2 Down, 48 to Go: Bright’s Passage

I am 2 books in to my 50 Books in 2012  goal.  Last week I wrote about book #1 and am ready to tell you about #2:  Bright’s Passage, the debut novel by singer/song writer Josh Ritter.  I’m listening to the Josh Ritter Pandora station as I type this post — so far, so good.

Josh Ritter Source: joshritter.com

This novel is the story of Henry Bright, a young, widowed veteran returning from World War I.  The story bounces between Henry and his newborn son fleeing a forest fire and cruel in-laws in the West Virginia hills, Henry’s trench warfare experiences in France, and his childhood.  I liked the fact that each chapter presented a different scene – it was either the present, the War, or Henry’s childhood.

I came across Bright’s Passage a few weeks ago after seeing War Horse.  Did you know that horses were used as part of cavalry charges, to transport materials to the front, and as a reliable form of transportation?  Over 8 million horses died (on all sides) in the War.

A key character in the story is Henry’s horse who is the guardian angel guiding Henry as he and his son escape the fire and Henry’s father-in-law who is seeking revenge after Henry’s young wife dies during childbirth (that happened within the first few pages of the novel…there was not a dry eye in the house reading that chapter!).  I don’t want to get into the horse and guardian angel too much because that’s a key piece in the story – the angel who helps Henry on the battlefield and is key at the end of the novel.

Source: joshritter.com

A free sample of the book is available on Josh’s website.

Question:  Have you read Bright’s Passage or seen War Horse?  Thoughts?

Book #3 is A Big Little Life by Dean Koontz.  A beautiful tribute to their golden retriever, Trixie.

Happy Birthday Princess Kate

Today’s post is a little tongue-in-cheek.  It’s to say Happy Birthday to the Duchess of Cambridge.

On more than one occasion I’ve been told I resemble Kate Middleton.

Sporty Kate

Sporty Nicole

It’s a compliment and one that I always makes me laugh a bit.  I’d like to think that in a Princess emergency, I could stand in for her–you should see my elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist wave.  A big difference though:  she wore a floor-length gown to see the movie War Horse.  I wore jeans and a fleece sweatshirt.

In honor of Kate Middleton’s 30th birthday, I created Princess Kate Sweet Potato Kakes.  This isn’t a fancy recipe but came together quickly with ingredients I had on hand.

Princess Kate Sweet Potato Kakes

2 baked sweet potatoes
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 a can of black beans
1/2 red pepper
1 handfull of spinach leaves
1 tsp chili powder or cumin
dash of garlic salt
dash of pepper
(Optional but recommended:  juice of one lemon or lime, fresh parsley or cilantro)

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees
*Cook the sweet potatoes (I pierced them and put in the microwave for 10 min)
*Cook the quinoa and let cool
*Place sweet potatoes (I left skins on),  pepper, spinach, beans, salt and pepper, chili powder/cumin, parsley in a food processor and process until mashed/blended.
*Combine the potato mixture with the quinoa and stir together
*Form mixture into patties and place on a foil-lined cookie sheet (I recommend spraying the foil with non-stick spray)
*Bake 12 minutes, flip and bake another 12 minutes
*Turn on the broiler and broil on each side for about 5 min until crisp
*Makes approximately 10 patties

Princess Kate Sweet Potato Kate

I recommend serving these warm–perhaps on a bed of mixed greens, with salsa, and even an avocado.  These are not the prettiest Kakes, but they are tasty and pack a nutritional punch.  As I was making them, the QAG came into my kitchen and said, “You certainly have something going on there, don’t you?”
I have a sweeter version in mind for another test-kitchen operation that will include apples, of course.

Question:  Who have you been told you look like?