Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

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Recipe 3 from Homemade Harvest

I am frantically trying to keep my head above water here!  Internet has been sporadic, my dryer is broken, my home phone is out and I leave Tuesday morning at 3 am to take a little trip with my best friend from high school.  We are headed to Vermont.  So excited!  But before I go I am going to give you one more terrific recipe from Gooseberry Patch’s Homemade Harvest.  Quick, easy and DELISH!

I will draw a name Monday so get your comments in!  I have a copy of Gooseberry Patch’s Hometown Harvest wrapped and in my suitcase. IF the winner gets their name and address to me before I leave I will pop it in my mailbox before I leave.  If not, I will mail it from Vermont.  GOOD LUCK EVERYONE and check the bottom of this post for more info.  Thanks for visiting!

Pepper Chicken & Rotini

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 to 2 TBSP oil
  • 1 green pepper cut into strips
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups rotini or ziti pasta, uncooked
  • 26 ounce jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzerella cheese


In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook chicken in oil for 5 minutes.  Add green pepper and onion; good another 5 minutes stirring occasionally.  Add water; bring to a boil.  Add uncooked pasta. Stir until pasta is completely covered with water.  Reduce to low heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until pasta is tender.


Stir in sauce; sprinkle with cheese.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.  4 to 6 servings.



And of course as always, you can win a copy of this new cookbook.
To enter this Early Bird Review and Giveaway: All you have to do is leave a comment at the end of each post pertaining to this giveaway and Early Bird Review and consider yourself entered. I will be posting amazing recipes from this book over the next two weeks and then on Monday the September 30, I will draw a name from the trusty mason jar and announce the winner. You have a few chances to get your name in the drawing. And of course it would be nice of you to tell your friends if you have facebook or a blog of your own.
Find even MORE from Gooseberry Patch online!

And if you like what you find here at my blog you can check out the right hand column and subscribe to my feed and follow me on twitter and facebook.


Book Review: The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

I finished The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling. I wanted to be able to give it a glowing review. I adored the Harry Potter Series and if I hadn’t read them, this might have been a bit easier for me to read. And possibly enjoy. It’s not that I hated it. I found it hard to read. Harder to digest. And it will be impossible to forget. There are going to be passages in this book that I revisit in my mind over the next weeks, months and possibly years. And maybe that was what she wanted when she wrote it. I think if I lived somewhere that didn’t resemble Pagford so very much, I might have seen the humor that others claimed to find. The small town politics, prejudices and all out shenanigans just left me sad.There is absolutely no limit to what people will do TO each other. None.

It started out dark and gloomy and then became sad and morose. Don’t get me wrong, the characters are real. Too real at times. Too familiar. She runs the gamut of human disorders, dysfunctions, emotions, depravity, disillusionment and left me feeling something I had never felt reading a book. I thought of Kneadful Things, Pride & Prejudice, Trainspotting, Very Bad Things. Yes, I know that is quite a list of references – but if you read it you will understand what I mean.

There is no magic here. No higher power, good or evil. Little reference to a church other than a place to hold a funeral or to point out a geographical location. There’s not underlying horror or force causing people to do the tragic things they do. There is just raw, unbridled human behavior. And it is brutal. If you read it, you will inevitably ask yourself which character you are most like. And you won’t like the answer. No matter what it is.

Now in writing this little review, I realize how good this book might actually be when I have fully absorbed it. It might even be great. I thought reading the Harry Potter series that JK Rowling has to be a genius. I have never enjoyed a series of books more in my life. I loved the character development (less so in TCV), the dysfunction (which is mild compared to TCV) and I felt like I knew who these characters were. I didn’t want to know any of the characters in The Casual Vacancy. At times wanted them to all get what they deserved, save one or two, only it was hard to tell who deserved what.

If you have never read other books by JK Rowling, are not offended by extremely colorful language, have any knowledge of British slang, are not turned off by corrupt politics, broken families, drug addiction, pedophilia, incest, rape, abuse and death, then by all means, jump in with both feet. If you are, then proceed but with extreme caution. By page 15, JK Rowling pulled out all the stops with crude language using words even I find hard to say. But nothing was over done in that sense. Very real and after you get to know a few of the citizens of Pagford, necessary. Don’t worry about the confusing number of characters. By mid-book, you will know them, sympathize with them, hate them – but you will be drawn in to see how it all ends.  And it ain’t pretty.


Impossible Coconut Pie from Gooseberry Patch’s Quick and Easy Autumn

I am a little later than I wanted to be getting this recipe published but I have 101 things going on this Thursday morning!  I think you know I love pie.  LOVE IT. Wrote a book about it I love it so much!  And this pie recipe I am about to share  is a keeper!    Made in a blender? How much easier could it be? And extra points for making its own crust!!!

I made two versions (another reason it took a little longer) – Sugar Free/Gluten Free Impossible Coconut Pie and the recipe straight out of Gooseberry Patch’s Quick & Easy Autumn.  I have the recipe below for you with notes about how to make it Sugar Free /Gluten Free and also one or the other 🙂

Impossible Coconut Pie

Impossible Coconut Pie (original recipe)

  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup biscuit baking mix
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup shredded coconut

Pour all ingredients into a blender; blend for 2-3 minutes.  Pour into a buttered 9″-10″ pie plate.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until set.  Makes 6-8 servings

Gluten Free/Sugar Free Impossible Coconut Pie

  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup Splenda for baking
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup Gluten Free biscuit baking mix
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup shredded coconut

Pour all ingredients into a blender; blend for 2-3 minutes.  Pour into a buttered 9″-10″ pie plate.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until set.  Makes 6-8 servings.

MY NOTES: I upped the baking mix in the sugar free/gluten free version.   It needed more dry ingredient.  And it was a good decision.  So you want to consider that if you make the gluten free version.  Also, you could just substitute the gluten free baking mix or just the sugar depending on your dietary needs.

You will notice the top and even the texture looks different on the pies.  They were a little different consistency going in the oven but the outcome on the SF/GF version is very good. I really enjoyed a slice of the SF/GF version for my mid morning snack!
Scrumptious!!!  I put the other away for the kids’ dessert tonight.

I will definitely be making this again!


Today is the last day to get your name in to win this great cookbook, just leave me a comment after this recipe (and the others if you haven’t already) and consider yourself entered.  Each recipe you comment on enters  your name again! Please share this giveaway with your friends if you facebook or have a blog. Cut off time is midnight tonight CST. You are welcome to still comment if you have tried a recipe and want to share your results but I won’t accept any more entries after midnight.

Then tomorrow,  April 15th I will draw the winner.  I picked April 15th to give us something fun to do that day!  I hate tax day and I know many of you do too!  So we will soften the blow of mailing that check with a wonderful NEW GOOSEBERRY PATCH COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY!!!


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