October 27, 2018

The Great American Read

Did any of you watch the PBS series, The Great American Read?  The Clever Girls here did, and we really enjoyed the mini book reports the show gave as it explored the top 100 best-loved novels that Americans chose. The Great American Read was an eight-part series that explored and celebrated the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels.  It investigated how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what these 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience. 

The television series featured entertaining and informative documentary segments, with compelling testimonials from celebrities, authors, notable Americans and book lovers across the country. It was comprised of a two-hour launch episode in which the list of 100 books was revealed, five one-hour theme episodes that examined concepts common to groups of books on the list, and a finale, in which the results were announced of a nationwide vote to choose America’s best-loved book. 

I have read 38 of the 100, and definitely am going to revisit the list and try many more.  Surprisingly, a lot that I'm not familiar with are more contemporary works that I just never got around to reading.  Some, like Game of Thrones, Dune, and The Stand are never going to be my cup of tea,but The Book Thief, The Lovely Bones and The Joy Luck Club are going on my list. Click HERE to see the top 100, and see how many you know and love...

         

What's nice is that there are all kinds of novels on this list, from classics, to mysteries to series.  My personal favorite came in at #4 (Pride and Prejudice) I also love Charlotte's Web, Anne of Green Gables, The Color Purple, Rebecca and The Help.  I'm surprised that Little House on the Prairie didn't make the list, along with In Cold Blood, which I found so incredible the first time I read it.  That was the first book I ever read cover to cover in a day.

I love a good list, and think this one is so interesting and comprehensive.  Most of all, I love discovering a great story. It's great to know a good book is awaiting you, isn't it? 

A happy footnote: In looking for some of the top 100 books on my shelves, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my copies of Rebecca and Gone With the Wind are both first editions--as is my volume of A Confederacy of Dunces.   And, while I have multiple copies of Jane Austen, alas, non are signed, nor even close to being first editions.....

October 24, 2018

Wow!  What a moon tonight!  I just happened to be in the right place as it rose this evening.  Spectacular!  Fall is fully in the air, and the pumpkin patch is empty.  Halloween is just around the corner....What a treat to have a front row seat tonight..........

The night will never stay,
the night will still go by,
thought with a million stars 
you pin it to the sky, 
though you bind it with the blowing wind, 
and buckle it with the moon,
the night will slip away 
like a sorrow or a tune.
                                         ~Eleanor Farjeon



October 17, 2018

C is for Cranberry...

We've just received something new and delicious from our favorite, Stonewall Kitchen. Hot Pepper Cranberry Jelly has arrived just in time for the turkey season!  They've turned up the heat on classic cranberry jelly by adding spicy jalapeƱos and a dash of cayenne for a spread that’s sweet, tart and fiery. Perfect for pairing with crackers and cheese or a juicy turkey burger, it’s the hot new condiment you’ll soon be slathering on everything.  
Scrumptious on a ham sandwich, surprising on hot, buttered, cornbread and totally yummy in the recipe below.  

Hot Pepper Cranberry Spirals



Makes 24 Spirals
Ingredients
2 sheets (1 box) puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup Hot Pepper Cranberry Jelly
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, additional for garnish if desired
1 egg, whisked with a dash of water

Directions
Preheat oven to 400°F and prepare 2 baking sheets by covering them with parchment paper.
Carefully unfold the puff pastry sheets onto a flat surface to ensure there are no tears. Gently spread 2 ounces of cream cheese evenly onto each sheet, leaving the top inch uncovered. Spread the Hot Pepper Cranberry Jelly over the cream cheese and sprinkle each sheet with one tablespoon of thyme.
Brush the top inch that was left uncovered with the egg. Beginning at the bottom, roll the puff pastry sheets tightly until you have completed the roll.
Place in the refrigerator to allow it to firm up for about 30 minutes for ease with cutting. Remove and slice into 1/2” slices.
Place each slice down on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 24-28 minutes, or until the slices have puffed and browned slightly. Garnish with additional thyme and serve warm.

Click here to shop for Hot Pepper Cranberry Jelly 

I think this is a perfect game-day snack, or tasty appetizer at your next dinner party.  Pretty, easy, tasty and just a little bit zippy!  Enjoy....

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