Politics and Woe; Ardor and Action

unity-edited

At the March for Justice in Ventura, CA. Photo by Jenni Buchanan

These next few years will be an opportunity for some of us to rise up and become leaders, revolutionaries, and heroes.

I’m an optimist and a dreamer, the kind who puts presents under the tree in Santa’s name for my kids, but still somewhere deep down believes that this magical symbol of goodwill and charity actually exists out there. So I’m not exaggerating when I say that up until the very last minute, I truly believed something would happen to prevent the inauguration last Friday.

It didn’t. And now the hard work of learning to live in this new and inconceivable reality begins.

Or perhaps not. Perhaps it’s better to say that now the hard work of changing this new and inconceivable reality begins.

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What to Read With What You Eat: Holiday Cookie and Book Pairings

Books n Cookies

The holidays are a time for baking and eating, of course, but if you’re a bookworm the holidays are also a time for reading. (Let’s face it, if you’re a bookworm EVERY time is a time for reading!) And what could be better than putting great food together with great books! This Yuletide season my two daughters and I decided to pair cookies with some of our favorite books. (Although the kids made the cookies, the Stephen King and non-fiction pairings are mine. They haven’t had the disturbing pleasure of reading either of those books yet.)

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Let’s start with the classics. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and Scottish shortbread. A book and cookie that are absolutely essential to the holiday season:

Dickens' A Christmas Carol with Scottish shortbread.

Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with Scottish shortbread.

DividerMy youngest loves Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland, and don’t these cookies make you think of falling down the rabbit hole?

Alice and Peppermint Swirls. Careful which side you bite from...

Alice and Peppermint Swirls. Careful which side you bite from…

DividerA Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (and when you have a creative 13 year old around, a tree grows in our kitchen as well).

Rice Krispies Trees are the perfect pairing with Betty Smith's classic coming-of-age novel.

Rice Krispies Trees are the perfect pairing with Betty Smith’s classic coming-of-age novel.

DividerChocolate peanut butter bars with Gregory Maguire’s Wicked—I think this pairing speaks for itself.

These homemade chocolate peanut butter cups really are Wicked!

These homemade chocolate peanut butter bars really are Wicked!

DividerSomething about these adorable melting snowmen made me think of Stephen King’s Different Seasons… horrifying, but irresistible!

Twisted melting snowmen paired with the master of twisted plotlines.

Twisted melting snowmen paired with the master of twisted plotlines.

DividerAnd for the adult readers… Peppermint bark brownies with Pamela Druckerman’s Lust In Translation.

Peppermint Bark

Sinfully delicious

To see where many of these (and more!) tantalizing holiday treats came from, visit my boards on Pinterest.

May your holidays be filled with sweet treats and tasty books!

Birthday Indulgences: Books and Cupcakes!

Today is my birthday, which means I get to spend the day doing the things I love most!

Tree Grows In BrooklynThe first, of course, is read, and I plan to treat myself with a nice two or three hours at the library with Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, one of the very best coming-of-age books ever. It’s no surprise that I love this story about a girl who falls hard for books, who uses her love of words to rise above her heartbreaking (although not altogether unloving) circumstances and make something of herself. It’s a beautiful story that is beautifully written… And it’s no coincidence that I assigned it to my Rediscovering the Classics book class during my birthday month!

The second thing I get to spend hours doing today is a newly discovered love of mine: Elaborate Food. My birthday choice this year was Teacup Cupcakes, made in the beautiful china teacups inherited from my grandmother. I know this is a bkwurm blog, and cupcakes have nothing to do with books except as a tasty treat to keep up your energy for reading, but scroll down for a feast for the eyes (and the all-too-easy directions for making it)!

Teacup Cupcakes

Start by using your favorite cake recipe (mine is pound cake) and follow instructions for cupcakes.

Start by using your favorite cake recipe (mine is pound cake) and follow instructions for cupcakes.

 

I researched the china maker & pattern online to make sure it was oven-safe before putting them in.

I researched the china maker & pattern online to make sure it was oven-safe before putting them in.

 

Baked according to the cake recipe, but I checked after 15 minutes, and every 5 after that to make sure they didn't burn.

Baked according to the cake recipe, but I checked after 15 minutes, and every 5 after that to make sure they didn’t burn.

 

The glaze is SUPER easy and SUPER delicious--fresh-squeezed lemon juice and powdered sugar. Yum!

The glaze is SUPER easy and SUPER delicious–fresh-squeezed lemon juice and powdered sugar. Yum!

 

Covered with dishes while the glaze hardens and I move on to...

Covered with dishes while the glaze hardens and I move on to…

 

...Preparing the cherries for the topping. I used regular old maraschino cherries, dried well.

…Preparing the cherries for the topping. I used regular old maraschino cherries, dried well.

 

Dip into chocolate chips melted in the microwave, then set on greased foil or wax paper in the fridge for an hour or so to harden.

Dip into chocolate chips melted in the microwave, then set on greased foil or wax paper in the fridge for an hour or so to harden.

 

Place the cherries on top of your Teacup Cupcakes and viola! A dessert fit for a Queen!

Place the cherries on top of your Teacup Cupcakes and viola! A dessert fit for a Queen!

 

These were beautiful, delicious, and so much fun to make! Plus, something about being made IN the teacup makes it seem like a very literary dessert.

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