LiterEature 101: The Handmaid’s Tale

strawberries too!Speculative fiction. Chances are the common reader won’t have heard of that term, much less know what it means. Generally, it is the umbrella term that includes all fantastic literature, including (as according to the Speculative Literature Foundation) “hard science fiction to epic fantasy to ghost stories to horror to folk and fairy tales to slipstream to magical realism to modern myth-making — and more.” It can also be used for those works that don’t contain the stereotypical characteristics of science fiction, and more so, may feel more like a future not so far off from our own. The recent books I have read have fallen under this genre, and it leaves me with a disturbed notion of what our world is capable of. That is entirely the point; certain novels set out to challenge, examine, and criticize our current social structures, tendencies, and behaviors. Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale brilliantly portrays a dystopian world that in some ways is not as far off from our own as I may have thought even a few years ago. Continue reading

A Tale of Two Dressings

Why haven’t I been eating more salad at home? I wondered this for a while as I deliberated one day about what I could eat that would leave me feeling fresh and robust without weighed down.  Naturally I would veer towards a salad or veggie medley of some kind, and yet I stared longingly at my refrigerator and whimpered at the blatant lack of greenery, as if peering into an icy industrial factory town without a rolling green hill in sight!

That was immediately rectified by the welcoming of some heads of lettuce, hearts of romaine, and little spinach babies—I became a veritable Dr. Frankenstein of the Salads.  No green leaf is safe from my conniving palette!

However, something was now missing… Ah yes, my monstrously verdant creations were lacking clothes! So with a bit of thought and adventure, I stitched up some dressings for my salads, so they wouldn’t feel the bare cold before they befell their fate within my tickled-pink tummy.  Most of the time a simple olive oil-lemon combo is all one needs, with a dash of salt and pepper, but let’s face it, that gets boring.  So here I’m just sharing two of my quick fixes for a light pizzazz for salad (as I write this I’m already planning something else for tonight, a zesty spicy tang, but that’s for another post). Continue reading

Zesty Strawberry Cake

While I still work on developing the new direction for my site, I have a not-so-secret confession to make.  I adore peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.  What is it about the ultimate combination of savory rich PB and sweet sticky jelly/jam/or my personal favorite, preserves, slathered not too generously on soft multigrain bread that provides incomparable comfort and satisfaction?  As adults, people might look at it as a strictly childhood lunch, but I still enjoy it to my heart’s delight.

Of course I’ve expanded my tastebuds to utilize both PB and J/J/P individually (usually in decadent PB smoothies, PB an apples, or PB on a spoon!–my favorite, and by far the easiest)… and this past weekend I decided that jams are too good to use only as a decadent topper on breads.  Instead, I incorporated the strawberry jam I have at home into a moist cake recipe, making it even softer, meltier, and just downright heavenly.  I’d love to get other flavors and really experiment with fruits but for now I kept it straightforward.  And though I screwed up the icing a bit (considering I had no idea what I was doing there), it till tasted splendid too.  Even the hubby-bubby was surprised at how tasty this dessert was.

worst photo ever of a delicious cake

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