Friday Favorites

I thought today, I’d share one of my favorite recipes.  I very rarely make the same thing twice.  I love to experiment with different recipes.  I have few standbys; my spaghetti and this dish being the most used of my repertoire.  If you try it, I hope you enjoy it!

Tortellini with Mushroom Cheese Sauce

Yummy comfort, in a bowl
Yummy comfort, in a bowl


  • 1 pckg (12 oz) frozen or fresh tortellini
  • 1 TB butter or margarine
  • 1 lb mushroom, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 TB minced fresh basil OR 1/2 tsp dry basil
  • 6 oz cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • parsley sprigs for presentation


  • Cook tortellini per package instructions in water salted like the sea
  • Meanwhile, melt butter in wide frying pan over med-high heat
  • Add mushrooms, garlic & basil
  • Cook, stirring often, until all liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are beginning to brown (about 10 minutes)
  • Add cream cheese & milk to mushroom mixture
  • Stir until cheese is completely melted & incorporated smoothly, then bring sauce to a gentle boil
  • Remove from heat, and add tortellini.
  • Mix together gently
  • Serve, garnished with parsley sprigs if desired
  • Serves 4 main-dish or 6 1st course

    Ready to Imbib Some Peril?
    Ready to Imbib Some Peril?

    The weather cools.  The leaves turn brilliant orange, red, and yellow.  Football starts, brunswick stew is cooked and consumed with glee (a particular precursor of autumn around here) and it’s that time.  Time to bring out the spooky, the creepy, the absolutely, most terrifying reading I can stand!!  My most favorite Reading Challenge in the whole wide world is about to begin!!  Woot!  And now begins the hard process of 1) picking which challenge to do and 2) which books to read!! 

    I can already answer number 1.  I’m going to really challenge myself and try to read 4 books. 

    Number 2, isn’t quite so easy.  I already know one.  I’ve been wanting to reread Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian ever since I read it the first time.  I will definitely be reading that one.  But what else to read?  It is a great, profound question; one which I don’t have any answer to.  All I have is a handy list of books to choose from.  So let’s see, will it be:

    I could finish 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill or read his Heart-Shaped Box. I could read Duma Key by his father.   I’m thinking of ordering The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, because it looks so good!  I also had no idea Megan Chance had a new novel out, so I may be picking up The Spiritualist as well!  I still have A Game of Thrones and The Name of the Wind that I got for my birthday.  I got Fangland by John Marks ages ago!   Speaking of vampires, I still have Colleen Gleason’s new book, When Twilight Burns somewhere on my shelves.  And I’ve already preordered PC and Kristin Cast’s new book in the House of Night Series, which I am reasonably sure I’ll read.  Let’s not forget Angelica by Arthur Phillips, The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, The Last Witchfinder by James Morrow, and The Ghost Writer by John Harwood.  And, could this be the year I finally make it through Dracula???  Not to mention the sudden temptation to reread The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier and The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly, as I’m seeing it on several lists!  This is all off the top of my head of course, I know I have other books lurking in the shadows of my vast shelves.  I just can’t wait to begin!

    Friday Favorites

    The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
    The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

    Today, I want to tell you about one of my very favorite books. And no, I don’t mean The Princess Bride. I figure I’ve touted that one enough and if you haven’t listened to me yet and read it, shame on you.

    No, I want to tell you about The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. I’m sure you’ve all seen the movie. I’ve seen in a million-and-one-times, thanks to the appearance of it every-single-year at our end-of-year parties in school. The movies were based on this one book, and it blows them right out of the water and all the way to that non-planet, Pluto. 

    Unfortunately, its publisher doesn’t seem to interesting in promoting it.  This is all they had to say about it on Barnes & Noble’s website:

    Small and insignificant Bastian Balthazar Bux is nobody’s idea of a hero, least of all his own. Then, through the pages of an ancient, mysterious book, he discovers the enchanted world of Fantastica, and only Bastian himself can save the fairy people who live there.

    That does not even remotely do the book justice.  Amazon says even less:

    Shy, awkward Bastian is amazed to discover that he has become a character in the mysterious book he is reading and that he has an important mission to fulfill.

    What is wrong with these people???  For this book is so much more than either of these descriptions.  It’s a first class coming-of-age, adventure story for young and old.  Bastian is a lonely, shy little boy who is grieving for the loss of his mother.  He ducks into a book store to escape some bullies and comes across a book.  Not just any book, mind you.  This book is The Neverending Story, a book that pulls at him, creating a longing in him to read it so great, that he steals it from the bookseller who refuses to sell it to him.   And here you see, this is also a book for book lovers:

    “If you have never wept bitter tears because a wonderful story has come to an end and you must take your leave of the characters with whom you have shared so many adventures, whom you have loved and admired, for whom you have hoped and feared, and without whose company life seems empty and meaningless –

    If such things have not been part of your own experience, you probably won’t understand what Bastian did next.” Prologue, p. 7

    He cuts school to read the book, which takes him all day and into the night.  He meets many different magical peoples including; Atreyu the boy warrior, Falkor the luck dragon, Gmork the werewolf, and the Childlike Empress, and many more.   He follows Atreyu on his quest, to discover what ails the Childlike Empress and save her.  Bastian soon discovers that he is in fact a character in the book as well and not just any character, but the hero.   He goes on many wonderful, strange adventures inside the pages of the book, healing that world with the power of his imagination.  With this new power, he begins to change.  And that’s all I’m going to say.  You need to read it.

    The Neverending Story was first published by German author Michael Ende in 1979.   It’s translation, by Ralph Manheim, appeared in 1983.  This is a magical novel, one any child would love, and adults too.  It’s definitely one you can get lost in.

    The Hubby Is Reading?

    First, thanks everyone for the get better wishes. I am, for the most part, all better. I have a lingering stuffy nose, but consider myself cured.

    I have news.

    The strangest change has come over my house the last couple of weeks.  Everyday after I get off work, I have to pick up the kids from either their Nana or Mema’s house, before I come home.  I usually get home to the hubby watching a movie, a TV show, or playing a game.  Lately, however, I have been coming home to him sitting on the porch, smoking a cigarette, and…reading.  Yes, reading.  My most non-readerly-husband has been tearing through all of my graphic novels.  Well, almost all of them.  I’m not sure, but I don’t think he’ll be reading Maus any time soon.  Although, I may try to talk him into it.

    No, he’s been reading all of my Fables and Jack graphic novels.  He liked them very much.  He finished last night; so I guess things are going to get back to normal – at least as normal as it ever is around my house.  He has actually read further into these series than I have.  I have not read the newest from each series yet.  He’s famous for holding things like that over my head, pretending he’s going to tell me the ending and such.  I want to read through again, because I’ve forgotten a lot, so he’s been teasing me a lot. 

    Drives me crazy.

    In other news, the boy has taken a few steps on his own.  Yesterday, he fell flat on his belly.  Look out world!


    I seem to have caught the plague.  One of those side benefits of having kids, ya know.  They get something, Mommy gets something.  And, of COURSE, I have the misfortune of getting it ON THE WEEKEND.


    I’ve been down for the count since Friday night, when my temperature rose to almost 103?. That is pretty high for me, since I usually run a cool 97?.  Needless to say, I didn’t do much this weekend, except sleep and whine.  I feel somewhat better today, so I hope this whatever-it-is is on it’s way outtahere! 

    Back soon with interesting reportage on my book laziness, the strange reading frenzy that has come over my very much NOT a reader husband, and whatever else I can think to babble about!  Happy Monday!

    Weekend Plans

    So far I have managed to avoid the impending doom of a reading slump by picking up something totally different from the books I’ve been reading.  Earlier this year I managed to snag a heavily discounted copy of The Year of Living Biblically by AJ Jacobs.  I very much enjoyed his memoir The Know-It-All, so I knew when I felt a slump coming on, that his new book may just be the ticket.  And boy, was I right!  TYoLB is just as entertaining as TKIA!  I’m not reading *quite* as ferociously as I was the last two weeks, but I’ve already read over 100 pages in the last two days; which is saying something. 

    Plans this weekend include reading more of TYoLB, going to a wedding (my *little brother*1 is finally getting married, and taking pictures at the reception.  And hopefully NOT catching the cold Wesley seems to have come down with.  Drat that boy.

    Wesley at the beach - and not liking it.
    Wesley at the beach - and not liking it.
    Nasty stuff, this beach!
    Nasty stuff, this beach!
    Holding on for dear life.  He really didn't like it. Hold me Nana!
    Holding on for dear life. He really didn't like it! "Hold me Nana!"

    1. He’s not really my brother.  We grew up together and he’s the closest thing I have to a brother.  Besides his brother, of course.  😉

    Breaking Dawn

    I just love this cover!
    I just love this cover!

    By Stephenie Meyer
    Little, Brown, 2008

    I’ve been sitting here for several minutes trying to wrap my brain around just what I want to say about this book and to do it without giving too much away.  I hope to keep the spoilers to a minimum, but I am pretty sure spoilers will leak into my review.  So, without further ado…








    There now, I feel free! 

    First off, I want to say I loved this book.  

    Flat.  Out.  Loved.  It. 

    I’ve been looking around at Amazon and different blogs at reader reactions and I am mystified.  I do not understand why so many readers have their panties in a twist about Breaking Dawn.  What the heck were they expecting?  What Stephenie Meyer has done here is give us one heck of a wild ride and tied up everything nice and neat with a nifty little bow and it’s all ready for a sequel. 

    So much happened in these 750+ pages!  The romantic in me is satisfied.  Bella got her Edward and Jacob is still in her life in a totally unconventional but satisfying way.  The feminist in me is reasonably happy as well.  Bella grew a backbone!   Although, I never had as big a problem with Bella as some, I knew she had a backbone.  She was just a little misguided about what it took to make her a complete and happy woman. 

    So, I loved the sappy romance, the new and improved Bella, the surprise that she was made a vampire, the neat resolution to the end and the possibilities of more to come.  Yes, I totally did not expect Bella to become a vampire.  I really, really did not expect the new character we were introduced to.  I did not expect the resolution of Jacob, but I am not as bothered by it as so many others are. 

    I’m thinking that since my expectations were not as HIGH as some peoples and that I already EXPECTED the way women and men and relationships and all that would be portrayed the way they WERE, I was able to just enjoy the book for what it was.  It’s not destined to be a classic.  I am sorry, but Meyer is NOT the next JK Rowling.  But it was what it was.  A sweet, vampire, love story.  Nothing more, nothing less.  I was glad that Bella got her happily ever after.  So, as an adult reader of the Twilight Saga, I am immensely satisfied with Breaking Dawn.  For those who hated it, I strongly recommend bringing Meyer down off her pedestal and do a reread.  And don’t hate me for loving it either.

    If you have reviewed this book and would like me to link to you hear, let me know in the comments!

    Other reviews:

    Andi | Sassymonkey | Tammy | zenbiscuit | The Reading Zone | Maw Books (Natasha) | Suey’s Books (Suey)The Bluestocking Society (Jessica) | Bookshelves of Doom (Lelia) | The Written Word (Stephanie) | Need More Bookshelves (Elizabeth) | Gail Gauthier | BookNut (Melissa) |

    On a Reading Binge…

    Been on a reading binge!
    Been on a reading binge!

    if you’re at all curious as to where I’ve been; I’ve been reading like an insatiable reading fiend!  8 books in the last 2 weeks! 

    No time to blog, must read!!

    I’m sure I’ll slow down soon.  This is unprecedented, but I’m sure it won’t last much longer.  

    I’m reading Breaking Dawn now and I have a distinct impression once that is done I may go into a slump.  It’s been a loooooooong time since I read so much in such a short amount of time.