august book report

Go set a watchman august book

There is something about that Amy Pohler book, because I still can't finish it after almost a year of sitting on my bookshelf. I really want to read it, but I'll read a chapter and move on with my life. But I tore through Go Set a Watchman in a couple of quiet weekend mornings, even with my mixed feelings on the book. Geez, maybe I should start reading fiction again…

I did like Go Set a Watchman, overall. I loved reading Scout's thoughts on the world around here as a 26-year-old who doesn't live in that community anymore. Maybe it's because I'm a 26-year-old who doesn't live in my hometown community anymore. Yes, seeing the changes in our beloved Atticus Finch was uncomfortable, but as we grow and learn more about our surroundings and the people around us, our interpretations of people change. I do understand the mixed criticism of the book initially, but after thinking about it we're seeing this story through the eyes of a 26-year-old versus the eyes of a much younger Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird. I would love to see English teachers offer this book as a contrast to Harper Lee's classic to start debates on how worldviews change as we age.

If you missed the news, I went back to grad school last week after nine months off to finish my first graduate degree that I left in 2011. This was a very last-minute decision and will take time away from some of the goals and features that I have going on right now for the blog. Luckily, I'm easing into it with just one class, so my "read for pleasure" goal won't go away completely just yet. But it does mean that I might only list one book as a goal for the month.

I'm doing that for September, but my book choice is also a behemoth 1,300+ page biography on Robert Moses, an extremely controversial king of NYC urban planning in the 1950s and '60s. Obviously Yes, Please will serve as backup if I'm in urban planning overload, but we all know my track record there. I am supposed to get the new Mindy Kaling book halfway through September, so don't be surprised if that gets consumed in a weekend.

What were your thoughts on Go Set a Watchman? Do you have any books on tap for September? Let me know in the comments.

weekend links | 7

Oliva cigar factory tampa fl

Reading this blog has become my new favorite Friday morning activity.

On a similar note, a new way to fix the sprawl problem in Florida is old news elsewhere.

I'm all for pumpkin spice season, but c'mon now…we've reached overkill status with this one, complete with hipster M&M on the front.

Well, at least this tropical storm didn't form overnight before soaking us with rain (I'm looking at you, Tropical Storm Debby).

As we hit the 10-year anniversary of Katrina, spend some time catching up on NPR's special series.

Instagram is allowing us to think outside the square.

This is my next big knitting project…if I ever finish that scarf.

three summer drinks


Labor day is just around the corner, but you still have a little time to savor those summer moments. Make one of these easy drinks, go relax by the pool, and enjoy the final moments of summer.

whiskey lemonade
I don't think this drink can get any easier to make. You could use some pre-made lemonade and combine with your favorite whiskey to taste, or you could make your own lemonade concentrate to mix with. Top the drink off with some ice and you're ready to go.

peach moscow mule
Fresh fruit defines summer for me, so I try to use fresh fruit in whatever I can. If you can find peach vodka I'm sure that would work just as well. For one of these, I muddle half of a large peach at the bottom of a glass and top with plain vodka and ginger beer. I'm not sure if I can call it a Moscow Mule without using lime juice, but whatever. The peach and ginger is so amazing together.

elderflower old fashioned
I make a mean old fashioned, but this summer I discovered swapping in elderflower liqueur (like St. Germain) for simple syrup to create a floral taste that goes great with a good bourbon whiskey. Just use the swap in your own old fashioned recipe, adding the liqueur to taste.

recipe: stuffed peppers

Post whole30 stuffed peppers

As I'm transitioning out of whole30 and into normal eating, I'm trying to stay with eating more meat and veggies than pastas and breads. But a few breadcrumbs here and there won't hurt during my transition. These stuffed peppers meet all of my transition criteria: a healthy serving of meat, delicious green veggies, and some breadcrumb and cheese splurges for flavor.

easy stuffed peppers

This recipe made four peppers for me, with some meat mixture leftover.

4 bell peppers (any color, I used green because they were on sale)
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 egg
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp oregano
4 slices bacon
marinara sauce (to taste)
shredded cheese

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the tops off of your peppers and blanch them in salted water for about 5 minutes. Let them drain while you mix up the ground beef, onion, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, and spices. Fill the peppers with the ground beef mix and top with a slice of bacon and marinara sauce. Bake for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on the peppers and bake for another 10 minutes.

Dig in and enjoy!

PS: Looking for more recipes? Check out my food archives for more ideas.

weekend links | 6

Weekend links 6

These are some great garden ideas for small spaces, sent to me by a reader.

Is post-Katrina gentrification saving New Orleans or destroying it?

I love traveling and exploring cities alone. It's an exhilarating experience.

This is probably my favorite video from the "30 Days of Yoga" challenge.

Yaaaaaaaasssss. Totally need this now I'm eating some wheat carbs again.

I hope I catch the end of peach season so I can stock up and make this drink again. Maybe with vodka this time. And maybe I'll recreate it with blood orange this winter.

Someone remind me to pick up some short ribs soon to make this sandwich.

I'm definitely a breakfastarian. Give me eggs for any meal!

I'm so doing this with the ground lamb I found on sale last week.