Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkin Seeds

Sweet Sunday Yummy Lit Review:
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Over the last few days I have adapted my blog to include non-literary review postings as (until December) it is near impossible for me to read a book for personal pleasure. However, do not fret - I am in the midst of reading a verrrry long Victorian novel for class which may just make its way onto CTR.

Sweet Sunday has transformed this week. Instead of solely providing cookie reviews, I will also create and review other goodies. Muffins, cupcakes, cakes, breads... roasted pumpkin seeds? Well, they do involve the use of an oven.

This weekend I decided to tackle pumpkin carving. And, after diving into my pumpkin and retrieving a handful of seeds I knew I had to try to make something with them.

I wasn't quite sure what could be done with the seeds. Even turning to the internet did not lead to a whole lot of ideas. However, I did find a recipe for roasting pumpkin seeds at Rachel Ray's website. Here's what she says to do:

1. Clean, toss with extra virgin olive oil and salt.

2. Spread out onto a baking sheet.

3. Heat the oven to 350* F, toast for 30-40 minutes.

4. Give them a shake every once and a while to make sure they're toasted evenly.... or take them out when they are starting to brown.

I followed the recipe word for word. I cleaned the seeds and left them to dry overnight. This afternoon, mixing them with evoo and salt (sorry, I just dumped the oil and pinched the salt, no exact measurements here!), I put them into the oven for 30 minutes.

How did they turn out? Sadly, just alright. I have never roasted pumpkin seeds before... or even tried them for that matter... so I had no idea what to expect.

If you do try your hand at these, make sure to check them frequently. I tried a seed twenty minutes into the process and it was super tasty... However, at thirty minutes I find them to be a bit dry. I should have taken them out sooner... oh well, it was a learning process to say the least.

What do you do with your pumpkin seeds? I have one more pumpkin to carve this week, and I'm still open to seed-baking suggestions.

Ohh, and here's my finished pumpkin!

Hope you all have a Sweet Sunday.

Evaluations, New and Old

On Saturday night I decided to re-watch Tremors. I remember when the movie first came out - all of the neighborhood children were afraid of those big worm-like things living underground. I found it amusing as a child... I guess I've always had a weird sense of humour.

Re-watching the movie tonight led to reevaluations. Was it still amusing? Not really. Scary? Nope. Funny? Definitely not. I guess not everything gets better with age, including opinions on films.

However, K informed me of a humorous site a few days ago. After a few good (and well-deserved) laughs, I thought I would pass it on to you. Visit Not Always Right to discover the amusing, hilarious, ridiculous antics customers get up to in the retail world.

I assure you that browsing through this site has a lot more entertainment value than sitting through 2 hours of Tremors.

Enjoy :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Back on the Hop

Ahhh another book blogger hop! I haven't participated in Jennifer's hop since September. I'm super excited to get back into the groove.

This week's question is "Where is your favourite place to read? Curled up on the sofa, in bed, in the garden?"

I think a large part of where I like to read depends on the weather. During the summer months I love to read out on my patio, soak up the sun, and enjoy a cold glass of ice water. But, more often then not, you'll find me on the couch with a big mug of coffee. Coffee, comfort, a book, and awesome views of BC's snow covered mountains just outside my window make the perfect afternoon... or one of them ;)

Happy book blog hopping everyone and thanks for visiting!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Foreign Tastes?

This week's Booking Through Thursday asks readers to: "name a book (or books) from a country other than your own that you love."

I somehow think that if I were American this question would be harder.

Why, you ask?

So many of my favourite books come from America! A favourite Canadian book.... sadly, I can't even think of one.

I'm a sucker for romantic tales, so anything Nicholas Sparks writes is on my list of favourites. I happen to prefer his older work, like The Notebook or A Walk to Remember, over his new novels which I find have taken on a more mysterious and edgy vibe.

Where are your favourite books from? Are you a reader of home grown fiction or do you have a more international taste?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Black Cats and October Stars

Sweet Sunday Yummy Lit Review:
Black Cats and October Stars

First off - I finally have a computer-camera connection! And, I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate the end of a week of crazy due dates, late night research, and laptop drama than making a fresh batch of Halloween cookies.

These cookies are brand new to me... well kind of. See, there's this old Christmas Cookies recipe in my family. But it's Christmas Cookies - usually in the form of Christmas trees, Santa, stars... you get the picture. However, venturing into food coloured icing and spooky cats were uncharted cookie territory for me... until last night.

Here's the cookie recipe:

Combine in a bowl and set aside:
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Cream together in a mixer:
3/4 cup soft butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract (or almond)

- beat in the flour mixture until smooth
- chill for one hour or until firm
- roll a small amount of dough 1/8 inch thick (keep remaining dough in fridge until ready to use)
- cut into desired shapes
- put onto greased cookie sheet
- bake at 375* F for 8 to 10 minutes
- remove to wire racks to cool

And the Icing (from The Baker's Bible, p 454):

3/4 cup icing sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Red, Blue, and Yellow food colouring

Mix it all ingredients together, add a few drops of the colouring until the desired shades are reached.

These cookies were so much fun to make! Messy, and a bit time consuming, but fun nonetheless.

Getting the right colours might be tricky... at least it was for me. I went to the grocery store expecting to be able to buy black and orange food colouring. Instead I discovered that you can only buy the primary colours (and green, too). So, as a heads up, to make black combine a few drops of red, blue, and yellow food colouring. To get the exact shades will take a bit of time... especially if you haven't ventured into the art world for quite a while.

But, after a fun adventure with food colouring, I now have a cookie jar that practically screams Happy Halloween. Spooky black cats and red, orange, and yellow stars make the perfect festive cookie treat.

Hope you all have a Sweet Sunday,
Ms. C.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Blown Fuse

A few days ago, while I was patting myself on the back for starting a paper on the earlier side, something very very bad happened. See... I have this laptop. It's older and even a bit slow, but I love it nonetheless. I still love it... even though it happened to die midway through my paper. After hitting the save button in Microsoft Word I heard a weird fizz noise... and then my screen went black.

As many of you are fellow writers, students, or just lovers of literature, you can imagine what I felt when my trusty HP laptop just wouldn't turn on.... and all of my documents, tons and tons of work written with the help of coffee, just seemed to disappear in an instant.

Thankfully I managed to get a computer technician to take the hard drive (or some such thing, I'm not tech savvy) out and retrieve all of my past work.

But now I don't have my HP... the laptop I bought during my first year at university... the one I was planning to use while writing my last ugrad paper. I can be a tad sentimental sometimes.

And it also means I had no way to upload pictures of baked cookies this Sunday. Though I have to admit, it has been a rough week and I haven't ventured into the kitchen a whole lot. Even if there was a camera-laptop connection I'm afraid there wouldn't be much to show.

I hope to get programs running on a new laptop shortly. Until then, happy Sweet Sunday (minus the sweetness).

OH! and Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cocoa Ginger Crisps

Sweet Sunday Yummy Lit Review: Cocoa Ginger Crisps

Over the past two weeks I have had E living with me. While we had a great time looking around the city during the day, at night I was privileged enough to dress him up in baking gear and acquire a brand new baking buddy. One of the recipes we tried out was Cocoa Ginger Crisps, a spicy chocolate biscuit.

The Cookie Bible says I will need:

1 cup butter/margarine, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
1 egg
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons plus 1 1/4 teaspoon Cocoa, divided
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt

Beat butter, 1 cup sugar and egg in large bowl until fluffy. Add corn syrup; beat until well blended. Stir together flour, 6 tablespoons cocoa, baking soda, ginger, and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Cover; refrigerate dough about 1 hour or until firm enough to handle.

Heat oven to 375* F.

Stir together remaining 1/3 cup sugar and 1 1/4 teaspoons cocoa in shallow bowl. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in sugar-cocoa mixture to coat. Place about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until cookies flatten. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

These cookies were a pleasure to make. There's something therapeutic about rolling brown balls in sugar and cocoa, turning them from a dull brown to a sparkly iridescence. After 10 minutes in the oven they flattened out into a soft, yet crispy texture... and they were ever-so yummy!

To cap it off, the recipe yielded around 4 dozen cookies... just enough to share with CurlyJ and her husband the following night during a trip to Vancouver.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Munro's Books

Last weekend I travelled with E to Vancouver Island. It was a lovely day of sunshine, music, comedy, museums, and (of course) a trip to one of BC's oldest bookstores. Located in Victoria, Munro's Books provides visitors with all the selection of Chapters and the quaint warmth and coziness of a traditional old-fashioned bookstore. It's even been described as "the most magnificent bookstore in Canada, possibly in North America" - I'm not lying, either - check out their website at

It is impossible for me to leave a bookstore of this magnitude without a few good finds. Due to my current inability to read anything that has not been prescribed by my university I restricted my shopping experience to two books.

My finds? The Anglo Files by Sarah Lyall and Germany 1945 by Richard Bessel. I can't wait for December when I can crack open the spines of these works with a big mug of coffee in hand.

Delays, Travels, and Life

First off - sorry for the almost-two-week delay. The past 14 days have been a whirlwind. I had places to go, jobs to attend, coursework to complete, people to visit, and a blog to write. I kept on promising to myself that I would get back to you all sooner rather than later... but that didn't seem to happen!

I've come to the realization that I am unable to provide literature review updates on a regular basis during the next two months. My courses and volunteer hours coupled with life as a 20-something gal just don't coincide with reading novels or non-fiction works for personal pleasure. But please continue to visit, you never know (heck, even I don't know) when the next random ramblings or literary critiques will be appearing.

I am determined, however, to regularly update our Yummy Lit section... so if you enjoy yummy pictures and funny stories that accompany my baking adventures make sure to stop by for a Sweet Sunday!
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