This afternoon I went to Davis Kidd Booksellers, cozied up in an over sized armchair and picked out my summer reading. Davis Kidd is my favorite bookstore in Memphis. It's very quaint and a place where I can easily spend hours sifting through shelves of books. Libraries and bookstores are two places where I feel ten times smarter just by being there. I want to wear thick rimmed glasses and sip a cappuccino while reading philosophy and taking notes. It's also a great stress reliever. But perhaps the best part about Davis Kidd Booksellers is the little restaurant inside, Bronte Bistro. Quite the popular spot for ladies who lunch, or couples meeting for brunch after church on Sunday. It most certainly beats the proverbial Starbucks inside a Barnes and Noble. Unfortunately, I missed out on a meal at Bronte today, but I am happy to report that I have not only one, not two, but THREE books to read this summer. And I'm ready to fly through all of them.
Ironically, but not completely unpredictable, all three books have something to do with food in one way or another. They are Bethenny Frankel's Naturally Thin, Manny Howard's My Empire of Dirt and Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love.
I've already started reading Naturally Thin, and I really enjoy it. I'm obsessed with Real Housewives of NYC; and now I'm a fan of Bethenny's book. In all seriousness, she has the right attitude towards food, teaching people smart ways to incorporate food into their life; and it's very achievable. It's not about dieting and denying yourself the foods you love. But rather she teaches you how to create that balance and make smart choices. She's realistic about eating habits and struggles, while still being relatable. Plus, she tells me I can make an exception everyday if it's really worthwhile. And one of those exceptions is a small glass of wine. Now we're talkin'! I love my vino every now and then.
I read a review in the latest issue of Garden and Gun magazine about My Empire of Dirt. Manny Howard has an 800 square foot backyard in Brooklyn which he turned into a farm. His goal is to live only off of what he can produce on this farm for a month: chickens, fruits, vegetables, etc. I can tell this is going to be a fun read and have only gotten through the prologue.
Tonight, I made Bethenny's faux cheesecake. "Interesting" is the first word that comes to mind. Surprisingly, it had just enough sweetness to convince the brain that you are eating dessert, without consuming all the calories. Yet, the texture is very light and airy, 99% of the recipe being ricotta cheese. It just so happened that I had all the ingredients to whip this together in 2 minutes and try it out. I recommend it. You certainly satisfy your sweet tooth, but unlike the real deal of cheese cake, you can eat an entire serving and not feel one once of guilt! Don't misunderstand, nothing beats a slice of New York cheesecake. But this is a good, healthy alternative. I may have slipped in a little more maple syrup than required...shhhh...
Michael Buble singing "I'm Feeling Good" is a true representation of my attitude going into this week. I got to lay out by the pool this weekend. Got a little sun. Got my summer reading lined up. Now I'm officially ready to kick off the summer season. I actually saw Michael Buble in Chicago my sophomore year in college. My roommate and I went to his concert, and he was fantastic. At times, you would have thought Elvis Presley was in the room with the way women squealed over him.
Have a great week!
Bethenny's Faux Cheesecake:1/2 cup whipped cottage cheese (or low-fat ricotta cheese)
1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract
1 tbs dark chocolate chips or slivered almonds, or anything that goes with the flavor
1 tsp honey or maple syrup
Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl or ramekin. Eat immediately, or cover and chill.