Saturday, September 20, 2003

Hello, my bloggians! I hope there are some of you remaining. I know that one should never neglect one's bloggians for spans of time as I have. I would understand if you told me to take my blog and blog it. Please, though, give me another chance. And I will never call you bloggians again (I made up that word, by the way.).

Reading: I finally finished Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. Excellent book! I would highly recommend for all readers. Excellent writing, extremely interesting story and well-defined characters. It takes place in an unnamed South American country and starts out with terrorists busting into a birthday party being given by the Vice President of the country for a Japanese business man. They have arranged for the Japanese man's favorite opera singer to perform at the party. Anyway, so the terrorists come in and take the whole bunch of them (over 100 people) hostage. The rest of the book details the next 4 months in which the terrorists and the hostages are in the house, while the people outside try to negotiate the release of the hostages. Meanwhile, the singer performs, people fall in love and everyone learns a good deal more about themselves than they ever would have without the hostage situation. Good good good reading. And picked by a member of the book club whose pickings I always approach skeptically (she has selected The Sparrow by Mary Dorian Russell--disturbing sci-fi-- and The Last Day by Glenn Kleier--millenium scare trash) though this is two good ones in a row now. Last year she picked E=Mc2 by David Bodanis. That was the very interesting, well written, easy to read story of the famous equation, Einstein and the A-bomb.

The book we are reading this month is The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love, A Fallen Southern Belle's Look at Love, Life, Men, Marriage, and Being Prepared. It is a hoot! Chapters include: The True Magic Words Guaranteed to Get Any Man to Do Your Bidding, The Five Men You Must Have in Your Life at All Times, Men Who May Need Killing Quite Frankly, What to Eat When Tragedy Strikes or Just for Entertainment. There is a recipe for Fat Mama's Knock You Naked Margaritas. The Sweet Potato Queens are a group you absolutely must meet. You may already be a Sweet Potato Queen and just not know it. Deb, my Southern Belle friend (though she has admitted she more be more Po' White Trash than Belle) is both the chooser of this book and the hostess for the book club meeting where we will be discussing it. I am anticipating lots of southern hospitality, plenty of Fat Mama's Knock you Naked Margaritas, and maybe, just maybe, some grits. Y'all must check out this book! While you are at it, look for The Sweet Potato Queens' Big-Ass Cookbook (and Financial Planner) too.

Eating: As the weather cools, my stomach's thoughts turn toward warm comfort foods: meatloaf and baked squash, tator-tot hotdish, beef stew, chili with corn bread. It was a cool day last weekend when we planned our next 2 weeks' menus so many of these things found their way into my grocery cart. We must start now if we are to build up enough fat to make it through the winter. I think I would like some warm apple crisp and fresh from the oven monster cookies too. Just in case I run low on carbs.

Gardening: My sunflowers did bloom, though the ones that were supposed to be 6-8 feet are about 3 feet and the 3 foot ones reached about 6 inches. Next year I will plant them earlier. The butterflies are wildly in love with my flowers right now though. I can't walk two steps without stirring up a half dozen of them in my wake.

I picked about 8 apples off my tree today (well, 8 good ones and a whole bucket of wormy ones). They are nice and crisp and sweet. Very good apples. The first year we were here, there were a ton of apples on the tree but all were bad. Last year, there were just none there. This year, there are a fair amount and some are good. Next week there should be more. I will try to freeze them this year because I just don't have anywhere to keep 2 bushels of apples until I can use them all. I like to make applesauce (with brown sugar) in the crockpot (it smells so yummy while it is cooking), and apple crisp but my favorite recipe is for Fresh Apple Cake. My former roommate Steph still talks about this apple cake. Here it is for you, my loyal blog readers. So easy even my cooking impaired relatives (you know who you are!) can whip this up in no time. Add together: 2 eggs, slightly beaten, 1 1/4 C. oil, 1 tsp. vanilla, 3C. peeled cored and sliced apples. Fold in: 3 C. flour, 2C. sugar, 1tsp. cinnamon, 1tsp baking soda. Bake 1 hour at 300 degress in a 13x9 pan. Delicious served warm or cool, with or without a scoop of vanilla or cinnamon ice cream or whipped cream.

Bon appetit, mes amis!
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