Category Archives: Breakfast

Healthy Whole-Wheat Nectarine Bread

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Quick! Run to the grocery store and buy a nectarine!  You’ll need it to make this.I’d love to share a slice of this with you from the loaf I just made but I’m afraid that’s not possible. Why? Because this bread is going, going…Gone.

I hope you’ve stopped reading this post for a second to run to the store to buy a nectarine. Or a whole bushel so you can make a loaf of this stuff every day. Trust me, you’ll want to. And you won’t feel a single morsel of guilt eating the whole loaf while you’re home alone for the day a few slices because this bread is super healthy. Whole-wheat  flour and sweet morsels of nectarine are united in this bread to create a bread that packs the heartiness of honest-to-goodness whole-wheat, and the delicate notes of fresh fruit. It’s the best of both worlds; filling yet delicate in the same bite.

I usually wouldn’t urge anyone to make a bread recipe. I mean seriously, bread?? I’m usually not the biggest fan of bread (unless it’s my grandma’s loaded, homemade, fresh-from-the-garden zucchini bread, or my other grandma’s decadent walnut-date bread – either of those I could easily eat in one sitting). But this bread that I made today is really, really good. I dunked a few slices into some vanilla yogurt and slathered some peanut butter on top of another chunk. This bread would be perfect as a wholesome breakfast when paired with some yogurt, a post-workout snack when matched with some protein-packed peanut butter and maybe a drizzle of honey, by itself as a snack, or warmed up for dessert and served with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream. I guess you guys all know what my diet’s going to look like the next few days: this bread for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. But before I proceed to eat this for the rest of the week, I’ll have to make another loaf. Here’s the recipe so you can make one too!

Healthy Whole-Wheat Nectarine Bread
Ingredients
1 cup whole-wheat flour (I used Hodgson Mill’s Whole-Wheat Flour because they grind their wheat in a way that preserves all the good stuff)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 tablespoons milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 nectarine, chopped into small chunks
How To
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients (from flour to sugar). Stir the ingredients so that they are mixed well.
3. Add the ‘wet ingredients’ (from apple sauce to vanilla extract). Mix batter well.
4. Last, add the chopped up nectarine and gently fold the pieces in.
5. Spray a bread pan with cooking spray and then pour the batter into the pan. Bake the bread in the 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Stick a thin knife or a toothpick into the center of the bread to check if it is done. Then, gather your friends and family around and serve up a slice of goodness.
If you’re not too busy whippin’ this bread up yet, I’d just like to say that I apologize for the lack of book-related material on here lately. I haven’t been in the mood to write about books on here for the past couple weeks because I’m in the middle of research for school. Research=writing tons and TONS about books. I’m currently reading A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway which is plenty of book-action for me write now. I hope you caught that last pun. While I am sorry for not providing any book-insight lately, I’m glad to present you with recipes like this one. Hope you love it!

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Snacker Day Saturday: 6/16

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This snacker day is going to be a little different than usual. I’ve got a new drink recipe to share with you, but mostly I just want to spend a little time reviewing the smoothie recipes I’ve worked really hard to come up with all week. Also, I’ve got something to celebrate – read on to see why I’ve got a big smile plastered on my face right now.

First, I’ll go ahead and give up my recipe for the day. I’ve got no pictures to go with this (sorrryyyy), but trust me – this smoothie is so good that if you make it, you’ll guzzle it down before you even have a chance to look at it. Or realize it’s got 3 cups of spinach in it. What??

I got the idea for this smoothie from one of my favorite bloggers Angela, at Oh She Glows. She always raves about these “Green Monsters” that she drinks. There are SO many different variations that she makes that I was overwhelmed by options! And of course, when confronted with a recipe, I of course ran away from it and came up with my own concoction. It’s FULL of some of the best foods you can put into your body, tastes like dessert, and I drink it all up for breakfast. Is there any better way to start the day?

Lean Green Breakfast Machine
Ingredients
1 banana (frozen and sliced)
1 cup blueberries (frozen)
3 cups spinach
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Ice if needed
Sweetener if needed
How To
1. Blend it all up and soak up the goodness!!

I hope you enjoy trying that smoothie out this Saturday. There’s no better to start a weekend morning than by energizing yourself with healthy foods and feeling great about the way you start your day! I’ve been drinking variations of this smoothie for a week now for breakfast and am often tempted to repeat the smoothie for lunch and dinner. Buuuuuut, life might get a little boring if this was all I consumed, so here’s a quick recap of some other great cool-drink concoctions you can try for these hot summer days. And keep reading…the exciting snacker day news is on the way!

Tropical Dreamsicle Smoothies
Reminiscent of a classic orange creamsicle treat, these smoothies will have both kids and adults screaming for the dream.

Mock Mojito Slushies
Tantalizing and tart, these slushies will add some pep to your step and a burst of citrus to your tastebuds.
Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie
Seasonal strawberries star in this smoothie.

Sparkling Watermelon Lemonade on the Rocks
The title says it all!

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie
Tall, dark, and handsome? Try tall glass, rich dark chocolate, and a good lookin’ bunch of fresh cherries.

It’s been a fun week for me making all of these smoothies. I can say that I’m 100% hydrated after sippin’ on all of these drinks, and probably have had my fill of fruits for the week. Each drink has a unique flavor, and I really love the versatility that exists in this list.

Before I leave you to have a great weekend, I want to ANNOUNCE MY EXCITING NEWS! I’d just like to thank all of you who use Pinterest and have been pinning my Squash Chips. Remember these when I made them at the end of March?

Since I posted the recipe, I’ve had 37,489 views of the recipe. Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected a little squash chip experiment in my apartment kitchen to reach so many people. That’s what I love about blogging – the ability to connect with people you might not otherwise have the chance to. So, in short, thank you readers!!!! You make blogging so much fun! I love hearing your ideas, suggestions, feedback, and encouragement. Hope you have a fantastic Snacker Day Saturday and a great rest of the weekend.

Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries

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Or in our case, it’s a bowl of chocolate-covered cherries. In smoothie form. If the idea of plump cherries diving into a bowl of decadent chocolate isn’t enough to make you smile about life for a second, then you should probably just give up on this recipe now. But if you’re like me, and love the idea of a super secretly healthy treat appearing as a great big bowl of rich cherries and chocolate, then stick around.

This recipe is great used as a substitution for dessert, a really great sweet snack in the middle of the afternoon, or if you just want an excuse to eat chocolate covered cherries for breakfast. Whatever floats your boat! I enjoyed a huge bowl of this stuff after I came home really hungry from an event I went to. I topped my smoothie with a huge dollop of Greek Yogurt (what a shock, right?), and some sliced cherries. The blend of textures and flavors added great dimension to the smoothie. Finding the fresh cherries that began to sink into the melting mess of smoothie and yogurt was like scooping out the biggest cookie chunks in a pint of cookies ‘n cream ice cream. You know that feeling, right?

I highly recommend this as a decadent smoothie treat. It tastes heavier than some smoothies, but the ingredients are super healthy and light, meaning that this is definitely a guilt-free bowl of goodness. Feel free to sip the smoothie out of a glass like a normal person, but I’ll go right on ahead and eat this smoothie out of a bowl.

Here’s the recipe for this chocolate-covered cherry smoothie. I hope that life is as awesome as a bowl full of chocolate-covered cherries for you always!

Chocolate-covered Cherry Smoothie
Ingredients
(Makes 1 smoothie)
1 cup cherries, pitted and sliced in half
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Ice
Optional: 1 tablespoon (or more) sugar, or sugar substitute
How To
1. Combine everything in a blender. Blend it all up and pour into your favorite glass or bowl.
2. Have fun with toppings – add some fresh cherries to the top, a squirt of whipped cream, some yogurt, granola, or oats. Enjoy!!

I hope you’ve all been enjoying the drink recipes all week! To see a list of all the recipes with images, check out my new drinks page I created. Hope it helps you keep track of your favorites!

Strawberry Shortcake Smoothies

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Strawberries always remind me of Alaska. When we lived in Anchorage, we had a small garden where we grew strawberries, chives, rhubarb, and raspberries. The strawberries that we grew were always the cutest. Their yellow seeds weren’t any bigger than an aphid, green stems as small as newly sprouted leaves, and the actual berries were as tiny as thimbles. We’d water them and watch the plants slowly unfurl under the seemingly endless sunlight that only an Alaskan summer can bring.

While we waited for berries  to ripen we occupied ourselves by swimming in a kiddie pool in our front yard, collecting daddy long leg spiders, and playing in our top secret fort in the backyard. We hiked out as a family to the same lake each year to canoe, swim, and stay in a little cabin on an island where we’d roast hot dogs over the fire and complain about the smelly outhouse. We’d gather the cul-de-sac kids and play baseball on our pavement diamond, hitting plastic baseballs into anyone and everyone’s yard without care. We attempted to hatch a ladybug nest in our kitchen one year and a praying mantis the next, never succeeding. We learned to fish, about harvesting and giving back to the earth, and about the abundance of the Alaskan wilderness. We did a lot while the berries ripened.

Alaska will always hold a special place in my heart. It was there that I was born, learned to hike like a billy-goat, developed my tolerance for the cold, started a habit of swimming in any body of water available to me, craved fresh produce, started loving the mountains and lakes and the trees, and the patience to wait for something small and seemingly insubstantial to grow so sweet. There’s nothing sweeter than eating a button-sized strawberry you grew yourself.

Since we didn’t harvest too many strawberries (thanks to two little kids and a host of woodland creatures who loved to snack on them), we usually just ate our strawberries plain. A delicious summertime treat that gleans sweetness from these plump red berries is one I’m sure you all know and love: strawberry shortcake.

I thought I’d try to bring a little bit of strawberry shortcake action into the world of smoothies with this recipe that I came up with today. I love the flavor of the berries in this smoothie, along with the texture that the oats bring. Best of all, it’s bursting with the taste of strawberries that always brings me back to Alaska. My mom tried this smoothie with me and she commented that it tasted like a smoothie version of a strawberry crumble. This smoothie would be a perfect, well-rounded breakfast, or a refreshing dessert that is healthy and wholesome to boot. It’s fun to serve parfait style (as pictured) or to blend all the ingredients up for a great mixture of flavors and textures. It would be an easy party dessert or brunch addition to make beforehand and store in the freezer.

Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie
Serves 1-2 people
Ingredients
For the “strawberries”:
4 oz. non-fat vanilla yogurt (or use vanilla Wholesoy or a different brand if vegan)
1/4 cup vanilla almond milk
1 cup frozen, chopped strawberries
Optional: sugar, if desired. I made mine without and it was great!
For the “shortcake”:
1/4 cup oats
A little more than 1/4 cup vanilla almond milk
Optional: Pinch of Cream of Tartar (I used it to make it taste a little more like shortcake, but if you don’t have it, don’t sweat it)
Sugar (again, add sugar to this mixture if you’d like. I enjoyed mine sans sugar.)
How To
1. The night before you want to make this (or eight hours before), mix oats and milk in a small tupperware or bowl. Store it in the fridge. If you’ve made overnight oats before, this is essentially the same thing. You want this mixture to be pretty thick so adjust oat and milk ratio as necessary.
2. Eight hours or a night after you make the oat mixture, get ready to make a great smoothie! In a blender, combine all components of the strawberry mixture. Add extra milk to this mixture if you need to in order to help it blend smoother.
3. At this point, choose whether you’d like to make parfaits, or just one big glass of strawberry shortcake goodness. If you’re making parfaits: spoon some of the oat mixture into the bottom of small glasses. Top with smoothie mixture. If you’d like to add a little extra flavor and nice presentation, top with a small dollop of vanilla yogurt and a strawberry slice. Sprinkle a few uncooked oats on top as well to add a little extra crunch.  If you’re making a smoothie: dump oats into blender and blend mixture until all is mixed well. Pour smoothie into a glass or two and dive into sweet summertime strawberry-filled bliss. If you’re making the smoothie, feel free to top it off with a little yogurt, some oats, and strawberry slices as well. Hope enjoy it enough to scoop every last morsel out of the parfait glass like I did – this photoshoot was hard to get through without sampling!

Tropical Dreamsicle Smoothies

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Weather forecast for digintobooks this week: sweltering hot outside with frequent showers of ice cold drink recipes. When you’re out in the summer heat running, walking, playing with your kids, enjoying a game of tag, mowing the lawn, or whatever else you do when it’s this hot, I’ll be raining smoothies on you. All week.

Actually, not really. But I’ll be doing the next best thing: showing you tantalizing pictures of my latest cool drink concoctions and handing over the recipes so you can try them out for yourself. I figure that we all need a good frigid kick-off to summer with some icy recipes that we’ll be able to use over and over and over again as the summer months get hotter and hotter. Bring it on, sun.

I got the idea to do a week full of cold-drink concoctions while on a walk the other day. It wasn’t just any walk. I had already been out waterskiing in the morning, then swam for a while in the lake, and then caught some rays with a little nap out on the boat. After that, I ate a quick salad for lunch and then went on a walk. At 2:00 in the afternoon. On pavement. What was I thinking?

With heat waves shimmering off the road, beads of sweat dripping down my face, and my feet collecting small blisters, I started to do what anyone would do: see mirages of sapphire blue ponds, huge palm leaves to fan me, and creamsicles. Creamsicles? Yeah. I thought the same thing. See, I don’t even like creamsicles in real life. But in my state of utter desperation for anything cooler than a sun ray beating down on me, I started craving the creamy combination of vanilla ice cream and the sweet, citrusy notes of orange. I hustled (ahem, more like trudged up the super-steep hill) to get home and find myself something to drink. Enter tropical dreamsicle smoothies.

I beg you to make yourself one of these. Trust me, while drinking it you’ll be transported to your mirage location: white sandy beaches that never get too hot, a dazzling turquoise pool, palm trees swaying in a warm breeze, and those palm leaves that fan you whenever you need. You’ll forget that your face is beet red, your legs are quaking from climbing hills that might as well be 90 degree angles, and the fact that the roads are still shimmering with heat waves and will be long after the sun goes down. When you drink this smoothie, you’ll feel energized, refreshed, and way cooler than you did before you started chugging. So quick – freeze some fruit today and make this recipe as soon as you can!

Tropical Dreamsicle Smoothie
(recipe for one large smoothie or two small ones)
Ingredients
1/2 orange, peeled and sliced and frozen
1 banana, peeled and sliced and frozen
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
4 oz vanilla yogurt (if vegan, try WholeSoy Vanilla yogurt or any other non-dairy brand)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
How To
1. I know I said this in the ingredients, but make sure you freeze your fruit. This way, you won’t have to use ice (which sometimes dilutes flavors) and you’ll get an extra creamy smoothie. Tips for freezing the fruit: for the banana, peel one and then slice into 1 inch rounds. Put the slices into a tupperware container and then freeze for 12 hours or more. You should be able to break apart the pieces before putting them into the blender. If not, let the slices sit at room temperature for about 5 or 10 minutes to let them soften up a little bit. For the orange, peel one and then peel into slices. You can freeze the orange in slices. Once you take it out of the freezer, I recommend using a very sharp knife to cut the segments into very small pieces so the blender has an easier time of blending them.
2. Put the fruit slices into the blender. Add all other ingredients. Blend until smooth. Serve and enjoy!
*Note: in some of the pictures you can see that I topped the smoothies with a little extra dollop of vanilla yogurt. Feel free to enjoy them plain or with a little extra dreaminess by topping the smoothies with vanilla yogurt. Either way, these smoothies are delicious!

One of Ours

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Ever read One of Ours?  It’s a book by Willa Cather that chronicles the life of Claude Wheeler, a Nebraskan who seems to have everything you could want in life living on his father’s farm but is constantly searching for meaning. He joins the army and fights in WWI. Through his journey to France and beyond, Claude ends up finding a purpose to his life in some way that satisfies him.

I just finished reading the book and I read it for several reasons. One of these reasons is that I love Willa Cather as an author. She depicts the land in all of her work so brilliantly, and captures the connection between man and nature in every sentence that she writes (I wrote a post a while back about this subject and Willa Cather a little while back if you’re interested). Another reason I read the book is because I’m doing a research project this summer comparing works of literature (and their commentary on the world wars) to an antique pictorial promoting peace. I know, it sounds complicated. To be honest, it’s complicated to me! I love the book One of Ours but it’s a tricky one to analyze, especially in terms of what it’s trying to say about war. I mean, when you’ve got an introduction dedicated to telling you about countless scholars that have tried to uncover the meaning of the book (and have failed), it doesn’t exactly scream ‘read me and figure me out’.

Whew. Sorry for whining. Long story short – read the book! You’ll love it. It’s a perfect book to read while sitting out under a grove of shady trees, or while you’re on a train across the country, or in a field of alfalfa, or even while you’re staring at the statue of liberty before you take a long boat ride across the pond. Okay, you don’t have to be any of those places – all of those are just locations that would make you feel closer to main character Claude while reading because those are situations he experiences. The book reads just fine if you’re lounging by the pool with fifty million kids screaming about lion coves and mermaids while their parents soak up the sun nearby. How do I know? I tried it. And Cather’s writing is so good that no matter what is happening around you, you’ll find your way into the story.

There’s one aspect of this book that I haven’t addressed yet. Can you guess what it is? Ah, yes…the subject that’s been on my mind lately: figuring out what Cather is trying to say about war in this prolific novel food. If I’m going to rack my brain for hours each day trying to come up with ways to integrate my reading of One of Ours into a comprehensive document comparing historical texts, then I’m definitely going to need good food to do it. And as you all know, making food that relates to what I’m reading is something I love doing.

So today for breakfast, I ate like Claude. Well, not exactly like Claude (I’m not sure if I could fit twelve eggs in my belly for breakfast) but I was inspired by a meal that he ate. After he had been on the front for a while, him and his friend David got a few weeks of leave before they had to return to combat again. They ventured to a couples’ home that they had stayed in before located in the French countryside. Beautiful, quaint, and blooming with local flora, fauna, and food, the town nourishes their bodies and souls during their weeks of leave. David and Claude arrive one night at the home dripping wet, dirty, and unshowered. Neither of them had been dry for four days and they’d been eating the canned food provided by the army for weeks. After showering and putting on dry clothes, Mme. Joubert prepares a twelve egg omelette stuffed with bacon and fried potatoes for the two men to eat. They consume every last morsel of the meal and then finally allow themselves to rest after the strenuous journey.

As soon as I read that passage, I knew I wanted to make some sort of egg-creation for myself to eat so I’d be full enough of good food to think about this text. I still had the mini-muffin tin from when I made Nuttin’ Butter than Cheesecake Bites so I decided to make mini omelette bites for myself. I substituted vegetarian breakfast sausage for bacon, and used 2 egg whites instead of 12 eggs and voila! my meal came together in no time. I hope you make this breakfast for yourself and then scurry along to a pool or a dock by the lake to kick back, relax, and read One of Ours for the fun of it (make sure you skip the introduction revealing how confusing the text is supposed to be).

Sausage, Egg & Potato Breakfast Bites
Ingredients
2 egg whites
1 vegetarian breakfast sausage patty
1 sliver potato
Salt and pepper (to taste)
How To
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cook the breakfast patty in the microwave according to package directions. Once cooked, cut the sausage up so that a chunk fits into the bottom of a mini-muffin tin compartment.
3. Spray muffin tin liberally with cooking oil and then put sausage patty chunks inside.
4. Crack eggwhites into a bowl. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Stir. Gently pour egg whites into each mini muffin tin containing sausage until they are all full. If there is leftover egg, put the egg in muffin tin compartments until you’ve used it all up.
5. Put the muffin tin in the oven. I baked mine for 12 minutes, but I like my eggs well done so if you want them softer, cook them for less time. While your eggs are in the oven, chop the sliver of potato into very thin slices. Cook the slivers in a skillet with a tiny dab of oil or butter. Cook until crispy.
6. Pull the muffin tin out of the oven when the bites are done, and top each bite with a couple slivers of potato. Sprinkle freshly ground black pepper on top if desired. Serve and eat immediately.

Snacker Day Saturday: 5/26

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Alright, alright. You caught me.

I can’t get enough peanut-butter and chocolate in my life.

Every week I try to think of some new flavor combination for a snack that will really surprise your taste buds. But if we take a look back real quick, here are all of the snacks I’ve come up with: Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Pretzel Bites (the title’s a mouthful, but the snack is easy to pop in your mouth), Frozen Orange Slices, Chocolate Peanut-Butter Bars, Oven-baked Squash Chips, Peanut Butter Bars, Sinless Cinnabon Rolls, and  Healthy Chocolate Cake . That’s 4/7 snacks that involve peanut butter and chocolate. And, I’ve done it again today.

There’s something irresistible about the semi-salty taste of creamy peanut butter mixed with the rich tones of chocolate. I know that eating Reese’s 24/7 isn’t exactly the healthiest though, so I usually try to get my fix of this addictive combination in more nutritionally sound ways (note, I said try). Today’s snack mixes fiber-filled, naturally sweet fruit with protein-packed Greek Yogurt (I know, surprise, surprise). I packed the Greek Yogurt with peanut butter, a smattering of good-for-you nuts, and a drizzle of chocolate that’ll make any of you pb&choco lovers out there swoon.

I’d recommend making this snack in large batches. Actually, make it in quadruple-billion extra-large batches. So what if ‘quadruple billion’ isn’t a feasible number…it’s how much you’ll want to eat of this stuff. And really, it takes 2 hours to make, so I highly recommend making a bunch while you’ve got the oven on for that long. This snack is just one more excuse to hang out with your family on a sunny afternoon or invite a bunch of friends over for a barbeque. Oh wait- you’re probably already doing that this memorial day weekend! So go right ahead and use this recipe as a fun snack or healthy dessert. Everyone will thank you for it with huge chocolate-covered smiles on their faces. The recipe below serves one – mayyyybeeeeee two people (if you’re not a hungry snacker like I am) so keep that in mind when you’re making portions.

Apple Chips
Ingredients
1 apple
How To
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Slice the apple as thin as you can, getting rid of seeds and stem as you cut.
2. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and lay the apple slices out on it. Cook apple slices for 2-2.5 hours, flipping them about halfway through. Before eating, let the slices cool for like three minutes so they get crunchy.
Loaded Peanut Butter-Chocolate Dip
Ingredients
1 5oz. container plain greek yogurt
1 tablespoon peanut butter
4 or 5 nuts (I used a mix of almonds, macadamia, and cashews)
Chocolate sauce (such as Hershey’s syrup)
How To
1. In yogurt container, mix peanut butter in until the two substances are combined.
2. If plating the dip, go ahead and pour the yogurt into a small dipping cup or onto a plate at this point.
3. Crush up the nuts (or cut them up with a knife) and sprinkle all over the top of the dip. Then, swirl chocolate sauce on top.
4. Grab an apple chip (or a handful), and dunk them into pure bliss. Trust me, your taste buds will love you for it.

Need a little reading snack to keep you from shoveling these chips ‘n dip faster than chocolate melts on a hot summer day? Thought so. Today, I suggest reading “The Life You Save May Be Your Own” by Flannery O’Connor. I love reading O’Connor because her writing is unexpected and eerily beautiful. It resonates within every reader even though the subject matter sometimes seems too strange to be related to life as we know it. In this story set on a farm, a strange man comes to town and well, things happen. I highly suggest reading it, not only because you’ll be dumbfounded by the end, but because O’Connor writes about nature in a way that is almost unparalleled by anyone else. I love the way she uses nature in figurative imagery to project what she is trying to say.

With that said, enjoy your snacks of literature and food and have a wonderful weekend with family and friends! Try not to eat too much of this dip over the long weekend.

Oh, who am I kidding? Go ahead – stuff your face with this snack! It’s healthy!