I just have to share...
1) Blueberries. I'm eating blueberries in the frozen Midwest in January, and they're excellent. Here's the odd part--I shop at Super Wal-Mart (for the prices, people. They cannot be beat.), but I usually buy produce in another grocery store because it's better there and they have more selection. Wal-Mart almost never has blueberries when they're in season in July even though everybody else does. However, in the last two weeks, there they've been: huge, sweet blueberries on sale. In the dead of winter. So I snap up a couple of boxes each time, wash them very very very very well since I have doubts about their origin, and enjoy them with Elaine (Lucy doesn't like blueberries. I can't figure it out.) In fact, now Elaine goes to the refrigerator and helps herself to snacks, not a practice I'm really in favor of, gets out some blueberries, washes them, and then munches away. I guess I can't complain about that, except for the fact that I found an empty blueberry container under her bed the other day. Anyway, we're enjoying this little taste of summer on these horrid, bitterly cold days.
2) I absolutely love this book. I reread it the other day and liked it even better the second time. It's the story of two American families, one Caucasian, the other Iranian, who meet at the Baltimore airport while waiting to pick up their adopted babies from Korea.
I've long been a fan of Anne Tyler, but this one is by far my favorite of hers. If you've experienced or are interested in any of the following subjects: assimilation, cultural differences, grief over the loss of a spouse, starting over in life, parenting, a feeling of otherness and alienation, or you just like a good story, I highly recommend this. It has the trademark quirky Tyler humor as well.
3) Taco Soup. I think I mentioned it in an earlier post, but this week I made this recipe from Midwest Living for the second time. It's easy, inexpensive, tastes fantastic, and even Lucy aka Miss So-Picky-I-Don't-Even-Like-Blueberries likes it. Also, you can play with the ingredients if you don't like one of them, are a vegetarian, whatever. Here it is--whip it up (well, not exactly whip, since it's a crockpot recipe) for whatever temperature winter night you're having where you are and enjoy. (And again, all credit going to Midwest Living magazine. I wish I'd invented this, but I didn't.)
2 14-oz cans beef broth (or can use vegetable)
1 lb browned ground sirloin (season w/ S & P)
1 15-oz can corn
1 can chili beans, whatever hotness level you prefer
2 cups diced potatoes (I use frozen hash browns)
1 16-oz jar of salsa (I use Paul Newman's Farmers' Garden)
S & P to taste
If you like to experiment w/ spices or peppers or what-have-you, throw those in too. Cook in crockpot on low 6-7 hours or high 3-4 hours. Top with sour cream, grated cheese, sliced avocado, black olives, whatever you like. Make some cornbread to go with or just throw a bag of chips on the table if you're in a hurry. Ta da! Take that, Martha Stewart.