Smoked veggie tacos, Sharp Objects, and hype

When I was little, I had a paralyzing fear that if I got too excited for something, it would inevitably turn out to be the worst thing ever. I'm fairly certain that this was a result of some totally innocent and well-meaning advice my father gave me about how sometimes, the things we are least excited for turn out to be amazing. Clearly, I was a difficult child to advise. Sorry, Dad. It was great advice. I just ruined it.

The point I'm trying to get to here is that since then, I've kept that sneaking suspicion in the back of my head. If I'm really looking forward to something, I have an irrational fear that it might be disappointing. And if I'm really not looking forward to something, I have a feeling that the universe is going to pull a fast one on me and make it a genuinely great experience. I'm not superstitious, I'm a little-stitious. 

Okay, point made. So when I got home the other day dreading what I was going to try to pull out of my back pocket to make a great dinner, veggie tacos kind of sounded lame. And, if we're being completely honest, disgusto-gross. But, lucky me, my stitious-self was right, and my veggie tacos that I really wasn't looking forward to turned out to be just plain yummy. And gorgeous.

Smoked Veggie Tacos and Sharp Objects

Conversely, I was really pumped to read another Gillian Flynn novel. I flew through Gone Girl when it was a thing, and so the prospect of Sharp Objects was exciting for me. I was, in fact, looking forward to it so much that I decided to postpone my reading until I got through a few other less exciting-sounding books. Well, guess what? Joke's on me. I hated it. 

As always, check out the review, check out the recipe, and let me know what you think of both. If you think Sharp Objects was the best book you read this year, I want to hear about it because I love a good argument. If you think that the cilantro I reference might be parsley, you're totally right and there's no argument to be had. 

Apricot Ginger Cake and The Reservoir Tapes

This week I did two things with incredibly impressive speed: bake a SUCCESSFUL and non-traumatic cake and breeze through Jon McGregor's upcoming book, The Reservoir Tapes.

The Reservoir Tapes and Apricot Ginger Cake

I was pretty pleased with myself -- not going to lie, mostly because I baked a cake without crying into the icing. As you may recall from my birthday cake, layer cakes are ... iffy at best for me for no other reason than I struggle with patience. It's fine. I'm learning. BUT with this cake, it went so smoothly I almost wondered if my guardian baking angel was like "GIRL, ENOUGH ALREADY" and swooped down to ice it for me. I think it was helpful for me to have company while baking / assembling in the form of Cait, the face of a fabulous style blog and Oeil Jewelry. Whatever the case, this cake turned out to be the best I've ever made, so go run and get the recipe. Another bonus, by the way? The ginger liqueur that gives this cake a kick of flavor was made by Chicago's own Koval Distillery. Win-win-win-win-cake.

I was surprised at how fast I made it through The Reservoir Tapes because I've been reading a lot of dark thrillers lately and thought I was going to take a bit of a break. After I opened the package from Catapult Books, I went to put this book on the bookshelf, looked up, and realized I had gotten halfway through. Yep. That good. Check out the review, then head over to pre-order it from Catapult.

Note: Catapult Books provided a pre-release copy of The Reservoir Tapes to Page & Plate for the purposes of this independent review.

Pumpkin Ravioli, Frankenstein, and Spooky Vibes

 Princess Laura and Angel Julia, circa the early 2000s, wherein we were cute. Not pictured: Saint Mom, creator of all costumes.

Princess Laura and Angel Julia, circa the early 2000s, wherein we were cute. Not pictured: Saint Mom, creator of all costumes.

I haven't dressed up in years, I don't really enjoy scary movies, and I just recently figured out that Tom Hanks is in fact David S. Pumpkins. But let me tell you, folks, if there are two parts of Halloween I can get into, it's the food and the literature. 

Despite being kind of terrifying to attempt, today's pumpkin ravioli recipe should not be nearly as scary as the prospect of a candy apple martini or whatever Halloween drink special your local haunt has dreamt up for this year. With enough determination to use up that last can of pumpkin in your cabinet as the month wanes down, this pasta recipe is a lot more accessible than you'd expect it to be. As was IT. The movie. I know! I went to see it! In theaters! 

I don't like scary movies because I don't like being scared (duh?), but in a fit of bravery and love for Colin, I committed to seeing it a few weeks ago at our local theater, The Davis. It was actually a much better experience than I expected, and I only burst out in panicked laughter in the middle of an otherwise totally silent theater during an incredibly inappropriate time to laugh once. High on my successful consumption of horror culture, I turned to a recommendation from one of my oldest friends and picked up a fifty cent copy of Frankenstein

I've put off reading Frankenstein for nearly as long as I have making a dentist appointment in Chicago. It seemed kind of scary, a little old, and just plain not my thing. Turns out, as per usual, I had no idea what I was talking about.