The Lost Family by Jenna Blum #TheLostFamilySupperClub


I am honored to have been invited to the Lost Family Virtual Supper Club hosted at the Book Club Cookbook site.

This is the first time I have participated with a virtual supper party and I’m thrilled to see some other food bloggers I know on the guest list.   Jenna Blum is a new author for me and I can say, after diving into this page-turner, I am now hungry for the menus included as well as Blum’s other publications.

Jenna describes her book this way: “The Lost Family is a novel about a German-Jewish Auschwitz survivor named Peter Rashkin, who emigrates to New York, starts a restaurant, and falls in love—only to find his new American family haunted by the wife and daughters he lost during the war.

The story starts in the 1960’s and spans roughly 30 years. It’s about love, loss, understanding and forgiveness.  Peter Rashkin, the handsome owner and chef at Masha’s restaurant is the star of the story.  He is a man haunted by his past, torn between the ghosts of his old family and his new family.  While the other story lines focus more on June and Elspeth’s point of view Peter is indeed the main character. There is wonderful imagery in this novel, you feel like you are sitting in on the conversations.

There are so many passages that feature food, drink and menus that I can’t list them all. Well, I could but then I may not post prior to this fabulous book being released on June 5, 2018 – so let me just say there is plenty of culinary inspiration.

A cold gin martini with a few Queen olives will start me off here.  No recipe needed.


I loved this particular passage:

In every time of trouble in his life, large or small, Peter had gravitated to the kitchen. During his childhood, in flight from his father’s bullying or his mother’s disdain, Peter had sought the large square room in the back of the house where Hilde let him stir soup, roll dough and – most excitingly, and provided he held the knife just as she showed him – chop vegetables. During his teens Peter’s sole act of rebellion had been to apply for a job as Adlon commis instead of clerking in the family law firm.”

“Food is essentially the same. Julienning carrots or chiffonading basil was the same in Skokie or Berlin. A rutabaga was a rutabaga. Vegetables, meat and technique had no language. The kitchen, any kitchen, was Peter’s home.” (pp. 134-135)

I thought about Peter as he chopped vegetables and herbs, as rolled dough to make bread, losing himself in the kitchen environment.  Relaxing and creating.  Personally I find making bread therapeutic.  I love the process of making bread, the slow kneading of the dough and creation of something  everyone loves to see gracing the table. Hot, fresh bread. Yes.

bubble bread 011

Herbed Bubble Bread

3 – 3 ½ c flour
2 T sugar
1.5 t salt
1.25 oz yeast (1 pkg)
1 ¼ c milk
2 T vegetable oil
1 egg
1/4 c melted butter or margarine
2 T Parmesan
1 T sesame seeds
1 teaspoon each of garlic salt, paprika, parsley, rosemary &  thyme

Lightly grease a 2 quart deep round casserole. In a large bowl combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt and yeast.

In small saucepan heat milk and vegetable oil until very warm (120 -130 F).  Add egg and warm liquid to flour mixture. With electric mixer beat 3 minutes at medium speed.

With wooden spoon, stir in remaining flour to make a soft dough.  Turn dough out onto lightly floured board. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 1-2 minutes.

Place dough in warm greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, 45 minutes.

Punch down dough. Pinch off walnut-size balls of dough and dip in melted butter. Place in prepared casserole forming one layer.  Combine cheese, seeds, garlic salt, paprika, and herbs. Sprinkle half over layer of bubbles.


Make a second layer of buttered bubbles; pour remaining butter over bubbles, sprinkle with remaining seasoning mixture.  Cover and let rise in warm place, free from draft, until the “bubbles” almost reach top of casserole, 30 – 45 minutes.

Just before rising time is up, preheat oven to 400 F. Bake 25-30 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes; loosen from pan with spatula and remove. Serve warm.

A labor of love

This book will be released on June 5, 2018. Many thanks for this advanced reader’s copy!  Please check out what others have brought to the party.


More Info Here!
The Book Club Cookbook site

I am sharing this with Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking Series and Heather for the June Foodies Read.

WeekendCooking   2018FoodieRead

*Disclosure: I  received an advance reading copy of The Lost Family by Jenna Blum, the Book Club Cookbook and Harper Collins so I was able to participate with the  #TheLostFamilySupperClub party.

Reader’s Workout – wishing I were walking in Scotland

I haven’t been linking up as it’s the same old exercise for me – walking.  I do lift a few boxes at work but otherwise, I walk.  And I walk quite a bit.  If only it were in the rolling countryside in Scotland or Cumbria.  So much cooler there and I think I’d have a sense of peace that eludes me here.

I did earn the Great Barrier Reef badge via FitBit so I am certainly high steppin’!


My meal plans have included:

Gyros and Herb Roasted Potatoes
Nigel Slater’s Baked Flounder
Vegetable Stir Fry
Shrimp and Couscous
Pizza night!

Check out Readers’ Workout at Joy’s Book Blog!


Readers’ Workout – June Goals

My strength appears to back after a such a long time – So. Happy.
My walking has picked up except for days we take a motorcycle ride, then I don’t get very many steps or activity. But, last fitness report I received from FitBit showed I walked 41 miles which is 10 miles up from the week before.

June Fit

For the rest of the month I hope to continue with daily walks, weather permitting, and I have started doing stretches while in my office during the day time.  Sitting at a desk will kill me and my flexibility so….gotta get up and stretch.


White Bean Soup and Homemade Bread
Grilled Fish
Mushroom, Spinach and Tomato with Orzo

Check out Readers’ Workout at Joy’s Book Blog!


Readers’ Workout – It’s already June!

Hello there!  I have not been participating in the Readers’ Workout for a bit and am glad to touch base with you all again.  My plans for May were thwarted by a virus that kicked my butt.  I have never had such a time recovering from an illness as I did with that one.  For two weeks it knocked me flat.

My stats were poor as I slept quite a bit but I am back.  Gaining strength with each day, determined to get my walking and distance back to the way it was.  At present we are in the thick of north Florida humid mornings but that is still the time to walk, early in the morning.

We are walking Aja and then setting out again to walk a circuit that rounds to 2 1/2 or 3 miles.  It includes a hill, I call it the hill i love to hate, but that works the leg muscles and gives me a boost of cardio.

I have had some wonderful meals, my husband has stepped up and grilled quite a bit and prepared many dishes while I was recovering.,  My birthday dinner may be seen HERE.  Other meals include stir fry vegetables and rice, salmon with spinach and feta, eggplant and pasta and a turkey wrap.

Check out Readers’ Workout at Joy’s Book Blog!


Readers’ Workout – Hot May Days

We have had some great weather for morning walks. Not so much during midday when the temps soar into the upper 80’s. But mornings….lovely 50’s have been prevailing.

Still walking every morning with the dog and the on our own. Aja’s pace can be slow or high gear but it remains a good warm-up either way. I like Vicki’s idea of tracking distance instead of steps so that is what I will report today. (I am always stealing ideas from my friend Vicki 🙂

Based on an average I seem to walk around 42 miles per week.  There were some days I would get 3.91 miles and others I managed 7.13.  The average is around 5 miles a day.  If cleaning and yard work is involved I get a decent mileage count.  If we take a long ride on the bike I don’t get very much at all.

The Menu

Eggplant Parmesan


Stir Fry with egg, rice and veggies


Broccoli and Cauliflower cheese casserole

How was your week of exercise?

Check out Readers’ Workout at Joy’s Book Blog!


Readers’ Workout – Happy First Week of May!

The first week of May and we have new goals to attain!  I hope to be able to walk more, although  I have not been doing too badly so far.  The weather has been up and down with hot humid mornings for a good stretch and then it changes….today it was only 56 when we headed out to walk.  I surely do enjoy the cooler mornings, especially when exercise is planned.


Coming up we have much yard work to handle.  That will burn a few calories.  There is a tree down and so many branches to be picked up and put in a burn pile.

Menu items:

Grilled Grouper Sandwiches

Grilled Chicken Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing

Pizza and wine

Sesame Noodles with Tofu, Scallions and Cashews

Appetizer Night – sushi, cheese and crackers, fruit salad

Cheese Tortellini with Spinach

I hope your exercise week is going well!

Check out Readers’ Workout at Joy’s Book Blog!


Readers’ Workout from St George Island

I’m mighty pleased I made it to Readers’ Workout today. I’m not at home and don’t have my computer so postvia tablet is always a challenge for me.
We are on a vacation at St George Island and I have been walking and walking and more walking.

Walking on sand can be tough, more strenuous, but our sweet doggie wanted to go walking the beach….so we did a few times. Besides eating lots of seafood I have also ingested poppers, pizza, chips and salsa 💃 and alcohol. Back on track when we return home.



How is our exercise weeks going?

Check out Readers’ Workout at Joy’s Book Blog!


Readers’ Workout

So far April has been great.  We are still walking in the morning after a warm up with the dog.  Still getting up and stretching at 10 till each hour while at work and walking several laps after lunch.  Fortunately there is a covered parking garage at work so even if it rains, we can walk.  My stats have been over 10,000 for each day and my weight is remaining the same despite some naughty indulgences like Mexican food, chips and salsa and a cheeseburger.


Monday I was getting my bearings again as I was recovering from a colonoscopy.  Not much walking there and I was in a daze.  Those drugs knock you for a loop!

Plans for the rest of the week are to tackle some neglected chores around the house.  The driveway is recycled asphalt and when we get torrential rains (as we did last week) then the gravel starts collecting near the gate.  This means the labor of shoveling it away from the gate and redistributing along the driveway.  The gate is sticking open too much and I am afraid the UPS guy won’t be able to get in if it gets too much worse.

Plus there are branches to pick up around the house and field.

On the menu:

Cheesy Skillet Polenta and Eggplant Bake
Eggplant Parmesan with Carbonara Angel Hair pasta
Broccoli and Cauliflower Mac and Cheese, hardboiled eggs
Grilled Grouper with leftover Broccoli and Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

How is your exercise going this week?

Check out Readers’ Workout at Joy’s Book Blog!


Readers’ Workout – Let’s say Goodbye to March

I missed reporting on the exercise last week and this week has been a bit slack. The month of March has been filled with doctor appointments and all the fun stuff that goes along with them.  The final slam was a colonoscopy but hey….preventative care is preferable to finding out something is wrong later, am I right?

While I lost a few days of walking due to prep and then a procedure – my numbers overall weren’t horrible. The fact that I had to stay home for a while gave me opportunity to finish a book with 879 pages and that was good.  Have you read Stephen King’s book 11/22/63?  I am not a fan of horror books so I usually avoid King – this was not a horror book, it was about time travel.  I couldn’t put it down.


Anyway, my walking had a temporary decline but I plan to make April a kick-ass month.  We are taking some time at the beach in mid April and I hope to bump up the steps.

How was your month, fellow readers and exercise partners?
Check out Readers’ Workout at Joy’s Book Blog!


Reader’s Workout

I’m over the head cold and that’s a mighty nice feeling.  Do you remember the first day you can breathe properly after a cold departs?  It’s a lovely feeling.  But all that recovery time led me to a smaller number of miles walked and few steps.


This past week’s FitBit report has me at 26 miles. that is 13 miles less than the week before.  This week I am improved in the steps.  Trying to eat better and get ready for my annual physical this week.  It sure would be nice to get on the scale and hear I lost weight and that my cholesterol isn’t as high as before.  Benefits of walking and eating well!

On The Menu

Grilled fish and baked sweet potato
Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
Eggplant Parmesan
Chinese Takeaway
Landlocked Paella

How did you do this week?

Check out Readers’ Workout at Joy’s Book Blog!