Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies.

I loved this book! Maybe not the most riveting story, but I am a sucker for historical fiction, especially in this part of the world.
What could be better than a tea plantation in Ceylon? Or what we now call Sri Lanka? The story centers around an English girl who marries and moves to Ceylon to her husbands tea plantation.
Without getting overly involved it conveys the troubles between the owners, the workers, the natives, and the overseers. Add to that a small "mystery" and a bit of romance.
It did my heart good to lose myself in this book for a couple days.
I recommend this book if you are a lover of historical fiction!


"#1 International bestselling novel set in 1920s Ceylon, about a young Englishwoman who marries a charming tea plantation owner and widower, only to discover he’s keeping terrible secrets about his past, including what happened to his first wife, that lead to devastating consequences."


Dinah Jefferies was born in Malaysia and moved to England at the age of nine. The Tea Planter’s Wife is her US debut.

 "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Food52 Genius Recipes

This book was not what I hoped for....

I was kind of disappointed in this book. I thought it would be smarter, more innovative, and it didn't seem to come close to that at all. Not that the recipes weren't ok, just not what I had hoped for! When I weed out my collection it will probably be among the first to go.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Great Big Pressure Cooker Book!

This looks like a wonderful book, and I have enjoyed reading the recipes. Unfortunately I haven't been able to try any yet as I haven't received my Electric Pressure Cooker, and my old stovetop version is missing a part.

The book has a wonderful introduction, and a lot of practical information and tips for cooks from novice to more advanced.

The chapters are as follows:

Fish and shellfish, vegetables, beans, and grain

I'm most excited to try some of the soup recipes. They all sound wonderful! Both main course and vegetable and grain soups are included.

And of course, meats.... Short ribs!

The book has around 500 recipes, something for everyone. I can't wait to get my cooker so I can try these recipes out!

If you have a pressure cooker, or have toyed with getting one; if you want to eat healthy food in a shorter amount of time, or if you want great food without heating your kitchen this summer, this may be the book for you!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

More info

Author bio

Friday, April 10, 2015

Reviewing Bowl + Spoon by Sara Forte

I just browsed through Bowl + Spoon. Interesting concept; one I thought I like better than I did. The author's premise is that people are busy, yet still want to eat good, healthy food. Her choice is food in bowls. Simplicity. Practical. Carry to the couch in your sweats and curl up with a good book easy.

The book itself is lovely, wonderful full color, full page photos. The recipes are creative, and broken into five categories: Morning Bowls, Side Bowls, Big Bowls, Sweet Bowls and Dressing and Sauces. The ingredients are pretty simple, often seasonal, with an emphasis on vegetables and greens.

Sara Forte also includes tools and ingredients to stock in the kitchen to make food prep easy.

Recipies I would like to try are Homemade Ricotta, Tropical Smoothie Bowl, Kale Caesar with Cornbread Bits, Herbed Falafel Bowl, and  Smoky Black Bean Chili. 

I wish there here had been a few more recipes that incorporated noodles and rice, and maybe some beef or chicken. but considering that this is a Sprouted Kitchen book, I understand why there is not.

If you are into tofu and quinoa, tons of greens and salads, then this would be a wonderful book for you!

For more information, here is the link. http://www.randomhouse.com/book/235998/the-sprouted-kitchen-bowl-and-spoon-by-sara-forte-and-hugh-forte

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Lighten Up, Y'All

Yep, another cookbook review. I just love cookbooks! I read them, use them, collect them, love them.
However, I'm just not sure about this book, Lighten Up, Y'all.
I haven't found too much I actually want to try. :( Which is disappointing.
The premise is that the Southern author, realizing southern food is often not very good for you, has remade those famous southern dishes. Unfortunately, I haven't found many I'm itching to try. I think, if I'm honest, I'd rather eat healthy consistently and then splurge on occasion with REAL southern food.
I know some people choose cauliflower as fake rice. Too much work. I'll eat rice. And hiding broccoli in guacamole? Um, no.
And some of the recipes, didn't sound especially southern, and actually didn't sound all that good. I realize many people will probably love this book. But I am not one of them. Thanks for trying, Virginia Willis. I might find a few recipes to try, but I lost interest about halfway through and I'm moving on.

Here is the official blurb:
A collection of classic Southern comfort food recipes--including seven-layer dip, chicken and gravy, and strawberry shortcake--made lighter, healthier, and completely guilt-free.  $24.99

Virginia Willis is not only an authority on Southern cooking, a French-trained chef, and a veteran cookbook author; she is also a proud Southerner who adores eating and cooking for family and friends. So when she needed to drop a few pounds and generally lighten up her diet, the most important criterion for her new lifestyle was that all the food had to taste delicious.

The result is Lighten Up, Y’all, a soul-satisfying and deeply personal collection of Virginia’s new favorite recipes. All the classics are covered—from a comforting Southern Style Shepherd’s Pie with Grits to warm, melting Broccoli Mac and Cheese to Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Pie. Each dish is packed with real Southern flavor, but made with healthier, more wholesome ingredients and techniques. Wherever you are on your health and wellness journey, Lighten Up, Y’all has the recipes, tools, and inspiration you need to make the nourishing, down-home Southern food you love.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Sunday, February 22, 2015

87th Annual Academy Awards!

I'm not trying to guess what will win. No. I'm choosing who/what I want to win. Hence the reason I don't enter pools or contests. This is just MY opinion, what I think, and it will definitely show how differently I think from the voting members. Sigh.
Ok. Here goes: (I didn't vote in categories where I didn't see the films or have enough information.)

Best Picture: Boyhood
Actress: Julianne Moore
Actor: Eddie Redmayne
Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette
Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons
Animated Feature:....
Cinematography: Yeoman/Grand Budapest Hotel
Costume Design: Atwood/Into the Woods
Director: Linklater/Boyhood
Documentary Feature:....
Documentary Short:....
Film Editing: Whiplash
Foreign Language:....
Makeup: Grand Budapest
Original Score: Grand Budapest Hotel
Original Song: Glory/Selma
Production Design: Into the Woods
Animated Short:....
Live Action Short:....
Sound Editing: Birdman
Sound Mixing: Whiplash
Visual Effects: Guardians of the Galaxy
Adapted Screenplay: Imitation Game
Original Screenplay: Grand Budapest Hotel

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Inside the Test Kitchen by Tyler Florence.

I wasn’t sure about this book, but I thought I’d give it a chance. To my delight, I really enjoyed it and have marked several recipes to try.

The food is all familiar. And food you want to eat. Tyler has taken it, and tested different ways of making it better. His basic premise is, why are we using the techniques our grandmothers used…aren’t there better ways to cook these foods, yielding an even better result?  And so he decided to set up the test kitchen to try out his theory. He says, “We can’t be afraid to take chances and to try again if the first attempts don’t work.” And a strict no-bad-ideas rule was put into place.

When he asked people what recipes they would like to see in a new cookbook he found that people were asking for new recipes for recipes that already existed. And this book followed. A book where his recipes are the best possible, and which can be made in the most efficient way. As Florence says, “changing conventions.”

Thirteen chapters follow, chapters that give you a plan for an entire meal, as well as recipes that sound wonderful… from barbecue and its accompaniments to chicken, to burgers, to eggs and yummy sides.

Not only do the recipes sound great, the book is a fun read, and Florence explains his thought process as well as testing results.

I’m glad I gave the book a try!

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Kitchen in France

Well, we just returned from Hawaii. It was lovely, and warm, and I wish I was still there! It did help to come home to a wonderful new Cookbook! The book, A Kitchen in France, by Mimi Thorisson, is absolutely gorgeous!  I love the personal stories shared by the author, and the family memories. each recipe has another memory or anecdote. The food truly looks scrumptious. It is divided by season, which is helpful. It is not crammed with an over abundance of recipes, but rather they are chosen carefully and thoughtfully. The photos accompanying the recipes are beautiful, and not just pictures of the dish, but the family, the vegetables, the pets, the country. I feel like I am on a vacation to France! I can't wait to try a few of these.

MIMI THORISSON is the author of Manger, a blog devoted to French cooking that was named Saveur’s Best Regional Food Blog in April 2013. After a career in television and having lived in Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Reykjavik, and Paris, she settled with her photographer husband, their five young children, her two older stepchildren, and the family’s fourteen dogs in a farmhouse in Médoc. She is the star of the cooking shows La Table de Mimi and the upcoming Les Desserts de Mimi, both on Canal+ in France.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Another great cookbook!

I received The Skinny Taste Cookbook in the mail to review. The book is written by Gina Homolka, a mom who wanted to lose weight. Her conundrum was making meals that would help her lose weight, while still being something her family wanted to eat. Her first stop was Weight Watchers, but she was not happy with the recipes. She instead decided to take her recipes and rework them so they were calorie friendly. The result is this cookbook. The recipes look yummy..(haven't tried any yet), the pictures are gorgeous, and best of all she includes nutritional information. This is very important to me as I have to watch my sodium.
The recipes are geared to the home cook, and she includes vegetarian, gluten-free, slow cooker and freezer friendly meals, all healthy versions of your favorites. The beginning of the book does a good job of explaining her philosophy, what good fats are, what healthy is, how to make over your kitchen, and good choices for your pantry. With chapters on breakfast, soups, sandwiches,main dish salads, poultry, lean meat fish, meatless mains,sides and deserts, there is something for everybody.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

More Information

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Novel Interiors

So, today I received another beautiful book to review. The book, Novel Interiors: Living in Enchanted Rooms Inspired by Literature by Lisa Borgnes Giramonti, is a book lovers guide to decorating. The photography is gorgeous, and there are a lot of great ideas to be found. There are six "chapters" or six different styles found in the authors favorite novels. Each chapter encompasses one style, like Living Au Natural, and the author uses quotes and ideas from several author's books that fit the category. At the end of each section is a wonderful list of finishing touch ideas to make your room come alive. At the end of the book you will also find a list of sources. I plan to give this book to my daughter who loves both books and great literature. Wonderful book!

More information

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Book Review! In Her Kitchen

I recently added this book to my cookbook collection. It is a WONDERFUL BOOK! The pictures are gorgeous, the food is mouthwatering and the stories make it that much more special! Sixty grandmothers, sharing sixty recipes and a story about their life! In all fairness, I received the book free to review, but it was already on my list of must haves. I have not cooked from it yet, I had unexpected gallbladder surgery and I'm in recovery mode. Grandma food, what could be better?

In Her Kitchen

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Let's Try Again

Forget the move. I think I'll just stay here for now. It's served me well. The last couple years have been interesting. Maybe I'll catch you up some day. Until then I'll be here, and on Twitter (@gerbmom)
Hoping to be able to write about travels, family, cooking.....life!
Check back soon. :)

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Cats in the Cradle

It's been forever since I've posted. Time marches on.
This entire blog is so out of date. But I still like it. Do I want to start over, or just update this one? I'm guessing much has changed here at blogger! Maybe it's time to upgrade a bit. I dunno. I do like that this is linked to Google and Flickr and makes life so easy for me. Hmmmmm.
And things have changed dramatically in my life too....so I suppose I should update that as well.
Time goes by so fast, and if we aren't careful, well, we miss opportunities, we lose track of those we love and we sadly entertain "if I had only...'s."
OK - I'm gonna go think this through, and try and decide about a format and where I want to blog.

"I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind"He said, "I'd love to, Dad, if I can find the time"

Changed my mind. Stayed here. Maybe someday I'll get inspired and redo this.....

Friday, November 12, 2010

Food for Thought!!!

I have received a new book to review written (edited) by a college friend, Leslie Leyland Fields. The book, entitled The Spirit of Food: 34 Writers on Feasting and Fasting Toward God came just the other day. Excitedly I tore open the envelope and held it happily in my hands, wanting to dive in right away. I honestly couldn’t wait. Self-control prevailed. I was already reading another book I was enjoying and wanted and needed to finish it first. So reluctantly I set the book aside.

Today, after finishing up the prior book, I grabbed a highlighter (because how can I read without one?) and Leslie’s book and curled up on the couch to read. The introduction resonated with me and I sighed in anticipation of the essays to come. Many of them written by some of my favorite writers.

Eagerly I began the first chapter written by Patty Kirk, entitled Wild Fruit. Excellent. I loved the way she worshipped God in the small things, like picking fruit! And how she likened us to little creators, formed in God’s image. How much joy there is in creating a new dish, a scrumptious meal; how worshipful our imitation of our God! He must find joy in our meager attempt to create just has He has done!

Bliss. On to the second chapter written by Brian Volck, Late October Tomatoes. He writes about the joys of gardening, planting and nurturing seeds and seedlings and growing them to harvest. Of the joys of the earth and the hard work rewarding us with food. Tomatoes. I could just feel the warm skins and taste the juicy sweetness of a fresh picked tomato. He shared in his writing the connections and memories a simple food can trigger.

Sigh. I love this book. Chapter three. No. Wait. I am torn between wanting to read this book in great big bites. Gulping it in until I am satisfied. Torn between that and wanting to savor the intricacies, wanting to roll the words around in my head until the taste fills my soul.

Reluctantly I have set the book aside. Until tomorrow, or maybe later tonight if I can’t stand it anymore! I know it’s only a matter of time before I’m hungry again for the thoughts and wisdom of these authors…. 

Monday, June 07, 2010


Why do I always ask why? (Oh the irony!) Why do questions and puzzles and words effect me so much? Why do I want all the answers? Why do I have a two year old mentality?

And why do I ask why knowing fully that I won't get answers....why do I become petulant in my questioning? I have a friend who is quite content and rarely even thinks to ask why. That is just so foreign to me. I'm always questioning. I always want to know. I want to learn. I want to understand. Why do people do what they do? Why am I who I am? Why do I, and others, respond the way we do? Why is God doing this or that?

Why's about unanswerable questions, but I still want to know. Why did the oil leak; why did a tsunami happen; why did a bridge collapse; why did Haiti get rocked to its core; why did Columbine happen; why did the towers fall?

Curious why's, demanding why's, wounded why's, childish why's, accusatory why's....

Why do we believe the way we do? Why were certain rules made and why did they become more import than anything else? Why can't we all get along? Why is social justice a bad word? Why do our differences matter more than our similarities? Why is it raining, why do I struggle with depression, why did certain things happen the way they did? Why did my church have to disband? Why do people I love move? Why do I have such a hard time trusting others? Why do I build walls? Why is it so hard for me to be authentic, to let people see the real me, to feel safe in a friendship? Why do I let thoughts and ideas get to me...why do they affect me so much? Why are some people content with the way things are, and I can't rest until I see change? Why can others see that God doesn't need a back seat driver? Why can others let go, trusting God to right things? Why do they not question His plans, His methods, His goodness? Why are they so Implicit in their trust? Why are they satisfied and why am I not? Why am I restless, seeking, challenging? Why do they rest in God while I wrestle with God? Why do they seem to have life figured out when I am still searching for answers? Why do I need answers?

Why, why, why?

And why, oh why am I even awake at 6 a.m. thinking about this?

Saturday, June 05, 2010

What She Said....

I have a need
For solitude
I'll never be
Safe in crowded rooms
I like the sound
Of silence coming on
I come around
When everyone has gone

I have a need
For cool, verdant spaces
Beneath the trees
Secret empty places
Nobody knows
So no one will intrude
I have a need
For solitude

But you can find me, when the light is changing
At that time of day when there's
Little day remaining
You can find me where I've been waiting
Waiting here for you

I never was
The pretty girl in school
I never was
Fast, tough and cool
All I was
All my life it seems
Was hard to love
Harder now to keep

But you can find me, when the light is changing
At that time of day when there's
Little day remaining

I have a need
For solitude
I'll never be
Safe in crowded rooms
I like the sound
Of silence coming on
I come around when all the rest have gone...

Mary Chapin Carpenter

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Food for thought on a hot Sunday....

Wow. Two things to think about today. Huh. I went to church and I watched a movie, and both prompted thoughts.

First, church. The passage was Colossians 2 and the speaker was talking about the infomercial pitchman of the day in Colossee, and how Paul countered the gimmicks. It held together well at points, but others were definitely a stretch. However, near the end it was interesting that we were told that Paul was telling them to weigh everything by the Scripture and not fall for all they are hearing from the religious leaders. I agree with that. But the interesting part was we were told that Scripture trumps tradition, and experience, and rules. I find it ironic that we can see this to teach it, but our evangelical churches don't see the fact that they are guilty of this very thing! So much of the teaching we have grown up with is often taught and retaught and not weighed by the Scripture. And not necessarily because it contradicts Scripture, but because it isn't even part of Scripture. We have made it so by interpretation. We take the teachings of early leaders of the evangelical movement as our Gospel. Why? Because somewhere along the line someone decided that was the truth. Yes, to be fair, the interpretation was likely based on Scripture in that persons mind. Their interpretation. And perhaps it wasn't far off base. But it grew and morphed like a cosmic game of telephone and we often don't really know why we do what we do and why we believe what we believe. It's the lazy way out. We do so because we've been taught to. Because it's always been accepted as "gospel." And so as I listened I saw the irony, and also grasped the fact that the majority of Christians will never ever question anything or think about anything any differently then has been spoon fed to them. And in the very preaching of the sermon the tradition taught as truth has been perpetuated.

This afternoon we watched The Invention of Lying. The premise is that no one lied - ever. Everything said was truth. No lies, no self censorship or tact when speaking. Everything was out there. Until one day the main character told a lie and because lies had never been told before everyone believed and trusted him. Ergo - his word was truth. He learned how to use it for his gain, and how to spin a story. And for awhile it was good. Until one day he was sitting at the bedside of his dying mother. She was afraid to die. And so he lied. He told her not to be afraid that she would go to a better place when she died. Where she would be happy and have a mansion. People marveled that the man had this knowledge. And they sought him out to find out what else he knew. He embellished heaven - much as we think of it today. And then people wanted to know about "the man in the sky" and he made up more stories. And made a persona for this good man who ran everything from the sky. He caused and cured illness. He caused tsunamis. He caused financial windfalls. The good and the bad. He was the puppet master. And the myth kept growing. And then the people wanted to know the rules. The main character writes down all he "knows" of the rules on pizza boxes and addresses the crowd with these "tablets." He talks about good and bad, sin and lack there of. How many bad things one is forgiven of (three) before they go to the horrible bad place instead of heaven. And then people want the rules interpreted down the very last jot and tittle. They want everything spelled out for them so they don't do it wrong. Is it intent that makes the act a sin? And on it went.

I saw this as an interesting social commentary, first as the way men see God and religion. Stories made up and passed down. Panaceas to soothe the soul. Smart men should realize this is a bunch of hooey; that a much smarter man capitalized on this when he realized he could and that he was able to greatly benefit from it. And secondly, it speaks to the way some things have been addressed in evangelical circles regarding all aspects of Christianity. The rules, the traditions, the stories - which is which? Which are the stories and which are the truth. And that brought me back to the message of the morning.

I'm still processing it all - there is much food for thought here.

Spinning merrily.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I Like Giants
Kimya Dawson

When I go for a drive I like to pull off to the side
Of the road, turn out the lights, get out and look up at the sky
And I do this to remind me that I'm really, really tiny
In the grand scheme of things and sometimes this terrifies me

But it's only really scary cause it makes me feel serene
In a way I never thought I'd be because I've never been
So grounded, and so humbled, and so one with everything
I am grounded, I am humbled, I am one with everything

Rock and roll is fun but if you ever hear someone
Say you are huge, look at the moon, look at the stars, look at the sun
Look at the ocean and the desert and the mountains and the sky
Say I am just a speck of dust inside a giant's eye
I am just a speck of dust inside a giant's eye

When I saw Geneviève I really liked it when she said
What she said about the giant and the lemmings on the cliff
She said 'I like giants
Especially girl giants
Cause all girls feel too big sometimes
Regardless of their size'

When I go for a drive I like to pull off to the side
Of the road and run and jump into the ocean in my clothes
And I'm smaller than a poppyseed inside a great big bowl
And the ocean is a giant that can swallow me whole

So I swim for all salvation and I swim to save my soul
But my soul is just a whisper trapped inside a tornado
So I flip to my back and I float and I sing
I am grounded, I am humbled, I am one with everything
I am grounded, I am humbled, I am one with everything

So I talked to Geneviève and almost cried when she said
That the giant on the cliff wished that she was dead
And the lemmings on the cliff wished that they were dead
So the giant told the lemmings why they ought to live instead

When she thought up all those reasons that they ought to live instead
It made her reconsider all the sad thoughts in her head
So thank you Geneviève, cause you take what is in your head
And you make things that are so beautiful and share them with your friends

We all become important when we realize our goal
Should be to figure out our role within the context of the whole
And yeah, rock and roll is fun, but if you ever hear someone
Say you are huge, look at the moon, look at the stars, look at the sun
Look at the ocean and the desert and the mountains and the sky

Say I am just a speck of dust inside a giant's eye
I am just a speck of dust inside a giant's eye
I am just a speck of dust inside a giant's eye
And I don't wanna make her cry
Cause I like giants

Thursday, May 13, 2010

For want of a Nail....

One drop in a pond, one flutter of a butterfly's wings, call it what you will, but just know, it changes everything. No matter what you do, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant, it effects others and things in ever widening circles. It's not a new concept, but I was reminded of it today watching rain drops fall from a tree branch into a pool of water. Making contact, it spreads concentrically, and quickly, until it hits dry earth. The effect on each thing, whether in the pond, or on the dry ground, is different. But make no mistake; they all feel the current, the push of the water, the final result. And it changes their course. Their response is in reaction to the original drop. What we say, and what we do matters. This thing is bigger than us. And we are responsible to live the best way we can, honoring God, loving our fellow man, and respecting the earth.

I know I'm mixing metaphors, but I was reminded of this rhyme I was taught as a child:

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Small decisions today can change the world tomorrow.
We don't know who's life we'll effect.
All for the want of a horseshoe nail.