Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Daniel X: Watch the Skies - MomReview

James Patterson, the New York Times bestselling author and the father of an eleven-year-old son, has a new book- Daniel X: Watch the Skies- a second novel to the young adult series, Daniel X.

Sadly, I am not nearly as excited about this book as I was about Maximum Ride.

This book had a fun story in there somewhere. Nice aliens and slimy goo to blow up, a little romance and a "kid" hero. The problem is, I wasn't fooled. I wonder if kids will be.

Just adding "iPod" and "Netflix" and "laptop" into a story doesn't make it cool. I kept waiting for Daniel to say "Stay in School!" and "Don't do drugs!" so the cliche would be complete. He was super polite to Judy's parents, so they just loved him. He had to altar the minds of all the kids in class so they would read a book, and after that all they wanted to do was read and read some more. To be good you have to read and study. The TVs, cell phones and electronics nearly doomed the entire human race, and are therefore bad. It really got to be a little too much lecture and not enough fun.

The setup of the book was a bright spot. Short chapters makes for a very easy read. Each of the chapters is action-packed, and definitely page-turners. Terrific format for those who don't read all that much, lots of accomplishment.

I have to say, after reading the Maximum Ride series and being so enthralled and excited about the books and the characters, I was really looking forward to reading his new "boy" version, but was very dissappointed.

Doesn't mean I won't read it to my son in a couple of years when he's 8, however. I'm more than happy to see whether or not he'll be fooled.

until next time...
happy reading!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Is that an Indian Sloppy Joe?

My desire to make and eat anything "Indian" continues un-abated. Last Sunday I decided to try another of Vij's curries - this time the Ground Beef Curry.

The recipe calls for "Indian Sugar". Being a caucasion gal from Ohio, I had no idea what that was. Oddly though, I was introduced to it recently so when I rediscovered the recipe I was excited because I already had some in the pantry (and now need to get more!). My son had a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese this Spring and a friend of mine noted that there was an Indian Grocery Store on the other side of the strip mall (fun times). She'd gotten a huge bag of Jaggery and shared. What a TREAT! Turns out, not only is it fun to cook with and DELICIOUS... It is also:
Jaggery, being a wholesome sugar, without doubt is rich in the vitally important mineral salts: 2.8 grams per 100 grams, that is to say 28 grams per kilogram, while only 300 milligrams per kilogram is found in refined sugar.
Magnesium strengthens the nervous system & potassium is vital to conserve the acid balance in the cells and combats acids and acetone. Jaggery is very rich in iron, which, a composite of hemoglobin prevents anemia.
Which is nice, right?

It was really easy to make. The recipe called for an amazing (I thought) amount of salt, but after adding the Jaggery, balanced very nicely.

The heavy cream completely counteracted the "healthy" spin I put on the dish by using ground turkey instead of ground beef, but it was SO pretty.

The meal was served with store-bought Naan, a salad from the garden and a Newcastle just to make it really feel like a sloppy joe.
The next day, SM had one for lunch on a hamburger bun.
Perhaps this IS the start of Curry Sunday.

until next time!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Newest Obsession: Food Blogs

Lately I've been reading blogs alot more often than writing (as if that weren't already obvious).
Like the title says - I think I'm kind of wandering around trying to decide what it is that I want to do when I grow up. 'Course at this point, it's what I want to do when my kiddos grow up - since that's when I'll really start having some time for myself again (at least that's the theory I'm working on...).
My little iGoogle page is kind of the barometer of where my life is, all the baby/mom blogs started to give way to craft/garden blogs and those are starting to give way to food blogs (with the standard tech/geek blogs always remaining as they are the constant in my life). Food writing is fun to read for so many reasons, but the best reason is that food is fantastic - to make - to eat - to look at - to smell - to read about - well, you get the idea.
In the tradition of blogs, one leads to another, leads to another, until suddenly I have 12 food blogs that I'm reading and mixing and matching and enjoying.
This was a really long setup - but all of these blogs led me back to what a friend introduced us to a couple of years ago: GRILLED PIZZA!
Yep - totally crazy - but I actually even think it was Martha Stewart who was the initial inspiration for these.

And since my children (especially my son) will eat pizza more than anything and LOVE to help roll out the dough, we celebrated the 20th sunny-day-in-seattle-in-a-row by grillin' up some 'za! The kid-caveat here is that they don't always like the burned parts of grilled food, and they didn't get to build the pizza themselves since the grill is hot-ish but it was still a pretty huge success.

My treat was that I got to fill up my pizza with whatever I wanted! I used up all my farmer's market treats (in Seattle, the Spring Farmer's Markets are a little slim pickins). Here's what we did:

Roll out your pizza dough (either pre-made or bought) into round-ish shapes and let it rest for a little while.
Heat up the grill so it's REALLY hot.
Grab a pizza peel/non-edged cookie sheet and sprinkle some corn meal or similarly-textured flour (semolina) on top and load up the dough.
Slide the dough onto the grill and close it. Give it a couple minutes to puff up a bit and get brown, then flip it and let the 2nd side do the same.
Then TURN OFF THE GRILL! (otherwise... burn marks)
Dress your pizza time!
Our kids: prefer just tomato sauce and cheese.
Hubby: tomato sauce, cheese and any cured meat - preferably Salumi
Mine: olive oil base, potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, gruyere and bleu cheese. I think if I could have fit more on, I would have!

I think we'll be grilling lots of pizza this summer.

I'll keep reading food blogs for ideas, and maybe even find a few more to pass along.

until next time...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cool Kid Stuff (part 1 of many)

The other thing I do way too much of, is read a bunch of blogs. Some have really cool kid stuff, some have crafty stuff, some have techie stuff.
Here's some cool kid stuff.

This is one of the coolest plates I've seen in a while. A bit pricey, but it's "made from hotel-quality, food-safe, high-fire ceramics" so there's less mom-guilt involved.
super fun...


I was talking to a girlfriend yesterday about how I'm "friending" a few writers lately and the old dream of being a writer was bubbling up a little bit. She has a similar writing bug and we both talked of our blogs, how we enjoyed writing, even for bits at a time, and how neither of us have touched our blogs in months. In my case, it's been nearly a year!
I think sometimes it's easy to fall into a rut, it's easy to get too busy, and it's hard to come up with material deemed good enough to write about. I've decided to take some of the pressure off. I'm hoping to just post about things I'd like to remember, or enjoyed reading, or just made me stop and think. I have plenty of things like this, but I'm going to try to stick to one a day (or so).
Today, is the word "Remission". A friend of ours was surprised with a large tumor in his colon - actually he wasn't all that surprised, what was surprising was that it took so long to be discovered even after spending time in the hospital and being diagnosed with diverticulitis. Months after that hospital stay, he was still feeling ill and a coke-can-sized tumor was found and removed from his body. They also found cancer spots on his liver, which meant he had Stage IV cancer (Stage IV cancers have often metastasized, or spread to other organs or throughout the body.).
His prognosis was pretty grim, and considering he was a pretty healthy-living 44-yr old with two young sons, this was a big shock.
He had no intention of giving up or giving in.
He went on an all juice diet (read more, and more), started running/training for a marathon, went through two rounds of chemo (with one more to go) and is now hearing the word "Remission" as his current diagnosis.
Amazing, inspiring, heart-warming, stunning, and a million more words I don't have the vocabulary to write down.
I'm honored to know this person, and inspired to do things that matter, that make me happy, and that keep me close to the people I hope to keep close to me, in times of happiness, sadness and everything in between.
until next time...