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You've got mail: Book Blogger Holiday Swap 2010

The Day After I received my Canadian loot in the Great Grocery Bag Exchange, again a mysterious package fell into my mailbox. Hooray, a present from my Secret Santa! Of course I knew Santa lives somewhere in the Nordic hemisphere, but I never would have guessed (s)he actually lives in Sweden..! I should have know that when I visited the country in 2002! Eh, not that I have any plans about what to do with that knowledge ;)

Anyway, my present is wrapped in some cool helper-trolls paper. And I’m keeping it that way for a short while longer! Our rental Christmas tree won’t arrive until December 18th and I want it to lie under the tree like a proper x-mas gift. Even if it’s just for one day LOL! So you’ll have to be patient too. Nothing you can do about it! :)

Book Blogger Holiday Swap present 2010 (wrapped)

Thanks to helper-troll my Secret Santa ‘Zee’ from  ..?

Other bookish news

I’ve finished reading The (Temple of the) Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima and am about to start in Nadeem Aslam’s The Wasted Vigil. Just like I promised last week ;)

Foodie's Reading Challenge 2011 buttonI’ve also been a baaaad grrl — again — and joined yet another challenge :\

But.. it-was-made-for-me! It’s the Foodie’s Reading Challenge, hosted by Margot of Joyfully Retired. If you’ve participated in Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking meme you’re bound to have met her! She challenges us to explore the world of good food writing; taking the form of cookbooks, biographies or even novels centered around food.

Now look at Graasland and tell me honestly: could I really have resisted this challenge??? :)

The Sunday Salon is a virtual gathering of booklovers on the web, where they blog about bookish things of the past week, visit each others weblogs, oh — and read ;)

It’s December and the gift giving season has definitely started. This week I received my parcel from Lavender Lines in the awesome Great Grocery Bag Exchange that Carin from A Little Bookish hosted. YAY!

Of course we all want to live ‘green’ (right?), so why not Bring Your Own Bag to the store?! Or better still, bring a friend’s bag! The cool part of this international swap is that you get to have a unique reusable bag from another country to lug your groceries back home in :) And mine-came-from-bilingual-Canada. Ha!

Curious? Well, here’s the loot Colleen sent me!

Bookhobo's Great Grocery Bag Exchange

Yep, you’re seeing that right: next to two bags, I also got some special Canadian goodies. :)

Oh, but the cat was not included! That’s our Handsome Man, Ringo. He was curious too ;) If you’re one of those rare cat-haters, here’s a link to a picture without him. :-o

The small red bag came from Claire de Lune, a wonderful Canadian candle shop, as Colleen describes it. It’s cute and it does smell sweetly of candles! :)

The bigger blue bag is from the Co-op grocery store. This bag is truly Canadian in that it has a French, and an English side. I can’t believe how global I’ll look carrying this! :) It’s pretty sturdy and I already used it to bring a bunch of heavy goodies to my aunt.

Please don’t tell anyone but there’s a secret to this bag too… Come closer to the computer so I can whisper it in your ear!

*low volume* There’s a small zipper pocket inside to put my money in! *volume up*

Colleen was so sweet to include her favourite Canadian chocolate bars: Coffee Crisp and mint-flavoured Aero. I visited Eastern Canada in 2000 but I can’t remember having come across them. So they’re rrrrrreally special! I’m saving them for a treat on one of my hikes or to cheer me up when I’m feeling down. Well, if I can resist them that long anyway ;)

I am a bit worried though :\ Colleen writes: I should warn you — they’re addictive!
Before you know it I’ll need to order them on-line in large numbers… LOL

So, a BIG Thank You! to my friends across the Atlantic: Colleen and Carin. I’ve had a great time participating in the grocery bag exchange and will continue to do so whenever I use my bags. Can you picture the jealous looks I’ll get? :)

Great Grocery Bag Exchange logo

Check out other Grocery Bag Exchange posts at A Little Bookish!

Arigato Bento (#122) closed, 13-11-2010

This snack bento was a Thank You present for elm@, who was kind enough to lend me her copy of Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, The Sea. It was sort of a “mea culpa” at the same time, because I’ve held on to the book for way too long!

Elm@ is the same sweet person who gave me a load of bento goodies in March, so this seemed like an appropriate gift.

Thank You Bento (#122), 13-11-2010
Contents

  • Lollo Rosso lettuce
  • emmental Babybel cheese
  • mint
  • usagi ringo (apple bunny) with sesame eyes and Smarties candy nose, which refused to stay stuck, sitting on..
  • a container of powdered sugar for the home-made pumpkin cookie
  • sweet ’n spicy nuts (pecan & almonds) with dried cranberries
  • mini plum tomato ‘pears’ with basil
  • baby fig
  • Dove chocolate
  • vodka filled chocolate candy
  • fake hamburger sweet (hiding under nuts)
  • rice crackers


The sweet & spicy nuts make a great bento stash so let’s share the recipe!

Sweet ’n spicy nuts

We have enjoyed this nutty snack on picnics, shared it at ‘bring a dish’ buffets (potluck) and even served it as mezze.

Ingredients

  • 250 g white almonds
  • 250 g pecans
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • just a pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Preparation

  • Preheat oven at 180 ºC.
  • Line griddle with baking paper and spread almonds & pecan nuts over it. Roast for 5-10 minutes in oven until golden.
  • Let them cool.
  • Mix sugar & spices in a bowl.
  • Heat a large skillet.
  • Scoop nuts into pan and toss sugar/spice mix over them.
  • Bake for 5 minutes on medium heat while stirring: the nuts need to get covered by melted sugar. Shake pan when necessary and use a wooden spoon to keep the nuts from sticking together (too much).
  • Spread the nuts on a baking sheet to cool down again.

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Servings: plenty :)

Bento of the Week

– – – – –

Join Beth Fish’s weekend cooking with a food-related post!

Beth Fish Weekend Cooking logo

Bento #94This is not a great picture of bento #94, I knoooow :(

Good thing that the days are getting longer again, because I really need some natural light for my bento pics. I heard that people in the US have already put their clocks back! Here in Europe we have to wait until the last weekend of the month. It will be great to have longer evenings!

You can click on the picture for a better view but here’s what’s in the containers (clockwise):

  • salad of tomatoes, mixed lettuce, spring onion, cucumber, mixed nuts and something we call ‘silver onions’, which are actually tiny pickled white onions
  • cherry tomatoes and radishes (hiding)
  • yellow and blue corn chips
  • homemade salsa picante and avocado dip
  • sweets: koala strawberry cookies and mini Milka chocolats
  • fresh pineapple

The sweets need a special mention today! Elm@ (whom I’ve mentioned before) was so kind to give me two bags of bento foodies for inspiration! I procrastinated their unpacking because the present looked cute as it was :) See for yourself!

Bento goodies I got from elm@

Yesterday around 10PM I could no longer stand the pressure and I tore open my two still-wrapped presents from my unveiled Santa.

I have to admit Santa had me a wee bit worried by mentioning in her letter that she thought there should be A RULE to make adults read children’s books… Yeah, Santa would say a thing like that, right? But this is a genre usually not to be seen on my nightstand. Of course the first of her 3 arguments was immediately incontestable:

Because they’re brilliant.

Rightio. Clever Santa! She’s brilliant herself, ‘cause you know what she got me?

TADAAAAAH

Unwrapped :)

It’s been only a few weeks since I said:

Now that I’ve crawled out of my familiar reading nook I might also try one of Gaiman’s actual fantasy books — next year.

Santa has been listening closely! ;) Getting me Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book (I feel envy coming towards me now ;) What a nice surprise! And she goes even further in getting me to try new things, by also giving me a Terry Pratchett! I know plenty Pratchett enthusiasts, so I’m indeed excited to find out what I’ll think of The Wee Free Men living on Discworld. Whatdoyaknow, maybe you’ll get to meet a new addict here in the new year ;) I already found out that these books are interlinked by the fact that Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett have done some project together…

BTW Note how the gift wrappings are in tone with their respective book covers? Isn’t that marvelous? (Yes, I’m still going on about how great these presents looked ;) This Santa obviously cares about details :)

It was my first time participating in the Book Bloggers Holiday Swap. I figured I would like to pick a present for some reader on the globe, but I hadn’t expected this wonderful feeling because someone who absolutely didn’t know me took such care in finding me a special present as well. Wow.

Thank you so much Santa Valentina!

IIIIEEEEEH just as I was bouncing off the wall out of excitement because my Book Blogger Holiday Swap gift was received (positively) by my santee, the doorbell rang… The MAILMAN! With my present from Secret Santa! And I have a huge secret to blab out tell all who still believe Santa lives on the North Pole… He doesn’t! He is a she residing in Ireland. There you have it, an ancient mystery has been solved ;)

Now, as I wrote to Santa in my letter, I especially like nicely wrapped gifts. And boy did he she take that seriously! Look at these! Really, that’s what I’m doing while writing this post — for now I’m just enjoying these presents the way they are :) It’s called ‘deterred gratification’ ;)

To prove this is the REAL Santa: I didn’t write to him (it needs a bit of getting used to) HER that this Gnoe (Gnu) used to be a magpie in a previous life! Or possibly some glamrock person ;) Gimme glitteries and I’m going OMG OMG OMG! * bouncing off the wall again * Now look at the bling bling on those presents… :) See what I mean? Only the real Santa could have known — proof beyond reasonable doubt!

But wait, you haven’t seen it all yet! Santa went way out of her way to make this the most special gift in the whole Book Blogger Holiday Swap! Even mooooore goodies to enjoy :) Here’s the complete loot:

With a long, kind letter of Santa herself — who by the way has a special fondness for Japan as well ;)

Now, like me, you’ll just have to wait a little while longer to see what’s actually in the presents!

To be continued

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

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