Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Why hello 2016, you sexy beast!  Just a note to friends, random Interweb ramblers who have found ShelleyBakes, etc., I'm going to be working in the near future to get this site tidied a bit.  Remove some personal posts that have no relevance to cooking, make sure that links are still relevant, etc., but ShelleyBakes is likely going the way of the rotary phone and landlines. 

Happy cooking! xo

Thursday, August 8, 2013

One year ...

When the hell did this happen?
I swear he was only born yesterday ...

Then he became the chairman of cake.  We take cake very seriously in the Mahannah household.

And then we woke up and realized that our little man turned one this morning.  So mommy shared a breakfast of Miracle Whip sandwiches and Reese's Peanut Butter cups with Ian this morning.  She might rethink the wisdom of that later.
Ryan and I cannot get over how lucky we are when we look at our kiddo.  Sure - his first word was "cat" and he's a restless sleeper like his mama is, but he gets so ridiculously happy to see us every morning and regularly rewards our goofy efforts with snorts and giggles. 

Happy birthday, boo bear!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Because ...

Because my father asked me this weekend if I had blogged lately ...

Because I made this salad last night while I was trying to multi-task and make a Father's Day feast of pancakes and bacon.  (Oh yes, we believe in brinner at Casa de Mahannah.)

Because a friend of mine reminded me how OBSESSED I was last summer with iced coffee. (Oh wow ... strike that.  I made this in 2011.  Where does the time go?)

Oh wait - where does the time go?  It goes here ...
10 months old!

And here ...

Visiting Uncle Chuck's bookstore.
Time looks ahead to the fall when our family of three will expand to a family of four ...

Life is good. :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

There was a time ...

... when I thought that I wouldn't get pregnant.  My body seemed to conspire against me.  And although I found myself saying from time-to-time that it would be OK if I didn't have children, I found myself going through the baby clothes section in Target and finding outfits that I would buy on clearance and hoard away in the event that my ship came in.

A year ago, I was unaware that I was gestating a little bean that is now an ornery, snuggling, teething, drooling, smiley, lovable little hunk of boy named Ian.  He has his daddy's eyes and his mommy's temper.  And both parents enchanted with his "miles and miles of smiles."

And those little outfits weren't bought in vain.

Why yes, this is a Pink Floyd onesie.  Why do you ask?
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a date to kiss those lovable little cheeks ad nauseum.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I remember ...

Motherhood has taught me a few new tricks.  One of them is how to balance my sleeping two-month-old on my abdomen while I type.  (Full disclosure:  I'm a huge proponent of getting my kid to sleep in places other than on me or his dad.  This is about the time that I'd sneak him into his car seat or to his crib for the 20 minute naps that he's famous for.  But the kid had his two-month vaccinations today.  I want to keep him close by.  And I'm in love with his dear little face.)

Motherhood has also made me unaccountably sappy.  We'll blame this on post-natal hormones compounded with sore nipples and sleeplessness.  Stupid things impact me and make me want to cry.  Letters like this or thisMarines who help people with prosthetics.  High school athletes who show the real meaning of sportsmanshipIdiots in Anoka.

OK - the Anoka thing made me want to hurl.  But I digress.

I'm aware of a lot of the world's shenangians and sappy moments because of Facebook.  When I'm not chuckling over the latest meme posted by George Takei or reposting some liberal cartoon that draws the ire of my conservative friends, it seems like a lot of the items that my friends are posting are usually in support of marriage equality. 

Today's National Coming Out Day and I've come out in support of my friends' right to marry whoever the hell they want to regardless of gender.  That should surprise no one.  Tomorrow is another "day" of sorts - a day that actually got me on my path of outspoken activism.  Tomorrow marks the 14th anniversary of Matthew Shepard's death. 

1998.  I would have been a junior at Luther College.  At least one of my dear friends had come out by that time. There was no way to know that over a decade later, I'd meet another man who would come out and that this person would become one of my best friends in the entire planet. 

I live in a world where my secular, liberal self has a hard time with the roadblocks that are in the way of my gay friends.  I think that the Minnesota marriage amendment that is on the upcoming ballot is a shameless piece of political posturing that has been introduced by some idiot who is simply seeking re-election.

My argument is flawed but over the past few months, I had a weird revelation.  For the politicians who so stridently decry the impact that gay marriage will have on "traditional" society, I say that it's pretty easy to be against something that will never impact you as a person.

One of the reasons that I am so outspoken about gay rights is because Matthew Shepard's death was a turning point in my life.  The brutality of his murder made a lot of people wake up - I was one of them.  And not because of the fight for equality.  I woke up and began to speak out because there was a part of me that could substitute Matthew's baby face for any one of my friends who had come out in the small Midwestern college that we called home.  What if someone tried to hurt my friend Dan?  No one would do that - no one would hurt someone just because he was gay.  Right?  Right?

As I wrote on my Facebook wall: "I remember the horror and grief that I felt for this man and his family. And I remember the fear I felt for my friends who had come out. And I promised myself that I would raise my voice in solidarity for my friends and decry the hate and violence that ended this young man's life. I remember."

I raise my voice because I believe that love is love, regardless of whether it's between a heterosexual or a homosexual couple.  I raise my voice to fight against the violence that still occurs today. 

I raise my voice - albeit quietly - because I can imagine that Matthew Shepard's mother once balanced her boy carefully on her abdomen as he napped, so she could go about the work of her day.  I am sure that she loved her son's dear little face. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

End of summer and a book review!

Although we have most of September until fall is officially upon us, a lot of my fellow food bloggers have been lamenting the "end of summer" with seasonal recipes that take advantage of our gardens' last hurrah of produce.

Although I always love to see these recipes and this commentary - this year has me scratching my head.  Where the hell did this year go?  Oh wait - I was pregnant for the majority of this year.  While my contemporaries have been plotting out how to use the last of the tomatoes of summer, I've been trying to decode my newborn ... I mean - my one-month-old son.  Where did the past month go?

Anyway - one of the "projects" on my to-do list that got shuffled to the wayside while waiting for my little bean was a review of J.T. Ellison's "A Deeper Darkness." 

Full confession - Ms. Ellison sent me a copy of her book to review ... oh - a few months ago.  And I finished reading the book and writing the review ... a few months ago.  But I'm just getting to publishing my review now.  Sigh.

J.T. Ellison first came on the literary scene in 2007 with "All the Pretty Girls," a novel that introduced the reading world to Lt. Taylor Jackson, a tough cookie of a homicide detective located in Nashville, Tennessee.  As the narrative into Jackson's world increased, readers have been introduced to recurring characters like John Baldwin, Jackson's love interest, and Jackson's childhood friend Dr. Sam Owens, a medical examiner.

In "A Deeper Darkness" (released this April by Mira books, a Harlequin imprint), Dr. Owens takes center stage, a couple of years after a devastating flood decimates her entire world.  To cope with the loss of her family, Sam has buried herself into her work - building a fragile, yet failing, refuge that is shattered when she gets a phone call from the mother of an old flame.  Eddie Donovan, her first love, has been murdered - will Sam perform a secondary autopsy?

The storyline that follows establishes Ellison's prowess as a storyteller who infuses her stories and characters with a mind boggling amount of realism and research.  The questions the reader encounters are plausible: If Eddie Donovan was killed by a car jacker, what were the circumstances leading up to his murder?  How are subsequent murders investigated by DC Homicide Detective Darren Fletcher related? The case uncovered unwittingly by Sam Owens leads her back to the past - a seemingly cut and dried friendly fire incident in Afghanistan that returned Eddie Donovan to the U.S. a changed man.

A reader does not need to be familiar with the world of Taylor Jackson to pick up "A Deeper Darkness."  That is part of Ellison's genius as a writer - Sam Owens emerges as a fully formed character worthy of her own series of books (which Ellison is working on).  "Darkness" is a tautly told thriller that keeps a reader hooked until the final, heartbreaking chapter that holds the key to Sam's guilt regarding the death of her family members.

Although the bloggers say that summer has ended - I say pshaw ... this is a perfect summer read.  And if you're like me and have a one-month-old (and a cat) vying for your attention, this book will hold until the crisp fall nights fall upon us.  And even better?  Ms. Ellison is currently giving away two copies of "Darkness" at her website.  Visit Ms. Ellison's website for details and good luck!

Monday, August 27, 2012

In the meantime ...

Waiting for a baby is kind of agonizing.  Waiting for a baby that was due on July 27th and didn't show up until August 8th? Downright challenging to one who is not known for her patience. 

However - my beloved little bean was born on August 8, 2012 - weighing in at 7 lbs, 9 oz and stretching 20 1/2 inches.  His name is Ian.  As my husband says, "he's a good guy."  We'll keep him. 


So ... while I was waiting for Ian - I canned salsa and bourbon cherry jam.  Because it was hot and standing over a boiling water bath while massively pregnant seemed like the thing to do to start labor.  (FYI - didn't work.  Neither did eating eggplant Parmesan.)


And this is the first recipe that I made post-baby.  I still have a WONDERFUL abundance of tomatoes in my garden and when I'm not blitzing them in my food processor and putting them in 2 c. portions in freezer bags, I'm trying to figure out easy ways to use them up.


Happy Monday!