A Tropical Weekend

We have officially reached the boiling point in Texas. Actually, it came much later this summer than usual, so I’ll take that as a win. In order to get myself into a cooler, more tropical state of mind, I decided to try three new recipes, two cocktails and ice cream. These are not for anyone on a diet, but are definitely a fun way to cool off.

Thanks to Joe Parris for being my film maker on my first ever Video on how to make a Lava Flow cocktail.

For this week’s ice cream I made Coconut Rum.

I forgot to take a picture of the Pina Colada Mimosas I made for Sunday Brunch. They were a fun change instead of the regular OJ or Cranberry Mimosas.

Here are the recipes! Enjoy

Lava Flow

Serves 4

8 oz Coconut Rum
6 oz White Rum
12 oz Strawberries
8 oz pineapple juice
8 oz Cream of Coconut
1 banana
2 cups crushed ice
Pineapple chunks and strawberries for garnish.

Blend the rums and strawberries for 15 seconds. Pour mixture into four highball glasses.
Clean the blender. Then blend the pineapple juice, cream of coconut, banana, and crushed ice for 15 seconds. Pour evenly into the highball glasses, directly in the middle of the strawberry mixture. Watch the magic happen. Garnish with pineapple chunks and strawberries if desired.

Coconut Rum Ice Cream

Makes 1 quart

2 large eggs
¼ cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
⅔ cups half-and-half
1 (15 oz) can Coco Lopez
2 Tablespoons dark rum

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Whisk in the sugar until completely blended. Pour in the cream and half-and-half, and whisk to blend. Gradually add the Coco Lopez and finish with rum until blended.

Follow your manufacturer’s instructions to make the ice cream

Pina Colada Mimosas

Serves 4

½ cup sugar
1 Pineapple wedge
4 Pineapple slices
4 maraschino cherries
1 cup pineapple juice
½ cup coconut rum
1 bottle champagne or prosecco

Use the pineapple wedge to rim champagne flutes, then dip in sugar. Combine the pineapple juice and coconut rum, then divide evenly into four flutes. Top with champagne. Garnish with a pineapple slice and cherry.

Bethlehem by Karen Kelly

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I wanted to love this book more than I did. First of all, the cover was intriguing, as the name of the novel. 3.5 Stars.

In the 1960’s a young nurse Joanna, who grew up in a middle class family, marries Frank Collier, whose family ran Bethlehem Steel and are very wealthy. Due to the death of Frank’s father, Wyatt Collier, Frank and Joanna, with their two children, move in with Frank’s mother Susannah Parrish Collier and grandmother Helen Parrish at the family’s grand mansion. Frank is a work-a-holic. Joanna gets bored and starts a friendship with a gardener at the local cemetery. There is a mysterious headstone for a baby at the cemetery. Susannah and Helen seem to be keeping secrets. Alternate chapters take place in the 1920’s when the Susannah was the youngest of Helen’s three teenagers who the constant companions of the Wyatt and Chap Collier, the sons of the Parrishes’ best friends, Charles and Frances.

I was at first confused by the fact that Frank’s family ran Bethlehem Steel. I thought perhaps this was a fictionalized biography of real people who actually worked there. A quick google search make it clear that this was not the case. I also didn’t like that almost every single character had a nickname. Doe = Dorothy; Susannah = Sassy; Hollins V =Kit; Hollins IV = Hep; Genevieve = Gigi; Helen = Heddy; Davida = Daisy; India = Itty; Francis was Frank and one of the three Charles was Chap. With so many names floating about it was hard to establish who was who at first. The women characters were certainly more interesting, but all of the characters were likable and believable. The families were close knit and loyal to each other.

My favorite quotes:

Doe: “I’ve learned a thing or two in my antiquity —- chief among them that things are seldom what they seem. Often the person who appears the most . . . impenetrable . . . is, in truth, the most fragile.”

Susannah: “When I was a young woman, my mother gave me an exceptional gift. She said it was one that her father had given her. It was just a simple sentence, but it helped me through some pitch-black hours. What she said was this: ‘I’m never here to judge you; I’m only here to help you.”‘

When do you give up on a book?

I have a hard time giving up on a book. I keep thinking if I read just a little bit more, I will like it. The dilemma is even harder when I have paid for the book instead of getting it from the library. I won’t give up if it is a monthly book club selection, but there have been times where it was tough to finish.

I have been wanting to read a good humor novel for a while. Here is the description of They May Not Mean To, But They Do by Cathleen Schine: ” From one of America’s greatest comic novelists, a hilarious new novel about aging, family, loneliness, and love.”

The description had me at hilarious. According to Webster’s that means extremely funny. To me it also means Laugh Out Loud Funny. So far, I have read the first twelve (12) chapters of the book (28%) and I haven’t even had a smirk or a chuckle.

The story line is about an elderly New York woman, Joy, who struggles to take care of her very sick husband, while still working part time at the age of 85. Her daughter Molly lives in California, and her son is busy with his two young children.

The book is about the journey of trying to keep your dignity as you grow older. It is nice to hear the story from the viewpoint of the older woman. The book is also about the struggles of caregivers, and the guilt the children have when their parents become fragile. The characters are all likable and honorable… but they aren’t funny.

So now, I am struggling as to whether I should finish or just move on. I did pay for this one, and it is not a book club selection. I have accepted it is not a humorous book. What would you do? When do you decide to abandon a book?

Leave a comment!