Cooking in Cuba!

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Cuba! Recipes and Stories from the Cuban Kitchen by Dan Goldberg, Andrea Kuhn, and Jody Eddy  is almost a scrapbook of their trip to Cuba. They worked on this project for over 5 years, and honestly I wouldn’t have that kind of patience.  It was a great read,even without the recipes. As they recall their experience with the food, culture, and people you simply cannot put it down.

The honesty of this book is very refreshing. The authors explain how overpriced the restaurants are, where tourist gather, and that to experience the realness of Cuba you need to see the people. They ate dinner in Havana with a house of several families. The matriarch cooked for them all and when served dinner the patriarch waited until everyone else was served before he served himself.

“Without ingredients like rice  & beans and friend plantains Cuban cuisine would lose its identity.”

This book is ultimately still cookbook with delicious looking recipes that range from traditional rice & beans, pumpkin flan (since its fall), pickled onion, to creating your own hot sauce.

My favorite part of this book was the page spread about Earnest Hemingway and his home in Cuba. He wrote 3 of his famous books there, and even thanked the people of Cuba in his Nobel Peace Prize speech. His boat Pilar is still on location at the home next to the grave of his 3 beloved cats. It’s a book/cookbook that can add to any kitchen or coffee table.

Get it here:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

 

Wee Little Cards

Wee Alphas by Wee Society.

26 A to Z Postcards, from Angelfish to Zebra

Honestly, I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I received these postcards in the mail. I didn’t know if the paper would be thick enough. Were the photos going to be great looking, or not. Not only is the paper very strong the photos are bright, and so neat to look at. Some of the postcards have things hidden in them, and all of them are adorable!!

The back of the postcards are my favorite. Each one has the name of the animal and what kind of animal it is. Along with a “fill-in” that is different on each card. Some you fill out like a normal letter, choose a reason why that person is great, and even doodle things. They are perfect for families who live far away, you can draw or fill in the cards and send them to someone and make them smile. Everyone knows that smiling is the best.

I have so many ideas on what to do with them, frame them, save them, gift them, or send them out.

This photo is from the sample on amazon:
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Buy Them Here:

Wee Society 

Amazon

 

Jo

 

I received this item in exchange for my honest review.

Cooking Korean. (Clever, I know)

Recently I received a new cookbook to review called Cook Korean by Robin Ha. Here is her blog: Blogspot. It’s filled with all the fun things she does, included her amazing art.

This cookbook is basically a comic style written book, the food contains mainly korean ingredients, which I don’t have access to some of them where I live. But that doesn’t stop me trying to find it. Amazon is a wonderful thing. The illustrations are very detailed and colorful. The recipes are easy to follow, and the illustrations are of the food that you are cooking. The pictures show you what you should do with the food and how to do it. My favorite part is the beginning of the book where she tells you what a Korean pantry should have in it. I was glad to see I did  actually have some of the items!

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Of course I love to try new and exciting dishes, especially when its a different countries cuisine, this book let me dip my toe into some common & well known recipes, like Kimchi.

I must say I was even more excited when I got an alert on my Instagram:

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Very excited🙂

Get it here:

Amazon

Penguin Random House

Barnes & Nobles 

I received this book in exchanged for my honest review.

Lucky Pot.

Every single time I attend a pot lucky style dinner, party, or event. The same people bring the same thing. Deviled eggs, check. Ten types of pasta and potato salad. This book puts a spin on the classics and brings new ideas to the table. There are recipes for everyone in this book and over 100 to choose from. My family enjoys food, but they also enjoy a good drink. I chose to try the Riesling Punch out on my family. It has wine, gin, limes, cucumbers and some simple syrup.

 

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The cover is catchy, the recipes look and taste delicious, it’s a 3.5 of 5 for me. Pick it up here:

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

 

xo Jo

U/S/A in color.

I recently received a copy of God Bless American: A patriotic coloring book. It is a great gift for a hostess on memorial day, flag day, july 4th, or really any little holiday that you celebrate. It is filled with historic pages, with quotes by great patriots! The back includes the hashtag #coloringamerica, which is a great thing to look up on instagram or twitter to see how other people view the same photo. It’s a great coloring book for kids and adults all around. The book really makes you miss the simple times and pleasures that existed before all this technology and issues. I agree with the backing of this book where is states you can color your way through history.

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On the back of each page is a description of what the photo is, a quote, and the illustrator. Want something more? How about a playlist that goes with the book! There is a link inside to the playlist, and as I color and listen to it, I really felt proud of my country. I suggest you buy this today.

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Amazon

Walmart

Barnes & Noble

 

 

Enjoy, Jo.

 

 

Lets read at the beach.

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There are so many things to do at the beach. I prefer to hop in the water, and then sit my butt on the beach and read. Popsugar created a very cool reading challenge for the beach this year.

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If you need a few beach reads to get started here is a list of my 10 picks for this summer.

 

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

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This beautiful story starts in 1962 where an Italian man sets his sights on an american actress. Almost 50 years later, he goes to Hollywood in search of her.

 

Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand

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Elon tells the story of Tess & Greg, a couple who may or may not have died when their boat capsizes. While the nantucket area mourns the loss, their closest friends find out some revealing news.

Also by Elin Hildebrand is The Rumor

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This book is the ultimate beach read, its filled with love, gossip,and friendship. Two friends discuss, and don’t discuss their lives and the intresting things that are happening between their husbands, children, and friends.

 

Eleanor & Park, Attachments, Carry On. Rainbow Rowell doesn’t need one book to be chosen, any of her books are perfect for the beach and truly anyplace.

 

The  Weekenders by  Mary Kay Andrews

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Riley Griggs is waiting for her husband to arrive at the ferry one Friday afternoon, she gets served with papers informing her that her island home is being foreclosed. She turns to her island friends for help and support, but each of them has their own secrets. Cocktail parties and crab boil aside, Riley must find a way to investigate the secrets of Belle Island, the husband she might not really know, and the summer that could change everything.

 

June by Miranda Beverly Whittemore

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Twenty-five-year-old Cassie Danvers is holed up in her family’s crumbling mansion in rural St. Jude, Ohio, mourning the loss of the woman who raised her—her grandmother, June. Cassie has been named the sole heir to legendary matinee idol Jack Montgomery’s vast fortune. How did Jack Montgomery know her name?

Soon Jack’s famous daughters come knocking, determined to wrestle Cassie away from the inheritance they feel is their due. Together, they all come to discover the true reasons for June’s silence about that long-ago summer. The story shifts between the past and present, Cassie and her guests will be forced to reexamine their legacies, their definition of family, and what it truly means to love someone, steadfastly, across the ages.

 

Girls by Emma Cline This book is currently number 1 on my reading list.

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At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence.

 

What would a book list be without a few classics.

 

War & Peace  By Leo Tolstoy ( If you have a whole week or 3 to spend on the beach)

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To Kill a Mockingbird & Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

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And finally any Jane Austen Books. They are full of love, friendship, family, betrayal, and loss.

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Enjoy  & Happy Reading

 

xo Jo

Breakfast Ring.

 

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Happy Thursday! I have a few days left of vacation, and instead of sulking this time, I will make the best of the days that are left. Like opening a bottle of champagne (the real stuff)  and make a serious to do list for the day. I don’t have time for a big breakfast in the morning. I love breakfast foods, casseroles, and drinks (of course) so today I thought, why not? lets make something good. So here is the delicious and easy breakfast casserole. Adapted from Pillsbury

You’ll Need:

4 slices of bacon

1/3 cup of milk

4 eggs beaten

1/4 cup chopped bell pepper

1 can of crescent rolls

1 1/2 cups of Mexican cheese blend ( this would work with cheddar as well)

Breakfast Ring

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Breakfast Ring 2

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line big baking sheet with parchment paper. In skillet, cook bacon about 4 minutes or until cooked but not crisp, turning once. Set aside; drain all except 2 teaspoons bacon drippings from skillet.

  2. In med. bowl, beat 1/3 cup of the milk, the eggs, salt and pepper (if using) with fork or whisk until well mixed. Stir in bell pepper. Pour egg mixture into skillet. Avoid stirring constantly but push cooked eggs aside. As more egg sets, push it to the edge and place it on top of the already set egg mixture. Cook 5 to 6 minutes or until eggs are thickened throughout but still moist.

  3. Unroll dough; separate into 8 triangles. On parchment-lined cookie sheet, arrange triangles with shortest sides toward center, overlapping in star shape and leaving 4-inch round circle open in center . Crescent dough points may hang over edge of cookie sheet. Press overlapping dough to flatten.

  4. Place bacon on each of the triangles. Sprinkle soon the cheese onto widest part of dough. Spoon eggs over cheese. Sprinkle more of the cheese onto eggs. Pull points of triangles over eggs and cheese, and tuck under dough to form ring (filling will be visible). Carefully brush dough with remaining 1 tablespoon milk; sprinkle with remaining cheese. ( use a little more than 1/3cup of cheese each time. 

  5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool 2 minutes. Using spatula, carefully loosen ring from cookie sheet; slide onto platter.

Enjoy

xo Jo

Summer Bucket List

Summer is upon us, and it has been wonderful so far. Friends have had babies, gotten married, and thrown parties. I have enjoyed my vacation immensely so far, getting up early to sit outside for hours and hours is the most relaxing thing ever, I feel that it should be my job. (wishing & dreaming of the perfect summer job)

Reality of it is, I go back to work on Monday, which also means I have to leave Edgar alone a little longer. Things around the house still need to be cleaned (obviously), fixed up, painted, mudded. (Whatever that is) Even though things take time to do in a new (old) house, we made a bad choice to do three rooms at once, but it shall get there.

There are so many things going on during the Summer, and it’s almost impossible to work and do them all, so I made a bucket list of the things I want to do. Enjoy

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summer bucket list

 

xo Jo

 

 

Fourth of July. Happy Inependance Day.

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Of course this day is filled with historical facts and things of that nature. I learned about them, you’ve learned about them. ( If American of course) So lets get down to the good stuff about celebrated this day, food and drinks.

Most people spend the day playing games outside, BBQ-ing, having a fire with s’mores, and watching fireworks. My family and I are no different, except we don’t play too many games these days since we don’t have little kids running around. ( Just a dog) Here are some delicious, and fun ideas to celebrate your independence.

 Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs from Cooking Classy

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Foil Potatoes from Damn Delicious

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Red, White and Blue Sangria from Gimme Some Oven

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Not into spending a lot of money on decorations? Here are two ideas that are cheap and easy, plus patriotic.

Patriotic Flowers

  1. You Need, 1 vase, blue food/drink coloring, red and white daisies (real or fake will work)
  2. Fill vase with water, drop a few drops of blue coloring into vase. Place flowers in. Enjoy your pretty arrangement.

Door Decor: Flag basket

  1. You need, 1 wooden basket. styrofoam block ( dollar stores have them), and a handful of small flags. Get some here. Place foam in basket and stick flags in, hang on door.

If your into some printable ideas, The 36th Avenue has some cute ideas .Like this one:

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click the photo to open.

Enjoy!

Hello July!

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How the heck did that happen. I feel like it was just snowing last month, thankfully it really wasn’t. This month is filled with me getting my tush back on track and following a schedule. Maybe being super anal about it won’t be so bad, yes thats what she said i’m sure. I’ve spent the last week filling out  a calendar for the next two months in hope that I can follow it.

For all of those on summer vacation, enjoy it. I have about 1 week left until I go back to work. Can’t complain though, this past week we had fantastic weather, and spend so much time outside. Coming up:

This Month:

Fourth of July

Bill Engvall Comedy Show ( First comedy experience, extremely excited)

Birthday Time ( Mine, Moms & Mom-in-law)

Vacation to Virginia Beach & Williamsburg

Of course, National Tequila Day!

Food, Drink, Crafts:

Salsa, Lemon Garlic Chicken, Coconut Iced Tea, Cheeseburger Rolls, Strawberry Jam

Pool Noodle Crafts, Beach Reads, Road trip Playlist and more!

 

Enjoy!

Jo