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Apple Cider Doughnuts (via smitten kitchen)


1 cup apple cider
3 1/2 cups flour, plus additional for the work surface
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
Vegetable oil or shortening (see my explanation in the post) for frying

Toppings (optional)
Glaze (1 cup confectioners’ sugar + 2 tablespoons apple cider)
Cinnamon sugar (1 cup granulated sugar + 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon)

Make the doughnuts:

In a saucepan over medium or medium-low heat, gently reduce the apple cider to about 1/4 cup, 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed (with the paddle attachment, if using a standing mixer) beat the butter and granulated sugar until the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat until the eggs are completely incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the reduced apple cider and the buttermilk, mixing just until combined. Add the flour mixture and continue to mix just until the dough comes together.

Line two baking sheets with parchment or wax paper and sprinkle them generously with flour. Turn the dough onto one of the sheets and sprinkle the top with flour. Flatten the dough with your hands until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Use more flour if the dough is still wet. Transfer the dough to the freezer until it is slightly hardened, about 20 minutes. Pull the dough out of the freezer. Using a 3-inch or 3 1/2-inch doughnut cutter — or a 3 1/2-inch round cutter for the outer shape and a 1-inch round cutter for the hole from a set like this, as I did — cut out doughnut shapes. Place the cut doughnuts and doughnut holes onto the second sheet pan. Refrigerate the doughnuts for 20 to 30 minutes. (You may re-roll the scraps of dough, refrigerate them briefly and cut additional doughnuts from the dough.)

Add enough oil or shortening to a deep-sided pan to measure a depth of about 3 inches. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and heat over medium heat until the oil reaches 350°F*. Have ready a plate lined with several thicknesses of paper towels.

Make your toppings (if using): While the cut doughnut shapes are in the refrigerator, make the glaze by whisking together the confectioners’ sugar and the cider until the mixture is smooth; make the cinnamon sugar by mixing the two together. Set aside.

Fry and top the doughnuts: Carefully add a few doughnuts to the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan, and fry until golden brown, about 60 seconds. Turn the doughnuts over and fry until the other side is golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Drain on paper towels for a minute after the doughnuts are fried. Dip the top of the warm doughnuts into the glaze or cinnamon sugar mixture (if using) and serve immediately.

Because sometimes it’s necessary to indulge…


I’ll never get over the beauty of this book. 

Winter is coming!!!

(via bluestockingbookworm)

Some reading suggestions for Halloween:

Amityville Horror by Jay Anson

In December 1975, the Lutz family moved into their new home on suburban Long Island. George and Kathleen Lutz knew that, one year earlier, Ronald DeFeo had murdered his parents, brothers, and sisters in the house, but the property—complete with boathouse and swimming pool—and the price were too good to pass up. Twenty-eight days later, the entire Lutz family fled in terror

House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski

A family relocates to a small house on Ash Tree Lane and discovers that the insideof their new home seems to be without boundaries.

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

Arthur Kipps, a young solicitor, travels to the north of England to settle the estate of Alice Drablow, but unexpectedly encounters a series of sinster events.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson 

Eleanor Vance is a 32-year-old woman who has spent her entire adult life caring for her demanding invalid mother. After her mother’s death, she is invited by Dr. John Montague to become part of a paranormal investigation team at Hill House. Eleanor is at first very happy, making new friends and feeling as though her life has finally truly begun. Eventually, though, the nightmarish happenings at Hill House combine with the all-too-human cruelty of Eleanor’s comrades to drive her to the edge of madness—and beyond.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

In this chilling portrayal of insanity, Shirley Jackson tells the story of sisters Merricat and Constance and their Uncle Julian, the only three members of their family who survived arsenic poisoning six years ago. The three live alone in their large house, isolated from the citizens of the nearby village, who believe Constance murdered her own family. While the three have all slipped into various degrees of insanity, even more horrifying is the cruelty of the villagers toward the three family members.

It by Stephen King

They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they were grown-up men and women who had gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But none of them could withstand the force that drew them back to Derry, Maine to face the nightmare without an end, and the evil without a name.

'Salem's Lot by Stephen King

Author Ben Mears, a recent returnee to his home town, slowly realizes that “the Lot” is being gradually taken over by an old world vampire and his familiar. He joins forces with some of the locals to fight back and—at a terrible cost—eventually triumphs.

The Shining by Stephen King

Jack Torrance sees his stint as winter caretaker of a Colorado hotel as a way back from failure, his wife sees it as a chance to preserve their family, and their five-year-old son sees the evil waiting just for them.

The Ritual by Adam Nevill

Unexpectedly clashing with his three old University friends while hiking in the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle, Luke takes a shortcut that leads the group to an ancient pagan sacrificial site where they are hunted by a bestial predator.

I read somewhere a long time ago that Stephen King said The Hot Zone by Richard Preston was one of the scariest books he had ever read. It is seems very appropriate right now.

What are some of your favorite scary books?

More photos from our first Manassas Reads program that was held on Saturday, October 11. It was a cold and rainy morning/afternoon but it looks like a good time was had by all. The above pictures are from some of the authors who attended.

Gary Caruso

Ron Rauss 

Deborah Johnson 

Tasha Fuller

To name just a few who braved the cold and rain to support reading.


Ruetemple’s outdoor book spaces

Here are some Russian-made products worthy of importing. Ruetemple is an amazing architectural studio working out of Moscow. Their three book-related projects are each beautifully designed, incredibly functional and fit perfectly in an outdoor environment. They have at times, been placed in parks around Moscow.

See more

via Dwell: Slideshow: 3 Innovative Outdoor Libraries in Russia

Loving these outdoor library designs!

(via libraryjournal)


You guys!  We are so VERY excited to be the ones to announce this year’s National Book Award finalists! Check out the full list here.

(via globallibrarian)

This past Saturday, October 11, we had our first Manassas Reads Book Festival. It was a cold and rainy day and many people braved the weather to show their support for reading and the library. I had to include some pictures of the therapy dogs and the little girl in the awesome animal print jacket.

Photos provided by Melanie Beus.

Here is a small sample of what is new this week at PWPLS:

The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden by Roy Diblik

We’ve all seen gorgeous perennial gardens packed with color, texture, and multi-season interest. Designed by a professional and maintained by a crew, they are aspirational bits of beauty too difficult to attempt at home. Or are they? The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden makes a design-magazine-worthy garden achievable at home. The new, simplified approach is made up of hardy, beautiful plants grown on a 10x14 foot grid. Each of the 62 garden plans combines complementary plants that thrive together and grow as a community. They are designed to make maintenance a snap.

Beautiful LEGO by Mike Doyle

Mix hundreds of thousands of LEGO bricks with dozens of artists, and what do you get? Beautiful LEGO, a compendium of LEGO artwork that showcases a stunning array of pieces ranging from incredibly lifelike replicas of everyday objects and famous monuments to imaginative renderings of spaceships, mansions, and mythical creatures. You’ll also meet the minds behind the art. Interviews with the artists take you inside the creative process that turns simple, plastic bricks into remarkable LEGO masterpieces.

Make it Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa cookbook by Ina Garten

If you’ve ever found yourself stuck in front of the stove at your own party, scrambling to get everything to the table at just the right moment, Ina is here to let you in on her secrets! Thanks to twenty years of running a specialty food store and fifteen years writing cookbooks, she has learned exactly which dishes you can prep, assemble, or cook ahead of time.

The Nesting Place: It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful by Myquillyn Smith

Perfection is overrated. Popular blogger and self-taught decorator Myquillyn Smith (The Nester) is all about embracing reality—-especially when it comes to decorating a home bursting with boys, pets, and all the unpredictable messes of life. In The Nesting Place, Myquillyn shares the secrets of decorating for real people—-and it has nothing to do with creating a flawless look to wow your guests. It has everything to do with embracing the natural imperfection and chaos of daily living.

The Daily Face: 25 makeup looks for day, night, and everything in between by Annamarie Tendler

Makeup artist Annamarie Tendler’s Daily Face feature on her hugely popular Tumblr blog has inspired hundreds of thousands of followers. Now in her first book, she takes readers around the clock with 25 easy-to-achieve looks for everything from an afternoon first date to a retro-glam cocktail party or a sultry smoky-eyed late night. She even throws in some head-turning costume ideas. It’s all about personal expression. Step-by-step photos make it easy for anyone (even the makeup challenged) to follow along.

A Christmas Far From Home: An epic tale of courage and survival during the Korean War by Stanley Weintraub

From an acclaimed historian, the dramatic story of the Christmas escape of thousands of American troops overwhelmingly surrounded by the enemy in Korea’s harsh terrain. Just before Thanksgiving in 1950, five months into the Korean War, General MacArthur flew to American positions in the north and grandly announced an “end-the-war-by-Christmas” offensive despite recent intervention by Mao’s Chinese, who would soon trap tens of thousands of US troops poised toward the Yalu River border.

All PWPLS libraries will be closed Monday, October 13 in observance of Columbus Day. We will at our regular time on Tuesday,October 14. In addition, all neighborhood libraries (Dale City, Dumfries, Gainesville, Independent Hill, Lake Ridge, and Nokesville) are closed for the weekend. The book drop is always open.

All PWPLS libraries will be closed Monday, October 13 in observance of Columbus Day. We will at our regular time on Tuesday,October 14. In addition, all neighborhood libraries (Dale City, Dumfries, Gainesville, Independent Hill, Lake Ridge, and Nokesville) are closed for the weekend. The book drop is always open.