February 25, 2011

Southern Romance and Cake = A Great Read!

I finished another super cute book!! I never officially added this one to my list since I had gotten it for free one day off Amazon. Being the avid baker that I am I was stoked to read a book about a chick who bakes...who wouldn't be excited about that? With the title Always the Baker, Never the Bride I was a bit concerned that the main character would end up being some whiny baby who wanted to get married. But after Lisa Dorsey commented twice on my book reviews that I must try this one there was no way I was waiting any longer :-)

I am so excited to say that this book was ADORABLE!! I will admit it took me a few chapters to really get into but once I did I couldn't put it down. Fluff Warning! Fluff Warning!! Yes this book is light hearted and a super easy fun read but that just doesn't take away any of it's quality goodness! I loved it and I loved all the characters!! In the book the main character is a SPECTACULAR baker with the right stuff!! She ends up going to work for a "Wedding" Hotel and who'd a thunk it but the sweet girl next door finds herself smack dab in the middle of a love fest!! All those who love baking and love stories MUST read this book!! Even if you save it for a day in the summer laying by the pool, I can gurantee you'll love every minute of it!!

Thanks Lisa for recommending it!!

I am also very happy to say that I have updated my book list over there -------------->

Yes I would say 56 books is extremely overzealous (I think that's the word I'm thinking of) but I'm going to be honest....56 will not be it...it could reach up to 63 books because our book club still needs to chose 6 more books for the year! I am a little intimidated by my list but I'm determined to finish them. Wish me luck cause I will NEED IT!! :-)

February 24, 2011


Get ready to laugh your fanny off!! I finished Chelsea Handler's book "My Horizontal Life" and it was HILARIOUS!! Granted the entire book is about bad (or maybe she thought they were good) one night stands but if you've ever heard Chelsea Handler open her mouth then you know she's got a particular way about her!!

I absolutely love Chelsea Handler and think she's super funny so it doesn't suprise me that I loved her book. Remember how I said I was sticking to just reading this at the gym?? Well on top of thanking Chelsea Handler for writing such a funny collection of short stories I'd also like to thank her for motivating me to go to the gym. Is it because she's a skinny and I was inspired by her?? Uhhh NOPE! It's because I promised myself I'd only read her book at the gym and I was anxious every morning to get on that treadmill and start reading!! I loved this book and if you like her humor I highly recommend picking it up! She'll have you laughing from start to finish!!

Next up is another book that I have added to my list (and got for free from Amazon on the Kindle): Life From Scratch by Melissa Ford!! And keep your eyes posted tomorrow as I've got another review coming up for the book Always the Baker, Never the Bride!!

February 16, 2011

Closet to Pantry in ONE Day!!!

Remember back in July of last year when I reorganized my kitchen and "pantry"? If not here's a flashback for you!! I spent an entire day cleaning my kitchen out and reorganizing cause I was so tired of food items being spread throughout our downstairs in random spots. Well I guess I wasn't satsified because I finally had it with having to into our laundry area to get out any baking items. I decided the time had come to get rid of our downstairs closet and change it into a pantry. Besides how many coats and jackets do we really need downstairs? It wouldn't kill either one of us to walk our butts upstairs to get a sweatshirt or jacket.

So on a GORGEOUS Saturday I got out of bed determined to put together a pantry that will work! I apologize for not having a Before Picture but just imagine 10 coats hanging in a dark closet with a bookshelf that help misc items! It was not a pretty sight!

First things first I went SHOPPING!! I took some measurements and hopped in the car to head to WalMart! I picked up a new bookshelf that wasn't quite as big, 2 plastic containers with handles for cans or spices, and then a big garment bag to house our coats. Neither of us are fans of walking out the house covered in cat hair and I don't want to delint my jacket every time!

After my successful trip to Walmart I came home and got to work! First I took out the bar from the closet and removed EVERYTHING! Vaccummed it up and then set to work on putting together the bookshelf. Once I got that done I installed this awesome holder. Check it out below...it really is AMAZING!!!

Then I got to organizing!! I took ALL of our baking supplies out from the Laundry room area and was able to neatly put it ALL in the bookshelf YAY!! I was also very excited to put my new wine glasses from Christmas somewhere that's easily accessible and where they won't get dirty. Check out our brand new pantry!!!

We both are so ecstatic and neither of us has minded that we have no big jackets downstairs. It even started raining here and it was easy peasy to pull out our coats! I am excited to have a place for our vacumn as well as our brooms and swiffer! Everything is so much easier to access and our Laundry room feels so bare now! I love it! And I am so excited that I'll be starting to work on my list of home improvements for 2011. Chuck's already crossed off a few items - fix the light switches so they all work YAY!! He replaced our broken doorbell button and installed a new light fixture on the front porch!! I am so excited to be working on the house again!!

Anyone else done any early spring cleaning and organizing?

February 14, 2011

Investing Time in Yourself

Yesterday I finished reading our February Book Club Book and that was Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert! I'm sure most people know of this book or even the movie but for those who don't, it's a story about Elizabeth Gilbert finding herself after she completely lost herself in life. She goes through a rough divorce, then another failed relationship and then finds herself running off to Italy, India, and Bali to find herself again in the form of delicious food, intense meditation (and prayer) and then learns how to get balance in her life.

I LOVED this book! I was not expecting much even though I was excited to read it. As most of you know I am not big on reading religious books but this one didn't bother me one bit. Maybe it's because it's talking about her experience and I never felt like it was a religion I couldn't be cool with. No that doesn't mean I'll become religious but I must say the yoga and meditation part of her time in India had me extremely interested. I'm not going to lie I'll be taking a yoga class after this. Not that I'm looking for "God" or even looking for what she gets out of meditating but I'm pretty sure that it'd help me control my stress and maybe let me "let go" of some of my control freak tendancies. It all sounds like a good time so Thank You Elizabeth Gilbert for igniting a spark inside me to give Yoga a shot!

Back to the book, while some people may find her extremely whiny I find her to be brave. I think it's extremely courageous (as well as selfish but aren't we all entitled to be selfish in our one life time?) for someone to up and leave her comfort zone to find out what life has to offer. I think it would be amazing to live in these places and experience a life outside of the normal. I will say one of my favorite parts is when she just takes a moment to "realize" that she's in India! I was thinking throughout this entire book how neat it'd be to see Italy, India, and Bali and how I'm sure I'd have many moments where I just go "OMG I'm in (fill in the blank)" and sure enough she had at least one of those moments as well :)

I highly recommend this book to anyone, especially those who loved Julie Powell's books. And I mean BOTH of Julie Powells book. For those who loved Julie/Julia but didn't read Cleaving then steer clear. Cleaving is a whole other side to Julie Powell that most people hated and if they didn't find her whiny and obnoxious in her first book then they would in this one. But to me there is more to it then just whinyness, these woman are brave enough to realize that they are not happy with their lives and they are free enough to let go and take a risk in life! Bravo to Elizabeth Gilbert, I loved your book!!

Now I know some of you have read this book....what did YOU think?

February 10, 2011

Striking Fear

I was able to finish another book off my list this week YAY!! I finally finished Otherwise Engaged by Suzanne Finnamore!

Let me first state that if you are engaged and extremely happy about it DO NOT READ THIS BOOK! Don't get wrong it didn't change the happiness I have or the feelings I have about my own engagement but if you want a book to put the fear of marriage into someone here it is! I'm not sure what this author was thinking. While I know people out there get cold feet and get doubts and I'm sure it's totally normal. Heck I might even run into those thoughts myself down the road (nothing on the horizon at this point) but this book will do everything in it's power to scare the bajeezus out of you. I had a hard enough time getting into this book and when I finally bit the bullet and got through it, not only was I EXTREMELY against the main character and her fiancee because of their piss poor attitudes but the ending just made me hate the book.

This book is all about the fears this woman is experiencing during an engagement that she got because she gave an ultimatum. Don't get me wrong sometimes people have to do what they have to do but when you "force" a man to choose between losing you or getting hitched to you and then all you do is bitch and moane about everything afterwards it's probably not meant to be. I rate this book a BIG FAT F!!!!!!! I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone that's single, engaged, married, divorced, etc... Thanks a lot Ms Finnamore!

It feels so good to get this review out as this book bothered me extremely and I kept hoping for the ending to swoop me up and make me appreciate the book. All it did was fuel the fire my friends!

Now onto happier things - I've begun reading two books this time. I am reading Chelsea Handlers book while I walk at the gym and it's HILARIOUS so far! I have to keep myself in check from bursting out laughing! And I've also begun Eat, Pray, Love and I am enjoying it so far. She reminds me of Julie Powell (from Julie/Julia Project and Cleaving) whom I adore and give major props for having the guts to take on an extraordinary adventure on their lonesome! So far so good and I am itching to get home tonight to read it! I bet I finish it over the weekend YAY!!

Anyone else read either of those books? What'd you think?

February 7, 2011

Potatoes & Sausage?!?!? YUM!

Another recipe from Guilt Free Cooking = another successful dinner meal! I am super excited to share this recipe as it is DELISH! If you LOVE potatoes and sausage get a pen and paper and jot this one down cause it's a KEEPER!!

You will need: Garlic, Chicken Broth, Kielbasa, Oregano, Parsley, Mushrooms, Onion, Sour Cream (Light), Potatoes, and Cheddar Cheese!

First get everything prepped, it will make life a WHOLE lot EASIER! But before you prep your ingredients grab your potatoes and get them peeled, chopped and into some boiling water! Just like you are making regular old mashed potatoes!
Now onto your prep work:
Slice up your kielbasa, slice your mushrooms, and crush your garlic! Thanks to my awesome Sous Chef Chuck for crushing the garlic as I hate doing it!

Once your potatoes are done you will want to drain them and then put them into a mixing bowl. Add in the sour cream (1/2 cup) and some Chicken Broth (1/4 Cup). Then mix away!

Check out these fluffy mcfluffsters! I will be remembering this way of making potatoes because they are SO GOOD! I don't know if its the chicken broth or sour cream that makes these amazing but they were so good and so fluffy!

Once your potatoes are done you can set them aside. Grab a pan, plop it on the stove top and heat it up. Add in your mushrooms and Kielbasa and cook until the mushrooms are tender and your sausage is browned to your liking!

You will then need a loaf pan, spray it down with some cooking spray and now the fun part! You get to start layering your dish! Start with a layer of potatoes (keep some aside), then add your sausage and mushroom mixture.

Another layer of potatoes!

Top with cheese and the parsley and oregano. You put as much or as little of the parsley and oregano, just depends on what you like.

And we made a little amendment to this recipe! We had some of these babies in the cupboard and how could you go wrong?

Top with some bacon bits if you please, not needed by any means!

Pop in your 350 degree oven to warm it all up and to melt the cheese! Doesn't this look delish?

Slice it up into 7 servings and get to plating your meal! We chose to have crescent rolls with it, looking back we should have done a veggie cause this meal is pretty heavy!

But check out the goodness!! This was so good and so filling!

An A+ for this recipe for both the night of and for leftovers! I literally had it three times for lunch the same week I made it! This would even be a good breakfast dish for special occasions! I LOVED IT!! I highly recommend everyone try it! And if you are daring enough add just a little bit of hot sauce to it to give it some spice!


February 5, 2011


Another Guilt Free recipe for you! This time around I let my crock pot do all the cooking while I got to enjoy the smell throughout my house and the super yummy result!

This recipe calls for: Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Water, Carrots, Kidney Beans, Green Chiles, Pinto Beans, Vegetable Broth, and Diced Tomatoes with green chilis!

Dump it all in your crock pot and set it on high for four hours!

And then bowl yourself a big ole' bowl because its yummy!! Now if you don't like spicy food beware this has some spice to it but in my opinion the hotter the better! I loved this soup! It was filling and tasty which is all I need for a good bowl of soup! On top of that it was so easy, dump all your ingredients in your crock pot and let it sit! I highly recommend this soup for those who like some spice! Enjoy!

February 4, 2011

Book List Edit

I am sad to say I am taking three books off of my 2011 List! Do not fear though I will be replacing them with other books! I did not realize when I got the series for Miss Match that it was religious related. I won't knock you for being religious at all, but I am not so to read a book that has religion in it where it's a huge part of the person's life (fictional or not) I can't seem to get into it. Maybe if the book was more thought provoking it wouldn't bother me but this is a chick lit series and on top of that it's not the best writing ever. Who would have thought a chick lit would be mediocre writing HAHA.

So to replace the books: Miss Match, Rematch, and Match Point I will be reading -

Otherwise Engaged by Suzanne Finnamore

My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler 

 Why I Love Singlehood by Elisa Lorello and Sarah Girrell

And just for kicks The Frugalista Files by Natalie McNeal because we all can be more frugal right?

So there we have it folks. Beginning of February and I'm already having to amend my list :-( But I feel excited about the ones I've added. I actually have just started Otherwise Engaged :-) Now that I'm engaged I think it'd be fun to read some humorous wedding books, but I won't be going overboard LOL. I'm sure even I'll be sick and tired of wedding stuff once we get into really planning.

February 3, 2011

Chick N' Cordon YUCK!

This week I finally got back to cooking out of my Hungry Girl Book! I've been loving my Guilt Free Cooking Cook Book so much that I've been neglecting my poor 200 Under 200 cookbook!

Unfortunately my recipe from it didn't make my taste buds happy! But I'm going to share anyways because there is only one reason I wasn't happy with this recipe and it's an easy thing to alter!

I made Hungry Girl's Chick N' Cordon Bleu and for this you will need chicken breasts, Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cheese, Fat Free Deli Ham (they call for 98% but I could only find 96% so I figured that'd be okay.), and salt & pepper!

First things first preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then lay your chicken out on a cutting board, cover with plastic wrap and take whatever tool you choose to pound it out! You want your chicken breasts to be on the thinner side because you will be rolling up later.

Take one wedge of Laughing Cow Swiss Cheese per breast and smear it across them like your putting cream cheese on a bagel!

Lay a piece of your fat free ham across the cheese!

Then get to rolling! You will want to roll each breast up into something like this and then secure it with toothpicks. You don't want your chicken coming unrolled while it's baking so make sure the toothpicks are in securely.

Cover them up with foil and bake them for about 30 minutes. Then take out and remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes.

And VOILA! You have yourself a nice little piece of Chicken Cordon Bleu without all the fancy preparations that I'm sure it takes for traditional Cordon Bleu. Honestly I have no idea cause I've never made it.

Now for the bad news! While I think I could enjoy this more this one didn't do the trick. It's been officially declared I am not a fan of the Laughing Cow Cheese. I've tried multiple types and each time I haven't liked it. I do however want ot make this again with a different type of light swiss cheese because I can see the potential for greatness in this recipe! I highly recommend giving this a try but I would change up the cheese if I were you! Enjoy!

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