Book Blog: The Last Fallen Star (Gifted Clans #1) by Graci Kim

Posted by on May 7, 2021 in Blog, book blog | 0 comments

I review everything I read and post reviews on Goodreads and LibraryThing. That’s not enough. Good books are meant to be shared. Therefore, I’m spotlighting some of my favorite reads here on my site.

the last fallen star

The Last Fallen Star (Gifted Clans #1) by Graci Kim

out now in print and ebook; BookShopB&N, and Amazon [affiliate link]

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

Rick Riordan has done wonders for the lit world, not simply through his own books, but his support of other authors. I’ve read several middle grade books in his new Presents line, and there hasn’t been a bad one in the bunch. Graci Kim’s fun yet meaningful romp The Last Fallen Star is an incredible new novel inspired by Korean mythology and set in Los Angeles.

Riley is a relatable, great heroine from the start. She was adopted into a family of Gom, witch healers, but has no magic herself, much to her vexation. In an incredibly pleasant twist to familiar tropes, Riley has a fantastic relationship with her family, including her almost-the-same-age sister, Hattie. In fact, Hattie loves her so much that she’s willing to do forbidden magic to split her magical power with Riley. Of course, everything goes wrong. The Gods and the supernatural get involved. Hattie is in terrible peril. Riley ends up on an urgent quest to save Hattie before her sister is lost forever.

The pace of the book is fast and punctuated by moments of humor and levity, but what I loved most was the story’s genuine heart. The people here feel real and complicated. There are major messages of belonging and family, but they are not heavy-handed or suffocating. Plus, hey, the book is loads of fun, and a great way to learn about Korean mythology and culture. I not only want to read the next book in this series, but I want to read more of Kim’s writing, too.

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Bready or Not Original: Small Batch Cakey Brownies

Posted by on May 5, 2021 in Blog, Bready or Not, brownies, cake, chocolate | 0 comments

Sometimes you just need a few brownies. That’s the perfect time for this Small Batch Cakey Brownies recipe.

Bready or Not Original: Small Batch Cakey Brownies

These are not monstrously thick brownies. They are thin with a crackled top, with a nice, cakey moist crumb.

Bready or Not Original: Small Batch Cakey Brownies

I created this recipe by combining about four other recipes, trying to find a middle ground recipe that my son would like. This is the one that turned out to be the winner.

Bready or Not Original: Small Batch Cakey Brownies

Even better, I found out these brownies kept well for an entire week in a sealed container at room temperature–and who knows, maybe they could last a lot longer? In any case, there’s no urgent need to gorge on them lest they go bad.

Bready or Not Original: Small Batch Cakey Brownies

These brownies are all about goodness.

 

Bready or Not Original: Small Batch Cakey Brownies

This recipe makes a small, thin batch of delicious cakey brownies. These have a crackled top with loads of chocolate flavor below.
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: brownies, chocolate
Author: Beth Cato

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Line a 9x9 or 8×8-inch pan with foil, letting foil overhang each side. Apply nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate and butter on high in 30 second increments, stirring between each burst, until everything is melted. Let cool slightly.
  • Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, in a large bowl beat together the sugar and eggs for 3 to 5 minutes, until they are pale, light, and fluffy. Pour in the cooled chocolate and butter mixture, followed by the vanilla.
  • Combine the salt and both flours in a bowl. Stir in the chocolate chips. Fold flour mix into the wet ingredients. Pour into the prepared pan and even out.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool completely. Use foil onto a cutting board to slice into bars.
  • Brownies will keep for upwards of a week in a sealed container at room temperature.

OM NOM NOM!

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    Book Blog: Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

    Posted by on Apr 30, 2021 in Blog, book blog | 0 comments

    I review everything I read and post reviews on Goodreads and LibraryThing. That’s not enough. Good books are meant to be shared. Therefore, I’m spotlighting some of my favorite reads here on my site.

    Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

    out now in print and ebook; BookShop, B&N, and Amazon [affiliate link]

    I read this as part of my Norton finalist packet.

    What a fantastic YA book! Elatsoe has an urban fantasy vibe, kinda, but spins everything in a brilliant, original way. A big reason for that is the dynamic, smart heroine, Elatsoe aka Ellie. She’s still a high schooler but she has big dreams of becoming a paranormal PI. She knows the paranormal well, as she was raised on the stories of her incredible Lipan Apache ancestress Six-Great, and her near-constant companion is the ghost of her beloved dog, who she raised herself. When her cousin is in a terrible car accident, he reaches out in a dream to tell her this was no accident, but murder. Ellie goes along with her parents to take care of her cousin’s widow, and finds herself investigating not the murderer but an entire creepy town.

    I loved how smart this book was. Ellie is a kid, sure, but she is competent, and she is respected for her competence by her parents and those who know her. That is so refreshing! That doesn’t take away from the tension in the book, either, because Ellie still has a lot to learn. This is a story packed with twists and turns, and the world Little Badger established is endlessly fascinating. I mean, I tend to avoid books with vampires because I feel they have been so overdone, but the way they come across here feels fresh and new, and I LOVED a scene where Ellie and her mom banish an unwelcome vampire.

    I hope there are more books set in this world. I would love to visit here again!

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    Bready or Not Original: Pancetta Risotto

    Posted by on Apr 28, 2021 in alcohol, bacon, Blog, boozy, Bready or Not, cheese galore, gluten-free, main dish, pork, side dish | 0 comments

    This Pancetta Risotto is a fantastic meal for two people, or a delicious side for a group. It’s time-consuming but very straightforward to make.

    Bready or Not Original: Pancetta Risotto

    I confess, I spent years being intimidated by the very idea of a risotto. I would see it done on cooking shows. So much stirring! When I finally got up the gumption to give it a try, I found risotto wasn’t hard at all. It really is about lots of stirring.

    Bready or Not Original: Pancetta Risotto

    This recipe here is my fancy occasion recipe, especially when I have some good pancetta on hand, such as the kind carried by Smoking Goose Meatery out of Indianapolis.

    Bready or Not Original: Pancetta Risotto

    As for the wine, I’ve tried this with fancier Sauvignon Blanc from Total Wine (Cloudy Bay from New Zealand) as well as a $6 Trader Joe’s Coastal Sauvignon Blanc. Both versions turned out great! You don’t need to go all-out, but get something that is (hopefully) drinkable with the finished meal.

    Bready or Not Original: Pancetta Risotto

    Bready or Not Original: Pancetta Risotto

    Homemade risotto requires time standing at the stove, but makes for delicious results. This recipe takes about 45 minutes to an hour to completion, depending on your stove. Note that a small amount of bacon can be substituted for the pancetta, but it is much stronger in flavor and colors the risotto brown.
    Course: Main Course, pork
    Cuisine: Italian
    Keyword: alcohol, cheese, pork, rice
    Author: Beth Cato

    Equipment

    • large stock pot
    • medium saucepan

    Ingredients

    • 8 oz pancetta diced
    • 1 Tablespoon dried shallots or fresh shallot, finely minced
    • 3 cloves garlic minced
    • 1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
    • 1 cup dry white wine Sauvignon Blanc works well
    • 4 cups chicken broth or chicken stock, equal to a 32 oz box or 2 cans
    • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan or Pecorino Romano or Grana Padano, plus more to top rice
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

    • In a large stock pot, cook the pancetta for 10 to 12 minutes, until it starts to turn brown and crispy. At the same time, on another stove burner, use a medium sauce pan to bring the chicken broth to a very low simmer.
    • Use a slotted spoon to transfer pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside. Add dry shallots and garlic to the fat in the big pot. Sauté for two minutes. Add the Arborio rice and a pinch of salt. Sauté another 2 minutes, until the rice looks glossy with translucent edges.
    • Add the white wine and stir until it is absorbed. Add chicken broth in 1/2 cup increments, stirring well after each addition until it is absorbed. After about 12 to 15 minutes, when most of the broth has been added, begin to taste the rice. The goal is a chewy, al dente consistency. Add more broth as needed, and remember to turn off the burner for the broth pot when it is empty.
    • When the rice is creamy and al dente, stir in the pancetta and cheese. Taste the risotto again, adding more salt and pepper as needed. Serve with the remaining white wine.

    OM NOM NOM!

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