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book club + cucumber rye appetizers

Back in the Spring, my sister and two sisters-in-law started a book club. All of us love to kick back with a good book but would get frustrated (at least I did) when no one else had read this book, and therefore, had no insight to share on the book.Or, in my case, tolerance for my obsessive need to discuss:

Me: Katniss is so bad ass! What do you think?

My sister: Who the heck is Katniss?

Thus, book club was born. It was established right off the bat that we would choose a picking order and every month one of us would be responsible for choosing the book as well as the location to meet, discuss and gossip. Because really, this book club holds the not-so-hidden bonus of a night out once a month with the girls. Dusting off my platform heels, breaking out my ‘dressy’ skinny jeans, and when I’m feeling really wild, even a skirt.

 So far we have been through almost two complete cycles of picks. The books have ranged from memoirs, to dramas, to true crimes, to, well, we’ll call them romance. Graphic romance. All have been entertaining and most would not have been something I would have zeroed in on at the library on my own. In the end, I am loving each selection for the variety, exposure to new authors, and the experience of chatting them up with some of my favorite ladies.

 Books we have read, discussed, argued and laughed over so far are:

Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography by Rob Lowe
Evening Classby Maeve Binchy
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir)by Jenny Lawson (my pick)
Secret Daughter: A Novel. Shilpi Somaya Gowdaby Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Mine to Hold (A Wicked Lovers Novel)by Shayla Black
In Cold Bloodby Truman Capote
The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

 We are currently reading Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue. I (being the suck up good book club member that I am) have already finished it, and can’t wait until our next meeting to dive into this twisted, disturbing, yet hopeful book.

Our meeting places for book club have varied from BBQ joint to Indian Cuisine to one of our actual homes. The time we met at my sister-in-law’s house we all brought a sampling of snacks to feast on. I have decided that at our next at-home meeting I will be bringing my all-time favorite: Cucumber Ryes.
I have no idea what these used to be called but my mom has been making these delicious bites for as long as I can remember. Our family has just gone to calling them Cucumber Ryes. Which is pretty fitting because they feature a crisp slice of cucumber atop a bed of soft, creamy cheese spread onto a hearty piece of rye bread. In my version I swapped out the traditional cream cheese for goat cheese as it adds a bit more tang. Plus, I happened to have it in my fridge. I also have been playing with homemade rye bread from the book Healthy Breads in Five Minutes a Day by Zoe Francois and Jeff Hertzberg. It’s one of my favorite cookbooks and if you have ever toyed with the idea of making bread at home I cannot recommend it enough. It’s easy and involves no kneading. I know. Those statements don’t usually accompany at-home bread making. If you have no interest in making your own rye bread (don’t worry, you will get no judgement from me!) pick up a loaf of the mini party rye bread and you will be in business. Either way, this is a hard recipe to mess up, so give it a try and let me know what you think!

Cucumber Rye Appetizer Recipe

Yield: about 24

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes


5 oz softened goat cheese or cream cheese
2 tablespoons dry Italian dressing seasoning (from packet such as Good Seasonings)
1 tablespoon chives, chopped
1 English cucumber, sliced
1 loaf of party sized rye bread
Dill, fresh or dry for garnish


Mix goat cheese, Italian seasoning, and chives together in a bowl. Spread about 1-2 teaspoons of cream cheese on 1 slice of bread. Top with a cucumber slice and garnish with a sprinkle of dill.

Eat, repeat, enjoy!


If you can't find the party sized rye bread, use traditional rye bread and cut the pieces into quarters.
September 28th, 2012

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