Completed Books – March, 2014

Spring has finally arrived!  And with that, my reading has slowed down a bit. I’ll probably be reading at a slower pace over the next month with the warmer weather, so I’m glad I was off to a good start earlier this year.  I’ve read 13 books, which is 26% towards my goal of 50 books.

1: Gramercy Park
2: Morning Glory
3: The Book Thief
4: Havisham: A Novel
5: To Defy a King
6: The Winter Witch
7: The Bungalow
8: The Captain’s Verses
9: The Yoga-Body Cleanse: A 7-Day Ayurvedic Detox to Rejuvenate Your Body and Calm Your Mind
10: Wuthering Heights
11: Lost Lake
12: The Fault in Our Stars
13: The Body Book

Do you have any book recommendations that I should add to my reading list?

Cookbook Collector

Greetings!  Apologies for the disappearing act recently – it’s been busy.  As we welcome spring, I’ve also been busy doing a bit of spring cleaning – going through closets, drawers, and even my bookshelves.  Every so often, I take a hard look at my shelves to assess what I have, what I really want to keep, and what can go — to make room for new books, of course!

One area that I focused on this month is my cookbooks.  I love cookbooks. I love to look at them, page through them, and buy them.  But as I looked at my shelves, I realized that I have a number of cookbooks that I rarely use.  I have good intentions of trying a bunch of new recipes (all identified with tape flags!), but when it comes down to it, things get busy and I just keep my easy “go-to” recipes in rotation.  In reviewing some of my cookbooks, I also realized there a number of books where I only refer to a few recipes (often bypassing many of the meat entrees).  This is reminiscent of buying a CD back in the day for one or two songs that I really liked.  So, I’m doing an inventory of my cookbooks and paring them down, and also going to motivate myself to get back in the kitchen and start cooking more often!

Do you have any favorite cookbooks or a similar love of cookbooks?

Completed Books – February, 2014

Hard to believe it is March, although given the wild winter weather across the country, I’m sure I’m not the only one looking forward to spring!  The colder weather has proven to be a good reason to stay inside and curl up with a book.  :)  I’ve read 10 books so far this year, which is 20% towards my goal of 50 books.

1: Gramercy Park
2: Morning Glory
3: The Book Thief
4: Havisham: A Novel
5: To Defy a King
6: The Winter Witch
7: The Bungalow
8: The Captain’s Verses
9: The Yoga-Body Cleanse: A 7-Day Ayurvedic Detox to Rejuvenate Your Body and Calm Your Mind
10: Wuthering Heights

Do you have any book recommendations that I should add to my reading list?

Poetry Purchase

I thought I would share some recent poetry books that I picked up.  I’ve enjoyed reading more poetry over the last year and it has been fun picking up new books to add to my growing poetry collection.  I love the Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets – I have a handful of books from that series and hope to add to my collection.  :)

Poetry books  Do you have any favorite poems or poets? 

Completed Books – January, 2014

I’m kicking off my monthly 2014 posts with an update of my completed books.  My reading goal is 50 books this year.  I surpassed my reading goal last year and I hope to do so again this year.  I also hope to have a good mix of books that I own/plan to read, along with new recommendations and finds.  Happy reading!

1: Gramercy Park
2: Morning Glory: A Novel
3: The Book Thief
4: Havisham: A Novel

Do you have any book recommendations that I should add to my reading list?

Juice, Juice and More Juice

Hello!  I wanted to check in and provide a quick update on my “eating clean in 2014” efforts.  To be perfectly honest, I haven’t been doing a very good job.  Still too much eating out or picking something up on the way home after a crazy day at work. As much as I try to do some meal planning, there are often discussions like “do you really feel like soup tonight?”, with a response of “I’m not sure… didn’t eat much at lunch today”, or “I ended up having soup for lunch”.  Does this sound familiar to anyone else?

One thing I have kept with?  Juicing!  I am still in the honeymoon phase with my juicer.  While it has been tougher to be organized and juice in the morning on work days, I have been juicing every weekend along with some weekday mornings or evenings.

Here are a few favorite combos:

For a “green” juice:  romaine, celery, spinach, cucumber, ginger, lemon, carrot and an apple

For a “greener” juice:  all of the above, plus some broccoli stalks.  If I have pear on hand, I will substitute the apple for a pear.
For something on the sweet side:  pineapple (great way to use the cores from a whole pineapple!), orange, pear and romaine. The romaine has a much lighter flavor when combined with the fruits – this is a great combo for introducing someone to juices.

Do you have any favorite juice combos?  What about any tips for meal planning?

Eating Clean in 2014

Happy New Year!  Hard to believe we are almost two weeks into the new year.  Ringing in the new year also means thinking about goals and resolutions, although I try to stay away from that word.  I think my motto for this year will be “Eating Clean in 2014″.  I waited a couple of weeks before writing this post as the first week of the new year was spent cleaning out cupboards, closets, and trying to clear out the remains from the holiday – cookies, sweets, candy, chocolates, etc.

I have also spent the first two weeks of 2014 using some new kitchen gadgets and appliances – a Keurig, a juicer, and a Nutribullet.  In full disclosure, I was skeptical about juicing. I’ve always been a smoothie fan and wasn’t sure if I would like juicing.  I was also aware of all of the feedback I had heard as it relates to cost, clean-up, etc.  the verdict?  I love juicing!  I’ve now juiced 12 times since Christmas.  I still make smoothies, as I like getting the fiber from the produce, but I love starting my day with a fresh juice.  I’ve experimented with a few combos, but my current favorite includes celery, romaine, spinach and kale, a carrot, an apple, 1/2 a cucumber, lemon and ginger.

Green juiceI’m also making use of our new Keurig and love that I can rotate between caffeinated and decaf coffee.  Maybe it is all in my head, but I have been feeling more energized with the fresh juices so I don’t feel like I need my daily dose of caffeine, or I drink less (in the form of tea).

I am going to try to post updates of my efforts in Eating Clean in 2014 on a regular basis.  I do want to keep a balanced approach and still be able to enjoy some of my favorite foods, which might not be so “clean”, but I think that being realistic is key.   :D

What tips do you have for eating clean? 

2013 Books – A Year in Review

2013 was a good reading year.  Not only did I complete my reading goal of 50 books in 2013, but I felt that I had more variety in my reading choices this year (fiction, non-fiction/biography, poetry).  I have included a few reading highlights below.

Favorite Reads in 2013:
The Good Thief
Voyager
The Pillars of the Earth
The Language of Flowers
The Snow Child
A Cottage By the Sea

Non-Fiction Books:
Letters to Juliet: Celebrating Shakespeare’s Greatest Heroine, the Magical City of Verona, and the Power of Love
A Walk in the Woods
The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True to You
If the Buddha Came to Dinner
Quiet
enLIGHTened: How I Lost 40 Pounds with a Yoga Mat, Fresh Pineapples, and a Beagle Pointer
The Best Things You Can Eat
Relish: An Adventure in Food, Style, and Everyday Fun
All Roads Lead to Austen
The Way of the Happy Woman: Living the Best Year of Your Life
Steve Jobs
Eat, Pray, Love

Poetry:
The Best Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
You Come Too: Favorite Poems for Young Readers

Books that I thought (and hoped) I would enjoy more:
Requiem
Reached
Sunshine
Allegiant

Books that were 600 pages or more:
Voyager
Drums of Autum
Steve Jobs
The Pillars of the Earth

What were some of your reading highlights or favorites in 2013?

Here’s to another year of reading in 2014.  Happy reading!

Completed Books – December, 2013

Hard to believe that 2013 is coming to a close.  Happy to say that I completed (and surpassed) my reading goal for this year – I ended the year at 53 books.  Stay tuned for a post with some thoughts and a year in review.  I think I will stick with my goal of 50 books again next year.

1: The Secret Keeper
2: The Good Thief
3: Reached
4: Mariana
5: Sunshine
6: The Tales of Beedle the Bard
7: Dragon’s Lair
8: Storybound
9: Letters to Juliet: Celebrating Shakespeare’s Greatest Heroine, the Magical City of Verona, and the Power of Love
10: A Walk in the Woods
11: The Shoemaker’s Wife
12: The Alchemist
13: The Snow Child
14: The Language of Flowers
15: Voyager
16: Waterfall
17: The Violets of March
18: Becoming Marie Antoinette
19: Good Enough to Eat
20: The School of Essential Ingredients
21: Requiem
22: Cascade
23: Torrent
24: The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True to You
25: The Lost Art of Mixing
26: Blackberry Winter
27: Story’s End
28: If the Buddha Came to Dinner
29: Quiet
30: enLIGHTened: How I Lost 40 Pounds with a Yoga Mat, Fresh Pineapples, and a Beagle Pointer
31: The Firebird
32: The Best Things You Can Eat
33: The Best Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
34: Inferno
35: The Last Camellia
36: The Pillars of the Earth
37: Relish: An Adventure in Food, Style, and Everyday Fun
38: All Roads Lead to Austen
39: To Kill a Mockingbird
40: The Way of the Happy Woman: Living the Best Year of Your Life
41: A Cottage by the Sea
42: Encore Provence
43: Steve Jobs
44: The House at the End of Hope Street
45: The Stolen Crown
46: Allegiant
47: Drums of Autumn
48: Revolution
49: The American Heiress
50: Eat, Pray, Love
51: White Truffles in Winter: A Novel
52: You Come Too : Favorite Poems for Young Readers
53: The Alchemist’s Daughter

Do you have any book recommendations that I should add to my reading list for 2014?

Christmas Reading

‘Tis the season to bring out a few holiday books. Classics include my Nonesuch Dickens edition of The Christmas Books by Charles Dickens, which includes A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life and The Haunted Man.

I am currently reading Christmas Poems from the Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets series (love this collection!)  This book is perfect for curling up with a blanket and a cup of tea, some holiday music in the background and reading a selection of holiday poems.  Finally, I also have The Man Who Invented Christmas:  How Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revised Our Holiday Spirits.

Christmas books