I listened to the first ten minutes of the audiobook and already love Campbell's performance. I plan to follow along in the eBook, which I checked out of the library (Ballantine Books).
- Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh (Putnam; January 2017): Because I really liked her debut, Fever Tree, I am looking forward to McVeigh's newest book, which takes place in Kenya in the 1950s, a time of great change in British Africa. I love the setting and have faith in McVeigh's skills at describing the environment and creating complex, believable characters. I'm reading an eGalley (see #CelebrateEbooks)!
03 December 2016
I had a couple of requests for how I made my turkey enchilada caserole last weekend. It was really, really good with the leftover turkey, and I bet it'd be equally as good with cooked ground meat or any other shredded cooked meat.
The casserole completely fills a 9x13-inch baking pan, so if you have fewer people to feed or just can't stand to eat the same meal two days in a row (and then for lunch), you might want to cut the ingredients in half and layer them in an 8x8-inch pan.
I didn't take any photos, sorry! Not only am I not the best food photographer but I didn't realize I'd be sharing the (non)recipe. I do have a photo of the enchilada sauce I made, with a credit back to the site where I found the recipe. I didn't have any premade sauce in the house so I had to go searching. I really liked the way this one turned out.
Red Enchilada Sauce from Gimme Some Oven
Notes: I made 1.5 times the following recipe to yield about 3 cups of sauce. The text in color indicates ingredients I used and/or the amounts I used compared to the original recipe. Also note that the sauce thickens but doesn't get thick (if you know what I mean).
- 2 tablespoons safflower oil
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons medium chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 cups chicken stock
|Credit: Gimme Some Oven|
Turkey Enchilada Casserole
Notes: Measures are approximate. I used whole wheat flour tortillas because that's what I had in the house. I think corn tortillas would have been awesome, but if you use 6-inch tortillas you'll need a few extra. I kind of made this up as I went, but am pleased with the results.
- 5 (8-inch) flour tortillas
- 3 cups of enchilada sauce
- 2 (14-ounce) cans black beans, drained, rinsed, and drained
- 1 small bag frozen corn, thawed (normal size, I don't have a measure)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies
- 1 (4-ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
- 3/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 3 heaping cups of shredded turkey (white and dark meat)
- 3 generous cups of shredded Mexican blend cheese
- 1 chopped avocado, lime wedges, sour cream (for serving)
Heat a cast-iron or nonstick pan over medium high heat and cook the tortillas, one at a time, until they get a little color, about 2 minutes a side. Cut each one into quarters.
Pour about 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Arrange about one-third of the tortilla pieces over the sauce and then top with one-third each of beans, corn, onion, bell pepper, green chilies, olives, and cilantro, evenly distributing the ingredients. Top with 1 cup of the turkey and then 1 cup of the cheese. Repeat two more times, ending with the cheese. (If you have extra cheese, put it all on top!)
Spray or oil a piece of foil and cover the pan. Bake 30 minutes or until bubbly. Remove the foil and let bake another 10-15 minutes until the cheese takes on color and the casserole is heated through.
Pass avocado, lime wedges, and sour cream at the table.
02 December 2016
Early December is the perfect time to introduce you to a half dozen
books for young readers. Get ready to add some titles to wish list,
whether you are looking for holiday gifts, want to read along with your
kids, or (like me) simply enjoy reading middle grade books.
- School Ship Tobermory by Alexander McCall Smith (Delacorte Books for Young Readers): Twins Ben and Fee MacTavish leave their submarine home to attend school on a sailboat with kids from around the world. An exciting learning adventure turns into a mystery when the Tobermory crosses paths with another ship.
- Wildwitch Wildfire by Lene Kaaberbol (Pushkin's Children's Books): When shy Clara meets a huge black cat, she discovers she's a wildwitch. Will her newly developed skills, including talking to animals, protect her from the darker beings? (translated from the Danish)
- Welcome to Wonderland by Chris Grabenstein (Random House Children's Books): P.T. Wilkie and his mom live in his grandfather's struggling motel located in a Florida resort town. After he meets motel guest Gloria Ortega, the two youngsters scheme and plot to save P.T.'s home.
- Nothing but Trouble by Jacqueline Davies (Katherine Tegen Books): Maggie's scientific imagination is given a needed spark when she befriends the new girl at school, artistic Lena. The dynamic duo become the queens of pranks that brighten up their small town.
Get a Shot of Reality
- Trailblazers by Rachel Swaby (Delacorte Books for Young Readers): This fascinating book contains short biographies of thirty-three women who were pioneers in science from a variety of fields, including astronomy, health, chemistry, and genetics. An easy-to-read introduction.
- The Stout-Hearted Seven by Net Lohnes Frazier (Young Voyager): The true story of the Sager children who were orphaned on the Oregon Trail in 1844, adopted by a family, and then captured by Cayuse Indians. This books is based on a manuscript written by one of the surviving children.