Monthly Archives: January 2012

Chili Cheese Hot Dog Macaroni

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So, school is back in for me and the kids. This means that I will again go down to next to no time at all to do things like  cook and write. But that’s ok, because I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeves. I don’t plan on cooking ramin noodles every night but I do plan on cooking a good amount of pasta. It’s quick, it’s easy, and you can do a ton with it and not have to repeat things. This is one of the things that my kids love and is easy to make.

We don’t usually call is “Chili Cheese Hot Dog Macaroni” but it is an accurate description. We just call it chili mac. It’s really simple to make too. And easily adaptable to cook for more or less people, just fry up fewer hotdogs or cook more macaroni. It’s also really good the next day for lunch.

Chili Cheese Hot Dog Macaroni

1 pound small pasta (I prefer small shells, but elbows work as well)
4 to 5 hot dogs sliced thin
1-2 cans of chile (more chile will make it more saucy)
Grated cheddar cheese to taste

  • Cook the pasta according to package directions. I like mine a bit more al dente than most, it reheats better that way without getting mushy. Drain well.
  • While the pasta if cooking, fry up the sliced hot dogs. You don’t need any oil or grease in the pan, most hot dogs are greasy enough without it. I fry them until they get gently browned. They take on a nice almost grilled flavor.
  • Add the chile to the hot dogs and heat through.
  • Mix the chile and hot dogs with the pasta. Serve the pasta topped with the shredded cheese.

If you make this let me know what you think.

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Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

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School starts on Monday for me (the kids have been back almost a week now) and I’ve been trying to catch up on my reading. Unlike the last book I reviewed, I’m not sure where I got this one. Which is odd. I thought I got it in a box of books from my boyfriend for a yard sale that I had a year or so ago, but he informed me that he didn’t give it to me, and in fact, had just bought a copy to read himself, which is why I decided to finally pick this one up and read it.

The book: “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher.

I hesitated to read this book at first. The subject matter isn’t usually my first chose in fun reading, but I started reading it a while ago and when my boyfriend bought a copy I decided that it was time to read. And once I started reading I couldn’t stop. Mainly, I had to find out why.

As the title suggests, this book is about thirteen reasons. Thirteen reasons why a girl, young woman, high school student, ended her life.

The book starts at the end, like many books do, with us knowing the end before we know the beginning. And it pulls you in. We know that he has to do something, is compelled to send a box of cassette tapes to someone…someone we don’t know.

And then we get the story. A girl at school has killed herself and the tapes are the story of why. And Clay, the narrator of the book, is one of those reasons. We follow him as he listens to the tapes wandering around town following Hannah in her last days of life as she talks about how she ended up taking her life. Her pain comes through in the narration. In the stories she tells.

Its not something talked about much, teen suicide, but this book brings sit to light in a way that I don’t know has been done before. It shows how the actions, or in-actions, of people can be woven together an the effect that they can have. This is the story of how a rumor can ruin a life.

When reading this book I felt the same as Clay in most spot. I wanted to reach through the book, through time, and save Hannah. I wanted to make her see that things were not hopeless. I wanted to make her pain go away. But I couldn’t, it was too late. And it made me think. How could it have gone different, how could it have ended better.

It made me want to be better. Not to spread idol rumors. To say “hi” to people when I pass them in the hall. And to try to be a better person, no matter what. I suggest this book. Not because it will make you smile, or because it has a happy ending, but because it’s hard to read. Because it needs to be read. And because we could all learn from what Hannah has to say.

Book Review: “The Book Thief”

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Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. Every time there is a reason to give gifts my boyfriend gives me books, and jewelry. It’s usually a toss up on what I love the most. The books or the jewelry. Well, this Christmas was no different. I actually got two books. However, the book that I’m reviewing today is not one of these. In fact, the book isn’t even mine. I borrowed it from my boyfriend. He read it and couldn’t stop talking about it. The book that I’m goign to review is “The Book Thief”, by Markus Zusak.

Let me start out by saying that I loved this book. And I want to cry. Both because it’s over, and because of the book itself.

A quick synopsis: Nazi Germany, World War II, Death as a narrator.

I love that death was the narrator of this book. He was all knowing, and at the same time, knew nothing. He gave glimpses of the end, but keeps it maddeningly away.

The book is all about words. The young girl, Liesel, steals them. She gives them. She writes them. She loves them and she hates them. And death picks this up from her.

I know that I should tell you what this book is about, but I can’t. This was a book that touched me, haunts me, makes me want to read it again and throw it against the wall at the same time. This is often the case when I read books set during WWII. The things that went on, they make me want to cry.

This book is told, as I said, by Death. Not the fun death that you might find in a book by Terry Pratchett, but the dark, depressing death that we all meet one day. He talks a lot about death, flitting from scene to scene. At times you forget that its Death talking and then the world comes crashing down around you when he mentions Russia, or the Jews. And you remember that the reason this book grabs you and holds on is because its the story of a young girls struggle to grow up in a world that would just have soon killed her. No, she’s not Jewish, but her parents were communists, and her foster family is hiding a Jew in the basement.

And there are times in the story when I couldn’t put the book down and other times when I couldn’t pick it up. And when the last 100 pages came I was dreading the end. I knew that it would end with me crying, and I did. My heart broke in the last chapter. I wanted to reach threw the pages and time and make everything all better, even though I knew that could never be.

The imagery in the book brings the world to life, you can feel the hunger, the desperation, the cold.

I can’t do it justice. This review is very good. I read it. It’s probably better than mine, but I had to share. i had to get out the pain that i still feel. And how tears prick at my eyes but I smile anyway, because there are somethings that make you stronger, even when death is knocking at the door.