Saturday, December 14, 2019

Book Review—Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey is an adorable book.  If you like rom-coms, you will enjoy this book.  It is Kerry Winfrey’s debut novel, too!  The main character in the story, Annie Cassidy, is obsessed with rom-coms.  She wants her “meet cute” moment with all of the fireworks of romantic love to follow.  In reality she lives with her uncle, works at a local coffee shop, and is secretly working on a screenplay.  Of course, the screenplay is a rom-com.  A movie just happens to start filming in her town, and that is when Annie’s life begins to change.

This is such a sweet, heartwarming story.  I loved watching Annie’s growth during the novel.  The relationship between Annie and her best friend, Chloe is especially touching.  Does Annie meet her “Tom Hanks?”  You will just have to read the book to find this out!

On a personal note, I have always loved Tom Hanks rom-coms.  He’s my age, and I could always relate to his movies.  In addition, I read his book, Uncommon Type and found out that he has quite a collection of antique typewriters.  Around the time Uncommon Type was published, Tom was a guest on the CBS Sunday Morning, and they actually showed many pieces of his collection.

So, this summer, my sister and I were going through my mom and dad’s home to get ready for an estate sale before we put the house on the market.  What did we find?  An old typewriter, and I mean old.  It was made before the QWERTY keyboard was used, and it was wooden.  My dad was an avid antique collector and this was one of his last purchases.  So, who would want this typewriter, we thought?  Who would appreciate this typewriter?  We both said—Tom Hanks!

So, I rewatched the CBS Sunday Morning show and wrote to Tom’s publisher of Uncommon Type.  I didn’t hear back from them.  So, I sent Tom Hanks a DM to his verified Instagram account, hoping his social media people would give him the message.  So, when the book, Waiting for Tom Hanks came out this summer, my sister, Glenna, and I just started laughing! We were waiting for Tom Hanks, too!

Glenna and I had fun waiting for Tom Hanks.  Would he contact me by Instagram, by cell phone, or by snail mail?  I answered every call that came across my cell phone.  I endured a lot of scams, but Tom Hanks was worth the trouble.  I kept imagining what he would say.  “Hi, this is Tom Hanks,” or better, “Hi LaDonne, this is Tom Hanks,” and he would even pronounce my name correctly.

Well, we are still waiting for Tom Hanks.  And, alas, we sold the typewriter at the estate sale.  He really missed out on a great typewriter.  But, just in case you read this blog, Tom Hanks, my sister and I still think the world of you, and always will.

Friday, December 13, 2019

New Twist on WW Sautéed Chicken with Lemon Caper Sauce!

Yesterday's blog was the WW recipe Sautéed Chicken with Lemon Caper Sauce.  In the notes from WW they mentioned that the sauce would be perfect over pasta with one of the chicken thighs.  So, last night I made Cappello's Fettuccine, which is made from almond flour.  The fettuccine is yeast free and gluten free.  It is extremely simple to make.  The fettuccine is stored in the freezer.  All you have to do is boil the pasta water, add the fettuccine and it is finished in 90 seconds.  Yes, you read that correctly--90 seconds!  What a quick, tasty meal!  Also, you could add Follow Your Heart Parmesan and/or Mozzarella vegan shreds on this if you wanted some cheesy goodness on your meal!  Enjoy!

Sauteed Chicken with Lemon Caper Sauce over
Cappello's Almond Flour Fettuccine

Cappello's Almond Flour Fettuccine

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Sautéed Chicken with Lemon-Caper Sauce

This recipe is from WW (formerly Weight Watchers).  It is 5 points on the Blue and Purple plans.  I paired the dinner with roasted Brussels sprouts and garlic cauliflower mash.  It made a delightful lunch and would be perfect for dinner, too. 

Sautéed Chicken with Lemon-Caper Sauce--Prep:  4 min./Cook 15 min./Serves 4


  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur Flour--Gluten-Free Measure for Measure.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 20 oz. skinless boneless chicken thighs (I used thighs.  Using chicken breasts would make the points lower.)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced
  • On a sheet of wax paper, combine flour and black pepper.  Coat chicken with flour mixture.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, warm oil.  Add chicken; cook, turning once, until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.
  • To skillet, add broth and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up browned bits from bottom of pan.  Cook until broth is reduced slightly, about 3 minutes.  Return chicken to skillet.  Reduce heat to low; simmer, covered, until chicken is heated through, about 2 minutes.  Stir in lemon juice and capers.  Garnish with parsley and lemon slices.  Divide chicken among 4 plates.  Drizzle with sauce.
Note:  Serving size:  1 chicken thigh and 1-1/2 tablespoons of sauce.

Sautéed Chicken with Lemon Caper Sauce Served with
Garlic Cauliflower Mash and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I roasted the Brussels sprouts at 475 degrees for 12-15 minutes.  This made them extra crispy.  I cut them in half and put 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil on them and sprinkled them with salt and pepper.  At 6 minutes I turned the Brussels sprouts.  They were done in 12 minutes.  Sprinkle with more salt, if desired, and serve immediately.

To make the garlic cauliflower mash, I bought already riced cauliflower.  I microwaved it according to the package, which was 4 minutes.  I took out as much of the moisture as possible.  I placed the cooked cauliflower in a blender.  (My blender is not a high speed blender.)  I added 1 smashed clove of garlic and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the cauliflower.  Next, I added salt and pepper to taste.  Mix at a high speed on your blender until creamy and serve immediately.

I hope you enjoy this healthy recipe!  Sometimes during the holiday season, this is exactly what one needs!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Book Review—Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber

This month I’m going to try something different and review each book as I finish reading or listening to them.  I will still do a monthly collage and short wrap-up at the end of December.

Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber was published in October, 2016.  It is a stand-alone book, not part of a series. I listened to the audiobook version of this book.  The reader, Suzanne Elise Freeman, has a lovely easy-to-listen to voice.  I loved this book.  The main character, Julie, works at Macy’s and loves the Christmas season.  She has to start a blog for a job she is applying for and ends up writing about her encounters with her single, male neighbor who she nicknames “Ebenezer.”  This is a very sweet story for the season.  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of 5 stars!

Monday Motivation!!

It is always so nice to have a friend near you, especially this time of year.

My little best friend, Milo, curled up next to me as I was making this post this morning.  He is such a dear little guy! ❤️🐾❤️🐾

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Day Seven of Aldi’s Advent Calendars

I’m having my afternoon tasting again today!  This is Day 7 of Aldi's Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Advent Calendars.  My sister teased me and said that it looked like there was a stick of butter on the plate with a meatball, but I assure you that is not the case!

Day 7
Wine:  Rosé—From Chile, Bright with raspberry and plum flavors, Delicious chilled with vegetables and salads ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Cheese:  Matured Gouda, Creamy  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
Chocolate:  Mousse Au Chocolat Truffle, Tasty outer shell with chocolate goodness inside ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The dog biscuit today from the Dog Treats Advent Calendar was sweet potato flavored. Milo devoured both pieces.  🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾

Day 7 Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate 

Friday, December 6, 2019

November 2019 Reading!

I didn’t realize I read eight books in November until I started to make my photo collage!  There was a lot of great reading this month, so I will get started with my reviews!

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren—This was a Spivey’s Book Club selection for the month of November.  I listened to it on an audiobook.  It begins as a “meet cute” love story between Tate and Ben.  However, some truths are exposed which causes them to part ways.  Fourteen years later they meet again, and Tate has become a famous actress.  This book also contains great insights into the entertainment industry. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht—This was Téa Obreht’s first novel. I read her second novel, Inland, in September.  She is a beautiful writer. This story had two major story lines. One is a folk tale about the deathless man, and the other is about the tiger and a death-mute woman who is nicknamed his wife.  The Balkins are prevalent in the book since the author is from there. Magical! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber—This was the first Christmas story I read this year.  It is the cute story of Josie and Palmer, who meet in the Alaskan wilderness when Josie takes a summer job at a lodge.  It is a bit predictable, but certainly worth reading.  It is not a heavy read, so it was nice for me after reading The Tiger’s Wife. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Summer of ‘69 by Elin Hilderbrand—This book is a Book of the Month selection. I loved this book.  I could relate to the time era, the music, and the characters.  The story is about the Levin family.  There are four children and the son, Tiger, is off to war in Vietnam.  The character I related to the most was 13-year-old Jessie, probably because I was  her age in 1969!  The author’s notes at the end are very moving. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern—This book was a Spivey’s Book Club selection for the month of November.  The author also wrote The Night Circus, which I read last year.  Erin Morgenstern is a great writer. She has basically invented a world in this story, “the starless sea”.  The main character, Zachary Ezra Rollins, and yes, he goes by all three names, checks out a book in a Vermont library as an undergrad student, and realizes that part of the story is about his own childhood.  This book is magical, and Morgenstern is an amazing fairy tale writer.  I listened to the book, but I would advise getting the hardback book or Kindle version so you can look back to events in the book.

Is There Still Sex in the City? by Candace Bushnell—If you are expecting an episode of Sex in the City, this is not going to be your book.  This book is mainly about Candace and her dating life in her 50’s after her divorce.  Candace is witty and will make you laugh, and other times, she will make you cry.  She has funny acronyms throughout the book, such as MNB (My New Boyfriend).  There were parts of the book I enjoyed , but other parts I just tolerated. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lisa TerKeurst—I read this book for my woman’s Bible Study.   We did an in-depth study, which included the workbook and we also watched videos.  I highly recommend this book for anyone who has faced life changing disappointments.  The author shares her disappointments and how she worked everything out Biblically.  As someone who has had major life changes in the last four years, I was able to process all of it during this study. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

What Happens in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand—Can the third book in this trilogy come out tomorrow?  Oh my gosh! I have to know what happens, and I think I have to wait until next October!  If you haven’t started the trilogy, you must.  The first book, Winter in Paradise, came out last October.  I enjoyed the second installment even more.  Irene’s husband is killed in a helicopter crash and she finds out he was living a double life after his death.  What Happens in Paradise leaves off with major cliffhangers in the major plot and the subplots, too.  October can’t come soon enough! 

Keep checking my Instagram page for what I am currently reading!  Right now I’m reading Get a Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert.  I’m listening to Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber.  Happy December reading!

 November 2019 Reading