Monday, July 27, 2015

A Book in Review: The Suspicion at Sandition

(Or, the Disappearance of Lady Denham)

This is the seventh book in a series by Carrie Bebris. I have read the previous six and enjoyed them all. I was quite looking forward to this installment.

The Suspicion at Sandition find Mr. and Mrs. Darcy in the thick of it, once again.

Carrie Bebris extends my love of Jane Austen. Sandition was the last book that Jane Austen was working on, when she passed away. I have never read the 11 and a half chapters that Austen left behind, so this edition of the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries was all new to me.

I enjoyed the characters and I found myself trying hard to figure out the culprit. I am happy to say that I was kept guessing, but the two characters that I kept going back to were indeed part of the villainy!

Darcy and Elizabeth thought that they were going on vacation with their favorite cousins. They really should know better than to plan a normal family outing, by now. Things never go as planned. Of course I  thought that this was another great mystery. I liked that it all took place essentially in one night kind of like the board game/movie Clue.

You do not need to read the previous books in the series to read this edition, but I highly recommend that you do!

Photo by: Tiffiny Hargrave

Friday, July 24, 2015

A Book in Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Yet another book purchased with birthday money!

I had wanted to read this book for years. Someone I once worked with suggested it and it piqued my interest. Well, now I have finally read it. It is told, in its entirety through letters. Letters from an author (Juliet) to her closest friends and also from the author and her new friends in Guernsey. It takes place in London, at the end of World War II.

How does a group of people recover after such a war? Or do they recover at all? In this book you'll see how this group of people make each day count.

It was cute and fun. I laughed a lot and I enjoyed the characters.

Photo by: Tiffiny Hargrave

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Book in Review: The Shoemaker's Wife

Thanks to my friends who know that I love to read and support the nerd in me, by supplying gift cards to books stores, for my birthday!

Five words sum this book up: It is so, so sad.

The book has three part and each part is home to a particular sadness... a sadness that increases in each part. Though it was sad, I really enjoyed reading this book. I was captivated. It makes me want to visit Italy even more, now. It also reminded me that life is quick. Love those around you while you can.

A tragedy in Enza's life leads to a chance meeting with Ciro and so their story begins! Most of it takes place in America once circumstances bring Enza and Ciro over from Italy.

This book gave me a list of baked goods to try out, so it wasn't all sadness. Though I did cry a lot (not as much as Firefly Lane, last summer), I recommend this book!

Photo by: Tiffiny Hargrave

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Book in Review: The Secret History of the Pink Carnation

I purchased this book with some birthday money that I received, well, for my birthday... in November!

I enjoyed the action and the mystery of the Pink Carnation. There was a bit of romance mixed in here, which I was not expecting, so be warned. This story takes place at the time of war between France and England. Circumstances require a young woman to leave England and return to her birth country of France. The journey over to France starts off this story. It is told through the writings of the main character, as a present day scholar is reading her journal. I found it to be fun!

Photo by: Tiffiny Hargrave

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Finding Vivian Maier

I recently learned about a woman. Her name was Vivian Maier. She was a nanny, but also a photographer. She was not known as a photographer until after her death.

The documentary 'Finding Vivian Maier' was really intriguing. Who was this woman? What was she all about? These questions are not answered all the way, because we can only learn from speculation via those who knew her and through her photographs. I recommend checking this documentary out.

Finding Vivian Maier The diddy from the cover.

When longtime nanny Vivian Maier died in 2009, she left behind thousands of photo negatives that she'd produced over the years. But the now famous shutterbug's unique body of work lay in a storage unit until an amateur historian uncovered the trove.

Rated NR
1 hr. 23 min.

Monday, July 13, 2015

A Book in Review: A Mad, Wicked Folly (Plus a Recipe)

Image from

A Mad, Wicked Folly was so fun! I read it in less than 24 hours. I couldn't put it down! I was rooting Victoria on to freedom the whole way through. PC Fletcher is the bees knees and I just loved his character. I'm an avid baker and I was happy to see that the author included a recipe for Victoria's favorite Pikelets. I'll have to give them a go. The history involved in this story was top notch. There were several moments when I actually laughed out loud and some where I shouted 'Why!!!' or 'what??!!'. It certainly kept my attention. I highly recommend this book!

My book is currently on loan, so I did not get to make the Piklet recipe listed in the back of the book. However, I did find this recipe on Pinterest and they turned out well.

In case you do not know, Pikelets are essentially miniature pancakes. Who doesn't like pancakes?!


1          cup self-rising flour, sifted (or 150g)

1/2       teaspoon baking powder

1          banana, mashed

2          tablespoon honey, plus extra to serve

3/4       cup milk (or 180ml)

1          egg

yogurt and fresh berries, to serve

Place baking powder and flour in a bowl. Make a well in the center. Place banana, honey, milk, and egg in a separate bowl and whisk to combine. Gradually add the banana mixture to the flour and mix until smooth. Heat a lightly greased non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add tablespoonfuls of batter to the pan and cook in batches, for 2 minutes or until bubble appear on the surface. Flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until a light golden color. Serve with yogurt, honey, and berries. (Or anything you would like, really. Like jam! Or nutella!) Makes 20. (I got 27)

Tip: Place pikelets in zip lock bag for up to two months. 

For the original recipe: Donna Hay's perfect Pikelets

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Quitting Life

Have you ever just wanted to quit life? No, not die, but to be free! To quit your job to move to another place and meet new people, taste new foods, learn a new language, see new things?! I feel that way almost every day. Obviously the grass is always greener on the other side, but I cannot help but dream about what my life would be like in another place.

I often feel like I am not quite living the life that I want, but I was raised by a single parent and I am often excruciatingly realistic. This is very hard for me because I am a creative soul and I love to travel and move about. In another life, I must have been a gypsy. I suppose this is the life of an adult. Going to work and paying bills, being an upstanding citizen. Isn't there more to life than working?!

I wonder how I can get the excitement of travel to show itself in my everyday life. Any suggestions? For now, I will dream of finishing my masters and paying off all student debt. That's kind of exciting, but it will take a lot of work.

Sound off in the comments to share how you keep the spunk in your day to day comings and goings. Thanks!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Bon Appetit Desserts: Glazed Lime Cake

Hello. I made this cake about two weeks ago. I had a week off from my masters program, so I have been reading as much as possible. If I have a moment, I'll post a review of those 5 books. For now, you are going to have to be okay with a recipe.

This is probably one of the easiest cakes that you are going to make from the Bon Appetit book. I tasted it when it had been cooling for a while and I did not like it. To me, it tasted a bit salty. I am guessing that that has to do with the self-rising flour. However, after it sat for a day, I tried it again and I liked it. The salty taste had pretty much gone away. If you do not enjoy the taste of lime, do not make this cake. It is just a lime in the disguise of a cake. It is tart and delicious and a little bit sweet. Yum!

Glazed Lime Cake

If you do not have self-rising flour, use all purpose flour instead and add 1-3/4 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

I'm going to try the recipe again with out the self-rising flour.

3/4        cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature

2-1/2    cups powdered sugar, divided

2          large eggs, room temperature

1/4       cup milk

1-1/3    cups self-rising flour

4          large limes (I had to use 6)

6          tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan. Using electric mixer, beat butter and 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar in large bowl until well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Beat in milk, then flour. Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 33 minutes.

Meanwhile, finely grate enough lime peel to measure 1 tablespoon. Halve limes; squeeze enough juice  to measure 6 tablespoons. Stir lime peel, lime juice and 6 tablespoons sugar in small bowl until sugar dissolves. Set lime syrup aside.

Using skewer, poke holes all over cake. Spoon 2-1/2 tablespoons lime syrup into another small bowl; reserve for glaze. Spoon all remaining lime syrup evenly over hot cake. Cool cake completely in pan on rack.

Whisk remaining 1 cup powdered sugar into reserved 2-1/2 tablespoon lime syrup; drizzle glaze over cake. Let stand 1 hour. Cut cake into squares.