Archive | January, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

17 Jan

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. For more info about the meme and how to participate, click here.

2013 Debuts

As I signed up for the 2013 debut challenge, I figured it would be a good thing to go through the list of debuts that was compiled for the challenge and I checked out everything that sounded good, this should be my top 10, I put them down chronologically because no way I can actually put them in a top ten order.

1. Level 2

2. Nobody But Us

3. The Ruining

4. When We Wake

5. OCD, The Dude and Me

6. Mila 2.0

7. How My Summer Went Up in Flames

8. The Summer I Became a Nerd

9. Parallel

10. All Our Yesterdays

Vegan Recipe Challenge 2

15 Jan

I meant to post this last week when I actually cooked this but I forgot, or rather I was too lazy. While I was planning on cooking something from Vegan Planet each week, I felt like making this stir-fry the other week. It was good but not mind blowing, it’s something I had made before but with some variants. Or let’s say, I made stir-fry with soy sauce before or just tofu marinated in soy sauce on lazy days. This had a bit more additions which made it much better. I’m definitely going to make it again sometime.

Ingredients

1 small Thai pepper, minced
1 tsp. minced ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. arrowroot powder or cornstarch
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 16-oz. pkg. firm tofu, drained and cut into 1×1/2-inch pieces
1 tsp. soy sauce
2 carrots, cut into 2-inch strips
1 red pepper, sliced
1 large bok choy (or 4-5 baby bok choy), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1/2 cup yellow squash, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
Cooked lo mein or soba noodles

I did vary my recipe a bit with different vegetables and I added some brown sugar for a bit sweetness. I also didn’t go to the process of transferring the sauce and tofu to a separate bowl. Maybe it does something special I’m not aware of but the step just seemed silly to me and I was hungry.
I didn’t make it with noodles but with rice because I’m in love with my new rice cooker.stirfry1

I then proceeded to chop up my ginger, garlic and peppers. I didn’t have red peppers (or well I did as I discovered the other day but I didn’t remember when I made this) so I used milder green ones as those where the only ones I thought I had. As a huge garlic lover I can never just put in 1 clove, that’s just silly!

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After that I heated some oil

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And sliced my tofu.

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Then I stir-fried the ginger, garlic and peppers.

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Added the soy sauce, water and cornstarch, be careful to stir this in very quickly or you’ll get lumps!

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I then added my tofu which I had fried in a bit of oil in another pan first but you can also skip this step I guess, depends on how you like it.

stirfry8And finally my veggies.

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I served it over the rice and enjoyed it a lot! It was super easy and quick to cook so definitely going to make it again on days I need a quick dinner because it doesn’t require any special ingredients and you can basically make it with any kind of veggies you have at home.

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Top Ten Tuesday

11 Jan

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. For more info about the meme and how to participate, click here.

Book resolutions for 2013

Being a bit late this became Top Ten Thursday but here’s my list:

1. Read 50 books.
I managed to go a bit over 50 last year so I can definitely do it again I hope.

2. Read the books mentioned in my books I resolve to read in 2013 list.
I did make that list so I should make it a resolution.

3. Read more of Atwood’s poetry.
It definitely needs more attention from me.

4. Write more reviews.
I’m too lazy most of the time to write actual reviews so I just give out the stars on Goodreads.

5. Put books away when I don’t like them.
I do this and I don’t do this, if a book is outside of my comfort zone I easily put it away but if it’s something I feel I should like I’m always afraid I might miss out on something.

6. Read  more adult fiction.
I read way too much YA but it’s so much fun! And such easy reads… I should read some actual grown-up reading besides the reading that I have to do because that doesn’t count.

7. Read some actual books instead of ebooks.
I got tons of books that are not ebooks that I still have to read, should get some of those out of the way.

8. Read a classic.
It’s been a while since I read a classic, definitely haven’t read one since I graduated so it’s time.

9. Take part in the Debut Author Challenge
I saw it before but wasn’t sure if I should do it but it’s always fun to discover new authors right so let’s do it!

10. Get these done!
Filling that 10th spot.

Vegan Recipe Challenge 1

5 Jan

Today was the first day I cooked a recipe from Vegan Planet and because I still had some vegetarian chili frozen from when I made it a while ago I decided to go for the Potato Chili Gratin. As the recipe called for vegan mozzarella and vegan sour cream, I decided to make those myself as well. The vegan sour cream recipe is in the book as well but for the mozzarella I found something online here at Vegan Wiz that I decide to give a try because I had all those ingredients at home, well except for potato starch but I used corn starch instead.

The vegan mozzarella was really easy to make, you just have to make sure you keep on whisking everything well together so there aren’t any lumps. I think I put it in a bowl that was way too big for the amount of cheese I had and it remained a bit consisting of crumbs sort of and I think it was maybe a bit too moist because it remained very soft and sticky. It worked for the dish though and the taste and texture was quite alright. It just didn’t melt as nicely as I had hoped to but all in all perfectly fine for this dish. I just realized the first picture looks like an Alpro ad, I should’ve put the Alpro margarine in I got instead of this one. The last picture is right before it went into the fridge for some hours, it basically looked the same later, just a bit less moist and a bit hardened.

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Once the time the mozzarella had to sit in the fridge was coming to an end, I prepared the rest of the dish, minus the chili which I had gotten out of the freezer earlier already obviously so it could thaw. First I combined my salt, chili powder, cayenne pepper and basil in a small bowl and then I peeled my potatoes and sliced them to make the first layer of the dish, to which I then added the spice mixture. Next layer was onion plus the spice mixture and then chili peppers plus the spice mixture. All of that went in the oven for a while until the vegetables were done.

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While the vegetables were in the oven I made my sour cream, which was the easiest of the whole dish, I just threw my soft tofu, lemon juice, oil, salt and sugar in the food processor and mixed it all together until it was smooth which took about a minute. Put that in the fridge and went on with other things because the vegetables obviously needed some time.

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Once the vegetables were done, I added the sour cream on top of them, then the chili and on top the mozzarella and off in the oven it went again for a bit. Unfortunately it didn’t melt the cheese as much as I wanted to, not even when I put my plate in the microwave to see if that did anything. I forgot to take a picture of the finished dish but I didn’t look any different from the picture I got before it went into the oven. Neither did I take a picture of the plated dish but it wasn’t the prettiest dish to look at anyway. Got some left overs though so maybe I’ll do that tomorrow.

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All in all it was a tasty dish and while the cheese could have melted more or have a bit more taste, I’m pretty sure it was much better than any of the store bought variations because I knew exactly what was in there. The sour cream tasted quite good, bit different from the non vegan kind and next time I’ll add a bit less lemon juice but it was good. The dish itself, well I think I either prefer the potatoes, onions, chili peppers and maybe some other vegetables baked and also just the chili because with the chili on top the vegetables kinda lost significance. Maybe it’s because I used more chili than the recipe called for or because there was quite some sauce with the chili but I don’t necessarily need to have everything in one dish.

Top Ten Tuesday

2 Jan

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. For more info about the meme and how to participate, click here.

Books I resolve to read in 2013

1. The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
I’ve been dragging this book out since forever, I really need to read it now. There are some other Atwood books I need reread and read but this one should really be finished.

2. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
I’ve heard so many good things about this book, I need to finally read it.

3. The Uglies – Scott Westerfield
I’ve been dragging this one along on my to read list for a long time now.

4. The Funny Thing Is… – Ellen Degeneres
For some reason I never finished this.

5. Shatter Me – Tahereh Mafi
Because I finally need to read this and the next one is coming out this year.

6. Saving Francesca – Melina Marchetta
Because I only ever saw the movie for Looking for Alibrandi and I finally need to read some Melina Marchetta.

7. Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
This has been in my to read next folder on my Kindle for a while, it’s time to finally tackle it.

8. This is Not A Test – Courtney Summers
Same reason as #8 really.

9. If I Stay – Gayle Forman
Another one I’ve been meaning to read for a while.

10. The Piano Man’s Daughter – Timothy Findley
I really need to get on with my Findley reading this year.

End of Year Book Survey 2012

1 Jan

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Hosted by Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner

Best In Books 2012

1. Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)

General Fiction: A Dog’s Purpose & A Dog’s Journey
Non Fiction: Eating Animals
Dystoptian: Insurgent
YA: Sloppy Firsts & Second Helpings

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Thumped, I love McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series and the premise of the series is interesting but as much as I wanted to like it, these books just didn’t work for me. Come to think of it, maybe Penelope is a better choice here, I wanted to like it so much because it’s set in college but it absolutely didn’t work for me, badly written, uninteresting characters and just bad all around.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 

I guess I went into Between the Lines thinking I wouldn’t like it as much as I did, glad that I trusted friends’ reviews on Goodreads for this series!

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

I recommended Eating Animals to several friends I knew that would like it and I feel like I recommended the Wilfair books to people and if I didn’t, I’m doing it now because people need to read these!

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

The Jessica Darling books because they’re so awesome and everything one wants in YA in my opinion, I’m glad I finally read these!

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

Lauren Oliver because her writing style is awesome and I finally read Delirum in 2012. Alysia Gray Painter as well because her writing style is quite different from everything else that is out there (as are her books!), she has a wonderful way with words.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

There’s not really a book that I read that is completely applicable but I usually don’t read German books (because I’m so used to reading in English) so I’m going with Zuckerguss by my friend Anica Schriever. If you’re into chicklit and read German, definitely pick up this one! Other than this one maybe Eating Animals because I usually don’t read non-fiction. Well, I do but that’s for my research so I’m not counting that.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

I thought it was a toss between Insurgent and Pandemonium but seems like the latter one, read that in one day.

9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:

Insurgent, will most likely reread this before the next one comes out.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

The Discenchantments cover is so pretty!

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11. Most memorable character in 2012? 

Jessica Darling

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

The Atwood fan in me wants to say I’m Starved for You and Choke Collar because everything she writes is amazing but I have to mention Lauren Oliver as well because her prose is outstanding and beautiful.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012? 

Eating Animals by Jonathan Saffran Foer, it opened my eyes about vegetarianism even more.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read? 

The whole Jessica Darling series.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012? 

I never highlight on my Kindle but while reading my last book of 2012, I just had to highlight this passage from Charlotte Sometimes:

Where you some particular person because people recognized you as that?

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012? 

Longest Insurgent by Veronica Roth with 525 pages
ShortestFoundation by Ann Aguire with 32 pages

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

I don’t really remember actually… I’m going with Insurgent here I guess. I have a feeling there was something else but I can’t remember!

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

I think Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie, they just work so well together.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously

So I don’t put down Insurgent again here, let’s go with I’m Starved for You and Choke Collar by Margaret Atwood.

20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

I think that would be Between the Lines

 Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2012 (optional)

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2012? 

I’m not really active in the scene besides hanging around Goodreads, should become more active in 2013.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2012? 

I don’t write that many reviews so I’m going with this one I wrote for Wit & Fancy about the Wilfair books.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

NA

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?

NA

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)

NA

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2012?

NA

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

NA

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

NA

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Alysia Gray Painter’s blog related to the Wilfair books (and not only that) is a cool one to hang around.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I set myself the goal of reading 50 books, ending up with 56 new ones and 4 re-reads and 2 not finished.

Looking Ahead…

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?

I really need to get on with my reading of Timothy Findley. Also (re) read some Atwood. A must in 2013 or I can’t get ahead with my thesis.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?

Divergent #3 – Veronica Roth
Requiem – Lauren Oliver
Moppet Shop – Margaret Atwood
Through the Ever Night – Veronica Rossi
Fairwil – Alysia Gray Painter
Scandal – Lauren Kunze
Size 12 is the New Black – Meg Cabot
Horde – Ann Aguire
Raven – Lauren Oliver
Prodigy – Marie Lu

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?

Read Atwood and Findley.
Read 50 books.
Write more about books.

Photo A Day December

1 Jan