Hey Bookworm!

A blog for books and the people who love them.

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10 Terrible Truths About Spring Cleaning

I love spring cleaning. It means that summer is around the corner, it’s usually the first weekend we break out the BBQ and I just really love cleaning and organizing on an occasional basis (like when it’s an event…day to day I don’t care to pick up my things).

However, as with everything in this great and terrifying thing we call life, spring cleaning is not without its problems. And so, in…

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Filed under Cleaning Fails Pinterest Fails Spring Cleaning Top 10 List

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What’s in a Name?

Just a little bit of fun to liven up this Wednesday morning. I’m sure that everyone is familiar with the concept of pen names or pseudonyms. Writers have been using pen names for centuries for any number of reasons; to avoid prejudice due to feminine* or ethnic names, for popular authors to avoid over-exposure, for group writing efforts, because of a hard to pronounce name or simply because their…

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Filed under Book App Pen Names

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I love food and am a total believer in foods’ power over mood and circumstance. When something bad (or good, or neutral, or nothing at all ) happens, I’m all over it with the appropriate menu. Food can make anything better. Even facing certain death in a kill-or-be-killed arena where you are being sent to atone for crimes committed by your ancestors. Apparently.

“What’s impressed you most since you arrived here?” I rack my brain for something that made me happy here. Be honest, I think. Be honest. “The lamb stew,” I get out. Caesar laughs, and vaguely I realize some of the audience has joined in. “The one with the dried plums?” asks Caesar. I nod. “Oh, I eat it by the bucketful.”

And, so this week for Book Cookin’ Thursday, We will be making Lamb Stew with Dried Plums from Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.
..or rather, the “No-Hunger Games”, if this stew works out!

* pauses for laughs*

Anyone?

Fine, all puns aside, the recipe I used is from the website notquitenigella.com , and you can find and follow it along here. She has some great pictures of every step in the recipe, and modifications for pressure cookers and stove top methods.

Let’s Cook! May the odds be ever in our favor.

Serves 4

  • 1 kilo, 1 inch diced lamb neck (also called scotch fillet-you can also use lamb fillet, diced leg or shoulder).
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup plain or all-purpose flour
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 cups beef or lamb stock
  • 2 large carrots, cut into chunks
  • 500g/1 pound small chat potatoes roughly the same size
  • 1/4 cup pitted prunes (am I the only one who didn’t know that prunes are dried plums?)
  • 1/4 cup Turkish dried apricots (Ah yes, the finest turkish dried apricots that the No Name brand makes…)
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh lemon thyme (or use thyme and add some lemon zest)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup ginger beer
  • Salt if needed
  • Serve with: wild rice, regular rice or Paddy’s potato scones

Step 1 – On a shallow plate, mix the flour, salt and pepper and dredge the lamb pieces shaking off any excess.

Step 1a- Regret leaving the prep work for this recipe until after work, especially when “after work” is midnight. Lousy evening shift. :(

Step 2 – Heat your cast iron pot or a frying pan on medium to high heat and brown the lamb pieces in the oil in three or four batches. Then add the garlic and onion and stir until the onions become translucent.

Step 3- If using a slow cooker: Add the stock, sugar, carrots, potatoes, prunes, apricots, rosemary, lemon thyme, bay leaves and ginger beer to the lamb and onion mix. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Taste to see whether salt is needed
Okay, I’m pretty tired, but I did not see sugar ANYWHERE in the ingredients list. What kind of sugar? How much sugar? I am adding no sugar, and I  do NOT appreciate deception when I’m trying my best to be good and follow the recipe.

Step 4- Clean up after yourself, because if memory serves, J HATES it when he goes to bed after cleaning practically the whole house only to then waking up to an unholy mess his wife made after work. It’s like his least favorite thing, aside from K-Os and people who don’t stand up during the national anthem.

Step 5- Watch an episode of Nashville, eat a handful of Ritz crackers and a Cheesestring and fall asleep

Step 6- Cook, add some salt and LOTS of pepper when you realize you added a bottle of ginger beer instead of a cup and therefore the stew is very sweet.

 
Verdict: Sweetness aside, this was actually pretty tasty. Make sure that you only add a cup of ginger beer and then I would actually recommend this. I’ve never prepared lamb before, because I didn’t know how, but this was easy, healthy, filling and yummy! Would I choose it as my last meal before entering the arena? No, but I would make it again! Success!

Book Cookin Thursday #6: I love food and am a total believer in foods’ power over mood and circumstance. When something bad (or good, or neutral, or nothing at all ) happens, I’m all over it with the appropriate menu.

Filed under Book Recipes Hunger Games Hunger Games Stew Lamb stew with dried plums

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Plight of a Bookworm #6: The Book Hangover

If you’ve been there, you know how this goes. It’s 2am. You’ve been reading this wonderful book for hours, ever since your 11pm “I’ll just read a few pages before I go to sleep” claim. It was a lie then, and you knew it. And just as you knew you would, you keep on reading, long, long into the night.

You have to be up in 6 hours to go to work/ school/ raise children.

“Just until the end of this…

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Filed under Book Hangover Bookworm problems plight of a bookworm

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Lessons from a Friend

Recently, my close group of friends lost one of our own. I”ve had the same friends since high school (and the same taste in music, but that’s neither here nor there), and so even though I had lost contact with this person, the loss is real and palpable.
It’s a complicated thing to mourn a loss that isn’t yours to mourn. My friend left behind a wife and daughters, parents and siblings. This loss…

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Filed under Life Lessons Loss

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Review Time: The 100-Year Old Man who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared

Review Time: The Hundred-Year Old Man

Jonas Jonassons’ sensation “The 100 year old man who climbed out the window and disappeared”is one one of the recent “it-books” to grace every list and on the lap of every subway rider. It has the distinction of being the most sold book in Sweden in 2010 and was made into a movie that did very well in Europe and I would not be surprised if a North American debut was in its future. Before I go…

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Filed under Book Review Jonas Jonasson Review The 100 year old man who climbed out the window and disappeared

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Review Time: Crack Town, I mean…Crazy Town by Robyn Doolittle

Review Time: Crack Town, I mean…Crazy Town

There’s something really special about reading a book set in a location you’ve been to. You can picture these things happening so much more vividly, and getting into the story has a whole other level to it. Now that I’ve travelled a little bit, I get a nerdy thrill out of reading books set in London or Paris or Rome, and so many good books are! Living in Toronto, I should probably start seeking…

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Filed under Book Review Crazy Town Rob Ford Robyn Doolittle Toronto Politics

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Sorry about the posting interruption everyone, it’s been a crazy week. Among other things, my husband won a call in radio contest to go to NYC and see a hockey game (For real, people actually win those!!) As well as watching the Leafs win in overtime (yeah!), we had to make a very important stop at the New York Public Library. And friends, I kid you not, it’s everything we all dreamed it would be. The most beautiful reading rooms, marble foyers, and of course the 2 guard lions: Patience and Fortitude. Which are alright names, I guess. Pretty serious names for lions in front of a library. I would have gone with Arthur and Wilson or Dewey and Douglas, something like that.
Questionable lion naming aside, I urge you all, if you visit NYC, stop by the library, just to look around. The architecture alone is worth it.


Also while perusing the Libraries’ gift shop (I like to support libraries…and gift shops), I came across the cutest jewelry line ever, and the subject of todays’ Book Swag: Peg and Awl. Peg and Awl are a husband and wife team from Philadephia (cute!) and they make jewelry and other items using reclaimed materials like leather from old handbags and couches, fabric from 19th century cushions and wood from old houses. They take garbage and make treasures and I can’t even get it together enough to fill my wedding shadow box *sigh*.

They use these recycled goods to make one of a kind items like this adorable book necklace! Seriously adorable…there are actual pages inside!

Check out the Peg and Awl shop for more book swag like this!

Check out the Peg and Awl shop for more book swag like this!

Check out their website or Etsy shop!

 

Book Swag: Peg and Awl Sorry about the posting interruption everyone, it’s been a crazy week. Among other things, my husband won a call in radio contest to go to NYC and see a hockey game (For real, people actually win those!!) As well as watching the Leafs win in overtime (yeah!), we had to make a very important stop at the New York Public Library.

Filed under jewelry New York Public Library Patience and Fortitude Peg and Awl