Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Not just a flash in the pan: Vengeance Road, Erin Bowman

Vengeance Road
Erin Bowman
HMH Books for Young Readers, 2015

You guys. It’s well documented by now that I’m a sucker for a cross-dressing, historically fiction-y, adventure with a twist of romance squeezed over the top novel. I’m looking at you, Bloody Jack, Song of the Lioness Quartet, and most recently, Gold Seer books (I read the second one; it was an awesome albeit at time crushing finale - read it!). The later is totally appropriate to end that aside with, because there’s a bit of a Western element to it, which ties nicely to this one, the truly, madly, deeply, Western you never knew you were missing.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

H8rs gonna hate: The Haters, by Jesse Andrews

The Haters

Jesse Andrews
Amulet Books: New York, 2016
ISBN 9781419720789

Haters gonna hate, but hopefully not on The Haters, a simultaneously witty, rude, and charming title by Jesse Andrews.  Wes and Corey are headed to band camp.  To be specific, jazz band camp.  

They hate it.  They join forces after one epic jam session with the only girl there, Ash (a stone cold vixen), who hates it with equal passion, prompting them to start a band and run away from camp to go on tour, ditching their cell phones and hitting the road.  The problem is, who wants to hear a band that doesn’t even have a name?  Can a human survive on red vines and chips? Can this band avoid their parents long enough to survive each other?

This book is as funny as it is heartfelt, but probably not for those who can’t handle overhearing a conversation with teenage boys (ie. sex, drugs, rock ’n’roll, and yes, dirty words).  For the rest of us, it would be a shame to miss out going on tour with this crew.  The book features a diverse cast, both racially and socioeconomically, and touches upon family issues as well as the general woes of coming of age.  This is a must read if you’re into music, in a band, or need a book for a reluctant to read teenage boy or dude in your life!  

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Anthropologically anthropologic: Euphoria, by Lily King

Lily King
Grove Press, 2015
ISBN: 978-0802123701

Every now and then, I read a book that makes me sigh, “DAMN, that was gooooood.” While these books can run the gamut from totally fluffy books (you guys know by now I’m a sucker for a time traveling/historical/brooding/cooking/horseback/saga/survival romance), generally this type of sigh is saved for the kind of book that hits all the (other) right notes: compelling characters, intriguing plot, balanced highs and lows in pace and plot, language that raises the story off the page and creates strong visual imagery, and, usually, a certain je ne se quois, which is one of the approximately five things I can say confidently in French. Euphoria has that all, and boy howdy did I let out a major sigh of “DAMN,” when I finished. Not only did I get the requisite good book hangover after finishing Euphoria, but the story, plot, and writing have stayed with me since.

As you also well know, I’m a shameless coverjudger, and Euphoria’s colorful book-dress fell into my vain horizon. It’s like a melted Rothko! I will note that I do have some standards, like...no I have no standards, because you know I’ll totally read anything. I’m looking at you, terrible Mermen book that made me laugh so hard this summer when Amazon recommended it that I had to read it. I digress though, because Euphoria is definitely not a case of the terribles, and what I mean to say is that the publisher flab on the classy, colorful jacket was what really put this at the top of my endless pile o’books to read.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Fig and Pistachio Corn Muffins

Om nom nom, figs are delicious, and also in season (according to the shelves of the grocery store; I have little to know farming knowledge, so you should absolutely question the source).  If you are a fellow MAhole, it appears they are on sale at Whole Foods Markets this week, 2 pints for $6, and you should definitely get two packs so you'll have one to snack on when you cook the other, right?  

I don't know where, why, or how this idea came into my head, but I couldn't stop wondering if fig would work in a corn muffin, so I decided to throw caution and $7 of figs to the wind.  My first attempt was pretty solid, though I skimped on added sugars because I wasn't quite sure what the figs would do to overall sweetness.  While eating one, I had a brain wave: would pistachio be a good addition?  Short answer: yes.  Long answer: also yes.  These came out fairly delicious, as well as pretty, if I do say so myself.  They are especially delicious when you put half a jar of almond butter on top, but that's an expensive and messy habit, so stick with a normal sized schmear of almond butter, fig jam, honey, butter, your own idea, or nothing!  
Fig and Pistachio Corn Muffins
My one piece of feedback, courtesy of the one and only PopTart is that they are a little dry (little does he know I ran 1 tbsp short of a cup on of cornmeal and subbed medium grind polenta, mwhahaha).  If you prefer them a little less crumbly, I'd test a 1:1 ratio of cornmeal and flour instead of the .75:1.25 listed here, and use a kefir with a fat percentage that is not nonfat.  Let me know if you do!  

We've dilly dallied long enough.  Here be the recipe for your relatively quick, easy, and healthy muffin delights!

Fig and Pistachio Cornbread Muffins

Makes 12 muffins
Fig and Pistachio Corn Muffins

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Case of the Terribles: Leisure Suits for the Modern Gal

GUYS.  Gone are the days of mere Juicy Couture leisure suits which posited "JUICY" on a wearers derrière, or the subsequent poseurs which posed statements like "SEXY" or "ENJOY THE VIEW," in bright fonts or rhinestones for the brave.

Let me introduce you to the only leisure suit you need for 2016.  It's a mere $400, which is chump change to look so flawlessly relaxed and leisurely!  It comes from the crazies who are steering JCrew directly into an iceberg!  That worked out really well for Leo and Kate, so you know they're onto something.

Behold, Collection Drake's for JCrew Green Bengal Tiger Pant and Top!


You Havisham in style!

Rarrrrrrrr.  In case you need translation, that's a lion noise in support of this fierce feline family member inspired prowling suit.  You go get it, you fierce cougars!

In case you were wondering how to wear it, here's the handy product guide:

Oh, I'm thinking nights out all right.  I mean, who can resist a silk elastic waisted pant that you have to dry clean?


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Steal art, not books! (Actually, steal neither): The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, by Dominic Smith

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos
ISBN: 9780374106683

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a wee smidge bit fascinated by art theft. The definition of wee smidge bit in this case could also be defined as “crazy enough to have a would-steal hit list.” But can you blame me? That art is mesmerizing, and I grew up in a city with a ridiculous unsolved art heist! This, I believe, probably played a small role in my decision to initially major in art history when I started college (just yesterday guys, it wasn’t over a decade ago or anything…). It was a fling that didn’t last for practical reasons, but we’ve kept a small flame burning as part-time lovers. The initial tete a tete lasted a course or two long enough to leave me with lasting curiosity, appreciation, and the sense that had I stayed the course, I may have specialized in Flemish works. Those colors, you guys!

The plot to The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, therefore, is right up my alley. Flemish painting? Check. Stolen painting? Check. Forged painting? Check. Spanning centuries, decades, continents? Check. Female painters? Ummm...rare and wonderful check, please. Did I mention I really enjoy art theft stories yet? So yeah, I RSVP’d yes to this party, and I wasn’t disappointed by anything but a lack of an explanation as to how said thefting actually went down, but you know what? The rest is pretty solid, and has bonus meta-con-artistry, beautiful imagery, adeptly drawn characters, clear yet elegant language, the timeless sense of a piece of masterful art, and a patina of mystery. Because it is summer and I don't want your brains to rot,  I'm assigning you a grown up book with some big words.  And because the publisher description is what grabbed me and there's some sun I want to get after, I am sharing that below!

Monday, August 1, 2016

DIY not let yourself be charmed by a makeshift bride? Something New, by Lucy Knisley

Something New: tales of a makeshift bride
Lucy Knisley
First Second, 2016
ISBN: 9781626722491

Legend tells of a time in the lives of those of a certain age in all the lands of the worlds (all of them). I imagine that age, location, and customs are society specific, but I also imagine that all of us who choose a life outside of hermitage encounter and experience what I’ve taken to calling “the Bubble.” Specifically, TheWeddingBubble.  In meteorology and virology I believe this is called a cluster event, except hopefully in the case of TheWeddingBubble, there’s at least 75% less tornadoes and norovirus (actually maybe 100%, really).  It’s not necessarily a one time event either - like seltzer or champagne (this is about a wedding book, after all!), one can have many bubbles.  

Monday, July 4, 2016

Abandon ye pride, prejudice, panty twisting - this one is super eligible for your Summer Reading List: Eligible, by Curtis Sittenfeld

Curtis Sittenfeld
Random House, 2016
ISBN: 978-1400068326
Review copy provided by NetGalley

My delight in British costume dramas, Jane Austen, and smutty books is, well, not a secret.  I’m not known to miss a BBC show on PBS involving long skirts, repressed and eventually unrepressable feels (yeah, I know it’s not a word, but try and pretend like you don’t know what I meant), drama of a sensibly British nature, and smoldering male leads in tight pants and long coats. If you’ve been paying attention, you also know well my love for ridiculous smutty books, as well as a good old case of the terribles.  Pretty much forever, Mrs. Bennet has been my all-time favorite unintentional Austen heroine (sorry Anne Elliot, you’re a close second); in fact, though Persuasion has persuasively stolen my heart, I really think Pride and Prejudice is actually the best, funniest, and most entertaining of all of Austen’s novel...which is probably why it’s so, sooooo widely adapted.

Hearing that there was another adaption of Pride and Prejudice was kind of like hearing that the Italian men’s national soccer team had flopped to excess again in international league play.  Hearing that it was written by the wryly amused and perceptive Curtis Sittenfeld, and set in Cincinnati, Ohio (a great spot I’ve visited, but not necessarily one of the sexiest places to set a romantic novel, yaknow? But then again, neither was Milwaukee, so maybe the Midwest is onto something?) however, perked my ears right up. This did not smell like an Armani scented flop!   And you guys.  IT WASN’T.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Pad Thai Salad Dressing (aka Peanut Lime Dressing)

I will confess that this dish came around after a rather weird and intense craving for sprouts. All I can guess is that it was hot, I had been up since 4am for a flight, I wanted pad thai but I didn't want hot pad thai, I wanted peanuts, I had a lot of veggies to eat, and I wanted crunchy things.  Not fussy at all, right? It took trips to not one, not two, but THREE grocery stores (way to fail hard, Central Square), because one store was out of one thing, another store was out of the other, and you get the idea.  

The only recipe I've included here is for the dressing, mostly because I hope that I live in a world where people old enough to wield kitchen knives can make their own decisions about what to put into their own salads, even if we can agree on nothing else.  I chose to test using bean sprouts in lieu of noodles, but you can easily go big and use them instead, but I'd recommend chilled regardless.  I also threw some shredded radishes and carrots, tomatoes, red peppers, baked tofu (or should I say overbaked tofu...turns out letting it cleverly cool in the oven is not actually clever), baby spinach and kale, avocado, and love.  That last one is key, you guys.  I suspect this would also taste great with napa cabbage, and probably anything else you want to coat with this dressing, which is the real winner, aside from you when you make and eat this.  For reference, depending on your dressing amount preference, I'd say this makes enough for 4-6 dinner-sized salads; it stores well, but you may need to thin it with H2O!  Invite a friend over, pair this with your favorite summer beverage, mischief managed.

Pad Thai (Peanut Lime) Salad Dressing

Dressing for 4-6 dinner-sized salads
Pad Thai Salad Dressing (Peanut Lime Dressing)/Clean Plate Club

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

All American Boys, by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

All American Boys
Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
Simon and Schuster Audio, 2015

In a light-departure from the regularly unscheduled program, I’ve decided to review one of the best books I’ve read in a while.  What? Why is that a departure? Because....drum roll...I LISTENED to it.  Yes, amigos, an audiobook!  I feel noting the medium is important here, not only because audiobook delivery is pretty make or break (in my opinion), but because the audio recording is notably fantastic.  I felt as though I was in a theatre, not in my car, in heavy traffic, for 8+ hours. I was rapt, moved, and fascinated. This is also to say I didn’t actually read it, so things that I might pay attention to regarding experience or writing were kind of inconsequential to me. I hope but don’t know if I’d be as transfixed if I weren’t listening to the tremendous talent, trapped for hours, or able to like, check Instagram every seven minutes, just in case one of you has any steaming fresh food porn for me. For the record, while driving down the worst highway in America (I-84 CT), I cried, but not just because it's a terrible highway, but because this book made me incredibly sad, happy, and angry.

All American Boys first came across my radar months ago, probably in the fall, in one library review journal or another. I noted it as both something to collect and something to consider very seriously as a title to add to our summer reading list (which is awesome, btw). The title seemed timely with what felt and sometimes still feels like sickening news reports of young black men and women being assaulted or worse by police officers.  I had reservations that All American Boys would be cut from the same cloth as every Law and Order episode ever (ripped from the headlines, either trivializing or scaremongering), a publishing hot topic moneygrub.  However, before I had the chance to read it, the book received a Coretta Scott King honor designation (the award honors “outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values,” ALA.org). Suffice it to say, I felt pretty good about putting it on my list after that - so thanks for doing the legwork, committee members who decided this!  I meant to physically read it, but before I had the chance, I had to go on a long drive by myself, and realized it would be a good time to catch up on some readin’.  Friends, do yourself a favor this summer vacation if you’re going on a road trip, and get this one to listen to; it is now officially on your Summer Reading List for 2016.   If you think America has a problem with institutional racism, you should read this book.  If you don't, you probably need to.  

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Case of the Terribles: How to Dress Your Man For Summer

It's been so long since I've case of the terribled you.  But that's just because I've been locked in a bunker, researching for weeks, obvi.  After hours of deep Internet research and thought, I've come up with three really fantastic looks for summer for the dudes reading this out there.  There's no way you won't turn heads in this, I give you my guarantee.  

For your Suit:  

Let's talk about this suit you can buy on Amazon for $1500 (a statement which bears questioning even before price is thrown in), which may be designed to catch a summer breeze and turn heads.  Snazzy looking, right?

STOP. DO NOT PASS GO.  Zoom out.  

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Splashing into Summer Reading 2016: Girl Underwater, by Claire Kells

Girl Underwater
Claire Kells
Dutton: New York, 2015
ISBN: 9780525954934

OH HELLO MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND.  Finally, you have arrived. Finally, it is nearly the summer.  Finally, I can soon get away with athletic wear tuxedos and/or no pants on the reg, eating two pints of blueberries for dinner and regretting nothing (except…), and finding new and creative ways to apply sunscreen to my own back.  But enough about me.  Because it is now officially white pants season, I think it is high time to start your summer reading assignments.  And because the Olympics are coming, I gift you a sports book. Sort of. Not really. Whatever. Pipe down. Behold: the first title on your 2016 Summer Reading List: Girl Underwater.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Spring Veggies and Barley Salad with Basil Tahini Dressing

It is May 1st in New England and it is dreary and cold and I am grumpy about it, goshdarnit! Last night, I went to an outdoor sporting even wearing jeans with tights, a sweater, two shirts, a down jacket, a down vest, a hat, and gloves, like it was November, and I was still cold. To simply say that I'd like spring to actually spring would be a disservice to my desire to see sunshine and brilliant shades of green, though I have to believe it's coming...soon. Please? I've had it with you, sort of cold and dreary and not nearly the violently green spring I miss! I'm making it happen inside if it won't happen outside. From my kitchen to your eyes (and my mouth), here be a salad that channels my plea to Mother Nature: green, puh-lease?

Spring Veggies and Barley Salad w/Basil Tahini Dressing

Serves 6-8 as a side, 4-6 as a meal
Spring Veggies and Barley Salad with Basil Tahini Dressing

1 cup dry barley
3.5 cups water
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup halved sungold or other cherry tomatoes
2 cups cut asparagus
¾ cup frozen peas
4 cups baby spinach/kale
Salt & pepper & a dash of EVOO

½ + cup basil
1 clove garlic
Juice and zest of one lemon, +1 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup tahini
¼-½ cup warm water
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 scallion
½ tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat over to 400 and roast cauliflower tossed with a dash of oil and salt and pepper for 30 minutes until beginning to brown. Set aside to cool.
2. Fill a saucepan with 3.5 cups of water and barley and cook until mostly done according to package directions, roughly 50 minutes.  
3.  *Combine dressing ingredients in a cuisinart, blend until it is well combined and mostly green with very few flecks of basil.  Start with ¼ cup water and add a little more or some more lemon juice to help it combine.  
3.  When barley is mostly done and water is mostly cooked off, add asparagus and frozen peas to the barley pot, and cook covered for about 3 minutes.  Turn heat off, but stir, and leave covered for about 2 more minutes or until peas are not frozen and asparagus is blanched and a brilliant shade of green.  
4.  Add barley mix to cooled cauliflower, tomatoes and greens and stir to combine.  Add dressing in layers and continue to mix.  Taste, and probably add a little more salt.  
6.  Serve as a side or as a main warm or chilled...suggestions below in the notes!  


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Nothing says romance like food porn in Milwaukee: The Coincidence of Coconut Cake, by Amy Reichert

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake
Amy E. Reichert
Gallery Books, 2015

Oh hey you guys. Sorry I disappeared for most of this year so far. Please allow me to introduce you to a book (and recipe) that I sometimes wish there were more like: a pseudo-realistic contemporary romance novel about food with plausible things happening to plausible people and just enough shenanigans to remain in the trope.  Did you get that?  A sort of realistic romance novel...about FOOD.  Not to be trite, but the publisher had me at hello.  It was no coincidence that this part time lover of smutty books and full time lover of food was  going to make a love match with this hot ticket, The Coincidence of Coconut Cake.

Here is my rough summary:
On the day she catches her cheating boyfriend at it, a down on her luck Milwaukee chef gets a bad review by a snarky Brit food critic (ten points to Gryffindor already), who then falls for her after a chance encounter over beers at a bar leads to Lou giving Al a tour of the city's best eateries and breweries.  Al pieces together who Lou is, but Lou has no idea that Al is the critic who single handedly caused her restaurant to fold, which gets increasingly more complicated when feelings start to develop...but what could go wrong in the land of milk, honey, beer, and cheese?  

Here is the publisher’s way better jacket flap:

Coconut Cake

Clue Years Eve 2016

I’m going to humble brag here for a minute, so bear with. I have some truly wonderful amigos, amigos. For many years, some of us have spent New Years Eve together. It’s been a wonderful way to catch up, make ridiculous amounts of delicious food and drink, hang out, and make some great resolutions. What used to be my least favorite holiday became my favorite holiday and a great reunion of great people and kids. This year, we did something I recommend you all do at some point: a live action Clue game, in costume, with themed dishes. It was highly amusing, and highly delicious. I was assigned the role of Mrs. White and a dessert dish, and immediately realized this would be an excellent excuse to attempt to make the coconut cake that had been haunting me from the cover of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake on my bookshelf for months.

I should note that I am NOT what one would call a confident or excited cake baker. If you peruse my recipes, you could probably conclude that I’m more of one-pot artist; I like throwing things into one pot, pan or bowl, and then I like to eat them. No fuss, no frills, just tasty deliciousness asap. I can bake the cake and make the frosting...but putting those two together in any sort of attractive form? HA. That’s a cute idea. To say that I had a crisis of confidence would be apt, but said truly wonderful amigas (Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock, and Mrs. Scarlet) are all much more confident cake bakers and walked me through the terrifying process of frosting a cake. They even introduced me to the concept of a crumb coat. IT WORKS. YOU GUYS. I’m a changed woman, to the point that I’m planning on making a double decker carrot cake this weekend for Easter. Because I can! Incidentally, if you’re looking for a cake you can easily decorate like a bunny for Easter, which coincidentally also tastes great, this is probably the cake for you, amigos. It serves a crowd, and tastes great the next morning. Breakfast of champions!

Mrs. White's Coconut Cake for Clue Years Eve

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Hands down a book to pick up: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, by Stephanie Oakes

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly
Stephanie Oakes
Dial Books, 2015
Kindle Copy: B00O2BKKQ2

Minnow lost her faith, her family, and her hands to a cult.  Raised for most of her life in the Kevinian cult, Minnow escapes and runs away the night the cult is burned to the ground, suspiciously taking the prophet Kevin with it and immediately lands in prison after an assault. Minnow struggles to come to terms with her old life in the cult and adjust to her new world of juvie, the real world, and learning to get by without her hands. The FBI psychologist assigned to her following the high profile and mysterious nature of the cults demise (and existence) suspects Minnow knows more than she’s letting on, but Minnow isn’t ready to talk...yet.  This is a brutal and brilliant novel, but it does contain some fairly graphic violence, dark themes, and dark humor, so it is not recommended for the squeamish!  It is, however, strongly recommended for teens over 15 and adults (both dudes and dudettes), and all YA collections in public and high school libraries, especially as it was just named a 2016 Morris Honor Book. I rate this: G for get after it already. (Also: Gore)

As I noted, this is a brilliant and brutal book.  It’s probably the best YA I’ve read in months, and I’m stoked it won something at the Youth Media Awards (I finished it on the eve of the announcements and was pumped to hear about it the Morris honor over morning coffee in my office with my awesome coworkers), but less stoked it didn’t come into play for the Printz.  What up, committee??!!!  Doesn’t Marcus Sedgwick have a deservedly fat enough head for that crown by now?  

I digress from talking about this deserving, fabulous first time novel though.  

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Outing the awesome: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Becky Albertalli
Balzer and Bray, 2015
ISBN: 978-0062348678

Atlanta area high school junior Simon is a fairly typical kid; he’s got a solid group of friends, a loving family, does well in school, and is really into musical theatre.  He also has a secret: he’s got a secret pen pal he has a serious crush on that he suspects is requited...and neither one of them is quite ready to come out, despite Simon acknowledging he’d probably still be accepted and loved by his family - he’s just not there yet.  However, when Simon accidentally leaves his browser on in the school library, a fellow student running for douche of the year finds it and decides to exploit it, blackmailing Simon into trying to get his best friend Abby to fall for said douchemonster.  Failure to do so results in said Dmonster posting the emails on the school Tumblr, because this is a contemporary novel.  I think it goes without saying that Abby can probably do better, and that Simon struggles figure out a way to protect the identity of his crush (who he really wants to meet) and what to do.  Is he ready to out himself, and can he survive being outed and losing his pen pal?  

This book is nothing short of extraordinary - simple, yet complex.  The characters aren’t perfect (Simon can be kind of an unappreciative jerk, and knows it) but I think it’s what makes this book a really strong coming out story, perhaps the best I’ve read.  Real people have real nuances, and so do the humans in this book! It is, in short, excellent, because it is so, so, so completely normal and not at all contrived.  It's just normal kids, doing normal things, in a normal world: a normal kid coming out of the closet and all the normal crippling anxiety that comes with it, even in a relatively supportive, relatively decent community.  Nothing highly stylized or sensational, super relatable, super fabulous. It's a coming out book, but what is that if not a coming of age book? It's really the story of a young man figuring out who he is in the world and how he fits into it. 

Sure, it wraps up in a lovely way, and gosh darnit if I wasn’t gooey about it, but it also doesn’t totally simplify making the douchemonster a douchemonster.  Even he is still just a kid, a kid who gradually comes to realize the gravity and cruelty of his actions in a way that is satisfying and heartbreaking all the same, and that there are some wrongs you can’t right or undo.  It’s also welcome to discover a book that has as much diversity in the cast of characters as this does.  It should come as no surprise that the author is clinical psychologist who works with teens and children and has a non-conforming gender group for them, but it should come as a surprise that this is her very first book!  Well done, madam.  I look forward to more!  

This is an extremely strong recommendation for all high school collections or YA collections, with strong adult appeal as well.  In fact, it’s not a recommendation; I’d go so far as to call this required reading, of the spoonful of sugar variety!  (PS.  Calling this for awards - at least a Stonewall! It’s been a seriously great year for LGBTQ youth titles.  Keep up the good work, publishers!)  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Pancakes of 2015

In ye olde 2014, after a group of friends and I made many somewhat earnest resolutions, I made perhaps the most backhanded, last minute, impulse resolution: to eat pancakes once a month.  Was there booze involved in my thought process? DUH.  Did this resolution make sense at the time? Nope, other than that I think it came from recognizing I always order savory things instead of sweet things when I go out for breakfast (aka my favorite meal).  I quickly settled on the following parameters: to eat one pancake or (do my worst to a) stack of pancakes, once a month, at different locations, with different pancake styles -- no recycling for official business.  Spoiler alert: I did it.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that this has been the most delightful, fun, and probably best New Year’s Resolution I have made, or will ever make (though my 2016 one is pretty great…). The results were always good, and the experience a fun one, especially shared. Last year was a hard year for me, and one which made me place a lot more focus and appreciation on the people and things that bring me joy.  Most of my resolutions went down the porcelain throne as circumstances beyond my control took precedence; having this as a challenge I could always complete easily and enjoy (and share in the enjoyment of!) was always a light to anticipate.  I strongly recommend doing something fun like this yourself; it’s never too late!  Here is a brief recap of each pancake, along with winners in best individual pancake, best savory pancake, best sweet pancake, and yes, worst pancake (or really, the most anticlimactic). Yes, I took a picture of each one, and yes, I made a calendar of all my cakes of the pan.  And yes, because I am a classic overachiever, there are a lucky 13 pancakes. That’s how much I loved this resolution!

The Pancakes of 2015

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