Book List 2017

I know I said that I wasn’t blogging again this year, but I had to pop back in to share my final stats for my yearly resolution – read at least one book each month.

Here were 20162015, and 2014‘s lists.

And here were the books I read in 2017…

The list is in chronological order.  F = fiction, NF = nonfiction, and M = memoir.
  1. The Sound of Gravel – Ruth Wariner  (m)
  2. Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty  (f)
  3. Truly Madly Guiltily – Liane Moriarty  (f)
  4. What Alice Forgot – Liane Moriarty  (f)
  5. The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty  (f)
  6. The Dead House – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  7. The Bone Vault – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  8. The Last Anniversary – Liane Moriarty  (f)
  9. The Kills – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  10. Entombed – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  11. The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion  (f)
  12. The Rosie Effect – Graeme Simsion  (f)
  13. Missing Pieces – Heather Gudenkauf  (f)
  14. Free Refills; a Doctor Confronts his Addiction – Peter Grinspoon, MD  (m)
  15. After Perfect, a Daughter’s Memoir – Christina McDowell  (m)
  16. Chaos – Patricia Cornwall  (f)
  17. Three Wishes – Liane Moriarty  (f)
  18. Once We Were Sisters – Sheila Kohler  (m)
  19. Legal Tender – Lisa Scottoline  (f)
  20. Everywhere That Mary Went – Lisa Scottoline  (f)
  21. The Light Between Oceans – ML Stedman  (f)
  22. Death Dance – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  23. Bad Blood – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  24. Killer Heat – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  25. Lethal Legacy – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  26. Dangerous When Wet – Jamie Brickhouse  (m)
  27. Rough Justice – Lisa Scottoline  (f)
  28. Hell Gate – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  29. Silent Mercy – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  30. Night Watch – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  31. Death Angel – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  32. The Weight of Silence – Heather Gudenkauf  (f)
  33. Terminal City – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  34. Little Mercies – Heather Gudenkauf  (f)
  35. Devil’s Bridge – Linda Fairstein (f)
  36. Killer Look – Linda Fairstein  (f)
  37. These Hidden Things – Heather Gudenkauf  (f)
  38. Two Nights – Kathy Reichs  (f)
  39. Scrappy Little Nobody – Anna Kendrick  (m)
  40. Mistaken Identity – Lisa Scottoline  (f)
  41. Right Behind You – Lisa Gardner  (f)
  42. Moment of Truth – Lisa Scottoline  (f)
  43. And When She Was Good – Laura Lippman  (f)
  44. To the Power of Three – Laura Lippman  (f)
  45. You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) – Felicia Day  (m)
  46. Deadfall – Linda Fairstein  (f)

I read a lot of murder mysteries!  I didn’t have any standout favorite books this year but I did really enjoy everything by Liane Moriarty.

What was your favorite book you read this year?

MadeMerry

I was not a stellar food blogger this week.  I had several work lunch parties and I didn’t take pictures then.  And it was a particularly heinously stressful work-week so adult dinners did not happen – one night I went out for drinks with a girlfriend, one night we ordered in pizza, one night I ate chips in bed and fell asleep fully dressed… you get the gist.  I do have photos of a fun box of samples and the exciting ensuing snacks!

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MadeGood reached out to me recently about trying their goods.  They are a certified organic company that makes granola bars, granola bites, and crispy treats.  Their products are vegan, kosher, gluten-free, and free of eight common allergens (dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, egg, fish, shellfish, and soy).  PLUS they are made with a vegetable powder made of spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets, and shitake mushrooms and the granola products provide 20% of the RDA for vitamins A, B1, B6, C, D, and E per serving.

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Normally I am unmoved by snack items with “hidden” fruits and veggies – though I do totally understand why they can be helpful for picky kids! – but in this case I am 100% on board.  The MadeGood products all had a savory quality that made them completely addictive!  Adam and I both felt that the crispy squares were the best crispy treats we’d ever tasted!  And the granola items struck a good balance between chew and crunch.  In short – I am a new fan.

Snack attack highlights from the week…

Kanzi apple / chocolate banana granola bar / vanilla crispy square / kale chips / chicken Sriracha Epic bar.

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Strawberry granola minis / mixed berry granola minis / raspberry amazin’ raisins.

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Apple cinnamon granola minis / chocolate chip granola bar / seaweed snack / Pacific Rose apple.

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Malted milk hot chocolate (two pouches because I like my hot cocoa Turkish coffee style) / Lady Alice apple.

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I’m sad it’s my last week for eggnog in my coffee.

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But I did use plain skim in this Limitless Cold Brew so I could taste the vanilla.

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Some non-edible stuff {ranked from least to most exciting}…

It’s Christmas next week.

I am almost finished with Felicia Day’s memoir (and loving it) so I started watching her web-series The Guild and I’m loving that too.

Starting this morning Adam is on vacation for the next 10 days!

Next week is our ten year wedding anniversary!!

I am off part of next week too so we can celebrate together!!!

Book List 2016

My favorite (only?!) resolution for the past six new years has been to read a least 1 book each month.  I’ve always loved to read, but keeping track has been a great addition because it lets me look back and fondly remember my favorites.  Here were 2015 and 2014‘s lists.

Books I Read in 2016 –

The list is in chronological order.  F = fiction, NF = nonfiction, and M = memoir.  I bolded the year’s top five favorites.
  1. Depraved Heart – Patricia Cornwell (f)
  2. I See Rude People; One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society – Amy Alkon (m/nf)
  3.  Why Not Me? – Mindy Kaling (m)
  4. A Girl Walks Into a Bar… Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle – Rachel Dratch (m)
  5. The Skeleton Cupboard, The Makings of a Clinical Psychologist – Tanya Byron (m)
  6.  The Death Class, A True Story About Life – Erika Hayasaki (nf/m)
  7. Bonk, The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex – Mary Roach (nf)
  8. Find Her – Lisa Gardner (f)
  9. Nancy Drew and the Triple Hoax – Carolyn Keene (f)
  10. Egg and Spoon – Gregory Maguire (f)
  11. The Checklist Manifesto, How to Get Things Right – Atul Gawande (nf)
  12. My Fat Dad, a Memoir of Food, Love, and Family, with Recipes – Dawn Lerman (m)
  13. Life from Scratch, a Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness – Sasha Martin (m)
  14. Less Medicine, More Health; 7 Assumptions that Drive too Much Medical Care – Dr. H Gilbert Welch (nf)
  15. White Walls; a Memoir about Motherhood, Daughterhood, and the Mess In between – Judy Batalion (m)
  16. Bastards – Mary Anna King (m)
  17. Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good, A memoir of food and love from an American Midwest family – Kathleen Flinn (m)
  18. Autumn Balloons – Kenny Porpora (m)
  19. Stir; My broken brain and the meals that brought me home – Jessica Fechtor (m)
  20. Final Jeopardy – Linda Fairstein (f)
  21. Cooking as Fast as I Can; A Chef’s Story of Family, Food, and Forgiveness – Cat Cora (m)
  22. Night – Elie Wiesel (m) {reread}
  23. The Point of Vanishing, a memoir of two years in solitude – Howard Axelrod (m)
  24. One More Thing, Stories and Other Stories – B.J. Novak (f)
  25. Likely to Die – Linda Fairstein (f)
  26. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, a mostly true memoir – Jenny Lawson (m)
  27. Cold Hit – Lisa Fairstein (f)
  28. After Alice – Gregory Maguire (f)
  29. Lust and Wonder – Augusten Burroughs (m)
  30. January First, a child’s descent into madness and her father’s struggle to save her – Michael Schofield (m)

What was your favorite book you read this year?  Do you make any NYE resolutions?

Top Ten Last Week

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{1} Kobrick Coffee

I stepped up my espresso game with their housemade chocolate milk.  Adam and I were both swooning after every sip.

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{2} Pumpkin yogurt bowls

2% Fage with pumpkin puree and pumpkin butter, cinnamon, slivered almonds, and pumpkin spice granola.  With an Asian pear.

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Plain Siggi’s with pumpkin x2, pumpkin spice cheerios and frosted mini wheats, and a few candy corns.  With a gingergold apple.

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Pumpkin Chobani with cereals and another apple.

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{3} Bobwhite Counter

Fried chicken sandwich with pickles and pimento cheese.

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{4} Pumpkin Smoothie

We make at least one every October.  Pumpkin puree, plain Greek yogurt, cinnamon, maple syrup, and vanilla almond milk.

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{5} Xzibit “Pimp My Ride” style Reese’s

Reese’s stuffed with Reese’s Pieces.  My peanut butter cup obsession usually does not extend beyond Justin’s minis but I am bewitched by these; the bit of crunch takes the cups to a whole new level.

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{6} Molly’s Cupcakes

They have a whole slew of gooey stuffed cupcakes.

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Cake better was perfection!

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{7}  Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Unsurprisingly, Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess)’s 1st memoir did not disappoint.  I added her 2nd book to my Christmas list less than halfway through.

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{8} Nachos

I turned my copycat Chipotle bowl leftovers into nachos.  Nachos > salad bowls.  Tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, black beans, corn, sautéed onions and peppers, and shredded chipotle honey lime chicken.

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{9} C’est Cheese

Adam and I had a weekday off together and we spent several hours of it on the phone dealing with our retirement accounts.  We desperately needed booze and cheese afterwards so we headed to Port Jefferson for lunch.  Baked brie with raspberry jam.

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Beer flight – Post Road Pumpkin / Telekinesis sour / Framboise / Imperial Biscotti Break stout.

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Plus a Spanish salad with mandarin oranges, Manchego, olives, and a honey tarragon vinaigrette.

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{10}  David Pumpkins

Bless you, SNL, this is my new favorite thing.

{Bonus}  Be sure to check out SaveTheDay.Vote, Joss Whedon’s super PAC that produces short PSAs about the importance of voting (for Hillary).  The subject matter is sobering but somehow the videos are all still laugh out loud hilarious.  Whedon is already my role model, and I am so impressed with all of the celebrities to chose to participate.

P.S. Happy Halloween!

It’s Pumpkin Month!

Pumpkin Month is here!  On the Emily calendar September is for apples, October and November are for pumpkin, November and December are for eggnog and gingerbread, and December is for peppermint.  This month’s on-theme stash is especially bountiful.

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Here are some highlights from the weekend…

My favorite coffee combo – espresso and chocolate milk.  I hate “mochas” because the syrup is gross but this iteration of chocolate and coffee is the best.

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Brunch at Benchmark.

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I had a roasted vanilla lemonade with vodka.

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This unassuming omelette was actually stuffed with duck confit and goat cheese.

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My best lunch came from the Starbuck’s refrigerator case.

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We cooked two tasty dinners.  Broccoli salad based on this recipe from Cooking Light.  We roasted the broccoli and sauteed the onion and served the salad warm, which I highly recommend.  I also swapped maple for honey and rice vinegar for cider vinegar.

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Served with white bean and basil dip with orange bell peppers and potato chips.

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Plus a disappointing cider.

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And I loosely followed Rachel Ray’s recipe for pumpkin and sausage pasta.

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Served on butternut squash pasta shaped like tiny pumpkins!!

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With roasted honey sriracha smoked paprika cauliflower.

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And our last and favorite cider, just in time for pumpkin beers.

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Non-food wins included…

I started reading One More Thing, Stories and Other Stories and now I’m completely obsessed with B.J. Novak.  The collection of stories fits together in ways that are surprising, moving, and sidesplittingly wry.

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Watching the dog put himself to bed, complete with covers and his head on a pillow.

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He’s the best.

Working Weekend Wrap-Up

No traditional weekend for me, my only day off was Thursday.  I’m actually working straight through this Thursday – 7 days in a row – which means next weekend will be a three-day extravaganza!  It’s hard to complain about 7 days anyway, my last year at Buff State when I was doing school/internship/part-time job there were a few stretches where I went 30 days plus without a true day off.

The past 4 days in numbers –

  • glasses of iced coffee – 7
  • packed lunches – 0
  • product reviews* – 2
  • desserts – 10 billion
  • books read start to finish** – 1

notes: *the products were both sent to me free of charge and neither company gave me additional compensation for this post; **the book was a murder mystery that I actually hated but needed to know the ending to

Here are the highlights…

Key lime cookie from Schmackary’s.

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With white chocolate, pistachios, and cream cheese icing.  The middle is the best part.

Three new dark chocolate flavors of Nonni’s Almond THINaddictives* – Dark Chocolate Banana Almond, Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond, and Double Dark Chocolate Almond.  FYI – hit up their Facebook page for a new flavors giveaway.

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They are 70-80 calories per pack (2 thins) and crisp but not too crumbly.  I though the double chocolate flavor was a bit plain but the cherry and banana had great notes of tart and sweet.  This week I paired them with my coffee but I’m also looking forward to crumbling them into yogurts.

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That combo is killer, Grady’s is thick and sweet and it makes my heart sing.

Traditional breakfast.

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Potatoes, scrambled eggs, and (turkey) bacon.  Covered in ketchup because I grew up in St. Thomas and we put ketchup on everything.  <– real talk, I didn’t know that ketchup wasn’t an automatic pairing for chicken wings until I went to college; now I mostly use other condiments but scrambled eggs always get ketchup

The cafeteria is pretty grim over the weekend but Friday I did eat this seafood feast.

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Fried shrimp, potato wedges, and vinegar-based cole slaw.  We had leftover ice cream from our birthday party and I taught my coworkers about Australian iced coffees.

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They loved it!

Since I didn’t have my yogurt lunches I got my probiotics in the form of Health-Ade Kombucha*.

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Their small-batch (2.5 gallons) fizz is organic, vegan, kosher, and gluten-free.  They do their fermenting in glass containers only and the bottles are fantastic and just begging to house a handful of wildflowers.  Health-Ade generously sent me a case of Ginger Lemon.

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I have to confess here that I actually kind of hate ginger.  Nonetheless, I found the kombucha to be very enjoyable.  The flavor behind the spice was very “clean” and just sweet enough.  I still wouldn’t buy this flavor once I finish my samples but I will damn sure scoop up Pink Lady Apple or California Grape the minute I spot them.  P.S. I brought a bottle to a ginger loving friend and she said it was hands down the best kombucha she’s ever tasted.

Date night in Hell’s Kitchen.  My NCIS obsession finally paid off for Adam – I took us to Donna Bella Bake Shop because it’s co-owned by Pauley Perrette (aka lab tech Abby).  We had a dreamy lemon bar and this delectable brownie with a cookie crust and ganache on top.

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We walked past Room Service and decided to do Thai for dinner.

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That guava mojito was terrible and weak.  But the crispy duck salad wasn’t half bad.

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I ordered the Pad Noh Mai for dinner, shrimps, minced chicken, fresh basils, Thai chili, and bamboo shoots with herbs chili paste garlic sauce.

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The menu promised spice and it delivered.  I wouldn’t recommend this restaurant though, Hell’s Kitchen is a bastion of excellent, authentic Thai restaurants and you can do better.

I cooked!  A real dinner, a stew, made of vegetables no less.  I put the crock pot to work for me, filled to its brim.  Onion / garlic / carrot / kale / red bell pepper / white beans / red lentils / diced tomato / veggie broth.

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I didn’t bother to season or brown anything so the end result was a little bland, but topped with melted cheese it was hearty and satisfying.

Three down, four to go.

This Weekend’s Best…

…breakfast –

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A blueberry cheesecake smoothie!  Frozen berries with chocolate milk and low-fat cream cheese.  Adam and I both loved it.

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Plus the new cold brew from Dunkin.  Delicious with the Heath Bar syrup and some skim milk.

…brunch

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Colonie.  I got the duck hash again, because it makes the top five list for best dishes I’ve ever eaten.

…lunch –

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Plain Greek yogurt with blueberries and the last of the cookies crumbled on top.

…brinner –

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Eggs with swiss cheese, a simple salad, and a towering stack of buttered toast.

…dinner

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Sandwich night with roasted broccoli.

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Toasted french bread / mayo with Sriracha, fish sauce, and dark brown sugar / baked extra-firm tofu / quick pickled cucumber and shallot / crispy garlic.

…book –

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Autumn Balloons, a memoir by Kenny Porpora.  It had me laughing and crying, both at an embarrassing volume, on the train.  Easily one of the most captivating memoirs I’ve ever read.