Strahbary's Fields

A California Girl's Place for all things Geek Chic

Top Ten Tuesday The Books I Obsess Over with Friends May 28, 2013

Filed under: Top Ten Tuesdays — dianatierney3 @ 9:16 pm

Some girls obsess over television shows, other’s fashion or the latest adventures of celebrity. My friends and I? We obsess over books. So this Top Ten Tuesday is dedicated to those books that make my circle of friends collectively sigh, text each other at one in the morning because we just reached a critical part of the book, or have sparked arguments over which characters are better within the story.

1. River of No Return by Bee Ridgeway. This one has just begun making it’s rounds. The twists and turns have already brought about late night texts and even phone conversations.

2. Outlander by Diana Galbadan. These books are like their own soap opera and when we get together to discuss this book (typically over a bottle of wine) we have non stop gossip sessions about the characters.

3. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. This is another book that causes us to gossip and bring about excited discussions.

4. Anything by Jane Austen. Many an evening has been passed discussing our favorite leading men and adventurous protagonists in petticoats.

5. Native Star by M.K. Hobson. This book brought about many sighs and discussions of the main character’s relationship.

6. Divergent by Veronica Roth. This was one of the books that brought about midnight texts and immediate requests to read faster.

7. The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. I say trilogy here because I anticapte some obsessive discussion over he third book like we have with the first two books.

8. Any Fairtale retelling. It doesn’t matter what the book is, or if any of us have actually read the same book. We discuss the books in detail and compare the story with others that we have read.

9. The Diviners by Libba Bray. I have yet to read this book (my friend’s copy is on bookshelf) however, my friend’s who have read it love it and have had some spirited discussions about the book.

10. Foodie books. Whether it’s books about the History of Cheese or the exploration of current issues books about food make my friends

Interested in playing along? Post a link of The Broke and the Bookish in your post, then go ahead and post one on their page.


Wishlist Wednesday #12 May 21, 2013

Filed under: Wishlist Wednesdays — dianatierney3 @ 11:15 pm
Tags: , ,

Ready player

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved–that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt–among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life–and love–in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

Why I want to read this:

I just recently watched the Xbox One reveal. And thought the technology is really awesome it made me think of this book. The gaming engineers were telling the audience that they were blurring the lines between reality and the gaming world. One can’t help but think that will the above scenario actually happen? It has all the makings of really great science fiction and I am just dyeing to read it.

Interested in playing along? Put a link to Pen and Paper (our host) on your blog and post a link to your Wishlist Wednesday to their blog. It’s really interesting to see what other people’s Wishlist Wednesday’s are!


Top Ten Tuesday: My Top Ten Favorite Book Covers

Filed under: Top Ten Tuesdays — dianatierney3 @ 9:36 pm

I am just going to let these cover’s speak for themselves. What they all have in common are that they are covers that have ignited my curiosity in one way or another, making them my favorites.

sense and sensibility

cutting for stone

Empire falls

Great Gatsby

lace reader


where the sidewalk ends

snow falling on cedars



the storyteller's daughter

Interested in playing along? Post a link of The Broke and the Bookish in your post, then go ahead and post one on their page.


Inside the CSA: The Building Blocks of a Good Meal May 19, 2013

Filed under: Adventures in Diana's Kitchen — dianatierney3 @ 7:08 pm
Tags: ,

This week’s CSA Box was a lot of simple ingredients. The basic building blocks for a good meal doesn’t need to be a bunch of elaborate ingredients. Sometimes it’s the simple ingredients that make the best meals.

The ingredients that I ended up keeping from this CSA box were rosemary, purlsane, broccoli, potatoes, spinach, asparagus, carrots and some citrus. Having the CSA box has inspired me to be far more creative with my meal planning. I have had plenty of stir frys and what not so I was looking for something a little different with the broccoli. Thankfully I discovered this Vegan Broccoli Soup Recipe from All Recipes (which is a great database of recipes might I add). It had all the consistency and 90% of your standard broccoli and cheddar soup flavor with none of the guilt or milk.

Yesterday my friend and her mom messaged me asking for some good quinoa recipes. Quinoa happens to be one of my favorite foods. My favorite go to recipe is Quinoa pilaf. It’s a simple recipe, cook the quinoa like normal, then add vegetable broth and spinach (using some more CSA produce might I add) letting it cook down some more until it’s at the thickness you like.

It’s very rare that I get a full day at home to do what I like. So I got to do something I haven’t had the chance to do: make vegetable broth. It’s a great way to use up some left over veggies that are getting soft. Likewise, after one days worth of work I’ll have a bunch of veggie broth in my freezer to last me for months. Which given how much I use it will save me a lot of time. I simmered a combination of Rosemary, onions, purlsane, celery, left over asparagus (I bought an extra bunch last week that’s now getting soft), a beet that never made it into the juicer and some greens from my garden. Covered it with about 8 cups of water and let it simmer for about 2 hours. All the while I did some gardening, made lemonade, started a new batch of limoncello (what else do you do with lemon peels?), thought about doing some laundry but turned on my xbox and started playing Assassins Creed. Totally feasible for a hectic life.

My remaining rosemary is ear marked for some homemade tofu I’ll be making next weekend in honor of boycott world Monsanto Day. And by then I’ll have lots of other goodies in my CSA box to use up.


Doctor Who Craft Projects

Filed under: Diana's Craft Corner,The Doctor — dianatierney3 @ 12:16 am
Tags: , , ,

It would appear that the doctor has invaded my craft corner, well at least Doctor inspired crafts. I’ve started work on my 7th Doctor Jumper. I’m using a combination of a pattern from Nerdy Knits and fair island style graph that I found online. Where the 4th Doctor’s scarf was challenging in setting up, making sure I had the right colors and length, this is going to be a true challenge in skill. It’s the most intricate design I have ever knitted. Though so far it has come out pretty well if I do say so myself.

Seventh Doctor jumper

The next project in the queue is the 5th Doctors jumper, for Amanda’s cosplay at Galifrey One next year. This one looks to be much simpler than the 7th’s. I can do cables in my sleep but that neck is going to be tricky. Though I say that now, it may be easier once I get into it. The original jumper is long sleeved. For Amanda’s I am making the executive decision to make it sleeveless. She can thank me later when it’s hot in the dealer’s room.

5th Doctor

I’m starting early on these this way I have plenty of time to get them together for next year’s convention. I love the female Doctor Cosplay, however, I think it needs to be done with care otherwise it just looks like sloppy cross dressing. And frankly, if you’re going to cross dress, go all the way. Don’t do it half assed.


Wishlist Wednesday #11: The Kingmakers Daugther May 15, 2013

Filed under: Wishlist Wednesdays — dianatierney3 @ 10:25 pm
Tags: ,

Kingmakers daughter

This week’s Wishlist Wednesday is an impulse buy. I stepped into Barnes and Noble to pick up a journal for my garden and Cooked by Michael Pollan and came across this just lying on a table.  How could I not pick it up?


From Goodreads:

Spies, poison, and curses surround her…

Is there anyone she can trust?

The Kingmaker’s Daughter is the gripping story of the daughters of the man known as the “Kingmaker,” Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick: the most powerful magnate in fifteenth-century England. Without a son and heir, he uses his daughters, Anne and Isabel as pawns in his political games, and they grow up to be influential players in their own right. In this novel, her first sister story since The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory explores the lives of two fascinating young women.

At the court of Edward IV and his beautiful queen, Elizabeth Woodville, Anne grows from a delightful child to become ever more fearful and desperate when her father makes war on his former friends. Married at age fourteen, she is soon left widowed and fatherless, her mother in sanctuary and her sister married to the enemy. Anne manages her own escape by marrying Richard, Duke of Gloucester, but her choice will set her on a collision course with the overwhelming power of the royal family and will cost the lives of those she loves most in the world, including her precious only son, Prince Edward. Ultimately, the kingmaker’s daughter will achieve her father’s greatest ambition.


Why I want to read it:

Well for starters it’s Phillipa Gregory, she is one of my favorite historical fiction novelists. There is so much lore around Richard Neville. I have read him as a supporting character in a number of other books. I can’t wait to see him through his daughter’s eyes.


A Review of Animal Vegetable Miracle May 10, 2013

Filed under: Book Reviews — dianatierney3 @ 8:58 pm

Animal vegetable Miracle

TITLE/AUTHOR:  Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

GENRE: Non Fiction

Animal Vegetable Miracle is the story of Barbara Kingsolver and her family who for a year live on food that they grow or buy locally within the same county that they live. The story itself is entertaining and heartwarming. Her daughter with her notebook, trying to determine if she can sell enough eggs to buy a horse; the farm’s history and the story of her friends not knowing that potatoes have leaves and a plant aspect.

As a friend had described the book, it was very much a Slow Food manifesto. There were a number of principles that she discussed that I was following along with for the ride:

Grow your own food. Whether it’s a little herb garden in your apartment window or a full fledge garden, grow some of your own produce.  I have a patio that has a number of different plants growing from a small orange, fig and lemon trees to zucchini and tomatoes. Gardening is great therapy and so rewarding to be able to eat food that you grow yourself.

Buy from local sources. This can be done through farmers markets or subscribing to a CSA. Farmers markets are really great, with local small business and some amazing (CHEAP) produce.  There are about 3 or 4 farmers markets that I really love here in Orange county. As well, CSA are a lot of fun.

Reconnect with your food. We as a society have forgotten where our food comes from. We don’t remember that our plants actually grow in dirt. We go to a grocery store where all the produce has all of the dirt scrubbed off, anything with a spot that doesn’t make it “pretty” is thrown out and there is a distinct disconnect between consumer and producer.

I was cheering along with her all the way through, right up until she got to the chapter where she slaughtered her home grown Turkeys and Chickens.  It wasn’t that she raised the birds for food or even that they were slaughtering them right there on the farm. I am a realistic vegetarian and animal lover. I understand that not everyone is going to go without eating meat and if they do eat meat I would like to see more occurrences where the animals are properly raised. Also locally sourced meat, like our produce is ideal as well for a number of different reasons. Where the big and I mean REALLY big record scratch occurred was when she used the chapter to pick on vegetarians and vegans.

What she talked about was how vegetarians get tofu that is shipped in to them from across the country (mine comes from a producer here in Orange County, thank you very much). She also told the story of how a  friend of hers who has a farm has vegetarians and vegans come to her farm to eat the meat that she raise, reminiscent of inner city school kids that have never seen a farm before.  It felt like the whole chapter was a way for her to justify eating animals by putting down those of us that don’t.

It was a great opportunity for her to discuss why it was such a good idea to do what she did, or to maybe encourage those of us who want to eat meat to seek out local ranchers that do produce high quality meat that is grass fed locally to where we live. For example here in Orange county there is a company called Dey Dey’s that has 100% grass fed cows, chickens and organic eggs all grown here in Southern California (and sold at a number of farmer’s markets). I personally have not tried them but I have a friend that is always raving about how great they are.

Also, in regards to us vegetarians and our Tofu habit. The way I would have liked to see that addressed would have been to encourage us to look to see where our Tofu comes from. Can we get tofu from somewhere in the state? What about our other protein sources (contrary to popular belief, we don’t just get our protein from tofu, we do have other sources) can we get those within our state or county? Likewise, you can make your own tofu, I have had a few friends do it and it is on my culinary adventures to do list.

So as you can tell that really bugged me, even more so than almost every chapter talking about why California is horrible for agriculture. Ok I get it we under sell your local farmers as well as growing off season produce to sell all over the country! Luckily the Turkey culling chapter was towards the end so when I was grumbling to myself and skimming through some sections I didn’t miss much.

If I was new to the idea of Slow Food, or if I wasn’t a crazy uptight vegetarian I think I would have enjoyed the book more. I was able to garner a lot of tips for my everyday life, like how to use whole produce more and keeping a garden journal. I recommend this book to people who are curious about the whole eating local movement. Or for people who are just getting involved in Slow Food.