Monday, September 13, 2010

Horse books for the young set plus a recipe for some comfort food!!

Recently I was contacted by author Alison Hart to see if I would be interested in reviewing her new book Taking The Reins. Having been an avid reader since I first learned how I was glad for the opportunity.  Taking The Reins is the story of a young gal who has lost her confidence riding in the show ring due to taking a fall when her horse refused a jump, landing her in a heap right in front of the judges!  This girl is YOU and throughout this book you can decide which way the story line is going to go by picking one out of several scenarios.  This concept is amazing and you can go back, read the book again picking different scenarios and have a completely different ending! It's like having several books in one as there are 20 different endings!!

Being a horse lover since the tender age of about 8 years old I loved this book and have started reading it to my granddaughter as she isn't able to read chapter books yet.  The graphics are gorgeous from the sweet doe eyed faces of all the little girls that ride at Innerstar University to the beautiful horses that live there.  It's a story of gaining back confidence and helping the team participate in the big show where they hope to win.  Again, there are numerous ways you can help out with this show, riding being just one of them.  Do you ride?  Do you help in some other way?  Is the horse too spirited for you?  Do you do the jump all wrong at a canter, not a trot?  Do you land in a heap again?

Again, I must say that the concept of this book is amazing and I have never read one like it.  Having these choices in the story line makes you feel like you are right there in the middle of everything.  Any young gal age 8 and up with a love for horses and riding will enjoy this book and want to read the others in the series.  I can see these in Miss T's Christmas stocking this year!!

Alison Hart is an author of many books for young readers and you can contact her at   I also read her book Emma's River about a young gal and her beautiful pony, Twist, on a treacherous trip down the Mississippi  River.  When there is an explosion on the Sally May it seems that all aboard may be lost............You'll have to read it to find out what happens!!  It's worth it!!

I know many of you have young daughters and granddaughters and these are great, wholesome, clean books that I know they would enjoy reading.  Back in my day I read Hardy Boy Mysteries and Nancy Drew but if there had been a series about horses or ponies I would have been on Cloud Nine!  I will be picking up all of the series books before Christmas!

Disclaimer:  I did not get paid to write about these books, I did get two free copies to read which I will pass on to Miss T!!!  :o)

Fall is here in Maine with the temperature being 44* this morning when we got up!  Yikes! Going from 90* to 44* is a shock to the ole' system but I like it cool so I'm not complaining.  It also gets me in the mood for some hot comfort food, spaghetti being one of them.

Oh, the aroma of onions and green peppers simmering in olive oil!! I simmer them until they are soft and not crunchy, about 20 minutes.

I add all of the other ingredients and simmer that for about three and a half hours on low.

In the mean time I make my meatballs by soaking crushed crackers in milk, add one egg, finely chopped onions, salt and pepper and 85% hamburger.  I used to use the 90% but found it to be a bit dry, that extra little bit of fat makes for a much juicier meatball.  Make into balls and bake in a 350* oven for 30 minutes or until cooked thoroughly.

Of course you need some rolls and I like to make the clover leaf rolls out of the frozen bread dough if I don't have the time to make them from scratch.  It's Rhodes Rolls in the freezer section and I put three of them in each section of a popover pan as they don't fit in a muffin tin.  I have made them with just two in each in a muffin tin and they are fine.

Did you notice one roll is gone I wonder who ate that???????

Spaghetti Sauce

2 green peppers
2 onions---I like sweet or Vadalia onions
Olive oil to cover bottom of large pot---I usually add a little more if the onions and peppers are big

Cut up onions and peppers and cook until tender.
two large cans Italian tomatoes cutting them up.
2--12 ounce cans of tomato paste
2--12 ounce cans of water
handful of parsley flakes
handful of oregano
salt and pepper

Add cooked meatballs

Simmer up to four hours on low stirring occasionally to make sure it hasn't stuck to the bottom of the pan.  DO NOT COVER! It's even better the next day!  Now I must go weigh myself as I think I gained three pounds just typing about all of this food!  Sigh.....

This is an old family recipe passed down through the generations.

I've been in my sewing room a lot lately as it is already getting dark out but 7:30.  I love making table toppers for the different seasons so whipped up one for fall the other night.  Well actually it took me two nights as I am a bit rusty.  :o(      My DIL makes them to sell and they go like hot cakes, especially the ones for the Christmas holidays.

Guess that's it for today.  Thank you for all of your kind thoughts and notes concerning my friend Barn Goddess.  She will be missed by many of us!!!!! Please keep her family in your prayers.


Julie Harward said...

Love the recipe and craft and I also love these kinds of good books for young ones. My daughters loved to read as did I, I did most of my reading up in my favorite tree! :D

Margaret Cloud said...

This is such an interesting post. I love that book concept but, I have no little ones left. Your supper made me hungry and I like the ingredients that went into making meatballs. Have a nice week.

Hollie said...

The books sound great! I'm sure your graddaughter is enjoying the book...especially you reading it to her....such good ole quality time.

Oh my goodness your spaghetti looks sooooooooooooooooo good. I can just smell it!

I'm excited about the thoughts of cooler temperatures. It was 57 here this morning! I can't wait until the cooler temps last into the day time also.

Valerie said...

This is my second attempt to leave you a comment. Blogger must be acting up again. I wanted to tell you that I am sorry about your blogger friend and that I will keep them in my prayers. Thank you so much for this recipes. I love to cook. I haven't done a lot of it since it is so hot but hope to when it cools down. I loved hearing about the books. I wish I was a reader like you and Mom.

Dawn said...

I can smell the spaghetti sauce and the rolls!! I've never made my own sauce like that - sounds wonderful. I gained 3 pounds just reading it!!

The books sound wonderful for horse lovers. I am having fun reading Ralph S. Mouse to the girls every day.

I love your table topper. I should commission you to make me something!

Have a wonderful day.

Dawn said...

Me again - It hasn't gotten down to 44 yet, but 48 - and then goes up to 90. Crazy! Have you heard about the fires out here? The latest is only 8 miles from us in the foothills. Scary stuff for those living up there.

Needled Mom said...

I may have to check out that book for the girls for Christmas.

Fall temperatures for you??? You are absolutely loving it....I know. Yesterday and today it was 48* here in the morning. Those are winter temps for us!!! I hear they are forecasting a warmer than normal winter for you.

Your rolls look yummy. I can see why one needed to be tested! ;) That is great fall cooking.

Enjoy your week. xox

Frazzled Farm Wife said...

That spaghetti sounds WONDERFUL!

The books sound great too, I have a few nieces and a nephew that ride and I bet they would love those books!

PEA said...

Oops, I didn't think you'd notice that I took one of those buns! hehe I always have to eat one as they come right out of the oven, hot with butter...yummmmm! Now I'm drooling! Your spaghetti sauce recipe sounds scrumptious and I've copied it down. I love the old tried and true family recipes:-)

That book certainly sounds terrific and no doubt any horse lover would love reading it. How neat is that, to have so many different endings to it, depending on which way you go throughout the book! I'm sure Miss T will love getting those books in her stocking:-)

Ooooooh, I absolutely love that Autumn table topper, it's so gorgeous!! You and Needled Mom need to come over here to teach me how to sew! lol

It was a high of 54F here today and there's a chance of frost tonight...last week we were in the high 80's! Geesh, talk about a shock to the system all right!!! Like you, though, I'm not complaining cuz this gal likes it cooler:-)

Love you to bits!! xoxoxox

Alice Grace said...

Thanks for the great recipe! And I loved the table topper! I am sure your granddaughter will love the book, sounds like it will be a hit!

Ann Nichols said...

Oh Wow! You live in Maine! My father grew up in Maine - Lewiston - and I used to spend summers there visiting my grandmother and aunts and uncles! Just loved it! Some of my best memories! And... love your blog! Your horses are fabulous! I will check out the books.
Please stop by for a visit at my history blog - It's about St. Nicholas!