Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer Reading List

How is it already the middle of June?  And why is it already 100 outside?!?  I'm going to need alot of pool time this year.  And with lots of pool lounging comes plenty of reading.  

My book club is taking the summer off, so I thought that I would challenge myself to read a few books with intention.  All six of the authors I chose are female, with unique perspectives, discussing a variety of topics. After being captivated with the Wonder Woman movie earlier this month, I am looking forward to engulfing myself in other women's stories.  The future is female y'all.   

What are you reading this summer?  I'd love to hear your picks! 

The Total ME-Tox, Beth Behrs

I must confess that this book first peaked my interest because Two Broke Girls is my jam & I love Beth Behrs...I mean, after kinda stalking her instagram page, seeing her feminist leanings, love of outdoors & boho style, I'm pretty sure if we met, we'd be friends.  And you have to buy your bestie's book, right?

Right.  In all seriousness, I'm intrigued & very interesting in exploring this book.  Behrs focuses on small, simple healthy changes, & there are three parts to the book: ditching your diet (liking the sound of this already!), move your body and love your life.  Yes, yes and yes.  After a hectic spring that included me taking a month to recover from surgery, my household could handle a big 'ol dose of wellness.  And the Amazon page for the book says it's meant to 'inspire even the laziest among us.'  Umm, was this written just for me?  Because that line worked on my ultra-sluggish self & I added the book to my cart immediately.

Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert

Liz Gilbert is one of my favorite people to seek out when I'm in need of inspiration.  Her words, whether in a book, on her Magic Lessons podcast or in a facebook post are always positive, thought provoking & real.  I've read Eat, Pray, Love before & adore Liz's story of traveling to 3 countries (Italy, India, Indonesia) in the hopes of being her best self.  With each read, I come away with something different & a renewed sense of personal motivation.  Summer feels like the perfect time to dive back into the 'finding yourself' pool.

Are Your There God?  It's Me, Margaret, Judy Blume

This book is a right of passage for every young girl, right?  I hated junior high with a passion (f--- you 7th grade!), but I remember reading, loving & relating heavily to this book. For the life of me, I can't really remember the storyline, but when I saw this on the shelf at Book People, I couldn't help myself.  I am pumped to relive this Judy Blume story & maybe even a few cringe-worthy moments from my early teens.  Thankfully, I don't have braces, awkward growth spurts or mean girls to deal with this go around.

The Baby Sitter's Club, Kristy's Great Idea, Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier

As a kid, my Mom bought me a mail subscription to The Baby Sitter's Club.  IT WAS AWESOME.  I received a book in the mail each month & as soon as it arrived, I would devour it. Claudia, the artsy one in her girl squad, was my favorite character & I got overly excited when a book focused on her.  I was in Target the other day when I came across these new graphic novel versions & had to grab the first one.  I got so giddy, I called my sister as I was leaving the store, book in hand.  The first four stories of the series have been published -- I may just have to read all of them.

The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros

I didn't read this one in school, so I'm really looking forward to reading this story of a young Latina girl in Chicago, trying to find her way.  I'm fascinated with the experience of growing up in large cities, as it's so different from the small, isolated community I was raised in.  Sandra Cisneros is known for a poetic, flowing style (love this type of writing!) & is one of the reasons I picked up the book.  The story is told in vignettes, each describing an event in the main character's life & I think that will make for a very interesting, realistic read.

How to Be a Woman, Caitlin Moran

Since my summer is all about the world through women's eyes, my final summer book is feminist focused.  How to Be a Woman is a mix of personal accounts & commentary on the modern woman's experience.  Caitlin Moran's work is known for being bold, funny & smart.  I'm sold.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Charred Corn Flatbread

Charred corn is one of our favorite summer go-tos.  It's so easy to make & it pairs with almost anything.  Not to mention, corn is cheap, cheap in the summer months.  We grill up several pieces at once on Sunday & use them all week long in salads, as-is, or our new an awesome pizza topper!

The burnt bits of the corn & grilled red onions are full of smoky flavor & the tomatoes, lime & basil add a pop of bright freshness.  If you're not a basil fan, you could totally swap that out for cilantro & it would be just as delicious.  We have only eaten the pizza by ourselves so far, but I think that if you sliced it into smaller pieces, it would make the perfect appetizer for a fajita night with friends. (Mentally adding that to my to-do list now).

Charred Corn Flatbread

1/4 batch of your favorite pizza dough (We use the Joy of Cooking recipe or this recipe from Bobby Flay)
olive oil spray
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella (or 12 ounces fresh mozzarella)
2 ears of corn, shucked, soaked, grilled & cut off the cob
1/3 medium red onion, sliced thin & grilled
handful of cherry tomatoes, diced into quarters
lime wedge
grated parmesan for topping
large handful basil, chopped

Preheat oven and pizza stone to 475 degrees.  Flour your surface and roll out dough thin to form a circle about 12 inches or so in diameter.  Poke a few holes in your dough with a fork & spray dough with olive oil spray.  

Top liberally with mozzarella cheese, then add charred corn, onions & tomatoes.  Bake on pizza stone for 6 - 8 minutes, until cheese starts to bubble & the dough begins to brown.  Top with squeeze of lime, sprinkling of parmesan & chopped basil.  Slice & serve immediately.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Nerfetti Cream Cheese Frosting

As my tastebuds have altered as I age, I have developed an affection for the combo of sweet & sour.  I still can't handle lip-puckering super sour treats, but a little bit of zing with dessert always makes me happy.  A few years ago, I created a decorate-your-own-cupcake bar for a party & it was a big hit.  I filled the table with several different candies, sprinkles & more.  After the party was over, I was cleaning up & created a little combo of regular buttercream, mini chocolate chips & some NERDs candy sprinkled on top.  It was so delicious, I wrote it down in my idea notebook & forgot about it.

In March, I always make chocolate cupcakes with green frosting for Andrew's cousin Marty's birthday.  Often, I just make plain green buttercream frosting, but this year, I wanted to mix it up a little bit & remembered my cupcake bar creation.  I mixed up this fruity, slightly sour concoction & I think it turned out great!  The rich cream cheese frosting with the punch from the candy makes for a unique flavor combo.

Nerdfetti Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 lb. Powdered Sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon Vanilla
5 ounce box Nerds Candy, plus more for decoration

Cream butter & cream cheese together until smooth.  Slowly, in batches, mix in the powdered sugar.  Once all sugar is incorporated, add in vanilla & mix until smooth.  By hand, stir in candy.  Frost as desired.

Note: I tried using a piping bag & star tip to frost cupcakes, but the tip kept getting clogged with the candy bits.  I had a very hard time with it &  abandoned the idea quickly, so frosting by hand is probably best.