Archive for December, 2012

So far, all the books by Brandon Sanderson haven’t disappointed. So even though the back flap of Alloy of Law isn’t terribly promising, I bought the book and read it.

As usual, it was fabulous.

This is a light book, a filler between the original Mistborn trilogy and the planned second Mistborn trilogy. The plot is at times predictable, but never disappointing. The banter is laugh-out-loud funny. But the real talent of Brandon Sanderson is his magic system.

Anyone can invent a superpower. People do it every day. But most superpowers are binary. Either you create a storm or you don’t. Either you move very fast or you don’t. Either you fly or you don’t.

Brandon Sanderson, on the other hand, invents a magic system with some basic rules. And then asks himself, “What happens if I take one person with time bending and healing capabilities and one person with the ability to push metals away and change his weight, put them in the middle of a ballroom with 500 innocent people, and pit them against 50 bad gays with superguns?” And then he describes it in intimate, almost movie-like detail.


He prevents the simple plot from bogging down by a couple a clever plot twists and interesting characters.

And then, for some reason, he ends the book after having won the battle but not the war. It drove me nuts. I checked obsessively for a few pages at the end of the book that I had maybe missed, or the statement “Continued in Brandon Sanderson’s new novel, the Alloy of Law 2!” but to no avail. The book ends. I managed to get some solace from the Brandon Sanderson’s website,  stating that he will probably write a sequel to the Alloy of Law.

So I’ll wait patiently. If I can sign on to Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive for ten years, waiting for this sequel is a piece of cake. So this still gets 5 stars.

Go, Sanderson!

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My friend gave birth to her third child. So I volunteered to cook for her. She asked for food that can be frozen, to feed her whole family. Vegetarian, preferably vegan. Soup seemed like the best option. So I Googled recipes that can be frozen and tried a few. The undoubted winner was the freezable Minestrone. I already made it for them three times and counting…

Ingredients (based on this recipe)

1 large onion, minced
3 carrots, minced
1/3 bunch celery, minced, stalks and leaves (I use two prepared bags of onion, carrot and celery mix)
1 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed (I use 2 heaped tsp frozen chopped garlic)
2-3 squash, peeled and sliced into half-moons
100 gr tomato paste
2 bay leaves
400 gr crushed tomatoes (half a large can)
400 gr red kidney beans, frozen (or canned)
1.2 L water
oregano, basil and thyme to taste (roughly 1 tsp each of basil and oregano, 1/2 tsp thyme)

After thawing: 150 gr small pasta

Sauté the onion, carrot and celery in the olive oil until soft and fragrant. Add the garlic, squash and tomato paste and sauté for a few more minutes, until garlic is fragrant. Add the crushed tomatoes, water, beans, and spices. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes. Let cool and freeze in family-sized portions (or other portions to your liking)

For serving, thaw in pot. Bring to boil. Add pasta shapes. Boil until pasta is ready. Serve with pita or whole wheat bread and a salad.

Bon Apetit!

perfect for a cold winter's day...

perfect for a cold winter’s day…

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Angels FallAngels Fall is a book I read originally for free on the Internet, but I liked it so much that I bought it to reread over and over again. It’s about Reece Gilmore, who is traumatized from an event in her past that left her slightly paranoid, claustrophobic, prone to panic attacks and more. She is introduced two years after the incident, and it is well described how she pulls herself up by her bootstraps and struggles to remake herself. It is clear that she can’t go back to the way she was; however, she is trying to like where she is going. She also has a great sense of humour, causing many laugh-out-loud moments. Lovely character.

Add to that the situation she finds herself in: After beginning to settle in Angel’s Fist (the only thing I absolutely detested in the book is the name of the town. What kind of a name is this? It sounds horrible) she is the sole witness to a murder. And because there is no evidence and because of her history, no one believes her until she begins to doubt her sanity herself. This is well described and speaks to the internal fear of everyone – if I were crazy, would I know it?

The love interest is abrupt, tactless, honest, and wonderfully steady. The writer Brody is the normal as opposed to Reece’s neurotic, the straightforward as opposed to the villain’s crookedness. The scenes between him and Reece are lovely, honest, and very satisfying.

As if that isn’t enough, I totally didn’t see the villain coming. The red herring was obvious, but I was really surprised by the villain  In hindsight, however, it made perfect sense, which is even better 🙂

In short, here you have everything – great characters, great plot, great love interest, great villain. This gets a resounding 5 stars.

Romance/Suspense: This is a suspense novel as well as a romance novel. However, no detailed violence (which was a relief).

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Another of MIL’s legendary recipes is her recipe for Belgian waffles. Traditionally, we made it only on days when it snowed, but as it hasn’t really snowed here since the early ’90s, clearly it was time for a change. The first time I made it, it was gone within 20 minutes. And a little voice in my head pointed out that this would be perfect for weekday breakfasts, as the kids eat it quickly and it’s filling. Granted, it’s not the healthiest thing around, but for kids? It’s not that bad.

So I started quadrupling the recipe, and freezing it afterwards. Then I defrost in the microwave (30 seconds) and it’s on the table before they finish dressing, and we can go out on time. When my husband was on reserve duty it was perfect, and any day we’re in a hurry it’s a pleasure as well.

Being who I am, I obviously tweaked the recipe a bit 🙂

Ingredients: for ~30 Belgian waffles, 2 is breakfast for one hungry kid

400 gr dark brown sugar (I intend to try 350 next time)
250 gr butter, melted
160 ml oil
8 egg yolks (careful that the melted butter doesn’t cook the yolks!)

Mix all together. Then add:

8 tsp cocoa
8 tbsp milk (120 ml)
150 gr spelt flour
350 gr all purpose flour

And mix together again.

8 egg whites

Beat until stiff. Fold into cocoa mixture. Spoon into hot waffle iron or flat toaster (for making grilled cheese sandwiches). 10 minutes and it’s done. Let cool on wire rack. Slice each waffle into five parts and freeze.



Cut and ready to eat

Cut and ready to eat


The original recipe, for comparison (makes 6-8 Belgian waffles)

125 gr sugar (I put 100, it’s still very sweet next time I’ll put less)
125 gr butter (I substitute half the butter for 2/3 oil, e.g. instead of 60 gr butter I put 40 ml oil)
2 egg yolks
2 tsp cocoa
2 tbsp milk
125 gr all purpose flour
2 egg whites

I’m off sugar for the moment, so I can only watch my kids eating this, but it’s sooo worth it!

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