Sunday, October 11, 2009

BOOk-ish October!

I'm loving October!

(1) I won a $100 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble for perfect attendance at school. I spent the day at B&N and brought home six great books. (Are you wishing I'd list the titles? They will surprise you....Okay, here they are: How to Cook Everything; Yellowstone Expedition Guide; Happiness; Haiku Mind; Poems to Read; and See It & Say It in Spanish. Satisfied?)

(2) I was chosen as a judge for the Cybils, children and young adult literary awards. I'll be reading books from one of my favorite categories, nonfiction picture books.

(3) I was part of a book tour for the first time. Make Ahead Meal for Busy Moms. A bit of a cooking fiasco, but quite fun.

(4) Next week will be the start of the school book fair.

(5) After the book fair will be Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-Thon. I've got a stack of books set aside to read for the read-a-thon. Children's books, ya books, graphic novels, poetry, anthologies...these all worked well for me last time.

(6) And the weekend after that will be the Texas Book Festival. Some of the authors I hope to see are Brian Floca, Margaret Atwood, Elizabeth Berg, Rick Riordan, Richard Russo, Amanda Eyre Ward, Rosemary Wells, and Jon Scieszka. And I'll be bringing about thirty BookCrossing books to release at the festival.

Books, books, books...Gee, I wonder if, with all this book busy-ness, I'll actually have any time to READ?!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Make Ahead Meals For Busy Moms Virtual Book Tour

I've never done a virtual book tour. And I'm a terrible cook. But I'm a mom, I suppose (do you ever lose that moniker once you've reproduced?) and I am definitely BUSY.

So the idea of a virtual book tour with a cookbook intrigued me. I could do that, I thought.

So, way back in September, I agreed to join in this virtual book tour, Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms. Send me a recipe, I told the publicist. I'll cook it up and post my results here.

The publicist liked the idea. She sent me a recipe. Here is what the author sent:

OK...for Deb Nance, I'm giving you my easy Teriyaki Chicken Recipe. You marinate it overnight and pour the entire contents into a baking dish at dinner time. Couldn't be easier!

Teriyaki Chicken

This is one of those meals I like to keep on hand in the freezer.

1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons water
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
½ cup less sodium soy sauce
¼ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon ground ginger
8 - 10 skinless, boneless chicken thighs

In a gallon freezer bag, combine all of the ingredients except the chicken. Mix thoroughly. Add the chicken and seal. Refrigerate up to 24 hours before cooking or freeze in a labeled freezer bag up to 3 months.

~Cooking Directions~

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the chicken and all of the liquid in a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish (uncovered). Bake for 30 minutes, turn the pieces over, and bake for 30 more
minutes. This chicken can also be grilled on medium heat about 12 -14 minutes on each side. It is done when the juice runs clear. Serves 4 - 5.

This sounded pretty easy. I could do this, I thought.

But somehow I got it in my head that I needed to post this on SEPTEMBER 10. Of course, September 10 was also Meet the Teacher Night at school. I dashed into Kroger and snagged the ingredients and zipped home and set to work.

I had a few problems:

(1) I had zero time; I had to be back at school in minutes.
(2) I forgot to buy brown sugar. And soy sauce. (And, no, before you ask, I don't keep those on hand....I told you: I'm a terrible cook.)
(3) I spilled the orange juice all over the counter when I was measuring it. Orange juice is sticky when it dries. I was in a hurry. I found lots of sticky spots the next day.
(4) The orange juice spilled all over the recipe. The words blurred. I wasn't quite sure how much garlic power and ginger to put in so I just poured a big pile of it into the plastic bag and hoped for the best.
(5) My refrigerator was packed and I could barely find a place to leave the bag overnight. Someone apparently came through in the night and bumped the bag (Why would someone do this?!!) and the bag leaked out into a huge puddle at the bottom on the refrigerator. More stickiness.
(6) I was so tired the next day, after shopping for ingredients and preparing this meal and going to Meet the Teacher Night, that it was all I could do to put the chicken into the oven and bake it.

But it was good. Really good. Delicious actually, especially when you imagine how good it would be if I had actually used soy sauce instead of Worchestershire and brown sugar rather than honey. And if I'd known how much of the spices to include.

So I can't speak for anything but this single recipe as I never received a copy of the book. But this one recipe was quite good, very good for this busy mom, this terrible cook.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Come In!

Come in!
It's time.

Everything is ready.

The fountain is flowing.
The candle is burning.
Classics for Reading is playing on the stereo.

Inspirational posters are on the walls.

Pith helmet.
Both computers operational.

Cybils shirt and cup.

The books have begun to arrive.

Let the Cybils Nonfiction Picture Book judging...


(Don't I have the most wonderful reading room ever?!)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cybils Time!

October 1 will mark the start of Cybils nomination time. The Cybils are Children's and YA Bloggers' Literary Awards. Anyone can nominate a book published in 2009 in English. Only one nomination per category is allowed. Nominations will be taken through October 15. To nominate a book, visit the Cybils blog from Oct. 1-Oct. 15.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Five-Star-Four-Book Week

This week was the most perfect reading week I can ever remember.

I finished four books and I'd rate them all as wonderful books.

How's this for perfect:

Two fiction, two nonfiction.

Two new, two older.

Two serious, two funny.

Okay, okay, I can hear you say. But get to it....What books did you read?

Here they are, along with links to my reviews:

Travels With My Aunt by Graham Greene

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

The Guinea Pig Diaries by A. J. Jacobs

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami

These four push me over the two hundred mark for books read this year.

And they leave me feeling a little anxious....What shall I read now? And can it possibly compete with the four I finished this week? Oh dear.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lemonade Award

The Lemonade Award is a feel good award that shows great attitude or gratitude. Here are the rules for accepting this award:

• Put the Lemonade Award logo on your blog or post.

• Nominate at least 5 blogs that show great attitude or gratitude.

Trish's Reading Nook
Leslie's Book Nook
A Striped Armchair
Fizzy Thoughts

• Link your nominees within your post.

• Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.

Will be doing shortly, if they don’t see this here first.

• Share the love and link to the person from whom you received the award. Thank you, unfinished person.

Grownups Who Hate to Read

Once again, I come to you, o wise readers, to help me.

There are a lot of nonreaders out there. Some facts found online:

"1/3 of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.

42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.

80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.

70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.

57 percent of new books are not read to completion.

Each day in the U.S., people spend 4 hours watching TV, 3 hours listening to the radio and 14 minutes reading magazines."

Today a friend wrote at Facebook: "Last night made me think, Maybe I will read a book.... but which one? What type of books do all of you like to read?"

I am good with children who don't like to read. Who would give a thumbs down to Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus?

But what about grownups?

I need help. I need to give her a list of surefire books.

Any ideas? Any great books for a nonreader to bring her into our world?

Photo: alwayscanadian