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Archive for August, 2011

I’ve been reading a lot lately.

First, I read Stephen King’s Under the Dome. This is a seriously long book, that took me some time. And though the detail is sometimes agonizing, it’s in a good way, building up the suspense, getting to know the characters better, etc. Stephen King certainly hasn’t lost his touch, and can make you read the book and completely forget to do other things (like sleep, for example 🙂 ).

The idea is simple: Suddenly a dome comes out of nowhere and imprisons a small town in America from the outside world. In the hands of another author, this could have been a documentary how people got together and started organic farms using recycled water. However, this is Stephen King, so it turns out that there are three psychopaths locked in town (are all small towns in America like this? Makes you wonder). It was a very good read. However, I found it slightly depressing. Stephen King shows again, as he did in The Stand, that his opinion of humanity in general is very low. One person can be noble and good, but humanity in general is hopeless. However, I still recommend the book.

The next book I read was the land of painted caves, of the “Earth’s Children” series. To sum it up in one sentence: Don’t read it.

The long version: The impression I got was that the author didn’t want to write a fiction novel – she wanted to write a documentary of her visit to various caves. However, in order to sell better, she decided to make it the sixth “Earth’s Children” novel. A full two thirds of the book is painstaking description of every painting in every cave that Ayla visits. The term “mind-numbing detail” comes to mind. 😯 In the last third Auel decided to put a bit of story into it, and takes the worst part of the “Mammoth Hunters”, compresses it, and tacks it to the end. The whole thing felt staged. Both Ayla and Jondalar didn’t act in the least like they would have been expected to, and no other character is even remotely developed.  To add insult to injury the book is peppered with repetitions of scenes of previous books, or even scenes in the beginning of this one (probably in case the mind numbing detail caused people to rip out pages). If you must read it, don’t spend money on it – read it at onread for free.

And the third set… I read the Mistborn trilogy of Brandon Sanderson. As I was walking down the street in the center of town a few months ago, my eye caught a sign on a bookstore – books for 10 NIS only (less than 3$). I looked around, found the “Well of Ascension” and started browsing. I was completely lost in the book, standing and browsing in the middle of the shop, until the proprieter kindly came and offered me to sit down. At this point, I decided that it is better to read peacefully at home, and really for 10 NIS, what did I have to loose?

I discovered a wonderful book, that was marred only by discovering that it was the second of a trilogy. So I ordered the other two books (thank you bookdepository!) and read them.

I have no words superlative enough for this. This is undoubtedly one of the best fantasy trilogies I have ever read. It is pure genius. I can continue for another few pages, but I’ll take pity on whomever might be reading this, and just say that this is highly recommended to anyone who is even slightly interested in fantasy. Go and read it.

The next book on  my reading list: Yarrow, Charles de Lint. Hope it is as good as his other books 🙂

Good week, all!

Cute reading bear

 

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I’ve always loved making popsicles at home. I just don’t like the bought stuff – full of fake flavourings and sugar. I tried many times before, and always have the same problems: The popsicles take up a lot of space in the freezer, they leak in the freezer, they make a huge mess when the kids are eating them, etc. But I thought it was worth it.

And a week ago when I was innocently waiting for my insoles to be fixed, I caught sight of a box of colorful plastic tubes that promised “no mess!”,”Fill, Freeze and Twist!”. I took one packet to try. The things are pure genius: It is built like a large tube of lipstick: you pour whatever you want to freeze in, you cover and freeze, and when you want to eat, you remove the top and use it to twist the bottom part, making the frozen popsicle rise so it’s easy to eat. The kids enjoyed it thoroughly, and there was really no mess! Also, as it stands on its own in the freezer, it takes up less space and doesn’t spill; and there is no need to remember to stick a spoon in it half way through.

Easy!!

My first try was with a mixture of coconut milk, unsweetened applesauce and maple syrup; my second was with apple and pear juice (we have an excellent juicer, and the apples and pears were beginning to look suspicious in the fridge). To fill four twistixes I juiced two apples and 4 pears. The result? Yum!

Popsicle

I bought Twistix at “On the table” at Wolfson Mall in Jerusalem. More information on Twistix here.

Twistix

Gotta beat the heat!

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Nutmeg

Last post, I showed pictures from my cooking workswhop and mentioned whole nutmeg. I knew it existed, but you can get ground nutmeg so easily at the supermarket, so why bother?

Well, at the cooking workshop I learned why. Whole nutmeg looks like a large nut (actually it is a seed). It actually doesn’t smell that inviting, at least not in my opinion, but it smells better than the ground nutmeg. It smells richer and spicier. It doesn’t need to be peeled or anything. You just keep it in a jar or small box in a cool dark place and numerous internet sites claimed it lasts practically forever. To use, simply take a grater and one nutmeg, grate it into your food, and that’s it. A little nutmeg goes a long way – usually 3-4 back-and forth motions over the grater produces enough for a family.

Nutmeg: One whole Nutmeg; a small (and cute!) grater, and a jar of nutmegs

You should keep the nutmeg out of the reach of children or pets, as nutmeg is poisonous in large (very large) doses. It is even more poisonous for dogs and other animals (See Wikipedia article above).

In the workshop, the cook used a small grater that I really liked. I looked around for it and couldn’t find it, so when my husband said yesterday that he’s going to the other mall (we have two close to our house) I asked casually if he could look around. When I came home in the evening, my husband gave me four of the cutest graters I ever saw (I asked for more than one because I wanted to give some as a gift). And then I was amazed to discover that he was in not one, not two, but seven shops in the area looking for it until he found it. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.

 

I love using the nutmeg on anything with mushrooms (try it in your next mushroom pasta sauce. Even my husband noticed that it tastes better). It’s also great on spinach, broccoli, almost any vegetable.

Bon Apetit!

~~~

A side note: Both the very cute cows in love and the printable stickers I use for my jars (like the nutmeg one) are from graphic garden.

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