September 2008

This is how I feel right now.  Groggy.  Gross.  Giant pawed.  (Well, maybe not giant pawed…)  See, I have this thing called insomnia.  And insomnia is great in that I can see things that most people don’t–like how bright and clear the stars were last night or drug deals on Moreland Ave.

In that I feel groggy and gross, I thought I’d take a trip down memory lane to a brunch I made two weeks ago for the poet and I.  I wasn’t groggy or gross then.  And the brunch was friggin’ fantastic.  And also dubbed the “Brown Breakfast O’ Greatness.”

First off, who doesn’t love hashbrowns???  Please, can I see your hands???  Right.  I have to limit how often I make them, but when I do, they make my day 100% complete.

Secondly, who doesn’t love a good banana pecan pancake?  I use the recipe in Vegan with a Vengeance. Yumyumyum.

Thirdly, Swell Vegan’s Ginger Pecan Peaches are the bomb diggity bomb.  I made ours out of Alabama white peaches, so the texture and color wasn’t quite as terrific as a-k’s, but beyond delicious.

So that’s that and my coffee’s done, so I’m going to grab a cup, curl back up in bed with a book (that I need to read for my thesis, but at least it looks interesting–Robert Macfarlane’s The Wild Places), and hopefully doze in the afternoon surrounded by my kitties.  I hope you all are having a fantastic weekend!

You know what the great thing about baking an apple cake in the morning is?  The accompanying breakfast!  My mom always cooks (she always calls them “baked apples…” but it’s definitely a stove-top method…who knows) apples like the middle layer of the cake as a treat for fall or winter mornings, so, naturally, while baking the cake and needing to eat, I snagged a bowl of the apples and leisurely ate them with a cup of coffee while the cake baked.  Divine.  And so simple.  Below is the recipe for 1-2 servings (depending on how greedy you are).  (smile)

“Baked” Apples

1 Granny Smith Apple, diced
1 tbsp Earth Balance
2 tbsp Sugar
1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon

In a sauce pan, combine all ingredients and cook over a low-medium flame until the apples are the desired softness.

Let cool for a minute or two, then eat!  Preferably with a good cup of tea or coffee while sitting on your porch watching the birds flit from tree to tree (or maybe that’s just me).


Because I read books (for a living!), work in a bookstore (yay barely paying jobs that merely support my book habit), and haven’t done a meme in awhile, here’s the Top 100 Most Popular Books from LibraryThing.  Bold what you’ve read, color what you own. Star what you liked. Star multiple times what you loved!

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (32,484)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) by J.K. Rowling (29,939)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5) by J.K. Rowling (28,728)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2) by J.K. Rowling (27,926)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3) by J.K. Rowling (27,643)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4) by J.K. Rowling (27,641)
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (23,266)
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (21,325)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7) by J.K. Rowling (20,485)
1984 by George Orwell (19,735)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (19,583)
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (19,082) (Somehow I haven’t read it…but how!?!)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (17,586)
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (16,210)
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (15,483)**
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (14,566)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (14,449)**
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (13,946)
Life of Pi by Yann Martel (13,272)
Animal Farm by George Orwell (13,091)*
Angels & demons by Dan Brown (13,089)
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (13,005)
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (12,777) ***
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (12,634) ***
The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, Part 1) by J.R.R. Tolkien (12,276) **
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (12,147)
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (11,976)
The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, Part 2) by J.R.R. Tolkien (11,512)**

The Odyssey by Homer (11,483)

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (11,392)
Slaughterhouse-five by Kurt Vonnegut (11,360)
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (11,257) **
The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, Part 3) by J.R.R. Tolkien (11,082)**
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (10,979)

American Gods: A Novel by Neil Gaiman (10,823)
The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis (10,603)**
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (10,537) **
Lord of the Flies by William Golding (10,435)
The Lovely Bones : a novel by Alice Sebold (10,125)
Ender’s Game (Ender, Book 1) by Orson Scott Card (10,092)

The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, Book 1) by Philip Pullman (9,827)**
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman (9,745)
Dune by Frank Herbert (9,671)

Emma by Jane Austen (9,610)
Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (9,598)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (9,593)
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (9,433)

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke (9,413)
Middlesex: A Novel by Jeffrey Eugenides (9,343) **
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire (9,336)
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (9,274)
The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (9,246)
The Iliad by Homer (9,153)
The Stranger by Albert Camus (9,084)
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (9,080)
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (9,027)
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (8,960)**
On the Road by Jack Kerouac (8,904) **
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt (8,813)
The Little Prince by saintexupryantoinede – 75k – (8,764)*
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (8,421)*

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (8,417)******
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (8,368)
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (8,255)
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (8,214)

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (8,191)
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (8,169) **
Moby Dick by Herman Melville (8,129)
The Complete Works by William Shakespeare (8,096)
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond (7,843)

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (7,834)
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (7,829)
Hamlet by William Shakespeare (7,808)
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (7,807)
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (7,793)

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (7,710)
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (7,648)
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (7,598)

The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition by William Strunk (7,569) ***** (haha, why is this on here?!)
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (7,557)

The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials, Book 2) by Philip Pullman (7,534)***
Atonement by Ian McEwan (7,530)
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (7,512) *******
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (7,436)
Dracula by Bram Stoker (7,238)

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (7,153) **
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (7,055)
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (7,052)

The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman (7,043)***
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (6,933) **
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (6,901) **
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (6,899) ****

Neuromancer by William Gibson (6,890)

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (6,868)
Persuasion by Jane Austen (6,862)
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (6,841)
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (6,794)
Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir by Frank McCourt (6,715) **
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers (6,708)
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli (6,697)

Almost one month after my computer died, it’s back and I’m ready to hit the blogging world again, just in time for my favorite season (and with a new blog address!).  Most see fall as a time of dying back, of slowing down, of slowly moving towards the cold.  I see it as a time of rejuvenation though.  After the long summer here in the South, when the first ripples of cool filter through the trees, when the sky turns a bit bluer, we feel like we can breathe again.  Our fall colors may not be as spectacular as up north, but one thing’s for sure, our autumns last a lot longer.

This past Sunday I gathered a crew of good friends to picnic in a large park at my university.  The temperatures were in the low seventies, the sky was overcast (in a delightful way), and we munched on hummus, some orzo dish, bread, guacamole and talked about books and the weather and books and the weather.  (Seriously, cooler weather is beyond exciting to us!)  I brought along an apple cake as an homage to autumn and everyone swears they loved it.  I brought my camera along and forgot to take pictures.  Oh well.

I wish I could say the recipe is my genius, but it was given to a good friend of mine by the baker at Rainbow Natural Foods, a co-op up the street from me.  I’ve never eaten Rainbow’s version, but with a few little changes, I’m a personal fan of mine.  (smile)  I tend to make 1.5 recipes of the cake batter and use the extra half-recipe for the top layer.  If you’re using a smaller pan, then you probably won’t need to do that.

Autumn Apple Cake

2.5 cups All-purpose flour
1.5 cups Sugar
1 tbsp Baking powder
1.5 tsp Baking soda
1.5 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
1/4 lb Earth Balance, melted
1 cup Soy milk
1/2 cup Water
2 tbsp Vanilla extract

6 Granny Smith apples, diced
1/2 cup Sugar
4 tbsp Earth Balance
2 tsp Cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350.

Mix the apple cider vinegar in the soy milk and let sit for 10 minutes.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.

In a mixing bowl, combine the soy milk, water, melted Earth Balance, and vanilla.  Add the sugar, then mix.  Next, add the flour mixture and combine with a whisk or electric mixture until smooth (~2-3 minutes).

Spray a 9×13″ pan with vegetable oil and flour the sides.  Pour half the batter into the pan and bake for 10-15 minutes until the surface is firm.  DO NOT worry about baking all the way through–if you do, it will be overbaked!

Meanwhile, melt the 4 tbsp of Earth Balance in a large sauce pan on the stove.  Add the diced apples, sugar, and cinnamon, and saute until the apples soften.

When the top of the cake is firm, remove it from the oven and spread the apples over the cake.

Spread the remaining cake batter over the apples and bake for 20-30 minutes or until an inserted knife/cake tester comes out clean.  Be careful not to overbake or the cake will be dry.

Allow the cake to cool while preparing the cinnamon glaze.

For the glaze (from VCTOTW):

1/2 cup Confectioner’s Sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp Earth Balance, melted
1 tbsp soy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Add the Earth Balance, soy milk, and vanilla.  Stir with a fork until smooth.