7 Quick Takes Friday (and Chocolate-Coconut Ice Cream)

7 Quick Takes Friday (and Chocolate-Coconut Ice Cream)

— 1 —

I finally got on the facebook wagon this week and was shocked at how….fun it was. I reserved the user name a couple of months ago but had been putting off actually launching the page because of the potential time-suck factor of another social media site. I just started up with twitter earlier this month, and figured it was time to take the facebook plunge.

It’s so much fun to interact with you on social media. I love seeing what you pin, and your facebook comments and tweets, and thinking, “I would love to know her in real life.” I wish I could! I’ve gotten to meet a few of you in real life, and hope to meet many more in the future. But whether we get to meet IRL or not, I am thrilled, honored, humbled, and pumped to have such delightful readers.  I’m so glad you’re here!

— 2 —

I had a burst of inspiration this week when I read this post about making a customized planner, and realized–I haven’t the faintest idea where my planner is.  No wonder I’m so disorganized these days:  I lost my planner months ago, probably before summer even began, and haven’t bothered to find or replace it.  So I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants for a few months, making do with occasional “to do” and “must remember!” lists scratched on the back of old envelopes.

I don’t like flying by the seat of my pants. This is me:

photo credit: Paul G via Hayley Marie on Pinterest

I’ve used Jessica’s planner template printables in the past with some success, so this week I blocked out an hour to put together an updated planner for myself.   (I’m trying out her blogger pack, too.  I’ll let you know how that goes.)

I feel more organized already.  (Insert big sigh of relief here.)

— 3 —

Oktoberfest is in full swing in Germany right now.  I’ve never been to Oktoberfest, which would be fine (after all, I don’t drink beer, I don’t do crowds), but for a near-miss in 2001, when I missed attending Oktoberfest by one day.

We were stranded in Europe after trying to fly home from Prague on September 11.  The World Trade Center was hit while we over the Atlantic, and since our plane had enough gas to make it back to our departure city, we got routed back to Prague.  We were issued new tickets to return home after U.S. airspace was reopened, but the first available flight was two whole weeks away.  We headed to Germany to pass the time.

Oktoberfest starts on a Saturday, and we were originally set to fly home the following Monday, but after daily calls to the Czech Air office, we were finally able to bump our flight up two days to Saturday morning.  We were desperate to get home by then, and left Munich on the night train just hours before Oktoberfest started.  The city was ready for the festival:  we toured the grounds, we peeked in the tents, we took our photos under the “Wilkommen Zum Oktoberfest!” banner.

But we’ve never actually been to Oktoberfest, which is why I was pleased to read in Slate this week that many Germans proudly declare that they have never been and will never go to Oktoberfest.  Maybe I should reframe:  we’re not tourists with poorly-timed travel plans.  We’re real-Germans-at-heart.  Or that’s what I’m trying to convince my husband of.  (But even after 10 years, he’s not buying.)

— 4 —

Keeping up with local news is not a priority for me.  Unless the topic is important enough to be addressed in the top 5 minutes of the radio news hour, I probably won’t find out about.  I thought this was a matter of personal preference, and was stunned to see The Other 8 Hours denounce “local news of any kind in any form” as “one of the most egregious LifeLeeches you’ll experience.”  “It’s a complete waste of time and it is harmful to your sense of well-being.”

Wow.  What do you think?

— 5 —

photo credit: Urban Farmgirl via Jodi on Pinterest

We’ve known for years that our daughters have dairy allergies, but we thought they’d outgrown them.  But spring and summer brought recurrent bellyaches that we finally traced back to gluten and dairy, so we’ve been progressively eliminating those things from our diets.  This is tough, because although we eat pretty healthy around here, ice cream is our go-to guilty pleasure.  I’ve tried SoDelicious, and it’s very good but costs $6 a pint–ouch!  We have an ice cream maker and I’m determined to find some delicious homemade dairy-free options.  Tonight we got off to a good start.  Here’s a delicious recipe for chocolate-coconut ice cream, adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz.  (He’s a fun and funny food writer who’s written several wonderful dessert cookbooks and blogs here.)

Chocolate-Coconut Ice Cream

  • 1 can coconut milk (about 1 2/3 cups.  I used Chaokoh; any brand will work, just don’t use light or low-fat)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • pinch salt
  • 5 oz chocolate (I used Ghirardelli bittersweet chips.  Next time I will use actual bar chocolate and not chips for better meltability)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine sugar and water in saucepan and heat long enough to melt sugar.  Add chocolate and stir to melt.  Add salt, coconut milk and vanilla.  Chill mixture and process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.

Everyone loved it except–ironically–the child with the strongest dairy allergy.  She ate half her serving before giving it to her brother.  She said it tasted too much like coffee.

— 6 —

Readers, I admire your taste. Your book recommendations have been fabulous; now can you tell me a good movie to rent this weekend? My husband would especially appreciate a good film because he has gamely sat through two different versions of Jane Austen’s Persuasion with me this week, and we need a change of pace.

(If you happen to believe in the Raising Arizona litmus test, I hate Raising Arizona.)

— 7 —

Have a great weekend!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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  1. Laura @ Show Me A Day says:

    The new Jane Eyre is great, but I felt the partial martyrdom my husband underwent during it (my comment about how they left out the obvious castration symbolism at the end didn’t help).

    Perhaps … The King’s Speech?

    Or, the forever man classic, Gladiator?

    • Anne says:

      Okay, so maybe not the best choice for a joint viewing. I do want to see the new Jane Eyre…just not this weekend I think!

      We both loved The King’s Speech. I don’t think either of us has seen Gladiator. That would balance out all the Jane Austen nicely!

  2. Audrey says:

    I don’t agree with The Other 8 Hours author about the local news. I’m not good about consistently following local news either, and I do think much of it is repetitive, but if you totally shut yourself off to it, how would you know about issues affecting your local community?

    For example, this week in my community, the city council voted on a budget that reduced library hours and staff, and the new major laid off a number of city employees, some of whom I know professionally. And recently, my news station listed what restaurants were temporarily shut down due to roach infestations (and I’ve been to some of those, ewww). It’s important to me to know about these issues.

    • Anne says:

      Roach infestations? Ew. Yes, I’d say that’s worth knowing about! I listen to the brief local news synopsis twice a day, almost every day. Maybe Pagliarini thinks that’s a wasted 10 minutes everyday, but I also want to keep tabs on the big issues in my community. Good examples.

  3. Linda says:

    The very first time I found your blog I wanted to tweet your post about secrets. You didn’t have a Facebook or a twitter, now look at you!

    As for local news. I don’t focus on it too much but I do know it’s important to help your community in times of crises. I was super glued to local news when our very close neighbor, Bastrop, TX was on fire for a good week!

    • Anne says:

      We were super-glued to your local news, too. I can’t believe the pictures out of Bastrop. We have a family member there, and his house is now a pile of dust and a couple of stone support walls. Crazy.

      And yeah, it’s fun to join the 21st century 🙂

  4. Christine says:

    I have to share this movie idea with you, “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” was so different from the standard movie. I hadn’t heard of it until my hubby and I watched it two weekends ago. We loved it. It wasn’t the regular fast pace, guy movie, but it wasn’t a chick flick either. It was a little of a slow start, but it turned out to be a gem. If you are at all interested in a tearjerker that even a man can love, check it out. As for us, we have a family movie night with “Yogi Bear” in store this weekend. Have fun!

  5. Audrey says:

    Have you ever made banana ice cream? All you do is put sliced frozen bananas in a food processor and blend, blend, blend (sometimes I have to add a splash of liquid to get things moving). It will eventually turn into a thick, sweet and creamy dessert. You can also add in some vanilla extract, cocoa powder, sweetener (if your bananas aren’t very sweet), peanut butter, or other fruits.

    That’s interesting about the news, to a certain extent I feel it’s important to stay up-to-date and engaged on what’s happening, but another part of me avoids it like the plague. Often it just makes me feel really worried and anxious, so I don’t usually seek the news out.

    I also know that there are a ton of coconut based ice cream recipes out there (here is one for Salted Caramel Pretzel: http://chefchloe.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=110%3Asalted-caramel-pretzel-ice-cream&Itemid=14&tmpl=component&print=1 and here is one for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough: http://ieattrees.com/lick-it-chocolate-chip-cookie-dough-vegan-ice-cream/). I have an ice cream maker and really need to put it to use in making some of these! There are also a couple of recipe books designated soley to non-dairy ice creams (Lick It! and The Vegan Scoop are two that I know of).

    Have you seen Life is Beautiful, The Pianist, Bella, or Valkyrie? Those are some of my favorite newer movies (hm, I guess I like WWII films!). I also loved The Young Victoria but I’m not sure if your husband would. If you like older films, I could make a ton of suggestions– such as courtroom dramas (Judgment at Nuremberg, Witness for the Prosecution, 12 Angry Men), film noirs (Laura, Out of the Past, Road House, On the Waterfront), thrillers (Charade, Rear Window, To Catch a Thief), etc. I know some people aren’t really into those, though I personally love them.

    • Anne says:

      Thanks for the recipe links! I should look into The Vegan Scoop.

      For the films, I’ve seen Life is Beautiful and all the thrillers, but none of the rest. I will definitely check those out!

  6. Mary says:

    Might be too late in the year for watermelon, but this stuff is so good, even if I am shamelessly promoting my pretty much defunct blog by saying so:


    We watch lots of movies here. We’re sort of in the same situation as you: watched some Jane Austen and now it’s my husband’s turn for something a little more manly. I usually don’t like action flicks but I did enjoy Limitless. Also the original Star Wars movies. 🙂

    • Anne says:

      Hey, we still had watermelons at our farmers’ market last weekend!

      The original Star Wars are a good idea! Never heard of Limitless; I’ll have to check it out!

  7. HopefulLeigh says:

    The Raising Arizona litmus test? I’ve never heard of that and I’m not sure I’ve even seen the movie. I don’t know what that says about me. What about Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Last Chance Harvey, Dan in Real Life, heard great things about Everything Must Go. Happy watching!

    • Anne says:

      The RA litmus test is some film critics’ old idea. (I wish I could find a google reference but I’m coming up empty.) The idea is that if two people agree on the merits of Raising Arizona, they’re likely to agree on 95% of other film choices.

      I loved Miss Pettigrew (it’s a fun book, too!); haven’t seen any of the others. I’ll check them out! So excited to have so many good ideas!

  8. Yan says:

    Local news is likely to affect me more immediately than national news, so yes, I pay attention. I hate watching television news, though — that does feel like a waste of time. The DRAMA of minor incidents is so overplayed, and issues like the library hours Audrey mentioned above don’t play well visually and are given short shrift. The local newspaper is where it’s at, both for knowledge and time management.

    But dairy-free ice cream in the ice cream maker is super easy and fun. I’m a huge fan of Wheeler del Toro’s book, The Vegan Scoop. Even his brownies are easy and good. Vegan baking is by far the easiest way to get dairy-free desserts — just substituting a non-dairy milk works in normal recipes about 75-85% of the time, but in some cases there’s something about the way milk bakes. I’d suggest Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, too, although it’s totally addictive. (Also, as a dairy-intolerant person, bellyaches sounds like an intolerance rather than a true allergy, which is good since cross-contamination isn’t an issue).

    I got some great movie recs in the comments. A personal favorite of mine is still Amelie, which men seem to like despite it being generally a romance.

  9. 'Becca says:

    I almost never watch TV news (local or otherwise) because it seems to have lost all sense of proportion. I balance the amount of news in my life by subscribing to the Sunday newspaper only and reading the headlines on other days when I pass a vending box. If a headline looks really interesting, I can look up the story online. I think it’s important to know some of what is happening locally, but it is possible to overload on car accidents and city-council politics.

    An excellent but little-known movie is The Bread, My Sweet, released on video as A Wedding for Bella. Very honest, interesting human drama.

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