Monday, July 24, 2017

Crockpot Monday: Beer Braised Turkey

11:12 AM 0 Comments
If the beer in this recipe gives you a moment of pause, don't worry...the alcohol will cook out well before serving. Personally, I'm contemplating changing this recipe up with a bottle of cider instead of beer. If you do a bit of experimenting, be sure to comment and let me know what you tried and how it turned out!

Ingredients:
2 pounds potatoes, washed and quartered
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
3 pounds turkey drumsticks, or a bone-in turkey breast
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon dried basil (or 1/4 cup finely diced fresh basil leaves)
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 (12-ounce) bottle of beer

Directions:

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Place the potatoes and onion into the bottom of your crockpot, and add turkey on top. Drop in butter, basil, and lemon juice. Sprinkle on salt, and pour in the beer.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours.


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Friday, July 21, 2017

Book Review: The Inkblots

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The captivating, untold story of Hermann Rorschach and his famous inkblot test, which has shaped our view of human personality and become a fixture in popular culture

In 1917, working alone in a remote Swiss asylum, psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach devised an experiment to probe the human mind. For years he had grappled with the theories of Freud and Jung while also absorbing the aesthetic of a new generation of modern artists. He had come to believe that who we are is less a matter of what we say, as Freud thought, than what we see.

Rorschach himself was a visual artist, and his test, a set of ten carefully designed inkblots, quickly made its way to America, where it took on a life of its own. Co-opted by the military after Pearl Harbor, it was a fixture at the Nuremberg trials and in the jungles of Vietnam. It became an advertising staple, a clich√© in Hollywood and journalism, and an inspiration to everyone from Andy Warhol to Jay-Z. The test was also given to millions of defendants, job applicants, parents in custody battles, workers applying for jobs, and people suffering from mental illness—or simply trying to understand themselves better. And it is still used today.

Damion Searls draws on unpublished letters and diaries, and a cache of previously unknown interviews with Rorschach’s family, friends, and colleagues, to tell the unlikely story of the test’s creation, its controversial reinvention, and its remarkable endurance—and what it all reveals about the power of perception. Elegant and original, The Inkblots shines a light on the twentieth century’s most visionary synthesis of art and science.

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I've been reading a lot of fiction lately and wanted something a bit different so when this book became available for review, it seemed like the perfect timing. Finding the time to read it, however, is another story for another day. Let's talk about Rorschach.

The Good: This book reads as if you're talking with a friend. I love this author's style. Biographies can be dry but I never had that experience with "The Inkblots". In fact, I picked it up every chance that I got because, almost like a fiction book, I wanted to know what happened next.

The Bad: The second half of the book is about what happened with the test after Rorschach's death and while interesting, I admit that it had a bit more trouble holding my attention.

The Summary: If you're interested in psychology, psychiatry, or just really well written biographies, I suggest you pick up a copy of this book. I don't think that you'll regret it.

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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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Monday, July 17, 2017

Crockpot Monday: Asian Turkey

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For the longest time, I turned my nose up at any recipe that declared itself to be Asian. Why? Soy sauce. I just didn't like it. It's still not my favorite but I've found that if it's paired right, it can be downright tasty!

Ingredients:
1 turkey breast (5-7 pounds)
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup sesame oil
1 Tablespoon peanut butter
1 Tablespoon prepared horseradish cream
3 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
2 limes, juiced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

Place the turkey breast into the crockpot, breast side down. In a small mixing bowl, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, peanut butter, horseradish, chopped garlic, lime juice, and salt. Whisk together until everything is incorporated. Pour the sauce all over the turkey breast, allowing the sauce to pool up in the rib cage cavity.

Cover. If your lid doesn't fit on your pot completely (mine didn't), cover the top of your insert with layers of foil. Crimp the edges as tightly as you can and then place your lid on top. Cook on low for about 8 hours, or until meat is no longer pink when you cut into it and registers 170 degrees. If your turkey has a built-in thermometer it should pop up.

Carefully remove the turkey from the pot and let sit for 10 minutes or so before slicing.

If you’re a gravy fan, pour the turkey drippings into a small sauce pan and boil on the stove until the sauce has thickened and reduced. Serve with your favorite sides!


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Friday, July 14, 2017

Book Review: Death in the Floating City

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Years ago, Emily's childhood nemesis, Emma Callum, scandalized polite society when she eloped to Venice with an Italian count. But now her father-in-law lies murdered, and her husband has vanished. There's no one Emma can turn to for help but Emily, who leaves at once with her husband, the dashing Colin Hargreaves, for Venice. There, her investigations take her from opulent palazzi to slums, libraries, and bordellos. Emily soon realizes that to solve the present day crime, she must first unravel a centuries old puzzle. But the past does not give up its secrets easily, especially when these revelations might threaten the interests of some very powerful people.

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Another of my free library shelf finds! The title captured my attention and so I tossed it into my bag and on my last "make myself take downtime day", I picked it up and read the whole darned thing before I realized it! That's a good sign that I enjoyed the book, but let's break it down a little bit more.

I'm a sucker for a mystery and this one was really well written. Even though the chapters switch between present and past, there was absolutely no confusion and it was easy to see how they were tied together. The characters felt true in their interactions and even though this was the only book in the series that I've read so far, I still felt as if I knew them.

Now, if I have to find a complaint, it's only that the ending seemed off to me. I don't mind being surprised by who the bad guy is, but somehow it just didn't feel right to me. Still, it didn't stop me from enjoying the book.

So, if you like mysteries, check out the Lady Emily series. I know I'm going to try to track down another one and if I spot one on the free shelf, it's going home with me.


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Monday, July 10, 2017

Crockpot Monday: Apple, Cheddar & Turkey Meatballs

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Who doesn't love meatballs? I honestly can't think of a single person in my world that is anti-meatball. If you know of someone, I'd love to hear their story! Just drop me a comment below.

Now...on to delicious!

Ingredients:
1.5 pounds extra lean ground turkey
1 egg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 green apple, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 cup dried unsweetened cranberries

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, mix the ground turkey with the other ingredients. Don’t be afraid to use your hands!

Make golf-ball sized meatballs, and drop them into your crockpot.

Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or on low for 5-9. Remember that the more full your crockpot is, the longer these will take to cook.

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Friday, July 7, 2017

Book Review: Irish Cream

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Damian "Day" O'Sullivan is a troubled young man who blames himself for a tragic vehicular homicide he may not have committed. Trouble is, Day's entire family seems to be conspiring to pin the crime on the poor lad, which only leads Nuala and Dermot to wonder who really ran over (three times!) Rodney Keefe in the parking lot of a ritzy Chicago country club.

The O'Sullivans are a ruthlessly ambitious clan of South Side Irish, who consider themselves the cream of the Irish-American community. The sensitive Day has always been something of a black sheep in the family---and perhaps a scapegoat as well.

But the twisted saga of the O'Sullivans isn't the only mystery to be unraveled. Having stumbled onto the diary of Father Richard Lonigan, a nineteenth-century parish priest assigned to a remote village in old Donegal, Dermot and Nuala find themselves caught up in the closely guarded secrets and scandals of that desolate time and place, where simmering resentment against the ruling English sometimes erupted into violence and murder....

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It's been ages since I picked up an Andrew Greeley book and when I spotted this one on the library free shelf, I let myself go ahead and spoil myself. I'm always telling my boys to make good choices and I'm pleased to say that I did by following my gut.

As always, the characters delighted me. This is book 8 in the series, but don't let that stop you from reading it if you get a chance. It works perfectly as a standalone. I loved the addition of Day to this book! He's the perfect project for Nuala and crew!

I do, however, have to report that the switching between the Father Lonigan "mystery" and the modern happenings did throw me off. I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out the connection between the two events and since the mystery isn't revealed until the very end, it just felt as if I were reading two separate books. That being said, both were enjoyable!

So, in conclusion (I'm feeling fancy today!), I really do recommend any of the Nuala books written by Andrew Greeley. They're all delightful. Well, at the least the ones I've had the joy of reading have been. I'd say they're the perfect curl up under a blanket and lose yourself in a story type of book.

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Monday, July 3, 2017

Crockpot Monday: Turkey Cutlets

10:38 AM 0 Comments
 Long time no recipes! Life got away from me this Spring and I feel as if I'm still playing a game of catch up! I have one kid in the Caribbean on a science research trip (holy fundraising for that!) and the other one is now working five days a week. Since he can't drive, I'm doing a lot of driving back and forth. Since money is tight, I'm using the time he's at work to hang out at the library in the hopes of catching up on some stuff! First on the list? Getting our recipe section moving again!

Now, I know it's summer and depending where you live, turkey can be tough to come by unless it's a full turkey or ground turkey. No worries..substitute chicken or just hold onto these until Fall!

Ingredients:
1.25 pounds turkey breast cutlets
8.5 oz jar sundried tomatoes, drained and rinsed
2 oz can anchovies, drained and rinsed
6 slices of bacon

Directions:
Spread the bacon on the bottom of your crockpot. Rinse off the anchovies, and lay them on top. Add the turkey cutlets. Rinse off a bit of the oil from the sundried tomatoes, and add them on top of the turkey.

Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.


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