Cinnamon Sugar Puffs

Ingredients:
2/3 Cups Melted Butter
2 Eggs
3 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1 Cup Milk
3 Cups Flour

Topping:
1 Cup Melted Butter
2 tsp Cinnamon
2 Cups Sugar

Directions:
*Mix all ingredients (except for topping). Put into well greased cupcake tin (should make 15-18 puffs).
*Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
*Mix cinnamon and sugar in a plastic bag. Dip puffs into melted butter and then place in plastic bag with cinnamon and sugar. Shake 3 muffins in the bag at one time.
*Place on wax paper and allow to cool.

What I Learned: you know how waiting for something to cool is really hard? Well, one thing you can do to make time fly is to drop a bowl of melted butter all over your kitchen floor. As you’re cleaning up the demonic butter grease and broken bits of your favorite microwave safe bowl from the floor, the muffins will cool enough to be eaten as soon as you melt more butter and finish the last few steps. That way, you can skip that final pesky step of allow them to cool.

Enjoy.

Book Review: The Ask and the Answer

The Ask and the Answer is the second book in the Chaos Walking series. So, disclaimer, I listened to this one. I would have preferred to read it but as I neared the end of The Knife of Never Letting Go I ordered the trilogy on Thriftbooks and failed to realize that I was ordering the audio books. I have nothing against audio books, I listen to them ALL THE TIME while doing chores around the house because I can get more lovely bookness into my life that way. But sometimes you want to read the words, you want to hear the voice you imagine instead of the voice actor reading. Anyway, just wanted to drop in that disclaimer for you purists out there.

Book one ended on a cliff hanger (spoiler alert – so does book two). Book two is told from two POVs, Todd, but now also Viola as they are separated for most of the book. Again, Patrick Ness, you beautiful tropical fish, does an amazing job of keeping back just enough information to keep the reader engaged. Book two’s pacing is a little slower than the first book but the intrigue is there and the politics is very well done.

As for the rest:

River Song GIFs | Tenor

The city of Haven has surrendered to Mayor Prentiss and now Haven is New Prentisstown with President Prentiss in charge. Prentiss has kept his promise to save Viola but keeps her in a healing house, separated from Todd. In the meantime, Todd is put to work with Davey Prentiss put in charge of him and they oversee the Spackle, who have been drugged with the cure, which prohibits their noise but also makes them easier to control. Meanwhile, Viola is under the care of Mistress Coyle, the healer who helps her recover from her gunshot wound. Once healed, Viola starts an apprenticeship with Mistress Coyle.

Without getting too much into all the middle, Mistress Coyle is the head of “The Answer” and President Prentiss sets his army up as “The Ask”. “The Answer” begin to attack the town, eventually breaking into the prisons to free the women and men who have been imprisoned since Prentiss came to town. They blow up a lot of things and at one point send an aerial bomb that misses it’s target and almost kills the Spackle but they’re able to get out of the way in time (including one that Todd personally knocks out of the way). Todd is finally able to see Viola but it was a trap and even though she promised to never leave Todd, she has to leave immediately. So Todd remains under the control of Prentiss who gives him and Davey the task of banding the Spackle, and then later the women of the town.

I’ll stop with the spoilers there (since I already basically said that at the beginning of the last paragraph). I honestly don’t have much negative stuff to say, so far book two has lived up to the first and I’m hopeful the third book will as well. The only thing I wonder though is how Todd found Viola’s window when he reached the house of healing, I just don’t know how he would have known which one was hers. There’s an introduction of a possible love triangle, but at the end of book two it doesn’t seem like it will really flesh out, but could possibly still be used in the next book. I’m not sure if “If one falls, we all fall” from book one plays a part in the overall series or if it was something Aaron would say and it doesn’t matter anymore? Guess I’ll find out at the end of the series.

I’m a fan of a good villain, and Mayor Prentiss is well done, he’s intelligent, ruthless, smarmy even. Very manipulative. Davey becomes just as love-able as Manchee (Todd’s dog from book one), and I think Patrick Ness does well with slowly changing the way we view him. Viola is a strong female character but not in the overbearing way that some people try to write strong female characters (with a lot of telling but not showing), you see how strong she is by how she acts and what she says. And Todd…he’s strong but not in the same way. She is strong and sure of her convictions while Todd seems to falter at times. He tries to compartmentalize things, tries to stop feeling. And Viola seems to be his weakness, even after he realizes she’s his strength, at the very end of the book we see what he’s willing to do to keep her safe and alive.

I’m very excited to start book three tomorrow. Also, I just saw that The Knife of Never Letting Go is going to be made into a movie, not sure how I feel about that to be honest. But you can bet I will go see it in 2021…I hope they do it justice. Maybe I’ll have to have a special movie review post.

Homemade Whipped Cream

Ingredients:
1 1/4 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
6-8 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar
1 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 Tablespoon Skimmed Milk Powder

Directions:
Mix it all together in the food processor, be careful not to over whip. When using a hand mixer, stiff peaks will begin to appear on the surface.

Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp) Active Dry Yeast
1 Tablespoon White Sugar
1 Cup Water
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 1/2 Cups Flour

Directions:
1) Preheat Oven to 400 degrees
2) Put yeast and sugar into a large bowl.
3) Heat water in a microwave safe dish (30 seconds should do the trick) and pour over yeast and sugar. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes until frothy.
4) Add salt, olive oil and flour. Allow to sit for another 5 minutes to allow dough to rise.
5) Roll out either using a small amount of flour or cornmeal. Decorate with your favorite toppings.
6) Cook for 10 minutes (or until the cheese is the desired golden color, this varies from person to person).

We do all sorts of different things. I’ve used pizza sauce, and when I don’t have that I’ve used butter with garlic (so good). Play around and have some fun and add as much cheese as you want!

Book Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go

Have you ever read a book you couldn’t put down? You think, “one more chapter before bed.” And you get to the end but then you have to see what’s going to happen! That’s this book.

It’s been a while since I posted a book review and that’s mostly due to the fact that I haven’t finished a book. I start them but I’m not in love or not feeling it and life’s too short to waste on a book I don’t care enough about. I’ll list the books I didn’t finish at the bottom and if you’ve read it and love it and think I should give it another go, let me know in the comments and I’ll persevere.

Back to this book though, this is the kind of book that gets you back into reading after a readers block. Patrick Ness does a great job of making it worse and worse and worse for the protagonist, Todd Hewitt. And he keeps withholding information in that way that’s frustrating but good, because you want to keep turning the pages and find the answers.

The premise of the book is that the settlers of New World, who traveled through space to escape from Old World, have faced war and disease. War against the Spackle, the native alien race of the planet, and a disease that made the inner thoughts of men audible to everyone and killed all the women. Todd Hewitt is the youngest person in Prentisstown and the last boy, awaiting his twelfth birthday when he will become a man. But when he goes to the swamp to collect apples he senses a silence which spooks him (and the reader) and returns home to tell his foster father, Ben. This discovery becomes the catalyst for Ben and Cillian to send Todd and his dog, Manchee, away from Prentisstown, back to the swamp and then beyond.

Almost immediately, the lies Todd has been fed his whole life begin to unravel. He meets a living breathing girl and together their escape is quickened by constant danger from the residents of Prentisstown pursuing him in a race to reach Haven, the city at the end of the map given him by Ben.

He learns the truth about Prentisstown, what the town required of him to become a man, what really happened to the women (including his mother), and what why the residents are really after him and Viola (the girl) and along the way, he learns what it truly means to be a man.

Yes, this book is action packed but there are also underlying messages. Most other reviews of this book that I’ve seen are very positive, but I have read one or two that don’t like the characters, but I have to disagree. I think Todd’s voice is strong and he’s a believable boy. I thoroughly enjoyed reading along as his perceptions changed and his character arc developed. But hands down, my favorite character in the book is Todd’s dog, Manchee. And I knew, from the first time we hear Manchee’s noise that he was going to end up being one of my favorites.

I don’t want to give too much away though, but I highly, highly, highly recommend this book. Especially if you in a reading rut.

Books I Could Not Finish (again, if you’ve read and enjoyed any of these, please let me know and I’ll try again).
*Hunting Prince Dracula (the sequel to Stalking Jack the Ripper)
*Don’t Read the Comments
*Oona Out of Order (don’t bother trying to convince me on this one though)
*Dear Edward

Homemade Lemonade

  • 1 3/4 Cups White Sugar
  • 8 Cups Water
  • 1 1/2 Cups Lemon Juice

Throw it all into a pitcher and stir.

Pretty easy right? We had five lemons that I’d ordered through Walmart Pick-up for Lemon Squares but then we got impatient to make those lemon squares and I forgot to take lemons off the list. So, when life (or Walmart) hands you lemons… We used those five, but five lemons do not a 1 1/2 cups make, so we also used lemon juice.

Now, I’m not a fan of lemonade, really prefer almost anything else to it. But this stuff was SOOOOOOOOOOO good. Highly recommend it.

Lemon Squares

Crust
3 Sticks (1 1/2 Cups) of Butter (softened)
3/4 Cup White Sugar
3 Cups Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Salt

Filling
6 Eggs (room temp)
3 Cups Sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon zest (I used peel)
1 Cup Lemon Juice (feeling ambitious? freshly squeeze this – I am not ambitious).
1 Cup Flour

Topping
Powdered sugar

Directions
1) Butter a 9×13 baking pan
2) Cream butter, sugar and salt until fluffy. Add flour.
3) Press the dough into the bottom of the pan. Chill the pan while the oven preheats to 350 degrees. Bake the crust for 12-15 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
4) Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest (or peel), lemon juice and flour. Pour the lemon mixture over the crust and bake for about 35 minutes, until filling is set. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate at least one hour.
5) Cut into squares and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

I’ve never made these before and I made them for my husband. He said they were good, the kids tried them and spit them out (which, honestly, I’m not a lemon person so I would have done the same). We gave a bunch of them to the in-laws who have a full house since Hubs is the only one who will eat them. So basically, what I’m getting at, I have no idea if these are good! My husband says they’re delicious and he wouldn’t allow me to embarrass myself by given something less than delicious to my MIL…at least that’s what I have to believe.

40 Before 40: Get A Keyboard

Well, I did it! Now I need to find my old piano books. I’ve also ordered a Ben Folds piano book with “The Luckiest” in it since that’s also on my bucketlist.

The kids were very interested…a little too interested, so I have it in my bedroom to make sure no one plays with it when they shouldn’t be. It came with a microphone and headphones. We had a little singing/dancing party when I first set it up.

What I learned:
Not a whole lot. My husband put together the stand and nothing else needed assembly. In addition I learned that I have forgotten much of my limited music reading abilities (including what it is called when you read music…is it called anything or am I making myself dumber than I actually am?)

Monkey Bread

I’ll update this pic when I remember to take one before we dig in!

Ingredients:
1/2 Cup White Sugar
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2 Cans refrigerated biscuits
1/2 Cup Melted Butter
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar

Directions:
1) Heat over to 350 and spray a bunt (or fluted tube) cake pan with cooking spray.
2) In a ziplock bag or bowl, mix White Sugar and Cinnamon.
3) Open the biscuit cans and tear apart each biscuit into small balls, don’t make them too big because then they won’t cook all the way through). But the balls into the cinnamon/sugar mix and coat them well.
4) Mix in brown sugar with melted butter and pour over the top of the biscuit pieces.
5) Bake 35-40 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Turn upside down unto a microwave safe plate (basically, not a plastic or Styrofoam plate that will melt). Remove pan. Eat warm, or let it cool (if can!) Taste great and no need to know how long this stays fresh because it won’t last long!

Notes:
* I sometimes add more butter so it will cover all the pieces. A dry piece of monkey bread just doesn’t compare to a piece with caramel on it.
*WARNING: This is so good it has ruined countless diets (not just mine).