An Apple a Day Drives the Witch Right into Your Path…Wait

I kind of got away with that title there, but to be fair, whenever I see apples involved in literature, I immediately think of the tale of Snow White. It’s not even my favorite tale by a mile, but I will admit that some of the retellings I’ve read do bring about the need to bake something with apples inside. Winter, I’m talking about you specifically.

And yes, okay, so most apple covers don’t necessarily mean Snow White. I mean, unless you can give me a really good argument that says Twilight is a metaphor for the story of a crazed queen and her attempts to kill her more beautiful stepdaughter (but wait, wasn’t Kristen Stewart a star on both so maybe there’s the connection…argh, I’m digressing), then yeah, apple covers don’t mean Snow White.

Buuut there’s got to be an appeal to apples, right? Because poor, silly Snow likes apples. Winter happens to love ’em especially when sprinkled and baked in with cinnamon. And honestly, I love baking with apples when I can.

So there you have it. Apples. Are. Awesome.

Now that I’ve completely rambled on about dem apples, onto what I had meant to do, which was post something I had made weeks ago! (Hah, yes to backlog of baking-related posts!)

Apple Bread

Say hello to the most scrumptious bready thing ever! I’ve been saving a ton of apple-related recipes on my Pinterest to get back to later on, and eventually made my way to one I wanted to attempt. So while I procrastinated writing, well, anything (I’m sorry Meg and Tarma and and…yeah…), I baked something I could totally use as an excuse for being unproductive. Only I suppose I was productive, because I made bread.

The recipe was pretty straightforward, and the glaze was standard milk, not cream, because I didn’t really have any cream handy. (And I wouldn’t go so far as to make glaze with cream anyway, not too fond of it being too thickly sweet). I also used three apples instead of two.

And with my sister’s trusty new apple corer, peeling coring, and slicing those apples took mere seconds!

Like the recipe suggested, I split the batter up into two. I lined my bread pan with parchment paper poured half the batter in, half the apple mixture in, and sprinkled that with a cinnamon-sugar mixture. Then rinse, repeat. I waited 45 minutes before checking up on the bread, and let it brown a bit more before pulling it out of the oven.

Verdict: The bready middle was super moist and soft and so yum. It was a good call to split the batter so there’s plenty of apple to go around. There was a suggestion to add walnuts in, but with a brother who’s allergic to practically every nut in existence, I can safely say this recipe can do without.

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Wrap Up: October 2017

Bogged. Down. So. Much.

There’s something about the last three months of the year that makes them the busiest months for most people. I’m definitely one of those people, what with work, birthday and holiday bakes, and other overall antics I get up to in the upcoming months. Busyness is not necessarily a bad thing, but mahgoh, can I just sit down for a day and binge-watch Stranger Things or something? (Answer: NOPE).

Books Read

Yeaaah. I’ve more or less taken a ton of pictures of books, but did I really read much this month? Nope. I might have gotten through two audiobooks and one graphic novel, that’s just about it. Maybe it’s a reading funk, or lack of time, maybe both.

Sin in the Second City by Karen Abbott || Wonder Woman: Who Is Wonder Woman? by Allan Heinberg || Catch Me If You Can by Frank W. Abagnale

Currently Reading

*snort* On top of a reading funk, I’ve clearly also got reading ADD, because I’ve picked up a couple books and audiobooks and switched to a different one altogether. I find that even audiobooks haven’t been as riveting lately, which is probably why I’ve been ping-ponging between Empress and Burning.

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch || Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza || The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas || Asylum by Madeleine Roux

Writing

Whoever thought it was a good idea for me to join up NaNoWriMo… *shudders*

And yet here we are.

Movies and TV

Most of these are pretty much rewatches. Other than a random episode of The Office and quite possibly It (not pictured), I haven’t seen anything new besides the most recent season of Stranger Things.

Today’s Special || No Reservations || Miss Congeniality || Much Ado About Nothing || iZombie Season 2 || Leverage || The Office Season 1 || Stranger Things Season 2

Video Games

Hahahahaha–what’s that?! *sobs inwardly*

I miss playing video games…

Fooding

October was a baking month for me, largely because both my siblings are October babies and there were a lot of apples to bake away. There are still a lot of apples to bake, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

I’ll probably write about a few of these at some point. Or not.

Meat pie || Dark chocolate and matcha cake shaped like an Oreo || Texas Roadhouse nummyness || Bibimbap in a hot stone bowl || Sliced mango (for mango puree) || Unicorn-themed mango mirror glaze cake || Apple bread || Apple Danish

Miscellany

Paint Night #2 came off rather well! That said, I thought drawing the dragon was much harder than having to create a scenery. Mostly because it’s so specific, and outlining was kind of a bitch to do. That said, I had fun!

My sister ended up getting a surprise party during the month, and with my bestie in tow, we ended up throwing her a unicorn-themed party. Balloons and cake and unicorn horns in all. Needless to say she was definitely surprised.

My friend and I met Tamora Pierce!!!!!!! Yes. Extra exclamation points considering how exciting this is because um, Pierce is ONLY my favorite author EVER. So. Yeah. I MET TAMORA PIERCE!!!!!!!

Nerdy News

I’m so behind on The Walking Dead at this point, but I’ll so read this new series by Robert Kirkman. Looks like another post-apocalyptic piece, though.

Honestly, I’m not sure how well it’ll translate to the stage when a lot of the beauty of Pushing Daisies was through quirky art direction and fantastic use of a film editing room. Buuuuut…I’d so watch the eff out of a possible musical. Caveat: Kristin Chenoweth STILL has to play Olive.

Life is like a hurricane… *hums* Oh, uh, I just like that Doctor-Donna are back together again! XD

Err…I don’t understand what their purpose is in rebooting a Nancy Drew series when it’s…not really about Nancy Drew but the author of the series?

I’m still a little upset that one of the most interesting subplots of Mass Effect: Andromeda is being turned into a tie-in novel. I mean, yeah, I like reading books, but dammit, I want to SEE the drells and quarians in action, not read about them! Friggin’…okay, let me not go there again with an ME:A rant.

With Game of Thrones ending next year, I cannot wait to drop myself into the Kingkiller Chronicles universe. That said, whyyyyy do these people insist on working on series that aren’t finished?!

Wrap Up: August 2017

Okay, seriously, the summer came by way too quickly this year. I already have only a few days left before I have to actually get back to work, and I’m shaking my fists at you, Summer!

That said, at least the weather will cool up (I absolutely love sweater weather), and I’m ahead of my Goodreads goal, so huzzah!

Books Read

Still got a number of reviews I want to get done in September, but for the most part, these were the books I’d finished during the month.

I DNFed one book in August, which isn’t too bad, though I do note that my list of DNFs have grown a big higher than previous years. I think it’s tolerance level, maybe. Mostly I just decided that I have way too many books I want to read that spending time on one I don’t really care about is a waste.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr || Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman || Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor || Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 || Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland || The List by Patricia Forde || Xena, Warrior Princess, Vol. 1 ||  Injustice: Gods Among Us Year One || The Moth and the Flame by Renee Ahdieh || The Crown and the Arrow by Renee Ahdieh || Monstress, Vol. 2 by Marjorie M. Liu || The Wicked + The Divine, vols. 4 and 5.

Currently Reading

So far so good!

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel || Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Writing

I’ve been on and off with the writing this summer, which is probably the only thing I’m disappointed in, though, again, largely my fault. I did manage to do a huge deal of edits to my novel, and I wrote down what I can discern are notes of a future short story.

Movies and Television

Lordy, Game of Thrones. I don’t think I can last that long to want to see the last season. I really want it happening sooner than later.

I’ve also pretty much binged iZombie on Netflix and NO REGRETS.

As for movies: the most entertained I got was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which is saying something. I absolutely hated how stupid Civil War was, and likely put me off of watching any other Marvel Avengers movie that’s to come in the foreseeable future. I also don’t know why I watched Schindler’s List for practically the umpteenth time, but it IS a fantastic one, albeit the topping is super depressiong.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies || Million Dollar Baby || Captain America: Civil War || The Craft || Schindler’s List || Armageddon || Game of Thrones || iZombie

Video Games

Besides the apps I play on my phone (which have started taking up more time in general), I started Mass Effect 1 all over again and beat that in a week. I’m halfway through my playthrough of Mass Effect 2 but it’s taking longer because of all the DLCs that are now included into my copy. Also, I LOVE Kasumi. I don’t know how I never got through a playthrough with her, especially when I’ve played ME multiple times already.

Gonna have to put some of ME playing on hold, though, now that school is back soon. Sigh.

Fooding

Part of the reason this month went by quickly for me was because I totally baked or cooked double-time. It was hard picking pictures out of really stellar ones, but I’ll narrow things down to food I’ve either made the first time or foods I’ve tried the first time.

Peach crumb cupcakes || Korean-flavored ground beef || Parsnip cakes || Triforce blueberry pie || Pan de bono || Poke bowl || Spicy ramen with poached eggs || Chicken with saffron sauce

Miscellany

Took advantage of the pool and the beach this summer, and went on family and friend trips in surrounding areas (loved the glass museum!). Didn’t travel too far, though, which is somewhat of a bummer, since I’ve made my list of places to visit outside of the U.S. but I’ll have to hit those another time.

My friend and my podcast (Fableulous Retellings) has ended its first season run, and we’re gearing up for season 2, which should be exciting, because it’s all about 1001 Nights, which is a collection of some of my favorite stories ever!

I started a knitting project that could quite possibly take me over a year to finish, because it’s massive. The idea isn’t mine, though it certainly came about when I was making a Christmas present that I wanted for myself as well…

Nerdy News

I mean, how much more epic a saga can Dragon Age be? A super-epic one, if Laidlaw has anything to say about it. And, honestly, I cannot wait for the next installment. After Trespasser, things look like they’re going to get super exciting!

Good Omens is happening, but what’s more, it’s happening with the two perfect actors to take on the roles of Aziraphale and Crowley! Honestly, you can even interchange the roles and I’m sure Tennant and Sheen can still hit the ball out of the park.

A modern Dracula, a la Sherlock? Well, with Sherlock pretty much wrapped up (as far as I can see), I wouldn’t mind seeing what its former creators have in store for another iconic Victorian creation.

A Cuckoo’s Calling has premiered, but I haven’t seen it yet. This was the trailer I watched a while back. I love Holliday Grainger, and this looks pretty good!

“Neo-Victorian fantasy noir.” You mean detective steampunk?! I’m down. So down.

I’m so happy for Victoria Schwab right now. Mostly because now I have MORE Shades of Magic books to look forward to. But, I mean, wow. Just wow. Good for you, Schwab. I can somewhat live vicariously through her, haha.

That’s it. How was your August?

Food and Fiction: Central Kitchen Parsnip Cakes

Yes a Food and Fiction/Fandom post!

You know, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that made vegetables seem so delicious until I read The List by Patricia Forde. Don’t get me wrong, I do have a love for my fair share of vegetables, like brussel sprouts and artichokes and green beans and asparagus and eggplants, but surprisingly, I’m actually more picky with veggies than I am with fruits (I effing love fruits in general). So when I read The List, I couldn’t help but want to know what parsnip cakes looked like. Hell, at this point, I don’t even know if I like parsnip. I sure as heck am not a fan of radish (Daikon radish being an exception), and they’re essentially both root vegetables.

She would walk as far as the first potato fields, she told herself, and then turn back. She would still have time to pick up their evening meal from Central Kitchen. A Monday meal. Vegetable soup, parsnip cakes, and green beans. She hated parsnips.

Letta isn’t a big fan of parsnips either, though in her case, she can’t exactly complain. The world of The List is harsh enough that turning down a meal tips the scale of survival to “not bloody likely.” Food is scarce in Ark, and what they have is grown with what limited water they manage to purify. From what I read, it makes sense that most of the food is limited to plants. There’s barely any mention of meat, and even in the forest, most Desecrators and Tintown inhabitants make do with what they can scavenge in the forest (nuts, berries, plants, mushrooms, etc.).

Anyway, parsnip cakes.

I honestly had no idea what these things looked like, for one. So when I looked them up, I realized they were added to potatoes and then fried. I figured anything fried would be great, right? And fried potatoes? Yum yum.

The recipe I found called for mashed potatoes, leeks, and parsnips. Now, I don’t know about you, but I never cooked with leeks and parsnips before. I mean, I knew what leeks looked like (ginormous scallions) and parsnips are often mentioned to be sweeter forms of radish, but again, never used these ingredients before.

I did, however, decide that I like parsnips. They have a sweeter flavor than regular radishes and I could totally eat these pickled or in a raw, stringy form. Leeks on the other hand? Not so much. They’re supposed to be a milder, sweeter, more bake-able version of their smaller relatives, but honestly, I just found the plant boring. And the farmer’s market nearby sells so much of it in a bunch! No idea what to do with the rest of this nonsense. I’ll stick to scallions and spring onions, thank you very much.

Add a bit of salt (okay, a lot of, considering potatoes need quite a bit of seasoning) and pepper, and mix into the mashed potatoes and you’ve pretty much got your concoction ready for frying!

Note: Not a big fan of the mashed potato consistency for these things. I should have just grated the potatoes much like I grated the radish. That would have given a better crunch and texture to the whole thing.

Extra note: Hah, as if the only thing I’d put is salt and pepper. I also added a bit o’ chili powder in there to add some kick to it. Yum yum.

Extra extra note: Oh, and I made a cheese dip with the rest of the leeks I’d cut out. Wasn’t bad, though probably needed a citrus flavor to top it off (lemon or lime preferably). Yum yum.

Verdict: Not too bad. With a couple of changes, it would probably be a delicious snack or mealtime side. I don’t think I was won over, though, but it was a fun experiment. Also, at least now I know I like parsnips!

This counts as #6 of my Food and Fiction Reading Challenge.

Wrap Up: July 2017

Books Read

I’m pretty sure this list is only substantive because most of these are graphic novels. All the same, I’m playing a bit of catchup on my lack of reading and reviewing, and this is the result.

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier || Skinwalker by Faith Hunter || Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor || The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1 || The Arabian Nights translated by Richard F. Burton || The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 2 || The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 3 || Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge || The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 4

Currently Reading

The List by Patricia Forde || Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor || The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 5 || Monstress, Vol. 2 by Marjorie Liu

Writing

While I didn’t take part in Camp NaNoWriMo, writing has been a major part of July, and will likely be a major part of August as well. I’m probably going to slow down on the writing department come September once more, but for now, I’m taking what I get!

Movies and Television

The Beautician and the Beast – Don’t ask.

Dirty Dancing – It was the summer of ’63 when I started watching–okay, no. I’m not THAT old, but I love this movie.

Independence Day – Totally my July 4 movie tradition. Every single year.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – I’m still torn up about this movie.

The Martian – Totally watched this again because my bestie was missing such a great movie.

Wonder Woman – See, THIS is a girl power superhero movie without all the unsubtle “yay female superheroes all females rock omg this is a message I’m going to keep bringing up over and over again every other sentence” that the Supergirl show has (more below).

Better Call Saul, Season 2 – Ughhhh so good. And Netflix, I’m waiting for Season 3 plsthx!

Inside British Vogue – I like fashion documentaries, but the documentarian annoyed me. Your job is to DOCUMENT, not fucking give input about things you know nothing about. Ugh.

Arrow, Season 3 – Well, damn. I went back to finishing this season and things completely goes down at the end of the season. The happyish ending tho, lmao. Yeah, okay. Not gonna last long in CW, nope.

Flash, Season 1 – I was pretty much going back and forth on my Arrow-Flash binges. But holy hell, Flash got INCREDIBLY good.

Supergirl, Season 1 – I legit just watched the first episode yesterday. Then I had to google “Does Supergirl get better later on” because honestly, that pilot wasn’t so great. I love the idea of female superheroes, but please stop throwing feminist morals at my face every other scene in the episode. ESPECIALLY since the rest of the time seemed dedicated to comparing said female superhero to the more superior male cousin that is Superman. I just…STAHP PLEASE. Just give me action and some sort of plot. But again. This was just my first impression of the pilot. Apparently it does get better around episode 6/7, so I might hang on.

Video Games

Hah. There’s been only one video game that I’ve been preoccupied with all month. And that’s Mass Effect: Andromeda. I actually finished it last week, so of course the next thing I did was boot up a new Mass Effect trilogy playthrough. Yeah. I am obsessive, but I can’t help myself!

I’m still trying to figure out how much I like ME: Andromeda, to be honest. It certainly doesn’t hold a candle to the original trilogy, but at the same time, I’m judging the a game that’s solely an INTRODUCTORY game, so I can’t get angry about it. I am a little disappointed in the romance arcs. None of them seemed very interesting. But then again, I wasn’t gungho on the romance in ME1 either. So yeah. I hope the second installation–if there ever IS one–gets the same treatment as ME2, because that’s when everything gets turned around.

Fooding

It says something about my lack of work when I spend most of my days actually baking. Or eating.

Macarons || Ube birthday cake || Spiced ginger treacle cake || Hummus || Marble and almond brownies || Sushi || Peach upside down cake || Japanese pork combo at Mitsuwa

Miscellany

I’ve mostly been on vacation over the month of July. On top of that, I had a birthday pass me by, which meant I got to splurge on random things, hah!

Managed to get Shakespeare in the Park tickets for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was FANTASTIC.

I’ve been sufficiently pool-ready the past few weeks, so obviously that’s where I’ve been during my weekends. There was also a summer fair at the Meadowlands, and I couldn’t pass it up because I so wanted to get on a Ferris wheel. I LOVE FERRIS WHEELS.

Other than that, same old, same old.

Nerdy News

Gotham goes Gaslight in a Batman steampunk animated movie. Not gonna lie, I’ve been so waiting for them to do this. I haven’t read the Elseworlds series that this animated movie is going to be based on, but I’ve actually seen a demo of Gotham by Gaslight as a video game, and I’ve been craving steampunk Bats since.

Honestly cannot wait for Good Omens to come out. It’s going to be a blast to see Crowley and Aziraphale on the screen and not just on the page.

Joker as a good guy is like watching Lex Luthor become President of the United States and still being a thorn on Superman’s side. It’s GREAT. Now, once this is released completely, can we have an animated movie based off this series with Mark Hamill reprising his Joker role? CAN WE PLEASE?

Alright, I admit I’m sliding this article in solely for the purpose of being able to mention AIRSHIPS in this post. Because the possibility of rebuilding airships just made my steampunk writing self all excited and giddy.

The next Wonder Woman movie is taking place in the ’80s. Which is pretty cool, though I wonder how they’ll explain WWII, because that’s practically a gigantic war in between her origin movie and the Cold War. [SPOILER] Also, I don’t know why people find it a good idea to bring Chris Pine back. That just lessens the impact of his actions in the previous movie. Just saying. [/SPOILER]

Not sure how I feel having seen the A Wrinkle in Time trailer. On the one hand, it looks pretty cool and action-packed. On the other, AWiT is one of my favorite childhood SFF books, and if they eff this up, I’m going to be INCONSOLABLE.

One of the most exciting trailers that got released at SDCC was definitely Ready Player One. Because holy hell, the stacked buildings looked exactly like the illustration in the book. And omg SO many Easter Eggs in that trailer. I can only imagine how many more are in the actual movie.

And yay more Agatha Christie movies! I always love watching these.

Still not holding my breath, but I suppose this is good news to the G.R.R. Martin and A Song of Ice and Fire fans. I haven’t read the fifth book yet, so…

And the new Doctor is…oh come on. That was practically everywhere when it was finally released. Here’s to Jodie Whittaker for taking the balls by the horn! (Hah!)

I hope you guys had a great July, too!