If Beale Street Could Talk, Movie Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes a movie is so beautiful that it stays with me for a very long time. If Beale Street Could Talk , based on the novel by James Baldwin, will be right behind my eyes where I’ll be re-playing the magnetic love story, gorgeous lighting, flashback scenery, devastating accusation, life-long struggles, and incredible inner strength of the characters. See it. Soak it in. Remember it.

Want to watch the trailer? Find out more about the cast? Watch an interview with director Barry Jenkins?

Have you seen the movie, hon? What did you think?

If Beale Street Could Talk is a beautiful, expressive film, at times feeling like a tone poem or lyrical plaint. It’s set in the 1970s, but thanks to the way it confronts how sexual assault allegations, policing, and racism can interlock for communities of color, it feels incredibly contemporary, too. It’s hard not to fall under its beautiful, somber, lustrous spell, and as a story about black American life framed as a love story, its images are indelible.   Alissa Wilkinson for Vox

I left the movie wanting to know more about the characters. Next book I read will be this.

In this honest and stunning novel, James Baldwin has given America a moving story of love in the face of injustice. Told through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl, in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, Baldwin’s story mixes the sweet and the sad. Tish and Fonny have pledged to get married, but Fonny is falsely accused of a terrible crime and imprisoned. Their families set out to clear his name, and as they face an uncertain future, the young lovers experience a kaleidoscope of emotions-affection, despair, and hope. In a love story that evokes the blues, where passion and sadness are inevitably intertwined, Baldwin has created two characters so alive and profoundly realized that they are unforgettably ingrained in the American psyche.  Goodreads

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Super Cool Pinata Cookies

Happy (I think*) New Year’s!

One of my daughters loves to throw a New Year’s Eve party and, aside from the friends, games, decorations, food, sleepover, and general merriment, one of the pleasures of her get-together is discovering what cookies her friend’s mom made. (shout out to Ben and Michele!)  This year, she made piñata cookies and they were outrageous!

I’d never even heard of piñata cookies, but now they’re on my must-try list! Hmm…Valentine’s Day, maybe? Since I haven’t made these myself, I’ve included links to people who have. Check out sweetambs  for recipes and a video on decorating a champagne glass (or beer mug). Click Hot Chocolate Hits for recipes and pics of piñata Valentine’s Day cookies, and you can access an easy-to-understand tutorial here: How To Video.

The New Year’s Eve champagne glass piñata cookies, which were decorated on both sides, were made up of three layers of the same shape cookie: one for the top, one for the bottom, and one for the middle. The middle cookie’s center was cut out. Sprinkles and a message were placed in each cutout section before the top cookie was secured with icing.

Why “I think” in Happy New Year? The messages inside the cookies were sarcastic, funny, and said the opposite of “Happy New Year!” You should hear what messages adorn Michele’s Valentine’s Day cookies…on second thought, maybe not! This blog is G-rated!

My daughter and me.

Have you ever made piñata cookies? If so, what were they for? Did yours have candy and messages inside, too?

Happy baking, hon!

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

“Mom, you never make beef stew!” my son said excitedly.

“Not true,” I replied. “I just haven’t found a recipe I like.”

Now I have! Surprisingly, this version from allrecipes.com, doesn’t call for red wine, but Hubby and kids liked it so much they helped themselves to seconds and thirds. It was delicious as leftovers, too.

Happy cooking, hon!

Ingredients:
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 3 potatoes, diced
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
Directions:
  1. Place meat in slow cooker. In a small bowl mix together the flour, salt, and pepper; pour over meat, and stir to coat meat with flour mixture. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, onion, beef broth, potatoes, carrots, and celery.
  2. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 10 to 12 hours, or on High setting for 4 to 6 hours.

Alpha Dog!

Lucy was almost attacked by another a dog! 

Last weekend, I was walking Lucy when we passed a house on a hill with a large, tan, mixed-breed dog in the front yard. The dog did what most dogs do when people pass by–she ran back-and-forth and barked. You can bet Lucy lets her presence be known when people pass by our house. I always tell her, “No one likes a barking-maniac-doggie.” I called, “Hello, sweetheart” because the tan dog looked like a nice family dog. One minute she was pacing on top of the hill; the next she was bolting straight for Lucy, snarling and lunging!

Lucy was chased into the middle of the street and, since I was holding her leash, that’s where I ended up, too. Thank goodness, there were no cars in the road. I tried shoving the dog away with my foot, but that didn’t work. I turned toward the dog and yelled, “STOP THAT!” She hadn’t actually bitten Lucy…yet, but she was still growling and lunging. I grabbed Lucy’s leash, hauled her to the other side of the road, and tied her to a tree. “Stay!” Then I rounded on the attacking dog.

“GET BACK! STAY AWAY FROM HER!” The dog paused.

In the meantime, a runner approached and a couple of cars slowed down. Imagine them coming across a shouting, gesticulating, crazed person in the middle of the street! And I mean me! It was obvious, though, what was going on. Lucy cowered on one side of the street, while the other dog was backing away.

The runner and people in the cars asked if me and my dog were okay. “It’s a good thing I’m an alpha dog!” I answered.

“ACROSS THE STREET!” I hollered.

The dog skulked.

“GO HOME!” I yelled.

The dog slinked.

” ALL THE WAY BACK UP THE HILL!”

The dog ran back to it’s home.

Whew!

In my panic, I hadn’t actually secured Lucy to the tree, but she had stayed. Good girl! Good girl! We continued home. Wow! I really was an alpha dog! Who knew?

Follow-Up: I stopped by the house on the hill. I wanted the family to know that a) their dog had tried to attack mine, b) she had run into the middle of the street, and c) her invisible fence collar might need a new battery. (She either didn’t feel the invisible fence collar warning or didn’t care.)

The dog’s owner was apologetic, relieved Lucy was fine, and glad I’d stopped by. I told her my own nice family dog’s scary “psycho-doggie-eyes” pin workers to their driver’s seats, and how her insane barking causes delivery people to chuck packages across the driveway. I don’t blame them!

It turns out that the tan dog really was a nice family dog and her name is Stanton. Standing at her front door–sans Lucy–Stanton wagged her tail and was as pleasant as can be. I told the owner how surprised I was that the whole neighborhood hadn’t come outside to find out who was causing such a racket. I told her how I’d gotten Stanton to head across the street and back up the hill. “Wow!” she said, “You are a dog whisperer!”

I’m a dog whisperer AND an alpha dog! Who knew?

Turmeric and Honey-Glazed Chicken

Turmeric and Honey-Glazed Chicken

Right before the holiday break, someone said to me, “Have a restful holiday.” Ummm–really? Hon, you know resting is not something I do well. I’m still mad at myself for not napping in between the marathon of feeding, burping, changing diapers, making 24 bottles a day, and doing endless loads of laundry for infant triplets! Those infants are grown up, but a little voice inside my head still says, “no rest until the work is done” and, guess what? The work is never done! But, I digress.

This holiday “break,” I’ve had a full house (yay!), worked a lot of hours at the store (all good), and hosted (fun!). I adapted this recipe from Simply Recipes for company Christmas Day.

(By the way, restful would be a Caribbean beach vacation. Hint, hint, Hubby!)

Turmeric and Honey-Glazed Chicken

Ingredients:

–Vegetable or olive oil, for the baking dish

–1  Tablespoon ground turmeric

–1 teaspoon ground ginger

–1 teaspoon crushed coriander seed (or ground coriander)

–4 Tablespoons honey

–1 Tablespoon soy sauce

–2 small yellow onions, sliced

–The recipe calls for 1 (3 1/2 pound) chicken, spatchcocked,  which is a way to split and flatten a whole chicken.

–1/2 teaspoon salt

–1/8 teaspoon pepper

–juice of 1 lemon (about 3 Tablespoons)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a large baking dish. In a small bowl, mix the turmeric, ginger and coriander together. In another small bowl, mix the honey and soy sauce together. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the chicken: Spread the onions in one layer o the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Place it in the pan on top of the onions. Sprinkle the chicken with the lemon juice and rub with olive oil. Sprinkle the spices over the chicken to coat it.
  3. Roast the chicken for 40 minutes.
  4. Glaze the chicken: Remove the chicken from the oven and brush with the honey and soy sauce mixture. Return the chicken to the oven and roast for 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 165 degrees F. (This could take longer if the chicken is larger than 3 1/2 pounds.) Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes. Serve.
  5. Pour the pan juices into a small pitcher and serve alongside the chicken.

Yield: 4-6

Stevie Wonder with The Harlem Boys Choir-Live

Me, my mom and sister at my brother’s wedding.

I’m really missing my mom this holiday season. What I want to tell her:

One of her granddaughters is recovering quickly from hip surgery.

One of her granddaughters got a new job offer.

One of her granddaughters danced beautifully as Captain of the Soldiers in The Nutcracker.

One of her grandsons, who is in the United Stated Army, will be stationed on the East Coast in a couple of months.

And I received amazing feedback on a picture book manuscript.

So, to my mom and all those that we miss…

New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show, Part 3

I said, “Say cheese,” to my 12 year-old niece, and this adorable little boy thought I was talking to him!

Here are more photos from the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden. Below the slide show is a short “Behind the Scenes” video.

Happy family time, hon!

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