26 February 2010

New Book Club Alert! "FUNtastic, splendidly spastic books!"

I have a bit of a secret.

I'm am completely addicted to blogs.

There, I said it. Addicted and fully okay with it. I just love them. I love them with every last 20-something fiber of my being. That being said, after I started looking for a job I tried to cut out the bulk of my "just for fun" blogs and directed most of my attention to job search and/or publishing blogs. But try as I might I couldn't let a few of my favorites go.
[image via Mrs. Lillien]

Mrs. Lilien is one of my favorites. A blogger whose twitter byline reads: "designer and stylist extraordinista," Mrs. Lilien produces daily collages of a different "Mrs." My recent picks include:

The blog is a fun and light escape. Virtual dress up, if you will.

Today this announcement left me overjoyed. The Mrs. is starting a book club! Every first Friday, she will reveal the book of the month. With the promise of: ""nothing sappy, nothing sorry, nothing to make you weepy- but rather FUNtastic, splendidly spastic books you'll want to keepy," I, for one, cannot wait.

25 February 2010

Kitchen Projects #9 and #10: A study in contradiction

A week ago I made a halfway serious vow to limit my intake of animal products this lenten season. Halfway serious has morphed into fully dedicated within these past eight days. I did however, realize something by the close of day one: I simply cannot exist without sugar. I am a person who eats dessert, this is a fact. I'm also a person who like compromise. I've embarked on a new kitchen project all together--vegan baking. This pumpkin bread was one of my first attempts.

Tip #1: pumpkin always rocks. Use! It!

Tip #2: Spices are the new black

Tip #3: Share

Now, that delicious loaf is all well and good, but lucky you, I have a D.C. trip coming up this weekend and that's more than enough reason for cupcakes. So this afternoon I used my snow day to do this: 

Allow me to introduce some friends: 
1.) The Cinnamon Toast Crunchie: cinnamon swirl cake, cinnamon cream cheese icing, and cereal
2.) The Classic Candyland: french vanilla cake, milk chocolate buttercream and M&Ms
3.) The Heave on Earth: brownie bite, swiss meringue buttercream, and a caramel swirl 
Arrange on a plate filled with gummy worms and sour patch kids and kapow (!) you have yourself a smile-inducing gift.

Happy Snow Day to one and all!

Pumpkin Bread (via The Complete Vegan Kitchen by Jannequin Bennett)

-2 T. flaxseeds
-1 1/2 c. sugar
-1 c. pumpkin
-1/2 c. applesauce
-1 1/3 c. all purpose flour
-1/3 c. whole wheat flour
-1 t. baking soda
-1/2 t. baking powder
-3/4 t. salt
-1 t. ground cinnamon
-1/2 t. ground nutmeg
-1/4 t. ground cloves

1.) Preheat the oven to 350, grease and flour a 9 in. loaf pan
2.) In a blender or a food processor, mix the flaxseed and 6 T of water until light and frothy.
3.) In a large mixing bowl mix: flaxseed, sugar, pumpkin, applesauce
4.) Sift flours, soda, powder, salt, and spices. Add to the pumpkin mixture and combine
5.) Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 1 hour- 1 hour and fifteen minutes
6.) Remove and cool on a wire rack
7.) Dive in 

22 February 2010

5 (x2) Before 5: prizes, zombies, and Miss Piggy

Sorry! Too much going on today to narrow the list down to five. Consider the 5 extra headlines a fun Monday surprise. (So exciting, right?) Luckily, it's my blog so I make the rules.

  1. "Read This: Online Marketing 101" (via Beatrice) Additions to Ryan Chapman's list of must-reads.
  2. "LA Times announces 2009 Book Prize finalists" (via Jacket Copy)
  3. "Macmillan to Sell Customizable eTextbooks" (via eBookNewser)
  4. "Be a Part of a People's Tribute to Howard Zinn: Submit Your Own Video" (via Beacon Broadside)
  5. "David Remnick to Publish Barack Obama Biography" (via GalleyCat)
  6. "2009 Nebula Finalists for Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Announced" (via Omnivoracious)
  7. "Kids' Lit: Beyond Paper Books" (via HuffPo...old stuff, but I just got around to reading it today. Worth it!)
  8. "Android Karenina" (via Book Bench) And the zombi-fication continues...
  9. "The Exchange: Julie Klausner on Pauline Kael, Miss Piggy, and the Sexual Revolution" (via Book Bench) 
  10. "Web 2.0 is like a pyramid scheme" (via 10 Block Walk)

18 February 2010

5 Before 5: Faux Plagiarism (?), e-Readers, and Kiddo iPads

Guess what? It's nearly Friday. For all of you non-job searching-nannies out there this mean fr-fr-fr-FREEDOM! Congratulations.

  1. "Been caught borrowing" (via Jacket Copy) "Is Helene Hegemann a guilty teen caught copying someone else's work, or a vanguard remixer of a new generation, bringing sampling to fiction?"
  2. "Readers Respond to the 'Kids' iPad" (via eBookNewser)
  3. "Book blogging and rotten reviews" (via A Common Reader) "I think the essence of book blogging is that the writers do it for sheer pleasure."
  4. "A Conversation on Resonance and Responsibility" (via 10 Block Walk) "Because we do care for those we encounter, and deeply: writers care for the teens who will read their books, and editors care for those teens, too--and also for the authors, caught somewhere in the middle of this chain of connectivity."
  5. "Are Phones More Important than E-Readers to The Future of Publishing?" (via Publishing Perspectives) (MORE ON THIS LATER!)

A Kindle in Sheep's Clothing

Print or e-Reader?
Are you stuck in a house divided? 
Do you pepper your life with wishy-washy decisions? 
Stress no more.

New Book Smell: Smell of Books (See also: "Eau You Have Cats" and "Scents and Sensibility")
PS: Hat tip, KR Connect

Book Cover: Long Live Books 
PS: Hat tip, GalleyCat

17 February 2010

5 Before 5: News bites to read before running out the door

Because I know you've nothing but free time this late afternoon, I thought I'd provide a little light reading. Just remember, the bookmarking option is your friend.

Happy Wednesday!

11 February 2010

Kitchen Project #8: I Ain't No Challah-back Girl

Having been raised in the suburbs under two different churches (South American Catholic and Be Nice to Everyone... Especially Children) my first encounter with challah didn't occur until 2006.

I was a sophomore in college when my neighbor received a package from home just in time for a High Holiday. Everyone in our hallway rushed to room 217, eager to feast. Apparently they knew all about challah and how superior it was to other loaves.  So, I did what any other nineteen-year-old would do, I lied.

"Oh, would you mind if I had a slice, too? I totally love challah!" I blurted-- imitating my hall-mates as best I could.

Mere moments after uttering that fib, I was offered a slice of the golden food of the gods, and my life, as I knew it, was forever altered.

Counting my chickens.

Pre and post-knead

I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am for the french toast that will happen this weekend.

Recipe via Smitten Kitchen

09 February 2010

It's noon, do you know where your google reader is?

I am proud to say, for the first time in weeks, my "Literary Love" folder "has no unread items."

Here are my favorites from this morning. Skim if you have the chance: 

08 February 2010

The death of "kerfuffle" and other newsworthy items

Quite a bit has happened since I last posted anything pertaining to publishing. Namely:
  1. Snowmaggedon/SnOMG, Snowpocolypse II...I'm choosing to call the whole thing Snowgate, only because studying in D.C. for four years left me with a tendency to attach "gate" should the opportunity present itself. 
  2. Amazon and Macmillan officially killed the noun, "kerfuffle." RIP kerfulffle, you were a fun one. My favorite two cents on the ordeal: 
Lengthy naptimes today allowed for loads of time to read. (tag: # nannyingoccasionallyrocks) Listed below are the headlines that caught my eye long enough to click past the jump (and were well worth the read time). 
I will be making this carrot cake, which I will then frost with this dulce de leche buttercream. Who doesn't love a birthday?

07 February 2010

Kitchen Project #7: Lone Star Lovin'

I've only set foot on Texan soil once in my life. I spent five days in Dallas during the 2003 NCA Cheerleading National Championships. 
(Go ahead, take a few minutes. Wrap your head around that one. Get back to me when you've ceased laughing.)
Okay, are we good? I suppose what I'm trying to say is that my opinion of Texas was shaped by five days of spankies, curlers, and glitter, and that I realize I may not know the Lone Star State all that well. Although I may not know Texas, I do know Texas Sheet Cake...it's genetics. You see, I inherited my sweet tooth from my mother, who was gifted with the very same affliction courtesy of my grandmother. This recipe has been passed down through women in my family, I believe, as a means of coping with a bottomless need for sweets.

Essentially, the recipe goes like so: cake= boil, combine, pour, then icing= boil, combine, pour. What you're left with is a vast, expansive cake, fluffier than the imaginable, topped with a hardened icing that is crunchy to the teeth but melts in the mouth. Did I mention this thing is huge?

Sure, you could try to halve the recipe, but where's the fun in that?

I added red sprinkles for a Valentine's effect. About ten minutes after cooling, this cake was sliced, packaged, and placed in a box for shipping. On Monday I'll ask UPS to deliver the package to my baby sister who is currently playing college in Boulder, Co.

I think Pat Green would be proud.

Unusual Chocolate Cake (aka: Texas Sheet Cake) by Granny Forrest
For the cake:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs (slightly beaten)
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. baking soda
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Sift the sugar and flour and set aside
  3. Combine the butter, water, and cocoa in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour over the sugar/flour mixture.
  4. Combine the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and baking soda in a separate bowl and add to the cocoa mixture. 
  5. Pour into a 15" x 10" pan and bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes.
For the icing:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 6 T. milk
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  1. Prepare when the cake has 5 minutes left to bake.
  2. Combine the butter, cocoa, and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
  3. Add sugar, vanilla, and pecans to the mixture and combine.
  4. Spread on cake while cake is still hot.

06 February 2010


Rainbow Pancakes 

Photo and recipe via Kitchn...via I Am Mommy...via Swiss Miss

04 February 2010

Kitchen Project #6: You catch more flies with honeycomb...

Pictured above: pandora’s box. Consider it opened.
When I was fourteen I had the chance to spend a summer in and around London. Twenty-some students from the Robert Mays School flew over in the spring and we (los Americanos) paid them a visit that summer.
It was a blast. Can you imagine? Forty fourteen and fifteen-year-olds, feeling cooler and older than they should? Ri-diculous. Our poor chaperones.
Most importantly, that summer was when I met my dear friend, the Cadbury Crunchie bar. It was a warm afternoon in Reading when I opened my lunch to find an unknown candy bar. I remember feeling indifferent to the new piece of sugar, but even at fourteen, I wasn’t one to pass up dessert. It was chocolate, bite size, and I couldn’t find the word “coconut” anywhere on the label, so I bit in. Oh sweet lord the world stopped on a dime with that first bite. Chocolate and honeycomb. Repeat. Chocolate and honeycomb. Crunch. Sweet. Crunch. Sweet. Heaven.
I returned home with a pair of overpriced baggy jeans (all the rage that summer—never worn stateside, thank goodness), 15 rolls of undeveloped film, and 11 extra pounds resting around my midsection.  
Since I put a few thousand miles and an ocean between myself and my beloved crunchie bars I've managed to escape my fate as the first female great American sumo wrestler, but when I found this post on Cupcakes & Cashmere I knew I was doomed. What's even more ominous? Last night, around 11pm, I discovered that honeycomb is super simple to make--easier than cookies! I'm completely done for!


03 February 2010


Lost: Time for reading
Last seen: Washington, D.C. (fall semester)
If found: Please return to Julia F. Costa
Reward: Um, free childcare services for month and brownies. How does that sound?

I have a few things I'd like to discuss here today but alas, I'm running out the door to a lovely 4-year-old named Danny and his younger sister, Georgia. While the snow is breathtaking it does add a little time to travel and definitely adds a significant chunk of time to preschool pick up/drop off.

So instead of a few things I leave you with this article that the Guardian Book Blog dropped into my reader this morning. It's called "Who stole our reading time?" A fun, inspiring, quick read reminding us all of what's been said before and what should be said again. A potential rebranding of reading? Maybe more on that later.

Here's a taste.
"Obviously media such as the internet offer enormous benefits to (you wouldn't be reading this otherwise), but they also glide easily into the surface world of sleek illusions and infinite chatter which surrounds us. And have you seen Avatar? Have you seen what they can do now? Call me melodramatic, but I am beginning to feel like the protagonist in some SF dystopia myself, having his own thoughts erased, and liking it."
I'm off now. Should you need me, I'll be reading each and every Maisy book to an enthralled 2-year-old who's heard them all before. Oh, and I'll be dreaming of my sophomore year literature classes when time to read was never an issue.

02 February 2010

Kitchen Project #5: Birthday Brownies

Everything is fine in moderation, right? Sure. This rule, however, flies out the window when a birthday comes to town. It's my personal belief that on one's birthday one should throw caution to the windiest windstorm and act with reckless abandon. It's your pick: sky dive, eat an entire chocolate cake, ignore your Blackberry...you've been given a 24 hour hall pass and I believe it should be put to good use. Three of my nearest and dearest are celebrating birthdays this week and since the squandering of birthday magic is a Cardinal sin in my book I decided to ship a little sugar out to each of them. I suppose I'm what you'd call an enabler, huh?

I don't think anything screams indulgence more than chocolate and peanut butter. With a little help from Deb (of the famed Smitten Kitchen) these cakelets came to be. I can't really call them brownies, but I can't really call them blondies or cake, either. I think I'll just call them delicious.

And a happy Tuesday to you.

01 February 2010

A News-y Monday

"This ain't your father's publishing industry--really, it's your screen-fixated nephew's." 
-Craig Morgan Teicher (eBookNewser)

Macmillan v. Amazon News:
iPad News:
Salinger News:

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