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drinking: hot toddies

On October 21, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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Toddies are just the thing when you’re under the weather. So say I. This is such a flexible beverage, you can use brandy, whiskey, scotch, bourbon… (or, I mean, you can use anything you want), any kind of tea or just hot water, any herbs or spices you want to toss in…a hot liquored up infusion of any sort I would say falls under this toddy umbrella. Toddy is such a cute word.

While it is flexible, mine generally tend to be something like this:

1-1.5 oz bourbon (often like the slightly sweeter bourbon over whiskey for this application, here Buffalo Trace)

1/4 lemon, juice of

cloves, allspice berries, cinnamon stick

1 Tbs honey

tea (lemon, chamomile, or something fruity, or whatever, here I’ve used Teavana’s Youthberry, a sweet white tea)

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Match Convivio mug, spoon, and Libeco Grainhall napkin on loan from Didriks.

Elaborate beverages cheer me up. Don’t they you? Get someone else to make one for you and it’s even better.

It just got distinctly colder here in Cambridge, so a toddy here and there is all the more welcome. They’re easy drinking, though, so they can sneak up on you…

worth it: wet n wild balmstain

On October 20, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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Imagine my astonishment when I tried this $3 lip crayon (a meet-the-shipping-minimum gamble) and absolutely loved it. Slick, gel texture, uniform pigmentation but not so opaque as to be any kind of trouble, any kind of fuss, nice gloss level (not too high), moisturizing (not amazing but it’s not a farce to call it a balm, as with some we could mention), no strange smell…really kind of surprisingly great, and especially great for $3. This color, officially the Wet n Wild MegaSlicks Balm Stain Moisturizing Lip Color in Red-Dy or Not, is lovely, too. A warm rosy red that comes up a little more terracotta on me than it seems in the stick.

I’m often throwing on whatever lip thing in the morning and investigating later on, how it’s going, and this one was impressively present, still, a few hours in. I kind of made a face in the mirror, like, what are you still doing here?! It’s not like it doesn’t wipe off on things like your coffee cup, it does, there’s just somehow still some left on your lips for a good long while. I think it might actually stain a little! [Research not yet conclusive] Like no lip stain ever seems to be able to do.* And the cap clicks on pretty well! And hasn’t fallen off on me. YMMV but this ticked a lot of boxes for me.

*Work on this technology, industry, this is a gold mine.

Upshot: there are much worse things you could do with $3. On top of which they’re bound to go on sale sometime soon in a pharmacy near you. I may try some of the other colors.

 

reading: Durrell, Ellis, Bettelheim, Vaughan/Guerra

On October 19, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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Clea, Lawrence Durrell — The last book of Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet, a vivid and beautiful series. I find Durrell highly musical, though not always pitch perfect (as I often find, for example, Nabokov). I remember being amazed that he mentions in his Paris Review interview writing these books in some incredibly short amount of time, and they have a fast fluidity about them. Good.

American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis — I haven’t seen this movie but was drawn to the book after 1, hearing this Bookworm interview with Ellis, who came across as sort of thoughtful and interesting, or I think it was this podcast, and 2, being directed to the business card scene in the movie, which is entirely worth your time. Christian Bale so fitting here. The book is fascinating if you are into first person narrators and doing strange things with them, and presents a surreal juxtaposition of minutely detailed hyper-consumerism with excessively violent homicidal mania, all dotted with bright insightful moments. Parts of it were nearly too gruesome to read, for me, and I don’t have any wish to watch more of the movie, being possessed of an impressionable imagination. I really still wish I hadn’t watched The Exorcist. Still. It’s interesting. Especially if you are a writer.

The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales, Bruno Bettelheim — I love stuff like this. Really can ingest no end of it. This is I guess popular in child development circles but I find it engaging in its own right.

Y The Last Man, Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra — Such a great, thorough, thoughtful (often creepily believable) execution of a thought experiment; what would happen if (almost) all the men died? Totally riveting, in parts, and Agent 355 is such a badass [black! female!] character. Recommended. My geek friends have only been telling me to read it for 5 years or something. You were right, geeks, you were right.

on the menu: spelt waffles

On October 18, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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These might be my favorite waffles yet. Flavorful, good texture, froze well…good waffles. I’ve been playing around with spelt flour lately with great results. It has a light nutty flavor and substitutes well for all-purpose, so it’s easy to experiment.

I read about six recipes (here’s the closest) and then did this, with the approach of maintaining a 1:1 ratio of dry to liquid ingredients:

1 c spelt flour

1/2 c all-purpose flour

1/2 c wheat flour

1/4 c almond meal

2 T bran flakes

4 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cake spice (nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, clove blend)

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbs sugar

1/2 c yogurt (greek)

1/3 c coconut oil

1 c milk

1 mashed ripe banana

2 eggs

2 Tbs cider vinegar

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat and grease waffle iron (I preheated to a higher temp than I cooked, cooking finally at setting 3 of 7), mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, stir wet into dry and let batter thicken 2 minutes. I like a consistency like quite thick cake batter.

Add heaping 1/2 cup of batter to iron and cook until golden, repeat. Makes about 8 waffles.

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This recipe is receptive to substitutions.

Enjoy!

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