World Book Day

It’s World Book Day, so I’m going to celebrate by putting forth a list of five books I think are great reads. Enjoy!

1. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

I cannot over-recommend this book. Helen Fielding gives Bridget such a spectacular, unique voice. I don’t usually laugh out loud at books, but this is one of the few, true gems of comedic fare. Characters are all absolutely A+, all totally wacky and normal at the same time. Bridget herself is so dysfunctional in her musings, ramblings, worries and hopes that she ends up just being very, very real. Which is, after all, the books biggest asset.

2. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

This lady is absolutely excellent at creating a world where the familiar rules of society as we know it fade. In The Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood shows the reader a glimpse into the life of a woman whose past we never truly know, living in a changed society that we don’t learn the secrets of, in a world where something has happened that is never revealed to its fullest extent. Thrilling, unsettling and thought provoking.

3. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

Honestly, anything by David Sedaris is lovely. And I’m not being facetious. He is always funny. Sometimes his essays are emotional, sometimes they are silly and sometimes they are very intelligent, but there is always the perfect amount of humor to tie the stories together. He is a genius, and I accept no other descriptor.

4. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Coolest, saddest book ever. Ishiguro works magic with his words. Stunning to the very end.

5. Candide by Voltaire

Great for some 18th century French fun. Plenty of versions in English so everybody can join in on the party. Fortunately -or rather, unfortunately – many of the satirized subjects are still around, so you’ll still understand each little zinger you laugh at.

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My Apple Pie Fun

I made the best apple pie this weekend. The best. Oh my god it was so good I wish I could send you the taste via letters.

I followed  this recipe from the How Sweet Eats blog, which has easily become one of my favorite things to check out when I have some down time.

Because I have a habit of starting kitchen projects without seeing if I have all the ingredients, I was missing a few things. Obviously it was ok because it came out SO GOOD. I thank my good sense in tastes and flavors! So unless you have a good feel for ingredient substitutes, I don’t suggest throwing in new ingredients because you will be wasting your time.

The above recipe is for about 3 pies worth of crusts, I decided that I would just make a little more than a 1/3 of the recipe. I opted out of the oatmeal topping since I didn’t have any oats (plus I wanted to try a crust topping. The oats topper is great, though. I’ve made it before and won 3rd place with it in a pie contest.)

I also didn’t have apple cider (or apple juice), nor, unfortunately, did I have bourbon. Oops.

So I needed to improvise. What I did have was unbelievable amounts of whiskey in the cabinet but I thought it would taste too smoky in lieu of bourbon or rum (which also works). Then a beam of afternoon sunlight fell upon a hidden (m and d call it “protected”) bottle of Armenian cognac. Bingo.

Instead of apple juice, I used lemon juice. Yes, lemon juice. I rationalized it by thinking it had natural sugars and was a juice. Psst: it worked perfectly.

I mixed the sugar, cognac and lemon juice and butter together and believe me when I tell you it smelled like bakeshop heaven. I followed the sugar and butter amounts from the recipe, but I eyeballed the cognac and lemon juice. I didn’t use more than a 1/2 cup of either and it turned out to be a great syrup.

I did end up needing more than the four apples I used, since mine were not as crisp as they could have been and fell into a applesauce-like consistency.  But like good mush. I wish there were more so that there would be more mush! I suggest about 5-6 apples. Or more! The world is your oyster! Remember, this is just an apple pie, don’t sweat  it.

 

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An ugly picture of my beautiful pie

 

Quotation Sunday

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”
E. E. Cummings

Never go a day without laughing. Laughing is truly the best medicine for many, many little aches from the day. If you can, laugh it off, shrug it off, have some chocolate. De-stress yourself by watching something funny on YouTube or reading a book you find funny.

Fake it til you make it. If you can’t find a way to laugh -impossible! -force yourself to laugh. You will sound so ridiculous to yourself that you will really laugh. Then you will laugh at yourself for laughing for real, and the circle perpetuates itself until you feel better or someone catches you being crazy.

Worst comes to worst, just talk to yourself in the mirror. This really works in making yourself feel like the goofiest person on the planet. Seriously, there is no one else out there who is as nuts as you (probably) because you are talking to your reflection as if they are a real person. Unless…is that just me? Please say it isn’t.

I digress. JUST LAUGH. Loosen up and let yourself be open to a bit of silliness and giggles. Your heart will feel lighter, and your day brighter.

x,

A

Quotation Sunday

“Let’s get loose
With
Compassion,

Let’s drown in the delicious
Ambiance of
Love.”

-Hafiz

I came across this today, and I think that it’s totally great. I don’t always enjoy explaining how I interpret things to other people, because it can be a little pedantic. So interpret away! It’s amazing how some people can put together words so simply yet have it mean something so deeply.