confab | current reads

books

“poor boy. with a name like atticus, every word he utters ought to be inspired and wise, spoken with a voice that compels all within earshot to sit up and listen. i wonder how disappointed atticus’s parents must be. such a noble and lofty name full of great expectations, and they end up with a heavyset boy with a prominent brow and underdeveloped frontal lobe who says “um” a lot and scratches himself in the cafeteria.”
-steve brezenoff, guy in real life

“i may not be old but i’m too old to have this much nothing.”
-jonathan topper, this is where i leave you

“it is an impressively arrogant move to conclude that just because you don’t like something, it is empirically not good. i don’t like Chinese food, but i don’t write articles trying to prove it doesn’t exist.”
-tiny fey, bossypants

“he sighed. it was a long sigh, weary and worldly-wise. the kind of sigh you could picture god heaving after six days of hard work and looking forward to some serious cosmic r&r, only to be handed a report by an angel concerning a problem with someone eating an apple.”
-neil gaiman & michael reaves, interworld

“​knowing what i know now, it is difficult to describe what it was like, loving Ray. years ago a recovering crystal meth addict spoke at my son’s school. she said that even after ten years clean, she still missed the way it felt to have that deadly substance in her veins. still, life without the drug felt, sometimes, like a lesser thing. a sad though necessary comedown. listening to her speak in that auditorium filled with my fellow concerned parents, sitting next to my good husband with whom i’d lived at that point for close to twenty years, the image of Ray’s face was all i could see, and a wave of grief and longing overtook me, so strong i had to cover my eyes. even after all that time.”
-joyce maynard, the good daugthers

notable online reads:
15 career tips from smart women
childless women
introverts unite!
anthony bourdain travel tips
how cooking for others is selfish
homecooking
Visiting Médoc, France: Where Vines Outnumber Visitors

what have you been reading?

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confab | current reads

nephews - reading time

august is here
summer is almost over

i could cry

instead,
let’s talk books

i don’t read as often
as i’d like
and i made the decision
this year that
there are so many, many, many
books & reading materials
out there
that should it not hold my attention
i will dump it.
life is too short
time is too scarce
to muddle through shitty words

currently on my kindle:
Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

currently on my bookshelf:
On Such a Full Sea by Chang Rae-Lee
Califia’s Daughter by Leigh Richards (reread. because good books deserve to be read over & over & over again)

online:
1K project
networking for introverts
woman in the rainy season

and you.
what are you reading?

nephews - reading time

ultimate white cake

chocolate kissed white cake

when she was a girl, and still growing, ravenous, whenever there had been a cake – a sponge cake, dusted with sugar, which mrs. hill had conjured up out of eggs and flour and creamy butter — sarah would never even herself look at it, because she knew that it was not for her… so sarah would stare instead at the carpet underneath her feet, or the rippled yellow curtains in the parlour, and would do her best not to breathe, not to inhale the scent of vanilla or lemon or almonds; even to glance at the cake was an impossible agony.

and for months, she realized, james had hardly looked at her at all.
~Longbourn by Jo Baker

this book
just read it
i will freely admit
to feeling anger towards
elizabeth
even jane
and mr. darcy
the book is written from
the perspective of the servants
in Pride & Prejudice
and our hero & heroine
are not painted in the most
forgiving light

anyway
just read it
you’re welcome

Chocolate Kissed White Cake

chocolate kissed white cake (dairy free)
inspiration attire
adapted from garlic girl

*note: one of my hires is expecting a wee lass. we’re having a shower for her today and this was one of my contributions to the fete. i’m not for superlatives but i will say that this was one of the easier white cakes i’ve dealt with, the last one being nuria’s wedding cake which was a chiffon cake. that was a more involved cake and i need something quick to fall back on. this just might be that cake that i turn to.

5 large egg whites, room temp
1 cup soy milk cream, room temp, i used organic valley
345 grams cake flour, sifted
350 grams sugar
1 TBL + 1 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks soy margarine cut in cubes, room temp, i used earth balance

preheat oven 350F

prep two 8″ round pans, grease/flour/whatever

in a glass measuring cup mix the egg whites with 1/4 cup of the soy creamer. set aside

in mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. add in the butter and remaining soy creamer and mix until moistened. in increments of 3 add in the egg/soy creamer mixture to the batter, scraping down the sides continuously. beat on medium until batter is fully incorporated

divide batter evenly between the two prepared pans.

bake for 25-35 minutes. i checked on them at 30 minutes and kept them in there for another 5 minutes. the cakes do rise to the very brim of the pan (my pans are 8×2″). allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes, the cakes will pull from the sides just slightly. invert onto wire racks and cool completely. cover with plastic wrap, can be left out at room temp for 2 days, in fridge for 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months.

vegan cream cheese frosting

12 oz tofutti cream cheese, room temp
1 stick of vegan margarine, i used earth balance
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
optional: coloring gel. i used a dab of wilton’s pink

in a standard mixer, beat the cream cheese and margarine until fluffy and incorporated. gradually add the powdered sugar, scraping down the sides often. use your best judgement on consistency. you can add more or less powdered sugar depending on how warm your house is, or how comfortable you are with thicker frosting.

chocolate glaze

6oz of good chocolate, at least 70% cacao
half stick of margarine

place ingredients in a heat safe bowl over a pot of simmering water. be sure that not a drop of water gets into the bowl. it’ll make the chocolate seize and that shit’s just ugly. mix well. mixture will be shiny and smooth.

to assemble

i made this a 4 layer cake, so dw halved the two layers for me into equal 1″ layers. stack the layers accordingly, with frosting between. crumb coat, leave in fridge for 30 minutes. do final coat of frosting as smooth as you can. finally, pour the chocolate glaze over top, do this slowly, and smooth out the top so that it spills artfully over the sides. believe me when i tell you that it’s not as easy as it sounds, just be patient.

BAM!

chocolate kissed white cake

another of my cakes: minty snow cake

birthday | peppermint chocolate chip ice cream

Peppermint Chocolate Ice Cream

today
yes,
today
of all days
i will indulge
in all manner of the word

i’m such a liar
i’ve been indulging all week
every year around this time
i reflect on all that has happened
in the last 365 days
and
in the last 36 29 36 years

quote

exactly one year ago today
i was so incredibly humbled
when i thought about the grace
i’d been given
i am still awed by it
there is no adequate way for me to express how
grateful i am
so i won’t
to expand on that particular post,
35 random things i’ve done this year,
in no particular order

Peppermint Chocolate Ice Cream

|| got engaged
|| looked for scarlett and avery, but to no avail
|| had the best bo kho, in Nashville of all places. dined there everyday we were there
|| went to my first honky tonk
|| saw the pacific ocean with my beloved
|| read this book
|| picked 22lbs of blueberries
|| catered my very first, and technically only, party
|| planted an illegal rooftop garden. well, dw did. i helped. by watching.
|| finally watched the entire West Wing series, josh lyman is kinda beast
|| witnessed Thunder from Down Under
|| i ran just 2 races. (will rectify in the coming new year)
|| saw Jim Gaffigan, yes, he did talk about hot pockets
|| attended dw’s high school reunion. what.a.trip.
|| we climbed a wall
|| visited a local organic animal farm, i may have informed dw that i wanted to own a pet pig AND chicken
|| compared atl’s aquarium to baltimore’s; we win
|| for 5 whole days i had long lashes
|| practiced twerking, failed
|| painted a picture
|| after 8 years of it, apparently illegally, lost gave up cable
|| saw matt nathanson twice, in one week. hashtag groupie
|| chopped my hair off, like, most of it
|| approved for lasik eye surgery. eek!
|| attended a football game, whereby i went through a whole spectrum of emotions in a span of 2 minutes
|| walked to indiana
|| swam in the bay
|| purchased THREE wedding dresses
|| started using the public library in earnest, using dw’s library card. it’s a long story
|| broke up with Parenthood
|| began a torrid affair with candy crush and ruzzle
|| decided on a new celebrity crush
|| went to a book signing by Tyrese Gibson and Rev. Run. Tyrese is hot in person, Rev. Run not so much
|| received my new social security card with my new name on it. boom.

Peppermint Chocolate Ice Cream

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, lactose free
mashup/inspired by Sprouted Kitchen and David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert

*note: i discovered Organic Valley’s LACTOSE FREE half&half and omg. my coffee has never tasted so good. dairy ice cream can now be re-introduced into my life. i’ve made this particular dessert a few times using coconut milk (from the can) and so delicious’s coconut creamer, using various different techniques and always with great results.

Peppermint Chocolate Ice Cream

serves: 8 (though, really i ate the majority of it. oink) calories: 174 | total fat: 4.9g | saturated fat: 2.9g | cholesterol: 4.8g | sodium: 87.5g | total carbs: 30.1g | sugars: 24.4g | protein: 2.9g

november | remember

november

know that feeling
where you have to much to do
the to-do list is long,
you’re not crossing things out,
instead you keep adding
and what you end up doing is
taking a 3 hour nap?

felt … the crunch of leaves underfoot. autumn is on her way out, leaving behind a fading trail of yellows, reds and oranges
smelled … paint. we’re working on a craft project that i am excited to share with you, eventually
touched … yarn. i’ve been busy busy crocheting my fingers off
heard … a reading. do not go gentle into that good night!
saw … an overturned vehicle on the way to work this week. be careful out there people, get there in one piece, the turkey will hold till you arrive

wedding cake - NC

a few pinterest & internet discoveries:
|| organization is not my forte but if i could just get my shit together, i’d make this
|| you guys. tutu + sweater tights? mind exploded
|| this pumpkin soup + coconut panna cotta: yes please
|| this rosemary laced buttercream piques my interest
|| i am so in love with this vintage campaign desk
|| my high school, in thailand, aerial view
|| last, if you’re not already tired of hearing about our wedding, our photographer posted a few more pix

wedding cake - KY

photo captions:
on a very quick trip to NC to visit the bff and this guy, she made a tiny replica of our wedding cake, this time sans the dairy doom. it’s now safe in our freezer
then a few weeks later we visited with dw’s family in Louisville and i made the same cake for the family gathering, this is the recipe that i always use for for sure results. picture taken by my brother in law Jonas Wilson, used with permission, but with my edit
finally, pulled pork tacos. so good. recipe: 2 lb pork shoulder + 1 bottle ginger ale + salt & pepper + 1 onion sliced + a few cloves of garlic in crockpot for 12 hours on low = sweet tender pork. thanks erin w.

pulled pork taco

meanwhile: hello december!