Book Review: In Tune With Love

Posted by Katrina Roets at 10:26 AM

Friday, August 28, 2015

They’ve helped orchestrate the perfect day for countless couples. Now twelve new couples will find themselves in the wedding spotlight in the second Year of Weddings novella collection.

April is willing to do anything for her sister’s wedding—until she comes face to face with a guy from her past.

April Quinn is thrilled to be her sister’s maid of honor, until the wedding coordinator quits and the responsibilities get dumped on her. It’s April’s worst nightmare—especially since her sister has more objections and opinions than a lawyer presenting a high-profile court case. When the wedding singer walks out at the last-minute, her sister hires a replacement. When April finds out who the replacement is, she’s ready to call it quits as well.
Because there’s only one person in April’s past that she never wanted to see again, and her sister just handed him a front row seat to the wedding.

Jack Vaughn finally has the career he’s always wanted. After playing in bars and singing in weddings as a struggling musician for half a decade, he’s just released his second album and sales are skyrocketing. But while visiting his parent’s Nashville home the weekend before his first headline tour, he runs into an old friend. When she asks him for a last-minute favor, he can’t bring himself to say no. Even though saying yes means he has to come face to face with April Quinn—the girl who hasn’t spoken to him in years.

And rightly so, since he stole something from her that he’ll never be able to repay.

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Just two weeks ago, you read about how much I love this series and now I'm back and telling you that this book was only middling for me. I felt as if the characters never truly matured. April also seemed unrealistically naive. Also, while the story was fun, it didn't feel inspiring (which is often the theme with these novellas) and it ended rather abruptly. Usually I walk away from these books with a smile, but this one I walked away just not feeling confident that Jack and April have any real chance for a forever type relationship.

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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

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Crockpot Monday: California Chicken

Posted by Katrina Roets at 12:00 PM

Monday, August 24, 2015

I know that I've mentioned more than once how thankful I've been to have these meals and I really hope that you've all enjoyed them too! I have a little secret... I'm going to be releasing these as a cookbook with some bonus recipes! I'm super excited. There's still a ton of work to do, but I just couldn't keep it quiet for another minute. Now... on to the recipe!

California Chicken:
Ingredients:
2 lb. chicken breasts
1 c. orange juice
1/3 c. chili sauce
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. molasses
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
*13 oz. can mandarin oranges

Place chicken into gallon size freezer bag. Pour liquids and spices over top. Add green bell pepper. Do not add oranges at this time. Squeeze out any extra air, seal, and place in freezer.

Cooking Instructions:
Thaw in refrigerator. Pour into crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours. With 30 minutes remaining, add mandarin oranges.


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Book Review: The House on Moody Avenue

Posted by Katrina Roets at 10:11 AM

Friday, August 21, 2015

An eclectic assortment of humanity, with all their foibles and failings, lived in the house on Moody Avenue over a period of ninety years. I tell their stories.

Lisette, her unshakable faith sustaining her, is undeterred in the face of adversity; Julia, a social-climbing snob, sees her world crumble when her children marry inappropriately; Clarence, a Casper Milquetoast bank clerk, absconds with a quarter of a million dollars; Frances, a country girl, comes to the big city to marry a rich man; Sammy, a black man, passes for white.

Beatnik squatters, high on LSD, burn down the condemned ninety-year-old house, leaving it naught but a precious memory in the hearts of those who once sought its shelter.

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When I first picked up this book, I was excited because I'm one of those types who always wish "the walls could talk." I really feel as if homes have personalities and older homes have such wonderful histories. Unfortunately, this book was more the scattered stories of some of the people who lived within the house. The first story was well written, but sadly, it seemed to go downhill from there. The stories felt rushed and less and less interesting. It's not often that I pick up a book and by the time I'm done with it, I'm saddened because the idea was a great one but the reality just didn't hit the mark.

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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.
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Crockpot Monday: Tangy BBQ Beef Sandwiches

Posted by Katrina Roets at 12:00 PM

Monday, August 17, 2015

At the end of summer, our bowling league has a special party where everyone pitches in. This meal is perfect for that! Every time I bring BBQ sandwiches, I come home with an empty crockpot! It's amazing how fast it goes. So, keep this for your family or take it to a potluck for everyone to enjoy!

Tangy BBQ Beef Sandwiches

Ingredients:
1.5 c celery, chopped
1/2 c onions, chopped
1/2 c ketchup
1/2 c bbq sauce
1/2 c water
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 lb. boneless chuck roast
*buns

Place all ingredients into gallon sized freezer bag. Squeeze out extra air and freeze.

Cooking Instructions:
Thaw in refrigerator. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours. Shred beef and serve on buns.


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Book Review: All Dressed Up in Love

Posted by Katrina Roets at 10:30 AM

Friday, August 14, 2015

The bridal shop business it took his mother three decades to build, the enterprise that covered his university and law degrees in full, was struggling because he might be part-genius when it came to contract law . . . But corset-style gowns with a mermaid flair? Shoot me now.

Tara Simonetti hated law school, but loved the community grant funding her presence at Temple University’s esteemed school of law. She could not fail. Would not fail. But when a notice for bridal store help appeared on the community notice board, Tara applied for the job immediately. While grants and loans helped pave her way, money for food was scarce. Legal precedence, moot court, and judicial clerking all had their place, but they were nothing compared to Alcenon lace, tucked silk skirts, and a well-placed peplum.

Greg had grabbed her help as the act of a desperate man. Within weeks, he was desperate again, this time to win her heart. But after using community funds to get her degree, how can Tara turn her back on the people who helped finance her goal?

But if she leaves Philadelphia and Greg to return to her small-town in northern Pennsylvania, she’ll be leaving her heart behind. A heart he won, fair and square by posting a help wanted notice on the coffee shop board . . . A heart that filled the missing niche in his mother’s acclaimed bridal store. A heart Greg longed to cherish forevermore.

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Does anyone remember how much I loved this series last year? Well, if you do, you won't be surprised to hear that I'm really enjoying it again this year. Novellas are a great way to get a bit of reading in without it taking up the whole day. This particular book was filled with great characters and great writing. I loved how the bridal shop staff was like a family and they brought Tara into that. Tara and Greg themselves were well written and like many novellas, it left me wanting more...


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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

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Crockpot Monday: Chicken & Veggies

Posted by Katrina Roets at 12:00 PM

Monday, August 10, 2015

Summer is winding down, but don't let that stop you from filling up that freezer! If you're like me, school starts and it's even more chaotic than summer break. I have one boy who is the girls' swim team manager and the other one will be playing football and will also be in the marching band. Did I mention that the band is competitive? I'm really not sure when we'll be home!

Chicken & Veggies:

Ingredients:
4 chicken breasts
15 oz. crushed tomatoes
10 oz. frozen green beans
2 c. chicken broth
1 c. sliced mushrooms
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. dried terragon
*1 c brown rice, uncooked

Place all ingredients, except rice into a gallon sized freezer bag. Squeeze out all extra air, seal, and freeze.

Cooking instructions:
Thaw in refrigerator. Place in crockpot. Add rice and cook, on low, for 6-8 hours.


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Book Review: Infuse

Posted by Katrina Roets at 8:30 AM

Friday, August 7, 2015

From the authors of Shake: A New Perspective on Cocktails comes Infuse, a recipe book filled with fresh and flavorful oil, spirit, and water infusions.

Authors Eric Prum and Josh Williams’ passion for infusing oils, spirits and waters began one summer nearly a decade ago when the two first made peach-infused bourbon. They were awestruck. The seemingly simple process of adding fresh, local peaches to a Mason jar of Kentucky Bourbon, and infusing the mixture for a handful of weeks had somehow resulted in something so much greater than the sum of its parts.

In Infuse the authors share not only their favorite infusion recipes, but also how to use them in food and cocktails, like a spicy chili oil added to a grilled pizza bianca or a hot toddy spiked with the peach bourbon that started it all years ago. With more than 50 recipes for infusing oils, spirits and waters, Infuse provides instructions, quick tips and plenty of inspiration for how you can make delicious infusions part of your everyday.

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Any excuse to play in the kitchen and in my garden is a good excuse to read a book in my world. Okay, a book is a good excuse to read a book in my world, but a book that adds in those other components? Priceless.  Honest to goodness, this is a book that just encourages me to get in there and play which is something that I don't do near enough. I spend far too much time "cooking" and not enough time just letting my creative side flow. I just need to get myself some mason jars and a few of those fantastic taps that they're producing now!

Honestly... if you like yummy infusions, a bit of fun, and kitchen experiments, you're going to want to add this book to your shelf!

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Crockpot Monday: Hungarian Goulash

Posted by Katrina Roets at 12:00 PM

Monday, August 3, 2015

I can't believe that summer is almost done. By the time that you, my lovely readers, see this, there will only be a few more weeks left. Both of my boys will be in high school this year and as some of you may know, teenage boys have insane appetites and little patience! Thank goodness for crockpot meals!

Hungarian Goulash:

Ingredients:
2 lb. round steak, cubed
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1.5 tsp. paprika
10 3/4 oz. can tomato soup
1/2 can water
*1 c. sour cream

Coat steak with flour and spices. Place all ingredients into freezer bag except sour cream.

Cooking Instructions:
Thaw in refrigerator. Place in crockpot and cook, on low, for 8-10 hours. With 30 minutes remaining, add in sour cream. Serve over noodles.


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