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Summer Favorites June 30, 2013

Apologies to those of you who follow me on Twitter and have heard me rhapse waxodic on these candles, but I lurve them sooo much. 

Y'see, the last time I lit a real candle in our house, Digit ran past it, lit his tail on fire, and headed for the living room curtains. I put out his tail-flame with my bare hands and then breathed into a paper bag for a while. I gave up on candles. Not worth it. But I love the way candles look -- the glow the give, the home-ness of them. I missed them. 

Then one night at work, we got a call from a citizen who saw a candle burning in a closed tchotchke shop. We sent out a fire engine. The shop was closed and locked, and there was, indeed, a candle burning inside on a table. 

We set about trying to find the responsible contact for the premise, going through PD and the alarm company -- all the normal venues. In the meantime, the fire crew had been on scene about a half-hour. And one of the guys started thinking, Maybe it's not a real candle. No, the others said. It flickers! Look, it's wavering. It's real. They stared. They studied. They weren't more than eight feet away through glass, and they could not tell. 

Finally, we got hold of the owner who verified that no, they didn't light real candles in the store, but that it was a special battery-operated candle that utilized the technology Disney uses in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

We had a good laugh. The crew cleared. And I started Googling, because if those candles were good enough to fool the firefighters, then they'd be good enough for me. 

I found them! I bought them! Even though they were exceedingly expensive! And I'm blogging this now because I just found them for hella cheap on Amazon, less than half-price, and if you want to try them, this would be the time. They look a little frumpy in their Amazon photos, so I took a little video of them in the house. (Some come with a remote -- one remote will control them all, in case you're curious.) 


I don't actually ever use the remote -- you can put them on a timer, and they'll "burn" for 5 hours every night before flicking off. So now when we come home at night? They're on! They run on D batteries, and we use rechargeables, so we're golden. This will absolutely be our go-to wedding/housewarming present from here on out. They look so real

Sorry! That was such a hard sell! But they make me happy, daily. 

Your reward? A Summer Plum Salad, adapted from that amazing 101 Simple Salads list the New York Times compiled four years ago. 

Brine two chicken breasts for an hour-ish or more (place in a large ziplock bag, add about 4tbs salt and some peppercorns). Grill them (the chicken breasts, not the plastic bag). Slice 4-6 plums (in season now!). (I honestly didn't even know how to do this cleanly, but god bless the Internet -- I learned how here.) Place sliced plums in large bowl, add balsamic vinegar, enough to coat and then some more. While that sits, chop some celery, toss some salted roasted almonds in food processor, chop some oregano (he says marjoram also works, but I found that too perfumy), chop a little red onion, and throw all that in the bowl. Add olive oil and salt on top, mix it up. Chop the cooked chicken, add. Serve on top of favorite greens. AMAZING. You're welcome. 

Also? Happy Pride, y'all. So happy with the Prop 8/DOMA decisions. (We went and danced in the Oakland streets that night. It was wonderful.) 



Thanks for the candle tip-I have a toddler. A very grabby toddler.
By the way, LOVE the pic of you two!

My mom's birthday is next week, and the candles will be a perfect gift. She loves candles, especially at Christmas, but with my brother's three kids next door, she's quit using them. The youngest is three, and the other are occasionally wild. She has a lot of fake candles, but none this good. Much obliged for the heads up.

That chicken and plum salad sounds fabulous. It would be good with most stone fruit, I bet. Gonna try it this week. And the picture of you guys is lovely.

That was the best way to get remarried EVER!!!

Thanks for the candle info, Rachael. They look really "real". Definitely have to check them out. Also love the pic of you and Lala. Hope the fur on Digit's tail grew back! That Digit!!! LOL

OMG! Real candles scare me. When I lived in Boston amongst so many students Who seem to love candles I was always afraid of fires starting from a forgotten candle.

And the salad sounds yummy.

Thought of you when I heard about prop 8 . Congratulations my friends.

Cuties!! That is all.

I got mine at Costco. A 3 pack for $19.99. We love them.

Love the photo! You look so happy!

I got a three pack of small pillars in three sizes at Home Goods. Loved them, so I went back and got some for my mom for Christmas. She loves candles and is no longer allowed to have them since she and Dad moved into a lifecare community. Understandable, since some of the residents have dementia. My mom doesn't, but she scared herself (and us) last year in her old home when she had a candle amid some Christmas greens and forgot to blow it out before she went to bed. Thank goodness she woke up thirsty and went to the kitchen and saw it shortly before it would have caught the greens on fire! Anyway, I will order her some of the ones with the remotes too, so she can really go to town with the "candlelight".

Just love the video.

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.


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