Book Club: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake Loaf

Let's Pretend This Never Happened- Jenny Lawson

 

This month’s book was a real hoot, laugh out loud funny in fact. A refreshing change from our woman in peril books we often read. This is the memoir of blogger Jenny Lawson, daughter of a taxidermist who lived a bizarre childhood that you could only laugh about. she definitely puts the fun in dysfunctional as she tries to make a life for herself as a mother, wife, friend and now blogger. You can check out her blog here. We had fun with this book club with one of our member even setting a giant chicken (its in the book) on the hostesses doorstep and ringing the bell and hiding. I still don’t know how she found the chicken.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened, Giant Chicken

As for food this was a hard one because Jenny can’t cook except for the microwave and that just wouldn’t cut it at our all foodie book club. I decided to make a chocolate chip “loaf” because she tells the story of when she was trying to sell the house she stuck a whole roll of chocolate chip cookie dough in the oven for the smell, and it started on fire. It was good and even better the next day as all crumb cakes are.

Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake Loaf

Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake Loaf

 

Cake

1 1/4 c flour

1/2 c cake flour

1 stick butter

3/4 t baking powder

1/4 t baking soda

1 c chocolate chips

3/4 c sugar

1/2 c buttermilk

2 eggs

1 t vanilla extract

1/2 T lemon zest

Topping

1 c flour

1 c sugar

1/2 stick hard butter

chocolate chips

powdered sugar

 

Pre heat oven to 350. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. Cream softened butter in a mixer, add zest, and slowly add sugar. add in eggs and vanilla  and beat until just combined. Add 1/3 flour mixture to mixer, then 1/2 buttermilk, then 1/3 flour, 1/2 buttermilk, and finally lat 1/3 of flour. mix until combined scraping down the sides. Stir in chocolate chips and pour into a greased loaf pan.

Combine the butter flour and sugar for the topping mixing with a fork or your hand until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of the batter and then sprinkle with Chocolate chips. Bake for 40 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean. Sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar if desired.

Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake Loaf

 

 

Advertisements

Gone Girl Book Club: Crepe-a-Dillas

Gone Girl

This month’s book selection was the suspenseful mystery Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It was the perfect book for book club, lots to discuss, surprising twists, crazy characters and a unique writing style. I liked it a lot, but I may be biased because it was actually my pick. That also meant that book club was at my house so I had to really bring it with the food. Hmm where to start, how about the beginning, on the day Amy goes missing she is makes crepes for their 5th anniversary breakfast. Crepes are not generally a finger food though and since there is always tons of food at out book clubs, the portion size would be too big. So I thought about it and decided to make my own surprising twist on quesadillas, crepe-a-dillas. Individual triangles of crepe-y goodness, perfect for parties.

Crepe-a-dillas

Crepe-A-Dillas

Filling:

8 0z marscapone cheese

8 oz cream cheese (softened)

1/4 c lemon juice

1 tsp lemon zest

3 T honey

10 crepes (you could make your own, but I used pre made ones found in my produce section of the grocery store, flour tortillas would also work)

Blueberry Balsamic Sauce

1 pint fresh blueberries

1/4 c sugar

2 T balsamic vinegar

1/4 c water

For the filling,  mix all ingredients with a mixer  until incorporated. To make crepe-a-dillas lay one crepe flat, spread thin layer of filling on crepe, fold in half and then cut into wedges with pizza cutter of knife.

Crepe-a-dillasCrepe-a-dillasCrepe-a-dillas

Place on a plate and put wax paper or plastic wrap between layers to prevent sticking, place in refrigerator until ready to use.

For the sauce, add all ingredients to a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes or until sauce thickens. Place in small bowl and cover. Cool in the refrigerator.

I also made a Chicken Frito Pie, just like the nice woman brought Nick after his wife disappeared which I will share the recipe to in my next post. We also had members bring manchego cheese, chocolate truffles, chili cheese fritos and casseroles, all thematic for the book.

For decorations I really wanted to have live lobsters in a pot (too mean), so I looked for fake ones but I couldn’t find them. I also wrapped a large box in a blue plastic table cloth from the dollar store ( I couldn’t find plain blue wrapping paper anywhere) for the centerpiece. I had a number 5 candle in my crepe-a-dillas. I also thought it would be fun to make some fun quizzes for book club like the ones Amy wrote for magazines.

Caution tape by the front door would have been a nice touch but I thought of that after book club.

I kept a bowl of red jelly beans close by for our discussions so that they could be throw at people for fun if you disagreed with their thoughts about the book. By the way I am still finding red jelly beans in and under my couch. Gone Girl Book Club

IMG_7126

Shrimp Salad

Shrimp Salad

I guess I forgot to post this recipe, I made this for November’s Book Club for the excellent book, This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. It is the tragic but funny tale of a disjointed family that comes together to sit Shiva after their father dies. It was one of the best books I have read in a really long time. It’s already slated to become a movie with Jason Bateman and Goldie Hawn, two of my favorites. Of course in the story friends and family drop by to bring deli platters and lots of bagels so I made a delicious shrimp salad and served it on bagel chips.

this is where I leave you

Shrimp Salad

1lb shrimp peeled and deveined

1 1/2 lemons sliced

1 T plus 1-2 tsp

2 T chopped arugula

1T worcestershire sauce

1/4 c chopped onion

1/4 c celery

1/2 c mayo

1 T lemon juice

I steamed my own shrimp but you can buy them pre steamed from the store. I used the steamer part of my rice cooker, I laid the sliced lemon on the bottom of the steamer and than tossed the shrimp with 1 T of Old Bay seasoning, then turned on the cooker and steamed until the shrimp were opaque and cooked through.

Shrimp Salad

Steamed Shrimp

Then chop the cooked shrimp and add them to a bowl with the rest of the ingredients, including another 1-2 tsp of Old Bay. You could serve as sandwiches or as an appetizer on toasts, crackers or bagel chips.

Peanut Chocolate Chip Bars : A Carnival in Your Mouth

 

Book Club Time, and it is Halloween Book Club so that’s always twice as exciting. This month’s host picked Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.

A frightening tale about a sinister carnival. A perfectly spooky book for a perfectly spooky party. Costumes were required. I took the easy route and was a Barker (ok I really looked like a ringmaster, but those are only in circuses) This was an easy costume, fake mustache, top hat, vest, bow tie, jacket, and some boots, I already had all of those in my costume box (yes I am a grown adult with a dress up box, I think all adults should have them)

 

So now I need food, I wanted to do something with a carnival feel so I thought these easy bar cookies would fit the bill since they have caramel and peanuts. They are easy to make and very portable, perfect for book clubs or parties. They were such a hit I made them again for a Halloween party the next day.

Peanut Chocolate Chip Bars

2 tubes of refrigerated sugar cookie dough

3 cups salted peanuts

2 1/2 cups chocolate chips

1 cup caramel sauce (ice cream topping)

Preheat oven to 350. Roll out sugar cookie dough onto a large sheet pan, using a rolling-pin sprinkled with four. I used a nonstick liner to make them easier to remove later. I also used a knife to cut straight edges after I rolled it out.

 

Bake dough in oven for about 12 minutes or until it is slightly golden, dough will still be soft in the middle.

 

Sprinkle the top with peanuts and chocolate chips. Then drizzle caramel sauce over the top.

 

Return them to the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes longer or until cookie dough is firm and center begins to bubble. Let cool and cut into bars

How to Throw a Baby Shower, It’s as Easy as ABC

My sister is having a baby, a new nephew for me, which is very exciting. I, with a lot of help from friends,  threw her an alphabet themed baby shower. This is an easy theme and can be used for either a boy or a girl.

1st the invitations, these could be done several ways but since my printer was down at the time, I ordered mine from Vista Print, the design is called Alphabet Soup. They were very budget friendly. I blurred out a lot of the info but they come printed with envelopes and were delivered within a week.

For decorations I bought cardboard letters from a craft store and spray painted them, then I hot glued a painted wooden shape that started with that letter, A-apple, B-bee, C-car. Mom got to take these home to use in the new baby’s room.

We also made boxes out of 8×8 colored paper folded into fourths, make a vertical cut in the top fold to the center.

Fold the paper in half horizontally and criss cross the cut pieces to form a half cube.

Repeat with 2nd paper and then tape two halves together to form one cube.

Decorate with paper cutouts and letters

We also taped cut out letters to long bamboo skewers and inserted into a Styrofoam cone then cut scrapbook paper to look like a vase around it for a food table decoration.

The food place cards were also made to fit with our alphabet theme.

The table had a white table-cloth with a runner of brown craft paper adorned with alphabet stickers.

Favors were made from small chinese style boxes with puffy alphabet stickers and filled with candy

For a game we played Baby themed scatergories.

and each party guest made a page for the new baby’s “Alphabet Book”

I placed out 8×8 sheets of colored paper, each one had a different letter of the alphabet on it. I did this ahead of time with scrapbook stickers. I put out markers, crayons and alphabet flashcards for ideas, or the guests who felt they weren’t artistic could just paste the card on their page. Then each guest signed their masterpiece, and some wrote a message to the new baby.

I placed them all into an 8×8 scrapbook with plastic sleeved pages, along with a copy of the shower invite for a great keepsake for baby and mom.

The shower was a success and as easy as ABC.