Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Reviews, Randomness, And A Recipe

It's cold. I'm cold. I hate being cold. I'm always cold. This cold is never ending. I'm done.

I realize I live in Wisconsin and I should be used to the cold winters. But here's the thing; this is REALLY cold. I'm talking COLD. Colder than Alaska, cold. Yes, Wisconsin has been colder than Alaska this year.

Normally in Wisconsin we have cold weather anywhere from October through March. The normal temperatures in December average around 34 degrees and in January the average temperature is 30. I can handle that. Honestly, I can.

But this winter? Yeah. This winter the average temperature was 8. And I think that is a lie. I can't remember the temperature being that high. February really wasn't any better.  I think our average for February was 12. The normal for February is 36.

Basically what I'm telling you is that for the past two months it has been AT LEAST 20 degrees colder than it should be on average. Most of the time it was about 40 degrees colder than it should be. And, well, I'm cold. It's too much. Even for Wisconsin.


I've been trying to stay warm by drinking steaming hot tea, wrapping myself in blankets, and reading.

I just finished the book What Alice Forgot.

"Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child.
So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! She HATES the gym) and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, , she has three kids, and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over…" (courtesy of Kirkus Reviews on Amazon)

It is a touching story about life's twists and turns and what changes us. It is also made me very thankful for my life as it is right now and reminded me just how much I should cherish it. It was a very easy read and one of those books that you don't want to finish and you continue to think about it long after you do.

I ordered another new book too. Kicks Like A Girl written by my very own WI blogger friend, Green Girl!

"Gretchen Benton is the maid of honor at her best friend’s wedding when she gets drunk, says exactly the wrong thing and feels alone in the midst of all the couples. She can’t avoid weddings—she’s a florist. She also can't avoid the thugs who break into her shop and assault her the following night. To combat her fear after her attack, Gretchen enrolls in karate classes at a local dojo. Soon she's caught between her handsome martial arts instructor and the cute cop assigned to her case. As she begins mastering the basics of karate (while sweating enough to make her mascara run), Gretchen learns that kicking like a girl doesn’t imply weakness, it means striking hard and striking with style." (courtesy of Amazon)

I am so excited to start reading it. I have to finish two other books I'm currently reading before I dive in, but I couldn't help but sneak a peek and read the first few pages. Before I knew it I was two chapters into the book. It is such a fun book with well written characters. It really sucks you in.  Go ahead and run on over to Amazon and order a copy for yourself! And congratulations, Melissa! I'm so happy for you! I know I'll enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed your last one.

One more review, people. This one is a movie review.

If you see ONE movie this year it has to be About Time. 

Yes, it is a time traveling movie starring Rachel McAdams but it is nothing like The Time Traveler's Wife (which I wasn't a fan of). This movie is much deeper, much funnier, and more profound. The acting and directing and music (oh gawd, the music)are all superb. I pretty much love everything about this movie.

The basic premise is about a young man of who finds out from his father that the men in their family have always been able to time travel. Not to any point in time. Just back in time and only to places and events that they have already been to and experienced. Each man in the family used the time travel for what was important to them. Some were ruined by their desires (money) and others benefited. The young man now needs to figure out what he will use this newfound ability for.

The movie comes to us from the creator of Love Actually. Another favorite movie of mine. About Time has the same feel, the same sense of British humor, the same type of fabulous British actors, the same wonderful British scenery. The first half of the movie is a romantic comedy, but by the end of the movie the plot becomes so profound and meaningful that I can barely think of it without a tear coming to my eye.

I remember seeing the coming attractions for the movie and not being impressed. I finally watched it after a friend of mine INSISTED that I watch it. And now I insist you watch it. I watched it while Todd was gone this past weekend (thinking it was more of a chic flick) and by the time I was done watching I knew Todd needed to see it as well. I rented the movie again the day Todd came home and we watched it that afternoon. To say Todd was affected by the movie would be an understatement. Now he is recommending the movie to everyone too.  It is GOOD people. Watch it. You won't be disappointed.

Now I feel like watching it again. I guess I'm gonna have to buy this one.

Okay. Onto the recipe.

I know everyone is always looking for yummy, sweet, healthy recipes and I have a great one for you. A very healthy banana bread. I found it online (I think Facebook) and adjusted it slightly.  It is super easy and SUPER yummy. Every other day the kids are begging me to make this banana bread so I usually double the recipe and make two loaves right away
Healthy Banana Bread

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup honey
2 eggs
3 mashed overripe bananas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt and stir. Mix in the applesauce, honey, and eggs and stir until batter is properly mixed. Add the mashed bananas and stir well. Batter may be lumpy.  Pour mixture into a greased loaf pan (9x5) and bake in the oven for approximately an hour (I leave it in just a little over an hour). Do the toothpick test to make sure bread is thoroughly cooked before removing from oven.

I change and add things to my recipe all the time. I usually add raisins, sometimes walnuts, and even diced apples. And before I put the bread mixture into the oven I always sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on the top. Also, Todd's uncle makes his own maple syrup and always gives us big jars every fall and I use that instead of honey when I have it. So yummy. Hope you enjoy it!


Tabor said...

I am sure that you do not feel better when I tell you that 2013 has been the warmest year on record for this I will instead tell you that winters such as these are not going to arrive very often! Now, I would like two lumps of sugar in my tea please.

Kat said...

Tea, banana bread, and a great movie. Come on over! :)

Bijoux said...

We have been in the same exact weather boat as you. And actually, my mom has always said that Alaska is normally warmer in the winter than we are here. Not sure about that one!

Thank you for the recipe and book and movie recommend ations! I'm reading Blue Plate Special right now and enjoying it. It's a memoir and talks about food a lot!

Barb said...

Take heart in the fact that you will probably see ground before I do! The bread sounds/looks yummy.

betty said...

I've got to check out the movie and those books; always looking for a good read and a good movie! This winter is definitely going down in the record books for one of the more interestingly cold ones! One hopes it warms up soon (even if it is just back up to where temps should be)


Mimsie said...

Mmmm. I just happen to have 4 very overripe bananas on the counter. Recipe sounds just right to go with chicken/rice soup on this cold day.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Thank you for the kind review, Kat! I need to rent that movie, and I have heard of the other book. Must get that, too!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Thank you for the kind review, Kat! I need to rent that movie, and I have heard of the other book. Must get that, too!

chrissy said...

Sorry you are having such a tough winter. Those books look awesome and so does the movie. Although I didn't like Love Actually (GASP) I still want to try it.

Midlife Roadtripper said...

I enjoyed Green Girl's first book so must order this one for her. Movie sounds pretty good too.

As to the cold, can't do nothing about it. I moved south to avoid it and this year I am so f--- tired of cold I'm ready to puke. Covered my plants for the umpteenth time. Wind blowing so hard out there - cold creeping through my southern windows. Just ain't right. Time for winter to digress and leave us alone.

Meanwhile - thoughts of next year's Packers coming up. Go Pack. Hang in there. Winter can't last forever. Right? RIGHT?

Elaine Alguire said...

Now I want banana bread. Like bad. ;)

Dawn Klinge said...

Now I really want to see that movie. I haven't seen a good movie in quite some time- except the Lego movie, that was good. :)
I loved What Alice Forgot, and recommend it to everyone too.
I hope that it's warming up finally in your neck of the woods.

Kat said...

Dawn- I had been meaning to read What Alice Forgot for a while and then I saw your recommendation on your blog and I figured I'd put it on my ASAP list. You gave me a push to read it and I'm glad I did. I was worried about the ending for a while there but the Epilogue made me happy. :) Thanks for the recommendation!

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson