Thursday, February 18, 2010

book pt.2

As previously stated, I haven't read much for pleasure lately. Though, I was incredibly inspired by Krista's most recent post to get a serious move on it!!

However, since I do still attend a book club, and have a general feeling of guilt if I do not read the books, I manage to read at least one book every few months...February's book is "Their Eyes Were Watching God," by Zora Neale Hurston. Brief review: I know it's a classic, but I am honestly not quite sure why. (Is that horrible?!) Perhaps I am missing something-like a deeper meaning to the plot. Or a message behind all of the southern dialect. Yes, that must be it. Like Transformers, perhaps there is more to it than first meets the eye. No one character was spellbinding. No aspect of the plot was riveting. However, I did like significance of the title. While a storm was raging and darkness had fallen, the narrator stated that despite the characters' inability to see any hope in the situation, their eyes were watching God. What a good reminder that in my darkest of circumstances, my eyes must be watching God.

Do you have any insight on the significance of this novel?

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Book Love. I think I've let this love die a bit. Between an incredibly busy start to the new year and an incredibly busy toddler, well, reading hasn't been high on the priority list. So, aside from reading recipes, nutrition information on food boxes, and greeting cards from various holidays, I have not read much of substance.

I do, however, spend plenty of time reading with Isabel. The same 5 books over and over and over. And over. Her current favorite is "Dear Zoo." It's a cute story of the narrator who writes to the zoo to send him a pet. Each page has a lift-the-flap picture, detailing what animal is sent. After returning the animals for various reasons, the zoo employees finally get it right and send the perfect pet. I've loved watching Isabel light up as the lion appears. She ROAAAARS right along with me. What books are you currently enjoying with your kids?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

in the kitchen.4

I feel like I make recipes all the time that call for ingredients that I do not have. Most recently, buttermilk (pancakes, cakes, etc). I don't think to buy it, and honestly don't like buying a large container of it, to only use a small portion. Inevitably, the rest would go bad. Buttermilk is one of those ingredients that are easy to make yourself.

Tip#3: Add 1T lemon juice to 1C milk (I use skim). Let sit for 10 minutes, stir, and you have buttermilk!

Friday, February 05, 2010

in the kitchen.3

I always have a hard time deciding what to make for dessert, especially when it is for other people. Cake. Pie. Crisp. Cookies. Ugh. Too many choices. Then I stumbled across the easiest chocolate cake recipe. Butter, sugar, chocolate. How could it not be a hit?? Since I always have the ingredients on hand, it is now my go-to dessert. Miguel described it not so much as a cake, but as, "a really amazing brownie."

Sweet Paul's easy chocolate cake
1 stick melted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons baking cocoa
3/4 cup plain flour

Pre-heat your oven to 320F, 160C.
Stir butter and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the eggs and mix well.
Stir in vanilla, cocoa and flour.
Pour the batter in a buttered cake tin (I used a 9" tart pan) and bake for about 30 minutes.
The cake is best if its a little under-baked in the middle, like a soft brownie.
Take out and let cool a little.
serve while still a little hot a la mode or with some whipped cream.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

in the kitchen.2

This is my newest favorite kitchen tool. A microplane zester. I am no longer worried about grating off my fingers on my box grater. This little tool is a gem, and I'm not quite sure how I've lived without it for 29 years! What is your favorite kitchen tool?

Tip #2: Use the zester to turn a clove of garlic into garlic paste.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

in the kitchen

I figured, since I am such a pro at failing in the kitchen, I will do a mini-series on the kitchen. I seem to get all of my useless knowledge from the Today Show. Right around the holidays, they did a segment on "preventing holiday weight gain." I learned something.

Tip #1: You can reduce the amount of sugar in your baked goods by 1/4 and not alter the taste or texture.

I tried it today in banana bread. I actually reduced the sugar by half, and the bread still tastes fab. So, next time you go to measure out your sugar, reduce it by 1/4!

Monday, February 01, 2010


I think this title could sum up the month of January. ha. Most recently, it sums up my baking adventures. My sister-in-law Erika made some very delicious black bean brownies-basically a can of black beans, a bit of sugar, tiny bit of flower, eggs, cocoa powder and well, that's about it. I knew the recipe was simple and I would have all the necessary ingredients. I did not, however have her recipe. And since it was her nap time, I went on-line to search for a good recipe.

What I came up with was certainly NOT good. They were utterly disgusting (though Miguel somehow has managed to eat almost the enter 8x8 pan), dry, ugly and all together disgusting. Did I say that already?

So, instead of posting the recipe for all to see, I will simply admit: