Growing up my mom had this old, well-used (read: total wreck) “Better Homes and Garden” cooking encyclopedia set, and I loved it. When I was older, I told mom that when she died, I called dibs on the set. Thankfully, my parents are still very much alive, but when they moved from Ohio to Texas they had to downsize just a bit, and she offered me her cookbook set. I was thrilled… but also, why did I want these cookbooks?! I don’t typically use cookbooks or even recipes for that matter. Unless of course I’m making something new, or baking… baking is science, man, you have to be precise. Anyway, I remembered why I wanted these cookbooks, they’ve got some great recipes. I mean, let’s be honest, these are from the late 60’s, early 70’s, there are some terrible recipes in there (not everything needs to be set in Jell-O, BHG!), but there are some real gems, and they give tips on why something might not be working out. This week I started jonesing for some custard pie… I love a good, homemade custard pie. So here are the results. I follow this recipe perfectly, except, I don’t sift the flour for the pastry, and I use butter instead of shortening. I like it warm or chilled.
The pastry recipe said it was for a single 9-inch pie, but I used a 9.5 inch and I still had leftover crust. So I made a bonus mini-blackberry pie. I only added a teaspoon of sugar… it was not enough, talk about tart, but still quite delicious.
I loved so much about this book! The characters are flawed, and fun, and relatable. I love Veronica; her spunky, snarky personality reminded me of my own grandfather. I loved learning about the Adelie penguins, and a glimpse of Antarctica (one of the few places I had zero interest in visiting until I read this book). It was a cute love story, a study in family and what that means, and a coming of age story all wrapped up with adorable penguins. You’re heart will break with Veronica, it will be mended along with her as well. The only thing I didn’t love about the book was there were several heavy-handed, and weirdly presented environmentalist passages. Generally the author was very good about presenting the real threats that the environment, and Antarctica and the penguins specifically, face within the flow of the story; and had she left it at that, I think it would have been less off-putting and rather effective in getting her message across. However, there are two specific passages where it seemed very agenda-y. It was so blatantly not within the flow of the story that it pulled you out. I’d rather learn a lesson within the story rather than being pulled from the story to hear it.
Also, here’s a photo of my wonderful grandfather. He died earlier this year, and I miss him more than I can express.
If you’re looking for a relatively predictable, feel-good love story, this is it. I enjoy a good light read, but I’m not a fan of “romance” novels, they tend to have graphic sex scenes, that just aren’t my jam. I wish there had been a warning on this book, since there were several of those… it’s fine, I just skip ahead.
Beyond that, the characters are fairly predictable: the mysterious, handsome, “good-guy” stranger; the dirt-bag, cookie-cutter handsome former crush; the slightly neurotic, brilliant, gorgeous, gamer girl heroine with crazy dyed hair; the strong, slightly judgey best friend; and the over-bearing boss. The plot plays exactly how you expect it to: two guys sort-of vying for the affection of the heroine, while she neurotically allows her life to implode, until she has a life-changing epiphany and the girl gets the guy, and the dirt-bag gets his just desserts.
If you’re looking for a comfortable read to escape reality, this is the book for you.
So, I’m kind of a doughnut snob. I love, love, love a good doughnut, but so often, they’re just not. Boxed donuts, terrible. Krispy Kreme, also terrible. Dunkin’ Donuts, only slightly better than terrible. Seriously, I’m a doughnut snob. Because of this I don’t eat donuts very often, usually only a couple of times a year (usually on a trip to the greater Cincinnati area, since they have the most amazing doughnut shops there), and while I’m sure there are some amazing doughnut shops here in NYC, none that I’ve found in our neighborhood. Which, honestly, is probably better for my health.
Anyway, it’s been six months since I’ve had a doughnut. And since my annual trip to Cincinnati got cancelled (thanks Covid-19), I got desperate, and I made my own. I have never made them before, so I had no idea how these would turn out.
I found a recipe online, and I mostly followed the instructions. I followed the recipe for the dough, but I didn’t have cornstarch, so I made the custard without it, and I used milk instead of heavy cream. For the chocolate topping, I made a chocolate ganache instead of the recipe included on the website (the ganache I made was 10 ounces of ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips and eight ounces of heavy cream).
Here are photos from the process and the final product. So, how did this doughnut snob find them? They were pretty good. Weirdly, I only made one dough, but half of the dough didn’t rise like the others. But overall, better than Dunkin’ for sure.
I’m linking the three best doughnut shops around. If you’re ever in the greater Cincinnati area, be sure to check them out.
This is a short book (162 pages), but packed with many, many nuggets of wisdom (seriously, so many underlined passages). Keep in mind this was written in 1940 by an academic, I found the language scholarly, and not a little dry, but it just took a few pages to get the rhythm and flow.
The gist of the book is that pain is the result of the abuse of freedom by man, not the result of an unloving or vengeful God. If viewed properly, pain can, and should bring us into a closer and more harmonious relationship with God and man.
This is one of many passages that paint a beautiful picture of God and our relationship with Him.
“‘To him that overcometh I will give a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.’ What can be more a man’s own than this new name which even in eternity remains a secret between God and him? And what shall we take this secrecy to mean? Surely, that each of the redeemed shall forever know and praise some one aspect of the Divine beauty better than any other creature can. Why else were individuals created, but that God, loving all infinitely, should love each differently? And this difference, so far from impairing, floods with meaning the love of all blessed creatures for one another, the communion of the saints. If all experienced God in the same way and returned Him an identical worship, the song of the Church triumphant would have no symphony, it would be like an orchestra in which all the instruments played the same note. Aristotle has told us that a city is a unity of unlikes, and St. Paul that a body is a unity of different members. Heaven is a city, and a Body, because the blessed remain eternally different: a society, because each has something to tell all the others–fresh and ever fresh news of the ‘My God’ whom each finds in Him whom all praise as ‘Our God'” (pages 154-155).
I don’t agree with aspects of Lewis’s theology, but appreciate his ability address difficult aspects of Christianity; and pain is one of those seeming difficulties. Lewis shows us that pain is not the problem, the problem is in our relating to Him and to each other.
Lewis, C. S. The Problem of Pain. HarperCollins, 2001.
These are great for parties, or just as a snack. They’re a little spicy, but not overwhelmingly so. I definitely recommend wearing gloves when you make them, and do not, I repeat, do not touch your eyes or nose!
10 Jalapeños (cut in half lengthwise and de-seeded)
8 ounces of cream cheese
3-4 ounces white cheddar
5-10 slices of turkey bacon
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cumin to taste
Mix cheeses and spices together until well blended.
Spoon filling into jalapeño halves.
Wrap bacon around the cheese filled jalapeños
Bake at 400° for 20 minutes.
Broil for an additional five minutes (or more or less depending on your oven) to crisp the bacon.