Sunday, June 12, 2011

Savor Lemon Cookies and Tea With A Few Good Books

Every path has puddles-
jump in
Edgy book titles always pique my interest to delve in and find out more what's behind the cover. It is somewhat like the urge to jump into a puddle sometimes just to have a little fun. Life Is A Verb 37 Days To Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally by Patti Digh is just the book that warrants a closer look. I will start out by saying it is a self-help book but it distinctively stands out from other books in this genre. The time frame of 37 days made an impression on the author as she was experiencing in a rather short time her stepfather's initial diagnosis of lung cancer and subsequent death 37 days later. Trying to make sense out of something so awful the author contemplated the question What would I do today if I only had 37 days to live? Her three year exploration of this question resulted in a guidebook for living. Six "I" practices emerged as action plans for the reader to consider as part of their daily life.
Intensity-Say yes
Inclusion-Be generous
Integrity-Speak up
Intimacy-Love more
Intuition Trust yourself
Intention-Slow down
From an illustrator's point of view the collage type pictures scattered throughout the book are a fun addition. While writing the book she asked readers on her blog if any would like to submit art work. She was able to incorporate 37 submitted drawings.
Patti Digh wears many hats: a mother, wife, writer, motivational speaker, blogger and author. Follow this link to learn more about her
Lastly, if you are a person who collects or just enjoys quotes this book incorporates a wealth of them.

Magic Bullet by Larry Millet is a Minnesota mystery totally on the opposite spectrum of a self help guide. This is the author's 6th book writing mystery stories featuring the collaboration of two detectives Shadwell Rafferty and Sherlock Holmes. All the mystery books he has written are works of fiction set in Minnesota during the turn of the century. The author is quite clever to weave a story with Sherlock Holmes character and prominent Minnesota figures. For those who are not native to Minnesota is a just a really engaging mystery with a lot of twists.

Lost in Shangri -La by Mitchell Zuckoff is a non-fiction story about about 24 American servicemen and WAC's who boarded a transport plane in 1945 for a sightseeing trip over Shangri-La in the mountains of Dutch New Guinea. The plane crashes and miraculously three passengers survive. John McCollom is one of the survivors stricken with grief over the death of his twin brother Robert who also was on the plane. The surviving passengers endure a harrowing hike down the mountainside and encounter a primitive tribe who had never seen a white woman or man before. Mitchell Zuckoff recounts this incredible true-life adventure as this trio is determined to get out of the jungle, find help and how a brave group of paratroopers risked their own lives to save the survivors.
I was drawn to this book with a personal connection. A high school/college friend's father was Robert McCollum, John McCollum's twin brother who died in the plane crash on May 13,1945. My friend never knew her father since her mother was four months pregnant at the time of the crash. The book has personal photos, mementos, a survivor and rescuer's diary, and photos of original film footage to accompany the story.
Lemon Cookies
adapted from Cook's Illustrated 2007 Holiday Baking
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 TB. lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup-1/3 cup fresh lemon juice about 2 large lemons
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 stick of butter and 1/2 stick of margarine cut into into 1/2 inch cubes (chilled)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • In food processor, process sugar and zest about 30 seconds
  • Add flour, salt and baking powder-pulse 10- 1 second pulses
  • Scatter butter/margarine chunks over flour mixture and pulse till mixture is coarse like corn meal crumbs
  • In small bowl beat lemon juice, yolk and vanilla
  • With machine running add juice-yolk mixture add in slow stream to form a ball about 10-15 seconds
  • Work dough and gently knead dry bits in and then shape into a log about 10 inches long-note: depending on how much juice you have a little flour may be needed while kneading the batter into a log
  • Roll dough tightly into parchment paper
  • Place log for 45 minutes in freezer or 2 hours in refrigerator
  • Slice cookie log and place cookies on a lined baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Bake @ 375 for about 11 minutes till edges start to brown
  • Cool on a wire rack before adding glaze
  • juice from 1-2 lemons about 1/4 cup
  • 1 TB. cream cheese
  • 1-1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
whisk cream cheese with juice and beat into confectioners' sugar

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