Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Slow Cooker Zucchini Stew, Book Review & more...

Wow, did yesterday's zucchini madness turn out yummy!  Recipe as follows:


1 large zucchini, cut into 1" cubes (approx 3 cups)
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables (I used peas, carrots, green beans)
3/4 cup yellow onion, diced
1 cup tomato sauce
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 can cream of chicken soup (or cream of something else for vegetarian version)
fresh herbs OR 1 T. Italian blend seasoning
salt & pepper to taste
optional: butter, Parmesan cheese

Add all ingredients to slow cooker.  Cook over low for 6-8 hours.
Serve with butter & cheese as desired.

I don't even like zucchini and I LOVED this stew!  Would have been perfect with some small pasta added too, although I didn't have any on hand.  Wait, I did have elbows; oh well.  Maybe I will cook up elbows and fry some ground beef and mix it with the stew for leftovers.  Yum!  This also would have been better with fresh tomatoes, but again, I didn't have any on hand.  I think I will pick some up today to mix in with tonight's dinner.

My parents will be here for dinner tonight, so it will be nice to have a "real" homemade meal.

I only see my parents two or 3 times a year, so they deserve to be spoiled when they are here visiting.

I finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo last night.  Stayed up past midnight reading.  I really enjoyed this book and I now understand what all of the 'buzz' was about.  I am looking forward to watching the movie & have moved it to the top of my Netflix queue, although I may watching it streaming.  I love the fact that I can watch loads of movies online via Netflix. 

I've also devised a plan where I watch the movie then give it to Sparky who can watch it while his is in Virginia & return it via post.  Then we can discuss either via Skype or when we are actually in the same room on the weekends.

So, onto the book review.  I am a fan of the mystery genre and this book satisfied my desire for a slightly intricate plot with a rich variety of characters.  While the subject matter was occasionally uncomfortable (violence perpetuated against women) the staging was never glamorized or sensationalized.  While it was certainly the underlying theme of the book, the writing didn't become distracted with the subject.  I craved to learn more of Lisbeth, the title character, and was initially annoyed with the complex back story; I wanted to get into the meat of the matter a bit more quickly than the author.  But the patience was worth it and ultimately I was satisfied when we got to the interaction between the two main characters.

The family tree at the beginning of the book was helpful, but I would have been much happier if there had been a map included.  I was constantly getting confused between the island and the mainland.  And I also feel that the author could have spent much less time explaining whose house was next to what and it would have been much easier for me to conceptualize throughout the story.

I have not decided if I will read The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest or not.  I will probably wait until I finish A Patriot's History of the United States: From Columbus's Great Discovery to the War on Terror.  But most likely I will finish the series.  And then be annoyed that it is over, as I usually am when a good series comes to it's conclusion.

Of course, is it better to have a series end on a high note or slowly fizzle out?  I have been disappointed with Janet Evonovich, Piers Anthony, Charlaine Harris and many others who have pushed their series well, well past the time when the characters should be put to pasture.

What is your opinion?

Finally, today's waiting for the bus photos.  Another beautiful, sunny morning in SouthCentral PA!


Emily said...

I've read all the Janet Evonovich books and I was really disappointed with the last few. The first ones were great. I like reading the entire series, but sometimes enough is enough.
The zucchini stew looks great! I'm gonna try it soon!

Mary Kate said...

I've never read that book but I'm thinking about it a lot. And I think Jay's shirt is reall awesome. (: