Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pork Stir-Fry... the easy way!


I love a good stir-fry.  What will make a better?  Keep it simple and quick!

I first made this a month ago and, for once, actually wrote down my ingredients.  This alone is an amazing feat!  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does.


2 boneless pork chops
Garlic powder
Ground ginger
1 egg
3/4 cup Kraft Toasted Asian Sesame Dressing
4 TBS Soy Sauce
1 TBS Brown Sugar
1 bag frozen stir-fry vegetables
Instant Rice


NOTE: The meat will cook quickly. 
Have your water boiling to cook the vegetables at the same time.
Don't forget about your rice!

1.  Spray fry pan with Pam.

2.  Cut pork into bite-sized pieces and place in frying pan in a single layer.

3.  Season the pork with garlic powder and ground ginger.

4.  Cook the pork on medium high (300 F in an electric fry pan).

5.  Once meat is cooked through, move it to one side of the pan.

6.  Add the scrambled egg to the open area and cook.  Once the egg is cooked, mix it with the pork.

7.  Add the Toasted Asian Sesame Dressing, soy sauce, and brown sugar to the meat/egg mixture.

8.  While the meat is cooking, bring water in pot to a boil.  Add frozen vegetables and cook for 5 minutes.  Drain.

9.  Combine meat mixture with vegetables.

10.  Serve over cooked rice.

11.  Enjoy!

*Note:  I doubled the recipe for a family of 5 (2 adults and 3 teenagers).  Play with different vegetable combinations!  The first time I made this I added fresh snow peas to the fry pan and cooked them with the meat.  Fresh vegetables work great, too!  Broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots can be cooked in boiling water for 5 minutes just like frozen veggies.  If you use fresh onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and/or cabbage, stir fry the vegetables in a fry pan with Pam or olive oil before adding to the meat mixture.

I'd love to hear how your dinner turned out?  Any changes or additions that worked better?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Recipe from: Cook's Family Recipes

May be linked to these wonderful blog hops!


     Chef Ellen

Monday, June 24, 2013

Twisted... a book review


Book 2 in the Torn Series
by K.A. Robinson
E-book ISBN: 978-1-4767-5217-4
Book ISBN: 978-1-4767-5216-7
E-book available now; Paperback in Sept. 2013
Atria Books Publishing
Sold by Simon and Schuster
Contemporary Fiction / Mature

 Love has the power to break through even the most twisted of circumstances.
In the second book in the bestselling Torn series by K.A. Robinson, Chloe and Drake have soldiered through a heartbreaking love triangle and are finally within reach of their happily ever after. Unfortunately, their demons have come out of the dark with a vengeance, looking to destroy them. Chloe’s abusive mother enters back into her life with an evil plot that sets off a chain of events no one could ever have anticipated. To add to their distress, a relentless, conniving ex reappears determined to tear the couple apart through any means necessary. The extra strain pushes Chloe and Drake to the brink, bringing out their greatest weaknesses and putting them up against old but powerful addictions.

The foundation on which their love was built is crumbling beneath them. What are they willing to give up in order to stay together?   ~  Publisher's Description
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
Drake and Chloe's love story is far from unique.  In her attempt to stretch their romance, K.A. Robinson dragged out the inevitable.  If the book focused more on the drama of Chloe's mom or the impending stardom, then I would have truly enjoyed it.  As it is, I pushed through the book but will not read any other books in this series. 
To read my review of Torn #1, click HERE.
My rating: D
1.5 stars out of 5
I received a complimentary e-book of Twisted from Atria Books, Simon and Schuster, and NetGalley for my honest review.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Torn... a book review

Torn (Torn, #1)
by K.A. Robinson
ISBN: 9781476752150
E-book available now
Paperback: Sept 2013
Atria Books Publishing
Sold by Simon and Schuster
Contemporary Fiction / Mature

Chloe hasn't had the best life. With a mother who is gone more often than not, she has had to raise herself. After graduating high school, she leaves to start a new life away at West Virginia University with her best friends Amber and Logan, determined to leave her demons in the past.

On her first day, she meets a stranger who takes her breath away at first sight. Until she met Drake, no one had ever sparked her interest. Now this tattooed and pierced bad boy is all she can think about, no matter how hard she fights it.

Long hidden feelings are revealed and friendships tested to the brink.  ~ Publisher's Description

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
As much as I enjoyed the book, I kept thinking about how similar it is to Beautiful Disaster.  This isn't in and of itself a bad thing, it just isn't a unique storyline.  The girl with the bad upbringing, Chloe, falls for Drake with the bad boy look and attitude.  Add in a love triangle between Chloe, Logan, and Drake and watch the tensions rise. 

Read Chapter 1 HERE!

At only 272 pages, I read the book in two nights.  K.A. Robinson wrote the characters and plot well enough that I did not want to put the book down.  Although I basically figured out what was going to happen next, I did encounter a few twists I did not expect!

My rating: B
3.0 out of 5 stars

I received a complimentary e-book of Torn from Atria Books, Simon and Schuster, and NetGalley for my honest review.



Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Jennifer: An O'Malley Love Story... a book review

Jennifer: An O'Malley Love Story
Bethany House Publishing Group
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1112-6
Available: May 2013
Hardcover, $12.99

As one book in the O'Malley Family Series, we meet Dr. Jennifer O'Malley.  She spends her days and nights doctoring children with terminal illnesses.  As she gives her all to her young patients, she is slowly being wooed by Dr. Tom Peterson.  As a surgeon, he knows the stresses of the job.  Yet, he is more concerned about her spiritual well-being than her physical one, at least in the beginning. 

I enjoyed the book and did not feel lost "jumping in" with this particular book.  This is a sweet love story, not just between Jennifer and Tom, but also between Jennifer and Jesus.  Will her newly found faith be shaken off its foundation just as she is resting in the love and peace of the God who loves her?

My rating: B
3.5 stars out of 5
The love story was nice, but I would have liked to see Dee Henderson dive deeper into the revelation concerning Jennifer at the end of the book.  I was not hooked enough to search out the next book to learn the conclusion of her situation.  If  you are, seek out The Negotiator, Book One, to read more about Jennifer and her decisions.

I received a complimentary copy of Jennifer: An O'Malley Love Story for my honest review from Bethany House Publishing Group.

The Woman's Study Bible, NIV by Thomas Nelson


NIV The Woman's Study Bible, Hardcover
Enriching your heart,
mind, and spirit
with God's Word
NIV Signature Series

Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-1-4016-7653-7
$44.99 Hardcover

I enjoy study Bibles that help me dig deeper into the heart of God.  In The Woman's Study Bible from Thomas Nelson, each book is introduced with the author, date, background, themes, and an outline.

As you read through this Bible, you will come across detailed character portraits of the women in the Bible.  In the Book of Luke, you will learn more about Elizabeth, Anna the Prophetess, Joanna, Susanna the faithful servant, and more!  With each turn of the page, special relevant insights for women are nestled: raising the adolescent, the homeless and their position in society, the importance of a godly education, parenting adult children - just to name a few.

Quotes from godly, Christian women are interspersed throughout.  These can be both thought-provoking and/or may help you to understand a concept just a bit better.

"Ultimate hatred and ultimate love met on those two crosspieces of wood. 
Suffering and love were brought into harmony."
 ~ Elisabeth Elliot

In the front of this wonderful Bible are special pages: the Ketubab Marriage Contract - a Jewish marriage contract, family history, special family memories, and a place to list your own spiritual mothers.

With the inclusion of the concordance, index, maps and charts, this will be a well-loved book for years to come!

I love the cover art!

I received a complimentary copy of The Woman's Study Bible, NIV from Shelton Interactive and Thomas Nelson Publisher for my honest review.



Sunday, June 16, 2013

Stern... a book review


by Brenda Jackson
Series: The Westmoreland Trilogy #3
ISBN: 9780373732647
Available September 3, 2013

Stern Westmoreland never makes mistakes—until he helps his best friend Jovonnie "JoJo" Jones with a makeover…for another man.  Now Stern wants JoJo for himself.  Their attraction is undeniable and there's only one way to test it...  ~ Publisher's Description

I have enjoyed reading about the Westmoreland men.  Their strong commitment to family and friends is a dying virtue.  Each book in the trilogy has blended easily to the next one. 

Stern, who decided he would be a bachelor until age 35, is now seeing his other die-hard bachelor brothers and cousins succumb to the wedding bug.  Is it possible that he is ready for a full commitment before turning 35?  While he is considering the implications, his very best friend, JoJo, is asking him to help her catch the eye of another man.  Will he act on his awakening feelings for his best friend, or step back and let her find someone else to love?

My rating: B+
3.75 out of 5 stars
(predictable storyline)

I received a complimentary ecopy of Stern from NetGalley and Harlequin Romance for my honest review.



Friday, June 14, 2013

Canyon...a book review

a Westmoreland trilogy... Zane, Canyon, and Stern
Available: August 1, 2013
ISBN: 978-0373732586

Years ago, Canyon Westmoreland let misunderstandings come between him and Keisha Ashford.  But when Keisha returns to town with a two-year-old son, it's time to settle things once and for all.  A blazing attraction still burns between them, and this time around, nothing will stop Canyon from claiming what is his - his woman and his child!  ~ Publisher's Description
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
Canyon knew Keisha left town when she thought he was being unfaithful.  Then, two years later, she returns to Denver and resumes working at her former law office.  After 10 months, they are no closer to discussing the reason she left, and Canyon needed her to believe his innocence.  The day he follows her home from the office to talk about their past, a whole new mystery surfaces.  Someone else is following her and her home is trashed....
I enjoyed the tension between Keisha and Canyon.  Brenda did a wonderful job is balancing the story between their love story / romance and the mystery.  The first book, Zane, made a terrific transition into this story line.  The seamless transition makes is easy to pick up any of the books without being lost! 
Brenda - thanks for another wonderful story!
My rating: A
4 out of 5 stars
I received a complimentary ecopy of Canyon from NetGalley and Harlequin Desire for my honest review.



Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Home to Whiskey Creek... a book review


Sometimes home is the refuge you need —
and sometimes it isn't.
Adelaide Davies, who's been living in Davis (Sacramento), returns to Whiskey Creek, the place she once called home. She's there to take care of her aging grandmother and to help with Gran's restaurant, Just Like Mom's. But Adelaide isn't happy to be back. There are too many people here she'd rather avoid, people who were involved in that terrible June night fifteen years ago.
Ever since the graduation party that changed her life, she's wanted to go to the police and make sure the boys responsible—men now—are punished. But she can't, not without revealing an even darker secret. So it's better to pretend….
Noah Rackham, popular, attractive, successful, is shocked when Adelaide won't have anything to do with him. He has no idea that his very presence reminds her of something she'd rather forget. He only knows that he's finally met a woman he could love.

New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak presents Home to Whiskey Creek, the fourth book in the Whiskey Creek series. Readers gain a sense of community as characters deal with both life-changing experiences and learning how to forgive those involved. ~ Publisher's Description
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
This is the fourth book in the series, A Whiskey Creek Novel.  Had I known that before agreeing to review this book, I may have skipped over it.  So glad I didn't!  Although this isn't the first, or second, book in the series, I had no problem following the characters or plot.  The story held me captive from page one and I was sad to see it end... temporarily.  Book 5, Take Me Home for Christmas, will be available November 2013.
Many teenagers have either been the victims or the perpetrators of horrible crimes while in high school.  How many go unreported?  How does the horrible incident affect them in adulthood?  Brenda has focused on one such incident while giving the readers an insight into the emotional and psychological trauma that goes hand-in-hand.
I loved this book!  If you have not read any of Brenda Novak's books yet, start with this one!  You won't be disappointed!
My rating: A+
5 out of 5 stars
Available July 30, 2013
ISBN: 9780778315452
I received a complimentary ecopy of Home to Whiskey Creek from Harlequin Romance and NetGalley for my honest review.
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