Friday, April 30, 2010

The ring kills me.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Here we go, the third and supposedly final trailer for the third installment in the Twilight saga, my beloved Eclipse. I'm liking the action, but DEAR LORD do not let the behind-the-scenes reshoots/ drama mar the perfection of my two favorite scenes from my favorite book of the entire series! I already take issue with that hideous ring. In a word? Busted. I blame Stephenie Meyer. She doesn't have a great sense of style.

Don't worry-I'm actually quite calm about my obsession. I won't be subjecting my future offspring to the saga until they're of an appropriate age.

6.30.10 Still can't wait.

Friday, April 23, 2010

adventures in sweets, round 1: coconut macaroons

Friday, April 23, 2010

There are many things that I could ruminate on to express my bliss upon the stateside arrival of my soon-to-be sister-in-law C. She is an absolute gem, sweet and kind to the core and delightfully witty and intelligent too. I had forgotten in her tremendously long year's absence just how much fun it is to be together. We've already been getting into a pleasant routine of shopping trips, delicious lunches out, lots of wedding talk, and plans for various excursions and activities.

After our first venture, a lengthy but wonderful cross-country road trip with my beloved MIL, C and I decided to put into place our plan to prepare the plethora of recipes that are always catching our attention. I'll admit that for the most part, our list is made up of various sweets, though sundry breakfast items and Irish soda bread are included as well. We opted to begin with these coconut macaroons, otherwise known as MORSELS FROM HEAVEN.

Coconut Macaroons with Chocolate Ganache, adapted most lovingly from Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life

3 cups lightly packed sweetened shredded coconut We picked ours up at the last minute, and, most shockingly, could not find sweetened coconut. The recipe has just enough sugar to make this an acceptable substitute.
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup egg whites (from about 5 large eggs)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream

Place the coconut, sugar, and egg whites in a heavy 2- to 3-quart saucepan and stir well. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, 10 to 15 minutes. The mixture will look very creamy as it heats, and then it will slowly get a bit drier, with individual flakes of coconut becoming discernable. Stop cooking when it no longer looks creamy but is still quite sticky and moist, not dry. Remove from the heat, and stir in the vanilla. Scrape the mixture into a pie plate or small baking sheet, spread it out a bit to allow it to cook quickly, and refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350℉. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Using your hands or a small, spring-loaded ice cream scoop-I like to use one with a capacity of 2 tablespoons-scoop and firmly pack the coconut mixture into small domes. (If you're using an ice cream scoop, keep a bowl of warm water nearby. The scoop will need a quick swish every now and then to keep it from getting gummed up.) Space them evenly on the baking sheet.

Bake the macaroons until evenly golden, about 30 minutes. Cool completely on the pan on a wire rack. Then remove the macaroons from the baking sheet, and set them on the rack. Set the rack over the baking sheet.

Put the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until it is hot and steaming. Do not allow it to boil. Remove the pan from the heat, and pour the cream over the chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute, then stir until smooth. Spoon the warm ganache generously over the macaroons, shaking them gently, if needed, to coax the ganache down their sides.

Refrigerate the macaroons on the rack until the ganache sets, at least 2 hours. Transfer them to an airtight container, and refrigerate or freeze. The recipe produces approximately 12 macaroons. C and I lovingly divided them, with absolutely no resentment whatsoever.

As you'll notice, rather than reading my tedious textbook, I opted to focus my full attention on my last macaroon. They are so good it's practically impossible to concentrate on anything else whilst eating. You'll find yourself sitting in a buttery, toasty coconutty-induced reverie, attempting to imagine what other items in your house you might be able to coat in the silky bittersweet ganache. I'm serious.

Two side notes: 1-These were ridiculously easy to make. I would highly recommend them for dinner parties or holidays or any event at which you want to make a good impression. 2-READ MOLLY'S BOOK. It is absolutely wonderful, the very best food writing I've ever read, simultaneously comforting, funny, sweet, and inspiring. I've actually read it through two or three times, have given it as a gift (to C!), and even purchased it on my Kindle so that I would always have easy access.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I am not one to always give into the hype. I am also not Madonna's #1 fan. In fact, I have been known to disparage her on MANY occasions and I have voiced my opinion on her disgusting, excessively toned biceps more than once. And yet, I loved, LOVED the Glee homage to the iconic Madge.

Is it wrong that I only added to my scanty Madonna collection AFTER this episode?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Top 5 Tuesday

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Apparently, I'm the sort of person who decided to post weekly lists when she feels like it. When I posted about bringing back my Top 5 Tuesdays, I must have meant that they will return when I have time. As though I'm busy planning my days like Frank in Old School, nice little Saturday plans when I "might not have time" to get to Home Depot. Geez, I need to get my act together.

You might forgive me when you see that I had to search through my voluminous Kings of Leon library to come up with a perfect Top 5 list. Ever since I discovered them for myself, courtesy of (you guessed it), Pretty Cheap Dress, I have been unable to eliminate them from my daily routine. My love for the wild band of southern brothers (+ 1 cousin) is different from my adoration for, say Coldplay. Instead of a mature, intellectual sort of admiration, I have to admit that I'm more like a raging groupie. P.S. I'm not proud.

In honor of my SH getting up at the crack of dawn to face Live Nation and obtain summer concert tickets for us, I decided I should throw together a list of favorites, the perfect combination for the uninitiated. I'll tell you right now that I'm not a fairweather fan-I know each album in and out, not simply the one that's landed them in the Itunes Top 100. These songs are a good representative example of the work of a singular, incredible band that I hope is around for a very long time.

P.P.S. I apologize in advance for using a solo picture as a header. I couldn't resist-the Rolling Stone shoot was just too full of goodness. Indecisive me=default picture of Caleb

5. Pistol of Fire. My favorite Kings album is the second, Aha Shake Heartbreak, which is virtually bursting with good songs like this one. I feel that it perfectly exemplifies two things I love about KOL: Caleb's sensual whine (yes, I just typed that, and no, there is no better way to describe it) and the pure southern rock feel of their music.

4. Red Morning Light. From their first full-length release, Youth and Young Manhood, this song is a good example of the early Kings: kind of raunchy and growly, with genuine musical talent backing them up.

3. On Call. You might have noticed that not a single one of these songs is new to my blog. They've all been featured on my seasonal playlists in some way or have cropped up in one of a hundred references to my best friend and her musical prowess. When I endeavored to think of my favorites, however, these just kept coming up. On Call is by far the most "Top 40 friendly" as I like to say, akin to the extremely poplar KOL single Use Somebody, but that doesn't mean it's not AWESOME. I like to think of it as a "power ballad" of sorts, and imagine they're singing to me.

2. Revelry. Incidentally, it was this little gem of a song that was my real introduction to the Kings. That's Pretty Cheap Dress for you-she picks out an obscure tune from an as-then fairly unfamiliar band and proclaims that they are simply "the BEST" (Let it be known, I'm completely aware that Kings of Leon had a huge fan base before they became commercially successful in America). My adoration for the Kings is unique in that they're one of the only bands that I find myself completely ignoring the lyrics for the most part, becoming swept up in the feeling of the music. This song is an exception. "Just know it was you all along who had a hold of my heart..." "With the hardest of hearts, I still feel full of pain..." Can you resist it? I don't think so!

1. Taper Jean Girl. Most shameful confession: I heard this song for the first time while watching Disturbia, a movie I've seen numerous times because of my inexplicable affinity for Shia La Beouf. I can tell you that I'll always love the movie all the more for including Taper Jean Girl, which is truly all things Kings of Leon: slightly bawdy, upbeat and rockin', and totally addictive. I literally cannot get enough of it.

I'll be in the pit, screaming out the words to every song, wearing my KOL garb, this summer. I cannot WAIT.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Parts in the Sum of the Whole

Friday, April 9, 2010

I'll admit that this is something of a frivolous post, considering that I'm practically ALONE amongst my fam and friends in my whole-hearted admiration of Bones, and the particular segment I've chosen to share wouldn't even seem like much to an unfamiliar viewer (to a faithful fan, it was a HUGE episode and moment!). Consider it a shameless plug for the show, which (all Office antics and Jack Bauer loving aside) is truly my favorite. David Boreanz is absolutely spectacular, EVERY time, whether he's wrestling a criminal to the ground or convincing Brennan that she does, indeed, have a heart. Emily Deschanel is equal parts funny, exasperating, and ultimately, endearing. Give it a go, as C would say. Though I might suggest staying away if you don't enjoy good ol' crime dramas. Or have a weak stomach (it can get g-ROSS). Or find that you're not a sucker for "will they or won't they" television romance arcs. I obviously cannot help myself.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

"I thought, wait a second, could it be? And now I know for sure: I just added two more guys to my wolfpack."

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A taste of the very best bits of my recent cross-country girls' trip: Arizona's painted desert, the Grand Canyon glorified even more by a dusting of snow, the charming indoor canals of the Venetian (instant love for C and I) and my dear MIL and SIL taking in the fountain show at the Bellagio.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Oh my gosh. I'm obsessed. LOVE him, love what he's doing. I suggest you watch immediately.

P.S. Check out the lids on the milk-ALL strawberry. Admit it, it's appalling.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

"Place a beehive on my grave and let the honey soak through..."

Saturday, April 3, 2010

When I read The Secret Lives of Bees for the first time, I genuinely enjoyed it. "A sweet book," I thought, as I shoved it back into my overly packed bookshelf. Took me hardly more than a few days to finish, and definitely left me with that warm, fuzzy feeling characteristic of a sentimental, yet well-written novel that pleases with a happy but not too sappy ending. I can't say that the story lingered in my mind for long, however. Nary a second thought was devoted to it, and I didn't even think to recommend it to anyone.

I could not have been more wrong about my initially underwhelmed response. As I prepared to depart on my recent road trip with my MIL and SIL C, I opted to borrow a few good audiobooks from my mom's incredibly well-stocked library. Critical to a good audiobook is the presence of a good reader, and my mom, in her infinite wisdom, pulled out The Secret Life of Bees, praising the reader's performance. C had never read the book, and I thought it might be nice to hear a familiar story, without the pressure of concentrating on it too much while driving. We slipped in the first disc of eight early in our journey on the first day.

We were captivated immediately, from the very first moment of hearing the thick, perfectly delivered South Carolina accent of the reader. The story of Lily Owens, Rosaleen and the Boatwright sisters came spilling out, weaving its way into our minds and seizing control of our heartstrings. I could not believe what I had missed before! Hearing the story again was like finding a precious pearl in the crevices of a wave-worn oyster's shell. I laughed at Rosaleen's dry humor and Lily's affectionate pronouncement of Zach, the "ass-busting" lawyer. I cried to think of May shoving in the millionth slip of paper emblazoned "Neil and June" into the stone wall. I felt, REALLY felt that pang and longing that belong to first love when Zach and Lily discovered the purplish elderberry honey, lingering by the hives as "bees swirled around" their heads. Let me tell you, this book is SO GOOD.

For the rest of the trip, it was like an addiction. We turned it on almost immediately upon climbing into the car each morning. Being stuck for two hours in Hoover Dam traffic became tolerable because we were granted more time with the story. It was difficult, truly difficult, to pull that eighth disc out of the package, knowing it would be the last.

Immediately upon returning home, I found my copy of the book, thumbing through to find my favorite parts. There are many to choose from, so I think I'll narrow it down here to a select few.

She laughed again. "You know, some things don't matter that much, Lily. Like the color of a house. How big is that in the overall scheme of life? But lifting a person's heart-now, that matters. The whole problem with people is-"
"They don't know what matters and what doesn't," I said, filling in her sentence and feeling proud of myself for doing so.
"I was gonna say, The problem is they know what matters, but they don't choose it. You know how hard that is, Lily? I love May, but it was still hard to choose Caribbean Pink. The hardest thing on earth is choosing what matters."

Some things were not possible in this world. Children did not have two parents who refused to love them. One, maybe, but for pity's sake, not two.

There was a photograph of a woman smirking in front of an old car, wearing a light-colored dress with padded shoulders. Her expression said, "Don't you dare take this picture," but she wanted it taken, you could see that. You could not believe the stories I saw in that picture, how she was waiting at the car fender for love to come to her, and not too patiently.

"Did you know there are thirty-two names for love in one of the Eskimo languages?" August said. "And we just have this one. We are so limited, you have to use the same word for loving Rosaleen as you do for loving a Coke with peanuts. Isn't that a shame we don't have more ways to say it?"

"You know, Lily, people can start out one way, and by the time life gets through with them they end up completely different."

I can't wait to read it all again.