Saturday, May 29, 2010

Abducted by Chapter 17s (part 2)

I’ve been thinking a lot about the post I wrote about my book club Chapter 17. I still think our name is, well…unusual. But then it got me curious, what is Chapter 17?
So, for fun, I grab some of my favorite books and flipped over to Chapter 17. Now, I already shared all of this with my book club at our last meeting but since I had it all typed up I wanted to go ahead and share it in my blog.
This is what I found:

Chapter 17 of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone;
The Man With Two Faces
This is the final chapter of the book so it begins with Harry discovering Quirrell in front of the mirror of Erised. He is able to get the Sorcerer’s stone, protect it from He Who Must Not Be Named, and defeat Quirrell.

Chapter 17 of Twilight; The Game
After being introduced to the Cullens, Bella is invited to join them for a game of baseball out in the meadow. The game is quickly interrupted by three traveling Vampires and the plot just takes off from there!

Chapter 17 of The Count of Monte Cristo; In The Abbe’s Cell
Edmond Dantes is faulsly imprisoned in the Chateau D’If. After months of solitude he is finally introduced the Abbe who tunnels into his cell and provides along with companionship, a way to escape to freedom.

Chapter 17 of Pride and Prejudice; No Title
After hearing from Mr. Wickham his side of the events of his childhood, and his relationship with Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth shares the news with Jane and they all prepare for the ball at Netherfield Park.

Chapter 17 of the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings
Now there actually isn’t a chapter 17 in the Fellowship because the Fellowship is divided into two books. Book One ends at chapter 12 and Book Two ends at chapter 10. However, if you say that the first chapter in Book Two is actually chapter 13, then…
Chapter 17 is The Bridge to Khazard-dum.
After discovering the tomb of Balin, the fellowship must then escape from a Balrog in the mines and loose one of the company in the process.

Chapter 17 of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; The Hunting of the White Stag
Now, The Silver Chair is actually my favorite book in the Chronicles of Narnia. However, it also doesn’t have a chapter 17. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe does and it is the final chapter. The Hunting of the White Stag is when the children have now been reigning as Kings and Queens over Narnia for several years. While on hunt for the white stag that is supposed to grant them wishes if caught, they stumble upon a lamppost that stirs their memories and leads them back through the wardrobe.

Chapter 17 of Charlotte's Web; Uncle
Wilbur and Charlotte arrive at the fair and meet Uncle, the other “spring pig” that Wilbur will be competing against for the blue ribbon.

Chapter 17 of Hunger Games; no title
After setting off an explosion at the heart of the “Careers” supplies, Catnis must overcome deafness in her left ear. She goes in search of reuniting with Rue only to find her already trapped in one of the Career’s nets.

Chapter 17 of Peter Pan; When Wendy Grew Up
The 17th chapter is again the final chapter of the book. The lost boys have just come to stay with Mr. and Mrs. Darling. Peter returns to Neverland with Tink and makes frequent visits back to Wendy.

In the book of Genesis chapter 17 is when God makes the covenant of circumcision with Abraham. I was going to try to do a whole “the 17th chapter or the 17th book in the bible is…” however, it didn’t work because the 17th book in the Catholic bible is a book called Tobit which only has 14 chapters and the 17th book in the King James bible is Esther which only has 10 chapters.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Abducted by Cooking

This week I found myself abducted by the overwhelming desire to bake! When I allowed myself to completely surrender to this desire I became more and more excited by the possibilities.
As much as I really do love to cook, I don’t do it often. My problem lies in the fact that I hate shopping for groceries. It is so frustrating buying certain ingredients and I use them once and before I can get around to using them again they have expired. Luckily, the recipes I found to experiment with this week, for the most part, used the same basic ingredients.
I have never been able to find a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that I really liked. Well, in reality I think I’ve only attempted to make the recipe off the chocolate chip’s bag. But I really like Alton Brown, one of the chefs on the food network, so I wondered if he might have a chocolate chip cookie recipe that would impress me. I chose to use his recipe called “The Chewy”. One of the things listed on the ingredients list was parchment paper. This was to be used on top of the cookie pan to keep them from sticking to the pan. The only problem was I didn’t have parchment paper I only had waxed paper, but I figured hey, what’s the difference. Well apparently the difference is that parchment paper doesn’t melt when you put it in an oven heated to 375 degrees. It doesn’t melt, therefore it doesn’t fill your kitchen with a very smelly smoke. Within 5 minutes my whole kitchen was filling with smoke and I was rushing to open the front door and trying to keep all the smoke out of the hallway so I wouldn’t set off the smoke detector. After avoiding that crisis I then had to transfer the cookies that had baked halfway onto a fresh cookie pan. The cookies turned out not looking that great, but they tasted delicious! And the batter was really good too!
I have had a box of frozen fish in my freezer for almost a month now that I haven’t had the courage to do anything with. Tonight, I excepted the challenge. The fish I was using was called tilapia. I made a mixture using crushed up cornflake crumbs and a non-salt seasoning. I dipped the fillets in lemon juice and then in the cornflake mixture and then baked. I also made French fries from a frozen bag so it was like I had made my very own fish and chips. The fish was soooo good. Again, a very simple no nonsense recipe but the results were incredible!

One of Alton Brown’s favorite memorized recipes is for something called “popovers”. They are a very basic kind of roll that pops up kind of like a muffin, but they turn out hollow inside. Now, Alton’s recipe calls for kosher salt and I just used basic table salt so they did turn out to have a slightly salty flavor but it wasn’t overwhelming at all so they were amazing. I plan on taking some of them with me to work tomorrow for lunch. I am going to eat them with my spaghetti o’s, but don’t tell that to Alton because I don’t know if he would approve.

The last item I am choosing to attempt to make this week is PB&J pancakes. Another recipe I got off the food network that is basically peanut butter pancakes with blackberry syrup. Now, as much as I have enjoyed cooking this week I just wasn’t up for the task of making my own syrup for now so instead I just bought strawberry syrup so it still fulfills the “jelly” part of the equation.
Okay, the pancakes did not turn out as well as I had hoped. This is very disappointing because I really wanted to make them for my book club the next time I get to host. My absolute favorite thing to have for dinner, is breakfast! So, when chapter 17 makes its way back to my apartment that is exactly what I want to have. Breakfast for dinner along with Mimosas! I loved the idea of PB&J pancakes but it just didn’t translate very well in my kitchen. The pancakes had a really strange after taste to them. I’m not sure if it was the peanut butter or what but it just didn’t work.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Abducted by a Guilty Pleasure

I have a horrible habit of being addicted to television. I come home and the first thing I do is turn on the TV. I can't help myself! Eventually I'll find something to watch and before I know it any other plans I might have had of running errands or heading to Hastings to use their Internet are out the window. The worst part about this habit is that I can get caught up in shows that I am truly embarrassed by. Shows that when you watch them you can literally feel your IQ just plummeting.

Well this weekend was a classic example.

I wrote out this really long blog all about my experiences in the kitchen last week. And I was supposed to go to Hastings on Sunday night and post it. But I got caught up in watching Army Wives (a show I'm NOT proud to say I watch). Then I told Kate I was going to go last night and make my post and yet again I got side tracked. But this time it was because I was abducted by my all time favorite Reality TV show. One that I am not ashamed to admit that I have watched every episode and that I am halfway tempted to buy it on DVD. That's right I was abducted by the New Jersey Housewives!!!

I know what you are thinking, "Come on Bittner, seriously!?!"

Yes, I am serious. Last night was their premier episode for the new season and I watched it with great joy because I had truly come to miss my Italian bitches! Many people can not stand the "Housewife" shows that come on Bravo. You have the Orange County Housewives, Atlanta, New York City, and I believe there is fixing to be a Beverly Hills cast. But New Jersey is completely different.

For the most part they are all related. Two are sisters, one is their sister-in-law and one of the other girls has been friends with them for over 10 years. Only one of the girls is a newbie and that is Daniel and she is Crazy!!! On all the other shows you get this feeling like they are all only friends because they have to be for the sake of the show. Because of this feeling I can watch a couple of episodes and I really only care about one person. Like in New York, I really only like Bethany. In Orange County I really only like Gretchen. As for Atlanta, that show can suck it, all those bitches are annoying!

Because I only care about a character from those shows it stops me from being sucked in. But with New Jersey, I can't get enough. I love the girls I love their husbands, I love their kids!!! Even though I think Daniel is crazy, I still have to love her because she brings all the drama. With out her, the show wouldn't have any controversy and therefore would have been cancelled after the first season.

Last week Neil Patrick Harris made a quick cameo on Andy Cohen Live and Andy asked him if he ever watched the housewives. Neil said that he had never really watched any of the other shows but that he had seen one episode of New Jersey and now he was hooked! Don't you just love Neil Patrick Harris!

In the end, I apologize for not having posted about my cooking abduction yet, I promise it is coming. But last night, and for every Monday night in the near future, I will be...

Abducted by the New Jersey Housewives!
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