Book Talk: Tidying and Memorizing

Today I’m going to talk about a book and about a family story. The book made a real impact on me, and it cleared the way for me to memorialize a family story without keeping the artifact. That’s what this book is all about.

Tidying Up Book

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Foodie Friday: Union Sushi + Barbeque Bar

Here in Chicago we have many wonderful restaurants and it’s often hard to choose where to go for a special event. We had such a choice recently when our son and daughter-in-law were in town and we wanted to have a family dinner. When the Michelin Guide 2014 Recommended Union Sushi and Barbeque Bar popped up in the discussion, I was sold. It’s one of my all-time favorites.

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It’s Time for a Holiday Photo Op!

We’ve been really busy around here with holiday decorating, entertaining, and house guests. All that exciting activity meant that I didn’t have a whole lot of time for blogging, but I have a few photos to share as we go careening into 2015.

Got My Reservations -- Christmas Pudding

We enjoyed a traditional British Christmas pudding.

I decorated with an angel theme this year — angels everywhere!

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Angel

I spent a fun day at my favorite local store, photographing vignettes for the black and white challenge that was going around on Facebook. Thanks to Lucky Junk for the photo ops.

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The vintage colors of these babies look better than the black and white.

I also took a photo trip around Pier One, doing a study of multiples with my new lens.

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This isn’t exactly a multiple, but the frosty place setting caught my eye.

DSC01215 DSC01216 DSC01223 DSC01219We are looking forward to another wonderful string of days over the next week as we entertain and are entertained. Our guest rooms are being primped and I’m doing a lot of menu planning. I love cooking appetizers that we usually don’t allow ourselves to indulge in other times of the year, such as bacon-wrapped dates.

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Before I sign off for 2014, I’m sharing the best recipe I tried over the holiday season.

I actually made these all in one morning, but I wish I had done the overnight thing on Christmas Eve as planned. They were awesome, nonetheless, and a crowd pleaser for our Christmas brunch.

I hope you all have a wonderful finale to your December and I’ll see you in 2015!

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Roasted Chicken – the Awesome Budget Stretching Food

Every time I roast a chicken, I am reminded that there’s a reason chickens are awesome.

I had seven people over for dinner last Friday, and chose two plump roasters at my butcher shop. Out the door, less than ten dollars.

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Click into photo for recipe and source

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Share: How to make dish flowers

I ran across the tutorial on Facebook and it’s really a good one. I’ve always loved the look of the glass flowers I see at markets and in other people’s gardens.

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The article from Flea Market Gardening makes it seem pretty easy to make garden ornaments out of old dishes. I’ve never done this since I never met a dish I didn’t want to put on my table, but this tutorial makes me hopeful. Enjoy!

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The Saturday Review: Wine and Cheese

downloadWhen I’m traveling in my car, I usually choose light cozy books in which I’m unlikely to be shocked by overt sex and graphic language, since one can hear my speakers outside of my car if I’m at an intersection or in a parking lot. That was one of the reasons I chose The Merlot Murders by Ellen Crosby; it looked interesting but also safe. I was also intrigued by the idea of a book based in Virginia’s wine country, rather than California or France. My choice did not disappoint; it’s an easy murder mystery with enough intrigue and surprise built into the plot to keep me guessing. The book is the first of a series about Lucie Montgomery and her family’s winery, and I was encouraged enough by the first book to go on to the second. The Chardonnay Charade was just what I expected — another cozy murder mystery with a little romantic spice built into the story. Thank goodness my library has the books so I don’t have to keep buying them; I just put holds on the other four titles and will enjoy spinning through them over the next few weeks. Continue reading

Summer at the Seashore

For our last summer hurrah, many of you spend Labor Day weekend at the seashore. Here in the Midwest, we call it going to the lake house.

GotMyReservations Summer at the Seashore Tablescape

You might find a few shells on our inland shores, but for this tablescape, I used my son’s collection of shells that I found in the garage with some of his other treasures. He’s thirty-six years old; I think it’s time that I considered that collection mine to use! Continue reading

Fresh Corn Soup

Are you a Facebook recipe collector? I feel sometimes that all those recipes are like shiny bits of glitter and of course, the gorgeous photos are designed to attract my attention. This one for Fresh Corn Soup really caught my eye!

GotMyReservations Fresh Corn Soup

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The Saturday Review: Two Portraits of Ernest Hemingway

I’ve been on a Hemingway journey for several years, enjoying The Paris WifeA Moveable Feast, The Sun Also Risesand Woody Allen’s film Midnight in Paris while armed with my own memories of Paris. Today’s review includes two recent reads about Ernest Hemingway and his world.

At the Hemingways: A Family Portrait

download (1)Originally published in 1962 after the suicide of her famous brother, Marcelline Hemingway Sanford shares stories of growing up with her brother and very family. With their primary residence in Oak Park, Illinois, and their summer home at Walloon Lake, Michigan, I found these local stories interesting just for their history. A newer edition was published in 1998 for the centennial of Hemingway’s birth, and includes correspondence between Ernest and his sister Marcelline. Hemingway’s experiences as a child and young man in Illinois and Michigan, as well as his time in Italy, Paris, and Spain are part of this treasure trove of Hemingway history. Marcelline Hemingway Sanford’s writing is clean and her narratives move along crisply, with wonderful characterization of the family members and friends who influenced Ernest Hemingway. Continue reading

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