Winter Food: Slow Cooker Indian

Cold weather and crock pots just seem to go together! I am a fairly terrible cook. Luckily, I had the great good sense to marry a man who is an awesome one. ūüėä With all of the cold lately, he was excited to try some recipes from this cookbook:

New Indian Slow Cooker  by Neela Paniz

New Indian Slow Cooker by Neela Paniz

It is a lovely book, with plenty of pictures and easy to follow recipes. For his first effort, he made curried chickpeas and butter chicken. It turned out very well! The book came from our local library, but he liked it so much that we plan to buy a copy. He’s very interested to try the recipe to make paneer (Indian fresh cheese) himself, saag paneer being one of his absolute favorites. I can’t wait to taste test his efforts!

Curried chickpeas and butter chicken, yum!

Curried chickpeas and butter chicken, yum!


Brain Food: Books!

Reading is a great huge love of mine. I read. A lot. Anywhere from 2-9 or more titles a week a lot. Some books I devour, others I graze on, some are confectionary treats, but all of them are food for my brain. It’s kind of odd to me that I haven’t discussed books on here before. It’s high time I corrected that! Here are a few recent reads:


“Home Style By City: Ideas and Inspiration from Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, and Copenhagen” by Ida Magntorn, “Blood of My Blood” by Barry Lyga, and “Lost in Translation: an Illustrated ¬†Compendium of Untranslatable¬†¬†Words from Around the World” by Ella Frances Sanders.

For grazing? Decorating books! I love them. Luckily, ¬†between my local library and the nearby Half Price Books, there’s no shortage of decorating books for me to browse and dream over. I was a bit surprised by how much I liked “Home Style by City”. At 160 pages, it’s fairly slender, but it is focused and packs a lot into those pages.

The idea behind it is that the stuff to be had in local flea markets, thrift stores, and junk shops varies a bit regionally, and that one can learn a bit about the soul of a place based on what’s moving at its fleas. Then it highlights some residences that beautifully demonstrate some of these regional idiosyncracies as a way of exploring the cultures of the cities featured. Like the author, I try to always include stops at local fleas and thrifts when I travel, and I knew exactly what she meant. I thought this conceit worked well.

I look at a fair amount of decorating books…yes, look. Not all of them are particularly well-written! This one proves the old adage that brevity can be the soul of wit. Concise, with easily scanned lists and some fun things like playlists for each city, this was the rare decorating book that I actually read as well as looked at. And the looking was lovely, I enjoyed the eye-candy inside very much. Oh! and there was a craft for each city. They actually managed to be cute and doable looking and not crappy-crafty looking. I was especially intrigued by the lace doily hanging light shade DIY in the Paris section.


Another take-away? Houseplants! I felt like there were quite a few homes featured in the book with some very inspiring plants.   They looked fresh and lovely. As much as I enjoy gardening, I find houseplants challenging. This book is inspiring me to try again. When they work, as in the pictures in this book, they really add something.

To devour? “Blood of my Blood” by Barry Lyga. The final book in the “I Hunt Killers” trilogy, I have been looking forward to reading this title ever since I finished the last page of the second book, “Game”. The series is about a high school boy, Jasper ‘Jazz’ Dent, who is trying to move beyond a difficult past while keeping his secrets so he can create a future for himself. The difficult past? His jailed father is one of the most notorious and prolific serial killers of all time. His secret? His father believed in the whole take-your-child-to-work idea–and the authorities are unaware of both the full extent of his father’s crimes and the depth of Jasper’s knowledge about them. Then a copy-cat killer starts reenacting a series of his father’s crimes and his past and present collide.

This is a DARK series. Jasper’s father was trying to turn him into a perfect killer, and his methodology was very harrowing and upsetting. There are a few scenes I sort of wish I could unread. Lyga isn’t afraid to go to some pretty terrifying places. Jasper’s struggles to deprogram himself, to remember that people have feelings and that people matter, are compelling and heartbreaking.

“Blood of my Blood” was a very satisfying conclusion to this trilogy. It maintained momentum, had a few believable but from out-of-nowhere twists, kept the same darkness that made the first two books so good, and doesn’t cheese-up the ending. Although this is technically a ‘teen’ series, you absolutely don’t need to be a teen to enjoy it. Lyga doesn’t pander or dumb things down, and he credits his audience with being able to handle some challenging content. If you start to read this series, I suspect you’ll either hate it or end up devouring it like I did.

The confectionary treat? “Lost in Translation”. Sanders takes some fascinating words from around the globe, words that have no direct equivalent in English, and defines and illustrates them.


Pretty, charming, and light, I enjoyed the drawings and the chance to learn some great new words.

So there you go, a taste of a few of the books I’ve read recently. What are you reading?