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27.11.14

Thanksgiving Menu 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! And if you don't celebrate, then happy Thursday!

I just wanted to take a minute to wish you all a happy day. I think Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays to celebrate. I know it would seem kind of obvious as it is THE foodie holiday but I appreciate the time it forces us to take to think about all we are grateful for. 
This past year has been the most... trying for me. And for my family. So focusing on the positive is something I should probably think of doing more often. haha

Anyways! I'm going to share my Thanksgiving Menu with you. It's nothing incredibly special and then to some of you it may seem excessive (especially in the desserts department) but I sincerely just want to satiate every kind of palette we might find from our guests today... and I might be a bit excited as my mom and sister are arriving today from Miami! *happy dance*

We were thinking of breaking the traditional Thanksgiving menu this year, but.... no. That just couldn't happen because my anxiety might have acted up (and maybe my sister's and mom's would, too) so we just decided to slightly deviate from tradition for the turkey and leave the accompaniments and desserts as traditional as we are used to having them, any way.


Thanksgiving Menu 2014

Appetizer
Assorted Cheese Display featuring Brie en Croute with local honey and sliced almonds, Seared Halloumi Cheese, and a creamy Turkish Goat's Milk Cheese
Served with an accompaniment of homemade pita crisps, pomegranate seeds and a sweet walnut and grape candy

Main Entree
Turkish Dried Beef Sausage-Stuffed Turkey with a Lemon and Herb Marinade

Sides
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Caramelized Brown Sugar and Marshmallow Sweet Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole with Roasted Mushrooms and Fried Shallots
Traditional Dressing with Mushrooms, Beef Sausage and Sauteed Celery
Black Pepper Drop Biscuits

Desserts
Creamed Cheese Flan
Chocolate-Caramel Pecan Pie
Deconstructed Cheesecake with Macerated Strawberries


What are you cooking/eating for your Thanksgiving feast (or are eating on this lovely Thursday) this year?


If you're interested, I've been uploading a ridiculous amount of pictures from my cooking and baking adventures so I'll link it below if you want to check it out.


&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club: Vampirebookclub.net
Book Depository Affiliate: bookdepository.com


Until next time-


-Jannelle

26.11.14

Holiday Recipe | Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Hello & happy Wednesday!

Like I am assuming some of you have been doing, I have been getting myself and our NYC apartment ready for a Thanksgiving Feast. While I will not be posting any of my Thanksgiving recipes this year (aside from my flan recipe that I posted earlier this year and will be featured as one of my desserts), I was skimming through The Pioneer Woman's blog and found this fantastic pumpkin cinnamon roll recipe. 

While it's not for Thanksgiving, I made it and froze it to heat up for the morning after. Because after the craziness of Thanksgiving, I just wanted something simple and delicious - and what's better than homemade cinnamon rolls that were made ahead of time?

I have followed the recipe almost exactly, except for some minor adaptations :)

And so as not to confuse you with pictures and the recipe written in between, the full recipe is at the end of the post - but you are more than welcome to use the pictures as reference - they were posted in the order of the recipe!

























Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Yield: 24 rolls

Don't let the long list of ingredients scare you - most of the ingredients are repeats within the different components of the cinnamon roll making process. They are also ingredients that you will (most likely) have on hand.

Ingredient List
DOUGH:
  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 package (or 2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (from the can is great)
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup (additional) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (heaping - so overflowing the teaspoon) of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
FILLING:
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 (hefty) cup of chopped pecans
FROSTING:
  • 8 ounces (one package) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 pound powdered (confectioner's) sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole milk 
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • dash of salt
*extra flour, for rolling out the dough
*extra milk, for thinning the frosting
*extra butter, for lining the baking pans

*extra 1/4 cup chopped pecans to sprinkle on top of the finished cinnamon rolls

Prep
The Dough:
  • Combine the 1 1/2 cup whole milk, 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, and 1/2 sugar in a large saucepan and heat over medium heat. You will be using this pan to mix all of the ingredients for the cinnamon rolls so you want to be sure that it is large enough to hold everything.
  • When the mixture is hot (but not boiling), remove the pan from the stovetop and let it cool until the mixture is warm to the touch but not hot. 
  • Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the warm mixture; wait 5 minutes and stir in the pumpkin puree so that it's well-combined.
  • Mix together the 4 cups of flour with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon of ginger; combine this mixture with the pumpkin mixture in the saucepan until it just comes together. Cover it with a kitchen towel and set it in a warm spot in your kitchen where there is no draft for 1 hour.
  • After the hour, the dough should have doubled in size. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1/2 cup of flour until it is totally combined. Set aside to get started on the filling.
Making the Rolls:
  • Preheat the oven to 375 F,
  • Drizzle some of the melted butter on to 2 9-inch cake pans and spread so that the sides of the pans are well-coated. I only had to use 2 9-inch cake pans but you can expand it to 3 9-inch cake pans (which is what the Pioneer Woman originally suggested) to give the cinnamon rolls some space in between... I just like them snug and pretty close together.
  • Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and press into a rectangle shape. Make sure you flour your rolling pin and the top of the dough, as well, with the flour. This will help prevent the dough from sticking.
  • Roll out to approximately 10 inches x 30 inches.
  • Once rolled out, drizzle the stick of melted butter along the surface of the dough. You can also help spread it out easily by using your fingers to make sure it is spread evenly.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar and the cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Once well-combined, sprinkle the mixture evenly along the top of the rolled out dough.
  • Then sprinkle the cup of finely chopped pecans along the surface (evenly) and lightly press it down into the dough.
  • Using a light hand in a typewriter method, slowly roll the dough onto itself in classic cinnamon roll fashion, towards you, until it is completely rolled up. I also pinch together the ends with the rest of the dough and roll it so the seam is down (makes it easier to cut). You can see my video on Instagram for an in-depth look at how I rolled it, here.
  • Slice 1/2-3/4 inch slices and place them in the buttered pan,  Cover with the kitchen towel and allow the rolls to rise in the pan for 20 minutes.
  • Place the rolls (uncovered, of course) in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes or until the rolls have a light golden brown color.
Making the Frosting:
  • Simply combine all of the frosting ingredients and whisk until there are no lumps and you have created a light, fluffy mixture. IF you feel like your frosting is too thin, add a teaspoon of milk at a time until you have reached your desired consistency.
  • Once the cinnamon rolls are cooked and out of the oven, ice them with the frosting mixture while they are still hot. Make sure to split the frosting mixture evenly among the pans you have used. 
  • Sprinkle with the remaining chopped pecans and  you are done :)
Since I cooked mine ahead of time, I let them cool down completely (after I placed the icing and pecans on top) and then covered it in plastic wrap with toothpicks sticking up to prevent the plastic from sticking to the icing, and froze it.

I will be serving the pumpkin cinnamon rolls the day after Thanksgiving as a sweet breakfast treat so I will just place it in a 350 F oven uncovered for approximately 30 minutes until they are heated through (I'm not trying to cook them here, just warm them through).


I hope you enjoyed my Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll adaptation - I baked one roll on the side to taste it and oh man is it delicious. Let me know if you will be cooking anything special on Thanksgiving or the day after!



&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club: Vampirebookclub.net
Book Depository Affiliate: bookdepository.com


Until next time-


-Jannelle

23.11.14

Spotlight Sunday #3: Doughnuts at Dough in New York, NY

Hello & happy Sunday!


In the spirit of celebrating another glutonous Sunday, I found myself surrounded by the most deliciously decadent doughnuts NYC has to offer.


After an extremely thorough look through the Manhattan shop of Dough Donuts, my friend Michelle and I decided on these eight flavors - 


chocolate salted caramel, passion fruit*, pumpkin, early grey*, hibiscus*, glazed, lemon ginger* and a dulce de leche filled donut with chocolate ganache and toasted coconut.

*denotes a favorite


We created a sample of the four I selected along with the four she selected and had a mini donut party at the table in the shop... THIS IS HEAVEN.


If you take a trip to this lovely city -or happen to live here - you need to pass by Dough. They have a shop in Brooklyn and the newest shop is in Manhattan.


Restaurant Info.:
Name: Dough
Specialty: Doughnuts :)
Location(s): Brooklyn - 448 Lafayette avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205
Flatiron District - 14 W. 19 ST New York, NY 10011



Any other restaurants/cafe's you think I need to try?


&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club: Vampirebookclub.net
Book Depository Affiliate: bookdepository.com


Until next time-


-Jannelle

14.11.14

Book Review | A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Hello & TGIF!

I've been pretty absent over the last week or so because the NYC weather is attacking my immune system and while I have been dying to read and post reviews, well... let's just be real. It wasn't happening.


So I decided to write a brief review on A Discovery of Witches (which I loved) and I might have already done a BookTube review of it. You can see the video here:


Here is the blurb for A Discovery of Witches:
A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together. 

Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.


A Discovery of Witches reminds me of Dan Brown's Robert Langdon Series - Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code, etc. - in the sense that it encompasses so many different genres and creates what you assume to be a wide variety of side story lines that in fact are all seamlessly related.
The only negative I can say about this novel is the incredibly long introduction to the world that spans over half the novel (about some 250 odd pages). The first half is not boring (as I was able to continue reading without falling asleep) - and I understand why Harkness created that slow build-up - but I'm an action and fast-paced book lover so I was dying for it to pick up.
Good news: once you pass that halfway point, it's literary gold. Revelation after revelation along with all of the story lines slowly coming together... I couldn't put it down.
A Discovery of Witches is definitely on my top 10 list of Books I Have Read In 2014.


Basic info. about this book:

Name: A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1)
Author: Deborah Harkness
Review Source: Purchased
Publishing Company: Penguin Group
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Fantasy, Mystery, Fiction, Romance
Rating (out of 5): 4.5

Recommend? Yes!

Where it can be purchased: The Book Depository 

Author online: goodreads


Have you read A Discovery of Witches or any/all of the books in the All Souls Trilogy? 


&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club: Vampirebookclub.net
Book Depository Affiliate: bookdepository.com


Until next time-


-Jannelle

7.11.14

Book Review | Spice by Seressia Glass

Hello & TGIF!
If you hadn't noticed, I've been on kind of a reading binge lately and I'm going to take advantage of the free time I have until this reading high wears off. This means I space out a lot more than usual and I will be writing a lot more book reviews - yay!

Today I'm going to be reviewing Spice by Seressia Glass which is book number 1 in the Sugar and Spice series.



Here's the blurb on the back of the book:
Temptation comes in many flavors…… 

Nadia Spiceland works in the business of temptation. The confections she crafts at the Sugar and Spice Bakery and CafĂ© lure in the locals. But one customer is interested in more than just her delectable sticky buns……

Kane Sullivan teaches human sexuality at the nearby college, where coeds are clamoring for seats in his lectures. Nadia is reluctant to his advances, yet she also has needs. Who better to fulfill them than the man who’s referred to as “Dr. Sex” by his female students?

Soon Kane creates a hunger in Nadia that nothing can satiate. It weakens her, and that’s something she cannot risk. Not again. But Kane’s masterful touch might just be powerful enough to melt her heart—and free her to trust again……

Now, I have a serious problem with erotic romances - not because I don't appreciate the sex factor (because I totally do). The problem is that I find more and more of the books in this genre to be kind of cheesy and superficial. Luckily for me, Spice was not one of them. For reasons listed below, Spice appealed to me and I was honestly glued to my kindle screen until I finished the book.

I loved Nadia's backstory. While I cannot give it all away (because that is part of the fun in reading this book), I can say that Nadia is suffering from a drug addiction she dealt with years ago and this attempt at a relationship with Kane is the first time she's been out on the prowl since the incident. With the help of her friends (who I should mentioned are all dealing with some type of addiction) so far, Nadia has been recovering well except this part of her life hovers over her new life every day. Being aware of her inner struggle made it an all the more interesting story by creating an entirely different story line (as a back drop to the main one) - as we slowly discover the depth of the travesty Nadia faced at the peak of her addiction.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the connection between Nadia and Kane and the development of this relationship. There are semi-heavy BDSM elements in the novel without the scary whip and chains that people like to shy away from. It was just enough to have me become aware of the trust issues/sacrifices that they were both making in order to open up for the other. It was kind of sweet - and entirely sexy.

Overall, a steady-paced plot, hot sexy times and hilarious relatable characters made me give this book 4 out of 5 stars. If you're into Erotic Contemporary Romance with a dash of some BDSM woven through it, Spice is the book for you.


Basic info. about this book:

Name: Spice (Sugar & Spice #1)
Author: Seressia Glass
Review Source: Provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Publishing Company: Berkley Trade
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Erotic
Rating (out of 5): 4.0

Recommend? Yes!

Where it can be purchased: The Book Depository 

Author online: goodreads 


Hope you enjoyed my review & will definitely be back soon :)


&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club: Vampirebookclub.net
Book Depository Affiliate: bookdepository.com


Until next time-


-Jannelle

6.11.14

The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse: A Cookbook & Culinary Survival Guide | Blog Tour

Hello & welcome back - 

I'm happy to announce that Jannelle Reads is hosting the ZPOC Eating Blog Tour today!

I'm going to be sharing with you all a recipe from The Art of Eating Through The Zombie Apocalypse: A Cookbook & Culinary Survival Guide




CHOOSE YOUR OWN GRILLED CHEESE ADVENTURE:

I have a profound love for all things cheesy and most especially, grilled cheeses. In this hilarious and frighteningly informational cookbook/survival guide, we are given a wide array of fillers to choose from for a delicious grilled cheese sandwich.

Here are some quick tips Lauren Wilson has shared with us for making grilled cheese in the zombie apocalypse:
  • Use grated cheese if available
  • Try to achieve the right bread to cheese ratio - not too much cheese or too much bread here ; trim the bread if necessary
  • Spread your fat of choice (butter, oil, back fat) on the bread, not on the pan 
  • Try to use a nonstick pan to prevent from sticking
  • Press the sandwich down while it's cooking
  • Keep the heat medium-low to prevent from burning ; Low & slow
  • Let the sandwich cool for a few minutes before eating it - it will taste better & you won't burn yourself ... we're trying to survive here, people!

The whole point of this is to be creative and use what you have & I have everything that I need to make a pizza but I'm making a grilled cheese instead! Here's the recipe:


What I used:

Bread: Turkish Pide Bread, cut in half

Spread: Marinara sauce

Cheese(s): Fresh mozarella & Jalapeno jack 

Flavor Bomb(s): sauteed mushrooms with garlic

Fat of choice: Olive Oil for the outside of the bread

I started off by cutting my mushrooms since cooking them would take the longest

Added about a tablespoon of oil to the pan and the grated garlic right away - don't let the oil get hot because you will probably burn the garlic

Added the mushroom and cooked for 3-4 minutes on medium until the mushrooms were soft and fully cooked. Set aside and let them cool


Start getting your other ingredients ready while the mushrooms cool...


To start building our grilled cheese sandwich, start by applying your sauce

This was how I layered mine: Mozarella on the bottom, topping it with the mushrooms and adding a thin layer of pepperjack cheese

I brushed the olive oil on both sides of the bread.
Then cook on medium-low heat for about 2-3 minutes until the bread is golden brown in color (like this^). Make sure to press it down.

Final product: deliciousness in or out of a Zombie Apocalypse


** & while I didn't do this, a great sweet grilled cheese alternative would be white cheddar, honey and slice almonds on some olive bread (or grain bread if you're not into olives) - sounds different but I promise it will be delicious**

Basic info. about this book:

Name: The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse: A Cookbook & Culinary Survival Guide
Author: Lauren Wilson
Review Source: Provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Publishing Company: BenBella Books
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Genre: Cookbook, Survival Guide, SciFi?
Rating (out of 5): 4.5

Recommend? Yes!

Where it can be purchased: The Book Depository 

Author online: goodreads 

& now I guess you can say that I am a ZPOC Eating SURVIVOR


Be sure to pick up your copy today and if you're interested, be sure to follow Lauren Wilson on twitter. Her username is @LaurenDoesThis which I will link to here.


&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club: Vampirebookclub.net
Book Depository Affiliate: bookdepository.com

Until next time-
-Jannelle

5.11.14

Short Book Review | Breaking out by Lydia Michaels

Hello & happy Wednesday!

Today I wanted to continue my reviews of the Surrender Trilogy by Lydia Michaels with the second book in the series: Breaking Out.



This review makes references to previous installments in the Surrender Trilogy. If you haven't read or are interested in the first novel -Falling In- you can read a review here.

Here is the blurb found on the back of the book:
Evelyn “Scout” Keats has left behind her painful past of surviving on the streets, and is now living in the luxurious penthouse master suite of Hotel Patras with her lover, billionaire Lucian Patras. But what she doesn’t know is the price Lucien paid for her freedom.

To protect Scout’s life, Lucian cut a deal with a dangerous man from her past, Parker Hughes. He swore to stay away from her for thirty days, even though he knows Parker will be fighting to keep them apart for good and take Scout as his own.

Yet neither man realizes that Scout is not about to be used as a prize or a bargaining chip for any man’s power play—and she falls back on her hard-earned self-respect and courage to show both men that the only person she truly needs is herself.

But Lucian has other plans…
 


After the bargain Lucian made with Parker at the end of Falling In, it is safe to say that Lucian is on the edge. Scout is aware of something being off with his personality but is completely oblivious as to what is bothering him. Parker also decides to take a hiatus from her life while he gets his effects in order and Scout is again oblivious as to where he is and why he has disappeared.
I was so angry at Lucian and Parker in this one. Who the hell does Parker think he is? And why the hell does Lucian even keep his end of the bargain? Hello, you don't play with a woman's heart and mind like this.
Evelyn, as always, is my favorite. She has so much pride and strength that I might have had to (silently) applaud a decision or two.
Lucian and Evelyn's relationship also becomes stronger and deeper in Breaking Out - get ready for some heavy sexy times and a deep connection that translates into every sexual scene and had me glued to the page.
Breaking Out was my favorite of the three installments in the Surrender Trilogy- the unpredictability of the story line and a strong connection with Evelyn after the end of Falling In helped capture my completely emotional attention.


Basic info. about this book:

Name: Breaking Out (Surrender Trilogy #1)
Author: Lydia Michaels
Review Source: Provided by Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Publishing Company: Berkley Trade
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Erotic
Rating (out of 5): 4.5

Recommend? Yes!

Where it can be purchased: The Book Depository 

Author online: goodreads 



So, that's my review!
I hope you enjoyed it and I will be seeing you tomorrow with a special blog tour Thursday Mash-Up. :)



&& here is where you can find me on the interwebz:
Vampire Book Club: Vampirebookclub.net
Book Depository Affiliate: bookdepository.com


Until next time-


-Jannelle

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