"To all those who are reading this, I really hope something good happens for you this month." –-Dave Hedges
"November, the last month of Autumn, but the beginning of a new adventure. Time to take risks and do the unexpected." --Unknown
This quote can remind us to jump into a new author or genre we haven’t tried before. Take a little tip from me: chose by the cover sometime, give it a chance and dive in. It may surprise you; so far it certainly has me.
I just finished reading and studying a new cookbook, Sundays with Sophie by Bobby Flay and his daughter Sophie Flay. This book is set up as a teaching tool for us; to inspire us to be creative in our own kitchens and take chances on something new. I’ll include a couple of his recipes at the end of this blog.
Do you start feeling blah this time of year like I do? Leaves are falling, everything starts turning brown and nondescript.
Well, let’s spruce up our home this coming winter with tips and ideas from Love Your Home Again by Ann Lightfoot and Kate Pawlowski! It can be as simple as changing out your throw pillows to adding some color to a room with a new rug or a comfy throw. Remember, winter is coming so let’s get our homes ready to be cozy.
Want to try a biography? I just received Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II: the Biography by The United Library. It chronicles the life, love and early years of their relationship. It’s a very small book and quick read, but yet full of very interesting facts. For instance, Prince Philip was born in Greece and Queen Elizabeth was born in London England. It tells us how they met and where.; something I surely didn’t know. Maybe you are as fascinated by the royals as much as so many of us are. If so, this little book delivers. Queen Elizabeth II was the longest reigning queen. This was truly a love story that spanned 70 years.
I’m not sure how many of you know but the bookmobile has a West Virginia collection. Browse through our titles online, you may want to catch up on WV this fall/winter.
DVD REVIEW TIME
I just finished watching the new DVD starring Tom Hanks. He plays Elvis’s manager. Of course we know it doesn’t or can’t have a happy ending. It will leave you feeling somber, but it was quite riveting and thrilling. Just getting behind the scenes to see how Elvis was made; why he enlisted in the military and who were his true friends until the end?
I watched this three part mystery series by Hallmark. I truly enjoyed all three. Great characters, surprise endings, well written mysteries and of course a sprinkling of romance.
Where the Crawdads Sing
Not sure if you read the book by Delia Owens, but it was on the best seller list for ages. It’s now a motion picture and available here at bookmobile and the main library. Believe me, you don’t want to miss this one.
Get your popcorn, comfy clothes and cozy blanket ready for these winners. Hooray for movie night!
MY BOOK ON CD PICKS FOR THE MONTH
Well, as promised I finished Dreamland by Nicholas Sparks; another hit out of the ballpark! I read it in just a few days. It's unbelievable how this author can capture you from page one, paragraph one, until the very last word of the book. It was awesome; please don’t miss! Take the trip with Colby and Morgan. You won’t be disappointed.
HERE ARE SOME BOOKS ON MY RADAR FOR NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER
Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult
The Godmothers by Monica McInerney
The Twelve Topsy, Turvy Very Merry Days of Christmas by James Patterson
The Christmas Movie Cookbook by Julia Rutland
I’VE GOT MY EYE ON A COUPLE OF CHILDREN’S BOOKS ALSO:
Piney: the Lonesome Pine by West Bakerink
Disney's Bibbidi Bobbidi Academy by Kallie George (There are two books in this series: Rory and the Magical Mix-Ups and Mai and the Tricky Transformation)
Disney's Cautionary Tales : a Collection of Scary Stories Starring Favorite Disney Villains by Ridley Pearson
Are you getting ready for Christmas Shopping? I read where we should have a game plan; Organize, make a list, plan your route, set up a gift wrapping station and try not to get distracted from your goal! Please people it’s Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year. It’s all about distractions; lights, music, the scents, the bustling, the cooking…whew I’m getting tired and it’s only November.
AS PROMISED, TWO RECIPES FROM BOBBY FLAY
Scrambled Eggs with Prosciutto and Focaccia
Oil for shallow frying (canola)
8 paper thin slices prosciutto (you can substitute with bacon)
12 large eggs
4 tbls cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
¼ cup crème fraiche
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
½ cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
8 pieces focaccia or( texas toast, lightly toasted)
In a small pan heat ¼ of the oil just below med-high heat until it begins to shimmer. Line a plate with paper towels.
Lay 1 slice of prosciutto into the hot oil and fry until almost translucent, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Remove and lay on paper towels, sprinkle with black pepper. Continue with remaining pieces. (If you are using bacon, just fry bacon until done and slightly crispy, sprinkle with pepper after lying on paper towels).
Crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk until light, frothy and uniform in color. Strain the eggs through a fine mesh sieve into a separate bowl.
In a large skillet combine the butter and crème fraiche. Pour the eggs into the pan and add the pepper flakes.
Turn the heat to low and cook slowly, mixing frequently until soft curds form. This should take anywhere between 15 to 35 minutes depending on the heat of your burner.
Remove from the heat and the eggs will still be somewhat wet and have a custard-like consistency. Season with salt and pepper and gently fold in the parmigiano.
Working quickly so that the eggs do not continue cooking in the pan, mound the eggs on top of the warm focaccia or toast and sprinkle with additional parmigiano-reggiano and black pepper. Top with the crispy prosciutto or bacon and serve as open-faced sandwiches.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Date-Lime Butter
4 sweet potatoes, unpeeled and scrubbed
1 tbls olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
2 tsps fresh lime juice
2 tbls molasses
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds for garnish
Set an oven rack in the middle position and preheat to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Rub the sweet potatoes with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Place on baking sheet and roast until tender when pierced with a fork, 40-45 min, turning the potatoes over once halfway through cooking time.
Meanwhile in a medium bowl combine the butter, half the lime zest, molasses, ½ tsp salt, and some pepper. Stir until smooth.
Transfer the roasted sweet potatoes to a platter, split open with a knife, and slather with the molasses butter. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper, then garnish with the toasted sesame seeds and the remaining lime zest.
Serve immediately with any extra molasses butter on the side.
With Thanksgiving on the horizon, I wanted to include a recipe for Pumpkin Cake.
This is from Allrecipes.com. I use their recipes a lot in my cooking. They are easy to read and prepare and also the ingredients are readily available.
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 2/3 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 lg eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsps ground cinnamon
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
½ cup butter, softened
1 (3 ounce) pkg cream cheese softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
Mix together in a large bowl the pumpkin puree, sugar, oil, and eggs until well combined.
In a separate bowl stir together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir into pumpkin mixture until thoroughly combined.
Spread batter evenly into an ungreased 10x15 jelly roll pan.
Bake in the preheated 350 degree oven until cake bounces back when gently pressed, 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool.
While the cake is cooling, make frosting.
Beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth; stir in vanilla.
Add confectioner’s sugar a little at a time, beating until mixture is smooth.
Spread frosting evenly on top of cooled cake. Cut into 24 squares.
Thank you for reminding us we have so much to be grateful for!