Thursday, February 11, 2010

Give me your recipes, please!

Lately I’ve been really bad about making dinner and lunches to bring to work. I get home and I’m so tired that all I want to do is eat a bowl of cereal and sit on the couch. However, my health and my wallet are begging me to get back in the groove and start using all the food that’s going to waste in my fridge.

I’m going to write a post soon about meal planning, but for right now, I actually have a question for all of you. What are your staple meals? What meals make it into your weekly rotation every week, or perhaps are your standby meal for when you just don’t know what else to make. Mine is spaghetti, but I also have tuna noodle casserole and chili. My mom used to always rotate wok chicken, chicken tacos, chili, pork chops, etc.

I’m trying to build my cache of recipes and I want to know what your tried and true recipes are. Maybe it’s something you found, or maybe it’s a recipe that’s been in your family for 50 years. If they’re short, post them in the comments section; if not, email me here.

If you send them to me and I end up making it a regular in my rotation, it could end up in the family cookbook I’m making.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Book Review - Twilight Series

Let me start by warning those of you out there who haven’t read the Twilight books that you shouldn’t read this post. Of course you’re welcome to, but I spoil many things, and I share my opinion of the series with you.

I've never felt compelled to write a book review before, but after reading these four books, I had to share my thoughts.

I hate the Twilight series.

Okay, two of the books were really okay reads. But the other two, I'm not even sure what happened because I was thinking about how much I hate the main character the entire time I read them. I was also thinking that the books are not quite appropriate for the intended audience (I'm sure teen and preteen girls). Why, you ask? Well sure, the author doesn't come right out and say she thinks you shouldn't have sex before you're married (a good message, although not really realistic anymore), but it's clearly implied. Contrasting this implied message is the fact that Edward spends EVERY NIGHT in Bella's bed - what kind of a message is that!? "Sure honey, you shouldn't have sex before you're married, but it's okay to sneak your much older boyfriend into the house every night while I'm asleep and sleep in the same bed with him, as long as there's a blanket in between you." Yes, Bella does turn 18 in one of the books, but she's 17 for a lot of the time, and again, I dont' think that's an appropriate message to send to the intended (or unintended but popular) audience for these books. If as an author you're trying to send the message that abstinence before marriage is the way to go, sneaking your boyfriend in at night doesn't really support that message. No guy in the world is as strong willed as Edward.

Having said that, let’s continue. During the past week I read the Twilight series: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. I’d had a borrowed copy of Twilight for over a year, and had just never gotten into reading it. Finally, I was out of other books, and so I started it. I was actually quite addicted to the first book – while it was an easy read, it held my interest all the way through. I was so excited to move on to the second book that I purchased it, rather than waiting for my friend to lend me her copy (that was a mistake, now I’m stuck with a crappy book). I borrowed the last two books from my friend, and had a really hard time finishing them. Let’s look at each book individually.

I enjoyed two of the books, and absolutely hated the other two. Twilight was one of the books I liked – it introduced the characters, the setting, and had some action in it towards the end. However, I can see that this book would make a horrible movie, because although there’s action towards the end, that’s it…not much else happens. I don’t really remember much about New Moon, so clearly I didn’t enjoy that book very much. I didn’t realize at first it was mostly about Jacob, so I kept waiting for vampires to enter the story. I really decided in this book that I don’t like Bella, the main character, so that made it hard to want to keep reading the series. I don’t like how weak-willed she is, and how she keeps trying to pull Jacob in, knowing his feelings for her, while she’s sure she’s in love with Edward. It feels like she’s using him for her needs and completely ignoring his.

I made it to the third book, Eclipse, but this was the hardest book for me to read. Honestly, I don’t even remember what happened in this book, because all I kept thinking about was my hatred of Bella. I almost stopped reading the series here; I got so sick of “No I won’t let the people I love be hurt” but oh yeah, I’m not going to do anything to stop them but whine. Bella also still at this point can’t understand why Edward loves her, because she’s plain and he’s so beautiful…get over it and get some self-confidence! The guy (well, sort of) has had a century to find a woman and he found you – clearly that means something, yet she doesn’t accept that EVERY TIME HE TELLS HER. I get sick of her fishing for compliments (though the author doesn’t write it like Bella is fishing for compliments, that’s how I see it).

Finally, I made it to the final book, Breaking Dawn. This one was again fairly interesting – although things aren’t continuously happening, I didn’t find this book to drag like the previous two. It was interesting to meet all the new vampires, and I love the show of solidarity in the end; I absolutely love when people stand up for others for no reason other than that it’s the right thing to do. I also enjoyed that much of this book was told from Jacob’s perspective, saving me from Bella’s whiney thoughts.

Overall, my life would still have been complete if I’d never read these books. Sure, the first and last books were interesting (to a point), but I had to struggle to read the second and third books. I feel like I’ve wasted a bit of my life over the past week – there are so many things I could have been doing besides reading this series. If I never pick up another book by Stephanie Meyers, it’ll be too soon.