Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Library Loot XL

Summer is officially here! Not only does the calendar say so, but yesterday was the last day of school for my daughters and it's now summer vacation! Yay! They both did really well this year and came home with great end of the year report cards, so they deserve a fun, relaxing summer to recharge for September. Not they have a total break! My high schooler has four books as part of her required required reading and my middle schooler has one. As for me, I welcome a break from that crazy hour in the morning getting them up out of bed and out the door on time. The last few weeks have been a struggle. Not to mention I'd like a break from being the homework police.

Already my girls have been warned that I do not want to play personal short order cook again this summer, so I have decided that the kitchen is open for breakfast between 8-9 am and lunch between noon and 1 pm. If you are not up in time for breakfast, you're on your own. If you are not hungry for lunch at noon because you just ate breakfast at 11:15 am, well... come 2 pm you are on your own for lunch. I am NOT falling for the old "but it tastes SO much better when YOU make it, Mom!" routine. Unless that line is delivered with unsolicited hugs and kisses. I do have a weak spot for that sort of behavior. But shhh! Don't tell them that. ;)

How old were you when you started cooking? 

What were some of the first things you learned how to cook? 

When I was 11 or 12 years old, I liked to bake and would make homemade oatmeal raisin or chocolate chip cookies for my family. That was also around the age that I started to make grilled cheese sandwiches by myself. By high school, I learned how to make lasagna, but it wasn't until after I graduated college and had my own apartment that I truly learned how to cook all sorts of dishes. Thanks to CookingLight magazine. ;) 

I think I'm going to teach my daughters how to cook a few basic recipes over the summer.  

I'd love to hear your beginner recipe suggestions! 

Onto the library loot portion of this post...

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries! This week's Library Loot is at Claire's.

I am happily making my way through the stack of books from my last two library loots, but one of my holds came in so I actually have another book to share this week. In fact, I read this one already!

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

All of this author's books are made from gentle southern charm, family traditions, secrets from past generations, heartwarming friendships, a bit of romance and a touch of magical realism to pull it all together, and The Peach Keeper is no exception. The novel is easy to read as the story and the characters are engaging and the writing flows beautifully. It feels light and smooth as you read it, yet it holds powerful messages about finding your true self, learning to accept yourself for exactly who you are and discovering that you will find happiness if you trust in the power of just being YOU.

What are you reading this week?



  1. I've yet to read a SAA although I know everyone loves them. Glad you enjoyed it. Happy reading!

  2. The cooking all day thing is making me crazy! Eat it when you ask for it! Don't come back and save it's cold/soggy/icky whatever!

  3. I didn't learn to cook til I was out of college. I highly recommend giving them some basic lessons now. Simple things to make sure they don't starve or live on take out! I really wish my mom would have taught me.

  4. I started helping out with the baking when I was four or five and with the cooking when I was six or seven. The first things I remember making on my own were soups and pastas by around grade three. By grade four, I was on my own for making breakfasts and lunchs and was taking a much more active role in making dinner. At twelve, I officially took over full dinner preparation duties for about three nights of the week: my mother doesn't cook if she can help it and both my parents worked outside of the home when I was growing up, so my dad really appreciated being able to not have to worry about cooking every night.

    As for basic recipes for beginner chefs, it's hard to go wrong with a simple roast chicken, a basic pasta dish, and perhaps a few casserole-like meals or easy savoury pies and quiches (especially simple if you buy ready-made shells). Best of lucking with the cooking lessons!

  5. I started learning to cook when I was in elementary school. And baking when I was in Jr. High. My Mom wanted to make sure I knew how to follow a recipe, make substitutions and wouldn't, you know, starve. My hubs? He learned to cook in H.S.. Self preservation-his Mom can NOT cook. (But thinks she can.)

    Oh, I love Sarah Addison Allen's books. The Sugar Queen is my absolute favorite of hers.

    Hope you're having a fantastic day!

  6. I'm glad your girls had a great school year. Required reading? Over the summer? I never had that... Are they good books?

    Not to mention I'd like a break from being the homework police.

    I can't imagine that being fun. And YAH for having set breakfast and lunch times.

    As for cooking, well, I can do the basics...well, not even that. I can cook to a recipe, if it is a basic one, but I don't have a feel for cooking. And I don't know how to get things to taste good/be tender. I think my brother got my mother's and both grandmother's cooking genes (they were all fantastic). Maybe one day when I have time I should take a basic cooking course - learn not to be afraid of cooking :)

  7. LOL, I like your hours :) That's a pretty good decision you made!

    I'm always surprised that your kids have homework during the summer... Hmmm.

    I love the cover of The Peach Keeper. There was another book by her that I keep wanting to read... and it's just not happening ^_^;

  8. My sister and I used to bake cookies together at that age. I love the idea of teaching my kids to cook at some point but I'm really not all that good at it :) Guess I better get to working on getting better soon!

  9. I love this post.

    I made after school snacks in high school (when my mom was still at work)- baked potatoes, and other random bits of food I could find that my older brother didn't devour first.

    Like you, Cooking Light helped ne to lear to cook when I was on my own after college.

    I love that you have kitchen hours, great idea!

    You can have your kids make:
    All of that is very easy to make, without a recipe...

  10. Cat... if you ever feel compelled to try SAA, for what it's worth, Garden Spells is my personal favorite. ;)

    Lisa... oh yes! My 12 year old is SO picky about the cold/soggy/icky status of food. Refuses to eat left over mac n cheese and often plain pasta, too. Drives me INSANE.

    Linda... I agree that this is the time for some basic lessons. I'm trying to come up with a list of dishes to teach them. Loving the suggestions in the comments.

    Claire... Wow! You sure did start in the kitchen early! What a great skill set I imagine you had by the time you were in high school! And so helpful to your parents. That's really admirable. :)

    I LOVE your list of suggestions for basic recipes for beginners. I wouldn't have thought of a simple roast chicken, but it truly is a basic skill, right? They could totally learn how to make that. I made a curry chicken pot pie just the other night... I bet they could make that, too. Both girls love quiche, too... Thanks so much for your thoughts!

    Brandy... Another young cook! Self preservation-made cooks like your husband are good to have around, right? My husband doesn't know how to cook too many things but he sure is good at ordering take out!! ^_^

    I love all of SAA's books, too!

    orannia... Yes, required reading. My high schooler has a test within the first day or two of school on the literature. And since she's an honor's student, she has two required books to read for history as well. I have mixed opinions about the required reading thing... mostly leaning towards NOT approving of it. I think it's important for the kids to have down time, too and since she doesn't have time during the regular school year to read books of her own choice for recreational reading, when is she going to do it if she has all these other required books to read over the summer? :(

    Cooking is a skill that requires lots of practice and sometimes experimentation. For me, I read a lot about cooking in cookbooks and magazines--almost like research! I think a cooking class would be fun!

    nath... I gave good kitchen hours, right? I've already stretched the boundaries already, but they're getting the idea now that we're on day three of summer break. lol

    The Peach Keeper cover is VERY pretty. Again, Garden Spells is my favorite.

    samantha... your kids are still pretty young, so you have some time yet. ;)

    Rebecca... ha! thanks! :)
    "...and other random bits of food I could find that my older brother didn't devour first."
    LOLOL!!! I can totally see that! Teenage boys are ravenous!

    I love that Cooking Light helped you learn how to cook, too! I still have a set of at least Cooking Light 20 recipes that I make ALL THE TIME.

    Thanks for all of those recipe suggestions! I'm going to add them to my list of lessons. ;)

  11. I can't fit the library into my over the top busy lifestyle but I did use the library for all my reading just previous to this phase in my life.

    Cooking - Hmmm... Show them how to do a baked potato bar. You can make that as healthy or not-so-healthy as you like but it is easy and it does make a whole meal.

    I'm reading Three Wishes right now too. It should make for an interesting discussion because my Catholic girl side keeps coming out while I read.

    Have you thought of an H author yet?

  12. The Christmas I turned 8, my parents gave me Betty Crocker's Boys & Girls Cookbook. I remember be so thrilled to have my very own cookbook. LOL I still have it and still use the recipe for Molasses Crinkles from it. :)

    Beginner recipes... pasta salad, cookies (any kind), quiche, french toast, stir fry, fried rice, baked chicken breast, omlets and brownies. Can't forget the brownies. :)

    I finally started Magic Slays.

  13. I am going with issues with my middle schooler now b/c she decided she is a vegetarian but does not want to eat the vegetarian dishes that I make would rather have me make her something else. She has cooked a few times so I handed her cook book and said whatever you want to make for yourself go for it. I still make dinner but am not running a restaurant. On the other hand my 3 year old cooks with me all the time, she gets upset when I bake without her.

  14. Hi Christine, Marce has the q-n-a up at her blog, and I'll need our H choice for July :)

    Tomes Devotee


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