“Aw — good for Fat Biscuit”

(If you don’t have kids in elementary school, you won’t get the Victorious reference. Moving on.)

My husband and I took the kids to the Twin Cities last month for spring break. It wasn’t a huge trip, just a nice little three-day getaway for everyone. We spent most of our trip at the Mall of America, doing the amusement park one day and shopping the next.

As a part-time book store employee, I love checking out book stores, but rarely do I buy anything. Why pay full price when I have a discount at my store, right? That being said, when we drove past a Borders sporting a “Going out of Business” banner, we made a quick stop.

Do I feel guilty capitalizing on the loss of others? Yes.

Should I let that ruin shopping for books at 40 to 60 percent off? No.

One of the books I bought was called Hungry for Happiness by James Villas. It’s a story about Loretta Crawford, a Texas woman who was once huge. She had surgery and lost 100 pounds, and is now trying to find her place in the world.

This book had potential, but I didn’t care for Loretta. Also, the way all the characters spoke was annoying. I’m not from Texas, I’ve never been to Texas, but I seriously doubt the people there say “Bub” and “Honey” all the time. I felt like the book never really started. It read more like a series of short stories featuring the same characters than a novel.

It’s saving grace, I think, was the fact that Loretta was an aspiring caterer. Reading her descriptions of the food she cooked — but rarely ate — was a definite high point, as were the recipes at the end of the book.

The late 90s were all about Bridget Jones-type books. The trend now is cookbooks as novels. I love both equally.

Being a Southern girl, Loretta talked about biscuits a lot, so I decided to make some the night I made beef stew.

 

They turned out pretty good. You have to be careful with biscuits. Work with them too much, they’ll be hard as rocks. Don’t work with them enough, they’ll fall apart.

I didn’t try Loretta’s recipe, electing to go with one a little healthier.

BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp cold butter
  • 3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp fat-free milk

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs. Stir in enough buttermilk to moisten dough.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead 4 to 4 times. Pat or roll to 3/4-inch thickness. Cut with a floured 21/2-inch biscuit cutter. (I used a drinking glass.)

Place on a baking sheet and brush with milk. Bake at 450 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home Guilt Free Cooking

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Speaking of books …

Oh, we weren’t? Well, we are now.

Flashlight Worthy is a great site that specializes in book recommendation lists. The list are sorted by subject and the purpose is to list the best books of that subject — not necessarily the most popular. As Peter and Eric say: “We don’t list the best-selling books — we list the best books.”

I have found many great books on this site and today my book recommendations list — Literary Pen Pals — was published on the site. Check it out if you love to read books written as letters, e-mails, etc. It’s just like snooping, but you won’t get in trouble for it.

Tastes just like chicken

There’s a book I read a lot when I was younger, Invisible Lissa. It’s about an elementary school girl (I think she was in 5th grade) going through one of those rough patches with her classmates, when she’s on the outside looking in.

The school’s resident mean girl, Debra, has it out for Lissa and makes thing worse by creating her super-secret club, FUNCHY. While every girl in 5th grade is dying to be a member, Lissa tries to hide her wish to join by focusing on a school project and hanging out in the library during lunchtime. (Side note: We were never allowed to just hang out in the school library in elementary school. We visited during specific times during the week and that was it. Same thing in middle school. It wasn’t even open early or late for students who wanted to study. Was my school district just mean or is that the norm?)

Lissa is eventually asked to join FUNCHY, when her BFF blackmails Debra to include Lissa.

Ah, friendship.

It turns out FUNCHY stands for Fun Lunches. All club members gather together to share food and talk.

The reason FUNCHY is on my mind was because I had time this morning to make my lunch to take to work today — chicken salad. My favorite. It would have been a hit with the FUNCHY crowd.

CHICKEN SALAD

  • Chicken, cooked and cubed
  • Mayonnaise
  • Curry
  • Salt and pepper
  • Red and green grapes
  • Slivered almonds

This  isn’t a specific recipe. I eyeball everything until I get the consistency I want. I usually make enough for a few days worth of lunches (and some late-night snacking, shh!). To do this, I use two cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I dice them into small cubes and set aside.

Add mayonnaise in a large bowl, about 1/4 of a cup. You can always add more. Stir in curry powder (about a teaspoon), a dash of salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the mix. If it looks to dry, go ahead and add more mayonnaise. Take a taste. If you want more seasonings, go ahead.

Slice red and green grapes in half and add to chicken mix. I usually toss in a cup’s worth.

Throw in a handful for slivered almonds for texture. Mix everything together and enjoy! This tastes great on bread or spread on crackers. You can even eat it plain. 

Oh, and if you want to know how Invisible Lissa ends, she calls Debra out on the stupidity of the club and, one by one, the other girls agree and walk away. Debra isn’t happy and the ‘remain true to yourself’ lesson prevails yet again.