I miss sleeping

You know those times in your life when you seem to be running from one thing to another, barely holding your head above water?  Yeah, that’s been me.  For more than a few weeks now.  Whatever happened to lazy summer days?  What was that you said?  I grew up?  Um, is there a fix for that?  I should be sleeping.  A normal person would be.  Instead, I find that I’m exhausted from putting out fires, carting kids to goalie camps, swim lessons, etc.  But, lie down?  Sleep?  No, that’s when my brain wakes up.  Tomorrow morning when I’m sitting here with my cup of coffee tallying up payroll?  Oh, it’ll be sleeping then, just you watch!

Tomorrow’s another busy one with activities for the small humans and work for me.  Never mind about the laundry I forgot about that’s been languishing in the machine.  I’ll get to it.  I also need to start going through the LIST of books I want to share.  And the brown butter layered brownies that I didn’t!  Plus, I have a surprise!

Fingers crossed that I do better tomorrow.  I’ve taken something that may or may not help me sleep.  Figured, while it was trying to work its magic, I’d say hello.  And maybe whine a bit so I can get it out of my system and move on.  I can dream, right?  Oh yeah, no, I cannot.  That would require being able to close my eyes and sleep.

Are you well?  Have you been enjoying the lazy days?

Until tomorrow.

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And we’re off!

Someone didn’t get the memo.  All the days are not supposed to be Monday!  Don’t even get me started on Sunday.  I’m skipping Sunday’s from now on.  They’re just too busy and by the time I get to Monday I’m exhausted!  Why can I not go back to the beach????

Oh, that’s right.  Because two of my three air conditioning units are down (now that it’s in the 90’s….yay!) and I’m supposed to be at work in a bit.  Good times!

I’ve been trying to not scare people when I put on a bikini take a bit better care of myself.  Read as there’s been no baking.  There have been a LOT of salads.  Yummy salads but I’m not necessarily certain those bear posting.  What do you think??  It’s worth noting that my all-time super favorite salad I can’t post because the dressing is on my restaurant’s menu.  This is how the what do you mean you have a blog and people you don’t know that you feel attached to thing works, k?  That is to a sentence.  A bad one.  This is how I’m rolling today.

Books!

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I read both of these at the same time.  They are both fantastic.  And gruesome.  And I couldn’t put them down……except for when they’d freak me out and I’d have to switch to the other book just so I didn’t wig out.  M is making fun of me for reading the Reacher books in order.  But I have to tell you, I’m enjoying watching the character develop more fully.  Perhaps this is simply my way of justifying my desire for order.  I might rule the land of chaos!  ha!  I will definitely be reading more of the Reacher mysteries.

I’ve added Ms. Slaughter to my list of author’s whose work I’d like to read more of.  Good, readable, complex plot (both books, actually).  Word of warning, if you are like me and know nothing of “snuff porn”, yes, it really is a thing.  You will learn more about it in Pretty Girls.  Creepy.

 

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This is one I listened to while at the beach.  It’s not beach fare.  What it is, however, is a compelling account of one man’s life.  Growing up in Detroit, he became involved in what you’d call the wrong crowd.  That led to drugs and, ultimately, a murder conviction.  I would not have thought that this would be a book I’d pick up or enjoy.  Wrong again.  That’s becoming a habit.  If you don’t mind a gritty story, this is a good one.  Mr. Senghor writes well.  It’s not polished or neat and tidy.  It’s real life – the good, bad and the ugly.  It’s so easy to watch the evening news and forget that there are “real” people in the stories.  I just tune it all out most of the time.  So, for me, this was time well spent.  Plus, I love the stories where people just turn their lives around, where things work out.  They don’t always.

Don’t fall over in shock!

Look at me go, two days in a row!  Boom!

‘Cause I got these:

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Okay, I had these.  But they were devoured so I stole borrowed the photo from Cook’s Illustrated.  They have nicer photos anyway.

Lemon Bars, adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Crust:

  • 1 3/4 c flour
  • 2/3 c powdered sugar, and some extra to sprinkle on top
  • 1/4 c cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 12 Tbs COLD butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1-inch pieces

Filling:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbs  flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 lemon zest, from 2 large lemons
  • 2/3 c lemon juice
  • 1/3 c milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Fully line a 9×13 inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper and lightly grease whatever you’ve used.  (I used foil which I then sprayed….you remember that I’m lazy, right?)

If you have one, use a food processor to pulse together the crust ingredients until it resembles a coarse meal.  Don’t overmix and use COLD butter.  If you don’t have a processor, no worries, mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Then cut the butter into it using a pastry blender, your fingers (my 2nd choice) or even a fork or two.  Sprinkle the mixture into your pan and press into an even layer on the bottom and about 1/2 inch up the sides. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

While the crust is baking, whisk together the eggs thru salt in a medium bowl and then stir in the rest of the ingredients to combine.

Pour the filling onto your crust WHILE IT IS STILL WARM (the WARM part is important)and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake for about 18-24 minutes until the filling feels slightly firm to the touch. Cool the bars to room temperature, sprinkle with additional powdered sugar and cut into bars.

Notes:  Yesterday, I needed a full 24 minutes before these felt firm to the touch.  Honestly, I could have left them in another minute or so.  It’s crazy humid here and that just messes with things, regardless of my calibrated oven.  Yay.  Also, these are not super-puckery lemon bars so if you like that type, I’ve another recipe for you to try.  The shortbread crust on these is ah-mazing.  The end.  This recipe is quick and if you’ve the tools (a food processor and an electric mixer/handheld) it’s superfast too.  This was one that was primarily made by the small humans that have taken over live in my hom.  Learning, even in the summer!

Sooooo, you ready for some books?

Let’s call these the beach books.  (Books I loved and might loan you if you’re heading there, or to the pool.)

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This is billed as the “modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice”.  Whatever.  It was a fun, entertaining, highly readable good time.  I was really sad that it had to end.

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No, you don’t need to be forty to read this one.  It just kind of captivated me.  Admittedly, if you’re a bit older this will likely resonate more.  It’s definitely a girlfriend kind of book.  If you are someone, like me, that treasures your good girlfriends, you will really appreciate how well these characters are presented.  While it didn’t touch me like a Me Before You, it may be one of the better books I’ve read this year.  Warm, thought-provoking and simply a good read.

And because I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t just toss in some other completely different genre, I picked up this one:

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I have to tell you, I knew very little about Anderson Cooper.  I know his work, of course, but any details of his personal life?  Um, no, sorry.  Did I know his mother was Gloria Vanderbilt?  Maybe. Vaguely, at best.  Of THE Vanderbilt’s?   Um, no, don’t think so.  I live under a rock, k?  I like it here, it’s dark and cozy.  I listened to the audio version…..because beach and sometimes I was supposed to be the good parent watching those people.  This was enjoyable and interesting.  Likely because I knew nothing about these people.  More likely, because I find it enjoyable to listen to older generations tell their stories, their love, their losses, regrets and triumphs.  If that’s your thing, pick this one up.  She’s an interesting woman.  An interesting, strong , imperfect woman.  What’s not to love?

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I miss my favorite afternoon reading spot.  ::sigh::

Happy Wednesday everyone!  Two more days until the weekend!