Monday, November 25, 2013

Sweet Reads: Pumpkin Roll and Grave Images

Once a month I'll be posting a dessert recipe and an excerpt(s) from a book that's struck me just right, whether it be gorgeous descriptions, funny dialogue, swoon-worthy kisses, sarcastic come-backs, or spine-tingling encounters.


The reason I never act saintly is 'cause I've got too much want in my heart. Mama was cursed with a wanting heart, too. That's why hers is broken now.

This is the start to a wonderful MG book. Grave Images is the first MG book featured on Sweet Reads thus far, which I'm a bit surprised about in retrospect, b/c I love MG books. They normally never fail to bring a tear to my eye, and Grave Images was no exception. Poor Bernie's family is going through such a rough time. And having become a mother myself in the last two years, my heart ached for them, as children truly are the most precious gift.

But GI really hit me hardest with this sentence(the mc is thinking what a cemetery is not like to the boy who followed here there): Not a place that punched you hard in the gut and then apologized with peace, quiet, and the sweet smell of grass. I lost my Mom when I was a teenager(please no apologies- it's okay, but thank you! :) ) and the above sentence describes so perfectly what it's like to visit the cemetery. When it's so hard to approach the grave and see that name, but then, after awhile, it is comforting to sit there and visit w/them in such a beautiful, serene setting.

Now on to some of the fun passages in this book, which I promise it abounds with:

Due to Mimi loving God first and roosters second, our home holds a scattering of crosses, paintings of the Holy Family, and images of red comb-headed chickens.

And here, b/c this paragraph made me chuckle, as well as tying in so perfectly w/Mimi- Bernie's grandmother(I'm taking notes on how you did this, Jenny!): There weren't a whole lot of decorations, either: however, one shelf above the fireplace housed a mishmashed collection of cheer trophies and religious statues. Porcelain members of the Holy Family(enough to make Mimi jealous) surrounded by cheap brass figurines holding pom-poms. It was like they were all cheerleading, "Go Baby Jesus," or something.

Bernie also develops a reluctant friendship in the book with a boy named Michael, who she feels has a big head and sausage fingers- true love in the making, lol! Here's where we first meet him: He was coming up the sidewalk on a pogo stick. A pogo stick! It was thin and silver and Michael was wearing a bright-red helmet. He looked ridiculous, of course- like a giant cherry lollipop springing into the sky.

I super recommend this book to anyone looking for a MG with a lot of heart, humor, a dash of scary, and the reminder to be thankful for those we love, everyday. I promise it won't disappoint! And, though I always read first and foremost to entertain myself(yup, I'm deep like that) and not necessarily to 'learn' anything, I truly feel like this book could help kids who are dealing w/grief. Or, if they haven't yet experienced losing someone close, then to learn a bit about empathy for others. I know when the kidlet gets old enough, this will be one of my 'must-reads' for him.

And now, this month's recipe. It's a bit more work than I usually like, but so worth the end results. Pumpkin and cream cheese are one of those combos that just can't be beat.

Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs
2/3 c. pumpkin
1 c. sugar
pecans or walnuts*
3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cinnamon

Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 c. butter
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

1. Blend eggs & pumpkin together.
2. Sift all dry ingredients, & blend together with egg mixture.
3. Grease 10 x 15 cookie sheet(one that has sides).
4. Pour batter onto sheet & bake 20-25 mins @ 350.
5. Roll in a towel.
6. Beat all ingredients of the filling together, and unroll cake and spread over it.
7. Re-roll cake. Wrap in wax paper & store in fridge.

*Nuts are optional, given whether or not you like them, and quantity would just depend on how nutty you like it.

I hope everyone has a blessed, yummy, and very Happy Thanksgiving!


33 comments:

  1. Great post:) The book seems very interesting and the recipe fantastic:)

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    1. Thanks! Cream cheese is amazing stuff. And pumpkin, of course! =)

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  2. Good MG books are full of wisdom. The age group craves them... I know I did. Books were more than a pastime; they were guides. The sentences you picked for this post make me think Grave Images is just such a book.
    And you added your bit of making the world a better place with a scrumptious Pumpkin Roll. Thank you for both.

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    1. That's exactly what I want for my little guy- for books to be guides for him, teaching him how to be a better person. And if he gets to laugh and be entertained as part of it, then even better! Thanks for your thoughts, Mirka, you always have such good insights.

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  3. The book sounds fun and the cake sounds yummy.

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    1. The book is great, and the cake is yummy- I just finished a piece like two mintues ago! =)

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  4. Ive been meaning to read this -- now I'll have to read it while eating the pumpkin roll.

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  5. The language sounds really rich and masterful. The pumpkin rolls look might tasty too.

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    1. It really is. Sometimes it seems like MG has some of the best writers who can capture that all elusive voice, w/out being too over the top. I can't wait to read what Jenny writes next!

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  6. Both the book and the recipe sound amazing! The narrator's voice is fun. And I love nearly anything pumpkin :)

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    1. Pumpkin is the best! I'm too keen on pumpkin pie though, its always just tasted sort of bland to me. But pumpkin desserts, muffins, bread, cupcakes- yum!

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  7. YUMMM! Thanks for the recipe!! I love pumpkin in desserts :) And thanks for sharing the boo - I rarely read MG (I know, my own loss!), so it's great for me to learn more about the category in general... not to mention I always, always love a good book rec!

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    1. MG has some amazing books! If I remember right, you like Greek mythology, don't you? Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series is a fun take on that world, and is a MG series. And I second your YUMM! to pumpkin! =D

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  8. What a perfect review of this fantastic book! The "Go Baby Jesus!" line was one of my favorites, too. And your recipe sounds delicious. I'll definitely be following this series. :)

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    1. Oh, thanks! It's fun to do. I totally laughed out loud at that line, loved it!

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  9. I'm SUPER looking forward to reading that book. It's been on the TBR list for a while...and are you really reading The Whipping Boy right now? That's one of my ALL TIME favs. All of my kids have had to read it.

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    1. I finished reading it last night! We read it at school when I was a kid and I fell in love w/it back then. =)

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  10. Hi Leandra,

    My friend, you write deliciously well. Your description of the book and the passages, are thoughtfully chosen.

    Your recipe makes me realise it's time for my latest visit to North America. Have yourself a fabulous American Thanksgiving.

    Gary :)

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    1. Aw, thank you! For the compliment and the Thanksgiving wishes. =)

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  11. Leandra,

    I lost my mother a couple of years ago. It was a strange experience, namely because I had moved away from NYC 25 years before her death. Coming from an Italian family, I always felt guilty for having spent so many years away from home. I told myself how I would feel deathly guilty upon the death of my parents. However, I was surprised. When she died, I had this warm feeling that I am no longer far away. She can be with me at any time. All I have to do is think about her. The text that you printed about the cemetery scene hit home though.

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    1. That's a wonderful feeling to have, and a big comfort. Hugs to you and your family, the holidays can be rough when you're missing family. =(

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  12. This sounds like a beautiful story. Losing a loved one is always sad. I really like descriptions from this book. The red lollipop was spot on. Thanks for wishing me Happy Birthday.

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  13. Sounds like a super sweet story! What great lines. And nothing beats pumpkin! :)

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    1. I am completely surprised by the fact that I ate nothing pumpkin yesterday at Thanksgiving. My mother in law had these amazing pecan pie bars, and I ate waaay too many of those!

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  14. The "Go baby Jesus" passage was definitely funny.

    I'm not a pumpkin person. My mom loves it and always looks forward to fall with pumpkin pie, coffee, and even frozen yogurt. Me? Not so much. Just never got into pumpkin. I do like the seeds baked and salted though.

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    1. You sound like my husband, he's a seed fan, too!

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  15. Great-sounding recipe! I have this book on reserve at the library. It looks good.

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  16. Oh, I made pumpkin roll last year and it is such a yummy dessert! We've done a few dessert + book pairings too and they are always fun. :) I hadn't heard of this book at all, but it sounds intriguing.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  17. I don't think I've yet to meet a dessert made w/cream cheese that I don't like! =) Thanks for stopping by!

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  18. That looks delicious.

    I read Grave Images not too long ago via NetGalley. It has an interesting premise.

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