Stuff and Nonsense: August 2019



#WordlessWednesday: Cosmos bipinnatus

White cosmos blooming in the dill and fennel bed.
Like those two herbs, cosmos also attract pollinators.


Hooked on You

While Anna's life is a busy one, she feels a bit bored with it. On her daughter's advice she decides to take up a new hobby and begins attending a group crochet class at a local craft shop. There she finds herself feeling all sorts of confusing things about the shop owner, Ollie. Ollie is aware of Anna's feelings, but not looking for a relationship, tries to be her friend. This works, for a time, but their unrequited mutual attraction is always quietly simmering in the background and ... well, you can guess.

Hooked On You is a sweet, slow burning romance as much about friendship and family as it is about love. While the chemistry is great and the sex scenes have a tender honesty about them that made me a bit swoony, it's the little kisses, glances, and touches shared between Anna and Ollie that made my heart grow two sizes. Matthews has written her protagonists as real, ordinary people who care deeply about each other and show it, not in grand gestures, but with small, every day intimacies that in the end mean so much more.

I love that Anna and Ollie are in their 50s with ex-husbands and adult children. I don't see a lot of that in romance and it felt refreshing to see older women with full, established lives falling in love. Anna and Ollie's relationship does not exist in a bubble, but touches the lives of everyone around them, reinforcing existing family bonds and forging new connections with others.

Imho, if you are looking for a tender feel-good romance, give Hooked On You a read.

Hooked on You by Jenn Matthews. Ylva Publishing, 2019. Kindle edition.


I ♥ Cooking Clubs: Mexican

Made "Taco Pizzas" from Ellie Krieger's Weeknight Wonders: Delicious, Healthy Dinners in 30 Minutes or Less this weekend for I ♥ Cooking Clubs' Monthly Cuisine Spotlight: Mexican. I've been following IHCC over the summer, always meaning to participate, but never quite organized enough when it came down to it.

As promised, these messy and delicious taco pizzas were both quick and easy. The recipe seems very versatile, too, and it would be easy to fancy the tacos up with additional toppings like cilantro, chopped fresh tomatoes, avocado, and the like.

My only disappointment was that the beans were a bit bland -- next time, I would increase the amount of seasonings or just use some of Amy's low-sodium refried black beans (Krieger does say you can use tinned beans and/or pre-shredded cheese to save even more time).

These tacos would be easy to prep ahead, by making the beans and meat ahead of time, so you only need assemble the tacos and bake them whenever you are ready for supper. Maybe a fun way to do a family taco bar?

I borrowed the print edition of Ellie Krieger's Weeknight Wonders: Delicious, Healthy Dinners in 30 Minutes or Less from my library, but the ebook is also available via Hoopla. Either way, the book is worth checking out. Fast, healthy, and flavorful recipes ready in 30 minutes or less? You can't go wrong with Weeknight Wonders.]

Taco Pizzas, pages 166-168.


Last Year We Were In Maine #TBT

Throwback to this time last year when we were in Maine, eating ice cream twice a day and repeatedly forgetting to apply sunscreen.


#WordlessWednesday: Doggo

Wee fluffy doggo I met at the farmers market.