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Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

On this day, eons ago, the brave Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee fulfilled their quest to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom. And so it was decreed that March 25th would ever after be known as Tolkien Reading Day!

What does that mean?

Today is Tolkien Reading Day! – The Tolkien Society

And as an extra bonus, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Estate Releases Treasure Trove Of Drawings And Maps.

See those maps and more here: Maps – The Tolkien Estate.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” 

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

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Photo by Martin Jernberg on Unsplash

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Thanks to my step-mother, I am ever-so-marginally Irish-adjacent, so today I give you all a lucky four-leaf clover. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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It’s in there, just keep looking! Photo by Ralph (Ravi) Kayden on Unsplash

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Today’s date is 2.22.22. It’s a palindrome, which reads the same forwards and backwards, and for an extra level of cool it’s also a Tuesday.

Happy Twosday! Why numbers like 2/22/22 have been too fascinating for over 2,000 years

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Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

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I can’t share the lemon meringue pie I made for Valentine’s Day, but I can share three free books from Tor.com.

Download Tor.com’s BUNDLE O’ LOVE — Before February 19th! | Tor.com

You’ll need to sign up for Tor’s free e-book club, which means they’ll offer you a free book every month. I don’t mind that. (Yes, they’ll use your email to promote other books but you can always use a throw-away address if you don’t want to hear from them.)

This bundle is only available for the next few days but if you haven’t read these titles it’s a great opportunity for three good books.

Especially Murderbot. Because everyone loves Murderbot.

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Photos by Maximalfocus and Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

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I recently tried a variation on the previously-posted tofu chocolate pudding recipe, based on Mark Bittman’s Mexican Chocolate Tofu Pudding. It uses simple syrup, which makes it easy to add any flavor boosters you might like. I took the opportunity to make both plain for the pudding and a batch of passion fruit syrup to try with caramelized white chocolate later. (I may also try this with maple syrup. Go Canada!)

This recipe is gluten and lactose free (vegan too, depending on your chocolate). Don’t let that deter you, the final result is rich and creamy.

Right now I’m only able to find silken tofu in Tetra Pak boxes that hold 12.3 ounces and the easily available chocolate comes in 6 ounce packages, so I tweaked the recipe to match. I also left out Bittman’s cinnamon and chili but that version’s good too.

And hark, Valentine’s Day approacheth!

If your local store has silken tofu and decent chocolate it’s hard to find a quicker, easier dessert that’s still delicious. (It’s also possible to use the pudding as pie filling with a graham cracker crust, but I haven’t tried that yet.)

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Tofu Chocolate Pudding v2.0

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 12 oz. silken tofu, firm
  • 6 oz good chocolate, dark to semisweet
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  1. Heat sugar and water over medium heat. Cook until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, then add chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.
  2. Blend all ingredients together until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Chill for at least 30 minutes, although longer gives a denser texture. Serve straight, or with fresh fruit and whipped cream.

Serves four. Or two. Or one. You’ll find no judgment here.

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Photo by Max Griss on Unsplash

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According to my local bird store, today is Squirrel Appreciation Day. Now, I’m fairly sure that the local squirrels object to being relegated to just one day, but given the monopoly they have over the neighborhood feeders, I think they’ll get along fine.

To avoid the possibility of a Great Squirrel Uprising (TM) however, I have arranged to send one squirrel to a resort and spa for the day.

Yes, this was a rush job. No, you will not get extra nuts with dinner!
Photos by big.tiny.belly on Unsplash and maja777 on Pixabay.

Also bird seed. Works every time.

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Here’s hoping for a happier New Year!

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Boxing Day

Today is Boxing Day, a Commonwealth holiday unfamiliar to most Americans, and a national holiday in Canada since 1871.

And it has nothing to do with fighters in a ring with a bell.

While its history is a little fuzzy, traditionally Boxing Day was thought of as a time for alms-giving, and for lords and ladies to distribute gifts to household servants, dependents and the poor. It was originally known as Offering Day.

Fiction-related note: Charles Dickens mentioned Boxing Day in “The Pickwick Papers,” which was published as a monthly serial in 1836 and 1837.

These days, Boxing Day in Canada is more like a second Black Friday, an excuse for big sales and shopping shopping shopping. 

I have no servants but as you may know, I like to contribute to the community and causes that matter to me. So today, I’ll help support some of the groups out there doing good.

No boxing necessary.

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Merry Christmas!

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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Today is the first time I will be making Swedish meatballs for Christmas Eve. I’ve helped my father, many times, but have never made them in my own house. 

The recipe we grew up with was my grandmother’s. Every year we would pull out the little wooden recipe card box and find a three by five index card in her handwriting, with my father’s annotations at the edges. You could tell which one it was by all the lingonberry stains. 

I loved that it was a family recipe, and that every time we made it I remembered Christmas as a kid at my grandparents’ house in Chicago. 

I will admit that I didn’t exactly love the recipe. A decade or so ago we all admitted that maybe, just maybe, the meatballs weren’t all they could be (sorry, Grandma!), and tried an alternative. Here’s what I had to say about that:

… a few years ago we made the shift from Grandma Johnson’s handwritten recipes (so homey!) for dishes like Swedish meatballs and limpa and roast pork to the spectacular versions of same in Marcus Samuelsson’s Aquavit. Yes, an Ethiopian-born immigrant throws down on traditional Swedish food and wins big. See what I mean? The food still says home, only better:) 

The Universal Language? | J.R. Johnson

So this year we’re doing the new old family recipe. It won’t be the traditional Christmas Eve smorgasbord with family, but it will feel like the holidays.

Mr Man and I have already made the quick-pickled cucumbers and are letting them steep (half the sugar though, and no apologies!). As soon as the juice is at full flavor it will be time to make the meatballs. 

Until then we’ll kick back, listen to classic Christmas music and make the most of this Christmas Eve. 

God jul everyone!

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Photo by Valentin Petkov on Unsplash

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