Category Archives: Books

Fancy Breakfast Friday: Granola Bars

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I made granola bars again.  I’m not sure why I am so into granola bars, but I am.  I wish I could tell you how to make these, but they are 95% this recipe (but with peanut butter) and 5% this recipe (millet).  I served them with bacon and eggs and the boys seemed to love them.  I think I planned to take them camping, but I forgot to pack them (along with the butter, coffee and various snacks). They did come in handy as an afternoon snack mid-week when we were completely out of food.  In other news, there are 4 left and it’s been a week.  I can’t tell if this means they aren’t that great or, since I am storing them in the fridge, it’s an out of sight out of mind situation.   Luke seems to love them when they are offered. He doesn’t seek them out.

Granola bars aren’t super photogenic, and the lighting in my house is not ideal, especially after dinner on a Thursday night.  I decided to photograph them with a stack of books because it’s been a while since I did that and… I am about to reach an exciting book milestone.  The Boulder Library does an optional reading history which I LOVE. It’s a list of all the books I have checked out since October 1, 2005.  I looked at it this morning and I was at 988.  Then I checked out two more books and I am still at 988 so I am not 100% sure how it works, maybe there is some batch process that runs at night?  Regardless, I think something exciting should happen when I hit 1000.  Maybe I could plan an entire day of drinking coffee while lying in the couch, reading.  Or, I could read at a fancy coffee shop, or maybe even at a bar.  Obviously reading would have to be a part of it.  Maybe I’ll also pay off my fine.  I know, it sounds so exciting!!  The real question is – should I plan to check out a special book for my 1000th book? Or just let it be random? What book should I check out?  10 or 12 books to go, will I reach 1000 before the end of the year? That picture up there doesn’t even show all the books I have currently checked out, so I think I’ll make it.

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Fancy Breakfast Friday: Corn Tortillas

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At Dave’s request, I made corn tortillas from scratch as a basis for huevos rancheros.

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I bought the masa harina at King Soopers instead of getting the real deal from one of my many other options in Boulder.  King Soopers also had something more authentic looking than what I bought (the Quaker brand) but the bag was a lot bigger and I had a suspicion I would go back to buying tortillas after making them once so… I bought the smaller bag.

When I got home I realized I bought the darn bag for flour tortillas.  As I already have 4 kinds of wheat flour, I returned it for the corn flour.  Luke and Lucy walked to the grocery store with me, so that was a nice outing.

Breakfast was delicious, obviously.  But the leftovers were… crackery.  In retrospect I wonder if I overcooked them.  It took me about 5 tortillas to get it “right”.  I suppose I’ll make them again as I have a lot of masa harina left over.

I read that it’s hard to get the shape you want with a rolling pin.  The preferred method is to use a tortilla press.  Even though I knew I wasn’t going to end up with perfectly round tortillas, I was surprised at how misshapen they were, and at how annoyed I was by that.

I did spend a lot of time thinking of the people who lived in the Mesa Verde area while I was rolling my tortillas.  (This is just an excuse to share vacation pictures.)

I already shared my book for this week in my book club post on Monday, but here it is again.

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Book Club: Smash the Patriarchy

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Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay– I can’t really do a book review here because I just started reading this, but I like it so far.  It’s a book of essays.

Between The World and Me by Ta-Nahisi Coates– I have recommended this before.  Its a letter from a man to his son about the dangers of growing up black in America, and about how race is a social construct.  I kept waiting for the solution to be presented, but it’s a description of the world as it is today from a perspective you may not have.

Americanah by Chimamamda Ngozi Adichie –  This book is fiction, and I read it over a year ago.  Many parts of it remain vivid in my memory, which I think is a sign of a well written book.  It is a story about a Nigerian immigrant’s life in American, and eventual return home.  While I was looking up the link, I saw that she has also written a book called We Should All Be Feminists, which I haven’t read but I just ordered it from the library.

Shrill: Notes from a  Loud Woman by Lindy West – I read this a while ago, and I had resisted at first because some of Lindy’s essays or blog posts rubbed me the wrong way when I read them on Jezebel.  But reading this book gave me more perspective and background on her thoughts and where she is coming from.  She writes about the fact that words matter, and they way we talk affects the way people are treated.  It’s also very funny.

I’m Judging You by Luvvie Ajay– I haven’t read this yet, but I plan to soon.  I like the idea of a book that will make me laugh and contain a plan for being better on social media.

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Fancy Breakfast Friday: Pan Dulce

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Luke had pan dulce in his Spanish class as part of their Día de los Muertos celebration so he put in a Fancy Breakfast Friday request.  I have never made pan dulce, nor did I know how to say it, so I went with the King Arthur Flour recipe. In retrospect, I should have considered a couple recipes, maybe one with a prettier topping, because these didn’t turn out like the pan dulce at la pastelería.   (Or should I say la panadería?  There’s been some debate here this morning.)  There’s that point in the recipe where it says, “Just before baking, use a pan dulce cutter to press a pattern into the topping.” That’s when you give up on looks and hope that it tastes good.

I followed the recipe to step 9 the night before and then left them in the fridge over night. In the morning, they had until the oven was warmed up to rise on the counter and then they were cooked.

As I was prepping the dough the night before Luke asked what I was doing and I told him that I was making pan dulce with a “ch” sound and he got the sweetest smile on his face.  I thought it meant, “Wow what a great and loving Mom I have.”  But when he said, “Uh.  It’s pronounced Pan Dulce” I realized it was a smile of “You dummy.”  That’s OK, if anyone appreciates Fancy Breakfast Friday, it’s Luke.

Instead of halving the recipe and then making smaller portions, as I have been doing lately, I accidentally made the whole thing, and came up with 8 instead of 10.  They were huge.  Jack almost missed the bus because it took him so long to eat his.

I took a picture with the book I read last week too, The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan.  It’s a little book about a good man.  Each chapter is from the perspective of a different character.  I read about it in the New York Times Book Review where Tana French recommended it, and Tana French had been recommended to me by my Aunt Linda, so I knew I had to read it.

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Book Club: Summer Reading Check in!

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How is everyone’s summer reading coming along?  Have you read anything amazing or trashy or trashy/amazing or educational or fun?  Have you checked off all your summer fun activities?

We have done a lot of fun things, but we have less than 2 weeks until school starts and I haven’t taken Jack to Dinosaur Ridge yet.  That was the one thing I told myself I would do this summer.  Time flies!

One thing we learned this summer is that you can grow chia on your chia pet with seeds from costco.   Question asked and answered!  That was some investigative research right there.

I have also read a lot of books.  I procrastinated Barkskins forever, because I didn’t want to start it and have it take the rest of the summer and leave me no time for anything else.  Makes sense to play 2048 on my phone instead, right?  So dumb.  But once I got into it, it was so good and tragic.  The 4 pages of family tree worried me when I noticed them while trying to figure out how many pages I was up against, but after I got a generation or two into the story, they were a necessity.  Recommend.IMG_0405

This is Lucy posing in front of the books and magazines I just unpacked from our camping vacation. I had also planned to read a bunch of books on my kindle app, but that didn’t work out for two reasons.  The first was that moths were flying into my screen when I tried to read at night, and moths are horrible creatures that freak me out to death.  The second reason was that Luke brought only one book and read it on the first day.  So I just let him read e-books for the rest of the trip because I am a mom and I make sacrifices.  My favorite vacation read was Fangirl, and not just because it was recommended to me by my sister at 2:30 am at a bar on an island with a sandy floor while we were sitting on a swing.  What happens in Put in Bay stays, etc, etc unless it’s a book discussion and that must be shared with the world.

I do have a mild sense of panic about two books I still need to read, and I kind of should have had them done by yesterday.  One is the 4th book in the Neapolitan Series, because I borrowed them from a friend who was gone for the summer and I think she’s back. But worse than that, she read Queen of the Night at my recommendation this spring, and I hadn’t read it yet and I owe it to her to also read it.  But I procrastinated and now I am out of time.  She’s back from Sweden!  Maybe if I promise to read it by the end of the year?

What was your favorite summer read?  I think mine are:

Fangirl
Eligible
Barkskins

But here is the complete list of books I have read so far this summer:

Fangirl -Rainbow Rowell
Missing, Presumed – Susie Steiner
I Let You Go – Clare Mackintosh
I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies, #1) – Pittacus Lore
Eligible (The Austen Project #4) – Curtis Sittenfeld
Sleeping Giants (Themis Files, #1) – Sylvain Neuvel
LaRose – Louise Erdrich
Barkskins – Annie Proulx
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (The Neapolitan Novels, #3) – Elena Ferrante
The Girls – Emma Cline
Liar & Spy – Rebecca Stead
The Round House – Louise Erdrich
When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi
Maestra – L.S. Hilton

I’m feeling too lazy to link everything today, but you should be able to get more info from my goodreads account, and that is linked in the sidebar.

Please enjoy another perspective on my chia pet and have a great last few days of summer!

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Fancy Breakfast Friday: Liège Waffles

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Last Friday I planned ahead for the first time in a while and made Liège Waffles from Feed Zone Portables.  These are raised waffles (contains yeast) and they rise in the fridge overnight.  In the morning I split the dough into 12 pieces and rolled them in turbinado sugar before putting them in the waffle maker.  I cut up all the strawberries I had (overbought at Costco and then had to use before they went bad.. Or as they were going bad.) and added a little sugar to make a syrup.  Waffles were served with strawberry syrup, strawberries and a mint leaf.

I woke up early enough to make my own waffle and do a little reading before anyone was up.  (I was reading LaRose by Louise Erdrich.)

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I had a pre-bachelorette party hair appointment early that morning, so I started to leave instructions so each person could make their own waffles as they woke, but everybody was up just in time for a waffle before I left.

Poor Lucy had to wait until I took photos and ate before she got any breakfast.

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Summer Reading!

Summer officially started for me as a kid when I got my pool pass and signed up for the summer reading program at the library.  I never had space to write in all the books I read, and I was always secretly sad that it was “for fun” and not something I could win.  What else is there to do in the summer besides reading books and swimming?  My kids start mountain bike practice today, so I guess new summer things have been invented since the 80s.

It’s easy to find a list of books to read over the summer, but what has been missing from my life is the library brochure, where I can check things off, or color things in, and basically feel like I am really getting the most of of my summer and my reading.  I hinted last summer at the library that they needed an Adult Summer Reading program, and I found a sympathetic librarian, but nothing has materialized yet so I had to take matters into my own hands.

I present to you, the MetaMegan summer reading program!

Click here for the PDF:  MetaMeganSummerReading2016

This is a list of fun things to do in the summer, paired with book recommendations.

Today is the day after Memorial Day, so put on your white pants, print this out, take it to the library and start reading.  Feel free to color in the bubbles once you have crossed a book or an activity off your list. Join the occasional MetaMegan book club discussions to share thoughts and recommendations.

Happy Summer Reading!

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