Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sweet Reads: The Luck Uglies & Banoffe Pie


Once a month I'll be posting a dessert recipe and excerpts 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. 


Mum said the fiends usually came after midnight. 

I loved this book. Like loved loved loved this book. I was a tad depressed after finishing it and so I went back through and reread my fav parts(of which there was many). This MG fantasy is just brimming with voice and atmosphere and I need the next one like NOW! 

First things first, I have an obsession w/rooftops(to go along w/my love of buildings in general). So give me a cover that features rooftops, glowing windows, a flag banner, and a GARGOYLE?! I...just...I can't... *faints from all the awesomeness* 

Not to mention the whale weathervane atop the bell tower. *sits and just stares at it for like five minutes*
 
The humor in this story is fantastic. Though it's a tie between which I like better: the humor or the mother-daughter relationships. Rye's mother, Abby, does her absolute best for her girls, and as a mother myself, I can imagine how hard it's been for her to be doing it on her own. 

"And what is your name, boy?" the man asked, in a voice that creaked like an old iron chest.
 
"I'm a girl, thank you very much," Rye said. She was still in her tights. Her arms, legs, and face were covered in basement grime. 

"Oh. Indeed you are," he said, eyeballing her disapprovingly. 

"R-y-e," Rye spelled. "Rhymes with lie."

Mrs. O'Chanter frowned and gave her a harsh look.

"Sorry," Rye said. "Rhymes with die."

That didn't improve Mrs. O'Chanter's mood. 

The next excerpt really amused me, as this just about sums up bedtime w/the kidlet some nights! =)

Getting Lottie O'Chanter to bed each night was no easy task. It took a lot of screaming and temper tantrums, and that was just from their mother. 

And one more cute kid moment before we move on. This feels especially relevant to me, as I recently bought a potty chair for the kidlet. Oh, yeah, 'bout time to start down that road...

Poor Quinn looked frightful. His hair was as wild as Lottie's and his face was covered with blue paint. "You said you'd be right back," he said. 

"I'm sorry," Rye said.

"You said she never wakes up."

"She doesn't," Rye said. "What happened?"

"She said she had to go wee."

"Did she go?"Rye asked.

"Not wee," Quinn said. 

"Oh," Rye said. "Did she use her Pot?"

"No," Quinn said glumly and pointed to his shoes in the corner. 

"Ugh," said Rye. 

"It was awful, Rye. What do you people feed this girl?" 

And the monsters in this book! They go by the name of Bog Noblins, which is just so cool it makes my toes curl. 

There was another splash. Rye peered into the darkness. Fifteen or twenty feet from the camp, two eyes flickered at water level. Something was bent over, using its hand like a cup and drinking from the bog. One of the eyes, independent from the other, suddenly looked over in Rye's direction. 

But dang, if the Bog Noblins aren't scary! Reading about them is fun, but living in a village where they might decide to come visit you? No thanks!

Oustide, Leatherleaf had taken his vandalism to a far more serious level. He had climbed onto the roof of the cottage across the street. His weight alone buckled the thatch-and-shingle roof, but now he was digging into it with his claws and tearing pieces away. 

"Mama," Rye said, "it's the Pendergills' house. There are babies in there."

"I know," Abby said quietly. "I know."

Right there, I have reason to believe that Rye's going to grow up to be one amazing adult. B/c if a 'baby' herself can be worried about babies, you know there's a caring, beautiful soul residing in this girl. But we'll not talk about her impetuous behavior after this, which had the mother/invested reader in me gripping the book really hard and flipping pages w/the speed of light.

I really can't recommend this book enough-- read it, you won't be disappointed! The Luck Uglies(which the book is named for) don't really come into play as much until the ending of the novel(but the buildup for them to come onto the scene is done so incredibly well). They're a secret society that's been exiled from the village that I think we'll see so much more out of in the second book. *yesssss!* {I still want my letter to Hogwarts, but if that doesn't ever come, then my next pick is to join the Luck Uglies}

And now, Banoffe Pie! Which is, essentially, caramel banana cream pie. And is delicious. You can find the original recipe here. What makes banoffe pie so unique is that you make the caramel by boiling sweetened condensed milk! Can in hot water for hours and presto- caramel! In the recipe below I did it w/the crock pot, but if you go to the website linked above, it also lists how to make it by stove top or oven, if you so wish.  

Banoffe Pie

1 graham cracker crust(I bought the one that Keebler makes that has 2 extra servings)

3 bananas, sliced

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup whipping cream whipped w/ 1-2 TB powdered sugar, until stiff peaks form(I used 3 TB powdered s.)

1 choc. bar

Making the Dulce de Leche:

Take the label from the can of sweetened condensed milk and place in crock pot. Cover completely with water. Put lid on and cook on low for 8-10 hours.(I did 8 hrs and it turned out perfect) Make sure there is plenty of water and the cans are covered the entire time. Cool before opening. 

Assembly:

Slice the bananas and place in graham cracker shell. Pour the cooled caramel over the banana slices. Cover in sweet whipped cream and garnish with shaved chocolate. Refrigerate at least an hour.

* * *

As always, my food pic doesn't look so great, but trust me when I say this pie is amazing! It's really perfect for summer as it's a dessert that tastes better(and stays together better) when it's chilled.  

ALSO! There are ways to take shortcuts w/this pie. Nestle makes La Lechera(Spanish for dulce de leche) already in a can. In my grocery store it's shelved w/the sweetened condensed milk, though in others you might find it in the Hispanic food section. So buying the caramel already made is definitely a time saver. I've not tried it, but I've heard it's really good. 

Second time saver is to top the pie w/cool whip(which many of the other recipes out there for this dessert do). I'm just not a fan of cool whip, so I liked making the sweet cream and thought it had a much better taste. But anyway, if you use these two time savers, you're pretty much just buying the ingredients and assembling, and you can't get much quicker than that! 

And if you'd like to read the synopsis for The Luck Uglies(I'll be the first to admit my reviews are a bit fangirlish and rambling), here's a link for it on Goodreads

44 comments:

  1. Thanks for the recommendation! I've added it to my Goodreads :)

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  2. this book sounds fantastic! and that recipe...um yeah I will be trying that :P sounds amazing!

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    1. It really, really is! They both are! =)

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  3. I've been wondering about this one, which came out the same month as my book. If the school year ever ends (and I'm beginning to think somebody snuck an extra 24 hours into each and every work day), I'll add it to my summer reading list.

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    1. The school in the town I grew up in is already done for the summer, but not the town I live in now. I'm thinking we must've had more snow days to make up for, as this winter had some crazy weather. Hope you get to that summer reading list soon! =)

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  4. Wow, both the book and the pie sound really good. Now I definitely want to put a can of sweetened condensed milk in the crock pot!

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    1. It boggles my mind that it does that. Like what is going on inside that can?! ;)

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  5. I am totally reading this book and making this pie. Done and done.

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  6. This is a great post! You've got me hooked. I'm definitely reading this book and the pie sounds spectacularly yummy! Fun, fun.

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    1. Hooray! I really think you'll love the book. And if you have even a smidgen of a sweet tooth, I know you will the pie. =)

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  7. That book cover looks great, and I like Rye's sense of humour. I'll check the book out on Goodreads and my library or Amazon soon. Love Banoffee Pie! Your picture looks very nice. The pie looks delicious in the rustic way.

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    1. Ha, thanks! And Rye's sense of humor was a really great aspect of the book.

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  8. This sounds like my sort of book, I'll check it out. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Banoffe pie is a fav in our house. Haven't made it for a while, might have to rectify that soon! Over here we can cheat and buy the condensed milk already caramelised in the tin. It saves all those hours of boiling.

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    1. So true! I might just try it next time. Though I don't think I'll bring myself to top it w/cool whip... Just not as good as the real thing! =)

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  9. Ooh, Leandra--this book looks SO good. And the banoffe pie does, too! I used to eat that when I was a student in Ireland (it's popular there), but I've never tried making it myself. Maybe I will now!

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    1. And here I thought it was an American invention! Guess we're not always as clever as I think we are. Lol! ;)

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  10. This book looks awesome - thank you for recommending it! I'm off to add it to my Goodreads shelf now.

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    1. It totally is- you won't be disappointed!

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  11. I have 5 cans of condensed milk in the cupboard that I haven't had any idea what to do with (I bought a pack for pumpkin pie and only used 1 can). My husband loves caramel, so this will be great!

    The book sounds fun. I'll put it on my TBR.

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    1. Oh, and from what I've read, you can make it and then not use it right away. The caramel stays good in the can- so win-win!

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  12. Oh, what a perfect pairing! I used to make Vietnamese iced coffee and kept sweetened condensed milk on hand. One can would last a day. I found myself eating spoonfuls of it ... deadly good stuff.

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    1. Deadly good stuff is prolly right, lol! All the stuff that usually tastes the most amazing usually is. *sigh*

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  13. Ha-Ha... I had to make a major shift from the funny if scatological excerpt to the pie. Both book & recipe get a thumbs up.

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  14. Oh, wow. That pie sounds deadly in the very best of ways. I'll have to give it a try, because lord knows I need more sweets in my life lol. And the book sounds fantastic! I just added it to my TBR list. Thanks for the great review and recommendation!

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    1. Forgot to mention this, but I *love* your blog design. So, so pretty! :-)

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    2. What would life be w/out sweets, right? *says the girl who might have eaten Twizzlers & a king sized Carmello bar today...* And thank you, I'm super happy w/my blog and love it when other ppl like it too!

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  15. Hmm, seriously wishing you lived closer so I could enjoy your book pairing creations :) I will definitely have to check out Luck Uglies--the title is awesome!

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    1. Wouldn't that be fun?! I would totally share my desserts w/you, Meradeth. And I don't often do that willingly, ha! ;)

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  16. I dropped by to say hello! I have been absent from blogging for a while, and I did miss your posts. It’s good to be back.

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    1. Good to see you again, JJ! We all need breaks from time to time. =)

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  17. This book sounds wonderful (I'll never say no to humor and mother-daughter relationships), and SO DOES YOUR RECIPE. Can you hear my stomach rumbling?! This is such a great idea... I always see writers/readers pairing books with music, but never with food!

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    1. What can I say- I love my food! ;) And, yup, humor is my #1 thing in getting me to fall in love with a book.

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  18. It's so great when you find a book you love that much. :)

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    1. It is! I wish it happened more often- and it might, if I had more time to read. *sigh* ;)

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  19. That does sound like an excellent book!! Definitely the kind you need in hard back.

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    1. Oh, yes, so it can stand up to all my enthusiastic handling, lol!

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  20. The book sounds great, but the dessert sounds heavenly. I may have to try this recipe! Although if I made it, I'd probably eat it all, so that's not such a good idea.

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    1. I had the most pieces at two. No regrets! ;)

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  21. Leandra - I just had to stop by and thank you for your many kinds words. I'm so glad you enjoyed The Luck Uglies, and rest assured that Book 2 of the trilogy is on its way in March 2015. The pie sounds pretty terrific too--just the type of dessert Rye and Lottie would be crazy for.

    All my best,
    Paul (author of The Luck Uglies)

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    1. Wow! Hi, thanks for stopping by- this is such a wonderful surprise! The Luck Uglies is such an amazing book, and I'm so happy to hear about the second one. Hurry up March 2015! =) Thanks, Paul!

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