Showing posts with label Ellie Krieger. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ellie Krieger. Show all posts

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "One Minute Later" by Susan Lewis, Served with a Recipe for Lemon-Ginger Iced Tea with Summer Berries

It's been a crazy busy and very humid week and I have found myself longing to do nothing more than hang out lazily with the fans blowing, a good book in one hand and a cold refreshing drink in the other. Today I have both with a review One Minute Later, a new novel by Susan Lewis for TLC Book Tours, paired with a glass of Lemon-Ginger Iced Tea with Summer Berries.

Publisher's Blurb:
International bestselling author Susan Lewis’ riveting, unforgettable novel of a woman whose life changes in an instant and the handsome young man with whom she shares a secret history—perfect for readers of Diane Chamberlain, Jodi Picoult and Susan Wiggs.
How well do you know the people you love? For one young woman returning to the past, the answer could be heart-shattering…
Vivi Shager is living her dream. Raised with drive and ambition by a resolutely single mother, Vivi has a thriving law career, a gorgeous apartment in London, and a full calendar that keeps her busy at work and at play. Then on the day of her twenty-seventh birthday, an undiagnosed heart condition sends Vivi’s prospects for the future into a tailspin. After escaping her roots nearly a decade ago, she’s forced to return to her childhood home to be cared for by her devoted and enigmatic mother. 

Vivi has always known the woman is hiding something and now she’s determined to find out what it is. Though her condition makes her fragile and vulnerable and she’s afraid of what may happen, her spirit remains strong. Then comes an unexpected ray of light.
Josh Raynor, a local veterinarian who his sisters claim is too handsome for his own good, brings a forbidden love to Vivi’s world. Josh and Vivi are soon inseparable, unaware of the past their families share. All Vivi knows is that Josh is wrestling with a demon of his own…
Then quite suddenly the awful truth is staring Vivi in the face and it changes everything.

Paperback: 512 pages  
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 11, 2019)

My Review: 

One Minute Later is my first book from Susan Lewis and I was pulled in by the storyline of Vivi who collapses on her birthday due to a previously undisclosed heart condition. She feels like her life is over when she is forced to abandon her career and lawyer friends, her flat in London and move back home to stay with her mother Gina while waiting for a heart transplant. It was a somewhat fractious relationship as Gina has kept all information about Vivi’s  birth father secret. We also meet Shelly, who a few decades earlier, building a farm life with her veterinarian husband and young family. Although it isn’t immediately clear what the connection is between these two women, the pieces start falling into place when Vivi meets Josh, a veterinarian and friends with Vivi’s best friend and her husband. There is an immediate attraction between the two of them that builds into a deep connection.

There is a bit of a mystery in putting all of the pieces of the story and family secrets together and I don’t want to spoil it by going into too much detail. There is a lot of sadness in the book, but love, hope and humor as well. Lewis paints a vivid picture of what someone on the transplant list goes through and introduces a real-life person into Vivi’s world.  Jim Lynskey, a young British man waiting for a heart transplant himself started a campaign called Save9Lives to bring awareness to the organ donor program and get people to sign up. In the book, Vivi befriends Jim and helps with the campaign. Since every day three people die waiting for an organ, this is such an important cause and conversation to have with your loved ones, and I liked how the book illustrates that. The story and characters touched my heart, made me think and kept me engaged throughout the book. Although not a light read, it’s a good one.


Author Notes: Susan Lewis is the internationally bestselling author of more than forty books across the genres of family drama, thriller, suspense, and crime. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol during the 1960s. Following periods of living in Los Angeles and the South of France, she currently lives in Gloucestershire with her husband, James; stepsons, Michael and Luke; and mischievous dogs, Coco and Lulu.
Find out more at her website, and connect with her on Facebook.


Food Inspiration:

There was a good amount of food inspiration in the book and mentions included coffee, buttery croissants, Americano and a pastry, sushi, cider, eggs, homegrown spring onions, cabbages, carrots, lettuces, and tomatoes, homemade jam, bread, cake, cheese, pates, Wiltshire ham, fresh lemonade, cheese and pickle sandwiches, chocolate, spaghetti bolognese with Parmesan on top, plum crumble with fresh cream, elderfower wine, Spanish lemons for cheesecakes, possets and tarts, fruit cake, digestives, Kinder eggs, seam bream, fresh fruit with almonds, plm and ginger smoothie, fresh salads with all the right oils, luscious avocado and salmon salsa,  organic burgers and sausage, chocolate strawberries, mushroom bourguignon, Sunday roasts, cookies, hot chocolate, spicy punch and roasting chestnuts, minced pies and mulled wine.

Although I was intrigued by the avocado salmon salsa and the mushroom bourguignon, I ended up going with the iced tea that Vivi drank throughout the book--especially the iced tea made with strawberries and another with summer berries grown at Josh's family farm. Since Vivi needed to be eating and drinking more healthily, I modified an Elli Krieger recipe for a Lemon-Ginger Iced Tea with Berry Ice Cubes, using a berry-flavored white tea and using blueberries and strawberries in place of the raspberries.

Lemon-Ginger Iced Tea with Summer Berries
Adapted from
(Makes 4-6 servings)

1 cup (4 oz) raspberries, rinsed (I used blueberries & strawberries) 
water for ice cube trays, plus 8 cups water, divided
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup (2 oz) coarsely chopped fresh ginger (I reduced this to 1/3 cup)
6 white tea bags (I used Tazo Berry Blossom White Tea) 
3 lemons, juiced (about 1/2 cup)
lemon slices
mint sprigs, for garnish

Place about 4 raspberries in each compartment of an ice cube tray, 6 hours before serving iced tea. Fill with water and freeze. 

Place honey, 2 cups water and ginger in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add tea bags. Let mixture steep for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour, then strain out solids. In a pitcher combine strained liquid with 6 cups water and lemon juice. 

Chill in refrigerator.To serve, place 3 ice cubes in a tall glass and pour iced tea over cubes. Garnish with lemon slices and mint sprigs.

Notes/Results: Refreshing, not too sweet and a good combination of flavors with the lemon and ginger and the berry in the white tea and fresh berries. I could happily drink this all day long, especially in this humidity we are having this week. My heart-shaped ice cubes with the blueberries melted pretty fast in said humidity, but I think they were cute when I first put them in the glasses with the strawberry slices. I would make this again.

Linking this post and Ellie Krieger recipe to I Heart Cooking Clubs where this week's theme is At the Beach! recipes suitable for enjoying by the shore.

I'm also sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

Note: A review copy of "One Minute Later" was provided to me by the author and the publisher, Harper Collins, via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.  
You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.


Friday, April 13, 2018

Ellie Krieger's Shrimp with Spinach, Garlic and Smoked Paprika

When cooking is the last thing you want to do on a Friday evening, healthy but delicious recipes like Ellie Krieger's Shrimp with Spinach, Garlic and Smoked Paprika. Once your shrimp is peeled and deveined and your garlic sliced and spinach chopped, it comes together quickly in one pan. I put rice in the rice cooker while my shrimp defrosted and had a low effort, high flavor and healthy dinner on the table and in my belly in about 30 minutes.

I made just a couple of small changes to the recipe--using smaller shrimp because that's what I had on hand and using a smoked paprika spice blend that contains garlic, chili pepper, and chives.

Shrimp with Spinach, Garlic and Smoked Paprika
Slightly Adpated from
(Serves 4)
1 1/4 lbs large shrimp (about 20 per lb), peeled and deveined, tails on (I used 31-35 size)
3 large cloves garlic
5 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves (5 oz)
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp smoked paprika (I used a smoked paprika, garlic, chili & chive seasoning blend)
¼ tsp salt
pinch cayenne pepper (see above seasoning blend)

Rinse the shrimp and pat dry with a paper towel. Thinly slice the garlic. Coarsely chop the spinach.

Place the oil in a large non-stick skillet and heat over a medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is golden, about 5 minutes. Watch closely so the garlic does not burn. Transfer the garlic to a small dish using a slotted spoon, leaving the oil in the skillet.

Raise the heat on the skillet to medium-high, add the shrimp, paprika, salt and cayenne and cook until the shrimp turns pink and is nearly cooked through, about 3 minutes. Stir in the spinach and return the garlic to the pan and cook until the shrimp is opaque throughout and the spinach is wilted, 1-2 minutes more.

Nutritional Information: Serving size: 1 1/4 cups (about 6-7 shrimp)
Calories 260; Total Fat 13 g; (Sat Fat 2 g, Mono Fat 7.8 g, Poly Fat 2.1 g); Protein 30 g; Carb 6 g; Fiber 2 g; Cholesterol 215 mg; Sodium 410 mg
Excellent Source of: protein, vitamin A, vitamin B12, iron, phosphorus, selenium 
Good Source of: niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin C, calcium, copper, magnesium, zinc

Notes/Results: This recipe goes together quickly and tastes delicious. Smoked paprika, garlic, shrimp and spinach should always hang out. This is a recipe where you'll want to have all your components prepped and ready and then it comes together in under 15 minutes--in once pan--or another pan or rice cooker if you are adding rice. I was using up my partial bags of rice so this is part jasmine rice and part wild rice blend. I recommend using extra spinach as it does cook down a lot--I think it's a bit stingy divided among four--it made 2 healthy servings for me--even with the rice, but the calorie count is still reasonable if you eat more. I would happily make this again.

Linking up at I Heart Cooking Clubs where our it's our Monthly Ingredient/Dish Challenge and the theme is Healthy Meets Delicious--healthy but yummy recipes from any of our featured IHCC chefs.

Happy Aloha Friday!

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "Yesternight" by Cat Winters, Served with a Recipe for Crispy French Toast Fingers with Blueberry-Maple Sauce {#Yesternight}

Since it's Explorer's Day, let's explore a slightly spooky new October novel. On today's TLC Book Tour stop, I am reviewing Yesternight by Cat Winters and pairing it with a recipe for Ellie Krieger's Crispy French Toast Fingers with Blueberry-Maple Sauce. inspired by my reading.

Publisher's Blurb:

From the author of The Uninvited comes a haunting historical novel with a compelling mystery at its core.  A young child psychologist steps off a train, her destination a foggy seaside town. There, she begins a journey causing her to question everything she believes about life, death, memories, and reincarnation.

In 1925, Alice Lind steps off a train in the rain-soaked coastal hamlet of Gordon Bay, Oregon. There, she expects to do nothing more difficult than administer IQ tests to a group of rural schoolchildren. A trained psychologist, Alice believes mysteries of the mind can be unlocked scientifically, but now her views are about to be challenged by one curious child.

Seven-year-old Janie O’Daire is a mathematical genius, which is surprising. But what is disturbing are the stories she tells: that her name was once Violet, she grew up in Kansas decades earlier, and she drowned at age nineteen. Alice delves into these stories, at first believing they’re no more than the product of the girl’s vast imagination. But, slowly, Alice comes to the realization that Janie might indeed be telling a strange truth.

Alice knows the investigation may endanger her already shaky professional reputation, and as a woman in a field dominated by men she has no room for mistakes. But she is unprepared for the ways it will illuminate terrifying mysteries within her own past, and in the process, irrevocably change her life.

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 4, 2016)

My Review:

It took me about 10 seconds flat to sign up for the Yesternight book tour, the "haunting historical mystery" description and 1925 small Oregon coastal town setting drawing me right in. And how perfect is the cover? The colors, the picture and the mood it sets make it perfect for a spooky October read. Thankfully, what is inside lived up to the self-hype in my head and it delivered an atmospheric story that kept me absorbed and turning the pages. I was reading it during a particularly warm and humid week here and so I had to turn on the air conditioning, pour a cup of apple-cinnamon tea, and set the right mood. 

Speaking of mood, Yesternight definitely sets a good, creepy paranormal tone from the start when young psychologist Alice Lind steps off the train and is immediately slammed to the ground from raging storm. It's clear that Alice has some issues and baggage, more than the two suitcases she travels with and brought along as she arrives to test the children in the rural community of Gordon Bay, Oregon for their IQ and aptitude. When she learns of young Janie O'Daire and about her mathematical prowess and her strange stories of growing up in Kansas as a young woman named Violet Sunday, she is set to prove them make-believe tales from a intelligent and impressionable seven-year-old mind rather than anything paranormal, but soon she can't deny that something strange is going on and that it may be tied somehow to her own childhood issues.   

The character of Alice is interesting and the book focuses much of the story around her--especially the second half. Finding reincarnation and spooky children to be fascinating, I wanted more time spent with Janie. Staying away from any detail, so as not to spoil the story, I will say that at times it felt as though Janie was a teaser to get into Alice's past. There are plenty of twists in the story--a couple I saw coming but some I did not and while I wouldn't call it scary, it left me me with a good chill. Had I read it in a creepy old hotel in the winter, I would have jumped more, but it definitely had that nice eerie, Gothic feel to it that made it a fun pre-Halloween book. Yesternight is my first book by this author and it is her second adult novel--based on this one, I'll be looking for more of her work. 


Author Notes: Cat Winters’s debut novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, was released to widespread critical acclaim. The novel has been named a finalist for the 2014 Morris Award, a School Library Journal Best Book of 2013, and a Booklist 2013 Top 10 Horror Fiction for Youth. Winters lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two children.
Find out more about Cat at her website, and follow her on tumblr, Pinterest, InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.


Food Inspiration: 

There was some food to be found in Yesternight such as lots of ham and ham sandwiches with pretzels, a breakfast of hard-boiled egg, sausage patties, fruit, and coffee, almond drops candies, soft drinks like root beer, Orange Quench and LimeTone, clam chowder with a slice of thick sourdough bread, a dinner of chicken, potatoes, and boiled carrots and peas, gin, a bowl of snap peas, coffee tea and cinnamon rolls, cheese, crackers and roast beef, a hotel restaurant breakfast of grapefruit, French toast,and bacon, apple hot toddies, oyster cocktails and ham and egg balls, a dinner of venison, mutton chops and assorted vegetables that no one would eat.

I don't eat meat and Alice had "an infantile aversion to vegetables" according to her mother. With all manner of vegetables--even pickles, making her feel ill. For example; "Peapods always reminded me of plump green fingers that had wiggled their way out of cold garden dirt." So with meat and vegetables off the table (pun intended), I decided to go with the French toast Alice ate for breakfast. 

Hoping for a healthier option and multi-tasking or multi-posting with my weekly I Heart Cooking Clubs post, I found an Ellie Krieger recipe for Crispy French Toast Fingers that sounded tasty and since the peadpod "fingers" mention stuck with me, I thought French toast fingers would be fun. The Blueberry-Maple Sauce for dipping sounded delicious too. 

Crispy French Toast Fingers
Adapted from Ellie
(Serves 4)

1 cup sliced almonds
3 cups cornflakes
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup low-fat (1%) milk (I used coconut milk)
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
nonstick cooking spray

4 large slices firm whole-grain bread, each piece cut crosswise to make 5 fingers each.
1 recipe Blueberry Maple Sauce (recipe follows) or maple syrup for serving, optional

In a food processor, pulse the almonds until coarsely ground. Add the cornflakes, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and pulse until the cornflakes resemble the texture of oats. Transfer the cornflakes mixture to a shallow bowl.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla until well combined.  

Spray a large nonstick skillet or griddle with cooking spray and preheat over medium heat. Working with one piece at a time, dip the bread into the egg mixture until completely moistened and coated but not falling apart, about 30 seconds each. Coat each slice of bread in the cornflakes mixture gently pressing it onto the bread. Place each slice of bread in the skillet and cook over medium-low heat, turning once, until the outside is golden brown and the center is warm, about 6 minutes total.

Serve with Blueberry Maple Sauce or pure maple syrup on the side for dipping, if desired.


Blueberry-Maple Sauce
Adapted from Ellie
(Serves 4)

2 cups fresh or frozen (unsweetened) blueberries, (10-oz)
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup, plus more to taste
1 Tbsp orange juice

In a medium saucepan, combine the blueberries, maple syrup, and orange juice. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender, or use an immersion blender, and blend until almost smooth. Add more maple syrup to taste depending on the sweetness of the fruit. 

The sauce may be made up to 4 days ahead of using and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Notes/Results: Crispy, nutty on the outside and soft in the center French toast--sweet and cinnamony--there is plenty to like about Ellie Krieger's recipe. The fact that it adds some fiber and protein with the whole-grain bread is a bonus and it is sweet enough to make your favorite kid or big kid happy. You could of course just leave it whole rather than cutting it into fingers, but the whole dipping it into the tangy-sweet blueberry sauce wouldn't be as fun. I don't crave French toast often, but when I do, this is a tasty one that isn't too terrible on the nutrition front. I would happily make it again.

I'm linking this French toast at I Heart Cooking Clubs where the Monthly Featured Chef theme this week is celebrating Ellie Krieger. You can see my roundup of favorite recipes from when we cooked with Ellie at IHCC here and you can see what dishes everyone chose to make by checking out the picture links on the post.
I'm also linking up this review and recipe to the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

Note: A review copy of "Yesternight" was provided to me by the publisher, Harper Collins and TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.