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August 31, 2020

Normal People



Fiction
2019 Random House Audio
Read by Aoife McMahon
Finished on August 28, 2020
Rating: 1/5 (Poor)

Publisher's Blurb:

At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school soccer team while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her housekeeping job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers - one they are determined to conceal.

A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years in college, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. Then, as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.

Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship.

It is extremely rare for me to give a book a 1-star rating. If my reaction is that negative, I normally quit reading long before I reach the end of the book. And yet, when listening to an audiobook, I'm more inclined to push through, hoping for a turn in the story or a redeeming quality in a particular character, which would make my persistence to forge ahead worthwhile. This was not the case with Normal People. Each day, as I headed outside for my walk, I went with the realization that I was simply biding my time with the book, listening only to reach the end; to discover what lay ahead for Connell and Marianne and to see if Sally Rooney had left the best for last. Perhaps an unexpected twist that would make it all worthwhile. 

Nope.

The only positive remark I can make is that Normal People is a fairly quick read. The negative? A weak (almost nonexistent) plot with tedious details of everyday occurrences. Unlikable, unrelatable and annoying characters. Angst-ridden and navel-gazing young adults who are in an on-again-off-again relationship that made absolutely no sense to me. 

I am truly surprised that so many readers gave this book such high praise and I wonder if I'm not the target audience. It would be interesting to sit in on a book club discussion and hear why some readers enjoyed it, while others found is loathsome. 

It will take a great amount of persuasion to convince me to watch the TV series, which is based on this unsatisfying and over-hyped novel.

In a word, this book was boring. Can I get my week back?!

August 28, 2020

Looking Back - The Pilot's Wife

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.



Fortune Rocks #3
Fiction
1998 Little, Brown and Company
Read in November 1999
Rating: 4.5/5 (Very Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

A pilot's wife is taught to be prepared for the late-night knock at the door. But when Kathryn Lyons receives word that a plane flown by her husband, Jack, has exploded near the coast of Ireland, she confronts the unfathomable - one startling revelation at a time. Soon drawn into a maelstrom of publicity fueled by rumors that Jack led a secret life, Kathryn sets out to learn who her husband really was, whatever that knowledge might cost. Her search propels this taut, impassioned novel as it movingly explores the question, How well can we really know another person?

My Original Thoughts (1999):

Wonderful! I read it in 24 hours. Couldn't put it down. If I weren't working, I would have read it in a couple of hours. Heartbreaking. Not too predictable. Wonderful character development. I felt Kathryn's pain, disappointment and anger. I like Shreve's writing style and will read more of her books.

My Current Thoughts:

The Pilot's Wife is the first book that I read of Anita Shreve's and I was instantly a fan, going on to read several more of her novels over the coming decades. At the time, I didn't realize that the book was part of a trilogy and it was several more years before I read Fortune's Rocks and Sea Glass. It's been nearly a decade since I last read anything by this popular author, but I see that I have a copy of Testimony in my TBR bookcase, so I'll add it to my fall reading list. I also plan to spend a month re-reading some of my favorites and I may include The Pilot's Wife in my stack.

August 24, 2020

Red at the Bone

 



Fiction
2019 Penguin Audio
Narrated by: Jacqueline Woodson, Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Peter Francis James, Shayna Small, and Bahni Turpin
Finished on August 19, 2020
Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

Moving forward and backward in time, Jacqueline Woodson's taut and powerful new novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of the new child.

As the book opens in 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody's coming of age ceremony in her grandparents' Brooklyn brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the music of Prince, she wears a special custom-made dress. But the event is not without poignancy. Sixteen years earlier, that very dress was measured and sewn for a different wearer: Melody's mother, for her own ceremony-- a celebration that ultimately never took place.

Unfurling the history of Melody's parents and grandparents to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they've paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history. As it explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone most strikingly looks at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives--even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.

I wound up listening to this novel at the same time I was reading Woodson's powerful memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming. Red at the Bone is a quick read, but I didn't care for it nearly as much as the memoir and I'm already sensing that the story and characters will soon be forgotten. I normally enjoy a novel read by several narrators, but this particular production made it more difficult to connect to anyone character and I regret not reading the the print version.

August 22, 2020

Brown Girl Dreaming

 



Memoir/Poetry
2014 Puffin Books
Finished on August 19, 2020
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

Jacqueline Woodson, one of today's finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse.

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

I wound up reading Brown Girl Dreaming at the same time I listened to the audio edition of Woodson's novel, Red at the Bone. I'm not sure anything I say about either book will do them justice, so bear with me.

Brown Girl Dreaming is both a beautiful memoir and an engaging history lesson, expressed entirely in free verse. I have only read one other book written in this literary style (The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus) and while it may initially feel awkward, it isn't long before the story begins to flow and the reader becomes enveloped in the lush prose.

south carolina at war

Because we have a right, my grandfather tells us--
we are sitting at his feet and the story tonight is

why people are marching all over the South--

to walk and sit and dream wherever we want.

First they brought us here.
Then we worked for free. Then it was 1863,
and we were supposed to be free but we weren't.

And that's why people are so mad.

And it's true, we can't turn on the radio
without hearing about the marching.

We can't go to downtown Greenville without
seeing the teenagers walking into stores, sitting
where brown people still aren't allowed to sit
and getting carried out, their bodies limp,
their faces calm.

This is the way brown people have to fight,
my grandfather says.
You can't just put your fist up. You have to insist
on something
gently. Walk toward a thing
slowly.

But be ready to die,
my grandfather say,
for what is right.

Be ready to die, my grandfather says,
for everything you believe in.

And none of us can imagine death
but we try to imagine it anyway.

Even my mother joins the fight.
When she thinks our grandmother
isn't watching she sneaks out
to meet the cousins downtown, but just as
she's stepping through the door,
her good dress and gloves on, my grandmother says,
Now don't go getting arrested.

And Mama sounds like a little girl when she says,
I won't.

More than a hundred years, my grandfather says,
and we're still fighting for the free life
we're supposed to be living.

So there's a war going on in South Carolina
and even as we play
and plant and preach and sleep, we are a part of it.

Because you're colored, my grandfather says.
And just as good and bright and beautiful and free
as anybody.
And nobody colored in the South is stopping,
my grandfather says,
until everybody knows what's true.
Woodson's memoir is categorized for young readers (ages 10 and up) and yet it is just as astute and perceptive as most of the adult memoirs I've read over the years. A little over 300 pages, Brown Girl Dreaming can easily be read in a single day, but I chose to read a little at a time, going back to reread a page or two, savoring the story of Woodson's childhood.
what i believe

I believe in God and evolution.
I believe in the Bible and the Qur'an.
I believe in Christmas and the New World.
I believe that there is good in each of us
no matter who we are or what we believe in.
I believe in the words of my grandfather.
I believe in the city and the South
the past and the present.
I believe in Black people and White people coming
 together. 
I believe in nonviolence and "Power to the People."
I believe in my little brother's pale skin and my own
 dark brown.
I believe in my sister's brilliance and the too-easy
 books I love to read.
I believe in my mother on a bus and Black people
 refusing to ride.
I believe in good friends and good food.

I believe in johnny pumps and jump ropes,
Malcolm and Martin, Buckeyes and Birmingham,
writing and listening, bad words and good words -
I believe in Brooklyn!

I believe in one day and someday and this
 perfect moment called Now.
Highly recommend! The timely memoir is worthy of the numerous awards and accolades received and is one that I will read again and again. I'm especially eager to listen to the audiobook, which is narrated by the author. 
The triumph of Brown Girl Dreaming is not just in how well Woodson tells us the story of her life, but in how elegantly she writes words that make us want to hold those carefully crafted poems close, apply them to our lives, reach into the mirror she holds up and makes the words and the worlds she explores our own. This is a book full of poems that cry out to be learned by heart. These are poems that will, for years to come, be stored in our bloodstream. ~ The New York Times Book Review

August 21, 2020

Looking Back - The Dreyfus Affair

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.



Fiction
1992 Random House
Read in November 1999
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

When a star shortstop falls in love with the second baseman, the result is a provocative and rollicking odyssey through an unforgettable World Series Championship season. What this does to their lives, families, team, and the President of the US is hilarious, poignant, brilliant, and dazzling fun.

My Original Thoughts (1999):

Very entertaining! Shortstop falls in love with the second baseman. Has to accept his sexuality. Very funny and readable. Would make a great movie.

My Current Thoughts:

I have no memory at all of this book, but it sounds like it might be a fun re-read. The publisher's blurb is brief, so I'll leave you with a blurb from Publishers Weekly:
This seriocomic second novel by the author of The Deal tells the offbeat story of baseball star Randy Dreyfus, whose life--on the surface, at least--seems a winning streak that will never end. His manager tells him, "You're 28 years old. You got the best swing since Ted Williams. You're the fastest white guy in the league. You've got a nice wife, a family, you're pulling down two point three a year, not to mention the TV and merchandising money." However, Dreyfus has one big problem--he has fallen in love with D. J., the team's second baseman--as well as a few smaller ones: his wife thinks he's sleeping with another woman, his shrink is driving him crazy and he wants to kill his unruly Dalmatian. When Dreyfus and D. J. are caught in the act under most bizarre circumstances, the political and professional fallout affects the World Series and the White House alike. Lefcourt employs a smoothly smart-alecky tone reminiscent of Dan Jenkins's football fiction, albeit without Jenkins's expert handling of the locker-room milieu. The tone grates after a while, but the novel is not without moments of genuine wit. Although the finale is more whimper than bang, the book's zany charm has a cumulative impact.

August 19, 2020

California Road Trip 2019 - Valley of the Rogue State Park

Yes, I am still blogging about last year's trip! Only a few more posts, though. Gotta get back out on the road and make new memories.

Monday & Tuesday, October 21 & 22, 2019

Hornbrook, CA to Grants Pass, OR
Valley of the Rogue State Park
Distance: 76 miles
Sites: D11 & F12 
Duration: 2 nights
Cost: $31 & $29/night

It was really hard to pack up and move on after such a lovely time at this peaceful campground, but it was time to head back into Oregon. We didn't have any reservations for the night, but I had a few spots in mind. We had an easy drive to Emigrant Lake near Ashland, but it didn't do anything for us, so we decided to keep going. We got lunch at Caldera Brewery in Ashalnd (the food was only ok, but it was nice to sit outside in the sun) then up to Medford where we got gas at Costco. We debated whether to head over to Crater Lake, but decided not to risk the weather (snow in the forecast). We settled on Valley of the Rogue State Park, which is on the river, but not visible from the campsites. The park doesn't compare to the serenity of the Blue Heron, but the fall trees were beautiful!


One last glimpse of the heron before we leave.

Really going to miss this great spot!

Meh. Very spicy tacos and far too much onion in the guac. 
However, the beer (Mogli Imperial Chocolate Porter) was excellent!

Too greasy!

That's a lot of beer!

The Rogue River.

This loop was closed, but I enjoyed
 my walk and all the gorgeous colors.


Nice pull-thru site, although we parked under an oak tree.
Pretty noisy as those acorns dropped all night long!

What an amazing tree!

After our first night, we decided to move from D Loop over to the F Loop, which looked out onto a wide open field and had much more space between sites. Both of our sites were fairly level with lots of trees, grass, a picnic table and fire ring. Cell service (both Sprint and Verizon) was strong. Overall, the park is pretty and quiet, making for a good stop for a few nights. I took a couple of nice bike rides on the Rogue River Greenway Trail, which ends in the town of Rogue River. 

The view from our living area.

View from the bedroom window.

Rogue River Greenway Trail.



Nice off-season camping!

Great site! Long and level with lots of space.







More pretty fall colors.


The town of Rogue River.







Peaceful evening.

August 16, 2020

A Better Man

 



Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #15
Mystery
2019 Minotaur Books
Finished on August 14, 2020
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

Catastrophic spring flooding, blistering attacks in the media, and a mysterious disappearance greet Chief Inspector Armand Gamache as he returns to the Sûreté du Québec in the latest novel by #1 New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny. 

It's Gamache's first day back as head of the homicide department, a job he temporarily shares with his previous second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir. Floodwaters are rising across the province. In the middle of the turmoil, a father approaches Gamache, pleading for help in finding his daughter.

As crisis piles upon crisis, Gamache tries to hold off the encroaching chaos, and realizes the search for Vivienne Godin should be abandoned. But with a daughter of his own, he finds himself developing a profound, and perhaps unwise, empathy for her distraught father.

Increasingly hounded by the question, how would you feel..., he resumes the search.

As the rivers rise, and the social media onslaught against Gamache becomes crueler, a body is discovered. And in the tumult, mistakes are made.

In the next novel in this "constantly surprising series that deepens and darkens as it evolves" (The New York Times Book Review), Gamache must face a horrific possibility, and a burning question. 

What would you do if your child's killer walked free?

I very much enjoyed A Better Man, which brings me up-to-date on Louise Penny's Three Pine series. This is a solid mystery and while I suspected the responsible party for Vivienne's death, I wasn't certain of the how or why of that tragedy. As the grand finale unfolded, I grew very concerned about one of the characters, silently pleading with Penny to not kill off one of my favorite people. I do so love several of the leading characters and will be sorry if and when they leave Three Pines. 

I have a couple of quibbles about this series, which kept me from giving this installment a 5/5 rating. My first issue is with the repeated mention of  Gamache's fragrance of sandalwood with a hint of rose water (although this time, the detail is given to Reine-Marie) and Clara's messy appearance with food and paint in her hair. I guess if one were reading the books out of order, it would make sense to share these details, but for those who have read the previous books in the series, they're unnecessary redundancies.

I've also grown weary of hearing about Rosa, Ruth's duck (and its foul mouth). Really, a duck that drops F-bombs? (Insert eye-roll) The author's asides, with regard to the animals, seem a little tired and forced.
Everyone in the farmyard was now staring at Gamache with open astonishment, including the donkeys. But human behavior often astonished them.
and 
...Rosa, who was silent for once. Though she did watch Armand with sad eyes. But then, ducks were often sad.
In spite of these minor irritations, I'm looking forward to the next release, All the Devils Are Here, which is due out on September 1st!

August 15, 2020

Evvie Drake Starts Over

 



Fiction
2019 Random House Audio
Read by Julia Whelan
Finished on August 13, 2020
Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

In a small town in Maine, recently widowed Eveleth "Evvie" Drake rarely leaves her house. Everyone in town, including her best friend, Andy, thinks grief keeps her locked inside, and she doesn't correct them. In New York, Dean Tenney, former major-league pitcher and Andy's childhood friend, is struggling with a case of the "yips": he can't throw straight anymore, and he can't figure out why. An invitation from Andy to stay in Maine for a few months seems like the perfect chance to hit the reset button. 

When Dean moves into an apartment at the back of Evvie's house, the two make a deal: Dean won't ask about Evvie's late husband, and Evvie won't ask about Dean's baseball career. Rules, though, have a funny way of being broken--and what starts as an unexpected friendship soon turns into something more. But before they can find out what might lie ahead, they'll have to wrestle a few demons: the bonds they've broken, the plans they've changed, and the secrets they've kept. They'll need a lot of help, but in life, as in baseball, there's always a chance--right up until the last out.

I'm not sure what I was expecting when I started this audiobook. I didn't read the publisher's blurb prior to listening, but chose the book shortly after its release and after reading a few positive reviews from friends. I presumed it was contemporary fiction, but as it turns out, it leans more toward light romance, which is not something I generally read. And yet, looking back on this past year, I've actually read several romances: My Oxford Year (also read by Julia Whelan), Things You Save in a Fire, In Five Years, and The Sight of You

Evvie Drakes Starts Over is fairly light and full of lengthy descriptions of daily life (bordering on monotonous) and so predictable I was actually able to predict several responses in the conversations between Evvie and Dean. In spite of the predictability, tired narrative tropes and lack of depth, I was mostly entertained as I listened while out on my daily walks. Julia Whelan is becoming one of my favorite audiobook narrators, which is partly why I didn't call it quits; I know I would have, had I been reading the print format.

August 14, 2020

Looking Back - Glorie

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.



Fiction
1999 Penguin Books (first published in 1998)
Read in November 1999
Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

The unlikely heroine of this remarkable first novel is Glorie, an independent-minded octogenarian widow who still talks to her dead husband. Pampered by fifty years of marriage to a man she truly loved, Glorie finds that coping with life alone is a lot easier if you have some company. Despite her daughter's and other friends' well-meaning attempts to console her, Glorie is doing just fine, thank you very much -- except that sometimes things just seem to be slipping out of her grasp. Poignant and wise, funny and real, this portrait of an indomitable, fallible, and fragile woman will pull at your heartstrings as it buoys your spirit. With Glorie, New York Times critic Caryn James has written an unforgettable tale of memory and the persistence of love.

My Original Thoughts (1999):

Quick read. Funny. Cute. Octogenarian widow lives in her home during the day, but spends the night across the street at her daughter's house. She worries about burglars. She carries on conversations with her dead husband. Not great, but it held my interest.

My Current Thoughts:

I wonder how in the world I came across this novel. I'm not familiar with the author and am pretty sure I never noticed the book on the shelves in all the years I worked in a bookstore. Someone must have recommended it to me. I think, in spite of my average rating, I would like to reread this one.

August 10, 2020

A Good Neighborhood

 

A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler
Fiction
2020 St. Martin's Press
Finished on August 4, 2020
Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

In Oak Knoll, a verdant, tight-knit North Carolina neighborhood, professor of forestry and ecology Valerie Alston-Holt is raising her bright and talented biracial son. Xavier is headed to college in the fall, and after years of single parenting, Valerie is facing the prospect of an empty nest. All is well until the Whitmans move in next door - an apparently traditional family with new money, ambition, and a secretly troubled teenaged daughter.

Thanks to his thriving local business, Brad Whitman is something of a celebrity around town, and he's made a small fortune on his customer service and charm, while his wife, Julia, escaped her trailer park upbringing for the security of marriage and homemaking. Their new house is more than she ever imagined for herself, and who wouldn't want to live in Oak Knoll? With little in common except a property line, these two very different families quickly find themselves at odds: first, over an historic oak tree in Valerie's yard, and soon after, the blossoming romance between their two teenagers.

Told from multiple points of view, A Good Neighborhood asks big questions about life in America today―What does it mean to be a good neighbor? How do we live alongside each other when we don't see eye to eye?―as it explores the effects of class, race, and heartrending star-crossed love in a story that’s as provocative as it is powerful.

I haven't read Fowler's previous novels (A Well-Behaved Woman and Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald), but the premise of A Good Neighborhood appealed to me and I was pleased to win an ARC from the publisher earlier this year. I was quickly pulled into the narrative and enjoyed the thought-provoking story, although I didn't care for the first person plural POV, which felt gimmicky and kept me from caring about most of the characters. 
Before we depict the first encounter between our story's other central players, we need to show the wider setting in which this slow tragedy unfolded. As our resident English professor would remind us, place, especially in stories of the South, is as much a character as any human, and inseparable from--in this case even necessary to--the plot.
There is quite a bit of foreshadowing, which helped move this Greek-like tragedy along, but there were no surprises and it was all fairly predictable. My initial reaction after the intense finale, was to give the book a high rating, but after thinking about the plot and character development, I've dropped it down to an average rating. Nonetheless, this is a timely book, touching on the injustices of race and class, and would make a good selection for a book club discussion, especially if combined with Bryan Stevenson's Just Mercy.

August 9, 2020

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs
Photo Credit: Mel's Kitchen Cafe


I love homemade meatballs, but it wasn't until I found this recipe on Mel's Kitchen Cafe that I not only made my first batch of Swedish Meatballs, but it was the first time I'd ever tasted them! They were delicious! Mel's meatballs are super easy to make and would be wonderful in a spaghetti sauce or crumbled on a homemade pizza. I was able to fit all of them on one cookie sheet and baked them in the oven, so next time around, I'll double the recipe so I can freeze a batch for a last-minute meal. I may even try the recipe for hamburgers patties!

INGREDIENTS:

Meatballs

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (see my notes) 
1 large egg
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely minced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1-2 tablespoons oil for cooking (see my notes)

Sauce

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup flour
3 cups low-sodium beef or chicken broth (plus more - see my notes)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 cup sour cream

Chopped fresh parsley
Cooked egg noodles or potatoes or rice for serving

For the meatballs, in a large bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients except for the oil and mix until evenly combined.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil (you can use the other tablespoon for the second batch, if needed) in a 12-inch, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Scoop the meatball mixture into balls, about 1-2 inches in diameter, and add them in a single layer to the hot oil - you may need to do a second batch to cook all the meatballs. Brown on all sides, no need to cook all the way through yet as they'll finish cooking later, and remove to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving as much oil in the pan as possible, and repeat with remaining meatballs, adding a bit more oil to the skillet if needed.

Once all the meatballs have been removed from the skillet, return the skillet to medium heat and add the 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil for the sauce, cooking until melted. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes to brown the flour mixture and cook out the flour taste. The mixture will be a bit crumbly.

Slowly add the broth, just 1/2 cup at a time, whisking quickly to remove any lumps. Let each addition of broth cook until thick and smooth before adding the next bit. Once you've added about 2 cups, go ahead and pour in the rest and whisk until combined. 

Stir in the brown sugar and bring the sauce to a low simmer. Add the meatballs back to the skillet (cram them into a single layer) and cook for 10 or so minutes until the meatballs are cooked through, turning them once or twice to coat with sauce. 

Off the heat, stir in the sour cream, whisking it in as best you can around the meatballs (adding it during the simmering time can curdle the sauce). Sometimes, I ladle out a bit of the warm sauce into a liquid measuring cup and whisk the sour cream in before adding it all back in to the skillet - it blends in a bit easier.

Garnish with fresh parsley and serve over hot, cooked egg noodles, potatoes or rice. 

My Notes:

I used 1 pound of ground beef and 1/2 pound of ground pork since we're not big fans of ground turkey. 

I baked the meatballs for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven, rather than frying them in a skillet. I was able to fit all of the meatballs on a large cookie sheet and added enough beef broth to coat the bottom of the baking pan. This makes it much easier to prepare the sauce and add the cooked meatballs rather than work around them with the sour cream and whisk!

The sauce wasn't as thick as I hoped for (although it thickened nicely with the leftovers), so I may increase the flour by another tablespoon next time around. 

Click on the link in my sidebar for more of my favorite recipes.

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