“Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn

It might be old news for you, but I’ve just finished reading “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn. This book was first published in Great Britain in 2012 and has also been made into a movie. I haven’t seen the movie…yet.

It all started a few months ago when I went to the movies to see “Girl on a Train”.  Loved it.  Then when I was looking for my next book to read, I saw on Pinterest lots of references to “Gone Girl” if you enjoyed “Girl on a Train”. Had to read it. I hadn’t read a psychological thriller before. This was so different to books I have read in the past.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

When people say they couldn’t put this book down, they are not exaggerating!  I took this book camping and I’m afraid it made me quite unsociable. When I did manage to pry my eyes from the pages and join my friends and family at the beach or on a walk, the story stayed with me.  I thought about it and I talked about it to people who had read it before.

If you haven’t read it, let me tell you a little bit about the story:

A young husband and wife, Nick and Amy, are about to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary. That day their lives change forever. Amy suddenly disappears and all fingers point to Nick. What did he do to her?

Gone Girl

In the following days, as the police conduct their thorough investigation, the story twists and turns.

What really happened to Amy?

How can Nick prove his innocence?

What’s real and what’s a lie?

These questions and more kept my head stuck in this book. Just when I thought I might have actually figured it out, there was a shock twist in the story. It will keep you guessing to the end.

Can’t wait to see the movie. Need to get my hands on it!

Trina xx

Church Soup recipe

I have called this recipe “Church Soup” because I make it regularly for a nearby church.  This church is a Lutheran Church and every Sunday night they provide a basic meal for local community members who are struggling to put food on the table. I am just one of many who are on a roster to provide at least 8 litres of nourishing soup for these Sunday nights. It’s a huge committment this congregation have taken on and each Sunday night several of their members serve this meal and offer their hand in friendship.

Community Meal sign

Such a worthy program deserves support and I am happy to make this soup a few times a year to help them out. Lives are being touched in a very special way through these meals.  Blessings for those receiving as well as those serving.

The recipe is really a formula, rather than a strict recipe. It makes around 8 litres but you can vary it by adding more or less water.

You could make it for your family and also share it with a family who you know would love a meal.  Or, you could freeze it in batches so that you have a few meals in the coming weeks for busy weeknights.

Church soup

When I cook this up, I use two large pots.  I mainly do this because once cooked, I have to transport it to the church so it’s easier to carry this way. You could use one huge pot if you have one and didn’t need to move it once cooked.

Church Soup recipe

Yield: Around 8 litres

Church Soup recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • {diced vegetables: any combination of the following!
  • 2 potatoes
  • diced pumpkin
  • 2 diced carrots
  • 2 diced zucchinis}
  • 2 cans creamed corn
  • 2 packets chicken noodle soup mix
  • Water
  • Extras: choose one of the following:
  • pasta (spirals or broken spaghetti or macaroni)
  • rice (around 2/3 cup)
  • lentils (around 2/3 cup)

Instructions

  1. Saute onions and garlic until soft (2 minutes) in a little oil in a large pot.
  2. Add remaining ingredients of your choice and simmer for 30 - 45 minutes.
  3. Blend to desired consistency if desired.

Notes

Adding chicken: Sometimes I will add chicken to this soup. If I have a chicken carcass I remove the cooked chicken from the bones, then cook the bones in the slow cooker with 3 cups of water. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours. Strain the liquid and discard the bones. Use the liquid as a base for the soup. Add it as part of the water in the recipe. Then add the shedded chicken to the soup at the end (after blending).

http://trinamichellehouse.com/church-soup-recipe/

Sometimes I blend the soup at the end with my stick blender to make it smooth, but if you’d like it more chunky, then just leave it.

I really hope you like this Church Soup recipe.  It’s ideal for feeding a crowd and it can be different every time, depending on what you have in your fridge that day!

Let me know how yours turns out!

Trina xx

TrinaMichelleHouse Granola recipe

Hope you had a lovely Christmas filled with great friends and family and of course, great food!

Now that Christmas is over and the leftovers have been eaten, you might be starting to think about getting back on track with your food.

Start with breakfast! Let me share my TrinaMichelleHouse granola recipe with you.  I have collected lots of granola recipes from the internet over the years and usually spread about 3 or 4 of them on the bench when I make mine so that I can pick and choose things from each one. This has led me to develop my own recipe and today I’m sharing it with you!

When I go to the trouble of making granola, I always double the recipe because it keeps really well as long as it’s kept in an airtight container (or zip-lock bag). I use 2 bowls and 2 lined trays.  The recipe here is what I mix in EACH bowl. If you want to make a smaller quantity, then just use the recipe below in one bowl and one lined tray.  The tray needs to be big enough to be able to spread out the granola in a single layer.  The more spread out it is, the more crunchy and toasted it will be.

Hot tip:

You can use this recipe as a base recipe and add whatever you like to it.  You can add other dried fruit like dried apple, raisins or craisins. You can also add extra seeds like sunflower seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, etc. You can add other nuts like walnuts, peanuts or cashews. In addition (or instead of) the mashed banana, you could add apple puree or peanut butter.

TrinaMichelleHouse Granola recipe

TrinaMichelleHouse Granola recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Rolled Oats (not Quick Oats)
  • 2 Weet Bix, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp LSA
  • 2 Tbsp chopped almonds
  • 2 Tbsp pepitas
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup sultanas
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dates, chopped
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C.
  2. Combine all ingredients in one bowl.
  3. Press onto tray lined with baking paper.
  4. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and browned to your liking.
  5. Once cool, transfer to airtight container or zip-lock bag (use a lifter to transfer so that the chunks stay together).
  6. Serve with milk, yogurt, chopped fresh fruit.
http://trinamichellehouse.com/trinamichellehouse-granola-recipe/

I hope you make this TrinaMichelleHouse granola recipe and feel free to change it to make it your own. Share you ideas and hot tips in the comments below.

Trina xx

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

The Kitchen House – Kathleen Grissom

I’ve just finished reading “The Kitchen House” by Kathleen Grissom.  I found this book on Pinterest, listed as a book that is hard to put down.  Well, it’s true!

This book is very similar to “The Help” (also a movie).  The Kitchen House is set in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s in Virginia, America.

Lavinia is a seven year old orphan who is taken in by a wealthy plantation owner.  He doesn’t take her into the big house with his family.  Instead, he assigns her to work and live out in the kitchen house with the black slaves. Lavinia is given to Belle, who works in the kitchen house, to raise with the other black children on the property. She loves Belle and loves the other girls like sisters. Lavinia quickly becomes part of the black slave family and sees herself as being the same as them. Her black slave family treat her well and include her in their daily lives and dramas.

But the colour of Lavinia’s skin will always set her apart from her black slave family, whether she likes it or not. As she grows older she is torn between her close-knit community in the kitchen house and the big house where she is given increasing responsibilities and opportunities.

This novel hits hard with the realities of life as a black slave in Virginia. With descriptions that made me feel like I was there with them, this book gives great insight into life during this era.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It is easy to read and I didn’t want to put it down! There is hardship, grief, joy, fear, murder, confusion and romance in this book.  It is Katherine Grissom’s first novel an it’s really well written. I recommend this book!

Trina xx

Grandma’s Bars recipe

This chocolate fudge-like slice is officially called Grandma’s Bars, but in our house we know it as “Grandma’s Bras”. This silly name first came about due to a slip of the tongue, but as you can imagine, giggles erupted and now the offical name never gets used. “Grandma’s Bras” it always will be. (Sorry Grandma!)

Every time I make  this slice I get asked for the recipe. It’s always a favourite and is very moreish…and very easy to make (but you knew that!).

Grandma’s Bras recipe

Grandma’s Bras recipe

Ingredients

  • 250g Milk Arrowroot or Marie biscuits
  • 180g butter, chopped
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) milk
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tsp vnilla extract

Instructions

  1. Lightly grease a 20cm square cake or slice pan. Line with baking paper, extending 5cm above rim.
  2. Crush biscuits in a food processor and process until coarse crumbs form. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Place butter, sugar, milk, cocoa and vanilla in a pan on medium heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until butter is melted and ingredients are combined. Add butter mixture to biscuits. Stir until combined.
  4. Press mixture into prepared pan. Cover and chill for 4 hours, until firm. Remove from pan. Cut into squares.

Notes

Can add walnuts, chopped Glace cherries, apricots, licorice allsorts...let your imgination go wild!

http://trinamichellehouse.com/grandmas-bars-recipe/

This year I decided to make Grandma’s Bras for the kid’s teachers as a small Christmas gift. It cuts really nicely and looks quite special. It should be kept refigerated but will survive well outside the fridge if it is not a very hot day.

You can add things to vary the Grandma’s Bars recipe. For Christmas I added chopped glace cherries. You could also add chopped jelly lollies, licorice allsorts, apricots, or nuts, but just plain without extras is actually the best in my opinion.

Guess what?

This Grandma’s Bras recipe actually has no chocolate in it. It’s hard to believe because it’s so yummy and chocolatey. The cocoa and butter and milk do a wonderful job together!

Grandma’s Bras slice freezes very well. I made a double batch in slice trays and let it set in the fridge. Then I cut it up and placed it in a shallow container and popped it in the freezer. As my girls had their final piano lesson, etc, I could simply remove the slice from the freezer, fill a jar and put the rest back in the freezer. Then I topped the jar lid with a piece of fabric and a ribbon and tag. Just a small gift to convey Christmas cheer and gratitude for the work they have done this year.

Grandma's bars gift

What have you made for your kid’s teachers this year? Leave your good ideas in the comments.

Trina xx