Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Kitchen of Late

There is one cookie that has been an absolute hit here in Vancouver - JJ loves them, K loves them... heck, even I love them. These yummy treats are also E's favourite - so last week I sent him home with a container full to the brim of Chocolate Peanut-Butter Cookie Duos. I can't tell you how weird it was to be on Skype and see my little cookies being eaten halfway across the world! As a kind reminder to my old readers (and a pointer for new readers), make sure to try your hand at these cookies - if you love chocolate and peanut butter I'm sure you'll be pleased.

And, my most recent creation?

JJ kindly put in an order for Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies. I've been told they are as tasty as the batch I made last September.

Fresh out of the oven.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Five Question Friday

Lately, I've been trying to make my blog more personal. Less serious literary reviews and a little bit more of 'me' for flavour. So, what better way to do this than participate in Five Question Friday at My Little Life.

~ ~ ~

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop
You can participate here.

This week on the Book Blogger Hop, we are asked:
Do you ever wish you would have named your blog something different?

A: In May 2010 I knew I wanted to start writing outside of academia... but I wasn't sure exactly what, or where, to write. Fast forward to July 2010, and my good friend had convinced me to start up a blog. I needed a topic. I needed something I could write about with passion. And, then, I recalled my love for literature and coffee. Once I had logged onto and was asked for an URL and title for my blog, I knew right away that it would be Coffee Tale Reviews... almost.

I originally set out to create Coffee Tales. Blogspot wouldn't allow the url and title for one reason or another. I still love that name. Sometimes I daydream about changing my title.

Coffee Tale Reviews is a bit longer and it doesn't quite cover the full essence of my once strictly literature and recipe review blog... but I began with Coffee Tale Reviews, and I shall see it through to the end.


I'm currently reading Diane Ackerman's The Zookeeper's Wife. I'm roughly halfway done the book and I absolutely love the characters and unfolding events. It is a harrowing tale of the Holocaust and has led me to ponder aspects of everyday life.

Ackerman's descriptions are exquisite. One of her sentences has jumped from her pages and into my psyche, and I just have to share:

"hands cradle newborns, build cities, plant vegetables, caress loved ones, teach our eyes the shape of things - how round swells, how sand grits - bridge lonely hearts, connect us to the world, map the difference between self and other, fasten onto beauty, pledge loyalty, cajole food from grain, and so much more."
(p 177-178)

Reading the above passage instantly reminded me of my teenage years. I remember my mother telling my sixteen/seventeen (something-teen?) self to look at my hands if I ever felt sad or disheartened by one of life's roadblocks.

Why hands?

Hands are responsible for so much of what we are, what we have, and what we remember. There may be low points in life and hands can be extremely damaging forces. But, at the end of the day, we know there is good in this world as our hands have expressed love for others, care for those in need, striven for excellence in one of our own creations, and in essence, helped create the patchwork quilt of characteristics, accomplishments, and memories that compose us as unique human beings.

P.S. This is my one hundredth post. Thank you to all who have commented, followed, and sent me words of encouragement for this little blog.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

You can participate here.

1. I love that today I'll be seeing K, my good friend. I don't think we've seen each other since the holiday season. I miss our crazy talks on pop culture, history, and overall randomness.

2. I love that my puppies (okay, maybe they're a bit old to be considered puppies *shrugs*) are in an extra-cuddly mood. I need all the cuddles I can get, so bring it on!

3. I'm loving vests. Lately, I've been adding a vest to some of my favourite outfits. I love how vests are so versatile and can dress up a plain outfit ever-so-quickly.

4. And, I'm loving the fact that in 40 days I will be in Europe with E! We've had countdowns to see each other that span over four months, making a 40 day wait sound like a walk in the park... kinda :P

Picture Me Wednesday - 2011 Week 3

Long, long overdue... but alas, week 3 of Picture Me Wednesday!

The parliament buildings in Victoria.

This week I'm picturing one of my favourite areas in BC. Every night the buildings' silhouettes are outlined in golden lights. Me and E visited this spot earlier this February for a mini-getaway. I absolutely love this city!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

This week on Jennifer's Crazy-For-Books Book Blogger Hop, she asks: "What book(s) would you like to see turned into a moive?"

A: I had to think long and hard about this question. So many of my favourite books have already been translated into film-form. The Notebook? Done. Harry Potter? Way, way done. There are so many Holocaust movies. My favourite fairy tales? Disney's taken care of that.

So, the one book I'd love to see as a movie? I'm going to have to go with Prisoner of Tehran: A Memoir by Marina Nemat. This book was extremely powerful and unforgettable. It tells the tale of a young Iranian girl who is wrongly imprisoned in Tehran for performing activities against the Iranian state. Nemat's work was the first book I blogged about - in a way, the passion and excitement of this book led me to the blogging world. It is definitely a book to be read and one that would make a fine movie.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Very Thought of You

In January, E brought me one of his previously read books. He claimed that I would love it... lets just say he knows me pretty well.

The Very Thought of You, Rosie Alison's novel based on 1940s England, depicts a complicated marriage and kaleidoscope of love relationships during the Second World War.

Alison does an excellent job portraying the tale of a London girl sent to a Yorkshire boarding school for protection during the Blitz. Alison expertly describes relationships between lovers who must hide their infatuation in order to remain safe during the war-torn climate. And, most hauntingly of all, she illustrates the lifelong psychological effects of one's first love and the tragedies of war. The Very Thought of You is suspenseful, engaging, and an addictive read, yet also dark and depressing.

E was right - I do love this book. I found little excuses to bring out The Very Thought of You throughout the day (i.e. public transit rides, waiting in offices). It's not that I don't normally read during such moments... it is just that I didn't quite expect to be reading anything with E here for four weeks.

I most definitely recommend this book to those searching for a dramatic love story set in the chaotic time period of the Blitz. I don't think you will be disappointed.

Catching Up

Wow, it feels like I haven't written on here in weeks! I've got news... and I'm not even sure where to start.

1. A few weeks ago I stopped in Victoria for a little getaway. I seriously love Vancouver Island and Victoria especially. It has this Englishness to it that I find undeniably attractive. While I was there this February with E, we stumbled across an antiques store with National Socialist artifacts. Being the hardcore 20th century European History major that I am, you can only imagine my excitement. We left the store with 1944 Reichsmarks, a 1938 postcard, and a 1943 stamp illustrated with Hitler's portrait.

2. E brought a wonderful book along with him in January. I finished reading it the night he flew back... and I'll be reviewing it shortly.

3. What ever happened to those 2011 reading challenges? In January I was so set on completing 15 historical fiction novels and 5 classical fiction works. I'm halfway through reading Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford and a little bit stuck. Is there such a thing as reader's block?

4. I have a feeling I'll be reviewing The Zookeeper's Wife before Cranford reaches Coffee Tale Reviews. I started The Zookeepers Wife a few hours ago. I'm only 100 pages in and it's addictive!

5. I recently received a letter from my university. The news? I now have a B.A. With Distinction :)

6. I'm going to Europe! I am so so so stoked to be visiting E in April.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Double Chocolate Chip Brownies

Sweet Sunday Yummy Lit Review:
Double Chocolate Chip Brownies

In December I made a stack of recipe coupons for J&J. This week they ordered a plate of brownies loaded with chocolate and nuts. I turned to my favourite baking book, The Cookie Bible, for inspiration. Here's what we came up with...

On page 204, The Cookie Bible says we'll need:

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels, divided
1/2 cup butter or margarine, cut into pieces
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease 13x9-inch baking pan.

Melt 1 cup morsels and butter in large, heavy-duty saucepan over low heat; stir until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in flour, sugar, vanilla extract and baking soda. Stir in remaining morsels and nuts. Spread into prepared baking pan.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

These brownies turned out wonderfully. Flavourfull, moist, nutty... delicious. I hope J&J like it as much as I!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wordsworth Classics Reading Challenge 2011 - Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

My second Wordsworth Classics Reading Challenge 2011 book comes in the form of Robert Louis Stevenson's dark tale The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Written in 1884, Stevenson's novel is short and addictive. You've been warned.
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