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February 8, 2017 / Leslie

Wordless Wednesday: Mrs. Cardinal

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Almost wordless: Always nice to see Mrs. Cardinal at the feeder. She’s a bit shy, though, so I had to take this from a distance.

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February 6, 2017 / Leslie

Mailbox Monday ~ February 6th

WinterCardinalMailbox-smlWelcome to Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia of To Be Continued, a place where readers share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.

After several years of being on tour with different blogs as the monthly host, the Mailbox Monday Blog is now the permanent home for the meme.


 
Happy Monday! Wow, this week sure flew by.

I’m not a football fan, but I did stop what I was doing yesterday to watch the Super Bowl half-time festivities and the overtime at the end. Since Chicago did not have a team in the game, I chose to cheer for the birds, I mean, Falcons. Hope I didn’t jinx them!

A couple of new books last week. I like it when the cover colors coordinate so nicely!

New Arrivals

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Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard from Blackstone Audio.
The day Adam Dunne’s girlfriend, Sarah, fails to return from a Barcelona business trip, his perfect life begins to fall apart. Days later, the arrival of her passport and a note that reads “I’m sorry–S” sets off real alarm bells.

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson from LibraryThing.
A classic nail-biter about a troubled young woman in jeopardy. This novel echoes those of Patricia Highsmith at her best.

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January 30, 2017 / Leslie

Mailbox Monday ~ January 30th

WinterCardinalMailbox-smlWelcome to Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia of To Be Continued, a place where readers share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.

After several years of being on tour with different blogs as the monthly host, the Mailbox Monday Blog is now the permanent home for the meme.


 
It has been a gloomy, cloudy week, and with 48 days still remaining until spring, a gardening book filled with beautiful flowers was just what I needed in my mailbox.

New Arrivals

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Garden Flora: The Natural and Cultural History of the Plants In Your Garden by Noël Kingsbury from Timber Press.
This lushly illustrated survey of 133 of the most commonly grown plants explains where each plant came from and the journey it took into home gardens.

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January 25, 2017 / Leslie

Wordless Wednesday: Winter Aster

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Almost wordless: This is Sky Blue Aster in my wildflower garden. I leave the non-invasive plants standing during the winter and cut them back in early spring. The birds appreciate the seeds and the plants add some interest to an otherwise barren garden.

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More Wordless Wednesday. © 2017 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.
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January 23, 2017 / Leslie

Mailbox Monday ~ January 23rd

WinterBirdsMailbox-smlWelcome to Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia of To Be Continued, a place where readers share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.

After several years of being on tour with different blogs as the monthly host, the Mailbox Monday Blog is now the permanent home for the meme.


 
I received a nice variety of books last week — a thriller and a humorous non-fiction book about books. Plus audiobooks on two of my favorite topics — gardening and birds.

Speaking of gardening, a burst of warm air arrived in Chicago on Saturday giving me the opportunity to get outside and re-pot a few of my plants that I had hastily brought in before the frost last fall. It was invigorating to breath the fresh, spring-like air. If only it would stick around.

New Arrivals

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A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell from Harper.
A remarkable tale of psychological suspense—a clever and twisting free-fall of a ride filled with betrayals and reversals, twists and turns, secrets and revelations, love and loyalty, murder and revenge.

Printer’s Error: Irreverent Stories from Book History by Rebecca Romney from Harper.
A funny and entertaining history of printed books as told through absurd moments in the lives of authors and printers, collected by television’s favorite rare-book expert from HISTORY’s hit series Pawn Stars.

New Audiobooks

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The Thing with Feathers: The Surprising Lives of Birds and What They Reveal about Being Human by Noah Strycker from Tantor.
Drawing deep from personal experience, cutting-edge science, and colorful history, Noah Strycker spins captivating stories about the birds in our midst and shares the startlingly intimate coexistence of birds and humans.

Unearthed: Love, Acceptance, and Other Lessons from an Abandoned Garden by Alexandra Risen from Audiobook Jukebox.
In this moving memoir, a woman digs into a garden and into the past and finds secrets, beauty, and acceptance.

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January 22, 2017 / Leslie

Power Food: Original Recipes by Rens Kroes

powerfoodPublisher: Fair Winds Press
Publish Date: December 2016
Format: Hardcover | 176 pages
Rating: 4 of 5

This is a fun, colorful cookbook filled with enticing recipes. Visually pleasing with lots of photos, the text is also cheerful and consists of several different fonts and colors. There are arrows and scripted notes off to the side which are made to look like they were added by hand. Many of the recipes have a photo of the finished dish and scattered throughout the book are photos of the author.

The book is divided into categories such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and drinks along with an introductory chapter about the author. At the end of the book there is a list of power food ingredients, their active properties, and interesting facts on each. Also, a section on food as medicine plus an index.

Healthy recipes using natural ingredients

All of the recipes in Power Food are healthy, tasty, and use natural ingredients. Most of the recipes are not too complicated, and many of them use familiar, common ingredients, although a few use ones that may be difficult to find, even if you live near a large city. I have never seen Laos Powder or Lucuma Powder at my grocery store.

Preparation time, ingredients, supplies, and yield are clearly listed along with directions for each recipe. However, I found the directions to be vague at times. Experienced cooks will have no problem with this, but new cooks might have a few questions.

Easy-to-make pesto

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An example: For pistachio ice cream we are told to toast a handful of chopped pistachios in a dry frying pan. No mention of how hot and for how long. From personal experience I know it is low heat, about 2 minutes, and move the pan every 20 seconds of so.

Another example: The directions for Pesto say, “Finely grind all the ingredients in the blender or food processor.” That’s it; that’s all we are told. Do I grind them all at once, or do I grind them separately and then combine? And for how long do I grind them?

Nutritional information is not given for each recipe, although it is discussed for individual ingredients in the author’s list of power food ingredients at the end of the book.

I also noticed we are not offered any substitute ingredients. When the grocery store doesn’t have that odd ingredient, when I can’t find Lucuma Powder or when pine nuts are priced sky high, what else could we use for a similar taste. Yes, I know there is google, but it would be nice to know what the author would do.

Zucchini Boats look delicious

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Despite the few flaws, I really like the recipes in this cookbook. They are, for the most part, quick and easy with tasty ingredients. There are yummy noodle and pasta dishes plus many healthy snacks and spreads. The Guacamole is on my list to try, and Lasagnette, a vegetarian lasagna, and Stuffed Zucchini Boats sound wonderful for main dishes.
 


wkendcookingThis post is linked to Weekend Cooking, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.
Participation is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.


Source: Review copy provided by the publisher through AmazonVine.
© 2017 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.
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January 18, 2017 / Leslie

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

A Rapid Reviewharryaugust

Publisher: Redhook | April 2014
Format: eGalley | Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Science Fiction

No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes.

Until now.

What’s it about . . .
The story has a great premise — Harry and a small number of others like him are destined to live their lives over and over again. No matter how they die, they are reborn and live the same life. Nothing ever changes … until someone in their group begins interfering.

What did I think . . .
The book was promoted as a time travel story, but it really isn’t. It’s more like Groundhog Day, only Harry remembers and repeats an entire life instead of just one day.

A lot of people loved this book, but I had a difficult time getting into it. It was a slow read for most of the book, probably because I had trouble caring about Harry’s lives. Plus his lives are presented out of order making it a little more confusing than necessary to follow the timeline.

The mystery of who is changing things and why kept me interested enough to keep reading. The last quarter of the book does pick up and we finally find out what is happening, but it was an arduous journey to get there.

An Under My Apple Tree Rapid Review
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Source: Review copy provided by NetGalley.
© 2017 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.
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