RECIPE: Cheddar Shrimp Nachos

Cheddar Shrimp Nachos (8 servings)

  • 2 Tbsp. KRAFT Zesty Italian Dressing, divided
  • 3/4 lb. frozen cooked cleaned medium shrimp, thawed
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. blackened seasoning
  • 6 cups tortilla chips (8 oz.)
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) KRAFT Shredded Triple Cheddar Cheese with a TOUCH OF PHILADELPHIA
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced


  1. Heat large cast iron skillet on high heat until it is very hot and starts to smoke.  Add 1 Tbsp. dressing, shrimp, red peppers and seasoning; cook and stir 1 to 2 min. or until shrimp is heated through and evenly coated with dressing mixture.  Stir in remaining dressing.
  2. Cover large microwaveable plate with layers of half each of the chips, shrimp mixture and cheese.  Repeat layers.
  3. Microwave on HIGH 1 to 2 min. or until cheese is melted, rotating plate after each minute.  Top with onions, cilantro and jalapenos.

Recipe Source: Kraft Food & Family

photo (2)

Personal Review: I wanted something different last week. I was feeling nachos, but not the plain cheese nachos I make all the time. Not even the fajita nachos I’ve been making. So when I ran across this shrimp nachos recipe, I decided I had to make it.

And it was worth it.

First let me say that this recipe comes together so fast it’s unreal. I think I spent more time chopping up the red peppers than I did anything else! Definitely a great meal to make when you don’t have a lot of time.

I didn’t follow the recipe exactly (do I ever?). First I had no blackened seasoning so I made do with seafood seasoning and some creole seasoning. Next I used plain cheddar cheese. I left off the green onion and cilantro. Oh and I cooked the jalapenos in with the red peppers instead of as toppings. Okay, so it sounds like I barely followed the recipe now that I think about it!

I will definitely be making this recipe again. And next time I will add some onions and more creole seasoning.

Overall a quick weekday meal that is a little bit different and good.

AUTHOR, Book Review, D, Fiction, Pump Up Your Book, Read in 2013, Review Book

2013.7 REVIEW – The Man From 2063 by Jack Duffy

The Man From 2063
by Jack Duffy

Copyright: 2012
Pages: 270
Read: Jan. 27-29, 2013
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 6
Format: Print
Source: Pump Up Your Book Promotions

The Man From 2063Blurb: I knew it. I knew it, he repeated to himself. A conspiracy. But who had planned the murder? Was Lee Harvey Oswald even involved? If only one could go back in time and solve the mystery. I have to pursue this, he told himself. Someone has to find out the truth once and for all.

On November 22, 2063 a new film finally proves a conspiracy was involved in the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Sean Zumwalt dares to go back in time to alter the course of world history and save JFK. But he soon finds that the truth is much more complicated than he ever could have imagined.

Based on actual events and forty years of research, The Man From 2063 will take you through the golds of time and historical conspiracies, leaving you wondering ‘What if?’

The Man From 2063 banner

Review: I have to start out this review by just stating that I am a total Kennedy junkie. I remember watching all the 40th anniversary Kennedy assassination shows back in 2003 from my dorm room. I was a college freshman. I think my roommate wanted to kill me because I essentially took over the television for the entire week – hey, it was my TV so she couldn’t complain too much. But she definitely thought I was nuts. And I probably am a little bit, but I have always been a little obsessed with the Kennedy family, but especially with the assassination.

So when I was pitched this book for the Pump Up Your Book Blog tour, I was immediately intrigued. I knew it was a book I would love. Mr. Duffy addresses the fact that his storyline is very similar to Stephen King’s 11/22/63. I actually DNF’d that book a while back. So I went into this book knowing that I once set aside a book that dealt with the Kennedy assassination and time travel … would I make it through this book?

Why, yes … yes I would! And I would end up truly enjoying it. From the first page it sucked me in. I had to know if Sean would accomplish his goal in preventing the assassination.

Overall I enjoyed this book, but there were two main issues that I must address: the dialogue and the middle section of the book. Let me start with the dialogue. One thing that I noticed was that Mr. Duffy started too many sentences with “Well…” It was to the point where it was a little overdoing it. The dialogue also felt a little forced in places. It didn’t flow very well at certain times. It didn’t take away from my enjoyment of this book, but it was definitely something that I noticed. Also, the middle portion of the book bothered me at times. The book itself is divided into three sections. It was really the middle section that bothered me  – the main character, Sean, was not mentioned once. I understood why this occurred because of the way Mr. Duffy set up the book, but I felt as if it kind of took away from character development. Once again, this was not something that made me dislike the book in any way, just another slight problem that I had (I’m big on character development).

Okay, so now that the “negatives” are out of the way, let me tell you why I actually liked this book a lot. It introduces a very interesting “what if” to the Kennedy assassination. I personally believe that there was some sort of conspiracy involved and while I felt like the conspiracy that Mr. Duffy set up is a little far-fetched (rogue CIA agent paying three mechanics (assassins) $1 million each .. where would an individual get that kind of money?), I felt as if it made a great storyline. You could also tell that Mr. Duffy knows the Kennedy assassination – he sure has done his homework! The book is very fast paced and exciting. I could hardly wait to find out what the outcome would be … if Sean would succeed and how it would affect the course of history. I read it so quickly, I just really enjoyed it.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book.

Jack DuffyAbout the Author:

Jack Duffy is an attorney from Fort Worth, Texas.  The Man from 2063 is his first book.  On November 22, 1963 he was in school at Bruce Shulkey Elementary when he heard the news about President Kennedy’s assassination.  His parents were at the breakfast in Fort Worth, Texas, that morning when President Kennedy gave his last speech.  In 1970 he saw the Zapruder film for the first time.  He has been researching the JFK assassination since then.  He has interviewed many eyewitnesses including Marina Oswald and several Parkland physicians who treated JFK.  He has met many researchers who have written books on the assassination.  He came up with the idea for a time travel novel in 1998.  He has one of the largest private collections of materials on the JFK assassination.  He graduated from Texas Tech University with a B.A. in Political Science.  He then earned an M.B.A from Baylor University.  He then graduated from South Texas School of Law with a J.D.  He is an Eagle Scout.


Praise for The Man From 2063:

Although I reject the premise of “The Man From 2063″ that Lee Harvey Oswald did not kill President John F. Kennedy and that there was a conspiracy in the assassination, from a purely historical standpoint Jack Duffy has succeeded in writing a very clever and engrossing “what if” story surrounding the events of November 22, 1963.

-Vincent Bugliosi, author of Helter Skelter

**This review is posted in conjunction with the Pump Up Your Book! blog tour. I received a copy of this book to review in exchange for my honest opinion. I
received no monetary compensation.

Book Giveaway

GIVEAWAY: The Dark Pool by J.E. Fishman

I am excited to announce that Katie from Shelton Interactive is giving me the opportunity to give away one copy of The Dark Pool by J.E. Fishman. Here’s the blurb:

THE DARK POOL is a financial thriller based off of Fishman’s time spent living among some of Wall Street’s top players, and seeing how their pursuit of self-interest nearly wrecked the nation.

THE DARK POOL follows Bronx high school football coach Shoog Clay and his star player, Antwon Meeps. When strange and tragic things start happening around them – events out of their control – they discover the source is a secret marketplace where investors bet on the coach’s marketing prospects (his Q Score). Those who are bullish on Clay want him to succeed, no matter who gets hurt. Those who are bearish on him will stop at nothing to see him fail – even if it means killing him.

I will be reviewing this book in the future as well, so I hope you return to check out my review when I post it.

Fine print: This is an international giveaway (!) and has one (1) book available. The sign-ups will close on March 3rd at 7pm central time. When you fill out the form, your information goes into a spreadsheet. Your place in the giveaway will be assigned a number – when the sign-ups close, I will use your assigned number and to select a winner. As always, your information will be kept between me and Katie at Shelton Interactive and the form will be deleted upon the selection of the winner. Good luck 🙂

Please use this form to sign up!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Harry Bosch, RATING, Read in 2013, READING CHALLENGES 2013, SERIES

2013.11 REVIEW – The Black Ice by Michael Connelly

The Black Ice
by Michael Connelly

Copyright: 1993
Pages: 427
Read: Feb. 16-22, 2013
Challenge: 2013 Sequel Challenge; Off the Shelf Challenge 2013
Yearly count: 11
Format: Print
Source: Personal copy

Blurb: Narcotics officer Cal Moore’s orders were to look into the city’s latest drug killing. Instead, he ends up in a motel room with a fatal bullet wound to the head and a suicide note stuffed in his back pocket. Working the case, LAPD detective Harry Bosch is reminded of the primal police rule he learned long ago: Don’t look for the facts, but the glue that holds them together. Soon Harry’s making some very dangerous connections, starting with a dead cop and leading to a bloody string of murders that wind from Hollywood Boulevard to the back alleys south of the border. Now this battle-scared veteran will find himself in the center of a complex and deadly game – one in which he may be the next and likeliest victim.

Review: This is the second in the Harry Bosch series. I read the first, The Black Echo back in 2008 and hadn’t ever gotten around to reading this one. I think my problem is that I wasn’t all too impressed with the first in the series – I remember it being just okay. That probably affected my choice in to continuously pass this book up. Plus is also doesn’t help that there’s a gazillion more books in this series – I tend to get really overwhelmed when there’s a lot of books ahead of me (I must read all the books, in order).

Regardless of the reason as to why I had waited so long to read this one – I finally picked it up. And I have to say that while it had a somewhat slow beginning, it got really good really quickly. However, I didn’t think it was all perfect. There were some things that I just didn’t care for – first of all was the Mexican connection. Obviously, having read the blurb, I knew that it was a part of the book. However, I wasn’t expecting more than half of the book to be set in Mexico. And for some reason I had a problem with it – I felt like Harry was much better when he was in LA, on his own turf. But this is just a personal preference.

There was a pretty big twist that I found to be very interesting. It definitely made the book so much more enjoyable. It was quite shocking to me, and I really liked how Harry brought everything together in the end. Bosch also did something that for sure made it obvious that he’s not a cookie-cutter police officer. I liked that.

All in all, as I was reading this book I realized that I was wanting to know more about Harry – who is he, where did he come from? We get snippets here and there of the boy he was and the man he is; and I can only look forward to learning more about Harry Bosch in the future!

Bottom line: Want a good hard-boiled story with a flawed detective? Pick up this book. And although this book can be read as a standalone, as with any series I read, I recommend starting at the beginning.

AUTHOR, B, Book Review, Fiction, Pump Up Your Book, Read in 2013, Review Book

2013.10 REVIEW – The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin

The Aviator’s Wife
by Melanie Benjamin

Copyright: 2013
Pages: 396
Read: Feb. 10-15, 2013
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 10
Format: Print
Source: Pump Up Your Book Promotions

The Aviator's WifeBlurb: For much of her life, Anne Morrow, the shy daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has stood in the shadows of those around her. Then Anne meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic. Enthralled by Charles’s assurance and fame, Anne is certain the celebrated aviator has scarcely noticed her. But she is wrong. Charles sees in Anne a kindred spirit, a fellow adventurer – and her world will be changed forever. The two marry in a headline-making wedding. In the years that follow, the fairy-tale life Anne once longed for will bring heartbreak and hardships, ultimately pushing her to reconcile her need for love and her desire for independence, and to embrace, at last, life’s infinite possibilities for change and happiness.

Drawing on the rich history of the twentieth century – from the late twenties to the mid-sixties – and featuring cameos from such notable characters as Joseph Kennedy and Amelia Earhart, The Aviator’s Wife reveals the dizzying highs and devastating lows of a complicated marriage. With stunning power and grace, Melanie Benjamin provides new insight into what made this remarkable relationship endure.

The Aviator's Wife banner

Review: Wowzers. This has definitely been a great reading year for me and it’s only February 🙂 This is another book that I absolutely adored!!

Let me start by telling you what I knew about Charles Lindbergh before I began this book.

  1. He was the first to fly solo across the Atlantic.
  2. His son was kidnapped and eventually found murdered.

That’s it. That’s where my knowledge of Charles Lindbergh and his family ended. I had no idea what his wife’s name even was. I didn’t know that they went on to have 5 more children (Jon, Land, Scott, Ansy & Reeve).

And do you know what I came away with when I put the book down? The feeling of wanting to know more! And to me (and the author, as she states in her Author’s Note), that is the best part about historical fiction.

So now I suppose I should actually tell you about the book itself. (Other than that you should go buy a copy!)

The book starts out with introducing Anne Morrow and her family. Then it progresses with the short courtship of Anne and Charles. Then it goes on with the marriage, birth of their first child, kidnapping of Charles Jr., and then spends a lot of time of their lives in the aftermath of the kidnapping and murder of little Charlie, and then ends with Charles’ death.

But as Ms. Benjamin explains in her Author’s Note – this is really a book about the relationship between Anne and Charles. And I must say, that the way Charles is depicted in this novel – well, if that’s who he really was in real life, he was one very cold man. And that’s the nicest thing I could say about him. There were many times when I wanted to reach into the book and grab him by the neck to tell him to straighten up and act like a human for goodness sake!

For example, shortly after Charlie’s body was found, Anne was obviously having a very difficult time. Any parent would. But somehow Charles wanted her to throw it all under a rug and forget it. I was absolutely appalled. But I will say that when the book finally reaches its conclusion it makes you realize just how differently everyone grieves.

Throughout the book you are given glimpses into the future, to 1974 when Charles is on his way to his final resting place in Hawaii. And without giving away any spoilers, I can tell you that I was absolutely shocked by what Anne finds out at the end. However, that’s not to say it was completely surprising, giving the way that Charles appeared to be throughout his life and their marriage.

But Anne. Oh, Anne. What a woman she turned out to be. The reader really sees her grow from a shy, self-conscious young woman who is convinced that Charles must be mistaken in wanting to marry her – after all, her sister, Elisabeth was a much better candidate – to a strong mother who finally stands up to her husband once and for all. She really grows into her confidence. She finally writes that book Charles knows she’s capable of writing. She is the best mother she can be. And she stands by her husband, through it all. But when you finish this book, you will really have a great respect for exactly who Anne Morrow was. Because, honestly, I really do think that she was exactly what Charles needed in his life … she was, as he was fond of saying, his crew.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. I’ve definitely got my second candidate for my Top 10 reads list 🙂

Melanie BenjaminAbout the Author:

Melanie Benjamin is the author of the nationally bestselling Alice I Have Been and The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb.

Her latest book is the historical fiction, The Aviator’s Wife.

Benjamin lives in Chicago, where she is at work on her next historical novel.

Visit the Author:


**This review is posted in conjunction with the Pump Up Your Book! blog tour. I received a copy of this book to review in exchange for my honest opinion. I
received no monetary compensation.

Book Blitz, Buy the Book Tours

Book Blitz Tour: Flappers, Flasks & Foul Play by Ellen Mansoor Collier

Flappers Book CoverAbout Flappers, Flasks and Foul Play :

“Boardwalk Empire” meets “The Great Gatsby” in this soft-boiled “Jazz Age” mystery, inspired by actual events.  Prohibition is in full swing in 1920s Galveston, Texas: the “Sin City of the Southwest.” Jasmine Cross, a young society reporter, feels caught between two clashing cultures: the seedy speakeasy underworld and the snooty social circles she covers in the Galveston Gazette. 
During a night out with her best friend, Jazz witnesses a bar fight at the Oasis–a speakeasy secretly owned by her black-sheep half-brother, Sammy Cook. But when a big-shot banker with a hidden past collapses there and later dies, she suspects foul play. Was it an accident or murder?
Soon new Prohibition Agent James Burton raids the Oasis, threatening to shut it down if Sammy doesn’t talk. Suspicious, he pursues Jazz, but she refuses to rat on Sammy. As turf wars escalate between two real-life rival gangs, Sammy is accused of murder. To find the killer, Jazz must risk her life and career, exposing the dark side of Galveston’s glittering society.


A loud bang sounded, a crash, a door cracking. Heavy footsteps pounded down the stairs and three men in dark suits entered the Oasis, holding badges. Their guns raised high, the trio circled the room like Wild West lawmen. We had no place to hide. A stocky man shoved Dino against the wall and for once, he didn’t fight back. Sammy must have warned him to be on his best behavior. Frank crept towards the back like a spy, trying to disappear into the woodwork. I’d never been in a raid before, but I’d seen them on news reels. My heart throbbed in my chest as I braced myself for the worst: What if we all got arrested and thrown in jail?

“Federal Agent James Burton, Treasury Department. Don’t move and no one will get hurt!” yelled the tallest of the trio. Over six feet, he wore a fancy three-piece beige suit and felt hat. I didn’t know flatfoots got paid so well.

Cool as ice, Sammy sauntered out from the kitchen, smiling at the men as if they were regulars. “Welcome! How can I help you gentlemen?”

“You can tell us where you keep your booze,” Burton said, scanning the room.

“Booze? You’re in the wrong place, boys. All we serve here is good food and soda pop.” Sammy wiped his hands on a dirty red apron he’d thrown on for effect. “Hungry? How about today’s special—home-made spaghetti?”

“We need a drink to quench our thirst,” said Burton. “On the rocks, since we’re on duty.”

Sammy feigned surprise—not a bad job of acting for an amateur. “How about root beer or a Coke? The only cold drinks we serve here are soda pop. We’re bone dry.”

“That’s not what we heard—Mr. Cook, is it? We hear this place is full of hooch.”

I held my breath, trying to quell a bad case of the screaming meemies. How’d he know Sammy’s name? Who mentioned any hooch? Agent Burton and his men slid between the tables, his eyes dancing back and forth, studying each customer, as if memorizing their faces.

A burly cop in glasses pointed to an older bald man cowering in his chair. “You there! What’s that poison you’re drinking?”

“It’s lemonade,” the man stammered. “I swear.”

“Looks like a cocktail to me.” The agent stuck his finger in the glass, tasted it, then threw it down. Glass splintered into tiny slivers as liquid seeped into the wood floor….

Dropping his friendly facade, Sammy marched over to Burton, his boots crunching on broken glass. “I told you it’s a diner, not a bar. Leave him alone. Who do you think you are?”

“Like I said, name’s Burton,” he said, as if talking to a dim-witted child. “I’m the new head of Galveston’s Prohibition enforcement office.” He held up his badge like a shiny trophy. The two men were polar opposites: With his tanned skin and thick honey-blond hair, Burton resembled a golden retriever ready to attack a Doberman. No contest, if you ask me.

“You’re wasting your time here. No need to harass my help or my customers.”

“Seems your customers must like to play rough.” Burton tapped his own cheekbone, indicating Sammy’s black eye.

I nudged Nathan under the table, impressed by Sammy’s bravado. But maybe this wasn’t the best time to question authority. His big mouth could earn him a fat lip.

“What’s going on?” I whispered to Nathan. My throat was so dry, I could barely speak.

“Who knows? Never been invited to a raid before.”

Burton must have heard us because he strode over to our table, and draped an arm over my chair. “Evening, ma’am. What’s a classy dish like you doing in this crummy gin mill?”

How dare he! “Get your hands off me!” I shrugged off his arm, shoulders stiff. He backed away, surprised. Up close, I noticed how young he was, late twenties, face smooth and tanned.

Nathan stood up, a full head shorter than Burton. “Back off, buster. Leave my date alone.” Obviously Burton’s gun and badge failed to impress Nathan. What he lacked in stature, he made up for with attitude.

“Your date?” Agent Burton smiled. “Lucky guy.” He took a sip from my cup, then spit it out.

“If you’d asked nicely, I could’ve told you it was Coca-Cola.” Watch it, Jazz. In school, I’d often gotten in trouble for talking back to my teachers, but they hadn’t carried a badge or a loaded gun.

“Excuse my manners, miss. I can’t resist a pretty face and a smart mouth.”

Ellen M. Collier - Author PicAbout Ellen Mansoor Collier

Ellen Mansoor Collier is a Houston-based freelance writer/editor whose articles, essays and short stories have been published in several national magazines.She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Magazine Journalism, and was active in Women in Communications (W.I.C.I.), serving as president her senior year. FLAPPERS is her debut novel, and she’s currently working on the sequel, BATHING BEAUTIES, BOOZE AND BULLETS, due out this Spring.

This is a book blitz tour with Buy the Book Tours. This tour is also making other stops today, I hope you’ll stop by the other blogs and visit the other participants!

Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews
Tales of a Book Addict
Turning the Pages
Tattered Pages
My Devotional Thoughts
Brooke Blogs
HBS Author’s Spotlight
Words Without Limits
Writing Belle
Uttley’s Take
Sharon C. Cooper

AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Edelweiss, Fiction, P, Read in 2013, Review Book

2013.9 REVIEW – The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper

The Demonologist
by Andrew Pyper

Copyright:  2013
Pages:  306
Read: Feb. 2-13, 2013
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 9
Format: E-Book
Source: Edelweiss

The DemonologistBlurb: Fans of The Historian won’t be able to put down this spellbinding literary horror story in which a Columbia professor must use his knowledge of demonic mythology to rescue his daughter from the Underworld.

Professor David Ullman’s expertise in the literature of the demonic—notably Milton’s Paradise Lost—has won him wide acclaim. But David is not a believer.

One afternoon he receives a visitor at his campus office, a strikingly thin woman who offers him an invitation: travel to Venice, Italy, witness a “phenomenon,” and offer his professional opinion, in return for an extravagant sum of money. Needing a fresh start, David accepts and heads to Italy with his beloved twelve-year-old daughter Tess.

What happens in Venice will send David on an unimaginable journey from skeptic to true believer, as he opens himself up to the possibility that demons really do exist. In a terrifying quest guided by symbols and riddles from the pages of Paradise Lost, David attempts to rescue his daughter from the Unnamed—a demonic entity that has chosen him as its messenger.

Review: I received a digital copy of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. It is set to go on sale March 5, 2013.

Way back in December, I saw a review for this book at A Book and a Review and I was immediately intrigued by the description. It sounded so interesting to me. I was thrilled to find it on Edelweiss and even more thrilled when I was approved for it! Then I let it sit. Why do I always seem to do that?

When I finally started this book I was immediately sucked in. The beginning really had me wanting to know what was going on … I honestly couldn’t get through the first 150 pages fast enough. And then for some reason it lagged a bit for me. I think it was my “yeah, right” instinct coming out. There was just something about the middle part of the book that didn’t really sit all that well with me. But I continued on, determined to find out what happened. And I have to say that while I wasn’t necessarily disappointed with the ending, I was a little surprised at how abrupt it was. Once again I was stuck with that “yeah, right” feeling.

Overall I enjoyed this book. I don’t read a lot of horror novels anymore (although I gobbled up every Stephen King and Dean Koontz book I could when I was in high school!), but this one really wasn’t all that bad. I would definitely recommend it.


RECIPE: Spaghetti Pie Casserole

Spaghetti Pie Casserole (8 servings)

  • 1 package (8 ounces) spaghetti
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jar (14 ounces) spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) reduced-fat sour cream
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces each) shredded cheddar-Monterey Jack cheese


  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the beef, onion and garlic over medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until beef is no longer pink, breaking up beef into crumbles; drain. Stir in the spaghetti sauce, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. In a small bowl, mix cream cheese and sour cream until blended; stir in green onions. In a greased 11-in. x 7-in. baking dish, layer the spaghetti, cream cheese mixture and meat mixture. Top with shredded cheese.
  3. Bake, covered, at 350° for 25 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until cheese is bubbly.

Recipe Source: Taste of Home

photo (1)

Personal Review: When my latest issue of Taste of Home came in the mail Nathan went through it and immediately picked out this recipe. I had made another version of spaghetti pie in the past before, but neither one of us really cared for it. But I was up for trying another version.

This one was very easy to throw together. But when you have to layer the cream cheese/sour cream part … well, it doesn’t spread at all on top of the noodles. So it was pretty well just in a big glob in the middle of the casserole. Oh well.

Another issue I experienced was that I didn’t have an entire jar of spaghetti sauce. In an effort to clean out my refrigerator, I used what I had on hand – and unfortunately it wasn’t enough for the recipe to really live up to its potential. The overall result was a little bit of blandness.

I think the next time I make this I will use my usual way of making spaghetti (I buy the Kraft Spaghetti Classics box and add some fresh garlic and red pepper flakes) and use it instead of just spaghetti sauce. I think that will give this more of the flavor we were looking for in the recipe.

Served with garlic bread and a caesar salad (or regular if that suits your tastes better) and this is a great meal.

Weekend Cooking

First chapter, Meme

First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday Intros #6


Diane over at Bibliophile by the Sea hosts this meme.

Today I’m featuring a review book that I am currently reading. My review will be posted on Feb. 21st, so I hope you will come back and check out what my final thoughts were.

The Aviator's Wife

He is flying.

Is this how I will remember him? As I watch him lying vanquished, defeated by the one thing even he could not outmaneuver, I understand that I will have to choose my memories carefully now. There are simply too many. Faded newspaper articles, more medals and trophies than I know what to do with; personal letters from presidents, kings, dictators. Books, movies, plays about him and his accomplishments; schools and institutions proudly bearing his name.

Tearstained photographs of a child with blond curls, blue eyes, and a deep cleft in his chin. Smudged copies of letters to other women, tucked away in my purse.

I stir in my seat, trying not to disturb him; I need him to sleep, to restore, because of all the things I have to say to him later, and we’re running out of time. I feel it in my very bones, this ebbing of our tide, and there’s nothing I can do about it and I’m no longer content simply to watch it, watch him rush away from me, leaving me alone, not knowing, never knowing. My hands clenched, my jaw so rigid it aches, I lean forward as if I could will the plane to fly faster.

Wow. I shared just about the whole first page to Melanie Benjamin’s The Aviator Wife. And that beginning is just so stunning for me. I don’t think I have read a beginning quite as powerful as that one in quite some time.

All I can say is … wow.