Baby Book Addict

Garrett at 5 months

Wowzers.

I almost can’t believe that it was FIVE months today since we welcomed our bouncing baby boy into our lives. Where on earth does the time go? It just seems almost unreal.

So what is Garrett into now?

He loves bright colors. He is a pro at rolling from back to belly, but not so much from belly to back. He has a play mat that he just loves to lay on for hours! He loves his morning nap in his swing with the music playing. He can sit up while supported and prefers to be sitting up because he loves to see everything that’s going on. If he had the coordination to get his arms and legs going at the same time, he would already be crawling. I suspect he will be crawling by Thanksgiving. We’ve started the spoon and we are not impressed with it yet. Teething is in full swing and I think the bottom two will pop through relatively soon.

These last five months have been challenging, difficult, and a blast. I’ve never had something give me such joy every day of my life. Even when I’m having a bad day all it takes is one look at him and he can give me his grin and it’s like everything bad disappears. He’s definitely the best thing to have ever happened to me.

Recipes

RECIPE: Garlic Cheddar Chicken

Garlic Cheddar Chicken (4 servings)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lb chicken breasts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat, and cook the garlic until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. In a shallow bowl, mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, Cheddar cheese, parsley, oregano, pepper, and salt.
  4. Dip each chicken breast in the garlic butter to coat, then press into the bread crumb mixture. Arrange the coated chicken breasts in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Drizzle with any remaining butter and top with any remaining bread crumb mixture.
  5. Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

Recipe Source: Allrecipes.com

Personal Review: This recipe is a favorite in our house! It’s sooo easy and delicious. I always add a little more garlic than the recipe calls for (we are big garlic fans) and I really just eyeball the cheddar cheese (which we love too, haha!). I almost always have to cook the chicken for longer than the recipe calls for – I don’t know if it’s my oven or if I just have really thicken chicken breasts, but I almost always have to cook the chicken for at least 40-45 minutes. I serve this with some au gratin or scalloped potatoes and some kind of green veggie or salad. I hope this one appeals to you and you enjoy it as much as we do 🙂

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, Lucas Davenport, RATING, Read in 2012, READING CHALLENGES 2012, S, SERIES

2012.27 REVIEW – Rules of Prey by John Sandford

Rules of Prey
by John Sandford

Copyright: 1989
Pages: 479
Rating: 5/5
Read: Oct. 18-Oct. 22, 2012
Challenge: Mystery & Suspense 2012; Off the Shelf 2012
Yearly count: 27
Format: Print
Source: Personal copy

Blurb: The killer was mad but brilliant.

He left notes with every woman he killed. Rules of murder: Never have a motive. Never follow a discernible pattern. Never carry a weapon after it has been used… So many rules to his sick, violent games of death.

But Lucas Davenport, the cop who’s out to get him, isn’t playing by the rules.


Review: Looking back, I realized that I have only read two books in this series – both of them more recent installments. And now that I have read the first book in the series all I can do is shake my head and wonder what is the matter with me? I loved this book. Like, love love loved. Seriously. Since having Garrett in May it’s been hard for me to get any kind of rhythm back into my reading. I’ve been reading what I’ve had to read by deadlines I’ve agreed to. But other than that, reading books off of my shelves has been a little hit or miss lately. But this book – this book definitely broke me out of that cycle! I simply couldn’t put it down. When Garrett would take his nap I would pick this book up (when I should have been doing laundry, dishes, work, etc.) and would be upset when he woke up again. Because I wanted to keep reading!

I just have to say that Lucas Davenport is a badass cop. He pretty much does what he wants when he wants to. Some of the things he did in this book, well they would be a little outside the normal boundaries. But I think that that’s what made this book feel so much more real to me. Davenport isn’t necessarily a play-by-the-rules kind of guy. He’s killed five (six?!) men in the line of duty – most cops never even pull their guns. And he didn’t have any remorse about doing what had to be done in order to catch the maddog – even if it was a little outside the lines of legal.

Now I will state that this book was originally released in 1989 – that means that things were a little dated. And seriously – who uses the word prophylactic? I had never even heard that term before! They’re condoms, people! And it wasn’t used just once – no, it was used throughout the entire book. So much so that it was a little overboard at times. Obviously there were no cell phones, no internet, no widespread computer use. (Can you imagine how hard police work must have been before the age of computers?!) It definitely ages the book, but I honestly didn’t even notice most of the time because the writing and storyline were that good.

Overall I want to hit myself upside the head for waiting so long to read this book. I have had it on my shelf since 2007 (and I know that because I actually remember buying it at the grocery story when I was first married). I can’t say enough good things about this book. If you have somehow missed this book, I highly recommend hunting down a copy and giving it a shot.

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, October 22, 2012

Mailbox Monday is being hosted at the Mailbox Monday site for October.

I really need to stop bringing books into this house! It’s getting a little bit out of hand. The top four came from my grandmother; the Dick Wolf book is an ARC I received after seeing it on Shelf Awareness Pro; the two books on Anna Nicole Smith are from PBS.

[Hello, my name is Tara, and I am a book-a-holic.]

Recipes

RECIPE: Three Cheese Manicotti

Three Cheese Manicotti (5 servings)

  • 10 uncooked manicotti shells
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 26 ounces spaghetti sauce

Directions

  1. Cook manicotti according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs and seasonings. Spread 1 cup spaghetti sauce each in an ungreased 9×13″ baking dishes. Stuff manicotti shells with cheese mixture; arrange over sauce. Top with remaining sauce.
  2. Cover and bake at 375 degrees F for 35-40 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and manicotti is heated through.

Recipe Source: Allrecipes.com

Personal Review: I’m going to be completely honest here – manicotti is not the easiest thing to make. It kind of rates up there with lasagna, in my opinion. Stuffing those shells is a pain in the rear. However, this recipe makes it all completely worth it. It’s delicious. Obviously since I’m not all that skilled at making this, I don’t make it very often – so it’s more of a treat when I do make it. I once read online somewhere that a big secret to stuffing the shells is to mix the stuffing mixture in a ziplock baggie and then cut a hole in one of the ends of the baggie and pipe it through (think icing a cake with a pastry bag) – definitely try this it sure makes things go a lot smoother! The recipe online calls for 15 minute prep time – if you’re as slow as I am, prepare to at least double that. (See why I don’t make this very often, haha!)

Bottom line: This is a delicious recipe that takes time to prepare but is well worth it in the end!

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, October 15, 2012

Mailbox Monday is being hosted at the Mailbox Monday site for October.

This past week I got 6 books in the mail – a trade from one of my Yahoo! groups 🙂

I’m super excited about these! Too bad it will be forever before I will be able to get to any of them, lol. I really need to cut back on my acceptance of review books – it’s killing my time spent with my own books!

Recipes

RECIPE: Buffalo Chicken

Buffalo Chicken (4 servings)

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce
  • 1/4 cup shredded provolone cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Flatten chicken to 1/2-in. thickness. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a shallow bowl, whisk eggs. Place bread crumbs in another shallow bowl. Dip chicken in eggs, then coat with bread crumbs.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook chicken in oil for 7-10 minutes on each side or until chicken juices run clear, adding wing sauce during the last 2 minutes. Turn to coat chicken. Sprinkle with cheeses. Cover and cook until cheese is melted.

Recipe Source: Taste of Home Simple & Delicious Magazine

Personal Review: This recipe was so easy and delicious! It comes together quickly for a good weeknight recipe. I served it with brussels sprouts. I am a huge fan of buffalo wings, so this recipe was perfect in my opinion. I can’t say anything negative about it. I might have added a tad too much cheese (if that’s even a possibility!) but it was definitely delicious either way. There are all kinds of different buffalo wing sauces out there and I personally used just traditional, but you could definitely play around with it for other tastes.

Highly recommended.

First chapter, Meme

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday Intros #3

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Diane over at Bibliophile by the Sea hosts this meme.

This week I am sharing the intro from a review book I’m reading, The Prophet by Ethan Cross.

Francis Ackerman Jr. stared out the window of the dark copper and white bungalow on Macarthur Boulevard. Across the street, a green sign with yellow letters read Mosswood Playground – Oakland Recreation Department. Children laughed and played while mothers and fathers pushed swings and sat on benches reading paperback novels or fiddling with cell phones. He had never experienced such things as a child. The only games his father had ever played were the kind that scarred the body and soul. The young Ackerman had never been nurtured; he had never been loved. But he had come to accept that. He had found purpose and meaning born from the pain and chaos that had consumed his life.

So I just started this book for a blog tour that I have scheduled in November – and I’m hooked! I’m about 100 pages into it and loving it – but it’s not for the faint of heart, it’s gruesome and I’m not even that far along in reading it – but that’s not stopping me! (I think becoming a mom has made me feel differently about graphic books because that never bothered me in the past.)

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2012, READING CHALLENGES 2012, Scot Harvath, SERIES, T

2012.25 REVIEW – Takedown by Brad Thor

Takedown
by Brad Thor

Copyright: 2006
Pages: 433
Rating: 4/5
Read: Sept. 25-Oct. 3, 2012
Challenge: Mystery & Suspense 2012; Off the Shelf 2012
Yearly count: 25
Format: Print
Source: Personal copy

Blurb: July 4th weekend, New York City: As thousands of holiday travelers make their way out of Manhattan, a flawlessly executed terrorist attack plunges the city into a maelstrom of panic and death. Amidst the chaos, an elite team of foreign soldiers is systematically searching for one of their own, a man so powerful that the U.S. government refuses to admit he even exists and will do anything to keep him hidden. Now, with the world’s deadliest enemy upon America’s doorstep, counterterrorism operative Scot Harvath must fight his way through the burning city streets to take down an invisible terrorist mastermind with the means to unleash hell on a global scale.


Review: What a great installment in this series! I would definitely consider it the best one thus far. And the ending – wow, what a cliffhanger! I suppose it was surprising because Mr. Thor hadn’t done a cliffhanging ending in the previous four books of this series, so it was definitely unexpected. It for sure made me very eager to get to the next book (which I would have done immediately if I didn’t have review books that have to get read. )

Unlike the previous books, this one was set in the United States. I definitely preferred that simply because I could understand the setting a little bit better. These books are a little bit out of my comfort zone with the terrorist aspects to them, but I thoroughly enjoy them.

The writing in Mr. Thor’s books is alway exceptional; he definitely has a great editor because there never seem to be any grammatical errors (sometimes I feel like I’m the grammar police, but bad grammar is a big pet peeve of mine).

We met a slew of new characters in this installment that I hope will make some appearances in later books. Character development (another biggie for me) was done quite well and definitely left me wanting to learn more and more about these new characters!

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.