Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Another GOAL....

Would you believe that I've managed to read FIVE of the 31 books on my list since the start of January?!?!  I finished the entire Twilight Saga (roughly 2000 pages!) in addition to The Atonement Child.  Nothing like reading to take you to places you'd never before imagined.  I read the Twilight Saga at the urging of many friends, and particularly my sister.  While I admit that they DEFINITELY held my attention and I am glad I read them (and it's good to know what all the hype is about!), I am also eager and excited to head in a different direction.  Next up to read is Sarah's Key.  I've heard amazing things about this novel and can't wait to dive in.

In addition to my reading goal, I decided to set a goal in regards to cooking.  I LOVE to cook.  It came as quite a surprise to most of my family, I think, when I took such an interest in cooking.  But few things are as gratifying to me as preparing meals for family and watching them enjoy their food, in addition to knowing that my hands used all of the elements God provided to create the nourishment and sustenance they need.

So having said ALL of that, my cooking goal this year is to try a least 1 new recipe each week.  I like to experiment and try new things anyway, but it is often admittedly easier to stick with what I know we'll like (especially when you can make that meal without thought).  This week's meal was Beef-Broccoli Lo Mein, as found at Cooking Light (the picture below is from their website).

Beef-Broccoli Lo Mein

Matt and I both LOVED this recipe, even though I left out the ginger and substituted canola oil for peanut oil.  The kids, however, found it to leave a bit too much of a spicy afterbite.  I think this could be remedied by either cutting the chili paste with garlic out completely, or by cutting it in half.  If you'd like to try it out for yourself, take a peek.

Cooking Light


  • 4  cups  hot cooked spaghetti (about 8 ounces uncooked pasta)
  • 1  teaspoon  dark sesame oil
  • 1  tablespoon  peanut oil
  • 1  tablespoon  minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 4  garlic cloves, minced
  • 3  cups  chopped broccoli
  • 1 1/2  cups  vertically sliced onion
  • 1  (1-pound) flank steak, trimmed and cut across the grain into long, thin strips
  • 3  tablespoons  low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2  tablespoons  brown sugar
  • 1  tablespoon  oyster sauce
  • 1  tablespoon  chile paste with garlic


Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. Combine pasta and sesame oil, tossing well to coat.
While pasta cooks, heat peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add broccoli and onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add steak, and sauté 5 minutes or until done. Add pasta mixture, soy sauce, and remaining ingredients; cook 1 minute or until lo mein is thoroughly heated, stirring constantly.

Nutritional Information

327 (26% from fat)
9.3g (sat 3g,mono 3.6g,poly 1.6g)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Books, books, books...

One of my most favorite things about turning the calendar to a new year is the natural opportunity to set some goals for myself.  Most people call these resolutions, but I call them goals -- I do MUCH better when I set goals, with a deadline.  If I have a deadline and a million things to do, you can bet they'll all be accomplished.  But if I just have a million things to do and no deadline, well, they'll probably NEVER get done.  

One of my goals this year is to read 31 books.  I'm always chatting with friends and family about great books to read and often say, "Oh!  I can't wait to read that book!"  But somehow, someway, I forget about that book or life gets in the way.  This year I'm trying something new.  I've chosen, ahead of time, the books that I want to read in 2011.  

One of the things I look forward to each month is my book club.  We call ourselves the Hot Tamales.  I only recently joined (a little over a year ago), but I look forward to each monthly meeting with such anticipation and excitement!  So included in my list is the 10 books we'll read this year (which are mostly undecided).  One of the best things about book club is that we each take a turn choosing the monthly book, which results in the opportunity to read books I might not have otherwise thought to try.  The remaining 20 books on my list I've already chosen and am so excited to read!  

Here's a peek at this year's list. (If you click on the title, it will take you to a synopsis of the book on Amazon.  Simply scroll down a bit to find the summary and editorial reviews.  Maybe you'll find one you'd like to read, too!)

1.) The Atonement Child, by Francine Rivers
2.) Bringing up Girls, by James Dobson
3.) Sarah’s Key, by Tatiana de Rosnay
4.) Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer
5.) Twilight: New Moon, by Stephanie Meyer
6.) Twilight: Breaking Dawn, by Stephanie Meyer
7.) Twilight: Eclipse, by Stephanie Meyer
8.) February Book Club: The Power of One, by Bryce Courtenay
9.) March Book Club: The Room, by Emma Donoghue
10.) April Book Club: tbd
11.) May Book Club: tbd
12.) June Book Club: tbd
13.) August Book Club: tbd
14.) September Book Club: tbd
15.) October Book Club: tbd
16.) November Book Club: tbd
17.) December Book Club: tbd
18.) Wish You Well, by David Baldacci
19.) Little Bee, by Chris Cleave
20.) Page From a Tennessee Journal, by Francine Thomas Howard
21.) Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese
22.) Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson
23.) True Grit, by Charles Portis
24.) A Reliable Wife, by Robert Goolrick
25.) The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant
26.) The Hunger Games: Book 1, by Suzanne Collins
27.) Hunger games #2: Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins
28.) Hunger games #3: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
29.) Decision Points, by George W. Bush
30.) Savvy, by Ingrid Law
31.) Rescue, by Anita Shreve

To be honest, in the last two days, I've read 3 of the 31 books on my list -- I finished The Atonement Child in a morning, and then started in on the Twilight Saga.  I have finished Twilight and New Moon.  My husband was teasing me that I have a whole year -- 365 days -- to read all 31 books, not 31 days!  But I love to read, and when I have the chance to sit down and read, I take it!  (And if it seems unreal that I could have read all 3 books in 2 days -- simply ask my husband and any other family member whether or not it's possible.  I LOVE to read...did I mention that?!)

So what do you think of my list?  What's on your list to read this year?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!