Mount Jackson ~ Presidential Range, NH

image

Although part of the Presidential Range of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, Mount Jackson was named after 19th century Geologist Charles Thomas Jackson and not President Andrew Jackson.

image

At 4052 feet, it is the 38th tallest of New Hampshire’s 48 4000 footers.

image

This is a moderate hike with numerous river crossings and rock scrambles.

image

There’s a great view of Mount Washington in the (not so far) distance.

image

In mid-May, there was still quite a bit of ice on the trail.

image

The views from the summit are wonderful, if very, VERY windy.

image

 It was our first 4000 footer of the season, and I’m not going to lie – it was rough.

image

The 5.6 mile hike took us about 4.5 hours, though I have no doubt that the hike could be done much faster.

image

Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes ~ Fiction Book Review

wpb22Wow. I’ve got to say it again. Wow. This was the most suspenseful book that I’ve read in a long time, and the suspense lasted right through to the last page. It was dark, creepy, scary – it was everything you know you shouldn’t be reading but can’t resist. I could not put this book down. I must now read all the books that Elizabeth Hayes has written as soon as I can get my hands on them. Have I mentioned before how much I love British authors?

The story maintains the same narrator, Catherine, as it switches between years (2003/4 and 2007/8). This put me off a bit in the beginning, because you never know how important it is to keep track of the time until you get a bit into a story. My advice – don’t worry about it with this one, think of it as simply Then and Now. In the Then, Catherine is an outgoing party girl who gets the boyfriend who makes all of her friends jealous. In the Now, Cathy is an introverted homebody almost crippled by her OCD and fear. The story of how she got that way is intense. They story of her trying to move on and take her life back is intense. The culmination of the book is, for lack of a better word, intense.

This book disturbed me in a way that few books do because the story didn’t just seem possible – it seems real. Haynes is one of my new favorite authors and I’m definitely going to read her other books. 5 stars and a night light!

Mediterranean Zucchini Salad

image

Zucchini. A member of the summer squash family that is low in calories, a good source of fiber and potassium, contains a decent amount of antioxidants, and a bunch of other healthy benefits.

So why wasn’t I eating it more?

Because all the recipes I knew for zucchini were time consuming and labor intensive.

But . . .  zucchinis are great. If you do all your shopping for the week in one trip (like I try to do) zucchinis are one of those vegetables that stay fresh until the end of the week. So I came up with this simple recipe that turned zucchini into a quick and tasty option.

Ingredients:

  • zucchini
  • sweet white onion
  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • feta cheese

I throw together a quick salad dressing of:

  • olive oil
  • rice wine vinegar
  • honey or Dijon mustard
  • pepper
  • Nature’s Seasoning
  • basil leaves

mixed to taste.

I use a Tupperware bowl because I always make enough for leftovers (this has become a favorite in my house). I use 2 large zucchini, which makes enough for about 4 servings.

First, mix the dressing or open salad dressing of your choice, chop the onions and sun-dried tomatoes, wash the zucchini and remove the rind. Then, drizzle some dressing in the bottom of the bowl and grate 1/2 of the first zucchini into the bowl using a vegetable peeler. Add a handful of onions, a sprinkling of tomatoes, some feta, and another drizzle of dressing. Repeat the process with the rest of the ingredients, making three or four layers. Then add put the lid on the bowl (tightly) and shake every direction and upside down. Voila! Zucchini ready to eat in less than 10 minutes!

image

Wolf by Mo Hayder ~ Fiction Book Review

wpb27.jpgMo Hayder has done it again. She never fails to astound me with a tale that is both sharply crafted and breathlessly astounding. Hayder is one of my favorite authors, but I haven’t read all of her books. Instead of the instant gratification of consuming everything she has ever written, I dole out her works sparingly, as a special treat.

Hayder is the mistress of brutal story lines. She unflinchingly confronts the darkest nightmares of humanity. And I love her for it.

But she is more than just a shock jock. Her prose is beautifully crafted. Her characters’ lives extend beyond the pages. She is a  master craftsman, a writer one can learn from, no matter what genre they spin. Hayder has a supreme ability to convey setting. Each silken thread of the spider’s web you find yourself in has been spun with a loving touch. Without her uncanny ability to create setting and atmosphere with such precision that her words practically surround you with a hologram illusion in the room you’re reading in, her stories wouldn’t have such the powerful effect that they have. 5 stars!