I always believed it was a foregone conclusion that everybody loved Jane Eyre and wants to power through it in three days. But maybe not? Today our resident reader/cook Ben tells us his feelings about our favorite governess and the cakes she ate!
Looking for a recipe from ‘Me Before You‘? Love Jojo Moyes and want to win book club? Obviously you do!
As an old man in his early to late thirties I find myself in bed rather early most nights in hopes to get up early so I can be one of those people at the gym. And most nights as I lay awake in bed wondering why I am trying to be a gym person I end up watching endless movie trailers on IMDB.
One night about two weeks ago I watched many trailers with one eye open (my bespectacled friends know what I’m talking about). Eventually I stumbled upon the film Me Before You, A film based on the book of the same name by Jojo Moyes.
It stars that not-so-ugly Sam Claflin as a quadriplegic dealing with his transition to life in a chair after a tragic accident. I gathered all that from the two minute trailer, was crying, and subsequently looking for the book version on Amazon. Sleep eventually took over with a mental note to pick up the book at a later date.
About one week later I was at the airport book store holding a copy of Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You while a complete stranger standing behind me squealed loudly, “Oh my gawd I couldn’t put that down. Seriously I was up all night reading it. Crying my eyes out.” I handed over my cash immediately.
By the time I reached 15,000 feet I was sold on the complicated relationship of our main characters, Louisa Clark and Will Traynor. By the time I was descending I was plotting ways to clear my social calendar the next two days as to guarantee I would be able to cry alone in my hotel room.
Me Before You is set in a tiny English town whose only attraction is a medieval castle. Desperately needing a job after being made redundant from the local coffee shop, The Buttered Bun, Louisa Clark, finds herself as daytime caregiver to Will Traynor, former playboy and all around adventure seeking superman.
Naturally shenanigans ensue as these two total opposites make their way through the awkwardness of new friendships. Louisa learns about life outside of her tiny village while Will learns that maybe life is still worth living.
Early on in the book Louisa discusses the merits of The Buttered Bun and all the characters who come in and out. I couldn’t help but think this would be the ideal setting to read this book. With a simple cup of coffee (because they don’t do fancy cappuccinos at The Buttered Bun) and a simple scone. I hope you enjoy the scones in moderation. I did not. They are all gone.
Mini Blueberry Scones
Recipe adapted from U.S. Highblush Blueberry Council
Yield: 16 Mini Scones
2 cups biscuit mix
¼ cup sugar
½ cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries
Decorative Sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 375F and prepare a baking sheet with by lightly greasing with pan spray or with parchment paper. Set aside.
In medium bowl combine biscuit mix, sugar, and blueberries. Gently mix in milk with large spoon.
On floured surface pat down dough until you have a 7” square with uniform thickness.
Cut dough into four squares (3 ½” each). Then cut dough diagonally in both directions, making 16 triangles.
Arrange mini scones on prepared baking sheet and bake in upper third of oven until browned on top. About 8-10 minutes.
Have you read Me Before You? Have you seen the movie yet? Which one’s better?!
Remember that time in the Charlotte airport when you felt really old because you had to Google Tyler Oakley? Because he had a best-seller in the airport bookstore? And then you had to try to explain how people just talk on YouTube and they make money with it?
Yeah? Me, too. I remember that, too.
My age puts me in that wonky grey period where Generation X ends (think Heathers, Reality Bites, Eric and Julie from Real World Season One) and Millennials begin (computers in every home!).
My first phone was corded and my first job was babysitting a now Millennial. I am told that Tyler Oakley and his band of YouTubers are the voice of the Millennial and younger generations. I still watch old episodes of Sesame Street to CTFD. So this whole YouTuber thing stumps me a little?
I’ve watched a few of his YouTube videos and they are funny, heartfelt, and clearly loved by millions. In his book, he covers his road to YouTube stardom and the misadventures along the way. But can a 27-year-old from Jackson, Michigan really have a story worth a book? Granted, he has used his power for good. But I think of my 27-year-old self and shudder at the idea of having to recap my life at that point.
But let’s face it. Tyler Oakley is cute and makes you laugh and sometimes that is all we need in life. We need the friend who’s not allowed to drive your car because he’s crashed all of his. We need the friend who washes their feet in hotel sinks. We need the friend who will openly talk about their online dating failures to make us feel better about our own. We need more people like Tyler Oakley.
Or we need to just be a little more open to talking. Sex, poop, drugs, food service jobs. We’ve all been there or want to be there. Tyler’s book makes it a little easier to laugh at ourselves.
Now let me tell you about the time that my second best Twitter friend (with 5.1 million followers) tagged me in a tweet and for one Friday night on my sofa reruns of This Old House got pushed to the bottom of my To Do List.
I knew book club was coming up and I needed to make something appropriate for Tyler Oakley’s Binge. Living in this modern age of Twitter, Snapchat, and Grindr, I thought there must be a way to ask Tyler himself what he would serve at a Binge Book Club. And this was his response…
Roast Beef Sandwiches with Homemade Arby’s Sauce
Recipe Inspired by WonkyWonderful.com
½ C ketchup
1 T apple cider vinegar
4-6 T water
4-5 drops hot sauce of choice
¼ t onion powder
¼ t garlic powder
2 T brown sugar
¼ t salt
Combine all ingredients together in small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to simmer and stir occasionally until sugar is melted and sauce is no longer grainy. Simmer longer if you desire a thicker sauce. Use immediately or store in covered in refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.
***please note that I added some crushed red pepper flakes to add a little more kick to the sauce
Serve with deli bought sliced roast beef, onion rolls (recipe found here), horseradish sauce if desired. And naturally a side of apples in a wicker basket because that’s what Tyler suggested. Read the book to find out why!
Did you have any idea who Tyler Oakley was before you read this post?!
Oh, what’s that you say? A dishy beach read + your new favorite warm weather cocktail? A recipe from Big Little Lies?
TELL ME MORE.
“Don’t bite his face, Eleanor told herself. It’s disturbing and needy and never happens in situation comedies or movies that end with big kisses.”
We’ve all thought this same thing.
This month I picked up Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. This book came highly recommended by a friend. I have a whole pile of books on my nightstand that have come highly recommended by friends. However, it’s rare that a book stops you in your tracks (literally!) in the dead of winter to gush with said friend about how much this book emotionally wrecked you. Both in a good way and bad.
If you were born before 1979 Eleanor and Park is an amazing time warp that takes you back to a non-ironic use of cassette tapes, cars with bench seating, punk rock, and falling in love without validating it on social media. Born after 1979? This book will give you some insight into what we did pre-Netflix.
On the outside, Eleanor is an awkward red head with no regard for fashion, the opinion of her peers, or her drunk of a step-father. She has a love for books, music, and the neighbor boy called Park.
Park blends in at school. He floats on the fringe of popularity by cashing in on his one-time popular girlfriend in 6th grade. Between MTV, Nintendo, and comic books, Park fills his time not being noticed.
And one fateful day on the bus, Eleanor and Park find themselves thrust into the mess that is love. Over the course of a few months, Eleanor and Park, experience the full spectrum of relationship ups and downs while making you chuckle as you relive all the classic “firsts”. First kiss. First dinner with the other family. First time steaming up the windows of an Impala.
You may be asking why did I say this was good and bad?
This book validates all those awkward feelings and thoughts you had as a teenager in love. It’s bad in that you may find yourself comparing your love to that of Eleanor and Park. I’m not going to say they are as great as Romeo and Juliet or Ross and Rachel. But they did make me cry.
And what better way to dry your tears than with Tater Tot Casserole?!?! It just might take you back to that one time after school in 8th grade your mom forced your boyfriend to talk about his back brace at dinner with Grandma.
Tater Tot Casserole (or Hotdish depending on your location)
1 lb lean ground beef
1 medium yellow onion; diced
1 16 oz bag of mixed frozen vegetables
2 10 oz cans of condensed Cream of Celery Soup (do not add water)
1 1-lb bag frozen shredded potato nuggets (Tater Tots)
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
First brown ground beef in saute pan on medium high until fully cooked. Remove from pan with slotted spoon and set aside on plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess grease. Do not clean the pan.
Using same saute pan cook the onion over medium-high heat until it is tender and translucent. Using a slotted spoon remove from pan and place with cooked ground beef on plate.
Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Layer in the cooked ground beef and onions. On top of that layer the frozen mixed vegetables. At this point add salt and pepper to taste.
Using a rubber spatula, spread the condensed soup carefully across the layer of vegetables.
On top of the soup, finish layering with frozen shredded potato nuggets.
Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top of the casserole and continue to bake for 15 more minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Fellow Midwesterners, I’m sure you have your own take on this recipe. How do you make tater tot casserole? (And international readers, know that you could make this for any of your friends and wow them.)
Name: LuAnne D’Souza
Hometown: Goa, India but living in Dubai, U.A.E
Occupation: Fashion and Beauty blogger/ Online Marketing Manager
My alarm is set for: 8:30 am
My Emirati breakfast:
I usually have a healthy breakfast of avocado on toast, or eggs with bread or oats and fruit. If I have the time, I whip up a smoothie or fresh juice but if I’m in a hurry, I have a cup of lemon tea.
The local breakfast here in Dubai usually features traditional bread – like khameer, a sweet and savory Emirati bread, or muhala, a crisp sweet bread, or pancakes called chebab. Eggs are also a part of the traditional Emirati breakfast, they have date omelets and a dish with sweet vermicelli noodles topped with fried eggs.
Weekend brunches are very popular among the expats over here, every hotel has a brunch deal for Fridays (that’s our weekend here), it’s practically a rite of passage when you move here.
After the gym and a quick shower, my beauty routine continues depending on the type of day I have planned. If I’m working from home, I just moisturize with coconut oil and leave it at that. If I have any meetings or blogger events to attend, I put on a full face of makeup. I love applying makeup, it’s my zen moment of the day. I am loving the Urban Decay Naked Skin range and everything from Colour Pop.
The Arab makeup style usually focuses on dramatic eyes- kajal (or kohl), false lashes and dramatic eyeliner- the works! We have a popular Arab brand here called Mikyajy that makes the creamiest and most pigmented kohl pencils ever, and Dubai entrepreneur Huda Kattan is known for creating one of the best false lashes line.
Then, I head to work by: I drive to all my meetings and events, my trip usually involves taking the highway, Sheikh Zayed road. If there’s an accident (there usually is), it can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.
Thanks so much for sharing, LuAnne! Are there any other Emiratis who can weigh in with their breakfast + beauty routines?