Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday High Five

Every other Friday, I post a short list of five things currently making me smile. This is the latest installment. For past High Fives, click here.

1. Brand new writing by awesome MFA friends.
First up is "The Kissers" by Ben Hoffman, which is maybe the best piece of flash fiction I've ever read. How does it take so many twists and turns in so few words? My new life goal is to figure out exactly that. Equally amazing: "Silver Alert" by Erica Sklar, a collage that feels more portrait than essay. Deeply sad, deeply surreal, and deeply affecting. Do yourself a favor and read it now, then come back to this blog post. It's okay: I can wait. Also: how lucky am I to know such talented people? So, so lucky.

2. Vegan Chocolate Cake with Coconut Vanilla Frosting (see photo above!) 
After being ice-bound for three days with only two dogs to talk to, a girl can go a little stir crazy. I attempted to combat this unfortunate phenomenon by doing yoga in my living room and baking a cake. I didn't have a ton of ingredients, and I couldn't exactly go to the store to pick up, for example, more almond milk, so I made due by baking a Chocolate Depression Cake (popular during the Great Depression, since it doesn't require eggs, milk, or butter) and then whipping up some homemade frosting. I followed this cake recipe exactly, and I based my frosting on this recipe, but with a twist. Using my hand mixer, I simply blended 1.5 cups of powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp of vanilla, 1/4 cup of Earth Balance, and about 5 TBSP of lite coconut milk (and by "about" I mean I kept adding a tablespoon at a time until it looked frosting-like). The end result was pretty tasty, and it was a good excuse to turn on my oven and warm up the kitchen. 

3. Re-reading The Handmaid's Tale 
I have this bad habit of devouring books, loving them, and then promptly forgetting everything that happened in them. I also dislike reading the same book twice, which is an issue I'm trying to get over. What better way to start than with The Handmaid's Tale? It helps that I'm teaching it to my Forms of Creative Writing class, and that none of my kids have read it before. They seem to be enjoying it, and I'm remembering why I loved it in the first place. 

4.  New Girl on Netflix 
I think I mentioned that I've been watching this show on nights when Nathan's at work. What I haven't mentioned is how much I like it! I watched the pilot when it first came out and was underwhelmed, to put it mildly. It seemed like the same old, formulaic sitcom I've seen a million times already. But then a few of my friends who like the same shows I do said it was good, and I decided to give it another chance. I'm glad I did. I'm still on season one, but already the characters have come into their own, the storylines have twisted in surprisingly interesting ways, and OMG that episode with Remy the landlord. I literally LOLed, and I hardly ever do that when I watch TV alone. 

5. Sealevel City Gourmet
Dear Wilmington Locals: if you haven't tried this newish vegetarian and seafood restaurant, please do so immediately. The food is delicious and reasonably priced, it's midtown, do you don't have to deal with parking on Front Street, the staff is nice, and it has that great hole-in-the-wall vibe, without actually being a hole-in-the-wall. Even though Nathan and I are on a budget, we've been treating ourselves to Sealevel City once or twice a month. The vegan lentil patty melt is my personal favorite.

Here's to hoping the next thing that earns a hive five from me is warmer weather and melting ice. Until next time!