The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 5-22-16

Sunday Post

I think I’ve rigged things so that this week I only have to read books I really, really want to read. As opposed to reading books I only sorta/kinda want to read. I think I’m in a bit of a slump and need a bunch of books that are mostly just for fun. The sort of books where I leapt onto the tour because I already adore the author or series, as opposed to the type of books where I get on the tour because the book looks like it might be interesting.

And I’m also not doing any books that my only reason for reading them is an obligation. I need a break.

This past week, I posted one rather unusual entry. I’ve had so much fun with Blue Apron that I just couldn’t resist sharing. I’ve had that post on the back burner, waiting for a week where things just failed, as happened this week. I bounced off two books so hard that I had to scramble for Friday’s review. But seriously, discovering all over again that cooking can be fun has ben an absolute blast.

And while we still don’t like sweet potatoes, there’s a dog that really, really loves them. If you have never read “I Has a Sweet Potato” over at littera abactor, you are in for a side-splitting treat. Be sure not to have anything in your mouth while you read, because you are guaranteed to spray your monitor in explosive laughter. (I just re-read it for the umpteenth time, and it still made me laugh so hard that I have tears in my eyes.)

Current Giveaways:

$10 Gift Card or $10 Book in the Love in Bloom Giveaway Hop
2 Blue Apron Dinner Kits

Winner Announcements:

The winner of A Front Page Affair by Radha Vatsal is Nadine S.

final flight by beth catoBlog Recap:

B Review: The Drafter by Kim Harrison
Love in Bloom Giveaway Hop
C- Review: Death at a Fixer-Upper by Sarah T. Hobart
I Only Have a Sign Because It Came With the Kitchen + Giveaway
A Review: Final Flight by Beth Cato
Stacking the Shelves (185)




lifeabeachhop3Coming Next Week:

The Pages of the Mind by Jeffe Kennedy (blog tour review)
Life’s a Beach Giveaway Hop
Saddle Up by Victoria Vane (blog tour review)
Undiscovered by Anna Hackett (review)
Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye (review)

I Only Have a Sign Because It Came With the Kitchen + Giveaway

only have a kitchen sign

Not really. I bought this sign years ago, and have moved it from place to place, and kitchen to kitchen, because it summed up how I felt. But it looks like I’m going to have to take it down.

I used to tell people that I cooked “in my last life”. This wasn’t a reference to reincarnation, more a statement about the different lives that people lead, and the different people that we become, as time goes by and our experiences shape us.

There is a lot of freighted baggage involved in cooking in my “first life”, meaning my first marriage. Cooking and planning meals was always a fraught experience. It was never the right thing, it was never quite good enough, and it was always undertaken after a long day at work and a one hour commute home. These were not good times.

I arranged my life after that so that either someone else did most of the cooking, or the microwave did the cooking, or, as the saying goes, we made my favorite thing for dinner, “Reservations”.

But that was all a long time ago, and my world is a bit different. When we moved back to Atlanta, I was mostly home. It seemed like a good time to take up cooking again. But there were a different set of issues. It is hard to plan dinner when you aren’t quite sure when the other party will be home to eat it. And after a while, the things that we could easily or quickly make simply got boring. Often to the point where we’d ditch whatever was in the fridge and go out.

We spoiled a lot of food that way.

A couple of months ago I latched onto what seemed like either a brilliant idea, or at least a valiant attempt at one. Why not sign up for one of the recipe delivery services, and see how we liked it? We signed up for 3 dinners a week from Blue Apron, and waited eagerly for our first box.

The first box arrived late on a Saturday afternoon, and we had a blast opening it and organizing all the ingredients. We had Cuban Sandwiches, Cod Kedgeree and something good but considerably less memorable. And it was probably chicken.

Everything in the box was fresh. It was also well labeled. As it turns out, kale, collard greens and swiss chard all kind of look alike when you have no experience with them fresh.

The recipes are reasonable for a pair of beginners to follow. And they feature ingredients we would never think of, producing food that we might not otherwise try but is usually anywhere from good to yummy. And occasionally we fill the kitchen with smoke, but when that happens it is no one’s fault but our own.

And we’ve discovered that the process of cooking together is a fun shared activity at the end of the day. We get to play with our food, and then we get to eat it. And we usually learn something along the way. Sometimes we learn a technique. Sometimes we learn that I actually like whole grain mustard, even though I still hate the yellow stuff. And we’ve learned that we both still dislike sweet potatoes, no matter how they’re cooked.

Whenever a recipe calls for sweet potatoes, we substitute red potatoes. The instructions all work perfectly, and we like the result a whole lot better. I may never eat those microwavable mashed potatoes in a cup again.

So, we’ve discovered a new activity. We’ve figured out that we both like cooking together. We’re having fun. That we also eliminated the decision paralysis was a side benefit, but one we liked so much that for a while we were actually getting two meals a week from Plated, just so we didn’t have to think about “what’s for dinner”.

We’ve accumulated enough recipes that we like that we’re starting to pick from previous favorites, We’ve repeated both those original Cuban Sandwiches and the Cod Kedgeree, as well as several other dishes. We’ve also bought cookbooks. And kitchen gadgets. We’re having too much fun to stop.

In fact, we’re having so much fun that I couldn’t resist writing about it. And I’d like to share. We’ve been doing this long enough that we get free meals to give away to friends. I’d like to give two of those free dinner kits away to lucky commenters on this post.

I hope whoever wins has a great time. I know they’ll get a good meal. And hopefully a lot of fun.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Note: This is not a sponsored post or a sponsored giveaway. I’m just having a good time with the service and I wanted to share. Every Blue Apron subscriber regularly receives free meals to give away. We’ve given some away to friends. But I just couldn’t resist writing about how much fun we’re having and giving away a chance to share in the fun.

Stacking the Shelves (184)

Stacking the Shelves

The next entries in two of my favorite, and therefore most anticipated, series popped up on Edelweiss this week. Every year, I look forward to another trip to Three Pines with the now retired Chief Inspector Gamache and his friends, so A Great Reckoning is now beckoning me. Likewise, I can’t wait to see how many dead bodies Bess Crawford uncovers in The Shattered Tree as World War I winds down. I’m also wondering what will happen to Bess when the war ends, but I hope we’re not there yet.

There’s also something truly unusual on this list. I probably haven’t bought a cookbook in 20 years, or even more. But I got four. A couple of months ago we got completely bored with our old standbys for dinner, and signed up with Blue Apron. It has been a revelation. It’s not just that the food is good, although it definitely is. It’s that we’ve discovered just how much we enjoy the shared activity at the end of the day, even when we occasionally screw it up. We’re having so much fun that we’ve started cooking again, and we’ve finally discovered a use for all of the various sizes of bowls and kitchen gadgets that we’ve accumulated over the years. But there’s always a downside. Now we need a bigger kitchen with more work space. Also a bigger pantry. And more storage for all the pots and pans. But it is still a marvelous adventure!

For Review:
An Accident of Stars (Manifold Worlds #1) by Foz Meadows
Death at a Fixer-Upper (Home Sweet Home #1) by Sarah T. Hobart
A Great Reckoning (Chief Inspector Gamache #12) by Louise Penny
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
The Shattered Tree (Bess Crawford #8) by Charles Todd

Purchased from Amazon:
Autumn Cooking with Blue Apron
Redemption Bay (Haven Point #2) by RaeAnne Thayne
Spring Cooking with Blue Apron
Summer Cooking with Blue Apron
Winter Cooking with Blue Apron

Borrowed from the Library:
Where Secrets Sleep by Marta Perry