Mochas and Musketeers

tumblr_npiufvXZkL1tz1jmlo1_1280Flamboyant heroes, adventure, riveting duels, and of course romance.

Alexandre Dumas
and his swashbuckling  Musketeers have fascinated for ages!
To honor Dumas on his birthday today
July 24th 1855, I wanted to share his many works featuring the most beloved comrades The Musketeers.

Here are the D’Artagnan Romances:

 The Three Musketeers
An adventurous tale of the young man d’Artagnan. Leaving home to travel to Paris, d’Artagnan wishes to join the Musketeers of the Guard. He is not one of the musketeers of the title but befriends Athos, Porthos and Aramis (inseparable friends who live by the motto “all for one, one for all.”) This motto which is first put forth by d’Artagnan, has become a most well known and loved signet. This a historical fiction full of memorable adventure and characters.

Rated: 4.5 on amazon.com Trucos-para-preparar-un-café-5-estrellas-en-casa

Book Bean: Un café
A coffee, plain and simple, but not as we would have in the U.S. Order “Un Café”  and you will get a small cup of plain strong espresso.

Twenty Years Later
Two decades have passed since the musketeers triumphed over Cardinal Richelieu and Milady. Time has weakened their resolve, and dispersed their loyalties. However, treason and stratagem still cry out for justice: civil war endangers the throne of France, while in England Cromwell threatens to send Charles I to the scaffold. Dumas brings his immortal quartet out of retirement to cross swords with time, the malevolence of men, and the forces of history. But their greatest test is a titanic struggle with the son of Milady, who wears the face of Evil.

Rated: 4.5 on amazon.com 

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Book Bean: Chocolat l’ancienne
Rich and decadent melted dark chocolate poured into cups, and served alongside it’s own separate dish of fresh whipped cream. So thick and creamy, I’ll have mine with Un café  please!

Ten Years Later: The Vicomte de Brabelonne
In the English translations the 268 chapters of this large volume are usually subdivided into three, but sometimes four or even five individual books. In three-volume English editions, the three volumes are titled “The Vicomte de Bragelonne”, “Louise de la Valliere”, and “The Man in the Iron Mask.” Each of these volumes is roughly the length of the original
The Three Musketeers.

Here they are in Three Volumes:

The Vicomte de Bragelonne
It is May 1660 and the fate of nations is at stake. Mazarin plots, Louis XIV is in love, and Raoul de Bragelonne, son of Athos, is intent on serving France and winning the heart of Louise de la Valliere. D’Artagnan, meanwhile, is perplexed by a mysterious stranger, and soon he learns that his old comrades already have great projects in hand. Athos seeks the restoration of Charles II, while Aramis, with Porthos in tow, has a secret plan involving a masked prisoner and the fortification of the island of Belle-Ile.

4091536-late-coffee-with-chocolate-latte-coffee-with-white-chocolate-Stock-PhotoRated: 4.3 on amazon.com

Book Bean:
 Cafè latte au Chocolat
Espresso with steamed milk and drizzled with
chocolate on top.


The Musketeers are now in their late 50’s.
They are still vital characters but they are no longer young men looking for any excuse to duel with the Cardinal’s Guard. From this point on, there is a lot less sword play and campaigning (Sorry Swashbuckler fans.)

The focus of the story now shifts to the intrigues of Louis XIV court.

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Lousise de la Valliere
Devoted in large part to romantic events at the court of France’s King Louis XIV. It is filled with behind-the-scenes intrigue, the novel brings the aging Musketeers and d’Artagnan out of retirement to face an impending crisis within the royal court of France.

Chocolat-chaudRated: 4.3 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Chocolat chaud
Otherwise known as good old Hot Cocoa 🙂
The Man in The Iron Mask
Some thirty-five years on, the bonds of comradeship are under strain as they end up on different sides in a power struggle that may undermine the young Louis XIV and change the face of the French monarchy. In the fast-paced narrative style that was his trademark, Dumas pitches us straight into the action. What is the secret shared by Aramis and Madame de Chevreuse? Why does the Queen Mother fear its revelation? Who is the mysterious prisoner in the Bastille?

Rated: 4.3 on amazon.comcafe_au_lait

Book Bean: Cafè au Lait
A coffee with hot milk added (In comparison to the Itallian caff
è latte.) In the U.S.  a café au lait is a drink of strong drip coffee or French pressed coffee, to which steamed milk is added.

Fun Fact: Two further sequels to the D’Artagnan books — the novels The Son of Porthos (1883) and D’Artagnan Kingmaker (1900) — were written and published after Dumas’s death. D’Artagnan does not appear in the first novel, which, although written by Paul Mahalin, was published under the pen name “Alexandre Dumas” and is still sold as such. The second novel was supposedly based on one of Dumas’ plays (wikipedia)

Have you read any or all of these novels? 
Please share your thoughts.

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Mid-week Meet n’ Greet

Lets get to know each other:
Share about your love of books and/or coffee/tea!
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Source: Cafe Meet n’ Greet:

Coffee Alternative

Heaven forbid you should need to stop drinking coffee,
tumblr_nm27bktiG71saq5fro3_500or
find yourself
without it!
However, if you had to drink something else, or if you just like to mix it up, what would you choose?

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Heart Healthy Winter Drinks

Here are 10 comforting cozy drinks to sip on by the fire.
As a bonus they are heart healthy and easy on the waistline, in case anyone over-did the feasting 🙂

184832349Mulled Cranberry Cocktail

Simply flavor cranberry juice with a little ground cinnamon and cloves, bring mixture to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer.

 

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Dark Chocolate Cocoa

Use almond, soy, or hemp milk – that is low in saturated fat. You can also use fat-free cow’s milk or 1 percent milk. Make your cocoa with dark chocolate, this is an added health boost!

 


Spiced Cinnamon Cider6a00d8358081ff69e20168e5ddf801970c-800wi

Wrap whole cloves and whole allspice in a small piece of cheesecloth and add it to a saucepan of apple cider along with a few cinnamon sticks. Set on a stove burner and turn the heat to low; the spices will bring out the flavor of the cider as it warms up.

Healthy Eggnog

In saucepan combine and heat a can of low-fat evaporated milk, light-eggnog_7-colorful-punch-recipes.jpgfat-free
or 1 percent milk, and nutmeg, let simmer for about 10 min. In a blender or mixer beat egg until light, gradually add it a little sugar till small peaks form. Gradually add milk mixture to egg mixture as it cools. Add vanilla extract at the end of the cooking process to ensure a vibrant vanilla flavor in your drink.

apple-cider-close-upHot n’ Sweet Ginger Tea

Simmer sliced fresh ginger in hot water for about 5 minutes. Strain out the ginger and add brown sugar and honey to taste. You could also add a little lemon juice to taste, and garnish with lemon and anise.

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Herbal Hot Toddy

Make toddies with eight herbal tea bags, a gallon of water, some chopped ginger, and a few cinnamon sticks. When it’s brewed, sweeten to taste with honey and add fresh lemon.

 

hot_milk_punch_cocktail_cinnamon_half_and_half_brandy_rum_tasting_table_test_kitchen_articleHot Vanilla Milk Punch

Use fat-free milk, unsweetened almond milk, or soy milk. Sweeten the milk to taste with a simple syrup. Once the punch is sweetened to your liking, heat it until very hot, then flavor generously with vanilla extract.
ladle into cups, and dust with a light sprinkling of ground nutmeg and/or cinnamon.

cranberry-apple-tea

Sweet Chamo-Adenline

Simmer equal parts apple, cranberry, and pomegranate juice until steaming hot, then pour over a chamomile tea bag in a large mug. Once it steeps for a few minutes, you can sweeten the drinks with a drizzle of honey or agave nectar.

images-1Cinnamon Ginger Brew

Simmer chopped and peeled ginger with cinnamon sticks in a pot of water for about an hour to make this sweetly spiced hot drink. Add agave to taste.

 

2011-11-13-orange-spiced-cider-final-500Hot Cran-Orange Wassail

Cranberry Juice, orange juice, and/or apple cider can be the basis of a wintery Wassai. Flavor with whole cloves, star anise, and cinnamon sticks. To heighten the spicy flavor and provide some color, add some red hots or cinnamon candies while you simmer the brew for an hour.

What’s your keep it healthy winter pick?

Courtesy of mealsonwheels

12 Days of Christmas: Mini Book-Beans for Children

literary-advent-6-edited-1DAY 2 of 12:
Candy Cane Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses

The Legend of the Candy Cane
by Lori Walburg & Richard Cowdrey

This charming and pious story about the origins of the candy cane is definitely a change of pace.
A stranger arrives in town one dreary November and begins hammering and sawing away at his newly rented storefront.


When a small girl offers her help, she’s in for a childhood fantasy-come-true, as it turns out all the shelves and counters are being built for a candy shop. After offering young Lucy gumdrops and lollipops, Mr. Sonneman launches into the history of the candy cane.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com
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Book Bean: Candy Cane Cream
In a sauce pan heat up milk and vanilla extract. Add white chocolate and candy cane pieces (or candy cane Hershey kisses work marvelously.) Whisk together until smooth. d2bbd5ab8d46516ae7d69e94998c9279-edited
Add mixture to blender and blend until frothy. Add in a dollop of whip and blend (you can also whip up your own whip cream which is double delicious.) Serve with a candy cane to swirl in extra yum.

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12 Days of Christmas: Mini Book-Beans for Children

literary-advent-6-edited-1Day 1 of 12:
“Darkness was cheap, and Scrooge liked it.”

A Christmas Carol
By  Charles Dickens
Tiny Tim, Ghosts, and of course the infamous Scrooge! This fantastic and endearing Christmas classic is a must read for children and adults. It is a great book for older children to read or for adults to read aloud by the fire with family. There are also a few amazing audible version that make great background ambiance.

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

Cozy up with this book and a make sure to have a warm drink
to keep out the ghostly chills.

12 drinks of Christmas!

unnamedBook Bean: Cinnamon Cocoa Crunch
Something with a little bite in the spirit of scrooge:
In a large pot add 1 cup milk per person. Once the milk is warm whisk in 1 tsp dutch cocoa powder to 2 tsps of sugar (I use bakers sugar or confection sugar so it mixes smooth)
PER cup of milk! Bring to a low simmer.  Whisk in 1/4 tsp of cinnamon per cup of milk, or to taste. Add in 1 Tbls of cream/half n’half per cup. Top with whip and sprinkle with red hots.

a_christmas_carol.jpeg“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Holiday Book Recommendations

images-2-editedWith December in full swing I am thinking again of what books I would like to read for the Christmas and winter season. This is a revisit to last years blog and contains a list of books that could get anyone through the next few months.

Here are few Holiday book recommendations:
(Click pictures or links for more info.)

This seems like a typical cheesy but delightful Christmas story, something just right to relax with. I believe it might be a bit romancy,
which is not usually my cup of tea, but now and then it’s ok.

Starry Night: A Christmas Novel
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

 

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Book Bean: Gingerbread Mocha
The bitter sweetness of gingerbread
melts so well with the milk chocolate goodness.


Agatha Christie is such a great author so I have no doubt that I am going to be thrilled with this book.

 

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

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Book Bean:
Peppermint Latte or if your daring try a Peppermint Chai, it’s goodness is a mystery 😉


Sometimes I like to mix it up and replace Christmas music with an old fashion Christmas story via audible. This year I think I’d like to try this out.

The Christmas List: A Novel
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

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Book Bean: For something easy while on the go brew up some black tea and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg

 


I’d like to keep the warm and fuzzy Holiday spirit burning beyond Christmas. So, I think I’ll be reading this book for New Years. It seems like just the right kind of quaint story I adore.

 

Winter Solstice
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

 

eggnogBook Bean:  Spiced Eggnog Steamer
Eggnog and milk steamed or heated and frothed. Sprinkle with cocoa and add a cinnamon stick.
Nothing keeps up the Holiday cheer like this sweet treat!


The best I save for last!
I am really excited for this book. I don’t know why I had never heard of it before, but if J.R.R. Tolkien wrote it I’m sure it is a worthy tale.

Letters From Father Christmas
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

 

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Book Bean: 
Candy Cane Cocoa

Homemade cocoa in mugs with whip cream and candy canes for stir sticks (this is a tradition my family.) Make up a batch and share this experience with some kiddos.

Fun Fact: The song “Silver Bells” was Originally titled Tinkle Bell…’snicker’

If you’ve read any of these please share yours!
mmm Reading Treats