Sunday, December 4, 2016

Weekend Round-Up

Starting with the most impressive DIY project I've seen-you will have stair envy!!
Check out the Buzz Feed link below to see how it was created. 
Book Staircase

Cinnamon Glazed Vanilla Walnuts
Cook's notes: Perfect gift for the holidays. Package nuts in festive box  or glass jar from the The Dollar Store. These slightly spicy, sweet nuts are also a terrific holiday snack or a topping for salads or vegetables such as carrots, winter squash or sweet potatoes. Recipe adapted from
One word of caution-red pepper is strong so use sparingly depending on your taste buds!
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1- 1/2 tsp. Saigon Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. red pepper, ground 
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 TB. vanilla extract 
  • 2 cups walnut halves or mixed nuts 
  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Mix sugar, cinnamon, red pepper and salt in small bowl. Set aside. 
  • Beat egg white and vanilla in medium bowl until foamy. Add walnuts; toss to coat. Add spice mixture; toss to coat nuts evenly. Spread nuts in single layer on greased baking sheet. 
  • Bake 1 hour, stirring nuts after 30 minutes. Cool slightly and break apart. Cool completely and store in airtight container up to 2 weeks. 

Sausage Frittatas

Cook's notes: Frittatas are flat Italian omelets made with variety of fillings. Serve warm or at room temperature. A wonderful easy dish perfect for brunch or lunch. Recipe adapted from and serves four to six. 
  • 1 TB. olive oil 
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped (about 1 cup)  
  • 1/2 cup each coarsely chopped red and green sweet mini bell pepper  
  • 1 cup refrigerated shredded potatoes 
  •  6 large eggs, room temperature 
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk 
  • 1 tsp. herbes de Provence
  • 1 tsp. dried basil  
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1 cup crumbled cooked Italian sausage 
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese. white cheddar or yellow cheddar cheese 
Directions :
  • Preheat oven 450 degrees 
  • Heat oil in large ovenproof nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add onion, bell peppers and potatoes; cook and stir 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  • Beat eggs, milk, spices. salt and pepper in medium sized bowl. Stir in sausage. Pour into skillet. Cook without stirring 5 minutes or until eggs are set on bottom. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake in oven 5 minutes until eggs are set and cheese is lightly browned. Sprinkle with additional basil, if desired.
Jacqueline Woodson is known for her award winning young adult and middle grade children's novels, “Brown Girl Dreaming” and now her newest first novel for adults “Another Brooklyn”. NY Times rated it as one of the most notable books for 2016.  

Ever Ready posted a review of “Brown Girl Dreaming.”
I was fortunate to meet Woodson at the 2015 Tucson Book Festival for a talk and book signing.
"Brown Girl Dreaming" a narrative written in a poetry, prose style was an emotional touching story. I found her newest one equally touching. Woodson has a way of expression that is recognizably hers. The words flow, almost like music on a page, beautiful music. In rather a dreamy, lyrical prose, both books were a slow read for me. Often I had to stop and reflect on her sparse powerful words written with such emotion.

“Another Brooklyn” is a powerful novel about a girl of color coming of age while battling the smothering grief of losing her mother. It’s a short piece of fiction replete with aching observations of a girl attempting to make sense of her world.

The protagonist, August, contemplates her teen years in Brooklyn in the 1970’s. Through August, the reader learns the pain and confusion young girls of color find while attempting to navigate adolescence. As a teenager, August has three best friends and they love but want to escape Brooklyn. They picture bright futures for themselves--acting, dancing, going to college--and everything feels possible. But they are also teenage girls (teenage black girls) and so life is also fraught. There are boys. There are family problems. It gets harder to dream. This is a time when friendships are of grand importance; it’s a time of dreams and ideas. As August observes her friends families, her neighbors, the street activity, she wants to be a part of goodness. She also wants to be a part of a story that ends well. An added complexity of August’s growth is her unacknowledged mother’s death. Grief and separation  is an underlying emotion throughout the story.

This novel is deeply moving.  I felt anybody who grew up in the inner-city could relate to many things in this novel.  One couldn’t help ache with August and understood her confusion of mixed messages concerning girls/women in her adolescence. It was a humiliating experience when her friend’s father shamed her as being a ghetto girl and not equal to his daughter.

Woodson is skilled author and I highly recommend reading her newest book "Another Brooklyn." 


  1. That stairway is incredible.

    Can regular cinnamon be substituted for Saigon. Not sure I can find Saigon in Faribault.

  2. I have found Saigon at most major grocery chains-sometimes labeled Vietnamese Cinnamon the flavor is more intense than regular and really amps the flavor. Using regular ground cinnamon works just fine but increase by 1/2 tsp.