Monday, February 8, 2016

Menu Plan Monday 2/8

Monday- Barber Chicken with white rice
Tuesday- Stir Fry Noodles with chicken
Wednesday- Popcorn Chicken, Chicken fries with homemade fries
Thursday- Pasta with garlic bread
Friday- Tacos with saffron rice
Saturday- Whole Roasted Chicken with sides
Sunday- Omaha Steaks and Baked Potatoes

I love when I can sit down and plan out the month with the things in the house without too much of a problem.  I got the first two weeks of the calendar filled before we even finished all last month so I was super excited.  The best part was that I had everything in the house to make everything already.  I knew that I had the flexibility to change if I got any great deals but with everything on the calendar, it was a great weight lifted off of me (especially since I didn't get a lot of food last month)!!  This is going to be a tasty week with all of the fun meals planned.  I hope that you have a tasty week too!!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

January Reading Review

Here are the books that I read for the month.  I wasn't sure how this month was going to go after finishing up last month with not as much reading but I was going to read my pile of library books and start on the books for my reviews.  I started with a book that was over 500 pages and actually included three different books so I thought that I was going to be reading it all month because it seemed to take me so long to get through it but it didn't take as long as I thought it would because it was such a fast read and I didn't want to put it down.

If you missed my initial review, please click on the title of the book and it will take you back to the summary and review of the book.  I hope that you will find a few that you want to add on to your reading list.

by Debbie Macomber

 by Debbie Macomber

by Fred Schruers

by Colleen Coble

Where She Belongs 
by Johnnie Alexander

Hannah's Choice
by Jan Drexler

Your New Money Mindset
by Brad Hewitt and James Moline

The Mistletoe Inn
by Richard Paul Evans

Angels at the Table
by Debbie Macomber

A Son's Vow
by Shelley Shepard Gray

A Horse for Kate
by Miralee Ferrell

Silver Spurs
by Miralee Ferrell

Mystery Rider
 by Miralee Ferrell

Reading for 2016

January           13

Total Books       13

Currently Reading:

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Mystery Rider Book Review

Mystery Rider (Horses and Friends) by Miralee Ferrell was the third book in the series of Horses and Friends.  I have enjoyed this wonderful series and was excited to get on to the third book in the series.  The best part is that it left off exactly where the last book ended so I didn't feel like I missed a thing!!

In the third installment in the Horses and Friends series, thirteen-year-old Kate Ferris already has one problem. Snooty, well-to-do Melissa is boarding her horse at Kate’s family stable. When Melissa suddenly turns nice, Kate is shocked ... and suspicious.  The last thing she needs is more trouble. So when a hooded rider appears—and then disappears—on a stunning black horse outside her home, Kate isn’t sure if Melissa is playing a trick or something more dangerous is going on. Either way, Kate and her friends will need an extra measure of faith and courage to solve this mystery.

The book was a little more mysterious then the other two but I didn't think that there was too much suspense but if you have a young reader who is easily spooked, you might want to read this one together to make sure that they make it through the suspenseful part.  I really enjoyed the mystery to find the rider who they saw in the hood riding the black horse at night.  The kids all pull together and you will be really surprised at how this story turns around and the great message that it sends to kids.  I hope that you enjoy this wonderful book!!  I know that I did and I can't wait to read the book that was sent to me for review!  I know that I am going to love the whole series and I hope that you do too!!

** I  got this book with the others in the series in order to read the whole series.  I was only supposed to review the 4th book in the series but was given all of the books so I will review all of the books.  I review both books that I get at the library and through publishers on my site to share with you all of the books that I read to see if you might be interested.  I am not sure if there is a disclosure with this but I did get a copy of this book from the publisher even though my review was not required.

Friday, February 5, 2016

A Son's Vow Book Review

I love Shelley Shepard Gray so I jumped at the chance to read her new book before it was even available.  This is the start to a great new series, A Son's Vow: The Charmed Amish Life, Book One by Shelley Shepard Gray.  I couldn't wait to meet all of the new characters and find out what was going to happen in this first book in this new series!

Shelley Shepard Gray’s first book in her Charmed Amish Life series is set in the quaint Amish village of Charm, Ohio, and tells the stories of the Kinsinger siblings who are each struggling to find both forgiveness and love in the face of tragedy.  Three months ago, everything changed for Darla Kurtz and her family. Darla’s father was responsible for a terrible fire at Charm’s lumber mill which killed five Amish men. And though he, too, lost his life, the town of Charm hasn’t looked at her family the same since. Even Lukas Kinsinger—with whom Darla used to have a close friendship.

Now her brother’s anger at the town is spilling over onto Darla, and she has the bruises to prove it. The accident already cost five lives, but if something doesn’t change soon, Darla fears it will cost her—and her family—even more.  Lukas Kinsinger wants to mourn the loss of his father, but he can hardly find the time to breathe. Suddenly the head of his father’s lumber mill and responsible for taking care of his three siblings, he’s feeling the pressure. He has also never felt more alone—especially with the new tension between he and Darla. But when he learns of her troubles at home, Lukas knows he can’t simply stand by and watch. Someone has to help her before another tragedy occurs.  As Lukas and Darla attempt to repair their families, they discover something deeper than friendship growing between them. But will Lukas and Darla’s love be accepted after so much loss? Or will the pain of the past overcome any chance of future happiness?

Do you like Amish fiction as much as I do?  Amish fiction often reminds me that although I am washing lots of dishes, at least I have a dishwasher and although we have lots of clothes to wash that we get to use washers and dryers.  I love to see how simple life can be even though I know that it would be so hard to live that life.  The best is that things about this book applies no matter what type of life you lead.  The families in the area are trying to get over the death of the five men in a local accident but many are pointing the fingers at others.  The human emotions are a reality whether you are Amish or Englisher and any one can relate to the emotions that they are all going through.  I enjoyed the great characters and wonderful writing.  I hope that you check out this book at your local library or bookstore.  I know that you will enjoy it as much as I have!!  Check out this book and more by Shelley Shepard Gray soon.  Let me know what you think!

**I got a copy of this book from the publisher for my review.  All opinion here are my own.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Silver Spurs Book Review

I was interested in series for Horses and Friends when I got the opportunity to read the fourth book in the series.  The wonderful part is they sent me all four books.  I got to start at the beginning of the list so I was super happy because I love to read them from the beginning!!  Silver Spurs (Horses and Friends) by Miralee Ferrell was the second book in the series.

Kate’s dream of owning a horse has finally happened. But now her best friend Tori has no money to buy a horse. So Kate comes up with a plan—she’ll raise money by boarding horses and hosting a show in her family’s barn.  It seems the perfect solution until Melissa, the girl who disses Kate and Tori at school, shows up to board her horse, determined to compete in their show and win the silver spurs. Will their plan be ruined—or does God have something better in store for them all?

I was excited to start this book right after finishing the last book in the series to find out what happens next.  I wasn't disappointed and I really enjoyed getting to know the girls more through the course of the story.  The horse show was an added bonus because you get to see how good things come out of the bad situation and how everyone pulls together to make the horse show happen for this little ranch.  I  hope that you get a chance to check out this series and see if you like the wonderful horse story.  It is a perfect story for young girls (and other horse enthusiasts) and I really enjoyed the series myself.... cause I love horses.  The bonus for this series is it took place near where my husband grew up so it was fun reading about all the different things around the area!!  I hope that you check it out and enjoy it too for all the great writing, fun characters and beautiful horses!

** I  got this book with the others in the series in order to read the whole series.  I was only supposed to review the 4th book in the series but was given all of the books so I will review all of the books.  I review both books that I get at the library and through publishers on my site to share with you all of the books that I read to see if you might be interested.  I am not sure if there is a disclosure with this but I did get a copy of this book from the publisher even though my review was not required.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Bonnie Butter Cupcakes from Middle School Home Ec

I had to make cupcakes for my son's birthday and he decided that he wanted white or yellow cupcakes.  This is the first year for this because every other year he has asked for chocolate.  Being that the numbers of cupcakes are rising every year, this year I needed 30 for school and 30 for his party so the easier and the cheaper, the better.  I wasn't buying box mix to make that many because I would need like 4 or 5 boxes!!! 

I decided to pull out the old cookbook and see what choices I had.  I went through the whole cake section and only found two white or yellow cakes!!  I was amazed that the only choices were recipes from my home ec teacher in middle school but knowing that I had made these, I decided to do a taste off to see which my family liked better...but my husband said, he is 7 and he gets what you make.  Good point.  I picked one recipe and went with it!!  The winner was: Bonnie Butter Cake!!!!

I got out all the ingredients and went to town making a double batch.  Silly me, I called my mom at the same time and she gave me the same fear filled speech to not make a double batch because some recipes aren't meant to be doubled.  Funny because she uses margarine instead of butter in all recipes and takes out the salt because she doesn't like salt but she refuses to double a recipe.  Well, this one better be or I won't get the cupcakes done in time so I forged ahead with my plan... it doubles fine just in case you were holding your breath.

I mixed the margarine, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in my mixer until fluffy.

I measured the flour and laid it out on the flour container lid.  I refuse to dirty another bowl by combining the dry ingredients but that is just me being stubborn.  When I measured out a few cups, I put the baking powder and salt on top so that they would be added together.

I measured out part of the milk and set it out on the counter.

I mixed alternately with the milk into the batter which was even better since I doubled it and it was getting close to the top of the bowl as I went further.

When the milk was added it was thinner.

Then, when all the ingredients were gone, it was done.  It was a little thicker then store bought mixer but not super thick.

I put them in cupcake tins with the paper inserts because they were going to school and the birthday party.  It is the only time that I use the paper inserts because I hate how much cupcake you loose to the paper but it way better because the kids put them on the table and you don't have to worry about plates or napkins at school.  I know that I have another metal muffin pan somewhere but I couldn't find it so I used the two 6 count muffin pans and my 12 count muffin pan.  It worked out well because I only baked 12 muffins at the time.  With the paper inserts, the cupcakes were easy to pop out and put in the next batch after they cooled.

The recipe called for making a cake and I was making cupcakes so I didn't know the exact baking time but I took them out as soon as they started to brown a little at the sides.  I started the timer at 15 minutes but that wasn't long enough.  I think that they were closer to 20 minutes but I watched each batch like a hawk so I am not 100% sure.  Because there was only baking powder, I knew that they were going to be lighter in color.  They came out looking like this!

My husband and I split one hot out of the oven and he said that it tasted just a step above corn bread in sugary-ness.  I didn't disagree.  After the party, I realized why!  These cupcakes are way better to rest in a sealed container over night or longer for the top to get nice and soft and the cupcake to settle.  I made really sweet icing to balance the cupcake so I am sure that the kids liked them.  They were way better for me without the icing out of the sealed container.  I made cream cheese icing so stay tuned for recipe coming soon.  I hope you try them for yourself!!!  Let me know what you think!!


Bonnie Butter Cake

2/3 c margarine or butter, softened
1 3/4 c sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 3/4 c flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 c milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour oblong pan, 13x9x2 inches, or two 9-inch or three 8-inch round layer pans or cupcake tins.
 Mix sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Beat on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally, 5 minutes. Beat in flour, baking powder and salt alternately with milk on low speed. Pour into pan (s).Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, oblong 45-50 minutes, layers 30-35 minutes, cupcakes 20-25 minutes; cool 10 minutes and remove.

**Best if served after resting at least a day.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Angels at the Table Book Review

One of my last books in my library pile that has been renewed to it limit and I finally got to reading it.  I am glad that no one else was on the waiting list for this one so that I could renew it.  Angels at the Table: A Christmas Novel (Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy) by Debbie Macomber was the next in the series for me to read.  I don't have a clue which order these books go in but after the first one, they all fit together pretty well and this was in line with all the others that I have already read.

Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy know that an angel’s work is never done, especially during a time as wondrous as New Year’s Eve. With an apprentice angel, Will, under their wings, they descend upon Times Square in New York City eager to join in the festivities. And when Will spies two lonely strangers in the crowd, he decides midnight is the perfect time to lend a heavenly helping hand.      

Lucie Farrara and Aren Fairchild meet after bumping into each other—seemingly by accident—in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. They immediately hit it off and find they have a lot in common: Lucie is a burgeoning chef and Aren is a respected food critic. But just as quickly as they’re brought together, another twist of fate tears them apart, leaving Lucie and Aren with no way to reconnect.

A year later, Lucie is the chef of an acclaimed new restaurant and Aren is a successful columnist for a major New York newspaper. For all the time that’s passed, the two have not forgotten their one serendipitous evening—and neither have Shirley, Goodness, Mercy, and Will. To reunite the young couple, the angels cook up a brilliant plan: mix true love, a second chance, and a generous sprinkle of mischief to create an unforgettable Christmas miracle.

I enjoyed this book as much as the other books in the series but I can say that it wasn't my favorite.  These books sort of follow a pattern that there are two people with a problem and the angels come down to watch and make changes that they aren't supposed to do in order to make them happy.  All of the books follow the same pattern with different characters who you want to get together.  This book was no exception with Lucie, a chef, and Aren, a food critic, who meet too early and then loose touch.  This book was a fun and quick read with great characters and great writing.  It kept me entertained and glad that I picked this one up and continued reading past the holiday season.  I hope that you check out this book and others in the series at your local library or bookstore.  I think that you will enjoy these funny characters and nice stories.