October Bookworm Part 2

October is the perfect time for a good ghost story!

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Rooms by Lauren Oliver
I devoured this story in a single day. It’s a ghost story that’s truly haunting.
The Walker family have returned to the old house on Coral River to put their father, Richard, to rest. The recently departed patriarch was not a favorite among his family to say the least. As his alienated family pack his things and arrange his memorial they are unaware two ghosts, Sandra and Alice, are watching them.
Both the living and the dead deal with lasting hurts and unexpressed feelings until a new ghost arrives exposing the truths that will set fire to the whole house if not dealt with once and for all.

“Sandra is wrong. Richard Walker does not die at home. Thank God. I’ve shared the house with him for long enough.

For a time, the house falls into quiet. … In the quiteness, we drift. We reclaim the spaces that Richard colonized. … We expand into all five bedrooms. We hover in the light coming through the windows, with the dust; we spin, dizzy in the silence.”

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Spooky Little Girl by Laurie Notaro
A less serious tale of a haunting than the one above, Laurie Notaro author of Autobiography of a Fat Bride takes another fun turn in the fiction world with this tale of the afterlife.

Lucy is having the worst week ever! She returns from a girls getaway with friends to find her boyfriend has thrown her out (along with all of her possessions into the front yard.) She’s fired from her job. Then, she gets flattened by the cross town bus.
When she gets to the afterlife she is told she must go to ghost school and learn to be a haunting spirt. She has unfinished work to do back on the physical plain and must tidy up before she is granted access to Heaven.

“She wanted to put her arms around her sister and tell her it was all right. She was in a- well not a better place, but sort of an okay place. There were free movies, free bowling and she didn’t have to pay rent. And she would never have another bad hair day! That was something to celebrate, right?”

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The First Baguette!

baguette

It’s finally baking season! Cool crisp weather outside means I can finally turn on my oven inside. First up is, of course, baguettes!

Baguette (Makes Two)

4 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
2 cups Warm Water (Aprox. 105 degrees)
4 tablespoons Melted Butter

Measure out the warm water and stir in the sugar then add the yeast. Stir to combine.
Set the yeast mixture aside and allow to proof for 10 minutes.
Put the flour and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.
When the yeast mixture is ready, pour into the flour with the mixer on low speed.
When the dough is just combined turn it out onto a floured surface. Kneed the dough until smooth adding flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Place the dough into a bowl and cover with a damp towel and leave to rise for an hour in a warm spot.
After the first rise, divide the dough in two and shape each into a long loaf. Set the baguettes onto a buttered sheet pan. Let rise for another hour.
Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
Brush the loaves with melted butter and bake on the middle rack for 15-20 minutes.

Tip: Before you slide the bread into the oven throw about 6 ice cubes into the bottom of the oven. This will create a steamy environment that will give your dough an extra lift while baking.

DIY Halloween Banner

My cursor hovered over the add to cart button. That burlap Halloween banner was SO cute, it would be mine! I knew just where I would put it too. The finishing touch to my seasonal decor.
And then, the voice in my head: “Are you nuts?! I’ll bet you could make something just as cute for $5.00! You are NOT going to spend that much money on something you trot out once a year!”
The voice was right. She’s always right.

Halloween Banner

What you’ll need:
1/2 yard Burlap
10 feet Twine or Cording
Printer, Computer & Word/Doc. Program
Pencil
Scissors
Cellophane Tape
Black Acrylic Paint
Fine Bristle Brush
Cup of water
A Window

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1) Make a template. I used a scrap of paper towel.
2) Cut the banner pieces. You’ll need 14, but, cut a few extra. Just in case.
3) Open your word program and type H A P Y L O W E N.
You’ll be tracing those letters over and again to make your banner. No need to waste paper and ink typing out the whole thing is there?
I used Apple Chancery font set at 250 pt.
4) Print.
5) Tape your burlap piece over the letter.
6) Hold your template up to a window during the daylight. (Free light box!)
7) Trace the outline of the letter onto the burlap with a pencil.

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8) Thin your paint with water until it’s the consistency of thick ink.
9) Fill in the letters traced on your burlap with paint. (You might need more than one coat)
10) Allow to dry for an hour.

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11) Measure out two lengths of twine. One at 4 feet and one about 6 feet.
12) Fold over the top of your banner pieces and snip two holes for the twine to thread through.
13) Thread the burlap pieces onto the twine!

DIY Halloween Banner
Look how awesome! You can now sit back and smugly admire your Halloween vignette.
And, maybe…talk to someone about that voice in your head?

Ravioli with Sage Béchamel, Walnuts & Apples

Rav Sage

Ravioli with Sage Béchamel
1 package fresh or frozen Cheese Ravioli
3 tablespoons unsalted Butter
3 tablespoons Flour
1 1/3 cups Warm Milk
1 tablespoon Dried Sage
Salt and Pepper

Garnish: Toasted Walnuts and Diced Apple

Cook the ravioli according to the package instructions, drain, toss with olive oil and set aside.

For the Béchamel:
In a sauce pan placed over medium high heat, melt the butter then add the flour. Whisk to combine then stir briskly for 2-3 minutes to cook the flour.
Add the sage, salt and pepper.
Turn down the heat to low/simmer and add the milk by increments, whisking after each addition, until all the milk is incorporated. Cook the sauce until thick.

To serve, dish up some of the pasta, sauce with the béchamel then, sprinkle over the walnuts and apples.