book review, recipe

Educated + Peach Cobbler

As I mentioned in this month’s edition of Show Us Your Books, I read Tara Westover’s memoir Educated in a whirlwind over the weekend. It was one of my most anticipated books of the year, so even though I was excited to get a free copy from NetGalley (and read it before it even came out!), a little bit of me was also nervous to read it and be disappointed. Luckily, it lived up to expectations; I couldn’t put it down.

Tara grew up in Idaho, where her parents were determined to be self-sufficient, teaching their children to be prepared for the end of days that were always just around the corner. They canned peaches and stocked up on other necessities, saved for solar panels and built a bomb shelter. The Westovers didn’t believe in government-sponsored education and insisted on homeschooling all of their children, though the education they received was more of the hard knocks variety than something akin to reading, writing and ‘rithmetic. Perhaps the most terrifying thing about Tara’s parents was their refusal to submit to the “Medical Establishment.” Every wound or injury – no matter the severity – was treated at home.

Despite growing up in such a stifling environment, Tara was determined to educate herself and live a different life. The ACT was her first standardized test, and through a lot of hard work, she was able to achieve a score good enough to get into college. Tara didn’t have an easy childhood, and even after deciding to leave Idaho to pursue an education, she struggled to truly separate herself from the oppression of her life at home. Still, she graduated from BYU magna cum laude and went on to earn a PhD from Cambridge.

Educated is a book that opened my eyes to an oft-unseen way of life. It was an uncomfortable but necessary read. I appreciated Tara’s viewpoint and courage in telling her story, and ultimately, it left me inspired.

Tara’s family spent a significant amount of time canning fruits and vegetables, and peaches were mentioned often. I found myself wondering, what does one do with so many canned peaches? I decided to make peach cobbler and went in search of a recipe that called for canned rather than fresh peaches (especially since peaches aren’t exactly in season in February).

At a glance, this one from OMG Chocolate Recipes seemed easy and also used ingredients I already had around the house. To start, I melted a stick of butter and poured it into an 8×8 glass baking dish.

In a medium bowl, I mixed together the batter – combining 1 cup of each of flour, sugar and milk along with a teaspoon of baking powder. I added this batter on top of the melted butter, but did not stir to combine them.

Finally, I added the drained canned peaches (one 15 ounce can) and popped the dish into a 350-degree oven.

The original recipe called for it to bake for a half hour, but I found that after 30 minutes, it wasn’t exactly close to being done. I continued to bake it and check it every 10 minutes, until another half hour had passed. Then, the crust was a much healthier golden brown color and it looked ready to come out of the oven.

I wish I remembered to pick up some vanilla bean ice cream because it definitely would have benefitted from the creamy, cool addition. If I made it again, I might make a few tweaks. Perhaps add a pinch of salt and a pinch of cinnamon to the batter to amp up the flavor of the pastry itself. I’d also probably double the amount of peaches.   

Still, as-is the recipe was tasty. It certainly makes an easy dessert to whip up on weeknight, and with some ice cream, it’d be a wonderful end to an outdoor meal in the summer.

5 from 1 vote

Peach Cobbler

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8


  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 15 oz. can sliced peaches drained


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Pour melted butter into 8x8 baking dish.

  3. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and milk in a medium bowl to make the batter. Pour the batter over the melted butter - do not stir!

  4. Place the peaches on top of the batter. 

  5. Bake for 60 minutes, until golden brown. 

Recipe Notes

From: OMG Chocolate Desserts

The original recipe calls for baking for 30 minutes, but mine was nowhere near finished at that time. I continued baking it for an additional 30 minutes, checking for doneness at 10 minute increments.

I received a free digital copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This post contains affiliate links. Full disclosure here.

of interest

Show Us Your Books – February 2018

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope you’re somewhere warmer than I am! I don’t mind wintery weather – as I shouldn’t if I’m going to continue to live in Michigan for the foreseeable future – but sometimes it’s a little more than I can take. We were literally snowed in this weekend; Scott only really left the house to shovel and use the snowblower! (I supported him from the couch…under a blanket…with a book.) I was going to say I’m surprised at the amount of books I’ve read over the last month, but now that we’re talking about it, perhaps the snowy weather has something to do with it. Let’s get into this month’s book list, shall we? 

Linkup Guidelines:
This linkup happens the second Tuesday of every month. The next is Tuesday, March 13, 2018.
1. Please visit and comment with both of your hosts, Jana & Steph
2. Please display the button or link back to me and the linkup hosts on your blog post
3. Please visit a few other blogs who’ve linked up and get some book talk going!

Last Month’s Edition & What My Ratings Mean 


4-Star Reads ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (4.5) – I was initially hesitant to pick this novel up, but after countless recommendations in my online book club, I finally gave in. Wow, am I glad I did! So far, this is one of my favorite reads of 2018 (I know it’s early, but something tells me it’ll hold up for the rest of 2018…). Full post + delicious book-inspired drink recipes here.

Educated* – I read this memoir in a whirlwind over the weekend; it is both disturbing and inspiring, and I couldn’t put it down. Tara grew up in a family that was determined to be self-sufficient, constantly preparing for the end of days. They eschewed all forms of government-sponsored education and refused medical assistance, even for the most perilous injuries. Despite all this, she managed to get herself into college, travel the world and earn a PhD. I’m still processing, but I hope to wrap my head around it more for Saturday’s post.


3-Star Reads ⭐⭐⭐

Friendship Bread (3.5) – I read this as part of my participation in a greater social experiment, and I honestly didn’t expect a lot from a story about bread bringing a town together. I’m happy to report that I was more than pleasantly surprised – not only by the intricacies of the characters and the story Darien Lee wove together but by how delicious this shareable bread turned out to be as well! Full post + recipe here.    

Red Clocks (3.5) – This feminist dystopia ticked all of the right boxes. The female characters were strong and relatable, the setting was scarily realistic, and the story was thought-provoking. (Plus, since it had a red cover, it counted towards one of my reading challenges!) Full post + recipe here.    

Tell the Wolves I’m Home (3.5) – This debut novel tells the story of a 14-year-old girl who finds an unlikely friend while coming to terms with the death of her beloved uncle. I just finished this novel a few days ago, and it’s another one I’m still thinking about. Thankfully, it was a book club pick, which means I get to discuss at length with some wonderful women on Thursday. 🙂 I’m hoping it will help me formulate my thoughts a little better for my upcoming post.

The Two-Family House – In the middle of a blizzard, in the 1940s, two sisters-in-law give birth on the same night. As the families grow, they also grow apart, stemming from an irreparable turning point in the two women’s relationship. While I thought the premise of this one was strong, there were a few flaws in the execution that I couldn’t get over. Still, it was an interesting read, and I don’t regret spending the time on it.  

My Absolute Darling – This novel tells the story of a fiercely independent young teenage girl who finds herself in some really impossible situations. It reminded me a bit of Once Upon a River, and now that I think about it, it would probably make an interesting pairing with Educated. I respect the story Tallent crafted, but overall, the subject matter made it hard to read sometimes. As a debut novel, it’s received a lot of praise, and while I can absolutely see why, it’s probably not for everyone.

Snow Falling on Cedars – As a pick for book club, this novel felt like a great winter read. It was definitely a story that wasn’t rushed, despite that at its heart a man’s life is on the line in a murder trial. It was beautifully-written, but if I’m being honest, at times, I just wanted the author to get on with the story. I’m working on a longer post (and I’ve already made a delicious recipe), so check back for that next week.

Love & Gelato – I’m not ashamed to say that I picked this YA novel simply for the food in the title. It’s hard to resist gelato no matter what time of year! All that being said, Love & Gelato was delightful, just as expected. Full post + gelato recipe here.  


Books I Didn’t Finish



Books I’m Reading Right Now

The Taster – I stumbled upon this book because of my library’s social media (New Book Tuesday!), and so far, I’m glad I did. This historical novel is the story of a young German woman who is assigned the job of being one of Hitler’s tasters, meaning she must try his meals before he does should one of them be poisoned.

This Could Hurt –  Based on some blurbs I’d read, I was expecting some sort of The Office in novel form, and at only 10% in, it’s not really meeting those expectations. That’s not to say it’s not good, but I will say that this might’ve been a DNF already had I not been able to renew it from the library (to read other books I’m more excited for first).


Reading Challenge Update

For those of you keeping track, I’m currently 7/10 in the Book Challenge by Erin 8.0 and 2/2 in The Literary Feast Reading Challenge. My original post has more details on each challenge and what my goals are. I’ll do a longer wrap-up post at the end of April when Erin’s challenge ends.

What did you read last month?  

*I received a free digital copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This post contains affiliate links. Full disclosure here.

book review, recipe

Love & Gelato + Stracciatella Gelato

Because of this blog, reading often leads me to delicious food. Most of the time, I go into a book without any idea what I’ll end up making, since I haven’t read the book before. Sometimes I’m able to orchestrate it just so and I’m able to make something specific (particularly when a title or description mentions food), though that works out a lot less often than you’d think. Thankfully, in the case of Love & Gelato, it worked like a charm!

This young adult novel by Jenna Evans Welch has been on my TBR for a while now – I probably added it so I could make gelato – and because I was in the mood to break out my ice cream maker again, I added it to both of my 2018 reading challenges. It worked for “a book with food in the title” and fell nicely into the category of “book title starting with the letter L.” I love a good two-for-one deal.

Anyway, onto the story: Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany because her dying mother wanted her to get to know Howard, who she’s just found out is her father. It’s really a lot to handle for anyone, but when Lina is given her mom’s old journal, it gives her a renewed sense of purpose.

As she gets to know more about her mother and her own origins, she makes friends, explores Tuscany, and of course, falls in love with gelato. In her words: Take the deliciousness of a regular ice-cream cone, times it by a million, then sprinkle it with crushed-up unicorn horns. [He] stopped me after my fourth scoop. I probably would have kept going forever. Stracciatella, which is a heavenly vanilla speckled with chocolate flakes or shavings, ends up becoming Lina’s favorite. Coincidentally, it’s mine too. (I told you this worked out well!)

I decided to use a recipe from Love and Olive Oil because it just seemed to fit so nicely. First, I put my ice cream bowl in the freezer, so it could chill overnight. Then, I got to work on the gelato mixture.

In a saucepan, I combined 2 cups of milk and 1 cup of heavy cream, granulated sugar, corn syrup and a pinch of salt. The difference between gelato and ice cream, if you’re wondering, is that gelato contains more milk than cream – whereas ice cream is the opposite – and contains less egg yolks, or none at all. This recipe does include a few egg yolks, but definitely less than when I made traditional ice cream.

Once the milk-cream-sugar mixture was steaming, I turned off the heat, added vanilla seeds as well as the entire split pod, and let it sit covered for 30 minutes. I brought it back up to steaming, whisking together 3 egg yolks in a small bowl in the meantime. I added a bit of the milk mixture – about ¼ cup at a time – to the yolks, whisking constantly. It’s important to do this slowly so that the eggs temper rather than scramble. Once I had added about a cup and a half of the milk to the eggs, I poured the contents of the bowl back into the saucepan. I cooked the ice cream base over medium heat for around 5 minutes, until it reached 170 degrees F.

Then, I strained it into a medium bowl and placed that into a larger bowl filled with ice water to bring it down to room temperature. Once it was cooled, I covered it with plastic wrap and placed it in the fridge. I allowed it to set overnight while the ice cream bowl chilled in the freezer.

I poured the vanilla base into my ice cream maker and let it get to work. While it was churning, I broke up the dark chocolate and put it in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of butter. I melted it in the microwave, stirring every 15 seconds to ensure it didn’t burn. I added the chocolate to a ziploc bag and then put it into a bowl of warm water to keep it drizzle-able until the ice cream was further along.

Drizzling the chocolate ended up being a lot messier than I anticipated, and a lot of it got onto the scraper/stirrer attachment within the ice cream maker. I was able to scrape some of that off into the ice cream as I transferred the finished product into the freezer container. To finish it, I drizzled some of the remaining chocolate on top, closed the container and put it in the freezer so it could firm up.

After a few hours, we were finally able to eat the gelato! It was as delicious as I had hoped. For a moment, I was transported back to my trip to Italy, where all I did was eat and eat (and sightsee…a bit). Now, I want to go back – and eat more gelato, of course!

Stracciatella Gelato

  • Servings: 1½ quarts
  • Print


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, split and seeded
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 4 ounces good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. In a saucepan, combine milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cook gently over medium heat, stirring regularly, until sugar is dissolved and mixture just starts to steam. Stir in vanilla bean seeds and add the whole bean pods. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 30 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks.
  3. Return milk to medium heat until it starts to steam again. Slowly whisk some of the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, 1/4 cup at a time, until about half of the milk has been incorporated and yolk mixture is warm to the touch. You want to do this gradually; doing so will temper the egg yolks rather than cook them.
  4. Pour yolk mixture back into the saucepan and return to medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spatula, about 5 to 7 minutes, or until it reaches approximately 165 to 170ºF. Do not allow it to boil.
  5. Pour mixture through sieve, discarding any solids and what’s left of the vanilla bean. Cool to room temperature in an ice bath, or in a zip-top bag submerged in ice water. Cover and refrigerate until completely cool, at least 3 hours or overnight if possible.
  6. Churn ice cream according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  7. While ice cream is churning, melt chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low heat or in the microwave in 15 second bursts. When chocolate is melted and smooth, transfer to a zip-top bag and seal well, pressing out as much air as possible. If necessary, place bag in a bowl of warm water to keep warm while the ice cream finishes churning.
  8. When ice cream is the consistency of soft serve, 1-2 minutes before being completely done, cut 1/4 inch off the corner of the bag. Slowly drizzle most of the chocolate into churning ice cream, allowing the chocolate to swirl throughout.
  9. Transfer to a freezer safe container, drizzling a bit of remaining chocolate on top, and freeze 2 to 3 hours or overnight until firm.

This post contains affiliate links. Full disclosure here.

of interest

Valentine’s Day + A Trio of Unexpected Love Stories

Valentine’s Day is just one week away, and while I’m usually not much of a romance gal, I do love a good love story. As it so happens, I’m not alone in that! In honor of the holiday, I’m collaborating with four other book bloggers to bring you plenty of romantic inspiration from some of our favorite books.


We each chose recommendations suited to our own reading styles and tastes. If you frequent my blog, you may not be surprised to see that I opted to share some of my favorite unconventional love stories. (If you’re stopping by The Hungry Bookworm for the first time, welcome!)

I’m a firm believer that love comes in all shapes and sizes. And though it’s nearly Valentine’s Day, love stories don’t always have to be between romantic partners. Any meaningful, long-lasting friendship is rooted in a real love and respect for one another, and the loving bonds between parents and their children are deep and unconditional.

My list does include a more “traditional” love story, but it is quite unexpected in its conception. I invite you to take a look below at my recommendations, and I would love to hear what some of your favorite unexpected love stories are in the comments!

The Time Traveler’s Wife

At first glance, this may seem like an entirely expected love story. Boy meets girl, boy and girl get married, etc. However, those of you who have read Audrey Niffenegger’s debut novel will know why I’m including it on this list. Yes, it is about many things that exist in everyday love – determination, unpredictability, disappointment, and joy. But, above all, it is about love that you really have no choice in. A love that seems inevitable because it always was, and yet, it wasn’t always. From my first experience with this story, I have been completely in awe of the storytelling. Niffenegger captures both the simplicity and complexity of an unorthodox love story, and she does so beautifully.

The Sisters Chase

As a sister myself, I have always been drawn to stories about sisters. Sarah Nealy’s novel The Sisters Chase is a captivating and surprising story about the deep connection between two sisters, 18-year-old Mary and the much younger Hannah, as they travel the country trying to make their way and find a home. The love between the two sisters is clear even from the beginning, but is in the rest of the story that Nealy cleverly reveals the lengths family members will go to protect each other. (My original post here.)


Lily and the Octopus

I don’t think I ever truly appreciated the bond between pets and their owners until Scott and I got our own pup, Beta, a few years ago. Animals depend on their owners for everything, but I think in many ways owners depend on their pets too. They bring a liveliness to their homes and provide a much-needed unconditional love every single day. Steven Rowley’s novel about a man and his aging dog Lily captures that special connection between pets and their owners in a poignant way. (My original post here.)


Late Addition: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

I only intended to provide three recommendations but this novel has been fresh on my mind (especially since yesterday’s post). You wouldn’t expect to find a touching love story within a novel focused on the seven failed relationships of a glamorous actress, but that is exactly what you’ll find in Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novel.


If you’re still looking for the perfect read for Valentine’s Day, please hop on over to my fellow bloggers’ sites and check out their recommendations!

Kerrie from Comfy Reading: For this mother of two little ones, sometimes a good love story is all the romance she has time for, that doesn’t bother her though, because reading is one of her favorite things to do. Typically Kerrie is a psychological thriller fanatic, but this time of year she likes to bust out the mushy stuff and read about all the romantic things that people do. You can find more great reviews on her blog, where you can also see how Kerrie overcame depression with her love of literature. Visit Comfy Reading for her selection of great romance novels for Valentine’s Day.

Charlotte from Wonderfully Bookish: As a part-time book blogger, a busy virtual assistant and a full-time nerd, Charlotte always seems to be dreaming about another new project. You’ll probably find her 1) with her nose in a book; 2) furiously writing new blog posts when she has a rare flash of inspiration (and the time to write them); 3) coming up new projects that will probably never see the light of day; 4) updating her spreadsheet of 2018 movie releases (which really does exist); or 5) writing numbered lists. Head over to her blog to see her list of YA LGBT recommendations.

Gayathri from Elgeewrites: Gayathri is a freelance writer and book blogger at Elgeewrites. She loves reading, recommending books and talking about bookish things in real life. Her blog is just an extension of that habit. She has been reviewing since 2010 and her short stories have been published as parts of anthologies. When she is not reading books or creating online content, she freelances as a beta reader. She lives currently at Dubai. Visit her blog for a selection of classic romance novels for Valentine’s Day.

Kayla from The Page Turner: Kayla fell in love with words at a young age and has been a lifelong reader. The word nerd behind The Page Turner works as a writer who helps entrepreneurs tell their stories. Even though she can get sucked into any story, she avoids anything too mushy. Her favorite love stories happen unexpectedly in the background of a much bigger story – stop by The Page Turner to check out her recommendations. 


book review, recipe

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo + Strawberry Milkshakes and Dirty Martinis

I chose Taylor Jenkins Reid’s The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo as my Book of the Month in June last year because people were raving about it, and at the time, it seemed like a perfect summer read, light and juicy. Summer came and went and I never picked it up. The book’s cover and its title struck me as a little more salacious than I must have initially thought, and the longer it sat on my shelf, the less I wanted to read it.

Still, I kept hearing about it and it was always in the back of my mind. Finally, when I joined the Book Challenge by Erin (8.0), I decided to add it as my “book with a character’s name in the title.” I am SO glad I did, and I am SO sorry I judged it by its cover for so long. I devoured this novel, which told a beautiful and unexpected story cleverly executed.

Evelyn Hugo was a glamorous actress whose success looked easy from the outside, though it often came at a price. She became entangled – and disentangled – with various men throughout her career, sometimes for love and sometimes with a different endgame in mind. This, of course, is the premise of the novel and the story Evelyn decides to share with an obscure reporter – one of the great loves of her life, both known and unknown.

Far from being the gossipy celebrity story I expected, Evelyn surprised me in every way. It’s a story of balancing a successful career with personal goals, of being a woman in a man’s world and using that to your advantage, of taking calculated risks and sometimes jumping in with reckless abandon. Above all, it is a story of being true to yourself and doing what it takes to find happiness.

You may think the combination of a strawberry milkshake and a dirty martini is a bit odd, and it may be unconventional, but so was Evelyn Hugo. I chose these drinks to represent two very different relationships in her life, a Machiavellian marriage and one with a sweeter, more wholesome start.

In honor of Evelyn’s fierceness, I chose a dirty martini recipe from Women’s Libation! Cocktails to Celebrate a Woman’s Right to Booze by Merrily Grashin. I went with the Dirty Bettie-ni Page, inspired by 1950s pinup model Bettie Page, who like Evelyn had a body-positive sense of feminism. I doubled the recipe to make two martinis. In a shaker – though it can also be stirred – I mixed 6 ounces vodka, 1 ounce dry vermouth, and 1 ounce green olive juice. I poured it equally into the martini glasses, garnishing with a few olives, and voila! my first martini experience.

For the strawberry milkshake, I first purchased some old-fashioned ice cream soda glasses. Presentation is everything, just ask Evelyn. Strawberry milkshakes are my favorite, and I was a little worried they wouldn’t turn out as flavorful as I expected, so I spent a lot of time searching for the perfect recipe. This one from The Kitchn promised to be delicious.

To start, I hulled my strawberries, sprinkled them with some sugar and vanilla extract, and placed them in the freezer for an hour. I put them in a blender – including all of the gooey syrup that formed at the bottom of the bowl – with ¾ cup of milk and pulverized them.

Then, taking the jar off the base, I added about 1 pint of strawberry ice cream to the blender and stirred it in by hand, before returning to the base and blending thoroughly. I ended up adding close to another ¼ cup of milk – you only need to add this if it’s getting stuck or having trouble blending well.

I poured the milkshake into two glasses and topped each with whipped cream and half a strawberry. They turned out to be as delicious as I had hoped! I will definitely be keeping this recipe around for future milkshakes.

I love when a book completely blows me away. I wish I hadn’t put off reading Evelyn Hugo for as long as I did, but if nothing else, it reinforced for me that I should never judge a book by its cover (or title). I could’ve enjoyed this book (and these shakes) so much sooner!

Have you read Evelyn Hugo? What did you think?  

Dirty Martini

  • Servings: 1
  • Print


  • 3 oz vodka
  • ½ oz dry vermouth
  • ½ oz olive juice
  • green olives, for garnish


  1. In a chilled martini glass, combine vodka, vermouth and olive juice.
  2. Stir and garnish with 3 olives. Serve.

Strawberry Milkshakes

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Print


  • ½ pound fresh strawberries, plus more to garnish
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ to 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon malted milk powder OR regular powdered milk (optional, see notes)
  • 1 pint strawberry ice cream


  1. Gather your ingredients. Hull the strawberries and slice them. Sprinkle the sugar over them and stir in the vanilla. Put the strawberries in the freezer for about an hour.
  2. Put two pint glasses (or four smaller glasses) in the freezer to chill.
  3. When the strawberries have frozen solid, pull them out and put them in the blender with ¾ cup milk. (Make sure you scrape in all the syrupy juice that has accumulated at the bottom of the bowl.) Blend until the strawberries are pulverized. There should be no big chunks left at all.
  4. Take the blender jar off the motor, and add the entire pint of ice cream. Stir it into the milk and strawberries by hand. Put the jar back on the motor and blend thoroughly. If it won’t blend very well or gets stuck, carefully add as much as ¼ cup more milk. Stir or shake if necessary.
  5. Pour the milkshake out into the chilled glasses and garnish with strawberries.

From: The Kitchn

Recipe Notes: If using malted milk powder or powdered milk, add it after pulverizing the strawberries. Blend thoroughly before adding the ice cream. The malted milk powder gives just a bit of extra depth and a hint of malty flavor without turning the shake into a true malt. If you opt to use regular powdered milk this also will just add a bit of richness and creaminess. But the powders are not necessary.

This post contains affiliate links. Full disclosure here.