Memory of Us by Camille Di Maio

A new author I found courtesy of NetGalley.

 

The Memory of Us by Camille Di Maio had me from page 1. When I finished reading it I was going to give the book 4 stars but after I kept thinking about the book I decided this was a 5 stars book. Julianne Westcott was a heroine that was wonderful to follow along as she deals with her relationships with friends, family and Kyle McCarthy. Julianne and Kyle’s relationship starts of as friendship and both know that it can’t be more do to Kyle going to the seminary and Julianne’s parents. There is a changing event that does allow them to be together and the story becomes about how they face the world together. The book is about choices and how they can change your world forever. Julianne has to make a choice that will alter everyone she knows lives. I really enjoyed this book and couldn’t put it down. Can’t wait to read more from Camille Di Maio!

I received a review copy of this title courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

Review of The Study of Seduction by Sabrina Jeffries

 

The Study of Seduction by Sabrina Jeffries was engaging book from the first chapter to the last. I enjoyed the banter between Edwin and Clarissa, it truly made the book great. I am new to Sabrina Jeffries and this book made me a fan. I liked how Edwin was able to share an interest with Clarissa that she loved, I mean she freaks out when she meets someone she admires. I liked the little bets Edwin and Clarissa made with each other throughout the book adding to their banter. There was serious matter subject in book, which only enhanced the book to what it is. It brought Edwin and Clarissa closer in the book. I highly recommend this book as a Spring Read!

 Four Stars! 

I received a review copy of this title courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley.

Holiday Fun

As we start the new year, I thought I should probably get back to learning how to cook Indian food and sharing my experiences with you.  During the holidays it is always fun in my house. It is chaotic and crazy as we decorate the house and cook Christmas goodies. I learned how to make 3 Indian sweets this year all by myself, which I will share with you at the end of this year.

But I am not going to leave you without something. So….here is the first recipe of the year.

Pork Vindaly

  • 4lbs of Pork Belly cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric  powder
  • teaspoons of salt  
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 2 springs of curry leaves
  • Ginger Garlic Paste*
  • Chili powder to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced 
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar

*To make the ginger garlic paste grind in a mixer 3 inches of ginger, 9 garlic cloves and 2 tablespoons of cumin seeds with water. Grind all ingredients till till become a paste.

Boil pork belly with 1/2 turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon of salt in a pressure cooker.

In another pot, heat 1/2 cup of vegetable oil and sauté onions and curry leaves. When the onions are brown, add the ginger garlic paste to the pot.  Add 1/4 cup of water to the mixture and continue to fry for 5 to 7 minutes.

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Right before we added the chili powder. 

Add chili powder to take, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder, and tomatoes. Add some more water to the mixture to help cook the tomatoes. Continue to cook until the oil rises to the top of the pot.* Add the cooked pork and salt to taste to the mixture and cook till tender.  When the pork is tender, add vinegar to the pot and let simmer for 2 to 3 more minutes.

 

*This is a tip my Grandmother gave my mom when she was learning to cook.

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This is right when we added the pork to the pot when the oil raised to the top.

I hope you enjoy this dish. You can substitute  pork with chicken or shrimp.

~Till Next Time, Pida

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Finished Vindaly ready to serve!!

 

Success In Re-creating Recipes

This past weekend I had the opportunity to make two recipes my Mom taught me over the last few months. The first recipe was Upma, which is a breakfast dish. It turned out well and tasted just like how my Mom makes it. Dad said he liked it as well, so I will take it as a win.

This is from the first time we made it.
This is from the first time we made it.

The second recipe was Dhaal which was one of the first recipes that I learned but never made. Mom is always a little hesitant when I say I am going to make a dish. Even more surprising is she let me make it when we had guests coming over. That’s a lot of pressure to make Dhaal for the first time and make it for guests.

Dhaal
Dhaal

In the end though it turned out great! Of course Mom was looking over my shoulder to make sure it came out okay, we after all had guests coming over. After cooking the Dhaal we also made Cauliflower and Potato. Here is another easy tasty dish to make, hope you enjoy.

~Till Next Time

Pida

Cauliflower and Potato

1 head of cauliflower, chopped

1 large potato, chopped

1 medium onion, sliced

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon mustard seeds

1 large tomato, sliced

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 inch of ginger, grated

¾ tablespoon garam masala

Add salt and chili powder to taste

½ cup coriander leaves, chopped

In a large pot add oil, cauliflower, potato, onion, mustard and cumin seeds, tomato, turmeric, ginger, salt and chili powder. Also add a half-cup of water to help cook the cauliflower and potato. You may need to add more water but keep an eye on it. Towards the end add coriander leaves and garam masala.

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Crab Curry Side-Green Beans Poriyal

Our family friends and us celebrate the Fourth of July weekend with making Crab Curry. While I wasn’t there when the crab curry was made, I did get the chance to observe one of the Aunties make a vegetable dish. I didn’t eat the crab curry as I do not like seafood but everyone said it was delicious. Here is a link to how the crab curry was made http://www.jefreena.com/2015/07/moms-crab-curry/. From what I heard and you will read it was a real long process since the crabs kept absorbing the curry sauce.

Green Beans Poriyal

2 Tablespoon of oil

1 Medium Onion Finely Chopped

2 16oz of frozen greens bean

2 cubes of chicken flavor stock

5 to 6 pods of garlic sliced

2 small chilies sliced lengthwise

Salt to taste

½ cup of shredded coconut (unsweetened)

Sauté onions in oil and add green beans when onions are tender. Add cubes of stock, garlic and chilies to green beans. Add salt to taste. When green beans are almost done add the coconut.

Green Bean Poriyal
Green Bean Poriyal before the coconut was added
Green Bean Poriyal 2
Green Bean Poriyal being served
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Crab Curry with other dishes

My Book Club-BBB

Do you belong to a book club? I do! My book club is the best! Now I may be a little bit biased but who cares? We are 17 ladies from three states and 2 countries. You read correctly, we are international. Our book club is BBB: Books, Booze and Babes. The best part of the group is we all get along even though we all have different interests. We are committed to our book club; we have t-shirts, tote bags and even koozies. We have had Christine Trent (author of Lady of Ashes) come to a book club and have Skyped with Kristan Higgins (author of Waiting On you).   I am lucky to have found a group of ladies to share my passion of reading.

We read a variety of books including mystery, fiction, romance, science fiction, biography, suspense and so much more. The latest book we read was The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. I was excited when we picked this book because I just finished the book and have loved other books by Liane Moriarty.  We highly recommend this book for book clubs. It comes with discussion questions but we found we didn’t need them.

The book tells the intertwining stories of three women, Cecilia, Rachel, and Tess. The story begins with Cecilia finding a letter from her husband meant to be opened upon his death. It contains a secret that ties the three women together and leaves each of them facing decisions that will impact not only themselves but their families. As soon as I found out the secret, I was completely hooked. I know other members of my book club had the same problem! This book spurred some great conversations around quality of life, the purpose of telling the truth, the unintended impact of individual choices, and how secrets can take on lives of their own over the years.

Liane Moriarty does a great job of showing how any decision you make can change your life in the blink of an eye and how those decisions can affect others around you. I also highly recommend her other books.

BBB gave the book 4 stars out of 5.

We hope you enjoy the book!

Pida

My First Book Review!

I thought for my first book review, I would write about one of my favorite authors, Nora Roberts. I have loved the last four books that Nora Roberts’ has released and The Liar has been added to the list. I was able to get my copy of The Liar during a book signing this past Saturday, where I got to see Nora Roberts. It was so good that I started it on Saturday and finished it on Sunday.

Nora and Me!
Nora and Me!

The Liar is about a woman named Shelby trying to move on with her life after the death of her husband, which proves progressively more difficult as she begins to uncover the lies he left behind. Shelby has to find ways to survive by letting go of her old life and moving back to her childhood hometown with her daughter. I found Shelby very admirable and courageous as she finds work, reconnects with family and friends, accepts help when needed, and lets love in from a very handsome man named Griff.

Throughout the story it is revealed that life for Shelby wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and that she hides a lot from her family. Shelby, who was passive in her married life, begins to find the strength she had when she was young and single and is finally able to stand up for herself. It was easy to fall for Shelby’s daughter, Callie, who has so much personality for being so young and I found myself cheering on Griff as his sweet nature prompts him to help Shelby out even when she doesn’t want it.

If you enjoy a good mystery and seeing people overcome obstacles, you will enjoy this book. I gave the book 4 out 5 stars on Goodreads.

~Till Next Time

Pida

Pick up a copy!
Pick up a copy!

Book: The Liar

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Son

Publication Date: April 14, 2015

Length: 501 pages

Khichdi

I know Good Friday was a few weeks ago but Mom showed me how to make Khichdi in remembrance of my Grandmother. My Grandmother used to cook something similar to Khichdi on Good Fridays when she was growing up. Mom doesn’t usually make this so it was something special. I hope you enjoy!

Khichdi

 1 cup Rice (washed)

1 cup Moong Dal (washed)

1 ½ cups of peas and carrots*

¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder

¼ teaspoon of mustard seeds

¼ teaspoon cumin seeds

¼ teaspoon asafetida powder

1 large tomato cubed

1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger

2 green chilies finely chopped

2 tablespoon of ghee

Salt to taste

In a pot add rice, moong dal, turmeric powder, 1 tablespoon of ghee, peas and carrots and salt to taste with 3 cups of waters cook until tender.

In another pot add the rest of the ghee, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and asafetida powder. When seeds start to pop, add 1 large tomato and ½ cup of water to help cook the tomato. Also add the ginger and green chilies. Mix rice into the tomato mixture when tomato is done cooking. Then you are done.

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We ate our Khichdi with papadum and pickle.

Khichdi and Papadum
Khichdi and Papadum

*We used frozen peas and carrots but you can uses any vegetable you have on hand.

Note: If you use a pressure cooker to cook the rice and dal it will cook quicker.

Beef Poricha Curry

On this cold snowy day, I told my mom she needed to teach me a new recipe.  I got lucky and she did two!  Here is the first one, I hope you enjoy.

Here is what we had for dinner Beef Poricha Curry and Puli Kulambu with Rice
Here is what we had for dinner Beef Poricha Curry and Puli Kulambu with Rice

Beef Poricha Curry

2 lbs of beef stew

1 large onions, sliced

1 large tomato, sliced

1 spring of curry leaves

Ginger Garlic Paste* See below to make paste

½ cup of coriander leaves, (cilantro), chopped

3 to 4 green chilies, chopped

2 tablespoons of oil

¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder

½ teaspoon of red chili powder (add to taste)

Salt to taste

 Add beef, sliced onions, sliced tomatoes, ginger garlic paste, coriander leaves, green chilies, sprig of curry leaves, turmeric powder, red chili powder, salt, oil to pot. Add enough water to cook beef till tender. Bring everything to boil. Cook beef till it is tender.

Right before we closed the pressure cooker
Right before we closed the pressure cooker
Finished!
Finished!

*For Ginger Garlic Paste

Grind 1 ½ inch of ginger and 7 garlic pods with a little bit of water.

We used a pressure cooker to speed up cooking the beef. If you don’t use a pressure cooker, you will have to add water as the beef is cooking until it is fully cooked.

My grandmother use to say when the oil rises to the top that means the food is done.

Ready to Serve
Ready to Serve

Booking Signing Fun!

Over the weekend I had a great adventure!  Actually it is an adventure, I am lucky to make a trip  few times a year up to Boonsboro, MD to Turn the Page Bookstore. (For those who don’t me well, I love to read.  Last year I read 225 books and so far this year I have read 37 books.) They do signings a couple times of the year with one of my all time favorite authors, Nora Roberts.  One of my favorite parts of the signings is I get to discover new authors and their books.  I have discovered so many authors by going to these signings.  I will never be at a loss of what book to read next because I have met so many authors that I enjoy.

I was especially excited for this signing because Sarah Addison Allen was going to be there.  I have been reading her books for quite some time now and have loved them all.  I picked up her latest book First Frost which I have been anxiously waiting to read and I have started it.  Her books have a bit of magic that makes her books extra special to read.

Other authors I picked up included Kristen Proby, Teri Wilson, R.C. Ryan/Ruth Langan and Sarah MacLean.  One of the reasons signings are so special is because you get to talk to the authors a little bit. Maybe I talk a little too much, (I got called out by Nora Roberts which actually made me super excited) but it makes me recommend authors books to my friends when I know the authors are friendly.

If you are ever in Maryland during a signing, I recommend going to Turn the Page Bookstore because the staff there is so extremely friendly and answer your questions with a smile.  They have signings to an art, its unbelievable how many people they have come to these events.  It amazes me how they handle signing each time I go.  I am in awe of their great staff.

Here are a few pictures from the big day! (Thank you to my photographer)  Look for some book reviews to come soon!
~Till Next Time

Pida

I had won a drawing.
I had won a drawing.
Sarah Addison Allen and Me
Sarah Addison Allen and Me
Getting books signed by Kristen Proby and Teri Wilson
Getting books signed by Kristen Proby and Teri Wilson
Sarah MacLean
Sarah MacLean and Me