Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Christie Asks: What's Your Comfort?

I don’t want to dwell on the uncertainty of the times--only what we’re doing to surf through them! Let’s talk comfort, whether it be food, drink, or entertainment.

Under the food category, sub-labeled “I Did This For You,” I tried out the recipe for Microwave Chocolate Cake in a Mug. My verdict: YUK! It was rubbery and tasteless, even though I added chocolate chips. If you’re hard up for chocolate, just eat the chips by themselves. However, if you still want to try it out, the recipe can be found here:


Instead, though, I suggest picking up the single-serving microwave cakes from Betty Crocker at the grocery store. Son 2 and I tried these out for you, the chocolate-chocolate and the chocolate-caramel. They’re easy and fast and actually tasty. But expensive. Look for them on sale.

In the drink department, Surfer Guy and I took a short drive on Sunday afternoon to a local winery and did some tasting. Fun! We had six tastings, got to keep our glass, and it wasn’t enough to make us tipsy…just sleepy by the time we got home. But it smelled good in the cellar and the temp was cool (outdoors it’s been in the 90s here in SoCal) and we also munched on a few pieces of bread dipped in boutique olive oils. Okay, we could have sat at home and guzzled a couple of bottles of medium-priced wine by the time we paid for the tasting and the gas to get there, but our trek was better than doing that since we also avoided watching our football team lose (again).

Entertainment is yet another avenue to comfort. I can zone out on endless Law & Order episodes or put in a favorite movie like Love, Actually or The Return of the King. But for me, nothing is better than a comfort read. This weekend I re-read Lisa Kleypas’s Blue-Eyed Devil (a contemporary) and earlier in the week it was her Devil in Winter (a historical). Any “classic” Linda Howard will do the job for me, though I just re-read Cover of Night, which is fairly recent--2006. However, Mackenzie’s Mountain and Duncan’s Bride are two at the core of my comfort read shelf.

What gets you through? Share your favorite food, drink, or entertainment comfort item!


Arkansas Cyndi said...

YAY! First comment.

Christie - got Unravel Me. Will be reading it ASAP. :) Thanks

I cannot say enough good things about Blue-Eyed Devil. SOOO good. I need to read it again.

Comfort items to eat:
hot, homemade chocolate chip cookies and cold milk.

I love to get lost in a good romantic movie (27 Dresses, Ghost, While You Were Sleeping) There are a bunch of those. Rarely does any TV show hold me or zone me out.

All things considered, I'd rather read..something that I just can't put down. I have to turn the page and read on.

Helen Brenna said...

Comfort food - homemade soup, chicken noodle, split pea are my favs.

A movie I can watch over and over again is Pride and Prejudice, the one with Keira Knightly.

I've never read a book twice.

FIONA said...

Christie, regardless of stuff in the news, it's comfort food time because of the weather. It was around 23F when I woke up this morning. That's soup-making weather in my book.

Black bean soup, chili, and lamb stew will soon be bubbling away on my stove.

I do have some "comfort books" and some books I reread every year. I reread TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD every year. Also, A CIVIL CAMPAIGN and a couple of Ellis Peters' Cadfael books and one or two Dick Francis books.

This year, I'm going to reread all of my Tony Hillerman novels. I was so sad to hear that he died. (more on that on my own blog)

As for comfort movies. Well, I tend to go for the cry-your-eyes-out movies, or very silly comedies.

In the first category--OUT OF AFRICA tops the list, followed by CASSABLANCA and VALMONT.

In the second--WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING is # 1, followed by EMMA (Gweneth Paltrow version) BEST IN SHOW, and DROP DEAD GORGEOUS.

As for TV shows, I like a certain political humor show, but that has been wearing thin. I'm ready for the elections to be over already.

Christie said...

Cyndi: I so love Blue-Eyed Devil too! And I'm with you on the chocolate chip cookies. Must watch 27 Dresses. As I live in an all-male world, I don't get much enthusiasm when I suggest this. Will have to watch it by myself.

Helen: You have never read a book twice?! I don't know if I've ever asked anyone that question. I just assumed everyone re-read their favorites.

Love that version of P&P, BTW. There's a shot where he touches her hand as she's getting in (out?) of a carriage that makes me swoon.

Christie said...

Fiona: I also am ready for the elections to be over. I didn't know Tony Hillerman died! I heard him speak several years ago in Santa Fe. I've only read a couple of his books and now I'll have to read some more.

Also love Emma.

And now I want chili, despite it being so hot here (predicted to be in the 90s again today.

Michele Hauf said...

Just hand me a bag of chocolate and I'm comfortable. :-)
Reads include Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas books, and some kind of non-fiction on historical Paris.

Movies are CITY OF ANGELS. After seeing that one dozens of times, I still cry! Also like PRACTICAL MAGIC and DANGEROUS LIAISONS

best thing to do is snuggle up on the couch with a warm blanket and just sort of daydream.

Playground Monitor said...

Boutique olive oils? Did you go to the Olive Press at Jacuzzi winery? We did after RWA and because I can't drink (my meds don't play well with alcohol) I sampled all the olive oils and had 4 bottles shipped back home.

Glad you were the canary down the mine shaft on that chocolate cake recipe. Now I won't have to fix it. My comfort food is bread (and if it's dipped in olive oil, all the better!). If it's warm from the oven, it's even more comforting. Slather it with butter and I'll be damn near comatose.

I got hooked on Law and Order SVU when I was laid up after foot surgery earlier this year. Love that show.

Books do it for me too. I rarely re-read books, but a category romance by one of my favorite authors can make the worst day disappear.

I'm a hot tea drinker. I like Earl Grey with sugar and milk. I like some herbals. I like chai. No, I LOVE chai. I'm learning to like rooibos. If I have an upset tummy, out comes the mint tea.

I'm going to do NaNoWriMo next month. I need to find something to get me through that. LOL!


Kylie said...

Comfort drink--Diet Coke. Drink it non-stop, way too much of it.

Comfort food would be something salty. Popcorn or chips.

Comfort reads....ah, Nora comes to mind! Just finished reading Tribute. But her older Carnal Innocence and Hidden Riches will be reread over and over if I have time, like if I'm sick.

Lee said...

My comfort food is a nice stew with cornbread...I love it especially with the weather turning cold finally here in Cali...Another one of my comfort foods which I need to avoid like a bad habit, corn chips. I'll eat a whole bag. During these difficult times, and news full of bad news, I just avoid the news. I have black out days, usually Friday, Saturday and Sunday...I just feel like I need a break.

Debra Dixon said...

Well, I had a bad day yesterday. I had to go be the hachet man for one of my clients. :/ I had to cut someone full-time to true part-time and cut everyone else's salary by 10%.

When I got home, I got into my jammies and went in my quilting studio. It's a stress reducer.

I also will veg in front of the TV if there is something good.

I was so stressed last night, I forgot Dancing With the Stars was on. And I love that.

I'll do food and books. I'm working on a C.S. Friedman book now. If I want to go back and just grab something really familiar and comforting, I'll pull a Georgette Heyer, one of Stephanie Laurens' first 4-6 Cynster books or fantasy from Anne Bishop.

Keri Ford said...

Helen: You've never read a book twice? I should send you one of mine! You'll read it over and over! Couldn't help myself, in one of those moods!

My comfort stuff changes. At the moment it's halloween candy. Love that stuff, but darn, snack is too small. I keep having to get up and go back to the candy bowl. Maybe I'm burning as I eat!

Betina Krahn said...

I don't usually read books twice either. Sorry. ::wince:: But occasionally I do skim one again to refresh my memory on details.

As for comfort, I do like TV-- there are several great new shows on, like Fringe and My Own Worse Enemy. And there are the old favorites: Chuck, Life, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Bones, CSI, and House. Eureka is already off for the season. sigh.

Then there are movies. . . certain ones i laugh at every time I see them. . . Lake Placid, Evolution, Big Trouble. . . and the action ones that are guilty pleasures, like Shoot 'Em Up with Clive Owen.
Thank heaven for HBO and Showtime.

Foodwise. . . homemade soups and pasta and anything with CHEESE. Only I don't get much of the carb-y things these days, so I have to make it count. There are days I'd kill for some lasagne. Chili is a fall favorite, as is hot cider.

Cold weather makes me remember why I have dogs!

catslady said...

I'm not a rereader either. The only time I've reread something is when it's a series and it's been too long between books (Jean Auel's Earth series for one).

Favorite drinks - Cabernet Savignon or freshly ground black coffee.

Favorite movie - Forever Young (a younger (not young) Mel Gibson).

Christie said...

Marilyn: Love L&O SVU. Especially the tension between Olivia and Elliot. Yum.

We went to Olfina winery which is by the Wild Animal Park in San Diego. I'm definitely into bread and olive oil now. I sorta forget about it.

Do not try the horrid microwave cake in a mug.

Christie said...

Lee: You must be in NoCal. Man, it's still blazin' here. And we have the fire alerts too. I smell a whiff of smoke in the air and I'm queasy.

Christie said...

More comfort reads: Yes, Keri! Anything Nora. I just read an anthology about the MacGregor brides.

Deb: Steph Laurens's Cynsters always work for me, too.

And, um, when it comes to food...who just mentioned the Halloween candy? I forgot until this moment I have two HUGE bags just a wall away (I hid them in the dining room).

Christie said...

Cats Lady: I'm going to try more Cabernet Sauvignon. I tasted one on Sunday that was good, but too expensive to buy. I need to find something good at lower price.

Jane said...

I love Comedy Central and the History Central. I can spend a whole day watching old episode of History's Mysteries. All I need are some chips and Coke. I love rereading Julie Garwood's historicals and Lisa Kleypas' Bow Street series.

Playground Monitor said...

Love L&O SVU. Especially the tension between Olivia and Elliot. Yum.

Yeah, the relationship that will never be (except in the fanfiction world). I wish they'd get Olivia a nice boyfriend. Maybe this season.

Michele Hauf said...

Betina, do you just love CHristian Slater in My Own Worst ENemy? I hope that show lasts, because it has so much potential.

Betina Krahn said...

Michele, yes, I'm really hoping that it lasts.

It's quite a concept and has already shown some original twists and turns. . . the two half both taunting and helping each other. Not quite the usual Hollywood formula. And Slater is sooooo convincing.

One of my two new-season faves!

Helen Brenna said...

Yeah, weird that I've never read a book twice. I almost feel like I can't possibly be a writer with that flaw in my background.

Trust me, I have keeper shelves and a lot of them. I've just never gone back and reread. Heck, I can't even keep up with current reading!!

Helen Brenna said...

Glad to know I'm not alone, Betina!

Christie said...

Oh, I'll have to look for that show with Christian Slater. He looks so much older, though! Have they done something weird with his hair? I always have liked him.

Jane: I'm sort of newish to Kleypas's historicals. I'll have to look for the Bow Street books.

Marilyn: I would like to go through the L&O SVU seasons and just cull out those cool moments of tension and put them on one DVD.

Christie said...

Betina has never re-read either?

I just never thought about it before. I assumed everyone had their keeper shelves they turned to. You guys might just hold stories in your heads better than I do.

lois greiman said...

Old movies...or new favorites. Curled up on the couch under a guilt. Maybe some hot chocolate and toast with too much butter. MMM

catslady said...

You're right, cabernets can get very expensive but there are plenty of unexpensive ones out there too. Many times we get them on sale to try them out and find some favorites that way. And it's so much fun figuring out which ones you like best.