Archive for October, 2012

Turkish Delight

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

If you, like me, grew up reading the classic children’s story The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, you will remember Turkish Delight. This is the sweet treat that the White Witch gives to Edmund and uses as incentive for him to help carry out her plans.

I was always curious what it tasted like, until one day I was able to find some at Pike Place Market. I fell in love with the rose flavor – it tastes like a rose smells!

So when I noticed that the recipe seemed fairly simple, I thought I would give it a try myself. The only unique ingredient is rose water, and I was able to find this at Whole Foods (you can probably also find it at a Middle Eastern market).

Rose water is also good added to water with a bit of sugar and ice cubes. I’m excited to think about ways to incorporate it in other recipes as well!

Now I will be honest with you – I would rate the difficulty level of this recipe as intermediate at least. The first time I made it the candy turned out lumpy and hard in some places. I figured out what I was doing wrong, and the second batch (pictured) was a vast improvement. If you are going to give this a try, I would recommend researching in a couple different places and reading up on tips for success, and also be prepared that you might have to try a couple times.

The recipe I used (and it’s a good one) is located here. In addition to this, here are a couple things to keep in mind:

- I used 2 Tablespoons of rose water because I like the floral flavor
- Do not let the cornstarch mixture overcook and become too hard – cook it on low and as soon as you see it begin to thicken (even if it’s barely started boiling) begin to add the sugar
- Add the sugar very slowly, and whisk like your life depends on it

Good luck! If you make this recipe I would love to hear how it turns out for you! This is a really unique candy, and I just love the rose flavor.

I am packing now for a short trip with my church, so won’t be blogging for several days. I hope you all have a great upcoming weekend!

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Book Review: Man’s Search for Meaning

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl

Man’s Search for Meaning is a famous book – there’s a good chance you’ve heard of it. I’ve heard my dad mention principles from it for many years, and finally the other day I came to the realization that I really should read it for myself.

I’m so glad I did! I’m still processing everything, and I’ll be turning back to underlined passages for a long time to come, but I can truthfully say this book has impacted my perspective on life and living.

To give you some background: Viktor Fankl was a celebrated psychiatrist, and the founder of logotherapy (the psychotherapy which focuses on the meaningfulness of man’s existence, and his search for meaning). He was also a concentration camp survivor.

This book consists of two sections – the first is a series of stories about his experiences in concentration camp. The narrative in this first section is unique from other concentration camp books I’ve read in that he examines his own attitudes and the attitudes of others from a psychological perspective. He talks about the different phases of the mental reactions the inmates went through.

The second section is a basic explanation of logotherapy. This school of thought states that there are three experiences through which we can discover meaning: “(1) by creating a work or doing a deed; (2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; and (3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering” (133).

One of the main ideas I took away from the book as a whole is that even if everything is taken away from us (the ability to be creative, or have pleasures/enjoyment in life), there is one remaining freedom that cannot be stripped away – the freedom of how we react to our circumstances. In the camps, Viktor writes “One could make a victory of those experiences turning life into an inner triumph, or one could ignore the challenge and simply vegetate” (93).

Each person has a responsibility and calling in their life, that is uniquely their own and that only they can fulfill. Frankl writes in one section how it was forbidden to hinder inmates who attempted suicide. So instead, they worked to stop those tendencies before they turned into action. He did this by helping each person recognize the responsibility he had. One person had a child still out there in the world, another books that could only be written by him. Essentially, life as they were experiencing it was not offering them anything, but they still had something to offer life.

Logotherapy is essentially a call to action – a call to live each day fully, exerting your efforts toward the unique calling and responsibilities that you have. It’s a call to remember what you have to do, and what you ought to do (not just what you want to do).

I feel like I’m doing a somewhat clumsy job of summarizing this – I can only advise that you read the book itself! If it sounds dry in my description, just believe me that the actual book is really interesting and moves quickly. I highly recommend that you give this one a read!

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Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

My pumpkin phase is finally drawing to a close. Well, I’m still going to eat pumpkin-flavored things daily (obviously) but this is the last pumpkin recipe I’ll post on the blog for this season (maybe). In case you missed it, here are the last three pumpkin recipes I’ve posted:

Pumpkin Oatmeal

Pumpkin Ginger Cupcakes

Pumpkin Butter

I’m finishing this series with a totally delicious alternative to pumpkin pie: Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes.

This recipe was seriously so simple and fast to put together. The cake itself is hard to describe – it’s cake but scrumptiously moist and gooey. I didn’t make any alterations (I can’t think of a way this could be any better) so if you want to make this the recipe can be found here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/pumpkin-gooey-butter-cakes-recipe/index.html.

I hope you all had a good week! It went by so fast for me. Wednesday was my sister’s birthday and we had a family dinner. I love a good excuse for cheesecake and Pride and Prejudice trivia – that’s a pretty great Wednesday night in my opinion.

Anyway, happy birthday to my sister! We’re doing a girls night for a second celebration this weekend, which will include Mexican food and Pitch Perfect.  I hope you have a great weekend with fun plans, and plenty of rest too!

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Pumpkin Butter

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Hi everyone! I hope you’re having a good week so far. Mine has been busy but good.

Yesterday I stopped by Costco after work and picked up my new glasses!

I’m so excited to have these because my old ones were purchased in 2007. They were severely scratched and so loose that they would fall off every time I so much as hiccuped. These ones fit well and with the scratch-free lenses I feel like I have a new prescription!

Today has been good as well – the trees are bursting into October colors everywhere I look.

But now, down to business. It is officially pumpkin week on this blog, and today’s recipe is Pumpkin Butter.

When I posted about pumpkin oatmeal last week, my friend commented that she was thinking about adding pumpkin butter from Trader Joe’s to her oatmeal. I had never heard of such a thing so I headed over there to pick some up for myself.

I followed her example and added a dollop to my regular oatmeal and it was totally transformed! This is also good mixed with greek yogurt, and I’m sure there are so many other options.

While looking at the jar I noticed that the ingredients were very simple. You can see from the photo how short the list is.

I decided it would be a fun experiment to try to make this and share it on the blog in case any of you don’t have a Trader Joe’s in your neighborhood.

I used a recipe from Smitten Kitchen. The process was so simple! The butter turned out really well too – it wasn’t quite as smooth as the original, but the flavor was spicy, intense, and very similar.

I didn’t change anything, so I’ll send you straight over to Smitten Kitchen for the recipe: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2007/10/pumpkin-butter-and-pepita-granola/. I hope you find some way to get your hands on this stuff!

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Jessie's Kitchen Chronicles