Alright. This is amazing. Have you all been seeing the one ingredient ice cream recipe out there? I first saw it on The Kitchn. It’s vegan. It’s healthy, and a dieter’s dream.
All you do is take ripe bananas, cut them up, freeze them, and then mix them up in the food processor. It’s unbelievably simple.
But only if you have a food processor.
If you have one, then go out and buy some bananas and get started.
If you don’t have one, then you might be in luck.
Whenever I write a recipe that uses a food processor, I always feel a little bad. I didn’t get mine until a few years ago, so I know what it’s like to pass over a recipe that needs one, or attempt a recipe in a blender and have it make a huge mess.
To remedy that, I will be giving away one Cuisinart 11-Cup Food Processor.* It’s the exact model I have, and I love it.
What is your favorite cooking show? A couple at the top of my list are The Barefoot Contessa and Giada at Home. I love the way they’re taped. The food is always gorgeous, and the girls seem so relaxed. They talk as if you’re their friend, standing there across the island keeping them company in the kitchen.
I prefer them to other cooking shows where it feels like the star is in a studio, talking loudly to the viewers, trying to convince them of how easy something is to cook, like a commercial.
A couple of weeks back, I was in the grocery store, looking at these gorgeous fruits from all over the world. The kids were asking if I could buy them, but I had already taken quite a few photographs of other recipes, and was behind on my posts for the blog, so I figured I would buy an assortment of the fruits another time. I turned to find someone working in the produce department, and just to my right, was a man I could ask.
I asked him if they usually had such a good assortment on hand, because I planned on coming back another time. He then turned, grabbed a bag, and filled it with one of each of the fruits, and told me I could have them. I love stores like that!
Like I said, I had a lot of things in my queue, so I really only had the time to photograph them. And I’m sad to say, between the time I took the pictures, and today, I have lost the stickers that said which fruits were which. I know what some of them are, of course, but I don’t know all of them. Can you name them?
I am one of the lucky girls. I have a mom who supports me intellectually, spiritually, and all other facets of my life. I am sure we log at least five hours per week talking on the phone. She is one of my best friends, and I hope my little girl will grow up to have a similar friendship with me. I took that picture the last time I was in Massachusetts with my mom. My little girl is only five there, and I can’t believe how much has happened since that day. So why am I talking about my mom and my daughter? To introduce you to our latest book for our book club . . .
When Sarah Bryden-Brown showed me her recent ebook Stories I’ve Only Told My Mom, I decided to do an extra book club this month. It’s an easy read—just a collection of essays—from some of the great bloggers around the web. Some of the essays had me laughing, while others made the tears fall down my face for the entire read.
I picked my three favorites for our discussion, but of course, you can mention any of them in the comments section. It’s up to you.
The first story that hit me was by Amy Thompson, who writes the blog Progressive Pioneer. She calls her essay “Things I’d Like to Tell My Mom.” Once you read it, you’ll know why I was crying. It’s beautiful.
The first essay in the list also struck me. It’s called “$17,000″ and is by Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind.
“Ashes and Rebirth”, by Meg Keene—author of The Practical Wedding—is poignant, and one of my favorites.
I don’t want to spill everything I read until some of you get a chance to read the essays, so once you read them, make a comment, and I’ll add to whatever you say. You can even start by asking a question, like “What did you think about the part where she says_________?”
Oh, and for those of you who don’t have a kindle, don’t worry. I downloaded mine for free onto my computer. Since it isn’t a long book, reading it on the computer won’t hurt your eyes.
Pavlova is the dessert of my dreams. And rhubarb is the fruit of my childhood. It used to grow in our backyard in Massachusetts, green with little hints of red. Sometimes I’d find a thick stalk, but most were thin and unimpressive. But that didn’t stop me from concocting a dessert out of it every summer. Rhubarb crisp was my favorite. But we never added strawberries. They got devoured by birds the moment they had a hint of red, and buying them from the store was expensive and usually disappointing.
Now that I’ve grown, the sharp rhubarb alone isn’t as delicious as I once remembered it, and now that I can find decent strawberries in the store, I like to put the two together for the classic combination.
Now, mind you, this rhubarb was red when I got it, but cooking it straight does not produce the glorious color you see here. I actually learned the secret to getting poached rhubarb to look red from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. That book is so gorgeous. Some of those pictures almost make me cry . . .
The secret to getting a natural red color is . . . can you guess? It’s not unlike how I got my red velvet cake to be red. That’s right. It’s beets. You basically cut up a beet, cook it in a sugar syrup, shut off the heat, and then add the rhubarb. Then you don’t actually cook it. You just cover it and let it steep for twenty minutes. So easy.
Those cherry blossoms give it all away. I didn’t take that picture in the summer, but rather late spring. But it was hot. And now it’s feeling like summer all the time. The day I shot these, I wanted something cool and light, and regular lemonade just wouldn’t do. I wanted something a little more sophisticated than that.
I kept remembering back to when I was living in Montreal (when I was a missionary for my church). At this little convenience store, I found these amazing juices. They were combinations like cranberry orange blossom, or strawberry rose—and all sorts of dreamy flavors like that. After leaving that part of the city, though, I never found them again, and have always wanted to recreate them.
So I got to work in the kitchen. I found a little bottle of rose water I had purchased from our local Indian market ages ago, and added that to a simple syrup. Then I threw in a strawberry or two to give it a pinkish color. I think both just make the drink pretty, don’t you?
Apparently, my daughter and her friend thought so too. When they caught me photographing the pictures, they each took a glass and guzzled them down.
I really wish Milky Ways had white chocolate on them. So I made up this recipe.
Every summer when I was a kid, the neighborhood girls—which consisted of Caitlin, Amy, and myself—were always scheming up some sort of business. One year there was a magic show, which starred my brother Josh, his buddy Seamus, and me and the girls wearing leotards cast off from Amy’s former dance recitals. What nice neighbors and parents we all had—that they would actually come and sit on the yard to the side of my house and watch our last minute production. Oh, and pay us for it, too.
Though I can’t remember any particular lemonade stands, I’m sure we had many. And I just want to thank everyone who bought something from us.
I think anyone who buys crappy lemonade from a sticky nine-year-old will get a wing added to their mansion in heaven. If anyone thinks this country has lost its humanity, then I say, look around at all the lemonade stands. How many people, solely for the purpose of doing a good deed, plunk down their money, stare into little eager faces, shove any germaphobic tendencies aside, and gulp down a paper cup full of lukewarm Kool-Aid?
That, my friends, is altruism.
My kids have wanted to have their own lemonade stand since . . . oh, since they were born. But I was always a chicken about it. We either didn’t know our neighbors well, or the street was too busy, or who knows what else? There were always excuses. Apparently, the phrase “err on the side of caution” is tattooed on my prefrontal cortex. I just can’t over the idea that life isn’t as safe as it was for me and the neighborhood girls when we were peddling Girl Scout cookies. So I always hesitate.
And now I will confess something I am very much ashamed of: I have never read Jane Eyre.
I am now pausing while I can feel your virtual rotten tomatoes smashing into my face. I am sorry. I have never read it. Or at least, not the whole thing. Surely I read enough of it in tenth grade English to get by with a quickie book report. But that’s all.
And is it sad of me that I only now want to read it because the new movie looks so good? And I know Rochester is supposed to be on the homely side, but I have to say, he’s the reason I’m so excited to go see the movie. I suppose if I invest a couple of hours into a movie, I want Rochester to be at least ambiguously handsome. I guess I just like eye candy.
Here is the trailer:
I want to squeeze in reading it before I break down and watch the movie.
And so, this will be our book club book for June.