Monthly Archives: February 2013

Keep Believing Impossible Things!

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Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.

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The Power of Pillow Talk

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Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.

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February 19, 2013 · 8:07 am

The Nicest and Sweetest of Days

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Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.

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Cranberry, Orange and Almond Breakfast Cake

This past Sunday, I woke up to a cold and blistery day. The wind was howling at 40+ miles an hour and large rain drops were pounding on the windows. Since it was a rare lazy Sunday when I didn’t have anything to do, I decided to whip up a nice breakfast cake to start the day off right.

I had some cranberries in my freezer from Christmastime and thought it was about time I put them to use. I also had some oranges and almonds left over from other baking adventures, and flipped through my recipes to find the perfect way to marry all these things together.

I finally landed upon a recipe for this Cranberry, Orange, and Almond cake that I saved in my files years ago. As I was making it, the smells of orange and vanilla fumigated my whole kitchen, and I couldn’t WAIT for this cake to come out of the oven!

This cranberry cake is filling enough to be served for breakfast and sweet enough to be served as a dessert. The cranberries burst with a delicious tartness that’s matched with the sweetness of the orange…and it goes perfectly well with a cup of tea, a good book, and a rainy Sunday morning.

cranberry-cake

Cranberry, Orange, and Almond Breakfast Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sliced raw unsalted almonds
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup regular butter, melted and cooled (a stick and a half)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Juice of 1/2 an orange
  • 12 oz. fresh or frozen cranberries (1 1/2 cups)

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Grease a 9×13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.
  2. Combine almonds, 2 tablespoons butter, and brown sugar in a bowl.  Mix to combine.  Place in refrigerator until ready to use (this is the topping to your cake).
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.  Mix to combine.
  4. Beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl on medium high speed until mixture is lighter in color and has increased in volume, about 5 minutes.
  5. Turn mixture to low and slowly add butter.  Turn mixture to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes.
  6. Add vanilla, zest, and orange juice and mix to combine.
  7. Slowly fold in half of the flour mixture into the egg and sugar mixture.  Once it’s combined, fold in the rest of the flour.
  8. Dust cranberries with 2 tablespoons flour, if desired.  This will help suspend your cranberries in the cake so they don’t sink to the bottom.  Once they’re lightly coated, fold them into the cake batter.
  9. Pour batter into your prepared pan and top with the refrigerated almond mixture.  Bake on middle rack for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.  If your cake looks done around the edges but still needs to cook because the batter is wet in the middle of the cake, simply cover the cake with aluminum foil and let bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until your cake is done.
  10. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile

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Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.

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Luscious Lemon Bars

Sometimes you just need a little taste of summer.

At our Super Bowl party last night, we had a huge summer-style feast.  Chips and guacamole, salsa, a taco bar, and cold Mexican style beer.  And what goes better with a satisfying summer meal than lemon squares?

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These delicious Luscious Lemon Squares are practically fool proof.  It was my first time making them and they’re so simple and delicious.  I garnished mine with raspberries and blackberries and then sprinkled some sliced almonds on top.  This is an easy and fun dessert to bring to a party, a book club meeting, or just to make for your friends and family when you’re feeling like a little summer sunshine.

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Luscious Lemon Bars

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, cold
  • 4 slightly beaten eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel (one lemon should do the trick)
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice (approx. 3 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Directions:

1.  In a large bowl combine the 2 cups flour, the 1/2 cup powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Press mixture into the bottom of a greased 13x9x2 inch baking pan.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 18 to 20 minutes, or until edges are golden.

2.  Meanwhile, for the filling, in a medium bowl stir together the eggs, granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, lemon peel, le

mon juice, and half and half.  Pour filling over hot crust.

3.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes more, or until center is set.  Cool on a wire rack.  Sift powdered sugar over top (make sure they’re completely cool or else the sugar will melt).  Cut into bars and cover and store in the refrigerator.

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Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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The Corn Maiden Book Review

The-Corn-Maiden

I have to admit, when I heard about Joyce Carol Oates’s book, The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares: Novellas and Stories of Unspeakable Dread, I couldn’t wait to jump in.  I’m a sucker for stories that tingle the back of your spine, and with her reputation preceding her, I figured Miss Oates would deliver, and then some.

However, I was somewhat disappointed with The Corn Maiden.  The seven stories that are featured in this collection are anything but “unspeakable dread”.  I wouldn’t even classify them as nightmares.  A few are unnerving, but it’s nothing I haven’t seen in  Law and Order: SVU.    

Arranged in no particular order, the stories in The Corn Maiden are told from different perspectives and each contain different characters of different ages in different times in their life.

“The Corn Maiden” is perhaps the best of the stories in this collection.  It’s a nail-biting tale of a little girl who is kidnapped by her peer and raised to become a human sacrifice.  Perhaps the scariest of the stories in this collection is the last one, “A Hole in the Head”.  A short tale about a botched medical procedure, “A Hole in the Head” is gruesome and uncomfortable to read…and it will defiantly make you think twice about cosmetic surgery.

If you’re looking for blood and guts, monsters and vampires, look elsewhere.  The stories in The Corn Maiden are psychological in nature, toying with human suffering and the nightmares of the disturbed mind.  From human sacrifices to Botox gone wrong, these short stories are only scary in that they could happen in real life…and may have already.

However, despite the fact that I was disappointed that my expectations of the book weren’t true, I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy reading the stories in The Corn Maiden.  They all captured my interest and I easily read the entire book in 2-3 days.  Each story did have me anxious to reach the end…to find out the outcome for these unfortunate and disturbed people, but often I felt the ending of the stories a bit of a let down.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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