Monday, January 18, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

My resolutions for 2010. What are yours?

1. Lose 5 lbs. (already lost 2 lbs./ideal weight is 128 lbs.)

2. Have the downstairs family room and guest bedroom finished by Feb. 15 (family room gets finished today! everyone is saying yea!!)

3. Put in a new kitchen sink (this is a must do!)

4. Put in new kitchen flooring (badly needed)

5. Practice patience (this is going to be a big challenge)

6. Save money wherever I can (this is an even bigger challenge!)

7. Read 100 books this year (remember, I do book reviews)

8. Exercise every other day (every day is asking too much of myself)

9. Cut back on sugar (I'll try to cut back, but I can't give it up completely)

10. Visit my out-of-town children at least once each month (they live 2 hours away)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Swan Thieves / Review

Author: Elizabeth Kostova
Hardcover: 576 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (January 12, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316065781

My Review:

Robert Oliver, a troubled, yet distinguished painter, has attacked a painting at the National Gallery of Art--an action which has landed him in a mental institution under the care of psychiatrist, Andrew Marlowe. Marlowe, who is an art enthusiast and painter himself, becomes deeply fascinated with his patient and the history behind Robert Oliver's strange behavior. As he attempts to heal his patient, the doctor is met with obstinence and silence; Oliver will tell him nothing. Determined to find answers, Marlowe not only becomes involved in his patient's past life and relationships, but also with the life of forbidden lovers, Beatrice de Cleval, and her mentor, artist Olivier Vignot, from the 19th century. Who is Robert Oliver and what is his connection to the painting? This book kept me guessing.

Kostova brings, once again, something wonderful to the written page--something that will enthrall readers from start to finish. It is superbly written, multi-layered, containing all the elements of a great story: desire, passion, obsession, forbidden love, mystery, historical romance, and the determination of the human spirit. It is an extraordinary book that I believe, not only mystery lovers will like, but artists or lovers of art will enjoy, as well. I found it to be an elegant, tender, highly psychological read, with lots of talk about the world of art.

(Thank you to Hachette Book Group for my review copy.)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Snow Ice Cream

When I was a child, my folks made snow ice cream every winter. Just at the right time, when the snow had freshly fallen, and the ground ascended in fluffy white mounds, my grandmother, dressed in black rubber boots, and a long coat over a fresh apron, would take her shiny metal dishpan out to the backyard to gather the fresh delight. That was many years ago and as you might imagine the recipe has long been forgotten. I believe she added white sugar, vanilla extract, and cream. Does that sound right? However it was made, we thought it was absolutely delicious.

Do you remember eating snow ice cream when you were a child and/or do you make it today? Does anyone have a delicious recipe for it? I would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lunch In Paris / Review

Author: Elizabeth Bard
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (February 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 031604279X

Book Description:

In Paris for a weekend visit, Elizabeth Bard sat down to lunch with a handsome Frenchman--and never went home again. Was it love at first sight? Or was it the way her knife slid effortlessly through her pavé au poivre, the steak'spink juices puddling into the buttery pepper sauce?

LUNCH IN PARIS is a memoir about a young American woman caught up in two passionate love affairs--one with her new beau, Gwendal, the other with French cuisine. Packing her bags for a new life in the world's most romantic city, Elizabeth is plunged into a world of bustling open-air markets, hipster bistros, and size 2 femmes fatales. She learns to gut her first fish (with a little help from Jane Austen), soothe pangs of homesickness (with the rise of a chocolate soufflé) and develops a crush on her local butcher (who bears a striking resemblance to Matt Dillon). Elizabeth finds that the deeper she immerses herself in the world of French cuisine, the more Paris itself begins to translate. French culture, she discovers, is not unlike a well-ripened cheese-there may be a crusty exterior, until you cut through to the melting, piquant heart.Peppered with mouth-watering recipes for summer ratatouille, swordfish tartare and molten chocolate cakes, Lunch in Paris is a story of falling in love, redefining success and discovering what it truly means to be at home. In the delicious tradition of memoirs like A Year in Provence and Under the Tuscan Sun, this book is the perfect treat for anyone who has dreamed that lunch in Paris could change their life.

My Review:
I love anything that involves a life or vacation in Paris, so I couldn't wait to read this one. Although, Lunch in Paris wasn't as richly written as I would have liked, it was entertaining with great recipes. I'm giving it 4 stars.