Friday, June 19, 2009

Warning: Gooey

This will have to be quick. I'd rather be outside in heavy traffic on this nearly 90-degree day.

Actually, no that doesn't sound so good. But I've got to return a book to Carmel and, if I can fit it in, hunt for some Nutella. Abbey has been bragging on it. Mercy says it's "rilly, rilly good!" Carmel is the sort of town where the grocery stores might stock this exotic stuff and we do want to know what the fuss it about, don't we?

So, here's your recipe for this installment:  Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes

Warning: These are really gooey. We made messes on our fingers, our faces, the table, our laps, and we are adults here. I can just imagine what might happen to children.

Our dinner guest, John's widowed home teaching partner, was very smart. He ate his with a fork. He must get invited to dinner a lot, because he sure knows how to handle Tricky Foods.

Over on the Finished Book Pile, we have now put Alvin Journeyman, book 4 of Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker series behind us. Loved the judge in the trial scenes. Some great character development all through the town of Hatrack River. Loved the nasty, jealous brother, Calvin (not his nastiness, just for the drama he created). However, I just have not warmed up to Peggy. Last time I liked her was in Book 2. I can't give away what happened to her in Book 3, but read it yourself and tell me whether you agree or not.

Also, every time the story veers toward the Red Man, I say to myself, "Huh? What? How much longer do I have to put up with this?"

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

With WALL-E Staring at Me

I feel like you're right here with me. John must have dug through one of the moving boxes. He found the webcam and now it perches here on the computer monitor, giving me the creeps. But hey, I decent, so what am I worried about?

I guess I like my buddy, The Governess, my GPS. We go places together. She talks to me. She doesn't stare at me, all perky and eager-looking, like WALL-E here.

Anyway, today we feature a dinner that may have tasted good on its own merits on Sunday. Or maybe it was just because we were starved from fasting.

Greek Ham Wraps

I wasn't sure I would like these wraps, owing to the feta cheese. The first time I tasted feta, I decided I certainly wouldn't send any troops to invade Greece just to get more of it. \

The picture in Quick Cooking Magazine added a fancy tie made from a strand of green onion. But even when I am not starving, I can't be bothered with that kind of thing. Calories, for those of you that care, come in at 395.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Bars

We cannot have treats like these sitting around calling to us, so we boxed up a bunch and walked them over to the neighbor's house. Time to reciprocate for the brownies she brought after we moved in. She was setting up a "workout center" in her basement, something she got for free from a friend. If our stunning blonde neighbor works out, then she and her family can afford to help us eat up these dangerous treats.

Over on the Finished Book Pile, we attempted The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Fowler. Readers have to know Austen's books pretty well to keep up with what the characters discuss at their club meetings. The author included synopses and reviews on Austen in the back of the book, which might have helped me. But anyway, not long into the book, the ground got thickly littered with cow patties, so much that there really was no place to step for awhile. Sigh. Do we even care about these characters? I asked myself. No, we do not. So we gave it up.

Then we moved on to Prentice Alvin, #3 in Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker series. This one includes runaway slaves, deep dark peril for Alvin, unfair/misguided masters, brawling married couples, lots more stuff to pique the interest of LDS readers, and some very nice moments of dialogue between the crusty supporting characters. Oh, and we get hints of love and longing. Alvin is growing up, after all.

Sometimes Card gets a little too talky, but we will forgive him and move on to book #4.

Monday, June 1, 2009

From Our Southern Kin

I'm about to reveal to you one of my best secrets.

Down there in Isonville, Kentucky, they've got a volunteer fire department to mind those little flare-ups that happen when, say, somebody tosses a cigarette out of his truck and it lands in the woods at the roadside. To earn money for a new (probably used) pumper truck or some hoses or something, they have to do a little fund-raising.

Enter Kristen, long-lost relative, in the year they sold their Isonville Volunteer Fire Dept. #889 cookbooks. What do our southern relatives eat? Escalloped Summer Squash, Red Velvet Cake, Kenney's Home Fries and lots of the same Cool-Whip-and-pudding desserts that the rest of us like.

Headlining the "Bread, Rolls, Pies, and Pastry" section is a little treasure called Angel Flake Biscuits:
5 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
3 TB sugar
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cups vegetable shortening
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 cups buttermilk

Sift together into mixing bowl, flour, baking powder, sugar, soda and salt. Cut in shortening. Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water; add to flour mixture. Then add buttermilk. Work together with large spoon until all flour is moistened. Cover bowl; store in refrigerator. When ready to use take out amount desired. Roll out on floured board to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with biscuit cutter. Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake 12 minutes in 400' oven. NOTE (theirs): This recipe makes 6 dozen light, flaky biscuits. The dough will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.
NOTE (mine): I thought they liked big biscuits down there. If it makes 6 dozen, they must be no bigger than Whoppers. When I make them, they are big and sweet and puffy and kind of hard to stay away from. Anyway, for those of you that care, divide 3,875 by the number of biscuits you get, and there's your calories.

Grandma Ison once lamented that she could never make light fluffy biscuits like her mother could. I sent her this recipe and even some brand-new biscuits cutters with handles on them like they have at McDonald's and I think all of it promptly got lost and forgotten in one of her drawers. Anybody willing to dig out the cutters and make these for her?

Over on the Finished Book Pile, we have Red Prophet by Orson Scott Card, the second book in the Alvin Maker series. This one required more patience. "Harsher, bleaker and more mystical than Seventh Son," said one reviewer. Quite true.

I had to endure a great deal of Red Man talk about White Man bad, kill the land, go back on boat where come from. And I can't help but read a book as if were already a movie, which makes me puzzle over how the actor is going to say lines like "This is the oath of the land at peace" without wishing he'd been called up for a Pepsi commercial instead.

Despite all the magic, Card's story follows history and geography closely enough that I'm apt to open my next history book and feel shocked that certain real-life players died after certain real-life battles. "No, no! Alvin healed him!"

But I'm sticking with the series. It's all going somewhere. Right, Melanie?