I’m Your Population Density

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Sleepy Hollow Season 2, Episodes 17 and 18 Recap

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This season has been a rough one for Sleepy Hollow. I will admit that at a certain point, my enthusiasm for the show was so low that it broke my heart. That’s because I knew what the show could be, and it wasn’t being its best anymore. I fell in love with this show at a point in my life in which I was very depressed, and it provided me with an outlet and a distraction that was amazing, fun, and filled with outstanding acting and storylines. Season 2 took that amazing show and made it something nearly unrecognizable, and I felt hurt.

HOWEVER, Sleepy Hollow’s fandom gathered around and decided to fight for this show–to fight for what it was and could be again. Eventually, the showrunners listened (when ratings plummeted). They did an abrupt about-face and started to turn the show around. In the two part season finale, “The Awakening” and “Tempus Fugit,” they fully brought back the show that I fell in love with in 2013.

SPOILERS

Episode 17, “The Awakening,” sees Katrina Crane finally go completely evil. This was the character she was meant to be. Being evil, she had a purpose. While I think the episode rushed her turn to evil (and based it on wanting to be with her son…sigh), I am glad it happened.

This episode also brought the end of Henry Parrish/Jeremy Crane/the apocalyptic Horseman of War. When Abbie Mills shot and killed Henry, Frank Irving’s soul was released from his grasp, and he and Jenny Mills shared one of the sweetest hugs I’ve ever seen. (Team BAMF!) Henry’s death also meant that evil Katrina was now also completely batshit insane. She hastily performed the traveler’s spell to go back to 1781 and kill her husband, Ichabod Crane, before he could “ruin her life.” At the last minute, Abbie jumped into the portal that Katrina created and was sent back to the 18th century as well. She was not well-received in that era and was quickly thrown in jail. (While I loved the parallels to season one’s pilot in Abbie’s visit to the 1700s, my fear for her was intense. A black woman going back in time and a white man coming forward in time are NOT the same thing, and the implications of that literally made my stomach hurt.)

Episode 18, “Tempus Fugit,” then picked up where “The Awakening” left off. Ichabod is called off the battlefield to go see Abbie in her holding cell, and this action prevents him from falling at the hands of the Horseman of Death. Ichabod is skeptical of everything Abbie is trying to convince him of–that she’s from the future, that they are partners in a supernatural war, that they’ve taken selfies together…(squee!) This episode is so full of Ichabbie goodness, and it is just absolutely insane (in the best way possible) from start to finish with Ben Franklin’s beheading, Ichabod’s hilarious encounter with Abbie’s iPhone, Abbie meeting her ancestor Grace Dixon (so many feelings!), Katrina killing lots of people and leading Abraham/the Horseman of Death around like a little puppy, Abbie beating the crap out of a Colonial douche bag twice her size, Abbie “hugging it out” with Ichabod before he faces the Horseman, and Abbie and Grace reversing the traveler’s spell to bring Katrina and Abbie back to the exact moment they left in 2015.

When they come back to the present, everything that happened during the spell was conveniently undone so that the future remained unaltered. (Nice, yet lazy, save, writers!) Obviously, Katrina becomes upset that her plan didn’t work, and she tries to kill Abbie. Ichabod won’t stand for this, and he reaches for a knife before Katrina then turns on him. In the following scuffle, Ichabod stabs Katrina. THAT’S RIGHT. KATRINA IS DEAD!!! Not only that, but Ichabod is the one who killed her! I screamed with joy at that moment–it was so glorious. The character who almost destroyed this show is GONE! Needless to say, I am very happy.

The episode ends with the original Team Witness–Ichabod, Abbie, Jenny, and Frank–reunited and ready to fight another day. The show really turned it around and made Sleepy Hollow something I love again. This episode focused on the bond between the Witnesses and what that bond can do–it can overcome any obstacle, in any era, at any location, posed by anyone or anything.

Now we must wait to see if there will be a third season of Sleepy Hollow. After this finale, I certainly hope there is. I must see Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie acting together on my television screen again! In the meantime, I will ride out the high of the end of season two.

LONG LIVE ICHABBIE!ย 

sh ready captain sh ready lieutenant

 

[GIFs from the wonderful world of tumblr]

Historic Everyday Eats – Queen Cake

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Historic Everyday Eats is very special this week, folks! This entry should really be called “Historic Birthday Eats” because that is precisely the reason I made a cake! My mom came up to Chicago for the first time to celebrate her birthday last weekend (February 7), and I decided that this would be the perfect time to make my first historic cake! I picked a recipe for “Queen Cake” because what is better for a birthday queen? ๐Ÿ˜‰

The 1818 recipe for “Queen Cakes” from The Universal Receipt Book (which I have used before) reads as follows:

Queen Cake

“Take a pound each of dried and sifted flour, beaten and sifted loaf sugar, and fine fresh butter washed in rose or orange-flower water. Pour the water from the butter, squeeze it well in the hand, and work it by very small bits at a time, with half the flour and six yolks, but only four whites of eggs, beaten well together, and mixed with the butter. Then work in the rest of the flour and the sugar, adding three spoonsful of orange flower-water, a little beaten mace, and a pound of nicely picked and dried currants. The pans must be well buttered, and filled half full, have a little double refined sugar sifted over, and be set in a quick oven.”

Before going into the process of making this cake (which I did make as one big cake instead of several small ones), I wanted to explain a couple of the ingredients. The first is orange-flower water, or orange blossom water as you will find it in stores now. Like rose water, this is an extract made from the blossoms of orange trees. Unlike rose water, it is not nearly as strong (in smell or flavor), but it does produce a very nice aroma and taste in the finished product. The second ingredient in question is/are currants. Currants are a small berry, and I could not find their dried version in my grocery store. After doing some research, I found that dried currants can be replaced by raisins, so that is what I used in this recipe. As per usual, I cut this recipe in half so I wouldn’t have pounds and pounds of cake sitting around. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So let’s see how this Queen Cake came together:

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The ingredients: 1 2/3 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 2 sticks butter, 4 whole eggs plus two yolks, 3 tablespoons orange blossom water, 1 teaspoon mace, 1 1/2 cups raisins. (Powdered sugar is optional–I used it for topping the cake.)

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I started by mixing half of the flour, half the sugar, all of the eggs, and all of the butter (cut into small pieces after being soaked in orange blossom water for about 5 minutes).

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I then added in the rest of the flour and sugar in addition to 1 tsp mace and 3 tbsp orange blossom water.

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After mixing the batter together, I added 1 1/2 cups of raisins.

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This is a very sticky, wet batter, but it is very pretty with the chunks of butter and raisins!

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I then poured the batter into a well-buttered 8×8 baking pan and topped it with a little granulated sugar.

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I baked the cake in a 400 degree oven (which I thought would be “quick,” but not quite quick enough!) for 50 minutes. The cake came out golden and bubbly with a crumbly sugar top. ๐Ÿ™‚

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After letting the cake cool for about 45 minutes, I topped it with sifted powdered sugar just to make it a little more special. (It was for my mom’s birthday, after all!)

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The final product was a flavorful and aromatic cake that was very dense and sweet. The orange blossom water really makes this cake because of that extra layer of smell it adds.

Queen Cake was a pretty big hit among my husband, my mother, and myself. It probably isn’t a typical “birthday” cake per se, but I believe it would actually make a great breakfast cake (along the lines of coffee cake or muffins). It’s definitely worth a try, and it’s definitely fit for a queen! ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Sleepy Hollow Season 2, Episodes 15 and 16 Recap

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Episodes 15 and 16 of this season of Sleepy Hollow, “Spellcaster” and “What Lies Beneath” respectively, are the first episodes that underwent serious changes after (negative) fan reaction earlier in the season. They are a full-on course correction so to speak, and that makes them both a little bit wobbly in some places. The stories mostly make sense, but only if you don’t think about them too hard. (Of course, Sleepy Hollow is a science fiction show, so I am all for suspending my belief for its story line, but some things just don’t make sense in any reality.)

“Spellcaster” went into the origins of the Salem Witch Trials (which began because a warlock was friend-zoned apparently), and it laid the groundwork for Katrina becoming evil. (Yay!) It was an okay episode despite the major focus on Katrina once again (only because it made her look worse than ever before, if you can imagine that possibility). “What Lies Beneath” featured great Ichabbie moments and focused almost entirely on their relationship with a great side story for Frank (who, sadly, is at least partly evil now) and Jenny. The episode felt a little strange and rushed though, almost just like a filler episode in order to make it to the finale.

The finale will be broken into two episodes over the next two weeks, and the showrunners have promised a return to what works (Ichabod and Abbie front and center, of course) in addition to a character death (or maybe a few character deaths). Hopefully one of those deaths is the now evil (and always terrible) Katrina. *FINGERS CROSSED* The last two episodes promise to be really great ones, so let’s hope that the ratings can bounce back and that this show can get renewed!

ichabbie have faith

Kickin’ It with Cosmo

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Hi everybody! My name is Cosmo, and I live in Chicago, Illinois with my mom, my dad, and my big sister Missy. (Missy is actually smaller than me, but she’s older, so that means she’s in charge. She reminds me every morning right after I tell her how much I love her.) I’m 9 years old (at least that’s what I let everyone think–no one really knows how old I truly am, and I’ll never tell), and I’ve lived with my family for seven years.

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My mom says I’m cute. I guess she’s right.

Until recently, we lived in Tennessee. Let me tell you, Chicago is so much more interesting than anywhere I lived before! There are so many things to see, smell, and pee on! There are so many other dogs walking around ALL THE TIME! I try to talk to all of them, but it seems that most of them just want to bark in my face. That’s okay though. My sister can handle them… There’s this thing here called a “beach” that has this kind of dirt that’s really soft and squishy, and I really love to run on it when it’s warm outside! I don’t really care for the big water that my parents call Lake Michigan, though. It’s really scary.

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Question: Do I look majestic, silly, or both?

Something else that’s really different about my new city is this thing called “snow.” It’s this white stuff that falls from the sky and makes the ground really cold. A couple days ago, it snowed so much that it piled up taller than Missy! Missy really likes to run around in this stuff, but I really don’t like it that much. I like taking walks though, so I’ll tolerate this white stuff while it lasts.

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I think I’m going to have to tolerate it for a long time…

Really, the main thing that bothers me about snow is how cold it is on my feet! I guess my mom noticed how I would stop walking and refuse to move when my paws got too cold, so she got these things she calls “booties” for my sister and me. I don’t like them or the “jacket” she makes me wear sometimes atย all! I love my mom and dad, but I don’t like it when they touch my feet. My feet are mine, and only I should touch them! When they put the booties on me for the first time to go outside, I thought they were trying to torture me. When I walked around with the booties though, I noticed that my feet didn’t hurt anymore! I still don’t know if I can trust these things, but I guess I’ll wear them if I have to. That doesn’t mean I’ll be happy about it–I’ll still fight my parents every time they try to put them on me!

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Seriously, this snow/bootie thing is freaking me out a little.

We got even more snow today, so now it is getting up to my height! I’ve never seen anything like this before, and I really don’t know what to think of it. That’s okay though. As long as I have my family with me, it’ll be okay. Unless it won’t…I’m really nervous about it.

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Missy and I will get through this together (I hope)!

Love and wet kisses,

Cosmo

Historic Everyday Eats – Panada

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Last week’s cookbook that I used for “Historic Everyday Eats” was so full of great recipes that I decided to use it again. This book, which I’ll just callย The Universal Receipt Book (1818)ย in order to keep it short this time, has many great dessert recipes especially (we all know that’s the kind I gravitate toward!).

Of course, I decided to make a dessert once more this week. I actually searched the entire cookbook to find something that used ingredients that I already had around the house since there was a record-breaking snowstorm going on this past weekend, aka I didn’t want to leave the house to get anything.

The recipe I chose was for a dish that is essentially a bread soup, known as “Panada.” The recipe reads as follows:

Panada Recipe

“Boil for not more than two minutes some slices or crumbs of bread, with a blade of mace in a quart of water; then, taking out the bread and finely bruising it in a basin, mix as much water as will make it of a proper consistence. Put in a bit of fresh butter, grate a little nutmeg, and sweeten it to palate. If wine be required, though it is much best without, by no means boil it with the water and bread. This is a delicate diet for weak stomachs.”

This recipe seemed a little bit strange (stranger than most of these other 200-year-old recipes, I mean), but I wanted to give it a try. Before I go into the process of making it, however, I wanted to explain one of the ingredients–a blade of mace. I’ve discussed mace before, but only in its ground form. A “blade of mace” is a strip of the outer layer of a nutmeg in its whole form (before it is removed, ground, and sold as a spice). You can find out more about mace blades here. Since I only had the ground version of mace, I used about half of a teaspoon of it in place of an entire blade.

So, how did my “bread soup” turn out?

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Ingredients: 4 slices of whole wheat bread, 4 cups of water (not pictured), 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of mace, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, and 2 tablespoons of butter.

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I first boiled 4 slices of whole wheat bread (which was the bread I had on hand–the recipe doesn’t specify what kind of bread, so I say use whatever you have/want!) and 1/2 teaspoon of mace in 4 cups of water for 2 minutes.

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I then removed the bread from the pot and “bruised” it in a bowl. I removed the bread with a spoon, so some of the water came along with it. Since I did that, I did not have to add more water in the next step.

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Next, I added 2 tablespoons of butter (melted by the residual heat from the soup), 1/4 cup of sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg. I simply stirred to combine. (I did not add wine to the mixture because the recipe suggested not to do that and because I didn’t have any extra wine on hand!)

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The resulting soup was somewhat like porridge in consistency, and it was sweet and flavorful.

This panada had an nice flavor, but the consistency wasn’t really what I consider “great.” I think that panada would actually work better as a savory dish or as a small side for a dinner plate. I guess since it was meant for people with weak stomachs, it’s not supposed to be a “Wow!” dish. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Nice try panada–maybe next time!