A Prince, His Goat, and Rush Limbaugh

Have you ever experienced a sort of pervicacious ennui that feels as though it’s dragging you down a rabbit hole filled with “just don’t give a damn?” I feel as though I’m stuck there right now, and I need to find some tea cake or magic potion labeled “drink me” to peel back the threat of The Nothing that’s encroaching.

It’s as though every fuck I have to give has been taken by the fuck-stealer.

*Also, “fuck-stealer” is either going to be a new sort of sub-genre pornomance novel, (like this) or perhaps a new creature which was previously unknown to medieval historians,  found in a beastiary buried with a partially-mummified British prince and his trusty goat.*

I always hear people droning on about the value of boredom, but I am certain, that for some people, that is a complete crock of shit. People like me, disruptive types¹ with rampaging ADHD that borders on next-level batshit. For us, boredom is a very bad thing. As an adult, I’m fairly good at devising ways to occupy my time to keep me sane, (endless hours of exercise, research, and reading) but it can still lead toward some, shall I say, interesting things? Take for instance yesterday, I was having a very average day, and during that very average day, I was listening to an audiobook, plaiting my hair; and like The Nothing that crept upon Fantastica, I was hit squarely in the chest with The Nothing. So what did I do?

I Facebook stalked people I hated in High School. Like a freaking spurned lover, I eagerly tore through their pages, looking for what they “liked”–Rush Limbaugh? Really? I’m relatively certain that even his mother thinks he’s a rank assbag with a megaphone–where they live, how they spend their time. All of that. I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t looking for ways to feel superior to those who once made me feel so inferior. It took a great deal longer than it should have to admit this was a stupid exercise in which to engage. Their lives and their successes and failures hold absolutely no meaning in mine, so why bother? I am no Pretty Woman frosty-pink lipsticked prostie to go back and throw my meager successes in their faces. –Not only because telling them that I’ve been in academia in some form or fashion for *cough* years seems less like a brag and more like a prison sentence when said aloud.

Shankaracharya, in his commentary of the Bhagavad Gita writes: “Self-knowledge alone eradicates misery.” I think Facebook stalking is the very opposite of this sentiment. Unless I’m learning that I’m quite the noxious character, given to fits of temporary insanity. Eradicate misery? Nah, facebook looks at that misery, undresses that bitch, and has its nasty way with it. I’m no ontologist to decipher the mysteries of the self, but I know what I perceive in the mirror.

Why on earth I’d let boredom lead me to the black-hole of social media, I’ll never know. Do you see what I mean? Boredom is dangerous. I will take four hours of researching the historical significance of the gifts Henry VIII gave each wife, and then going for a run, over that nonsense any day of the week.

(nothing says “I love you, but still may have you beheaded” like gold gilt!!)

**footnote¹: the handful of my former professors who follow my blog, are all readily nodding their heads at my “disruptive” comment.

Thankfully, the very act of penning this post, and getting it out there, in words, seems to set a lumos charm upon my ennui, at least for now.

I’ve also decided to come up with new baking recipes for the rest of the day. Healthy ones. There might be a crumble or buckle involved. For now, how about a crepe suzette cake?

I’m not going to lie, while this cake is a “no bake” recipe, you will be at the stove for a solid 45 minutes (at least) making the crepes. What this recipe has going for it–aside from being delicious–is panache. This cake has STYLE. In a traditional Crepé Suzette, the crepe is topped with tangerine juice, and dressed with a Grand Marnier and caramelized-sugar sauce. In my version, there is zest in the crepes (lemon and lime, because, summer) and there is sugar brûlée between every layer. If you want the liqueur, may I suggest a sidecar??

Crepe Suzette Cake
image

image

Here is Alton Brown showing you how to make one. Just use my recipe. Also? I find it easiest to use a 10″ offset spatula to flip it.

Crepe Suzette Cake

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Keywords: fry no bake blender breakfast bread appetizer side snack dessert cake

Ingredients (1 cake)

    for the crepes

    • 2 cups whole milk
    • 4 tbsp melted butter
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 1/3 cups AP flour, sifted twice
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
    • zest of one lemon and one lime

    between the crepes

    • about 1/2-2/3 cup sugar
    • a firey implement.

    top the cake

    • powdered sugar
    • lemon and lime wheels

    for the crepe pan

    • a metric ton of butter to cook the crepes in.

    Instructions

    it’s honestly easiest to throw the wet ingredients into a blender and blend, and then sift in and blend in the flour a little bit at a time.

    Let this SIT!! I, like Alton, make mine the night before.

    heat a light skillet or crepe pan (because we all have those, right?!…no) on medium.

    melt a bit of butter, enough to coat the pan

    add 1/3 cup batter to the pan, and using a spatula, spread it into a thin crepe…or twisty-twirl the pan. look at the video I posted, and realize the first crepe NEVER works right.

    make a crepe

    place it on a plate

    add a heaping tsp of sugar to the top of the crepe, coating it as evenly as possible

    using a brulee torch, torch it. (optional, it’s good even if not bruleed)

    repeat this process, layering each crepe and sugar on top of each other until you run out of batter

    let cool

    top with powdered sugar and citrus wheels.

    *this will not keep more than a day and a half. It gets rubbery.

    Powered by Recipage

    Bibliophrenia…It’s a thing.

    Up is down. Left is right. Richard Marx seemingly has a new album…(It’ll never be another “Should’ve Known Better”…the botox prevents him from moving his mouth properly.)

    One thing that hasn’t changed is that I’m still reading an absurd amount of books. I have a crippling fear that I’ll one day have to spend a day without books. It’s irrational, I know. I think it’s ok as long as my books don’t start talking to me through book-mouths and not their words on pages. What would that look like in the DSM? Bibliophrenia? I already have enough DX from the DSM, and I do not need another notch on my crazy-belt. *the other belt with notches will accept one from Michael Fassbender, however.*

     

    I’d like to add that notch for you–with my teeth.

    A book I read recently, I felt I needed to simmer with for a little while before I gave my full-review here at B2B. I did pen a quick review at Goodreads, which you can read here.

    The book? Neanderthal Marries HumanBook 1.5 of the Knitting in the City series.

    Last year, I read and loved this books’ predecessor, Neanderthal Seeks Humanand the other books in the series: Friends Without Benefits and Love HackedI have been anxiously awaiting this installment since it was announced. I was positively twitterpated with glee when I read that Penny Reid had released it early.

    It’s like going to the gym only to realize that only four other people showed up for bodypump class, and you get your favorite spot and barbell.

    Neanderthal Marries Human is everything I’ve come to expect from Penny Reid, and still very surprising. Her books (so far) have been witty and smart sugar-cookies of literature. Yes, they’re essentially contemporary romance novels with happy endings and googly-love eyes, but at the same time, they’re not dumbed down to a specific level of reader. (insert reference to a book with a multiple of five, and non-specific hues of a non-color.) Penny Reid puts out quality books that are enjoyable, accessible, entertaining, and intelligent.

    This book was all of those things, but it was also decidedly more demanding of a reader’s introspection. Getting married is a pretty big deal. The protagonist, Janie approaches the situation with her typical level of pragmatism and skeptic world-view, and Quinn is ready to throw caution to the wind.

    Throughout the book, both Quinn and Janie are forced to reckon their lives together in the present with what may happen in the future, and what, if any, their pasts say about what will or could happen. They’re backed into their own corners and made to face their own insecurities and decide to press on in spite of them.  The thing is, they DO press-on, and it doesn’t feel contrived or forced, or as if they had some sort of “it only happens in books” epiphany. It’s organic and wonderful.

    After you read the book, you feel refreshed and renewed. The subtlety of the “message” of the book, that family is everything–whether it’s the one you’re born with or the one you choose–it matters not which family. It’s about finding your place in that family, and finding that place in yourself, and being okay with that. Both Janie and Quinn grow a lot in this book, and it was great to be able to laugh and empathize with the characters on that level.

    All-in-all, Neanderthal Marries Human is an excellent example of a sequel doing exactly what a great sequel should–it highlights growth and revelation while propelling the storyline forward, entertaining and engaging the reader, and setting up possible questions to be answered in any subsequent titles. It was a highly-engrossing and fulfilling  read with surprising depth and wit.

    Five stars.

    NOW! you need a cocktail. And so does my AWESOME SUPER SPECTACULAR online book club, We Ran, We Read, We Rummed! On Goodreads AND Facebook.

    I call this one, “The Compari.” It’s a sweet and tangy citrus drink with a fun color and bubbly zing.
    14611360604_4a51d43b77_o

    The Compari

    by Cat Bowen

    Prep Time: 2 minutes

    Keywords: beverage

    Ingredients (1 drink)

    • 1 1/2 oz Curacao
    • 1 oz Campari
    • 1 tsp superfine sugar
    • 1 1/2 oz seltzer
    • ice

    Instructions

    combine ingredients

    stir with ice

    optional garnish

    grapefruit or lemon wheel

    colored sugar rim

    Powered by Recipage

    Crazy for Crazy Eyes and the Five Best Binge-worthy Netflix Offerings.

    tell me, tell ME, TELL ME…Did you watch season 2 of Orange is the New Black?

    I’m having severe withdrawal symptoms. I’m feeling dizzy. I’m seeing orange jumpsuits in my periphery. I think a gorgeous and tall black woman was following me, giving me bits of wisdom in my dream last night. (I think it was just Erica. I read her killer post right before bed.) Truth be told, I’d not last ten minutes in prison. So I keep my Martha Stewart tendencies limited to organizing my books and making cookies.

    Make cookies, not shanks.  (I’m not against shank-shaped cookies.)

    Season 2 did NOT let me down. I can’t help how much I love Crazy Eyes, and wish I could be her bff/perhaps have her as a case study. It felt like as soon as I pressed “play” on season two, it was 3 am, I was starting to smell, and I’d watched every episode. I think I may have eaten an entire bag of Trader Joe’s popcorn as well. I cannot be held responsible for things that happen when I’m in a Netflix K-hole. In honor of my love of all-things binge-watchy. I compiled a list of the five best binges on Netflix right now!!!

    Five Best Binge-worthy Netflix offerings.

    Now? The food.

    In honor of The Paradise, I’ve made a Britishy breakfast cake with an American twist.

    Peanut Butter Bananaberry Breakfast Cake
    image

    peanut butter bananaberry breakfast cake

    by Cat Bowen

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook Time: 35 minutes

    Keywords: dessert breakfast bread side snack cake

    Ingredients (serves 8)

      for the cake

      • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or 2 cups AP flour (separated into 1 1/2 cups and 1/2 cups)
      • 2 eggs
      • 2 overripe bananas
      • 2/3 cup sugar
      • 2 tsp vanilla extract
      • 2 tsp baking soda
      • 1/2 cup peanut butter
      • 1/2 cup buttermilk
      • 1 cup blueberries

      for the glaze

      • 1 cup confectioners sugar
      • 1 cup milk
      • 1/2 cup mashed blueberries

      Instructions

      preheat oven to 350F

      toss blueberries with 1/2 cup flour and set aside

      whisk together wet ingredients

      add mashed banana

      fold in dry

      fold in blueberries

      pour into a floured and greased 9″-2″ cake pan

      bake for 30-40 minutes or until browned and a skewer inserted in center comes out clean

      for the glaze

      mix together ingredients

      pour glaze over HOT cake.

      serve.

      Powered by Recipage
      Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.

      Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.

      Want to Go Eat Grandma? (Grammar is G-d)

      I’m starting a campaign. I want every blogger, every author, and every writer out there to use proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Yes, Grammar Girl and others have done this for years, but apparently, no one is paying attention. I know epublished authors and bloggers read my blog. I know them. I love them. I want them to have the BEST book/blog/manifesto handwritten on toilet paper with the ink made of gin and sorrow, they can have. I’m starting a “grammar tips and tricks and grammar essentials,” series. When we don’t pay attention to our proofreading, myself included, we unconsciously become less-effective authors and creators of content. I am a big fan of the “print and proof” method, but it’s whatever works for you.

      spelling.jpgspellingagain.jpg.jpg

      Amazon is Out of its Hive.

      Hold onto your collective asses; it’s my summer “must read” list of 2014.

      Must read books for summer.

      I’m not going to do what Amazon is doing, and suggest “beach reads,” that should be titled “books if you like to sob so hard in public that your nose becomes a fire extinguisher of mucous, and your eyes are so red you look like you’ve been binge drinking moonshine laced with snake venom.”

      Really, The Fault in Our Stars is a beach read? Do you know what sand does to swollen mucous membranes? IT DOESN’T TICKLE. I know this because I once made the mistake of reading A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry at the beach. Over a period of two days I went from a sort of deep ache, to full-blown ugly-cry, sobbing so hard that the straps of my swim suit fell from my shoulders. Being NY, people came over just to see which book could evoke such a public fantod! They, like all masochistic New Yorkers were desperate to read it.

      yep. we’re assholes like that.

      THE LIST!

      2014 sumer reads.jpg

       

      From the blurb:
      Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

      The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?
      From the blurb:
      An immigrant boy whose family is struggling to assimilate. A middle-aged housewife coping with an imploding marriage and a troubled son. A social worker at home in the darker corners of Las Vegas. A wounded soldier recovering from an injury he can’t remember getting. By the time we realize how these voices will connect, the impossible and perhaps the unbearable has already happened. We Are Called to Rise is a boomtown tale, in which the lives of people from different backgrounds and experiences collide in a stunning coincidence. When presented the opportunity to sink into despair, these characters rise. Through acts of remarkable charity and bravery, they rescue themselves.
      Impulsive high school senior Monroe Baker is on probation for a recent crime, but strives to stay out of trouble by working as a flapper at her father’s Roaring 20′s dinner show theater. When she cuts herself on one of the spent bullets from her father’s gangster memorabilia collection, she unwittingly awakens Bonnie Parker’s spirit, who begins speaking to Monroe from inside her head.

      Later that evening, Monroe shows the slugs to Jack, a boy she meets at a party. He unknowingly becomes infected by Clyde, who soon commits a crime using Jack’s body. The teens learn that they have less than twenty-four hours to ditch the criminals or they’ll share their bodies with the deadly outlaws indefinitely.
       
      For years, English anthropologist Andrew Bankson has been alone in the field studying the Kiona tribe of Papua, New Guinea. Haunted by the memory of his brother’s public suicide, and increasingly infuriated with and isolated by his research, Bankson is on the verge of killing himself when a chance meeting with colleagues, the controversial and consummate Nell Stone and her wry Australian husband Fen, pulls him back from the brink. Nell and Fen have just finished their studies of the bloodthirsty Mumbanyo and, in spite of Nell’s ill health, the couple is ravenous for another new discovery. Together with Bankson they set out to uncover the Tam, a local tribe with an almost mythic existence. As the trio settle with the tribe in their paradisiacal surroundings, inspiration flows and mutual affections swell. In the midst of this new, unchartered territory, Nell, Bankson, and Fen must learn not only to adapt to their invigorating present, but to also confront their complicated and haunted pasts.
      It’s Stephen King. It’s worth a read. No blurb needed.
      Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

      Maybe that was always besides the point.

      Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

      When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

      That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

      Is that what she’s supposed to do?

      Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?
      Augusta and Owen have moved to the country, and live a quiet, and rather solitary life, Gus as a painter, Owen as a writer. They have left behind the city, and its associations to a troubled past, devoting their days to each other and their art. But beneath the surface of this tranquil existence lies the heavy truth of Gus’s past betrayal, an affair that ended, but that quietly haunts Owen, Gus and their marriage.

      When Alison Hemmings, a beautiful British divorcée, moves in next door, Gus, feeling lonely and isolated, finds herself drawn to Alison, and as their relationship deepens, the lives of the three neighbors become more and more tightly intertwined. With the arrival of Alison’s daughter Nora, the emotions among them grow so intense that even the slightest misstep has the potential to do irrevocable harm to them all.
      Therese Walsh’s poignant and mesmerizing novel is a moving tale of family, love, and the power of stories. After their mother’s probable suicide, sisters Olivia and Jazz are figuring out how to move on with their lives. Jazz, logical and forward-thinking, decides to get a new job, but spirited, strong-willed Olivia, who can see sounds, taste words, and smell sights, is determined to travel to the remote setting of their mother’s unfinished novel to say her final goodbyes and lay their mother’s spirit to rest.

      Though they see things very differently, Jazz is forced by her sense of duty to help Olivia reach her goal. Bitter and frustrated by the attention heaped on her sunny sister whose world is so unique, Jazz is even more upset when they run into trouble along the way and Olivia latches on to a worldly train-hopper. Though Hobbs warns Olivia that he’s a thief who shouldn’t be trusted, he agrees to help with their journey. As they near their destination, the tension builds between the two sisters, each hiding something from the other, and they will finally be forced to face everything between them and decide what is really important.
      Pilgrim is the codename for a man who doesn’t exist. The adopted son of a wealthy American family, he once headed up a secret espionage unit for US intelligence. Before he disappeared into anonymous retirement, he wrote the definitive book on forensic criminal investigation.

      But that book will come back to haunt him. It will help NYPD detective Ben Bradley track him down. And it will take him to a rundown New York hotel room where the body of a woman is found facedown in a bath of acid, her features erased, her teeth missing, her fingerprints gone. It is a textbook murder – and Pilgrim wrote the book.

      What begins as an unusual and challenging investigation will become a terrifying race-against-time to save America from oblivion. Pilgrim will have to make a journey from a public beheading in Mecca to a deserted ruins on the Turkish coast via a Nazi death camp in Alsace and the barren wilderness of the Hindu Kush in search of the faceless man who would commit an appalling act of mass murder in the name of his God.
      When the gutted body of a businessman is discovered in the Icelandic embassy in Berlin, Iceland’s best detectives are sent to Germany to investigate the crime. The stab wounds and the murder weapon—an elegant hunting knife—suggest a ritualistic killing. But the only suspects present in the sleek modern office building were some of the island nation’s cultural elite, including Jón the Sun Poet and ceramics artist Lúdvík Bjarnason. The victim is someone few would miss, and investigators Birkir and Gunnar, joined by forensics expert Anna Thórdardóttir, wager they have an open-and-shut case on their hands. What they find is anything but: The crime reeks of premeditation and vengeance, and leads the team into a sordid tale of international child abuse, arson, and retribution.
       On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

      It’s going to be a good summer, I can tell.

      Apart from reading, which I am sure to do every day, I’m really looking forward to getting the man into the water to teach him how to row. It’s a wonderful warm-weather sport, and sculling down a river at daybreak is one of my all-time favorite things to do. For more information, or to find a row club in your area, check here.

      Rowing not only burns an INSANE 700 calories per hour, it also engages nearly every muscle in your body, leaving it feeling pleasantly spent. Fair warning: watch what you wear. I once spent a several mile row with a split-seat and had no idea. Stretch is best. Unless you like everyone seeing your ass.

      I’ll also be making EVERY DESSERT EVER with delicious and seasonal ingredients.

      like this one.

      Spicy-Sweet Peach and Cornbread Cobbler.

      This recipe uses something I almost never use….A MIX. Yes, a MIX. I know, shudder, right? In this case, the mix is simply better. There must be some devil-juju-mystic shit going down in the self-rising cornmeal mix, because it’s awesome. Use it.

      This recipe makes a metric fuckton of cobbler. If, say, your family is from West Virginia, and eats cobbler like it’s their damned job, make the whole recipe…and add ice cream. If you’re normal. Halve it, and use a 9″-9″ square or 10″ round pan.

      I also do not peel the peaches. I love the rich, pink color the skin adds.

      spicy-sweet peach and cornbread cobbler 14448218765_e1a7118d8a_z 14448219785_d356b92fb6_z

       

       

      Spicy-Sweet Peach and Cornbread Cobbler

      by Cat Bowen

      Prep Time: 1 hour

      Cook Time: 1 hour

      Keywords: bake dessert side snack

      Ingredients (serves 12-16)

        for the topping

        • 2 cups self-rising cornmeal mix
        • 4 tbsp bacon fat or butter
        • 2 eggs
        • 1/3 cup sugar
        • corn from 2 ears
        • 1 cup milk

        for the peaches

        • 4 pounds sliced, fresh peaches
        • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
        • 1 tsp cinnamon
        • 1 tsp vanilla extract
        • 1/3 cup sifted flour
        • 1/3 cup sugar
        • 1/2 stick ice cold butter, chopped into small cubes

        Instructions

        preheat oven to 375F

        grease 13″-9″ pan

        toss peaches with spices, flour, sugar, vanilla, and butter

        evenly spread in pan

        mix together cornmeal mix ingredients and pour evenly over peaches

        bake until brown and bubbly–about an hour

        Powered by Recipage