Announcing the Off the Thanksgiving Menu Winner

December 7, 2008 at 4:39 pm | Posted in Books | 4 Comments
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After returning from her Thanksgiving trip, Christine Son reviewed the recipes submitted for the Off the Thanksgiving Menu contest.  It was a tough choice, but the winner she selected is:

Turkey Flautas

Kelly Manfredini submitted this wonderful recipe!  Congratulations, Kelly!  Please send me an email and we’ll work out the details of your prize!

A special thanks to Christine for taking part in this fun contest!


Off the Thanksgiving Menu Recipes!

November 26, 2008 at 11:32 am | Posted in Books | 5 Comments
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Are you salivating yet just knowing that Thanksgiving is tomorrow?  Well, either way, the five recipes entered into my Off the Thanksgiving Menu contest should do the trick!  I hope that you enjoy reading these as much as I have.

Just a reminded that I’ll be announcing the winner of the contest once Christine Son gets back from her Thanksgiving holiday.  Any one of these would be fantastic!

Turkey Flautas

Kelly Manfredini submitted this holiday leftover recipe:

Here in Texas, everything has a Mexican flair, even Thanksgiving leftovers!

NOTE: You can also roll them up and bake them at 350 for 20 minutes if you want to eat a little healthier.


1    Cream cheese
4    Jalapenos chopped fine
4    Garlic chopped fine
1/2    A red onion chopped fine
1 1/2 cups Smoked turkey chopped
1/4 teaspoon   Crushed red pepper
1/8 teaspoon  Ancho powder
1/8 teaspoon  Cumin
1/8 teaspoon  Oregano
3    Glugs of hot sauce
– A glug is a precise kitchen measurement meaning more than a dash and less then a pour.
salt and pepper to taste


Corn tortillas that have been left out on the counter to dry for one hour. They will absorb less oil if they are dry. Blend all ingredients. You can add a small amount of sour cream or milk to help blend the mixture. I did not add anything. Spread approximately one heaping tablespoon of the mixture on the lower 1/3 of a tortilla and roll it up. Secure with a toothpick. Fry in 1/2 inch of peanut or corn oil until crispy on all sides. When they were done I dusted them with Ancho powder mixed with salt. Drain on paper towels. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Squash Muffins/Cake

AmandaSue submitted this recipe using squash:


3 Cups Flour
1 Cup Sugar
4 Teaspoons Backing Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
3/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1 Cup Milk
1 1/2 to 2 cups mashed butternut squash (or you can use any type of squash you like)
1/2 cup butter, softened.
2 eggs


In a large bowl, combine milk, squash, butter and eggs and mix well. Add all the other ingredients and mix until smooth. Batter will be thick. Fill paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full or use a greased cake pan. If making muffins makes about 18. Back at 350 degrees 20-22 minutes for muffins and 30-35 for cake.

Sweet Potato Ambrosia Salad

Carol Mintz submitted this recipe saying:

We like to make this because you can make it the day before.  There are enough last minute things to do.


1 cup brown sugar
½ stick butter
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 teaspoon allspice
2 large sweet potatoes, boiled, peeled and cut into cubes
1 cup pecans
½ cup raisins
1 cup small marshmallows


In a sauce pan combine sugar and butter until melted. Add flour and mix well. Gradually add orange juice, rind, and allspice. Let cool slightly. In a serving bowl combine sweet potatoes, pecans and raisins. Pour sugar mixture over top and coat well. After mixture has totally cooled add marshmallows and mix in. Store in refrigerator.

Serves 6 to 8

Chile Corn Custard

Jill at Fizzy Drinks submitted this recipe:


2 c drained corn, frozen or canned
1 1/2 c melted butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp salt
1 c sour cream
1 c diced jack cheese
1/2 c cornmeal
1 4 oz can diced Ortega chiles
2 tbsp chopped celery (optional)


Mixed all ingredients together.  Pour into a buttered 1 1/2 qt casserole dish, or a 9×9 pan. (Tip from softdrink’s mom: the shallow pans are better than the round dishes with the higher sides, otherwise the middle doesn’t always cook through.)  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until set.

Serves 6-8, so you might want to double it if you have lots of people, or kids who fight over the leftovers.

Leftover Turkey-Spaghetti Pie

Kathy at BermudaOnion submitted this recipe for leftovers she got from Kathy Brown:


4 quarts water
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon salt
1 (1 pound) package spaghetti
3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (8 ounce) cans sliced olives
2 (8 ounce) jars pimentos
1 1/2 cups leftover gravy or 1 can cream of mushroom soup
4 cups crushed tomatoes with juice
2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 cups leftover turkey, chopped
nonstick cooking spray
1 cup bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring water and 1/4 cup of the salt to a boil and cook pasta for 1 minute less than package directs. Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat and add butter.  Once butter is hot, add onion and garlic, and saute until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.  Add olives, pimentos, gravy, tomatoes, stock, cream cheese, pepper, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Bring liquid to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often.  Make sure cheese melts completely, then add turkey. Add pasta to sauce and mix well.  Coat a 13 x 9 inch pan with nonstick spray and add mixture, spreading evenly.  Cover evenly with bread crumbs. Bake until bread is toasted and pie is hot throughout, about 20 minutes.  Remove pie from oven and let rest 10 minutes before cutting.


I don’t know about you, but man I’m hungry!  Come on Turkey Day!  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

#125 ~ Off the Menu ~ Review and Contest

November 24, 2008 at 12:00 am | Posted in Books, Culture, Reading | 16 Comments
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tlc-book-tours-graphic-tiny1Today it is my pleasure to serve as Christine Son’s hostess on her blog tour TLC Book Tours.  What a great way to kick off the Thanksgiving holiday week!  Please see information on her entire tour at the end of this post.

For more information on TLC Book Tours, their authors and all of their wonderful tour dates, please click here.

The Review…

Off the Menu by Christine Son

Whitney, Audrey and Hercules are three Asian women from Houston, TX.  They have been friends since high school, where they were each the co-valedictorians of their graduating class.  Although they have different goals and dreams for their lives, they meet once a month at Hercules’ restaurant to discuss their lives and achievements.  The Valedictorians are about ready to enter their 30s and are all outwardly successful.  Inside, they each have anxieties about their lives and their futures that they do not share with each other for fear of what they each might think.  Independently, each of the women is bright, but they are sinking without the help of their best friends.  They learn that their troubles are best shared and resolved together.

Off the Menu is an interesting look at how three different women who share a similar race can be impacted by that in context of their family and of their country in very different ways.  Whitney is the youngest child of a traditional Korean family.  While clearly loved by her parents, the emphasis is on education and professional success.  Whitney is an up and coming attorney at a prestigious law firm, but what she really wants to do is take a shot at becoming a singer/songwriter.  She hides her weekend gigs from her friends and family for fear of how they will react.  This secret eventually becomes part of the distance growing in her relationship with her parent-approved Korean boyfriend.  Hercules is from a Chinese family.  Her mother died when she was 12, leaving her to be raised by her father, a man who never gets over the loss of his wife.  Hercules, whose given name is Xiao-Xiao, can never please her father, despite her success as a chef and restaurateur.  She constantly struggles dealing with her father’s refusal to assimilate into American culture, with his ailing health, and taking care of his personal financial matters.  Audrey was adopted by her billionaire parents from Korea when she was two months old.  Her adoptive family is Irish and it is that cultural identity she thinks of first when asked.  She often thinks of herself as white because of her surroundings.  While her family paints a perfect picture for the rest of the world, family life is not so very pleasant.  Her parents, though married, are little more than strangers to each other.

Of all the characters, Hercules was my favorite.  I wouldn’t have expected this at the beginning, though.  At first I found her to be off-putting.  Some of her very first words were f*ck and motherf*cker.  Those happen to be my favorite cuss words, but they were like a slap in the face coming right out of the blue.  After I got to know her better, I understood that her near constant foul language maintained the walls she built around herself.  My reaction to her is just what she would have wanted from any stranger.  It instantly moved her behind her wall, keeping me at a distance.  She didn’t allow her friends to get much closer, either.  When her relationship with her father come to a head at the same time as an eagerly awaited business venture with a college friend, she could no longer shut Whitney and Audrey out.  It was a treat to watch her start to blossom from within her darkest moments.

This novel was not at all what I had anticipated.  Where I was expecting chick lit about friendship with an Asian twist, I found thoughtful commentary on what it means to be a daughter, a friend, a lover, successful, an American, and a minority.  I enjoyed getting to know the characters and learning from their experiences.  This would make a perfect book for reading groups and dear friends.  I am glad that Son’s husband believed in her dream and bought her a laptop.  I’ll be looking forward to reading her next book – no pressure, Christine! 😉

The Contest…

Since it is Thanksgiving week, I thought it would be very appropriate to host a contest with Christine Son that revolves around food.  Can’t you smell the turkey now?  Well, in the spirit of this novel and its title, I know that there are those who celebrate Thanksgiving with food that falls outside of what is considered traditional.  Maybe this is because your family likes to add a cultural flair of your own, your family simply cannot celebrate anything without a particular dish, or you just don’t like turkey.  Whatever your reason may be, this contest is for anyone who serves, eats, or even dreams about something off the Thanksgiving menu.

To enter this contest, leave a comment here by the end of the day tomorrow (11/25) explaining why you like to eat something outside of the norm or, if you prepare the traditional Thanksgiving feast, what creative things you do with your leftovers.  Then, send me an email with the recipe for that dish (literatehousewife_at_gmail_dot_com).  I’ll compile all of the recipes and post them Wednesday morning, giving everyone a little time to drool over other ideas – and perhaps brave the grocery stores for the ingredients.  If I get enough entries, I’m going to publish them in PDF format and make the electronic recipe book available to everyone to download.

I will also be sending the recipes to Christine Son.  After looking them over during the holiday weekend, she is going to select her favorite recipe.  The lucky reader who submitted the winning recipe will win a $15 gift card to the restaurant of their choice (as long as I can buy the card on-line and send it via email) or an Amazon gift card – the winner’s choice.

Good luck to everyone who enters!


Christine Son’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Saturday, November 1st:  Estella’s Revenge e-zine (author interview)

Monday, November 3rd:  Literarily (author guest post and giveaway!)

Wednesday, November 5th:  Beastmomma (author interview)

Thursday, November 6th:  Book Nut

Friday, November 7th:  Ramya’s Bookshelf

Friday, November 7th:  Ramya’s Bookshelf (author interview)

Monday, November 10th:  Pop Culture Junkie

Tuesday, November 11th:  8Asians

Wednesday, November 12th:  Savvy Verse and Wit

Thursday, November 13th:  In The Pages

Friday, November 14th:  She is Too Fond of Books

Monday, November 17th:  Planet Books

Tuesday, November 18th:  B & B ex Libris

Wednesday, November 19th:  DISGRASIAN

Thursday, November 20th:  Booking Mama

Monday, November 24th:  The Literate Housewife Review

Tuesday, November 25th:  Feminist Review

Wednesday, November 26th:  Diary of an Eccentric

To buy this novel, click here.

Mailbox Monday ~ 10.13.08

October 13, 2008 at 12:59 pm | Posted in Books, LIfe | 12 Comments
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Happy Monday and Happy Columbus Day (for my US readers). I had a busy week in my mailbox, which is very nice when I’m actually opening the mail.  However, when I get to looking at my bookshelf, it gets quite intimidating.  So, here is what I found in my mailbox last week:

Broad Street by Christine Weiser ~ sent by Philadelphia Stories

I have read some interesting information about this novel, so I decided to give it a chance.  It’s about an all girls band, so I’m hoping that it will be a lot of fun.

Off the Menu by Christine Son ~ sent by the publisher

I received this book because I’ll be participating in the author’s TLC Book Tour in November.  I love the title, especially for Thanksgiving.

The Witch’s Trinity by Erika Mailman ~ signed and sent by the author

Thank you so much, Erika!  I am so thrilled to have a copy of this novel, as I originally rented it from the library.  In case you didn’t know, there are three ways you can win a copy of this wonderful novel.  Click here for the details.

A is for Atticus: Baby Names from Great Books by Lorilee Craker ~ unknown origin

I’m not sure how I received this book.  I searched my email for a clue, but came up with nothing.  It’s a fun baby name book, though.  My baby naming days are over, but it’s fun to look up names of people you know.  I can already say this would make a great gift for a mommy or daddy-to-be who loves to read.

Bedlam South by Mark Grisham and David Douglas ~ sent by the publicist

Marcia wrote an excellent review of this novel and I can’t wait to get started.

The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti ~ Sent by Lisa at Minds Alive on the Shelf

I won this book in her super awesome contest, even though I requested it using the wrong title. 🙂  Thanks for the great contest, Lisa!

My Lady of Cleves by Margaret Campbell Barnes ~ a gift from my co-worker

One of the contractors who works with us asked me to give him some book titles because he wanted to buy me a book for my birthday.  Of the list, he selected this novel, which received rave reviews from Marg at Reading Adventures.  I was so excited to open it.  I can’t wait to read it.  Anne of Cleves is such an interesting character to me.

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