Hey guys! Fall is hands down my favorite season (it also helps that I got married in the fall). The cooler weather, the scarfs, the football, and more time to curl up with a cup of tea and a great book. I also love Halloween […]
Month: September 2017
Hey guys! Get ready because I have two books you’re going to want to add to your TBR (to be reading) pile! Sourdough – Robin Sloan Lois, a transplant to San Francisco (originally from Michigan!) working in the robotics field is suddenly the owner of […]
Hey guys! Today I was all excited about sharing a great recipe that I found in The Geeky Chef Strikes Back! A cookbook NetGalley was kind enough to let me review. We’ll long story short, the Seed Cakes didn’t turn out. I ended up with a pan full of crumbs. Tasty crumbs, but crumbs none the less. So what does every 27 year old do when something goes wrong? I googled it and low and behold someone else had posted about a very similar issue with berry muffins they made. Instead of letting it get her down she took those crumbs and made them into tasty “muffin pops” with a glaze over top. Well my recipe already called for a glaze to be added, so I went for it. While I didn’t create what I set out to make in the beginning I still ended with something that tasted good and a great reminder that when things don’t go your way in life (or baking) it’s okay to come up with a creative solution to make the best of the situation you’re in. Below is the post I started to write before things went south.
The Geeky Chef Strikes Back! is a cookbook with recipes that run the gambit from the food found in Harry Potter to Firefly to Breaking Bad to the Hobbit and everything in between. There are side dishes, main courses, and, of course, desserts. This cookbook has super fun ideas for parties but some of the recipes are also great for just enjoying at home. Plus who doesn’t want to eat what their favorite fictional characters are consuming?!? After reading through the book and wanting to make at least half of what I saw, I knew I wanted to try to make something on my next day off.
I decided to try my hand at making Seed Cakes from the Hobbit. Jeff and I are huge fans of things that have vanilla and almond extract and poppy seeds so it seemed like a no brainier for the first thing to make. This recipe started with making the book’s recipe for a yellow cake. The ingredients were all things that a baker would have on hand (except maybe the poppy seeds and caraway seeds; I left the caraway seeds out of my batter) and would be easy to pick up if you’re not a big baker. The recipes were easy to follow and straightforward. I subbed my own version of almond milk buttermilk instead of straight buttermilk (to make your own buttermilk simply take the milk of your choice and whisk in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for every scant cup of milk the recipe calls for and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes or until it has thickened up) and made my own cake flour instead of buying it (for every cup of cake flour the recipe calls for use 1 cup of flour, than take away 2 tablespoons of flour from that cup and replace with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch).
The batter was easy to mix and came together fairly easy. I really liked the yellow cake mix, it wasn’t much more work than making a box of yellow cake and ended up tasting way better. The extra orange zest, poppy seeds, and almond extra that the seed recipe called for really added something to the basic cake mix which I liked.
In the end I think my batter was too wet, so when the muffins came out of the oven they wouldn’t come out of the tin, they just crumbled. I’m not sure if it was my fault for subbing the cake flour and buttermilk or what. I still think the cookbook has some great recipes and I’m definitely going to try this one again along with several others like rock cakes from Harry Potter.
P.S. I ended up making “muffin pops” out of the crumbs which taste great. Now I just need to figure out how to get them to come out in the shape of a muffin next time!
NetGalley also gave me the opportunity to review The Flexible Vegetarian. The book contained all vegetarian recipes but gives readers
the option to add meat at the end of each recipe which I really enjoyed. Jeff and I are working on a more vegetarian diet so this book had several great recipes we want to try while still giving us the option of adding a protein that will pair well with the meal. Personally, I don’t enjoy mushrooms and there several recipes in this book that call heavily for them so that is a downside for me as I won’t be trying those meals, but I know they’re a great substitute for meat in vegetarian recipes. I’m excited to try out the books suggestions for cooking tofu and has several soups (like cauliflower cream cheese soup) that will be great to try as it starts to get colder out. The book contained beautiful photographs throughout and I loved that the author included proper ways to cook different types of meat in the back of the book as a just-in-case!
I hope everyone had a great day and has a chance to enjoy something tasty!
Thank you to the following for permitting me access to an advance reader’s copy (ARC) of The Geeky Chef Strikes Back!: Even More Unofficial Recipes from Minecraft, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Twin Peaks, and More!. This generosity did not impact my honesty when rating/reviewing.
Author: Cassandra Reeder
Publisher: Quarto Publishing Group, Race Point Publishing
Pub Date: 15 Sep 2017
Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine, Entertainment
Thank you to the following for permitting me access to an advance reader’s copy (ARC) of The Flexible Vegetarian: Flexitarian recipes for dishes with and without meat. This generosity did not impact my honesty when rating/reviewing.
Author: Jo Pratt
Publisher: Quarto Publishing Group, Frances Lincoln
Pub Date: 07 Sep 2017
Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine
I want to ask everyone a very important question. How many books do you read at a time? One? Two? More than two?
I feel like readers have very strong opinions on what the correct answer is or what answer works best for them with very little in between.
For a long time (until about 4 months ago) I fell firmly in the one-book-at-a-time camp. I couldn’t even consider starting something new until my current read was completely done. This made reading for fun during college and grad school nonexistent as I couldn’t imagine reading both my books for school and something for fun; reading for more than one class at a time was stressful enough!
Then I started to run to and from work, leaving my current read at the office. I also started to request more nonfiction books for Jeff, which, once I picked them up from the library and looked them over, seemed really interesting and something I also wanted to read (i.e., It Starts with Food by Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig, Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ, or Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain – the third one was a Modern Mrs. Darcy choice, an amazing blog you guys should check out if you love books, as she always has the best recommendations).
So one night I went for it, I picked up a nonfiction book we had sitting around the apartment and read a few pages before bed. I was hooked and, no surprise, I started to get through more books — specifically nonfiction — per month even with a much busier schedule than before.
I’m now a convert; I love to read more than one book at time. I usually stick to one fiction and one or two nonfiction books (as long as the topics are different enough) and have really enjoyed getting back to learning about new things/topics now that I’m able to get through more nonfictions books while still being able to read as much fiction as I want.
Which camp do you guys fall in? One book at a time or more than one?
Can anyone read 2 fiction picks at a time? I’m still not to that point yet but who knows what will happen in the future.
On a running note I’m off to participate in my first triathlon this weekend! I’ll try to have a recap up on Monday from the race/ weekend. I hope everyone has a great weekend full of fun and, as always, Go Blue!