The Girl Who Chased The Moon





The Girl Who Chased The Moon **** by Sarah Addison Allen





I’m joining Jain with my Edible Book Review at Food for Thought, where in her words, pages from your book magically mix with the kitchen and your camera.




 and Michael Lee at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday. . . the perfect little food corner in blogland.








Mullaby is a small town of North Carolina, that is full of gossip, ghostly lights that dance in the moonlight, and magical wallpaper that changes color. When 17-year-old Emily comes to live with the gentle giant that is her grandfather, she hopes to solve some of these mysteries including what caused her mother to leave town and vow never to return.







Julia Winterson has returned to town to run her father’s barbecue business. Mullaby is a town with more BBQ restaurants per capita than any other place in the state. Julia’s father’s restaurant has a loyal small following.





Lexington-Style BBQ is something my family is very familiar with. 

The fictitious Mullaby, is loosely based on Lexington, with more barbecue restaurants per capita than any other place in the state. It’s also home to the famous Lexington Barbecue FestivalLexington-Style to us, is the epitome of North Carolina BBQ and nothing rivals Lexington #1.









With BBQ on the brain, I borrowed this idea from Southern Living Magazine, where Foods Editor Scott Jones fondly remembers the BBQ Sundae served at the Rebel Barn BBQ in Oxford, Mississippi. An entrée, not dessert, the sundae layers pork, slaw, and baked beans, all covered in thick, sweet red sauce, or Lexington-Style sauce in this case.








This would be a great idea for tailgating or an outdoor party for serving your BBQ~




Julia’s dreams to open a bakery have to be put on hold, while she works off her father’s debt, so she begins to add cakes and pastries to the menu. To Julia, baking is a language that calls to those you love.






“There was a mood of magic and frenzy to the room. Crystalline swirls of sugar and flour still lingered in the air like kite tails. And then there was the smell–the smell of hope, the kind of smell that brought people home.”




Milky Way Cakes typically have the candy bars melted into the batter. 


My version of a Milky Way Cake~aka  Incredible Melted Ice Cream Cake Recipe





 I used a yellow cake mix and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Everything But The… (everything BUT Milky Ways :-)  I did cut up 3 miniature bars and added it to the batter for this Edible Review. This is an easy cake recipe, and it can be altered lots of ways, depending on your cake mix~German Chocolate, Devil’s Food, White… and then with the addition of your flavor of melted ice cream, according to your taste.



  Julia runs into Sawyer, an old flame, when she returns to town.




“You know how some people have a sweet tooth? Well, I have a sweet sense. When I was a little boy, I could be playing across town and know exactly when my mother took a cake out of the oven. I could see the scent, how it floated through the air. All I had to do was follow it home.”





“His mother had tried to hide cakes from him when he was small, but he always found them. He couldn’t help it. At that age, he hadn’t yet developed the willpower to resist. He’d inherited his sweet sense from him grandfather. It was the reason he felt so close to him, closer than to anyone else in his family. His grandfather had been the one who taught him how to turn it off, after one to many stomach aches. And he’d also been the one who’d told Sawyer that not everyone could see what he saw, so be careful who he told. Sawyer normally left it off now, unless he was distracted or tired, then he would unwittingly see the silver glitter undulating out of house windows, or the sparkle trailing out of a child’s lunch box.”







“It was what you told me about how you always sensed when your mother baked cakes. I loved that story. I started baking when I was away at school. That’s a whole story unto itself. The point is, at a time in my life when there were a lot of bad things happening, you gave me something good. Something to hold on to. I’m opening my own bakery when I move back to Baltimore. And it all started with you.”







“You said you followed the scent home when your mother baked, so I have it in my head–in my heart–that if I just keep baking, she’ll find me. That this will bring her home.”





In Mullaby, Emily discovers some of the answers to her questions but also discovers that her disbelief could be suspended further than she ever thought.



I enjoyed this book~ reading it was a piece of cake :-), easily done is a day or two. You do have to suspend your sense of disbelief, just like Emily. You should be warned that it will make you want to bake a cake, or follow your sweet sense to find some!


Be sure to stop by Designs by Gollum and see what’s being served this Friday &  Food for Thought and find out what everyone is reading & eating!


A Girl Named Zippy

A Girl Named Zippy ***** by Haven Kimmel

 Haven Kimmel, aka Zippy, tells her story about life in a small town~ Mooreland, Indiana, population 300, in early 70’s. Born in 1965, she chronicles her early years with her third-grade wisdom and observations that made me laugh out loud. There are pictures included in this book from an old photo album at the beginning of each chapter which led me to include some of my family photos, since I’m just a few years older than Zippy.

“Her daddy calls her ‘Zippy’ after a little chimpanzee he saw roller-skating on television. The monkey was first in one place and then zip! in another.”

On Zippy’s 2nd Birthday:

“Still no words from our little Zippy. She is otherwise a delight and a very sweet baby. I have turned her life over to God, to do with as He sees fit. I believe He must have a very special plan for her, because I’m sure that terrible staph infection in her ear that nearly killed her when she was a newborn must have, as the doctors feared, reached her brain. She is so quiet we hardly know she is here, and so unlike many of our friends, we can speak freely in front of her without fear she will repeat us. Little Becky Dawson walked up to Agnes Johnson in church last Sunday and called her Broad As A Barn. You know she heard that at home.”

Zippy’s first words were not spoken until four months before her third birthday. Her dad decided she had her bottle long enough and told her it was time to give it up. Her first words ever spoken:  “I’ll make a deal with you. If you let me keep it, I’ll hide it when company comes and I won’t tell no-body.” Her mother’s response, “Now that we know she can talk, all I can say is:  dear God. Please give that child some hair. Amen.”



The photo on the right was taken in 1966, when I was 5. My sister & I have birthdays two days apart (I am three years older) so we usually shared a birthday cake~ don’t you just love her smile? The photo on the left was taken in 1970 at my grandmother’s house and my brother is in this photo.

 There are lots of school experiences and friends Zippy mentions in this book:

In kindergarten, her end-of-the-year report card said:  “Is disruptive in class. Colors outside the lines. Talks out of turn.” When Zippy shows it to her parents, her mother says. “Good for you, sweetheart.” And her dad gives her a little pat on the back.

“I was disliked by all my teachers for reasons that were completely mysterious to me, but even in that dubious category, Dana excelled. She was disliked more passionately, sometimes even inciting our teachers to violence, which I had yet to do.”

With Christmas approaching, Zippy talks to her dad about presents~her dad tells her when he was growing up during the depression, he was happy to get an orange:

“This was the most insane piece of news I had ever heard in my life. An orange was the opposite of a present; it was no different than saying, ‘I was happy just to get a baked potato,’ or ‘I was happy just to have a floor.’ I felt a little shiver in my shoes. I would never be happy to get an orange.”



I have to say that this is the limit of my musical ability. . .but I did love that banjo!

 The Jarvis family has lots of pets that gives Zippy fits and great stories:

  “When I was born we had two dogs: the great, noble, and legendary German shepherd, Kai; and Tiger, who some sort of beagle-shaped zeppelin with unusual bowel function and tragically short legs.”

I couldn’t help but notice our dog Rascal, looks a lot like Tiger, without the tragically short legs. (I can’t comment on the bowel function, since he was always outside :)

(I’m happy to report that I don’t have a list of things lost by my father gambling…)

“We went out to visit three of Julie’s horses, Rebel, Diablo, and Mingo. Mingo was Julie’s favorite of all the horses, even though he was criminally insane.”

Instead of Rebel, Diablo & Mingo, we rode Tony, Sugarfoot & Prince, and later on Smokey, when we went to visit my grandparents in Mississippi each summer.

 Zippy has a fondness for freezing-cold Cokes, which was a real treat for us when we visited my grandparents~ I don’t know if it was the fact that they were so cold, or it was that Mississippi was always so hot!


 Zippy rides her bike everywhere. . .Her fondness for bicycle rodeo has her constantly visiting the emergency room. She is most often riding to drugstore to order lemon phosphates at the soda fountain.


 Thinking of the soda fountain and her fondness of Cokes & Ice Cream, I thought I would make some Coke Floats. . .




Zippy introduced me to Sugar~Cream Pie which I was totally unfamiliar with and had to google. . . I found this.


Sugar Cream Pie Recipe Here

 I read the reviews & comments on this pie and followed a recommendation to bake it 15 minutes longer than the recipe called for (keeping the crust covered the entire baking time) and to leave it in the oven for 15 minutes after turning the oven off, as recommended. I added 1 T of vanilla and a pinch of salt as well.  I was in a hurry and burning daylight to get these photos, but if I had to do it over, I would blast the top with a torch like creme brulee to carmelize the sugar a little bit. I have to say, I’m more a cake than pie person, but this was very good and surprisingly easy.



“Laced with fine storytelling, sharp wit, dead-on observations, and moments of sheer joy, Haven Kimmel’s straight-shooting portrait of her childhood gives us a heroine who is wonderfully sweet and sly as she navigates the quirky adult world that surrounds Zippy.” ~Broadway Books


Be sure to visit Food for Thought and find out what everyone is reading & eating!

The Sugar Queen




The Sugar Queen ***.* by Sarah Addison Allen




I’m joining Jain with my Edible Book Review at Food for Thought, where in her words, pages from your book magically mix with the kitchen and your camera.




 and Michael Lee at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday. . . the perfect little food corner in blogland.





Living in her mother’s shadow, Josey Cirrini,  finds solace in her secret stash of sugary sweets and stockpile of romance novels~


“But food was a comfort. It filled the hollow spaces. And it felt good to hide it, because then she could enjoy it alone without worrying about what others thought, or about letting her mother down.”


 Winter is her favorite time of year in the mountains of North Carolina, where she can bundle up, camouflaged in scarves and layered clothing.


“She stuck her head out and took a deep breath. If she could eat the cold air, she would. She thought cold snaps were like cookies, like gingersnaps. In her mind they were made with white chocolate chunks and had a cool, brittle vanilla frosting. They melted like snow in her mouth, turning creamy and warm.”






“It was embarrassing enough being such a sorry excuse for a Southern belle. Her weight, her unfortunate hair, her secret dreams of leaving her mother who needed her, of leaving and never looking back. Respectable daughters took care of their mothers. Respectable daughters did not hide enormous amounts of candy in their closets.”



Josey finds Della Lee, a local waitress in town, hiding in her closet amongst her candy stash. Della Lee takes up  residence, hiding out in Josey’s closet, promising to keep her candy stash a secret in exchange for a few favors.





 “Josey shook her head, thinking, if Della Lee were a candy, she would be a SweeTart. Not the hard kind that broke your teeth, the chewy kind, the kind you had to work on and mull over, your eyes watering and your lips turning up into a smile you didn’t want to give.”







 Della Lee sends Josey out for grilled cheese & tomato sandwich. . . 






 Josey meets Chloe, sandwich maker extraordinaire…


One of Chloe’s secrets is that since she was little, whether she liked it or not, books appeared when she needed them. (I should be so lucky~although, I have to admit this has happened on occasion~)












 Through Della Lee’ s influence, Josey begins to slowly come out of shell and realize there is a world waiting for her outside of her closet and her mother’s shadow.



 One of Josey’s many errands for her mother involves her taking her to tea with a friend where they have cucumber sandwiches and raspberry jam puffs~




 Paula Deen’s Benedictine Sandwiches








 If I made these sandwiches again, I would use half the amount of onion the recipe calls for~also, the cucumber and onion need to be drained well before mixing with cream cheese.




 Chocolate Raspberry Triangle Puffs








Chocolate Raspberry Triangle Puffs Recipe


  • Nutella (a hazelnut chocolate spread)

  • Raspberry Jam

  • Puff Pastry

  • 1 Egg, beaten with 1 Tablespoon of water for egg wash

  • Powdered Sugar (optional)


  1. Let Puff Pastry reach room Temp. per directions on box

  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

  3. Cut Puff Pastry into thirds both ways creating squares

  4. Add Nutella diagonally to each square

  5. Add Raspberry Jam

  6. Fold Puff Pastry diagonally, forming a triangle

  7.  Brush with egg wash and bake on parchment lined baking sheet

  8. Bake until lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes

  9. Sprinkle powder sugar on top, and let cool.



  These were so easy and good~ but then it’s hard to go wrong with raspberry and chocolate!





This book was a quick, *sweet* read, blending food with a dash of magic, toss in a few secrets and surprises along the way~ which is Sarah Addison Allen’s trademark. While I liked it, I didn’t love it. I did love the candy chapters :-) and this quote:


“Books can be possessive, can’t they? You’re walking around in a bookstore and a certain one will jump out at you, like it had moved there on its own, just to get your attention. Sometimes what’s inside will change your life, but sometimes, you don’t even have to read it. Sometimes it’s a comfort just to have a book around.”






 Be sure to stop by Designs by Gollum and see what’s being served this Friday & Food for Thought to see what everyone is reading and eating.

Porch Dining for One

 A couple of weeks ago, Hubby was out-of-town for the weekend on a fishing excursion, so the children & I had the house to ourselves. I’m comfortable entertaining myself, it doesn’t take much more than something to read, a glass of wine, and a place to curl up with the dogs. This area on my porch fits the bill~ perfect this time of year, after I blow off the pollen, since the humidity hasn’t sky-rocketed yet.

Just some quick and easy meals when he’s away, or fruit & cheese and light snacking.

 This tray serves multiple purposes~ it’s great for just displaying objects or stacking books on a table or ottoman. I’ve had it several years, it’s fabric laminated and I love the green garden toile pattern, with all the gardening images of topiaries, sundials, rakes and trellises. No manufacturer’s name is on it~ I remember it being from a small company that also made laminated placemats. If you were crafty, you could make one yourself.

Pillows for propping and candles for after dusk. . .

A teacup for later, or morning . . . I’m having wine right now :-)



 Chloe is supervising at the moment, although truth be told, she’s waiting for me to sit down, so she can have a lap or leg to rest next to. All this activity she says is very tiresome~ I keep telling her she doesn’t have to follow me, but she’s not convinced.



  Plates from Pier 1 (many years ago), a green glass from World Market and stainless from Target. . .


 This came to my inbox this week. . . nothing here came from Horchow, but take advantage~ or at least drool at little at all the dish-eye-candy Horchow has to offer.


Discount and free standard shipping apply only to online orders from the Tabletop category, excluding Kitchen and Gourmet Food. Offer expires April 12, 2010, at 6:00 a.m. (CT).

Join Susan on her Porch and enjoy Tablescape Thursday.

Birds of a Feather

 A few bird sightings while boating over the weekend. . .


  Herons are very patient fishermen :-) Read more about Blue Herons Here.


This island on the lake is restricted for nesting April thru August– there are over 100 nesting Blue Herons during this time.

 We only spotted a couple in the tree tops while boating this past weekend. The trees will be full of them in another month or so. I’ve always thought Blue Herons look a little Dr. Suess-esque. . .


 Here’s an Osprey nesting on a Shoal marker~they tend to nest on man-made structures.

  More about Osprey Here.

And a pair nesting on a duck blind. . .


 I’m linking to A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday.

And Watery Wednesday–prepare to get your eyes wet!

Bunnies, Baskets, Butterflies & Beans (Jelly, of course!)



  No recipe from me this week, just some Easter Love~grocery store cupcakes and cookies with adorable smaller cookies from Williams-Sonoma  stacked on top. . . Here’s a cute chick perched on top of a cupcake gazing into a feather-topped nest of a basket.




 Oh, and some chocolate malted eggs too, what’s Easter without some chocolate?




These mini baskets I found at Pier 1. . .




 The metamorphosis of the Butterfly, makes it the perfect Easter symbol.





Jellybeans became popular for Easter around the ’30’s. . . According to InfopleaseAmericans consume 16 billion jellybeans at Easter~ if all the Easter jellybeans were lined end to end, they would circle the globe nearly three times.




That’s a lot of beans!

















 Wishing you chocolate smiles and jelly bean grins this Easter :-)




 Be sure to visit Michael Lee at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday. . . the perfect little food corner in blogland.



Fitz & Floyd for Easter

 I’m joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.

 This Easter table is set with Fitz & Floyd Classique d’Or and Tulipe d’Or salad plates and mugs. Bunnies and candy add a touch of whimsy.

 Read the history of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit here.

 Chicks & Flowers grace chocolate from House of Dorchester, that I found at Home Goods.

Chocolate Bunnies and Easter basket~shred fill vases, instead of flowers and candles at this table.


 No sugar cubes, chocolate eggs instead. . .

Vintage Easter Greetings in a Vase. . .


No one will be sitting at my Easter table, all seventeen of us will be at my mother-in-law’s, where we’ll hopefully be eating on her porch, with the forecast for 80 degree temperatures. . .

Wishing you an egg~cellent Easter Holiday. . .

I fell in love with the graphics on this chocolate and the sentiment!

Head over to the Porch for more Inspiring Tablescapes. . .

Chalkware Dogs




I’m joining Kathleen at Faded Charm for White Wednesday. I thought I’d share a small collection of chalkware dogs that I have that normally guard my books in my bookcase.



 These chalkware dog figures don’t have any significance to me, other than I love dogs and I’ve always been drawn to the patina of  worn, paint-chipped and time-faded surfaces.




 You can read more about Chalkware here.













This particular dog, is almost white, due to the porous nature of the plaster surface, which causes the paint to flake off.



 Of course, I’m partial to white dogs.




Stop by Faded Charm & enjoy your White Wednesday.



Floral Arrangement with Fresh Flowers!


This is my contribution for Metamorphosis Monday.

 Start with some Oasis or a floral foam product that you can soak in water to keep your flowers fresh. Secure the oasis to your container with floral tape so the weight of the flowers won’t pull the foam out of your container. This urn has a hole in the bottom, so I lined it with several plastic bags to keep the water in the oasis from dribbling out.

I started with (2) white bundles  & (1) pink bundle of fresh flowers from Trader Joe’s. I’ve also bought great looking floral bundles from Super Target or my grocery store if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you. My greenery in my yard is still pretty cold-shocked and sad-looking now, but normally I could snip greenery from  my shrubbery. This is Euonymus that was in my Trader Joe’s bundle that I started with as my “line” greenery.


 Next I used my larger leaf greenery to help camouflage my tape & oasis.


 Add your larger flowers next. There are a couple of video links/how-to’s at the end of this post that are very helpful.

 To help make this arrangement, this urn is on a lazy susan, since it’s heavy.

I like to use produce in my arrangements. I think it makes it more interesting, and you can always find apples at the grocery store. It also serves as a great “hole-filler”.  Granny Smith are great to use since they are hard, and piercing them in the bottom with your pick won’t cause them to expire too quickly. With that rule in mind, pears are NOT great to use because they will get extremely soft very quickly. I meant to pick up some artichokes to use with this white and green arrangement, but left them off my grocery list, (oops) and I was loosing daylight to take these photos and didn’t have time to run back out. So I used pears as a substitute.


Hydrangea is my favorite flower. . .we just planted some Oakleaf Hydrangea this fall, so hopefully I’ll have some to clip this summer. I love how it fades from white to green to pink. . .

 I had picked up a pink bundle of flowers at the same time. . .it had a lot of “filler” flowers in it, so I added the pink after I finished with the white. Personally, I think it’s hard to beat green & white as a color combination . .


All complete, with 3 bundles of flowers in about an hour, including clean up– if you don’t stop and take pictures :-)  When I do arrangements at Christmas time, I usually put a fitted sheet on the island, so it makes for easier clean up.

 Here are some great video link floral how-to’s from MyHomeIdeas.Com. If you’re not already familiar with this site, you may want to visit it for great Design Tips, Idea Houses, Entertaining Ideas etc.


Floral Arranging Video Part 1

Floral Arranging Video Part 2

Be sure to stop by the Porch & Visit with Susan and see other inspiring metamorphoses!

Tea Party Shadows



I’m joining Hey Harriet for Shadow Shot Sunday. These photos were from a recent post, that just happened to have some lovely shadows, due to the lovelier sunshine streaming in the window.


You can see all this Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in its entirety here.










Be sure to visit Hey Harriet for other great  Shadow Shots.