Why, no, I’m not dead, thank you!

I’ve been REALLY sick this week.  So sick that my littlest one keeps asking ‘are you sure you’re okay, Mommy?’  Yesterday, I went back to the doctor.  He didn’t see me return.  I overheard him asking his brother if I was dead.  Yes, this was an actual conversation.  I might be a bit worried about him!  As for me, I’ve been pumped full of every drug known to man and, thankfully, have a few days off.  Maybe I’ll stop scaring my kids soon.  Until then….

I’ve got books and an easy, yummy, no brainer dessert for you.  Well, really, it’s for Tara but you benefit!

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I call this deliciousness a fake crisp.  In this case cherry because that’s what this sick person wanted.  It’s so easy that I can’t even tell you it’s an actual recipe because it’s totally not.  Ready?

Fake Crisp

  • 2 cans of your favorite pie filling
  • 1 stick of salted butter, melted
  • 1 box of jiffy CAKE mix

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Go ahead, open the cans and dump them in a small casserole or 9×9 pan.  Sprinkle the cake mix over the filling.  Pour the melted butter on top.  Bake until brown and bubbly, about 45-60 minutes in my oven.  Prepare to be amazed at how good this is.

Now, of course, you can make your own filling.  If you’re using apple pie filling, add nuts, add cinnamon, play around, have a good time.  This is seriously hard to screw up.  If you’re M, add ice cream or beg your domestic goddess to whip up some heavy cream.  Do you need to?  Nah.  This is a dessert for when you just want something yummy with no effort.  Tell me when you’re making it.  I’ll bring my spoon!

 

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Time for some non-fiction, I think.  I can’t tell you that I knew much about Carrie Fisher outside of her role in Star Wars.  I tend not to pay attention to a lot of celebrity gossip.  I’m not even certain that I knew she was Debbie and Mike Eddie Fisher’s daughter (ugh!  clearly, I’ve had too much medicine!  Mike Fisher plays for my hockey team!).  I know.  That’s sad.  I live in a black hole, k?  But, this was a quick, somewhat entertaining read.  Like, really, really quick….more novella than actual book.  It struck me that maybe it was written as an afterthought to her previous book.  Would I recommend it?  Maybe, if you’ve borrowed it or gotten it from the library.  Someone I know thought it was wickedly funny.  I can’t say that was me.  To me, it seems like she was trying to hard to be funny, to laugh at herself.  Not necessary to me.  I think anyone that can pick themselves up and put their life together after succumbing to the lure of drugs and alcohol, doesn’t need to justify themselves to me or need me to like them or whatever.  Honestly, I’m impressed already.

 

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Rosemary was a hard one for me to read.  It’s well written and full of interesting stories but it’s just so sad and horrible and a reminder of medical tragedies.  I cannot even imagine what her father went through knowing that he made the decision to allow doctors to perform a lobotomy on his daughter.  She went from a sweet, happy, developmentally challenged young woman to just a shell of a person.  Tragic.  But, I am so thankful to have read this.

Okay, I’m outta here.  I think a nap is calling.  The downside to all the drugs is that I’m exhausted but can’t usually sleep.  It’s wrong on so many levels.

Have a great weekend! xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot men and no cookies!

I need cookies.  And I haven’t anyAnd I cannot decide what kind to make.  Too much pressure for a Friday.  Just sayin’.

What I do have….HOT MEN!  Hey, it ain’t all bad…

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This Cedar Ridge place.  Somewhere in the Sierra Nevadas.  Must.  Go.  There.

Seriously, for quickie fun, without the commitment, Jill Shalvis is your girl.  Hot, alpha males are her specialty.  Mine too.  swoon  This one’s the third in the Cedar Ridge series.  You won’t miss out if you read them out of order though I tend to enjoy books in order.  (That’s Second Chance Summer then My Kind of Wonderful.)  Whadda mean you think I might be OCD?

Enjoy, ladies.

Now, you GUYS didn’t think I’d leave you out did you?  No way!  I’ve got a hot man for you, too.  In the form of one Jack Reacher.

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I read the first in the series The Killing Floor and immediately ran out to buy this one.  This one was even better.  Because.  No really, it was an easier read….more flow, more developed plot and character.  Loved it.  Helps that I’m a nerd so when he starts describing particular weaponry and its pros and cons, I just get all ooooh, tell me more.  Yes, I may have already picked up the next one.

Look at me!  Working through the book list!

Now, about those cookies.  Oatmeal?  Chocolate chip?  Icebox?  Sugar?  Somebody stop me!  Or, just tell me what kind to make already!  I promise to share….

Happy Weekend!

Sometimes, life just sucks

It’s been a rough week or two around here.  I’ve simply found myself exhausted, overwhelmed and just sad.  I’m not normally a sad person.  Or even a moody one.  When I get this way, I tend to hide out.  You might have noticed.

I lost my dog a couple of days ago.  Toby.  A white, bat shit crazy, blind, completely deaf ball of fluff.  He was old and creaky.  He was not necessarily crazy about the humans he lived with.  He was forever walking straight into the kitchen cupboards, me, walls, you name it.  He moaned and groaned.  He huffed at you if you happened to be sitting on his favorite spot on the couch.  I miss him.  I find myself looking for him.  Imagining that I hear him puttering around.  I’m still moving things so he doesn’t crash into them.  Losing a pet…..it sucks.

My people are already asking if we can get another dog.  I do not understand them.

Last week and this week, too, I’ve worked A LOT.  So much so, that last weekend I flat out refused to do anything or go anywhere.  What I did do was read the latest Nora Roberts.

 

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It’s a mystery romancy book.  I loved it.  I figured it out, of course, but that did not detract from it being a wholly satisfying read.  What’s lacking with the plot was more than made up for with characters and a setting I loved, loved, loved.  If you’re in need of a little escape, grab this one.

If that doesn’t do it for you well, you might need some chocolate!  Black bottom muffins.  Have you had them?  A bit of a chocolate cupcake with a creamy center?  Yummy, relatively quick to put together, makes two dozen so you can eat your fill.  Hey, I didn’t say you should!  I said you could.

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Black Bottom Muffins

For the cream cheese center (ALL AT ROOM TEMPERATURE):

  • 2 pkgs cream cheese (16 oz)
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 Tbs sour cream
  • 1/3 c. mini chocolate chips (optional)

For the muffin part:

  • 1 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 1 1/3 c. water
  • 1 stick (8 tbs) unsalted butter, melted and cooled a bit
  • 1 tsp vanilla

 

Preheat over to 400 degrees.  Ready to muffin tins with liners (yay, easy cleanup!).

Make your creamy center by mixing together your cream cheese, sugar and salt.  Mix until smooth.  Then add the egg whites and sour cream.  When creamy, add your mini chips, if you’re using those (do it!) and set aside.

For the muffin part, mix the sugar through cocoa.  Make a  little well in the middle of that and add your remaining ingredients.  Whisk until just combined.  Pour batter into your cupcake liners.  Then, top the batter with spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture.  I just plop a spoonful on each until I’ve used it all up…..too good to waste it is my theory.  Bake for 23 -27 minutes until the tops begin to crack.  In my oven, because I use both racks the top is done right at 23 minutes and the lower rack (which I move up after taking out the first tin) takes an extra 4-5 minutes.  Allow to cool before you dive in.  Refrigerate, if you’re saving these for more than a few hours, k?

Okay, time to head off to work.  Have a happy Thursday.  Will try to get you caught up on some more books from the list tomorrow.  xo

 

Just passin’ through

::waves::

Hi!!!  How is everyone?  I’m buried, overwhelmed and tired.  Shockingly, I’m still in a relatively good mood  which is just weird given the crazy that has been this week.

Will check back in with you Monday.  I’ve cupcakes to share!  And loads of new books.  Now all I need is a time machine.  Got one of those????

Hope all is well in your world.  Happy Weekend! xo

 

Oh, yeah, it’s FriDAY, baby!

Not that I’m excited at all about that.  Nope.  Not me.  Not excited at all.  Well, the vampires at the Red Cross might disagree.  I gave blood earlier.  People, you’re saving lives here!  Doing a good thing!  AND, Score!  The vampires will give you cookies when you’re all done.  Why so glum?  I’m guessing that someone forgot to tell them about the whole it’s Friday thing.

I don’t mind giving blood.  I started doing it when my dad got cancer the first time.  I figure every time I donate, I’m giving a gift in his honor.  Is that weird?  Yeah, I guess it probably is.  But it works for me.  It’s quick and easy and cookies!  Give if you can.  You never know who’s life you might save.

Maybe as your reward you can have these:

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Petits pains au chocolat  that’s the fancy name for them.  I call them quickie chocolate croissants that don’t require a trip to the market.  Better than what they sell at a fraction of the price.  Bonus that my people can help make them. So they’re not as pretty.  They were eaten so fast that no one noticed!  Now, did I make changes?  Yes.  Because I was too lazy to go to the store, I used ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips rolled between the layers.  The family loves those so I tend to hoarde them keep a lot on hand.  We also added a generous amount of cinnamon sugar to the tops.  If I wanted these more over the top, I’d probably temper the chocolate and add some heavy cream.  I’d then use this ganache, spreading it on the puff pastry, maybe adding some nuts for a bit of texture and crunch, before rolling it up.  But, that’s just me.  M loved these!  Especially cold.  M’s happy – life is good!

Today’s books are about relationships.  Not real ones.  Get a grip.  Do I look like someone who wants reality in my relationships?  Ugh, NO!  Hee.

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Remember how I said I love the ads in the NY Times Book Review?  Yes, that’s where I got these.  There was another but I haven’t started it yet.  The caption was “Brainy Women.  Broken Hearts.  Unexpected strategies….”  These are about relationships and adversity.  They were well written and moving and easy reads.  I’ll be honest, I couldn’t put either of them down.  I love that.  I love books that make you think ‘I wonder what I’d do in that position’.  Because, really, we always think we know what we’d do when faced with certain problems or how we hope we would deal with adversity.  But, when reality hits, things don’t always go according to plan, do they?

Oh, I found the page these were on!  It’s below.  Happy weekend, everyone!  Do something fun for yourself!

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Everyone needs a Penny!

Do you have a Penny?  No, not the coin.  But a friend that is always there for you, whether you need a favor or just someone that will periodically listen to you whine about the crazy in your life.  Someone to make you laugh, share a glass of wine with and just touch your heart with their kindness.  I’m lucky to have a few people like this in my life.  This week we celebrate Penny!  Because Monday was her birthday and I believe that, in and of itself, is cause for celebration.  If you are one of those people that doesn’t celebrate birthdays, let me just say I totally don’t get that.  There are presents and alcohol and cake and other fabulous things with fabulous people AND YOU ARE LUCKY TO BE ENJOYING THEM.  The end.

I had the plague on Monday and Tuesday.  Yesterday, fortunately, I was feeling better.  So I made these:

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They might not look all woohoo to you.  But, they are Penny’s favorite.  Chocolate covered Oreos.  Sometimes, you can buy these at the market.  But, this year, we couldn’t find them anywhere.  Which is wrong!  Do you hear me chocolate covered oreo makers!?  Buncha slackers.  As you can imagine, these are super easy to make – dip them in chocolate, place on wax paper, sprinkle with whatever if you so desire.  Still, I don’t make them very often because they take time.  Find time, they’re really good.  And when you give them to your Penny do not be shocked when they put an entire cookie in their mouth.  Maybe she thought I was going to take them back…..

Tips:  I use Ghiradelli’s melting wafers.  They sell big bags of these at Sam’s so they don’t cost a bloody fortune.  Heat however much you want in a microwave safe bowl, in the microwave.  Heat for a minute, then stir, then heat for 30 second intervals until you can stir it smooth.  Took my bowl maybe a minute and a half….but my microwave is a thousand years old.  Less is more, timewise, if you want the chocolate to stay glossy.  I use tongs to get the cookies out of the chocolate.  I’m lazy so I dump in 3-4 cookies and then flip them over and pull them out.  (That last part is making me sing this silly kids song.  I may still have remnants of the plague.)  If you’re slow, just heat the chocolate back up until you’ve finished your cookies.  Place on wax paper.  If you’re adding those nifty candy hearts, this be the time.  If you’re just doing a drizzle, you can let the cookies dry, doesn’t matter.  The end.  Just looks impressive.

So, while I’ve had the plague, I finished listening to the Serial podcast.  Has anyone else listened to it?  I have to say I was kind of disappointed this season.  They talked about the Bowe Bergdahl case.  Maybe it was just me because I come from a military family and I’ve friends that serve, but this entire case just makes me mad.  I thought that listening to the podcast would maybe tell me more, what I’d missed maybe, why I should keep an open mind about this guy.  No, didn’t do it for me.  YOU DO NOT LEAVE YOUR FELLOW SOLDIERS.  I’m sorry he was captured and held by the Taliban, I am.  But, in my mind, that doesn’t excuse the resources that were allocated in the search and rescue of him, not to mention the soldiers that were injured in the process.  Is that harsh of me to think so?  I find I’ve really gotten worked up over it all.  I know, you couldn’t tell at all.  Sorry.  Rant over.

Books!

I’ve read some.  I’ve read a bunch actually.  So, I’ll just pick some to tell you about.

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M reads these.  The Jack Reacher novels.  I saw the Jack Reacher movie.  M went on and on and on, and on and on and on, about if you just read the movie, no!, Tom Cruise is NOT Jack Reacher.  Jack Reacher is a big, intimidating guy!  Whatever honey, the movie was good, it was entertaining.  This book?  FUN!  Can’t wait to read the next one.  Love the character, the details, the plotting.  Just good storytelling.  I’ve already got the next one!

But, of course, I didn’t pick it up.  I’ve STACKS of books to get through.  Stacks of books!  Some started, most not, some set down, some waiting for a few free brain cells….

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I know I said I probably wouldn’t read anymore John Grisham books for a while.  Probably a week went by.  Okay, so I lied!  There!  You happy!  I liked this one.  It’s not a novel, just more a collection of short stories centering around this lawyer.  He’s kind of edgy and fun and cynical.  I hoping there’s another book with this character.  I’m not looking though.  Because of the stacks…..

Gotta run.  Some people are starving!

 

 

 

Oh, haay! Book Tag!

Did you just hear me say that first part to you in Christina Aguilera’s voice?  ‘Cause I totally did!  This is what happens when you watch all the episodes of The Voice while on the treadmill in a single week.  Hey, I need me some Adam Levine eye candy to distract me.  Don’t judge.  Just send me Adam.

So, those fabu ladies over at Coffeeandtwigs tagged me in a book tag.  Have you seen their blog?  It’s a fave.  So happy and fun.  You can never have too much happy and fun, right?  Well, since I cannot figure out what to do with this new milk chocolate I’ve purchased other than just eat it straight away and I’m too lazy to plant everything that jumped into my cart today (note to self, stop freakin’ going to all the garden centers.  This is why you have no money, comprende?) I figured I’d play.  Woohoo!  Ready??

How do you find out about new books to read?

I’m a nerd.  I love to read The New York Times Book Review section though it’s typically the books in ads that capture my fancy.  I trust Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist and Kirkus Reviews for their recommendations (I’m specially speaking to their starred reviews).  I’ve certain friends and blogs that I trust.  I’m leaving out various websites because while they might put a title in front of my face, I will usually research it a bit more before I pick it up…..lessons learned the hard way.  Then there’s my favorite just wandering through the bookstore or library and picking up whatever strikes me as interesting.

How did you get into reading?

I have always been a reader.  My mom’s a reader.  My dad was a reader.  When I was little, my parents decided to move to the wilderness.  Seriously, we went from neighborhood with loads of friends to wow, I see fields and more fields and more fields.  Plus, my parents were both doctors.  So entirely too much time was spent in their offices waiting for them to finish up.  It was read or color on the walls.  For some reason that last one got me in a world of trouble….though I think my dog pictures were quite be-u-ti-full.  No one appreciates the struggling artist.

How has your taste in books changed as you’ve grown older?

I probably read more non-fiction now.  And I’m learning (STILL) to set books aside that I am not enjoying.  I’ve also learned that just because I don’t like a book, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad.  It may mean that I’m simply in the wrong place in life or wrong frame of mind to enjoy it.

How often do you buy books?

I will get in less trouble if I don’t put that answer in writing.  Let’s just say there is more than one room in my house with floor to ceiling bookcases.

How did you get into book reviewing?

I blame Penny.

How do you react when you don’t like the ending of a book?

I throw it across the room!

How often do you take a sneak peek at the ending to see if there’s a happy ending?

That’s cheating!  My mother and sister do this.  It makes me crazy.  I’ve also been known to yell, WHY BOTHER READING IT NOW!!  This typically earns me the “look”.

 

Okay, this was SO FUN!  I’d like to see the following bloggers play along.  Pretty please!  Not everyone reviews books on their blog but they write, they entertain and they inspire.  xo

  1. Scifiandscary
  2. therenegadepress
  3. kevinhotter
  4. Scarlet Pen
  5. The Shameful Sheep