Just over three months. That’s how much time we possibly have left in Okinawa before moving back to our hometown area of D.C. It’s been a whirlwind of a stay here. We arrived on this tiny sub-tropical island in May 2005 and have enjoyed so many aspects of living in a foreign country, traveling, experiencing new cultures and building lasting friendships with wonderful people from all over the U.S.
While living here I have been able to read more books than ever but as the time winds down, I am thinking ahead to working again and getting back into the busy lifestyle that goes with being a Washingtonian and it’s getting harder to concentrate on the words in front of me. I’m excited about the future and have found memories of the past. It is the present that is challenging. All the things there are to prepare for an international move, spending time with friends we may not see for a long time or ever again and finding the time to concentrate on reading when my head is spinning around the to-do list that never seem to end.
I finished reading The Piano Teacher by Janice Y. K. Lee last week and I am currently working on writing my book review. I started a new book but feel that I need to take a break from reading for a few days. I would like to make one more quilt before we move. I made one the first year we were here and would like to take advantage of the time left to create another one for our new home in the States. I keep procrastinating on deciding on a fabric medley and ordering it though. We’ll see what happens.
This weekend I found myself baking again. Yesterday I made Parmesan Pull Aparts from my February 2009 issue of Gourmet Magazine. They were easy to make and delicious, though a bit rich. The recipe does call for a cup and a quarter of freshly grated Parmesan cheese after all. Today I broke out my Martha Stewart Cookies Cookbook and made a batch of the Thin & Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies. They are so good!
What have you been up to this weekend? Do you have any big changes looming on the horizon, waiting for you too? When big changes are making an impact on your life how do you deal with them?
It’s been a busy weekend for me in the kitchen. We had dinner guests over this evening and one of the dishes on the table was a Triple-Chocolate Peppermint Trifle. I got the recipe from the December issue of Martha Stewart Living and let me tell you what, that thing was awesome to eat but a pain to make. In all the excitement I forgot to take a picture of my own creation so here is the pic from the magazine and MarthaStewart.com.
I also made Snickerdoodles again for my little friend Madi since she really liked them when I brought some over to her house a couple of weeks ago. Now she has her own box of cookies to enjoy. In addition to those yummy eats, I made Peppermint Bark and I think I could give Williams~Sonoma a run for their money this season. I used a recipe by Paula Deen but added a good dose of Peppermint extract to the white chocolate.
This Wednesday I am participating in a cookie swap and have to make six dozen cookies. I have chosen to make Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies. The recipe is a bit time consuming because you have to chill the dough so many times but it will be worth it. I start that challenge tomorrow.
In the mean time I have been reading Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched The World by Vicki Myron. I won a copy through Library Things Early Reviewer Program earlier this fall. This book is so great and touching that I have already cried at least once per chapter. I’m not very far along yet, and don’t see myself really having any good reading time in the next few days, but I try to read a chapter a night before fading off to sleep. Let’s just say that my dog, Rocky, has been getting even more hugs on top of the plethora I give him each day because of Dewey.
Well, as you can tell by the looks of this blog, I am in full Christmas mode here in Okinawa. I’ve got the Christmas tunes synced on my iPod and I created two different Christmas playlists on my iTunes program and I have some favorite holiday internet raidio stations picked out on iTunes radio. One of my favorite versions of “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” is sung by Jewel and her Mother. I’ve included it for you below. Enjoy!
Today has been a busy day in the kitchen for me. One of my close friends here in Okinawa is taking the kids home for the summer and has asked me to make her some of Martha Stewart’s Coconut Cupcakes. These cupcakes are simply AMAZING but are tricky to make. There are a lot of big steps and things tend to get a bit messy. Well, now I am exhausted but the cupcakes do look amazing. I highly recommend making these delectable treats when you need a fancy cupcake to knock everyone’s socks off. It has worked for me every time.
Last night AFN started to air the new “Nashville Star”. It began airing in the States last week on NBC. Some of you know that I auditioned for this season via a video recording audition. The U.S. Military and DOD employees and their dependants were allowed to submit a recorded video audition tape that was then compared against all other tapes from military installations all over the world. This included ships, bases, and everything in between where eligible persons may be stationed.
The hubby and I were settled in for two hours of prime singing entertainment because that is what we expect from this show and have been fans over the last few seasons that aired on USA Network. Well, last night made us wonder just what about my video audition wasn’t good enough. I will continue to watch as the new season goes forth this summer but as of the first night’s performances, there wasn’t much there.
I’d like to share with you the two songs I cut when I did a demo in Nashville in 2002. It’s hard to believe that it was that long ago because I can still smell the cedar lined recording studio nestled into the Brentwood, TN suburbs. It was an amazing experience. Karen Brandt\’s Demo Recording of \”Sorry\” & Karen Brandt\’s Demo Recording of \”You\’re Not Here To Miss You\”
My newest hobby is making a cookie a week from my new
Martha Stewart Cookie Cookbook.
Well today I made her Macaroons and boy are they tasty! I love, love, love coconut and this was just the easiest recipe to whip up and bake. Forming the cookie peaks was a messy task but so worth it in the end. Check out these little mountains of yumminess!!!
Last week I received my copy of Martha Stewart’s Cookies Cookbook and couldn’t wait to dive in and try some recipes. Well I may have a new hobby here folks and that is making a cookie recipe a week. The hubby thinks I should start a blog titled “How Fat Can Pete Get?” but I think I will stick to posting pictures of the cookies I make here on Planet Books instead.
I actually made two of the 175 recipes over the weekend and man, were they delicious. The first one is “Thin & Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies”. Now, I have always made the Nestle Toll House Chocolate Cookie and have never strayed from that sure fire recipe but I was curious about this one. Well folks, it was AWESOME!!!! Buttery and crispy and HUGE!
The second cookie I made was “Chocolate Thumb Prints”. This was a first of this type of recipe for me and it was fun to make. I finally figured a better way of making the thumb print with the last batch. Instead of freezing your finger on ice and than pressing it into the hot hot cookie, I chilled the tip of my coffee scoop and used that to make the indentation. I got a deeper hole that looked nicer when holding the chocolate filling after completely cooling. Below are pics of the two cookies on a platter for a going away party I attended on Tuesday.
Well, this morning I completed our March/April book, “St. Lucy’s Home For Girls Raised By Wolves” by Karen Russell. Boy was it strange. I do have a favorite story and some that I liked mroe than others but I will wait till the last week of April to discuss them.
Have you gotten started on this book yet? If you have which stories have you read and have you liked them or not? What else are you reading? I haven’t decided on what I’m going to read next but I will probably know by the end of the weekend.
I am anxiously awaiting Martha Stewart’s new cookie cookbook to arrive in the mail next week. I discovered that on www.marthastewart.com you can watch all her shows so I have been addicted to that. I was able to catch a few of her episodes while we were in the States for Christmas and really liked the simplistic style of which it was done so I am very excited that I can watch all the episodes now. I’m trying to be a better house keeper and a way that is helping me is asking myself, “What would Martha do?”
While talking with my sister on the phone this moring, I realized that I had forgotten to post some discussion questions about last months book, “Like Water For Chocolate”by Laura Esquirel. I had been ill with a terrible flu the week I was supposed to start posting questions so I do apologize for not getting these on sooner.
1) First of all let me ask you if you believe that Tita is a strong female figure and a feminist character?
2) The three De La Garza sisters possess differing personalities. By tracing their trajectories through the course of the novel, discuss the way each sister embodies a female stereotype. What statement might the author be making through these types about options in the lives of women?
3) What does the novel tell us about the domestic life of women?
4) How is fire used as a symbol in the book?
5) Discuss the importance of the narrator.
6) What is the significance of the many physical illnesses that plague characters throughout the novel?
My sister had a great idea of incorporating recipes into this part of the post. If you have any recipes/dishes that turn you and/or your lover on then please share them here. Maybe you will get inspired by another’s recipe and find that it works for you too! This could be very interesting so please, as you leave a comment take a moment to tell us and share your favorite “love” recipe.
(All the discussions questions came from http://www.sparknotes.com/ )