Read Watch Play #8

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Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, and the Sunday Post. Read, Watch, Play is a round-up of bookish and non-bookish entertainment going on in my home this week. Feel free to join in and let me know what fun you have had recently!

It has been ages since I have done a Read, Watch, Play post! Life just gets in the way sometimes. Now that the holidays have passed, the snow days are gone (hopefully for a while), life is starting to get back to normal in our house, and I actually have a little more free time!

What I’m Reading

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Hillbilly Elegy is my book club’s pick for February. I have to admit I had misplaced expectations going into this book. I thought it was more of a research-based analysis than a memoir, but it is actually the opposite; a memoir with a tiny bit of research thrown in.

What I’m Watching

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I just read The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Agatha Christie’s very first novel. Of course, I then had to watch the corresponding episode from the Poirot TV series!

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We also watched Room last night. Usually I don’t like to watch the movie before reading the book, but I have been intrigued by this one ever since Brie Larson won an Oscar last year. Word of advice: don’t watch without a box of tissues nearby!

What I’m Playing

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Not quite a game, but I bought this Ultimate Dot-to-Dot book by Gareth Moore last week as a relaxing activity to do with M, once I saw that there was a good chance of snow days in the near future. This is a great dot-to-dot book! The dots are color coded, and I’m using the Staedtler 36 Colors, Triplus Fineliner Pen Set to complete the pages.

What I’m Cooking

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We’re doing the Whole 30 this month! In some ways, it hasn’t been as challenging as I thought it would be. In other ways, I am getting thoroughly tired of some of the food that we usually eat that has been cut out this month! And I miss cheese. And wine. And chocolate. And bread products.

If you haven’t heard of the Whole 30 by now (although I am sure most of you have!), it is 30 day “diet” meant to help reset your body on a path back towards healthy eating. We’ve been eating out a lot more than we usually do, and it seemed like a great time to give it a try, as a kick-start back to our normal, healthy way of life.

A month of Whole 30 is similar to Paleo, and means a whole lot of fruits, veggies, meats, eggs, and seafood. What it does not include: alcohol, dairy, grains, legumes, corn, soy, and sugar.

Here’s a sampling of some of the meals I have made over the past 9 days:

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Breakfast:

  • Breakfast tacos with homemade sausage, butterleaf lettuce, scrambled eggs and hot sauce (pictured)
  • Sausage patties with sautéed apples and cinnamon
  • Egg casserole with tomatoes, spinach, and Aidell’s Chicken and Apple Sausage
  • Scrambled eggs with lox and sautéed butternut squash, seasoned with Ras el Hanout (pictured)

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Lunch:

  • Israeli Salad, pistachios, melon with prosciutto (pictured)
  • “Nachos” – plantain chips, mango, rainbow carrots, leftover pulled pork, and guacamole (pictured)
  • Leftovers
  • An assortment of salads with smoked turkey, prosciutto, dates, slivered almonds, and vinaigrette dressing.
  • Trader Joe’s Lime Chili Chicken Burgers with guacamole, and a side of fruit or veggie.

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Dinners: 

  • Coconut Curry chicken with riced cauliflower and sautéed kale (pictured)
  • Pork Postole with Tostones and roasted potatoes (pictured)
  • Turkey curry meatballs with lemongrass coconut cream sauce and roasted veggies
  • Hamburger (all of the meat we buy is grassfed) with lettuce bun, guacamole, green beans, and Alexia Smart Classics french fries. And a pickle, once I realized that the dill pickles in our fridge had no sugar! (pictured)

As you can see, we have been busy cooking here! What are you up to this weekend?

Read Watch Play #4

Read Watch Play is my own version of a Sunday Salon: a round-up of bookish and non-bookish entertainment going on in my home this week. Feel free to join in and let me know what fun you have had this week!

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What I’m watching: 

I still haven’t finished Stranger Things, TV time these days is rare, indeed. I have two more episodes to go. I am really loving Eleven’s backstory, she is such a fascinating kid. I hope she finds some peace and happiness by the end of this season!

I watch Once Upon a Time every Sunday, and I have to admit, I relish this season’s return of the Evil Queen! Lana Parilla must have so much fun playing the part, and the Queen’s costumes are always amazing! Do you think Regina and/or her sister will succumb to the Evil Queen’s tactics? Emma’s premonition is certainly setting up an interesting arc for the first half of this season, but part of me thinks this season is too busy. Between Mr. Hyde, the Evil Queen, the entrance of the Aladdin characters and other untold stories, Emma’s premonition, and whatever Rumple is getting up to these days, there is a lot going on in Storybrooke right now.

I will also be watching the Hillary Clinton/Donald Trump debate tonight. That should be an interesting one. Will you be watching?

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What I’m playing:

I mentioned last week that I am participating in a virtual triathlon this month. I don’t usually like to toot my own horn, but…toot, toot! I am so happy with my progress so far this week.

The Jimmie Johnson Foundation Virtual Triathlon runs from October 1 – October 31. It is a 140.6 mile virtual race that involves a 2.4 mile swim, 112 miles cycling, and a 26 mile run/walk/jog. It is not done at once, but broken up into however many workouts you need to get it done.

Right now, I am ahead of schedule, and might be on track to complete the triathlon a week early! My biggest achievement this week was my first swim. I love swimming, but I haven’t actually swam as exercise in years. I jumped in the pool on Tuesday with a goal of as many laps as I could do in a one hour period. I stepped out of the pool 1 hour 15 minutes later having swum 70 lengths (35 down-and back laps) in a 25 yard pool. That’s a freakin’ mile, people! Amazingly, I wasn’t sore the next day either! Although I did have horribly matted hair. I bought a swim cap on my way home.

JJF Race Stats (October 9)

1.7/2.4 mile swim (71% complete)

42.64/112 mile bike (38% complete)

8.1/26.2 mile run (31% complete)

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What I’m Cooking: 

Meatballs. This batch almost didn’t make it into the oven without losing a few to a curious cat! This is Hello Kitty, lover of tuna, goldfish crackers, and meatballs.

Our meatballs change depending on my mood, but here is the base recipe I build upon.

Italian Style Meatballs

  • 1 1/2 pounds grassfed beef
  • 1 1/2 pounds mild italian sausage
  • one thick slice of firm bread of your choosing (sourdough, whole wheat, baguette…I think I have used them all).
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, finely shredded
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons italian seasoning (I use salt-free Catazano herbs from Savory Spice Shop. It contains garlic, lemon peel, marjoram, European basil, Mediterranean thyme, rosemary and Greek oregano).

Directions:

Have your sauce of choice ready to go on the stovetop.

Turn on the broiler. Pour the milk over the bread until it is saturated, and let it soak for a few minutes. Squeeze out the excess milk, and quickly pulse in a food processor. Gently combine all of the ingredients with your hands until just mixed together. Form into medium-large size meatballs (about the size of a Ping Pong ball). Broil in the oven for about 5-7 minutes, until the outside has browned, then transfer the meatballs into your sauce and finish cooking in the sauce on the stovetop, about another 15 minutes or so.

Bon Appetit!

What I’m Reading:

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty. I just finished reading Serafina and the Black Cloak this morning. I think I will count this for Wonderless Review’s Halloween Readathon, even though it is not on my original list. A review will be posted tomorrow! It was interesting to read a book set at the Biltmore Estate, near Asheville, a place I have visited many times!

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. I’m starting this one today! It looks like it will be a quick read. I have been meaning to read this book for ages. There are so many cultural references to Jekyll and Hyde, I have always felt remiss about not reading the original!

What are you up to this week? Let me know in the comments!

Read Watch Play #3

Read Watch Play is my own version of a Sunday Salon: a round-up of bookish and non-bookish entertainment going on in my home this week. Feel free to join in and let me know what you are reading, watching, cooking, and playing in the comments!

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What I’m watching: Stranger Things (Netflix – Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller). I love sci-fi, but not horror movies. Stranger Things, an 8-episode Netflix original that has become immensely popular, straddles that line. I fully admit I have to cover my face and peek out through my fingertips during a few scenes. I don’t do well with horror, but somehow, I really like Stranger Things, especially the nostalgia of the 80s. And I think therein lies the appeal of this show for so many – the power of 80s nostalgia. I have three more episodes left, and hope to finish Season 1 this week.

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What I’m playing: I am going to twist up this topic for the month of October, because I am doing something I have never done before: a virtual triathlon! I will be participating in the Jimmie Johnson Foundation Virtual Triathlon! Running from October 1 – 31, this is a 140.6 mile virtual race that involves a 2.4 mile swim, 112 miles cycling, and a 26 mile run/walk/jog. It is not done at once, but broken up into however many workouts you need to get it done.

I kick-started the virtual tri on October 1 with a bike ride, and will follow it up today with a 6-7 mile jog/walk (I’m not a big fan of running, so I won’t be full-out running for this race). My gym workouts and yoga classes have definitely been paying off the past 6-months! Yesterday’s 12.9 mile bike ride involved quite a few hills, and I am not sore at all this morning. Hooray!

JJF Race Stats (October 1)

0/2.4 mi swim

12.9/112 mi bike

0/26.2 run

Wish me luck on my first triathlon!

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Photo credit: Bon Appétit.

What I’m eating: No pictures of my own food this week, but I have been eating a lot of soup! I don’t know if it’s seasonal allergies or something viral, but I had a few days that I felt a tad under the weather, so I made one of my staples. It’s a simple soup: chicken broth, 1-2 slices of lemon, carrots, DeLallo organic whole-wheat pasta, salt and pepper to taste, and some fresh basil sprinkled at the end. I let the broth simmer with the lemon and sliced carrots for at least 30 minutes before adding in the orzo. One night I also tossed in a few small meatballs from Trader Joe’s at the very end when serving, which gave it a new twist and was oh so delicious!

I also made one of my favorite cannelloni bean recipes this week, as a side dish to have with a baguette. This recipe, or some variation of it, Cannelloni Beans with Spinach, from Bon Appétit, is quite the staple in our house. Sooo good!

Monday will be a lovely Rosh Hashanah meal, which I have not planned for one iota yet. I better get on that today. Yikes! L’Shanah Tovah!

Currently ReadingA Gathering of Shadows by Victoria Schwab. I’m hoping to finish up on Monday afternoon, when I will hopefully have some relaxing time at home after the Rosh Hashanah services and meal.

What are you watching, eating, or playing? Let me know in the comments!

 

Read Watch Play #2

A round up of bookish and non-bookish entertainment going on in my home this week.

What I’m watching:

The Little Prince  (Netflix)

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The overall reviews of this remake of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s beloved classic, Le Petit Prince, seem to be lukewarm, but we loved it. The two styles of animation to separate out the storylines worked so well together!

The Little Prince is more of a movie within a movie. The storyline drawn from the book is brought to the screen via stop-motion animation, and provides some of the most captivating and magical animation of the movie. The other storyline, that of a little girl living an overly scheduled life who happens to move in next to the Aviator one summer, is done with CGI animation. The contrast is striking, and it works splendidly.

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What I’m playing:

Four Square

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The last time I played four square, I was probably in middle school. I’m not going to say how long ago that was! It was one of my favorite childhood recess games, so it is delightful to see my daughter excited about it now. M learned how to play at summer camp this year, and it has been a fun family game in the driveway this week!

What I’m eating:

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Italian Orzo Spinach Soup

I found this recipe on Pinterest. Deliciousness. This soup was so yummy, and easy to make. Head over to Gimme Some Oven to find the recipe. We used the same Delallo brand whole wheat orzo that she used, and it worked really well. I like whole-wheat orzo in soup, it has a slightly heartier feel to it, and doesn’t turn mushy as quickly. Plus, it’s healthier for you!

Currently Reading:

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Started the Sailor Moon manga series.

Read Watch Play #1

A round-up of both bookish and non-bookish entertainment going on in my home this week.

What I’m watching:

Outlander, Season 2

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I only have one episode left, and I will be fully caught up on Season 2 of Outlander. I have read all of the books, so I know what is coming, which makes it that much harder too watch the final episode of the season! The Outlander world is going to change forever with the next episode, and I feel that the last few previous episodes were a final goodbye to the 18th century Highlander world, and many of the men in it.

Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, Season 1

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This show is so much fun! We’re watching the English-dubbed version of this French cartoon that is currently airing on Nickelodeon. Miraculous is a new superhero cartoon that takes place in Paris, and contains a strong female heroine with a male sidekick. Sadly, that is something you still don’t see very often, so I give it a big thumbs up just for that! The animation is beautiful, and you can see an anime influence in some of the sequences. Before it’s launch as a CG-animated series, it was originally imagined as a 2D anime created by Toei Animation.

The villains, aside from Hawkmoth, are actually everyday people, and sometimes friends of Ladybug (Marinette) or cat Noir (Adrien). Hawkmoth sends out an akuma–in Japanese folklore an akuma is an evil spirit–to someone who is feeling depressed. The akuma penetrates something held by the person: an umbrella, bird whistle, roller blades, etc., and turns them into an evil villain with the goal of capturing Ladybug and Cat Noir’s “miraculous”, the power that allows them to transform into superheroes. It’s an interesting approach.

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One of the akuma villains, Stormy Weather.

 

What I’m playing:

No Stress Chess

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No Stress Chess has been a favorite game all summer long, as we teach M how to play chess.

Candy Crush Soda

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I never get tired of playing Candy Crush. It’s the perfect time waster when I have 5-10 minutes of downtime during the day. I am currently on Level 825.

 

What I’m eating:

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I found an excellent scallops recipe on Pinterest a few months ago, and we have been making it quite often ever since. I found the recipe, Pan Seared Scallops with Cauliflower Puree and Spinach, over at The Hungry Apple.

 

Currently Reading:

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Still plugging away at Rebecca.