Thursday, August 27, 2020

Thursday Thoughts

We did some chores for our neighbors while they were away. To thank us, they brought back some Moxie. SP really likes it. I think it's an acquired taste. I have not acquired a taste for it! It's not terrible. I just don't like carbonated beverages. They also brought back some blueberry tea, which I am looking forward to trying.

I am jealous of people brave enough to go away or go out to eat right now. We are not that brave, fearing the virus because of our compromised immune systems. We've done take out. But we're not quite ready to dine somewhere, even outside. I'm also jealous of people not in wheelchairs. I'd love to be able to get out and hike in the woods/parks, just to get outside, but I can't. We decided against paved paths in parks because the few times we drove around to check them out, they were crowded. So here we sit, sick of our house and longing for "normal."

What We're Eating:

What We're Watching:

  • We finished Dark (Netflix). We really, really liked it. I like that it had an ending.
  • Hinterland (Netflix). We are really enjoying this. It's serious, kind of grim, but well done. Each episode is a new case to solve and each episode is 1.5 hours long, so it's like a short movie. Definitely not like the hour long crime shows here in the US, most of which seem to not have much character or plot development and last just 40-45 minutes.

What I'm Reading:

  • The Resistance Man, book #6 in the Bruno, Chief of Police series by Martin Walker.   
  • Wedding Cake Crumble and Dying for Devil's Food (Books 10 & 11) by Jenn McKinlay. I have one more, the most recent one, to read. Even though these are light, quick reads for me, I like that, unlike other authors, McKinlay's characters are changing, growing, aging. The "love triangle" was "resolved" after 2-3 books, not still happening after 26 books.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Thursday Thoughts

I know August is almost over, but it is still summer so I don't want to hear anything about pumpkin spice or fall foods! I'm not a pumpkin spice hater, I just don't think it should show up until after Labor Day. 

We're still staying home and doing our best to avoid the virus. I'm glad we don't live in the south but we do have relatives who live there. Specifically, in the same town where college students had a large gathering without masks. I hope our family is being careful, but I'm worried. One niece is in college in NC and it sounds like a return to classes at several NC universities has not gone well. 

What We're Eating:

What We're Watching:

  • Lovecraft Country started last Sunday on HBO. It's a "drama horror" series based on the 2016 novel of the same name by Matt Ruff. SP is quite excited about the show. I figured I'd give it a try. It's... well, I'm not sure! I like it enough to keep watching but I'm not sure how I feel about it yet.
  • Dark (Netflix) We finished Season 2 and started Season 3. We have 2 episodes left so we'll finish tonight. Still really liking the show even if I keep getting more & more confused by the timelines and people and who is what/where/when!

What I'm Reading:

  • New food magazines. 
  • The Dark Vineyard and The Devil's Cave, books 2 & 5 in the Bruno, Chief of Police series by Martin Walker.   
  • Sugar & Iced, Dark Chocolate Demise, and Caramel Crush  (Books 6, 7, and 9) by Jenn McKinlay. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Japanese Milk Bread

We're still baking bread for lunch every week. Last week we tried another bread from Bread Illustrated, the Japanese milk bread, or Hokkaido milk bread. It looks like a regular loaf of white sandwich bread but it has a fluffier texture. It also uses a unique shaping method: portions of dough are rolled thin and formed into tight spirals. The spirals organize the gluten strands into coils and they bake into feathery sheets. There are 2 spirals placed in the loaf pan which is why the bread looks like two giant dinner rolls fused together. This bread also uses a technique called tangzhong which incorporates extra moisture into the dough in the form of a flour-and-water paste. The paste makes it easier to shape the dough, which is well-hydrated. 
I'm not a fan of white sandwich bread. The "fluffiness" is what I consider unpleasant, as soon as the bread is in my mouth it seems gummy and gross. I have to toast or make a grilled cheese/panini with sandwich bread. So I didn't try this plain. I toasted it. Toasted for lunch, it was a  yummy sandwich bread and had a bit more flavor than regular old white sandwich bread. SP ate it untoasted and said it's yummy Wonder Bread. The same texture, but more flavorful.

Recipe: Japanese Milk Bread

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Thursday Thoughts

Party Cake Shop in Brookline has paczki from now until August 22. We'll be picking some up later today. They have curbside pickup and are closed Mondays. The paczki are dessert for the next 3 nights since we finished the Grasshopper Pie. This time, we used Mint Oreos for the crust as the recipe instructs (last time we used chocolate wafer cookies). I liked the Mint Oreo crust.

I've been reading a lot this week. I never much liked reading on my tablet but lately I've been reading only on my tablet. I'm starting to prefer it to reading an actual book - never, ever thought I'd feel that way!

I also re-started my subscription to Ancestry and have been working on trying to clean up/fill out my family tree. If you've ever done this kind of research, you know how frustrating it can be. Names at birth give way to nicknames so sometimes it's hard to match people up, first and last names are spelled so many different ways, especially Slavic last names. As an example, one of my great-grandfathers was named Nicholas, spelled these ways: Nicholas, Niclas, Nicklas, Niklas, Nickolas. Same guy, just the spelling is different, even on census forms. Another great-grandfather's last name is spelled about 6 different ways, including on the Ellis Island paperwork. I was lucky enough to find a distant relative who was kind enough to share her research and who had confirmed some of this with a real researcher. 

What We're Eating:

  • Grilled Shrimp with farro salad and peaches with burrata or tomatoes with mozzarella
  • Lamb Burgers
  • Dessert: Grasshopper Pie

What We're Watching:

  • Perry Mason (HBO) finale. I enjoyed the show and hope it gets a second season. 
  • Two hour season finale of The Alienist (TNT). I enjoyed season 2 much more than season 1. I can't stand the Violet character, not because she's engaged to John but just because I don't like the character. I really like the new character Bitsy. 
  • Two hour series finale of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD. Of course I got confused by all the jumps in time but I liked where each character ended up.
  • Dark (Netflix). We finished season 1 and started season 2. I still cannot keep track of all the characters and their relationships! Not to mention all the time periods and time traveling and all the impacts of the traveling/actions/characters. In spite of frequently feeling confused, I still enjoy the show a lot.

What I'm Reading:

  • Black Diamond and The Crowded Grave, Books 3 & 4 in the Bruno, Chief of Police series by Martin Walker. I really like this series. 
  • Death By the Dozen, Red Velvet Revenge, and Going Going Ganache by Jenn McKinlay. Nice, quick reads.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Thursday Thoughts

Last Friday was an exciting day. We interacted with other humans! We got haircuts. Picked up cookies at Bethel Bakery (curbside pickup). Bought tomatoes, peaches, and corn at Simmons. Went to the liquor store. And I got photos to renew my passport. That's the part that is the big deal. My passport expires next summer. Most countries require that your U.S. passport have at least six months of validity beyond the dates of your trip. Obviously, we're not traveling overseas anytime soon. But, maybe, just maybe, we might be able to in summer/fall 2021? So I need to renew between now & January. I had to remove my mask for the photos! Twice, because the girl thought the first photos was a little blurry. Twice! Maskless! Inside a building! Around strangers! So I've been a little worried since last Friday. My allergies flaring up is not helping. I think I'm OK, but good grief is being around strangers scary. 

What We're Eating:
  • Grilled Teriyaki Chicken with Rustic Tomato Tart and Zucchini
  • Pasta Salad 
  • Dessert: Cookies from Bethel Bakery
What We're Watching:
  • We spent last weekend watching season 2 of The Umbrella Academy (Netflix). We thought it was great.
  • Watched episode 2 of Black Mirror (Netflix). I'm done. Ugh. SP is on his own for the remaining episodes.
  • I agreed to give Dark (Netflix, show from Germany) a try in spite of it being sci-fi and time travel. So far, I'm sucked in, even if I spend nearly every episode trying to remember which character is which/how they're related! We're 3 episodes in.
  • Worst Cooks ended its most recent season. The Blue Team won. We liked both finalists but wanted Red Team to win.
  • Agents of SHIELD finally ends next week with a 2 hour series finale. This season and last season I've enjoyed. Season 3-4-5, I really started to dislike it (especially seasons 3 & 4) and kept wanting to stop watching.
  • One more episode of Perry Mason (HBO).
What I'm Reading:
  • Buttercream Bumpoff by Jenn McKinlay. Book #2 was enjoyable, if light & sugary like #1.