Monday, July 28, 2014

Abu Simbel Egypt

Thanks to

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A King James Christmas

With Thanksgiving over, the Christmas season is truly in full swing, so naturally, I couldn’t wait to share a beautiful Christmas book with you. A King James Christmas is a gloriously illustrated book that uses the original text from the King James Bible to tell the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. With multiple verses on each page, the story of Christmas flows naturally, making this an appealing read for young children, and older audiences. Using art from around the world (both traditional and contemporary), this book is bound to become a Christmas classic – the vibrant colors are stunning, and the diverse styles are utterly amazing. I truly love this book because it celebrates what the holiday is all about, and does it in such a beautiful, rich way. With a book as wonderful as A King James Christmas, you can’t help but enjoy this season a bit more.

The Art of Power

Although it may not look like a page turner, Jon Meacham’s latest novel, is revolutionary, taking an in-depth look at one of the most powerful and influential men in American history. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power is such a moving, powerful book that even it is well worth a read. Meacham paints a picture of Jefferson that extends far beyond the scope of history books, examining the details that truly made this president a leader in all that he did. By looking at Jefferson’s strategies, morals, and professional moves, Meacham presents a powerful case that the former president truly was a self-made man. Going back to his childhood, and exploring relationships and political alliances, Meacham has a readable and truly enjoyable book with Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power. The book spans from Jefferson’s first political appointment to the establishment of America as an indepent nation, and from his presidency to his retirement at Monticello. With an engaging voice, Meacham even handles the Sally Hemings issue without seeming sordid or voyeuristic. Using primary sources and historical artifacts, Meacham has crafted a powerful work that is an ideal read for anyone interested in leadership, or the life of one of the most intriuging men in American history.

Southwestern Shepherd’s Pie

While this sounds a bit weird at first, don’t be afraid to try this super-duper easy dinner. It takes minutes to put all the ingredients together, and you have a vegan, gluten-free dinner that is sure to please any night of the week.
Southwestern Shepherd’s Pie 2 bell peppers 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained 1 cup frozen corn 1 medium onion, diced 3 Tablespoons minced garlic 1 cup salsa 2 cups mashed sweet potatoes (steaming these and peeling off the skin is the easiest way to go, but you may be able to find canned sweet potatoes and that works well too) 1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. 2. Mix all of the ingredients except for the sweet potato in a frying pan and cook for about 7 minutes, or until onion and peppers are tender-crisp and the salsa is slightly thickened. Spoon the mixture into an 8×8 baking dish. Top with the mashed sweet potatoes, spreading so that a thick “crust” is created. 3. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, or until the top is golden.

Creamy Pumpkin Black Bean Enchiladas

These vegan enchiladas are creamy and delicious and so easy to make. They are perfect for a quick dinner and packed with healthy ingredients, and in spite of being vegan are extra creamy.
Creamy Pumpkin Black Bean Enchiladas 2 cups vegetarian chicken cubes 1 cup frozen corn kernels 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained 1 cup vegan cheddar (divided into 1/2 cup portions) 1 (8 to 10 ounce) jar or can of enchilada sauce 1 cup mild salsa 12 – 16 corn tortillas 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 2. In a medium bowl, mix the vegetarian chicken, corn, pumpkin, beans, and 1/2 cup cheddar until thoroughly mixed. In a small bowl, mix enchilada sauce and salsa. 3. Spoon 1/4 cup of the mixture into a tortilla and roll up. Place into a 9 x 13 glass baking sheet. Continue and roll the rest of the tortillas. When all your tortilla shells are rolled up, pour the salsa/enchilada sauce mixture over them and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minute, or until cheese is melted.

What Body Part is That?

When I first saw What Body Part is That?, I assumed it was a fact-filled book about the human body with weird and interesting stories and random trivia. Boy was I wrong. While I was not entirely disappointed, this is one of the most bizarre books I have read in a while. If you can picture a satirical look at the human body, written for 8-12 year old boys, you know what to expect with What Body Part is That?. With bizarre sketches, slightly twisted humor, and useless information, this book doesn’t easily fit into any category. The only facts in this book are “Fun Body Part Facts” such as “Shoulders are the body part most commonly mispronounced as ‘soldiers’” and “Gut-barging is a sport in which two overweight contestants try to barge each other off of a large mat using their big fat bellies.” This book isn’t exactly educational, but it is engaging as it describes every body part from freckles to tonsils, and lungs to scars. I don’t think that this book is for everyone, but it is entertaining enough to keep an upper-elementary boy reading for at least a couple of hours.

Traditional Eggplant Sauce

My husband deserves all the credit for this one – he made his grandmother’s recipe from start to finish and suggested that it get a prime spot on my blog. She was Italian-American and took pride in her cooking, and with a sauce like this, it is easy to see why! This recipe is absolutely delicious. It does take a bit of work, but it is well worth it!
Eggplant Sauce 1/2 cup olive oil 1 large eggplant (about 1/2 pound, but into 3/4″ cubes) 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 large green bell pepper, cut into strips 2 cans (15 ounce) tomato sauce 2 teaspoons sugar 1 tablespoon basil 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley 1 can sliced pimento Salt and pepper 1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add eggplant and onions. Cover and cook on medium heat, about 25 minutes, or until tender. 2. Add garlic, green pepper, and cook for about 2 minutes. Add tomato sauce, sugar and basil. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes. 3. Add parsley, pimento, and cook uncovered about 20 minutes, or until thickened. Add salt and pepper. Serve immediately over pasta.