Monday, February 18, 2013

Tea Time with Susie Sad Eyes

Welcome!  We are all just getting here. . .
"Hi!"  "Hi!"
Time for socializing. . .

"I hope the tea is raspberry."
"I like camomile best."

Isn't tea time fun!  We're all wearing our new sweater and skirt outfits.

"We love scones!"

 . . .waiting for spring with tea to keep us warm.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Linzer Tarts for Valentine's Day!

They are the classic.  I found a great recipe online here.  I have made this recipe several times, and it always comes out great.  We used Bob's Red Mill ground almonds.  It really makes the cookies rich, and tender.  And the all-time fav Smucker's Seedless Raspberry Jam is the filling.  Such a treat!  But, boy, are they a lot of effort for a very few cookies.  I guess that's why they are the Valentine"s Day treat!

Linzer Tarts

from Allrecipes.con

Original recipe makes 1 dozen

    1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
    2/3 cup white sugar
    2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
    1 3/4 cups ground almonds
    1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    5 tablespoons raspberry jam
    1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for decoration


    Cream the butter and sugar together until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, the almonds and cinnamon, and continue beating until the mixture becomes a slightly stiff dough.

    Shape the dough into a ball, wrap it in wax paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate it for about one hour.

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

    On a lightly floured surface, roll the 1/2 of the dough into a sheet 1/8 inch thick. With a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter, cut as many circles from the sheet as you can. Knead the leftover scraps of dough into a ball and roll it out again into a 1/8 inch sheet. Cut out more circles. You should now have about 12 circles.

    Arrange them on an ungreased baking sheet leaving about and inch of space between them.

    Repeat the rolling and cutting process with the other half of the dough, but before placing the second batch on the baking sheet, cut out the center of each circle with a 1/2 inch cookie cutter. Bake both batches for 10 - 15 minutes or until light brown. Cool on cake rake for 20 minutes.

    Spread tops of the solid circles with a thin coating of jam, lay a cutout cookie on top of each, pressing the two together so they make a sandwich. Spoon a dab of jam into the opening of each tart and sprinkle the tops with confectioners' sugar before serving.

    NOTE: Keep dough as cold as possible for easier handling. You may have to chill it after rolling it out so that it will be easier to cut.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

New books - Lithia Trilogy & The Wings Series

Both of these series are young adult or teen fiction.  I say that upfront, because for some of us older folks that may be a deal breaker.  Often these books are more plot driven and sometimes with fresh ideas or perspectives, so I turn to these as sources of fun, new stories.  And let's face, they are much more eye-catching in the bookstore new releases areas.

The Lithia Trilogy

published Oct 2011
published Oct 2012

This series by Blair Richmond is set in the fictional town of Lithia, which is the actual town of Ashland, Oregon.  The setting of this story is as much or more a part of this series as the characters.  I particularly enjoy stories with unique settings, so this was a very cool aspect for me.  For those who don't know, Ashland is a small town in Oregon and is the site of the American Shakespeare Festival.  This area is surrounded by majestic Pacific Redwoods, and there is an active preservation movement and strong local environmentalist ethic.  This story draws on the eery solitude of forests at dusk and night to enhance and inform the story.  All the main characters are vegan, too.  This adds an unusual perspective to the modern vampire genre.  And (without giving away too many spoilers) the vampires are uniquely a part of this environment, as well.  Of course, theatre and Shakespeare (another of my nerdy addictions) figure into the stories, too.  What can I say but that this sereis seems tailored for me.  I'm sure there are more of you out there who will feel the same.

Most of the story can be fairly quickly ascertained by the strong foreshadowing and basic deduction from readers.  But these are fun, fast reads.  They are short, so there is no major commitment is involved.  I got Out of Breath as an ereader download from my local library and went on to immediately purchase the sequel.  I guess the series close is coming this year, since it is subtitled as a trilogy.  You can read more about the author here. 

The Wings Series

book #1
book #3
book #2
book #4
These books are fae stories by Aprilynne PikeI am currently on book three, Illusions. This series follows the events of a young girl, Laurel.  This series is set among high school students, so it really is a stretch for me to maintain interest.  It is a credit to the story and the characters that I have continued to follow it this far.  Though finding a good series on the fae is harder than in the vampire genre.  In these books, the fae have been given a "fresh perspective."  While it is unique and interesting, I do think I prefer the traditional Celtic lore, and stories that are written within those perimeters.  Again, these stories are fast, easy reads without major commitment, which for me means a good read while on workout equipment.  I think that these books are well suited to a young high school audience, but the story action and mystery evolve fast enough to maintain an adult audience.   Aprilynne's blog is here.

I guess that I am still looking for the next great adult fae series.  I enjoyed Moning's new offering Iced, but like other's I failed to connect with it in retrospect.  I really like the Fever world, but Dani is just too young to be the lead in a series.  I mean, how is Moning going to age her fast enough?  I guess, we'll have to stay tuned for the answers.  And I'll read each new entry if only for the Fever World fix.

What are your favorite fae books?