Tag Archives: random

Lord of the Rings Detour

If I’ve been a bad blogger lately (I have), it’s because of Tolkien. My life has taken a bit of a Lord of the Rings detour in the sense of being side-tracked from everything that I should be doing and thinking pretty exclusively about LOTR. Earlier this summer, I picked up The Hobbit with no intention of going through the other three again, mostly for length reasons. Probably because I knew this exact thing would happen.

You see, I have a confession to make. I wasn’t a fan of the series pre-Peter-Jackson movies – I don’t think I’d ever even heard of them. Admittedly, I was 10 when Fellowship was released in theaters. So the movies were definitely the primary source of interest for me, though at some point, I picked up the books and tried to give them a read. Still being young and not a hardcore fantasy reader, I did not have the same experience then as I am having now. In fact, I now remember little of that first time with the books. Needless to say, I was long overdue for giving it another shot.

I am 88 pages into Return of the King right now, and already I’m feeling concerned about what I’m going to do when I’m done. I’ve grown attached to these characters and all of Middle Earth; what happens when I find myself back in New Mexico? True, I have a lot of other books I need to read this summer (mostly books loaned to me by family and friends that won’t see the light of day until winter if I don’t get to them before the semester starts), and getting caught in the middle of this epic series was probably the most inconvenient thing of the summer thus far. But it’s also been the best.

I’ve seen a quote somewhere, though I don’t remember where anymore, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” (A quick Google search led me to George R. R. Martin.) If that’s not enough incentive to pick up a novel, I don’t know what is.

Anyway, I’m not planning on asking some dumb “do you prefer the book or the movie” question because nine times out of ten, there’s no comparison. I am, however, interested in one question: is there a scene or character that got little or no screen time in the movies that you would have chosen to include or highlight, even if it required of you to reduce focus on a different scene of your choosing? If you want to add something in, you have to take something out.

I’m really interested in hearing anyone and everyone’s response. I’ll come back in and edit this post with my response when I finish those last 252 pages. ;)

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Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles

I live in the green chile capital of the nation. Most people that grow up here develop a sort of addiction to it, wanting it at every meal of the day. It’s really not a problem as long as you continue to live here, but once you move away, wow. Even if you can find cans of chopped green chile, people come back with horror stories of not being able to find what they really need: whole chiles. It’s the curse of the canned vegetable; flavor goes out the window, but at least you can console yourself with that oh-so-familiar texture. But perhaps most importantly, you can’t make chile rellenos with chopped chile. Chile rellenos are magical, in case you’re living some place where you’ve never heard of them. Whole green chiles, stuffed with cheese, dipped in batter, and then fried. Seriously, come visit the Southwest. A friend from New England recently made a journey down here, and the first thing he did upon his arrival was become hopelessly addicted to chile rellenos.

As whole chiles are not available everywhere, you can, however, use these cookies to bribe people to freeze and ship some to you.

My sister didn’t even go very far, one state over, and she gets picked on for wanting to add chile to everything.  A list:

Breakfast burritos with green chile,

Green chile Alfredo,

Green chile mac and cheese,

Green chile bagels,

Pizza topped with green chile,

Red chile honey,

Red chile brownies,

Hot cocoa with red chile.

That last one seems to be the inspiration for this recipe, which I found in a cookbook. So, even though it’s not a local recipe, it should feel right at home alongside them. Like the chile brownies I recently had, these cookies are more chocolate snickerdoodles than anything else. The spice from the cayenne pepper just tickles your mouth as an afterthought and makes you crave another. It’s that unexpected moment of “oh, well that’s interesting,” that makes these cookies special. Plus, cinnamon sugar topping. What could be better? Maybe that this recipe is originally written vegan. I only had dairy milk on hand, but that still means no butter and no eggs. So, for a cookie, that’s pretty healthy, right?

Just look at that cayenne…

These were so easy to form, though usually that’s the hardest part. But that could just be me.

And I can’t decide if they’re cuter going into or coming out of the oven.

Don’t forget your milk; it’ll cool your mouth a little. :)

Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles

From Vegan Cookies Take Over Your Cookie Jar

Topping*:

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cookies:

½ cup canola oil

1 cup sugar

¼ cup pure maple syrup

3 tablespoons milk of your choice

2 teaspoon vanilla extract (original recipe calls for one teaspoon vanilla extract and one teaspoon chocolate extract, but alas, I had none)

1 2/3 cups flour

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (the recipe specifies not Dutch-process, which is presumably because of the higher fat content of the regular unsweetened cocoa powder. As these cookies have no butter, they need that extra source of fat in there.)

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon cayenne (this may not seem like a lot, and I even considered addling a little more, but this ½ teaspoon turned out to be the perfect amount.)

1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2 Mix topping ingredients together on a large dinner plate. You will be pressing the cookies into this mixture later, so a plate will work better than a bowl.

3 In a medium-size mixing bowl, use a fork to vigorously mix together the oil, sugar, syrup, milk, and extract.

4 Sift in the remaining ingredients, stirring as you add them. Once all the ingredients are added, mix until you have a pliable dough. It may seem a little wet and sticky, but it should still roll out well.

5 Roll the dough into balls about 1”-1.5” in diameter. Pat the dough balls into the sugar topping to flatten into 2-inch discs. Transfer the dough balls to a baking sheet, sugar side up, at least 2 inches apart, as they do spread a little. This should be easy as the bottom of the cookies should just stick to your fingers, so you can just ease them onto the tray.

6 Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. They should be a bit spread and crackly on top. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Cookies will be soft in the center and have perfectly crisp outer edges.

*you will have some of this cinnamon sugar mixture left over. Since there’s no raw eggs being pressed into it, I like to sprinkle a good amount on buttered bread before throwing the whole thing in the toaster oven. I have childhood memories of that deliciousness.

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Nice to Meet You!

Food, books, and crafts? That’s a bit of a wide scope. It’s a bit odd, you may say.

Well, I would reply, life is random.

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I went back and forth on this one for a while. Should I do a cheesey introduction post? Or possibly just jump right into a recipe or book review without warning?

So, I made a bit of a compromise: a list of my obsessions!

That way, you get a little taste of my tastes. Sound good? Good.

Onward!

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1. Teal pagoda shelf!

I fell in love with this design as soon as I saw it in this book. Over winter break this year, I managed to convince my dad to help me make one. After incorrectly buying lumber, dropping the borrowed saw, and inhaling too much spray paint, we ended up with this! I am incredibly proud of it because it was my first attempt at carpentry, but mostly because I created it with my awesome papa.

 

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2. Cyclamens!

These flowers are called cyclamens, at least according to this label. I had never seen them before, until I bought them for my rad boyfriend. I almost wanted to keep them for myself. Look how vibrant they are! And the strange way they open! Love.

While I’m on the topic of flowers, I have to say, I’m highly obsessed with anything floral print. I’m on a quest for the perfect pair of floral pants. They would need my sister’s nod of approval because I’m blind to all sense of taste when it comes to floral prints.

So, expect plenty of floral!

 

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3. Nail polish!

This particular look was inspired by this post. I love that nails are a simple, yet bold way to add a pop of color or drama to any look at any time. I’m a big fan of strange colors like lime green and bright yellow, and -of course- anything with glitter. I obviously belong in the craft world- I can never get enough glitter.

I’m really into Essie brand nail polish, right now. The one in the picture is Rainbow in the S-Kylie from the Nicole by OPI collection.

 

4. Spinach Chop!

This spinach chop, from this book, knocks me on my butt every time I make it. Here’s the genius of this recipe: the ingredients aren’t from specialty stores, the preparation isn’t complex, there’s no reason why it should be THIS GOOD. But somehow, it just is. Heidi Swanson must just be brilliant. Only explanation.

 

5. The Bread Baker’s Apprentice!

I’m completely obsessed with this book. It’s everything you ever needed to know about how to make bread as close to in a professional kitchen as possible. It even teaches you how to think like a pro bread baker in terms of dough formulas. Awesome.

One thing in particular that this book says that I’ve never before seen in a bread recipe: wait 45 minutes after it comes out of the oven to break into it. There’s some on my cooling racks right now…staring at me…taunting me.

It’s going to be a long 45 minutes.

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So if you’ve made it this far without closing out of your browser, there you have it. 5 of my current obsessions. A couple of recipes and topics didn’t make the list, but there will be time for them later. For now, I hope you found something interesting or otherwise enjoyable.

Come back later this weekend for the first food post!

You know you want breakfast rolls in your future. I want them in your future, too.

— Mirandom

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