The good, the bad and the QUEST

This has been an interesting week.  I have those.  I have a LOT of those.  Those days when you know it’s going to be interesting because you’ve opened email and read the headline:  ’80 Pretty and Practical Panties!’  Then, you notice that the email is from Houzz.  Say what?  Oh, it’s really 80 Pretty and Practical Pantries?  Maybe I should have just gone back to bed.  Surely, that was a sign.  But, no, I am not that smart.

Then, I found an opened fifth of vodka in my car.  Now I love a good cocktail, (more about that later) but I do not drink and drive.  Ever.  It’s my thing.  I’d loaned my car to my sister as I’m lucky enough to have a spare vehicle.  It’s an old Jeep.  I love it.  It’s quirky.  More importantly, it’s paid for.  She needed it for her boyfriend.  He’s currently without a car and needed to attend some work  and AA meetings!  Yep, it’s like that.  She’s not spoken to me all week.  I’m hoping it is simply that she’s been working a lot.  sigh

There was more but in keeping with my delusional sunny personality, let’s skip all that.

An American Wife

I read  American WifeI did not like the book.  I blame her husband for this.  I loved American Sniper.  Surprisingly, both books utilized the same writer.  The latter, at least to me, was so much more eloquent.  The story line just flowed and, more importantly, you really got a sense of Chris Kyle – the man, his family and friends, his values, etc.  It’s one of the reasons I was hesitant to pick up her book.

Mrs. Kyle said the writing of American Wife was cathartic.  How I hope this is true.  I wished I’d never picked it up.  From the start, I wanted to stab myself in the eye.  Really, that was an actual thought!  Maybe it was too soon.  For both of us.  I’ve had a lot of loss recently so those wounds are fresh and, undoubtably, color my thoughts.  Loss changes how you look at things.  At people.  It makes you question faith.  She spends a lot of time talking about that.  She spends a lot of time repeating herself, reminding people she’s not perfect.  To me, it was off-putting.  Her husband painted a richer, warmer more attractive picture of her and that’s the version I choose to think is the more accurate.

Speaking of flaws.  I am a hoarder.  A recipe hoarder.  I’ve thousands.  It’s an occupational hazard.  A few summers ago I was on a quest to make the perfect pina colada, a la some hotel in Key West that makes the best ones I’ve ever had.  I experiment so much that summer I am just now wanting one again.  It could also have something to do with the fact that it is hot, hot, hot here and my friend Amy and I are taking the kids to the pool this afternoon.  Did I mention it being hot?  You need a frosty beverage in those conditions, right?  Well, apparently, no.  It would seem that some people, gremlins I figure, have hidden that blasted recipe.  And so the quest begins anew…..

Anyone have a recipe to share?

Happy Weekend, everyone!

I’m melting! I’m melting!

I have a friend that loves summer.  She says it’s never hot enough for her.  Of course, the witch lives in Canada, not in the South, so what does she know?  I love her but, seriously, I want to smack her every time she says that.  That would be rude so I resist the urge.  Maybe I should steal her house keys.  Do that whole house swap thing?  I wonder if she’d agree to swap jobs.  Oh, wait, she’s retired.

Next plan.  Grab a good beach read and a frosty cocktail cool treat.  I read this one:

The Matchmaker

Like all of her novels, this one is set on Nantucket.  As usual, it was enjoyable.  It won’t change the world or leave you thinking deep thoughts.  But, if you are like me and can’t get to Nantucket then…..this might make you want to.  Please eat lobster rolls.  The end.

And because it’s hot and sticky and those small people want me to take them to the pool where I will be melting, even though I am completely submersed in the water, I made mini lime cheesecakes.  That is too a sentence!  Leave me to my delusions, people.

Look what I found!  I didn’t even know there was such a thing!  My grocery store has been holding out!

gcc

Of course you can make your own crust.  Honestly, having previously made mine, the pre-made does not compare.  But, I am a cheater in a rush to get to the pool.  Screw it!

mini

Mini Lime Cheesecakes

Crust:

  • 6 Tbs graham cracker crumbs
  • 2Tbs butter, melted
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • OR use a package (of 6) of the mini ones above

Filling:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 c. lime juice (roughly two large limes)
  • Zest of one lime

Preheat oven to 325F.

If you’re an overachiever and making your crusts, use two mini springform pans (4inch each) if you don’t have those you may also use a cakelet pan but you’ll have to foil each section, leaving an overhang, so you can get your mini cheesecakes out.  See, way easier to buy the premade ones.  Ignore me, I might be excited about this new discovery.  Mix together crust ingredients and press into your pans.  I like to come up, just a bit, along the sides.

Beat the filling ingredients together until smooth.  Fill until about 3/4 or so full.  I tend to fill them up higher because I’m a rebel I cannot stand to waste the yummy goodness.  More time on the treadmill is good, right?

Bake those babies until set.  (I put them all on a cookie sheet.  You probably already thought to do that but, trust me when I tell you, I know people that would just put them on the rack sans cookie sheet.  These people are THE reason I learned to cook.)  About 20-25 minutes for the mini’s and 50-60 minutes if you’re doing the 2 mini springform pans.  If you’re not certain about whether or not it’s set, barely touch the center.  It’ll leave a mark if it’s not.  You can always pretend your me and top with some  whipped heavy cream (or the stuff from a can).

Let cool in the pan for 30 minutes then refrigerate until cold.  Serve with or without whipped cream.  If you’re fancy, and more organized than me, garnish with a tiny slice of lime or a bit of zest.

Try not to eat them all in one sitting.

Not quite the Killer I was looking for

 

We went to a family barbeque yesterday to meet the newest wee member.  I love tiny humans! There is, quite simply, nothing better.  I cannot go to such things empty handed even when I’m told I don’t need to bring anything.  It makes me twitchy.  Gift for the baby?  Check.  Gift for the host and hostess?  Damn skippy!  You can also read that as I really enjoy a good excuse to try out a new recipe.  Guinea pigs!   My favorite is to make all new things when we have big family gatherings or dinner parties. This scares Juror no. 3.  Big baby.  There’s always pizza delivery, right?

So remember I told you a got this?

Sugar Rush

Cakes, cupcakes, tarts, creme brulee…..ooh, the pressure to choose something.  Of course, I chose the perfect thing.  Cookies!

cookie!

These are billed as “Killer” Chocolate Chip Cookies.  No, I did not fall over after trying one.  They’re good.  Really good, actually.  Will they unsurp my favorites?  Sorry, no.  They’ve a lovely texture – crispy, a bit chewy and the chocolate remains gooey awesomeness.  Still, the recipe is a bit fussy.  And I hate recipes that send me to the store.  They are chocolate chip cookies for heavens sake!  Let’s not try to reinvent the wheel!  I then proceeded to eat a zillion of them.  Seriously.  (Note to self, buy drawstring pants before next gathering.)  Luckily, the recipe makes a ton.  A ton!  As in, I would not make these again without halving the recipe…..because taping them to my derriere is so not a good look.

Now, for the really good stuff.

Yes, Please

 

I rarely give five stars to a book.  I’ve 800 plus books on Goodreads (I told you something might be wrong with me!).  I’m not a harsh critic.  I want to enjoy what I read, escape a bit, laugh or learn something.  If I get at least one of those things, chances are I’ll give the book at least three stars.  I’d give this book five stars solely based on maybe four of the chapters.  I think everyone should have to listen to the chapter on sex.  And the one about how every mother should have a wife.  I laughed out loud.  It was awesome.  If you can, luck out like I did and get a copy that includes the audio version which is read by the author….and many of her co-stars.  Laugh and enjoy.  You’re welcome.  Oh, and thank you, Amy!

Dinner, movies, books and more

I’m a set in my ways traditions person.  I like routines and such.  Friday evenings in my house are dinner and a movie.  Tonight is more of an OMG, do something, the DVR’s are almost full!!  Yes, all three of them.  Yes, I do know how much television that is.  What’s your point?  I have to say I really, really love Friday nights especially when some people, moi, make the executive decision to order out.  Can you say pizza and Chinese?  Hey, I never said I could make decisions….

The Disappearing Spoon

I have finally finished The Disappearing Spoon.  Admittedly, this is a book for nerds.  It’s about the periodic table of elements.  Sexy, yes?  Okay, so no sex but murder, intrigue, useless tidbits!  Really, I wish this book had been around when I was in college.  Dude, there are some pretty creepy cool stories about elements.  Don’t believe me?  Fine.  Whatever.  Go google a story about a former KGB agent that was murdered in 2006.  Nevermind.  Just click this link (pray that it works first!):    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-19647226   Even my brainy, spends too much time reading the news, husband didn’t believe me when I recounted this story.  You can’t make this stuff up!  If you’re the nerdy type or you know someone taking Chemistry, it’s interesting.  Promise!

Next up is Amy Poehler’s, Yes, Please.  Only a few chapters in, I can already tell you that it is worth picking up.

Care package time.  What can I say, too many friends are going through stuff.  I’ve made her favorite Chocolate Expresso Shortbreads.  It’s a Dorie Greenspan recipe.  If you’ve never made anything of Dorie’s, well, what are you doing still reading?  Go!  She’s magical, as are these.  Be impressed, I managed to only eat about a half dozen or so.  They’re just the tiniest bit sweet, enough to eat on their own but really, really good with a coffee or hot chocolate.

heaven on a plate

Oh, and I got THIS!    Guess what I’m doing this weekend????Sugar Rush

Wishing you all a happy weekend.  For everyone that’s sent me a like or followed my blog, THANK YOU.  You cannot know how much it has affected me as I am still searching for the words.  xo

Books that make you go hmm

I should be making dinner.  I’m making fake Chipotle food….read as chicken bowls that I don’t need to leave the house for!  They are awesome, hot and way less expensive than the real thing.  Plus, the tiny humans will eat them – in a tortilla, but still.  Score!

All The Light We Cannot See

Have you ever read a book that makes you go hmm?  That makes you think?  That just sticks with you?  Think JoJo Moyes’, Me Before You, or most anything of Jodi Picoult’s.  Of course, there are plenty of other authors that do this; those are two that I thought of right off the top of my head.  I love books like that.  Enter in my newest finished read, All The Light We Cannot See.  It’s been atop the NY Times’ bestseller list for a while now so I’m  a bit behind.  Too bad, so sad.  It was wonderful.  I’ll admit I was expecting more as I often do with books that have such glowing reviews.  It took me a bit to get into the story.  Oh, who am I kidding, more than half the book.  Wartime stories are just so sad.  Especially WWII stories.  There’s just too much history.  I can’t block it out, nor would I want to.

This is a sneaky book.  At some point it sucked me right in.  And it made me think.  What about those all those Germans?  You don’t often think of them.  You think of those that lost their lives in the concentration camps.  The absolute evil that went on there.  That’s the part you can’t forget, right?  The images that flash in your mind when you close your eyes and think of that time?  Eli Weisel’s, Night, so perfectly captured the horror and despair.  It forever touches my heart.  So imagine my surprise when I started thinking about the Germans!  The young ones that went along.  Somehow, I never thought that they too might be innocents.  Not all of them, mind you.  But some, doing what they needed to in order to survive.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way excusing their actions.  How would that even be possible?

Then there are the German people caught in the middle.  Again, just trying to survive.  Feeling so guilty after the war.  Could they have done more, spoken up?  Absolutely.  Would many or all of them have been killed for doing so?  Probably.  Such unimaginable horrors.  My bad for not recognizing its full extent.

Thoughts of Heaven

No, I’m not talking about the Chocolate Truffle Cookies I’m getting ready to make though they sound heavenly right about now!  Mondays are hard, people!

Heaven Is For Real

Instead, I’ll tell you that I finished Heaven Is For Real.  I’ve lost a few people dear to me this last year which is, I suppose, why I picked this up.  I can’t say what I was looking for.  Nor could I tell you whether or not I found it.  I suppose how you feel about this book has more to do with your own thoughts and faith than anything this book might offer.  For me?  Well, I’m not particularly religious –  spiritual, definitely, just not necessarily religious. If anyone were to ask, I’d say I’m Catholic, as if that would tell you all you need to know.  I went to Catholic school and I felt strongly that my children should be baptized Catholic.  I rarely go to church.  But, as a true Catholic, I feel terribly guilty about it!  For me, religion is within, it is how you choose to live your life.  It’s complicated and messy sometimes but it is also a purposeful faith.  If that makes no sense to you, welcome to my world!

Now about this book.  It was written by the father of the child that “saw Jesus”.  The father is a minister.  He was my issue with the book.  For me, it was too much of him and not enough of the child’s voice, the child’s story.  I found it distracting.  He reminded me of one of those salespeople that’s trying sooo hard to get you to like them and buy their product that you just want to make your excuses and get away.  Logically, this might have been the only way to tell his son’s story.  His child was all of four years old when he visited heaven so, perhaps, the thought was that his voice wasn’t big enough.  Also, the dad says it took months and years for the child to share the details of his visit.  I tend to think the story would have been all the more powerful told by the child, even at a later date.  Maybe that’s just me though because there are a zillion other people who thought this was the best thing ever, according to Amazon.  I thought it was interesting and some parts almost creepy, in a good way, if you are someone of faith.  Other times, I wanted to say to the dad, hey, kids pick up on things even when, or especially when, you don’t think they are paying attention!  This is not “proof”!  Did the child speak to Jesus?  I hope so.  For so many reasons.

Has anyone else read this?  What were your thoughts?

YES! It’s Friday!

Thank the sweet Lord in heaven!  I survived the week, snuck out of work early and let everyone live.  I should win a prize!  Ladies and gentleman, behold the start of the weekend:

photo

It is delicious and it is MINE!  Want one?  You know you do.  Go get yourself one, I’ll wait.  This one happens to be blueberry lemonade and white rum but yours can be whatever you like – it’s Friday!!  Apologies if can’t have one or if you have to work this weekend.  Oh, wait, I have to work this weekend.  Bummer!  Still, that’s later.  So, cheers!

GI Brides Strong Mothers Strong Sons

I finished a couple of books this week – GI Brides and Strong Mothers, Strong Sons.  I can’t really say why I picked up either of them.  I think the first was a BookBub bargain. The second I picked up simply because I was looking for anything something to read.  They were both good, interesting.  I like books that make you think, ask questions or make you wonder what you might do in the same or similar situation.  Both of these do that, albeit about completely different subjects.  I’m not usually one for parenting books, so the fact that I got through the latter and felt it was worth reading is saying something.  In fairness, it did validate things that I do with my own boys so it could just be a me thing.

This weekend I’ve plans to work on a care package I’m sending a friend.  Read as I’m rubbing my hands together thinking of what kinds of yummies I might put in her box…..brownbutter rice crispy treats, salted chocolate caramels, those oatmeal cookies that I’m wanting to make changes to.  So many choices.

What are your plans for the weekend?  Any particular goodies you think I should include in her box?  I’d love suggestions.  Please and thank you.