Getting Ready For Spring:

Spring can often be a dead-zone for books, it’s notquite summer, it’s notquite cozy reading weather, it’s cleaning and pollen, but let me tell you, this spring? It’s ON.

With so many choices, I thought I’d tell you what I’M planning on reading.

Spring Into a Good Book 10 Must-Read Books for Spring

Confession: I’ve already read this. It was AMAZING!!! But here’s the blurb:

Before the nightmare, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary life. But when splintering, blood-soaked images start haunting her thoughts, Yeong-hye decides to purge her mind and renounce eating meat. In a country where societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye’s decision to embrace a more “plant-like” existence is a shocking act of subversion. And as her passive rebellion manifests in ever more extreme and frightening forms, scandal, abuse, and estrangement begin to send Yeong-hye spiraling deep into the spaces of her fantasy. In a complete metamorphosis of both mind and body, her now dangerous endeavor will take Yeong-hye—impossibly, ecstatically, tragically—far from her once-known self altogether.

A disturbing, yet beautifully composed narrative told in three parts, The Vegetarian is an allegorical novel about modern day South Korea, but also a story of obsession, choice, and our faltering attempts to understand others, from one imprisoned body to another.

I will read anything Louise Erdrich writes. She and Sherman Alexie are arguably the most prolific Native American writers today, and their work is frequently challenging to stereotypes White America hold sacred. Thank G-d, amirite?

Louise Erdrich, the author of the National Book Award-winning The Round House and the Pulitzer Prize nominee The Plague of Doves wields her breathtaking narrative magic in an emotionally haunting contemporary tale of a tragic accident, a demand for justice, and a profound act of atonement with ancient roots in indigenous culture.

I have very little working knowledge of Margaret Cavendish, but her life seems endlessly fascinating, and I do love a fictionalization of true history.

Margaret the First dramatizes the life of Margaret Cavendish, the shy, gifted, and wildly unconventional 17th-century Duchess. The eccentric Margaret wrote and published volumes of poems, philosophy, feminist plays, and utopian science fiction at a time when “being a writer” was not an option open to women. As one of the Queen’s attendants and the daughter of prominent Royalists, she was exiled to France when King Charles I was overthrown. As the English Civil War raged on, Margaret met and married William Cavendish, who encouraged her writing and her desire for a career. After the War, her work earned her both fame and infamy in England: at the dawn of daily newspapers, she was “Mad Madge,” an original tabloid celebrity. Yet Margaret was also the first woman to be invited to the Royal Society of London—a mainstay of the Scientific Revolution—and the last for another two hundred years.

Margaret the First is very much a contemporary novel set in the past, rather than “historical fiction.” Written with lucid precision and sharp cuts through narrative time, it is a gorgeous and wholly new narrative approach to imagining the life of a historical woman.

Reading this one RIGHT NOW.

A vampire’s grudges don’t stay dead long…

Merit is one of Chicago’s most skilled vampire warriors; these days, she doesn’t scare easily. But she and Master vampire Ethan have made a new and powerful enemy, and he won’t give up until he owns the Windy City.

With his last plan thwarted, he’s more determined than ever to watch Cadogan burn. Ethan has put the House’s vampires on high alert, but their enemy will stop at nothing, including pitting vampire against vampire…

In this deadly game of cat-and-mouse, the stakes are life or death—and winning might mean sacrificing everything…

Ten Must-Read Books for Spring and Creamy Roasted Mashed Root Vegetables to warm you for the… Click To Tweet

I’m obsessed with ALL things Mercy Thompson. Although, her tits get bigger every cover, her brain never gets any smaller, nor do her adversaries.

Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll, they find themselves with something that could be used to make the fae back down and forestall out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the fae.

Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans, and the fae, Mercy, Adam, and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost. But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched?

I LOVED Archer’s Voice, and this one looks to have the same “aw shucks, right in the feely bone” quality to it.

Holden Scott is the prince of professional football. At least he was before he lost it all . . . or more to the point, before he threw it all away. Now he’s out of a job, out of the public’s good graces, and perhaps just a little out of his mind. So when a friend offers up his remote lodge in the wilds of Colorado, giving Holden some time away to get his life back on track, he can hardly say no. The last thing he expects is to see a beautiful girl in the woods—one wearing a white, lace dress who appears in the moonlight, and leaves no footprints behind. Is she a dream? A ghost? A product of his muddled imagination? Or something entirely different?
Midnight Lily is the haunting love story of two lost souls reaching for each other in the dark. A tale of healing, acceptance, and the worlds we create to protect our own hearts. It is a story of being lost, of being found, and of being in the place between.

Kylie Scott’s Stage Dive series was a real win for me. Light, funny, and a quick read, I’m hoping this falls in the same vein.

The last thing Vaughan Hewson expects to find when he returns to his childhood home is a broken hearted bride in his shower, let alone the drama and chaos that comes with her.

Lydia Green doesn’t know whether to burn down the church or sit and cry in a corner. Discovering the love of your life is having an affair on your wedding day is bad enough. Finding out it’s with his best man is another thing all together. She narrowly escapes tying the knot and meets Vaughan only hours later.

Vaughan is the exact opposite of the picture perfect, respected businessman she thought she’d marry. This former musician-turned-bartender is rough around the edges and unsettled. But she already tried Mr. Right and discovered he’s all wrong-maybe it’s time to give Mr. Right Now a chance.

SERIAL and The Making of a Murderer has me in the true crime fits. I’m just extending that with this one.

In the late 1800s, the city of Austin, Texas was on the cusp of emerging from an isolated western outpost into a truly cosmopolitan metropolis. But beginning in December 1884, Austin was terrorized by someone equally as vicious and, in some ways, far more diabolical than London’s infamous Jack the Ripper. For almost exactly one year, the Midnight Assassin crisscrossed the entire city, striking on moonlit nights, using axes, knives, and long steel rods to rip apart women from every race and class. At the time the concept of a serial killer was unthinkable, but the murders continued, the killer became more brazen, and the citizens’ panic reached a fever pitch.

Before it was all over, at least a dozen men would be arrested in connection with the murders, and the crimes would expose what a newspaper described as “the most extensive and profound scandal ever known in Austin.” And yes, when Jack the Ripper began his attacks in 1888, London police investigators did wonder if the killer from Austin had crossed the ocean to terrorize their own city.

 

One of my favorite shows in book form? YOU BETCHA.

n 1996 Amy Goodman started a radio show called Democracy Now! to focus on the issues that are underreported or ignored by mainstream news coverage. Shortly after September 11, 2001, they were broadcasting on television every weekday. Today it is the only public media in the US that airs simultaneously on satellite and cable television, radio, and the Internet. Now Amy and her journalist brother, David, share stories of the progressive heroes—the whistleblowers, the organizers, the protestors—who have brought about remarkable, often invisible change over the last two decades in seismic ways.

This book looks back over the past twenty years of Democracy Now! and considers that as the courts and government abdicate their responsibilities, it has fallen to ordinary people to hold the powerful to account. Amy gives voice to these leaderful, not leaderless, movements: the countless charismatic leaders who are taking to the streets in Ferguson, Staten Island, Wall Street, and other places where people are rising up to demand justice. This is the guiding principle of Democracy Now!, which is front and center in this powerful, important work.

I think my son is going to lose his ever-loving shit over this.

She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason. And she’d never have predicted she’d fall in love with him…or that he’d help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.

Now, what goes with all these books? Well, it’s still technically winter, so…

How about some Creamy Roasted Mashed Root Vegetables?

creamy mashed roasted root vegetables creamy mashed roasted root vegetables creamy mashed roasted root vegetables

 

Creamy Roasted Mashed Root Vegetables

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour (mostly down time)

Keywords: vegan paleo low-carb

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 2 turnips chopped into 1/2 inch (a bit over a CM sq) cubes
  • 2 parsnips chopped similarly
  • 3 yukon gold potatoes, peeled, and chopped similarly
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, top sliced off
  • 1 stick of butter or vegan substitute
  • 1 tbsp EVOO or coconut oil
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/8 tsp dried thyme

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F

toss cubed vegetables in oil

spread on two cookie sheets in a single layer

wrap garlic in foil

roast until soft, about 30 minutes

IN A FOOD PROCESSOR

combine all cooked veg, and squeeze out roasted garlic cloves into food pro

add remaining ingredients and pulse until smooth.

LEAVE VENTED unless you like 3rd degree burns.

add additional salt as needed

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It’s Wafer Thin…

This post will mainly focus on the “Eater” half of “Reader/Eater,” but I wanted to quickly address what it is that I’m reading right now as well.

IN HARDCOVER

After You by JoJo Moyes. –harder than I thought to get into. I’m so stuck in the previous installment, I’m in a weird headspace about it.

Charles Dickens: A Biography by Claire Tomalin–it’s amazing. She’s a wonderful biographer.

ON KINDLE

Trueheart by Mel Sterling–for the second time in as many weeks. I simply adore it, and want to have all of my ideas fully-formed for my review.

The Past by Tessa Hadley The story is quite engaging and sharply written. The prose is sparse but lovely.

AUDIBLE

rereading Bound by Lorelei James–I NEVER thought I’d pick this book up again, but found myself missing the characters. (maybe not the prostate massage.)

The Dirt on the Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones–to be honest, haven’t started. The last installment was so AHHHH, that I haven’t pulled the trigger.

SCRIBD:

Nobody’s Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips–it’s from 1997, and the “cassette” portions haven’t been edited out. It’s hilarious. (the cassette parts)

NOW! the rest of the story.

I’ve discussed my mental health quite a bit on the blog, and my physical health also, but I’ve rarely discussed my digestive health. This is mostly because I simply don’t want to discuss it. Scatalogical discussions don’t really thrill me. Though, my issues aren’t as, say, graphic as some.

I have a twisted intestine.If it sounds super-painful, that’s because it is. Because of this, I have pretty severe issues with air becoming trapped in pockets of my intestine and in my stomach, causing OMGSOMUCHBLOATING and pain.

This is exactly how I sometimes look after eating.

Anyways, for the past year+, I’ve been taking a STRONG proton pump inhibitor to relieve this issue. It works like a mother effing charm. However, it’s also contraindicated for another medicine I need more, and PPIs have recently been linked to chronic kidney disease. With my anemia, and my ADHD/MDD/GAD, I do NOT need another diagnosis, unless that diagnosis is “too awesome for words.” You know? So, I’ve had to ditch the PPI. That might not sound like a big deal, but when the pain of the bloating is so bad, and so constant, that you break out in chills and nearly throw up every twenty minutes, it’s a BIG FUCKING DEAL.

Chronic bloating is a fuckwit with a microphone. Not unlike this next guy…

see what I mean? He gives everyone a stomachache.

Coming off the PPI meant a LOT of research into anti-bloating diets. I found myself in the unlikely place of reading a Dr Weill article. You see, I’d previously put that doc in the same category as Dr Oz and Trump. Mouthpieces for their agenda. However, I just KEPT seeing research with his name on it. Like, real research. Researchy research.

So I read, and read, and read some more. I found peer-reviewed articles, anecdotal testimonies, and researched old wives’ tales. There is actually quite a lot of research on small intestinal microbacterial overgrowth and the like! FASCINATING! SCIENCE!

So I had one thing left to do.

well, science the air out of it, but it’s all relative.

I am NOT a nutritional scientist, so do your own damn research and due diligence as well, but I can tell you what’s been helping me, and where I’ve fallen short.

*probiotics. There’s so much research on this. I like the one they sell at Costco because I can buy it with my bulk soy milk and bananas.

*licorice and peppermint tea. If nothing else, it tastes great. Yogi sells a great one. Plus, you get those little yogi tea bits of trite wisdom!

*no straws. ever. seriously. They are like a bad bottle to a baby. My family draws the line at burping me. I think my husband would be amenable to spanking, but…Honestly, though. If you want a williwaw in your gut, by all means…

*live food. No, I don’t mean go bite a cow. I mean food that’s alive. Sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, fermented veggies, yogurt, kombucha, ACV. Live food.

*drink a fuckton of mineralized water. I am referring to water with mint or ginger and other soothing things added. I use mint, ginger, lemon and lime. Keep a pitcher handy.

*eliminate regular dairy and meat. I KNOW I’M A SPECIAL SORT OF BITCH FOR EVEN SAYING THIS, but, it takes a truly long time to digest, and that’s bad news bears. Fatty fish is easier on the tumbly.

*drink celery and cucumber juice. WEIRD, right? But the literature is there, and it’s downright lovely when you make a blend.

*squats. lots of squats. deep ones.

Where I’m sucking, but I hear is really helpful.

*eat slowly

*no booze

*no sugar

*processed grains

presoak your beans

even more squats.

Can you beat the bloat? You could try! #juicing #guthealth Click To Tweet

I could write sonnets about how much I love Richard Simmons.

Now, because I love you, I’m sharing the PERFECT JUICE RECIPE. I’ve been into juicing since Christmas. My daughter asked Santa for a juicer, and I don’t know how I lived without one.

My Beat the Bloat Juice

Beat the Bloat Juice

Beat the Bloat Juice
Save Recipe

What Goes In?

  • 1/4 small pineapple, chopped
  • 1 pink lady apple
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 inch ginger

Avengers, Assemble!

  1. JUICE IT
  2. stir.
  3. drink WITHOUT a straw
http://readereater.com/2016/01/13/beat-the-bloat-juice/

Weighty Words: The Top 5 Fitness Books That Don’t Make You Want an Oreo.

When I re-branded my blog, I told myself I wouldn’t completely cut fitness out of the blog entirely, because it’s still a huge part of my life, and I love talking about it. However, it felt disingenuous to continue in the vein of “healthy fitness blogging” when I realized that a lot of the time … Read more…

Camping Out

Scamps. SCAMPS. I am beside myself right meow. We are THREE DAYS AWAY from THIS.

I mean, really. REALLY.

I have been waiting for this ever since Netflix announced they were doing it. Kristin Wiig, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Jon Hamm, EVERYONE ELSE ON EARTH THAT I LOVE AND ADORE. SFW, I blog for Netflix. I don’t freaking blog about shit I don’t like, (unless I truly hate it like that one book that one time.) Everyone and their stepbrother, (who may also be a bear and a billionaire, and possibly the head of a motorcycle gang intent on saving some chit) has been waiting for this release. (TWSS)

It couldn’t come at a better time because,

and I’m not going outside for ANYTHING. I’ve even taken to working out at home–mostly. ME! WORKING.OUT.AT.HOME. With my kids and my dog, and the insanity…Just leaving the house feels like a burden that carries the weight of my underboob sweat. It just does. Thankfully, I live in the land of Amazon Fresh and Peapod and Fresh Direct and Thrive Market, and Urban Organic, and most importantly–delivery liquor because,

I mean, dammmmmnnn, I’m even sending my laundry out. Even my delicates. IT’S QUITE POSSIBLE THAT SOMEONE, RIGHT NOW, IS HANDLING MY PANTIES. And guess what?

So, even though I am nowhere close to a personal trainer, (unless we’re training to how to bribe preschoolers with candy corn, or possibly training for a rousing game of flip cup) I still came up with an At-Home workout for everyone. Completed entirely with .gifs from the cast of Wet, Hot, American Summer: First Day of Camp.

EXHIBITION

First, you’re going to need to limber up.

Michael Ian Black is perhaps a bit robot-y, but who GAF? not me?

Now? Power walk like you fucking mean it. Ten minutes, or however long it takes you to look amazing.

Please, don’t neglect your wig.

Swing those legs, scamps! Those man pebbles and ladyflowers aren’t going to fan themselves!

Feel those feelings. It burns like, an easy 6 calories.

COMBO TIME!!

Thrust it like you’re making babies.

It’s best to wear cut-off jorts at all times. Natural fibers only.

Now things get really hot…

So, time to refuel.

repeat, like, enough for eight episodes.

Now, you know I don’t eat McDonald’s. I’m pretty sure the only vegan item on their menu is the apple slices. So, that’s not my refueling option of choice after my nightly makeout sesh with Bradley Cooper.

So I made something that goes really well with beer, because, don’t tell me you’re not going to drink a few while watching this wondrous extravaganza. They’re vegan, but once again, I gave non-vegan options.

Faux-ritos and Creamy Cilantro Dip


Faux-ritos and creamy cilantro dip

Faux-ritos

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Keywords: bake

Ingredients (4 servings)

    dusting for baked tortilla chips

    • 2 tsp nutritional yeast or 2 tbsp crumbled parmesan cheese
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
    • 1/4 tsp celery salt
    • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
    • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp cumin

    for the chips

    • 8-10 small flour tortillas
    • cooking spray (all-natural)

    for the dip

    • 1/3 cup vegan mayo I use JUST MAYO, or regular mayo
    • 2 tbsp frozen recaito
    • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

    Instructions

    preheat oven (or toaster oven, like I used) to 400F)

    slice tortillas into strips

    arrange strips in a single layer on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet

    spray with cooking spray

    bake for 8 minutes or until crisp

    while baking, whisk together toppings for chips

    remove strips from oven and spray again

    toss in a bowl with the dust

    for the dip

    thaw the recaito overnight in a separate bowl in the fridge

    stir with mayo and red wine vinegar

    DIP

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    Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.
    Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.

    Auralgasms #5

    Auralgasms.

     

    It is no secret that I have mostly reserved my audiobook enjoyment to works of fiction. There is just something about layered voices telling a gripping tale that fills me with a pregnancy of want. Simply put–tell me a story.

    ready for my bedtime story. get to it.

    However, in the last month, I’ve been absurdly busy with my personal scholarship, and desirous of the words held in the books I wanted to re-read, but my time was limited. My recent conversion to a fully plant-based diet made me want to read the books that held this conviction in my mind.

    The Omnivore’s Dilemma

    In Defense of Food

    Salt Sugar Fat

    So I decided to throw caution to the wind, and listen to a non-fiction audiobook. I’ve done it before and enjoyed it, with The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and The Devil in the White City, but those books are so…gah…not typical–different–almost fiction in the manner in which they’re told. I never really placed those in the same category as other non-fic books.

    When I purchased the books I wanted to re-read on audible/scribd, I paid no attention to the narrator. For me, this is akin to Sarah Jessica Parker just “throwing something on” to go to a premiere. I’m fucking picky with my narrators. A bad narrator can RUIN a book for me. I’ll either stop the story and never pick it up again, or I’ll switch to the words on pages version so fast it’ll make your head spin.

    The first book I queued up was Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. It’s an old favorite of mine. I’ve read and re-read it several times over. It’s one of those books that is the perfect sort of splint for your backbone. It is the gird for my plant-based loins. It answers a simple question: “If I can eat virtually anything, what should I eat?” That’s a BFD.

    I downloaded the book and went about preparing dinner. (because, meta-life, yo.) I quietly chopped vegetables as I the words soothed me.

    About fifteen minutes into my dinner preparation and reading/listening, I thought to myself homeboy sounds just like Leto Atreideswtf?! Sure enough, scrolling through my library, separated by narrator, I realize HOMEBOY IS LETO ATREIDES. That moment led me to scroll through, and realize he’s also Larson’s narrator, and Moss’s, and damn it all to hell, he’s the narrator of the book I’ve been putting off, (which was hugely and highly rec’d to me by a close friend) The Doll Maker

    BTW, I’ve started The Doll Maker, and it’s scaring the fuck out of me–as expected. THANKS FOR THAT.

    Who is the narrator?

    Scott Brick.

    He’s won a few audies, and racked up a fuckton of articles on sites like Audiofile, and the WSJ.

    But the real reason to listen to him?

    BECAUSE YOU WANT HIM TO READ TO YOU. This is the prevailing theme in my auralgasms posts. Do you want this narrator to read to you, and why?

    Obviously, the answer (for me) is yes, or he’d not be featured, but it’s for very specific reasons. To me, Scott Brick’s style of narration harkens back to the golden age of radio. That of Orson Welles and “The War of the Worlds.”  It’s fantastical melodrama. It’s gripping and damn fun. When he narrates nonfic, it’s relaxed and easy to listen to. Even with challenging subject matter–it’s easy to listen to.

    I am truly enjoying listening to a book about how we’ve been completely fucked sideways by the tenets of capitalism; and about how big agri-business does not give a single fuck that they put profit above everything–even sick children.  Sure, I’m getting fist-smashingly angry all over again, but not at the narrator or the author–at fucking Cargill and General Mills.

    His voice is alarmingly disarming. You just kind of sit back and say, “well, huh. how about that?” Then you keep listening. You’re absolutely compelled to keep listening.

    When I was doing research into his narrating life, so that I could design a recipe for this post, I found out something interesting: his partner is THE FUCKING BLENDER GIRL. I mean, I’m a food blogger, of COURSE I follow the blender girl. More than that, he’s FUCKING PLANT-BASED. GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! KISMET! It was totally the universe telling me to write this post! 

    The recipe was easy to think about after that. I give you the recipe inspired by this narrator:

    Cuban Chickpea and Plantain Burgers

    (ok, he’s not Cuban, but still…)

    Listen to your gut. #Auralgasms and Cuban Chickpea-Plantain burgers. #Audiobooks #vegan #FitFluential Click To Tweet

     

     

    Cuban Chickpea and Plantain Veggie Burgers

    by Cat Bowen

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook Time: 15 minutes

    Keywords: bake entree sandwich gluten-free kosher vegan vegetarian

    Ingredients (9 patties)

    • 1 very ripe plantain
    • 1, 15.5 oz can chickpeas-drained
    • 1/2 ripe avocado
    • 4 scallions, chopped
    • 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
    • juice of half of a lime
    • 3 cloves of garlic
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
    • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
    • 1/4 tsp coriander
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 3/4-1 cup binder of your choice–breadcrumbs, tortilla crumbs, coconut flour, dry puffed amaranth–ground, etc etc etc

    Instructions

    Preheat oven to 350

    puree plantain with spices in a food processor

    add remaining ingredients and pulse until just a bit smoother than very chunky slowly add in binder of your choice, until it looks like you could form it into balls

    form into baseball sized balls

    flatten into 3/4″ thick patties

    place on cookie sheet lined with parchment

    bake for 10-15 minutes

    serve as you would a traditional burger or in a lettuce wrap

    to freeze leftover patties, wrap first in plastic wrap, and then foil, and then place in a ziptop bag.

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