British Isles Friday & Acorn TV

 This is a meme hosted by Joy Weese Moll found here.  I really find it a nostalgic meme for me as someone who spent her early childhood and later periods as well in Britain with my family and whose mother is British, but now is living in New Jersey.

My entry for this is based on my absolutely favorite TV channel.  I have  a roku and stream my TV, the number one reason being that I watch a ton of Acorn TV.    It is without a doubt the best source for British TV here in the US.  They have fantastic customer service and are quickly responsive to any issues that arise and the shows…an amazing assortment of great TV to watch.

Here are just a few shows I watch on Acorn:

Midsomer Murders  Wonderful detective mystery series, multiple seasons worth of shows, great characters, I really couldn’t ask for anything more.

Pie in the Sky  Starring the amazing Richard Griffiths RIP.  Wonderful show for cozy mystery lovers.

Jack Taylor  Based on the great books by Ken Bruen, this is a darker, grittier detective show.

Blue Murder A single working mother detective.  A great character and well done cases in a more police procedural style.

Prime Suspect  Helen Mirren, enough said.

Dirk Gently A quirky different kind of detective show, fans of the American show Psych will really like this.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries  The incomparable Miss Phrynee Fisher based on the series of books by Kerry Greenwood.  Great books which were very well adapted for TV.

And there are so many more, not all mysteries either.  Mysteries are just my particular favorite in books and TV shows.  There are historical dramas, documentaries and comedies as well.  Acorn TV is a great place to get a little piece of Britain, even sitting on your couch in New Jersey.

Ankle Surgery Recap – Readers Workouts

There is a meme I would love to participate it hosted by Joy Weese Moll found here.  Unfortunately, I have not been doing much in the way of working out due to an ongoing ankle issue.  I “sprained” my ankle back in March and have been slogging through a myriad of treatments including surgical injections until I finally had surgery on June 20th.  I was under a no weight bearing order until today.  I am starting to rest some weight on the foot and flex the foot to stretch.

I switched doctors midway through this ordeal.  The first doctor did not read my films himself, he relied on the radiologist report so he missed the break in my ankle.  He had me walking on the ankle with the torn tendons off and on through all this.  He then gave me a “healing” Amniofix injection…excruciatingly painful…and did nothing that I could tell.  I got my act together and switched doctors and now finally am on the road to recovery.

I am starting this week to workout with the help of some youtube videos:

In four more weeks, I go back to see surgeon and hopefully start physical therapy.  My goal is to be mobile without crutches/knee walker/cane by September.








Weekend Cooking ….Swede (Rutabaga)

wkendcooking  This is a meme hosted by BethFishReads found here.  My post this week is not on one specific meal or recipe but rather on….


an unfortunately neglected root vegetable in the US where I currently reside.    Maybe it’s his looks??  In real life, I don’t know anyone who eats them.

In the UK, he would be called a swede, which is short for Swedish turnip.  In some areas, he might just be referred to as a turnip, yellow turnip or neep.  In the US, however his name is rutabaga, this is derived from the original Swedish word Rotabagge.  The vegetable was first noted growing wild in Sweden.  In any case, delicious, hearty, healthy and earthy are all appropriate taglines.

Nutritionally, Swede is a fantastic source of potassium.  People who get leg cramps at night (charley horses) are often told they lack potassium and should eat bananas.  Well 1 medium swede has a banana beat by a mile as a source for potassium.  A banana provides 422 mg of potassium, while the lowly swede comes in at 1,177 or 33% of your daily recommended allowance. Vitamin C?? The banana comes in at 17%, while the swede….160%!  In addition, our swede has no fat, no cholesterol, and includes some protein, B-6, Iron, Calcium and Magnesium.

Swedes often are sold coated in wax, which might be a turnoff for some people looking at the lonely 2 or 3 swedes sitting in the produce bin at their supermarket.  The wax is to prevent the veg from drying out in cold storage.  If you look online there are youtube videos and websites  showing methods to remove the wax from the rutabaga.  Some of these seem entirely too time consuming if you ask me, refrigerating and then scraping?? microwaving and boiling?? Ummm, no.  I have no issue removing the wax and skin from the Swede with these:knives

First, use cleaver (probably any heavy duty kitchen knife would do) to cut swede into quarters, then use your sharp peeler and it works just fine.    I guess if for some reason you wanted just the wax off and to leave the skin on the Swede you could try one of the other methods available on line.

As far as cooking, my standby is simply to cut the swede into chunks.  Then, toss with olive oil, coarse salt and pepper and roast in a hot oven for about 40 minutes, shaking the tray a couple times.  Alternatively, I have been known to throw some chunks into a pot of boiling water with potatoes and mash them up together with butter, milk, salt and pepper.

My family’s favorite is to use Swede and other of his root vegetable friends in a root vegetable gratin.

5 pounds of mixed root veg (including swede, of course)

1  cup of heavy cream

salt & pepper

1 cup vegetable broth or chicken or whatever you like.

4 Tbsp. butter

chunk of parmesan cheese or about a 3/4 cup shredded.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Use one Tbsp butter to butter an 8 x 12 ish pan (I use a Le Creuset oval baker I have but that doesn’t really matter)
  • peel and slice  veg thin (a mandoline would come in handy…I don’t have one I just slice with a knife)
  • Layer in pan seasoning between each layer (I try to put all one veg in a layer but to each their own)
  • When they are all layered in the pan pour in the broth, put pats of butter on top and cover with foil.
  • bake for about 30 minutes.  veg should let you slide a knife in pretty easily.
  • Take from oven and crank it up to 425. Pour over cream, grate cheese (if not grated) or sprinkle cheese over top of cream
  • Put back in oven for about 20 minutes.

I know my unexactness (is that even a word??) bugs some people (read…my daughter) but I generally just eyeball things.  Exact recipes are all over the web and can vary greatly in the proportions so try a couple.  Here are a couple hints:  if you use a bigger pan then your veg layers will be spread out and thinner, you will have to adjust cooking time, also if you use a smaller pan you layers will be deeper, watch your liquid  and adjust your cooking time.  When you pour the broth in it should NOT be covering the veg, just covering the bottom of the dish.


Weekend Cooking 2.1.14

wkendcooking  This is a meme hosted by BethFishReads found here.

I am cleaning up, culling, packing and moving some items into storage so cooking is on the minimal side this weekend, however I am still trying to use up some ingredients that I have.

Right now as I’m typing there is a chicken soup in the slow cooker.  This is one of those …hmmm what’s left in the house… let’s put it into a soup recipes.I had  3 carrots, 2 stalks of celery, a couple onions, a cooked carcass and chicken breast I had thrown in the freezer for soup, a couple potatoes, some parsley,  a half bag of frozen peas, chicken broth and rice.

  1.  Diced the carrots, celery and onion together and sweated in a pan.
  2.  Peeled and sliced the potatoes
  3. Put the chicken, sliced potatoes, peas and broth in the slowcooker
  4. Added the veggies once softened.
  5. Put crockpot on for 4 hours
  6. Cooked the rice on the side
  7. Served by putting a scoop of rice in bowl and ladling soup over it.

Earlier today I made one of my go-to recipes from Woman and Home. (I love their recipes!)  This is a Fruit Bannock.  My family loves this.  Recipe to be found here. I’ve been making this one for a while and it comes out perfect every time.  I use whatever dried fruit I have available.

Picture from Woman and Home website.

Readers’ Workouts

  This is a meme hosted by Joy’s Book Blog found here.

Had a minor setback in the form of some bursitis in my hip that flared up.  It really was okay with walking, but it stopped me from doing yoga last week and this weekend.  Now we have a ton of snow, so I am not sure how much exercising I will get done, other than snow shoveling.

Hopefully by Thursday the snow will be gone (or at least done) then I can get back outside to the track. Failing that it will have to be the treadmill at the gym.  Also, planning on getting back to yoga this week.

Still loving my fitbit!  I am really surprised I haven’t lost it or washed it yet :).  I am going to make an effort to do more with the food logs this week, so I can track calories in vs. expended.

Hope everyone else is doing well and keeping moving!

PS  I am thinking about a new tattoo – a quote from Rachel Joyce:

“If I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, it stands to reason that I’m going to get there. I’ve begun to think we sit far more than we’re supposed to.” He smiled. “Why else would we have feet?”

We have been having big tattoo discussions in my house this week…both my daughters want another tattoo.

Reader’s Workouts

  This is a meme hosted by Joy’s Book Blog found here.  

I received a Fitbit One for Christmas from my daughter and I have to say that it really is a great tool as far as awareness goes.  I haven’t really gotten into inputting food or activities into it, but just the fact that I can see in general how active or inactive I have been at at a moment’s notice is great.  After all:



My current goals are 10,000 steps per day and 30 minutes of high level activity.  We had a  couple really cold, icy days that I didn’t meet my goal, but I am getting there now.  I am looking forward to upping my activity levels with this tool. 

This works for me because if I don’t feel like making it to the track or gym, I look on the display and see that I am nowhere near my goal and it pushes me to go.

Currently, I am trying for 30 minutes of jogging 5 days per week and 1 hour of yoga 4 days per week. I found a great local studio that I am enjoying right now.   I prefer running outside but I am using an elliptical when the weather doesn’t cooperate.    

I am interested in hearing about other reader’s workouts.


Reaper’s Property by Joanna Wylde

This is a meme hosted by Midnight Book Girl to be found here

I have been marathon watching one of my favorite TV series this weekend, Sons of Anarchy.  So that inspired a search for Biker themed reading and I stumbled across Joanne Wylde’s Reaper’s Property.  The cover helped in part to suck me in 🙂


This is an adult romance – more plot and character than strictly erotica.  Alpha males and a light theme of reluctance is central to the story line.  I really enjoyed the world of the Reapers MC that Joanna Wylde created.  Her characters were interesting and the plot was well thought out. There were elements of danger and betrayal that added tension to the plot.  Much better quality than many adult romances that I have downloaded on my Kindle.

I found her take on women in the MC world and the different ways that this was delivered to the reader well done.   The reader sees it from an outsider’s, Maria’s, perspective, from long time Old Ladies and sweet butts points of view and from members themselves.  That part was particularly well done.

The romance had the prerequisite Happily Ever After ending that I look for when I’m buying a romance.  The couple was well matched and a pair that you will really root for throughout the story.

The next one in the series comes out in January and I already pre-ordered on my Kindle.

So a perfect book for Sundays in Bed.

Weekend Cooking

wkendcookingThe is a meme hosted by BethFishReads found here.

I spent most of this weekend fighting off some stupid cold, ugh.  In between, I did manage to fit in a visit to Soonja’s, a local Korean restaurant where I had amazing Gobdol bibimbap, which is a Korean rice, veggie, and in my case chicken dish served sizzling in a stone bowl.   The high heat means that when you douse it with some soy sauce it caramelizes with the rice and is just amazing. Excellent restaurant to visit if you are ever in the Princeton, New Jersey area.  They also make amazing sushi.

I did spend a few minutes and threw together a chocolate rum cake with a recipe from Trisha Ashley found here.  It was super easy to throw together, baked beautifully but was just okay as far as rum cakes go.  I like that moist, dense effect for a rum cake and this was just more like a regular bundt cake.  It did make a nice treat with coffee for breakfast though.

Tonight, I’m just making a tray of roasted root veg and a stuffed pork loin. I cannot get enough of root vegetables this time of year.  Super easy to make, just cut them into uniform sizes, toss with olive oil, sea salt, cracked pepper and some rosemary and roast in a hot oven until done.  I just butterflied the pork loin with a mixed dried fruit stuffing and then roasted for about an hour and a half. Pretty low key, quick dinner.

The benefit of all this roasting was the house warmed up nicely:)

In other foodie type news, I am going to a demonstration tomorrow night at Williams-Sonoma for deep frying Turkey.  I don’t think it is something I would do, but it will be interesting to see.  I am picturing a result that requires fire trucks, but I hope not!


Sunday in Bed with… Ellery Adams Pies and Prejudice

d0728-sundaysinbedwithsmall A meme hosted by Midnight Book Girl found here.

I have had Pies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams on my cozy TBR list for quite a while.  I found a copy at my local independent book shop, Booktrader of Hamilton.

I really liked this book!  I read a lot of cozies and I will say many fall into the very light, fun read category.  This is fun and it is certainly cozy, no blood or gore here, but the writing has much more depth to it than the average cozy.  The use of metaphors and just the nature of the descriptive language goes far beyond the average cozy.  Excellent writing.  The main character, Ella Mae, is strong and independent as are the rest of her a family, a group of strong southern women.  The setting is well defined and enchanting. The mystery plot develops at a nice pace, not rushed but also it doesn’t drag.  The magical element is not overwhelming, just a touch a magic :), which is how I prefer it.

After reading this, I will definitely continue with this series and I will also read the other series by Ellery Adams, Books by the Bay.


Weekend Cooking




This is a meme hosted by BethFishReads found here.

So far this weekend, we been celebrating some of the autumn flavors, apple, root vegetables, and cider.

For Friday night, I made  BBC Goodfood’s Slow-braised pork shoulder with parsnips and cider and smashed red-skinned potatoes.  The recipe can be found here.  I use the BBC Goodfood‘s site for many recipes and usually find success. I also occasionally pick up the magazine.

This was a perfect autumn dish, the slow braise infused the meat and veg with the apple cider flavor.  I used Angry Orchard traditional dry cider in the recipe.  I gave up doing my own food photography, this image is from BBC Goodfood’s website.

Today, I picked up some root veg: swede (rutabaga), carrots, and parsnips.  I also had half of a head of red cabbage in the fridge that needed using up.   I love all the autumn flavors.   The meal I put together from all this was:

  • Chicken roasted in the oven
  • Tossed the root veg in olive oil and salt and pepper and roasted them in the oven
  • Chopped the red cabbage, thinly sliced a red onion, peeled and sliced a couple apples I found in the fridge and then added 2 tablespoons of whole berry cranberry sauce.  Sweated the onion and apple and then added everything else to the pan, popped the lid on, and let it cook slowly.

Lovely dinner with a bottle of red, probably should have been white, but I prefer red:)