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On my recent trip, I managed to get in a lot of reading on my Kindle. On airplanes, waiting for airplanes, waiting for the bus to load, waiting in lobbies for everybody to show up to leave, and at night when I couldn’t sleep. A fun book was Mr. Mac and Me, by Esther Freud. It takes place in England in 1914. In a time and place where a 13-year old boy has a lot of freedom. Although the war is looming, this little village is relatively quiet and safe, as life used to be. Boys will be boys, and he enjoys sort-of spying on people, especially people he doesn’t know well. He imagines that a man who arrives in town to rent a house with his paints and easels, might be a spy. Thus begins a story that starts from that premise, but eventually takes you into a very special friendship that develops between the man, Mr. Mac, his wife, and this boy. The story is absolutely charming. War brings some brutal truths for everyone in the village, yet this friendship flourishes. Great book.

Occasionally I’ll latch onto a book about food or restaurants. This one, The Lost Recipe for Happiness by Barbara O’Neal, is a romance (not a sticky sweet one) about a youngish woman (and her dog) who take a big leap to Colorado when she’s offered a job as a chef. The restaurant is fraught with some issues, but the author weaves in a romance, her skills as a leader in the kitchen, throws in some recipes (that I have yet to extract from my Kindle pages, that I want to try) along with it, and you have a book that held my interest all the way through. Formulaic, I suppose, but it’s a cute story. Books about restaurants always divulge some new tangle of how a kitchen runs. I enjoyed the read.

If you haven’t already read it, you are missing a really good and insightful book, Killing the Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan by Bill O’Reilly. I was riveted from page one, all the way through to the end. O’Reilly has a very engaging way of re-telling history and making it ever-so readable and interesting. He weaves people’s stories, ones  you likely haven’t read or heard, into his narrative, to give you such a sense of place. You can just feel how these soldiers, pilots, prisoners and seamen made their mark, but likely all unsung heroes. It’s a must-read, it really is.

Having read some of Kent Haruf’s other books, I read Our Souls at Night. A lonely widow decides to invite a neighbor man, also a lonely widower, if he’d like to come to her home, at night, to spend the night. I simply can’t tell you anything else because it would give away the story. This isn’t a story about s-x, but about two lonely people who come together for friendship and companionship. It’s very sweet, not twee, but sweet. You really feel for both of these older people. Read it.

Tasting Spoons

My blog's namesake - small, old and some very dented engraved silver plated tea spoons that belonged to my mother-in-law, and I use them to taste my food as I'm cooking.

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Posted in Uncategorized, on January 20th, 2017.

No, this isn’t a repeat from yesterday – these are the best-est recipes I posted last year. Yesterday’s post was for 2015. Sorry if this is confusing. Altogether different recipes here. For 2016 I had a total of 8 recipes. In years past I’ve had more best-est recipes, but I used to post every 2-3 days then. These days I’m posting every 4-5 days. Here’s 2016 best-est recipes:

 

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Spinach, Jicama, Red Onion and Orange Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

 

 

 

 

 


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Pork Enchilada Verde Casserole

 

 

 


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Chile-Buttermilk-Brined Pork Tenderloin

 

 

 

 


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Safari Seeded Cookies

 

 

 


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Blueberry Buckle

 

 

 


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Apple Bread Crumb Pudding

 

 

 


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Best Almond Cake

 

 
   Cinnamon Chocolate Cake

 

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  1. hddonna

    said on January 20th, 2017:

    How do you choose the best recipes, Carolyn? These look good–I don’t think I’ve made any of them yet, but I’m glad to have them brought to mind again. That chile buttermilk brined pork tenderloin looks like one I’d like to try. And the pork enchilada verde casserole. The desserts are all appealing, but I am trying not to give in to temptation!

    As I write up blog posts I have an actual hard-copy list (not the full post) of each one so I can find them later if I need to. As I write the list, I put an asterisk next to the listing meaning I’ve concluded it was extra-special. That’s how I’ve created my “Carolyn’s Favs” page on my blog. It’s also a kind of worksheet I maintain and tick a mark next to each one once I’ve included the link into my recipe index. My index doesn’t create itself – I physically have to add the recipe link onto the list. I do that about every 2-3 weeks. I add photos on my better recipes on Pinterest (although I haven’t done it lately as so many people are now doing specialized long, narrow photos on pinterest – way too commercial-ly to me). I could do the specialized photos, since I have PhotoShop, the big version, but it all takes time to do. Maybe too much time for me!

    Hope that answers your question – and probably more than you wanted to know about blog writing! . . . carolyn t

  2. hddonna

    said on January 21st, 2017:

    Thanks. I am interested in how you do your blog, so appreciate the detailed reply. It answers another question–I sometimes look for a recipe I’ve seen fairly recently by checking the index, but the dish is not listed. Now I know why! I’m not on Pinterest, so haven’t seen your photos there, but I do enjoy the ones on the blog. Thanks for all the effort you put into your blog–it is my favorite–if I could only read one, it would be yours, and I keep it front and center on my Yahoo home page.

    Wow, Donna! I had no idea!!!! Thank you. IF you are trying to find a recipe, instead of looking at the index, do a search (top left of left sidebar) of something you remember from the title. If you do “chicken,” well, it’ll bring up hundreds, but if you can provide any other details about it the search box might be more helpful. Thank you for being such a faithful reader! You made my day, once again. . . carolyn t

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