renaissance thinking

leonardo-da-vinci1As a teenager, I never excelled in any one area.  I was a mediocre violinist, a undistinguished scholar, an agonizingly pathetic athlete.  My indifferent attention span for any skill prevented my buckling down and achieving greatness.   The “jack of all trades, master of none” maxim bothered me like an inescapable self-fulfilling prophecy.  But then, on a boring Saturday, I happened to watch the Danny DeVito movie Renaissance Man. The only thing I remember from the film was when Danny DeVito explained what a renaissance man actually was, a person who excels in many areas.  After years of a public school education, rampant with the notion that we must each be pigeonholed into only one field (brain, jock, band geek, etc.), watching that movie was the first time I realized that it was possible to shine in several disciplines.

guest mom recipe: cinnamon tortilla chips with fruit salsa

fruit-salsa

Sophistireaders, I’d like you to meet Marcia (pronounced Mar-see-ah, not Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!). She’s the friend who helped me try my failed Turkish Delight recipe back in December.

For ages, she’s been telling me about these cinnamon tortilla chips with strawberry pineapple salsa and a sweet glaze she had at a party once and then adapted herself. Last week, we finally managed to get together, and she showed me how to make them.

Oh, yeah. And they’re soooo good.

heart shaped german chocolate cheesecake

In researching recipes for the frosting, I found out that a German chocolate cake is so named because its creator was Samuel German, a man from the US who developed the recipe for Baker’s Chocolate in the 1800s.

I thought a cheesecake version of these flavors would be fun for Valentine’s Day.

The little cake pans I used were from Target in the Valentine’s section. If you run over there this weekend, they may still have some (and if you wait ’til Saturday, they might be half price!). I only used three for my recipe, and then used mini muffin tins to use up the rest of the batter.

couldn’t wait ’til august

yellowbelly-and-plum-We got this book a few months ago, and though it would be more suitable for back to school time, it is such a fantastic book, I wanted to talk about it now.

When I lived in Quebec as a missionary for my church, I met Nathan Hale, an amazingly gifted artist.  He impressed me not only by his imagination and humor, but by his perseverance.  He was always drawing then, and he is still prolific now.  His story is a perfect example of how hard work and diligence breed creativity.  Genius is found in the doing.

One of his recent books, Yellowbelly and Plum Go to School is about Yellowbelly who takes his best friend Plum to school with him.  It is funny and endearing and unexpected—just what I would expect from Nathan.

yellowbelly-&-plum