Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Outlander Final Review and Next Read

So I have finally finished Outlander and right away I would give it a B-. I wanted to rate it in this way because I was an interesting read and a great idea but it did have quite a lot of slow parts to it making it difficult to get through. It seemed to make up for most of the slow part with periods of intense heart pounding pages and at some points I wanted to scream or even cry. I do not want to spoil the book and so I will not tell you anything about the story beyond what I have already in my previous post except that the ending seemed appropriate and left the reader guessing just a little bit. I do recommend this book to those who are looking for an interesting read but this is a book that can be put on the back burner if there is something better that you have been waiting to get your hands on. If you like unexpected twists and romantic triangles I think you will like Outlander.
My next read is Graceling by Kristin Cashore. I have already purchased it on my android Kindle app and I started it over the weekend. Cari has already finished this one and has also posted a review on her blog at. Check it out. Going off her review I already agree with her in that getting the imagery of the characters in my head is difficult because Cashore describes so many at once. It is also hard to imagine family lines when she explains them. I feel that she is quick and I have trouble following but other than that I like it so far. I have not gone far enough to get some background on the main character and I am hoping the book will get to that. It seems like a very different writing style and it takes some getting used to. This is also a quick read for someone who is looking for something to last them a week or two, but sometimes that makes it seem over too quick. I felt that way with Hunger Games and I had to search for something else to feed my “reading withdraws.”

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mmmmm Chicken with Blueberry BBQ Sauce

I found these two recipes that I like a lot! I have tried them both twice and they are going to be forever added to my cookbook. The grilled chicken with blueberry bbq sauce is something special and unique and I have made it part of my weekly/bi-weekly menu. I have always loved the white queso at my favorite Mexican restaurant and now I found the recipe and I can wow guest or just make it for myself. I found the chicken recipe in a Women’s Fitness magazine and the queso on  If you try them out let me know what you think!
Chicken Thighs with Blueberry Sauce
Prep time: 10minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

2 cups blueberries
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp rice vinegar (I used white)
3 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tsp molasses
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Nonstick cooking spray
2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

1.       To make the barbecue sauce: Combine blueberries, vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, allspice and cayenne pepper in a medium saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes, or until sauce is thick. Set aside, reserving ½ cup sauce.
2.       Meanwhile, coat the grill rack with cooking spray; heat the grill to medium.
3.       Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Place on grill bone side up and cook 15 minutes; turn and cook 10 minutes more. Brush with reserved sauce and cook until an instant read thermometer inserted into center of largest thigh registers 170 degrees. Serve with remaining sauce.

Nutrition Facts per Serving:
258 calories, 30g protein, 20g carbs, 7g fat (1.6g saturated), 2g fiber

Queso Blanco

Makes: About 2 cups

1 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup white onion, finely diced
1 large jalapeno, seeds and stem removed; finely diced
12 oz white American cheese, shredded
4oz Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded (don’t use pre-shredded)
½ to 1 cup cream, half-and-half, or whole milk
1-2 roma tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped (I didn’t know what “bunch” meant and I accidently added too much, I would say 1/8 cup is plenty)

Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté the onion and pepper until softened and reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in the shredded cheese and ¼ cup of the cream. Quickly stir until the cheese is melted. Add the tomatoes, cilantro, and additional cream a little at a time until you reach desired consistency. Serve immediately with tortilla chips, tortillas, or on tacos, burritos, etc. 

Book Club Update: Outlander

So I am just about half way into Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and I have to say that it is a very different read from Hunger Games and Divergent. Which makes sense when I have switched from books written for young adults to an adult novel. The print is smaller and the chapters are longer making this book harder to get through and it is not something I can read within a few days or a week. This one is also slow to start and if you are an antsy reader I would not recommend it because it takes some patience to get to the “good parts.” The Outlander does not have me on the edge of my seat but I am excited to read it and I do enjoy that it is an unpredictable read.
Cari did not like how slow it was so she started Graceling by Kirstin Cashore and she told me that she is enjoying it.
This is my little synopsis of Outlander so far:
                A married English nurse is living in the Highlands of Scotland when she and her husband spy on “witches” who gather at sunrise at an odd stone circle onto a hill. After witnessing the bizarre dancing the woman goes back to look for a flower she spotted while spying on the ceremony of the witches and is pulled back in time through one of the mysterious stones and falls right into the middle of a small battle between clansmen and English soldiers. She is then kidnapped by these clansmen and is suspected as an English spy and is held. She struggles to figure out how she can make it back to the stone circle and hopefully return to her own time but is conflicted with an unexpected love interest confuses everything.
I do not want to give too much away but I would recommend this book. Not amazing but not terrible either. It is a nice casual read.