April Bookworm

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Picnic in Provence: A Memoir with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard
If you love a good story plus recipes, I would sincerely suggest you read Picnic in Provence.
Her journey continues in France as she and her husband say jusqu’à ce qu’on se revoit to their life in Paris and start anew in the idylic Provencal village of Céreste.

Though I loved her first (Lunch in Paris), this one I related strongly to. The book goes deep into her relationship with her Father, as well as the difficulty she had bonding with her Son. The serene book cover belies the soul-searching Bard’s pilgrimage takes. It’s not a fluffy travel memoir…and yet, her sharp wit and dexterous turn of phrase keep you smiling through out.

“Ten years ago, New Yorker Elizabeth Bard followed a handsome Frenchman up a spiral staircase to a love nest in the heart of Paris. Now, with a baby on the way and the world’s flakiest croissant around the corner, Elizabeth is sure she’s found her “forever place.” But life has other plans.
On a last romantic jaunt before the baby arrives, the couple take a trip to the tiny Provencal village of Céreste. A chance encounter leads them to the wartime home of a famous poet, a tale of a buried manuscript and a garden full of heirloom roses. Under the spell of the house and its unique history, in less time than it takes to flip a crepe, Elizabeth and Gwendal decide to move-lock, stock and Le Creuset-to the French countryside.”

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The Martian by Andy Weir
I’ve been pestering everyone I know to read this. Been driving them nuts so I could have fan-crazed discussions about how much we love this book!

I’d heard about Weir’s debut novel from the internet nerd/sci-fi community {Spoilers} as a must read last year and filed it away in my head to check it out. Then last month standing in the checkout at the grocery I grabbed it off the rack and read the first page (The first line actually) and was sold.

“Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?”

The story starts with Watney’s first person mission logs; they not only highlight the pure genius of the man, but also that he’s just plain hilarious.

“I need to ask myself, ‘What would an Apollo astronaut do?’ He’d drink three whiskey sours, drive his Corvette to the launchpad, then fly to the moon in a command module smaller than my Rover. Man those guys were cool.”

“I can’t wait till I have grandchildren. When I was younger, I had to walk to the rim of a crater. Uphill! In an EVA suit! On Mars, ya little shit! Ya hear me? Mars!”

“Actually, I was the very lowest ranked member of the crew. I would only be “in command” if I were the only remaining person.”
What do you know? I’m in command”

“I’m calling it the Watney Triangle because after what I’ve been through, shit on Mars should be named after me.”

Any more and I’ll spoil it for you, but trust me, there is an overflowing treasure chest of gems like the above!

Anyone read this yet? Where my sci-nerds at? Comment below if you have!

Carrot Soup

carrot soup

Surprisingly hearty soup! The cumin is a nice touch and adds a lot of character.

Carrot Soup

3lbs (1.5 kilos) Fresh Carrots
4 cups (946ml) Veggie or Chicken Stock
4 cups (946ml) Water
1 1/2 cup (354ml) Orange Juice
2 Garlic Cloves
2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
2 teaspoons grated Fresh Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Salt & Pepper (season well)
Sour Cream or Goats Cheese (for garnish)

Peel and chop the carrots about an inch long.
Place all the ingredients into a large stock pot with a lid.
Bring the liquid to a boil and then cover and reduce the heat to a simmer.
Simmer, covered, for 50 minutes to an hour.
Test the carrots with the tip of a knife. They should be very soft.

Working in batches place the soup into your blender and puree throughly. (Please do not over fill your blender! Hot liquid expands when blended and will make the lid pop off)

Return to the pot and stir to combine.
Serve hot or cold with a dollop of sour cream or goats cheese.

Print this recipe? Carrot Soup

Citrus Cream Cheese Cookies

citrus cream cheese cookies

Have you been to The Kitchn? I’ve been inspired to try out their wonderful recipes! Of course I had to tinker slightly with the recipe, I can’t help it!

Note: Super important that all your ingredients are room temp.
Also: I put my dough in the fridge for 20 mins before baking then returned it to the fridge between batches.

Citrus Cream Cheese Cookies
via: The Kitchn

1 cup (124g)Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 cup (one 8-ounce/226g package) Cream Cheese (room temp)
1/2 cup (115g) Butter (room temp)
1 cup (191g) Sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated Lemon Zest
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 large egg

For the icing:
1 cup (130g) Powdered Sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons Lime Zest

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add sugar gradually, and mix until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add zest, vanilla, and egg. Beat to combine. On low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not over-mix. If batter seems loose or warm, chill in the refrigerator until firm.

Drop tablespoonfuls of batter onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 2-inches apart. Use a small ice cream scooper for uniform cookies (and to make it easy).

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until barely golden on the bottom. Do not over-bake! Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Once the cookies are cool, whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon in a small bowl. Use a spoon to drizzle the icing over the cookies.

Print this recipe? Citrus Cream Cheese Cookies

Bread and Flowers

When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other. ~Chinese Proverb

R & A2

I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck. ~Emma Goldman

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r&a3

Flowers don’t worry about how they’re going to bloom. They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful. ~Jim Carrey
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