March 30, 2012

March Book Club - Disengaged

Reminder: Please vote on the April book club selection! The poll closes on Sunday.
Our first book club book was Disengaged by Beth Orsoff.

1. Did you like the book? Why/why not?
I did like the book!  It was a fun read that had likable characters (mostly) and would be the kind of romantic comedy that I'd likely watch in movie format. I really enjoyed the airport exchange between Alison and Michael.  It had me briefly guessing if the author was going to go in a direction that I hadn't anticipated.

2. Do the characters seem real and believable? Can you relate to them/ do they remind you of people you know?
The characters do seem fairly real.  I can relate to Alison - it would be strange not to have a little conflict while planning a wedding & possibly second guess decisions that you're making.  Claire, Brittney, Jax and Michael are also real, believable characters.  Sylvia and Brad had a relationship that I can see in mother/son combos that I know.  I mean, a lot of moms are controlling... but not many to that extent.  I would hope that I don't know anybody in real life that defiles a blow up doll the way Brad does.  Or at least, I hope I never find out about it!

3. Is the ending satisfying? If so, why? If not, why not...and how would you change it?
I was happy with the ending.  It was what I had been rooting for since the beginning!  However, I do with that more detail had been given and it felt slightly less rushed.

4. If you could ask the author a question, what would you ask?
I would like to know where the inspiration for the book came from and if any of the characters were modeled after people she knows in real life.

5. How do characters change or evolve throughout the course of the story? If so, how/why?
I don't really think that the characters change per se, but it does take a while to see all the facets of their personalities.

What do you think about Disengaged?  Link up* and share!

* I'm trying a different linky tool that what I use for Tuesdays At The Table, any feedback on it is appreciated!

March 27, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Momma, I lovz da sunroom...but buy me an end table thingie.  Da bench iz kinda tacky.

Yes, I knowz dis chair bewongs in your room, Momma. But I likes it in da sunroom better...mmkay?

Um, Mumma?  How come he gets a chair and I don't?  Go buy me a chair!

You're still here?  Now I want a chair AND a puppy!  Mush, mumma, mush!

March 26, 2012

Tuesdays At The Table - Carrot Broccoli Soup

Reminder: Please vote on the April book club selection! The poll closes on Sunday.
Last week I lamented on how quickly the summer is coming...this week, I'm going to whine a little and say that I'm COLD!  Dear Mother Nature, I'd like it if I didn't hear the word "snow" at the end of March. Thanks!

At least this gives me an excuse to pawn off another soup recipe on you lovely ladies.  This one is a slight deviation of the recipe courtesy of Taste of Home.  Super easy and quite tasty!


Carrot Broccoli Soup

1 medium onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
3 cups fresh broccoli florets
3 cups milk, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 

In a large saucepan coated with cooking spray, cook the onion, carrots and celery in butter for 3-5 minutes on medium heat. Add broccoli; cook 3-5 minutes longer. Stir in 2-3/4 cups milk, salt, thyme, rosemary and pepper.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Combine the flour and remaining milk until smooth; gradually stir into soup. Bring to a boil; cook a few minutes longer, until thickened.

What's cooking in your kitchen?


A Dose of Random...

Sorry that my post lacks direction today.  I have lots of little things that would be a waste to post on their own.  Bring on the bullet points!
  • Friday night a had an amazing girls night with some of my favorite ladies.  We did a little shopping (if you follow me on Twitter, you saw the adorable sparkly pink headband I picked up at Charming Charlie), had dinner at Toby Keith's "I Love This Bar & Grill", and saw Hunger Games!
  • For our viewing pleasure, we saw Hunger Games via Lux level.  The comfy seats, drinks and prime viewing spots are worth the ticket price. 
  • And... because there are five of us that went, I ended up being the girl NOT sitting next to one of her besties.  Which is totally fine!  What I hadn't anticipated is having to sit next to a guy who proceeded to drink FOUR beers and then beer belch at me through the movie.  *gag*  And that says nothing of the running commentary he had going.
  • You may notice the April book poll in the top left corner.  Please vote!  The poll will be open through April 1, and the book will be announced on April 2nd.
  • A huge THANK YOU to those of you who gave book suggestions.  They'll be showing up on the long list rotation soon.  :-) Please keep the book titles coming!
  • Quick reminder to please link up your posts about our March book - Disengaged on Friday.
  • I planted my peach tree!  I love it already.  I bet it doesn't bloom for a few years, but that's OK.  I do think she needs a name.  Any suggestions?
  • The lovely Andrea and I will have a little something fun to share with you all soon. We're both really excited about it!
  • The second annual flip flop swap is coming soon!  It's a great way to celebrate the warm weather and find a new bloggy friend.  :-)

March 21, 2012

April Book List

I hope everyone is enjoying Disengaged!  It's time that we got going and picked our April book.  A very lovely lady pointed out to me that Disengaged was only available via e-reader.  I'm so sorry if anyone got excluded because of it. I promise to do a better job going forward of crosschecking the hardcopy vs. e-reader availability!
Below is my proposed "long list" of April books.  You'll see a few repeats from last month's list, as I got some good response to them and think that they should be up for consideration again.  PLEASE, send me your suggestions!  I love to read and can provide book lists until the cows come home...but I want this to be a fair process and you very likely have heard of books that I haven't! :-)

The Next Always by Nora Roberts
A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff
Just Like Me, Only Better by Carol Snow
The First Day of the Rest of My Life by Cathy Lamb
The Year Everything Changed by Georgia Bockoven
Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan
The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes
Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto
How I Planned Your Wedding by Susan and Elizabeth Wiggs
The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston

OK, now please - be vocal. Comment on what you like from the list...and don't like.  The books with the largest amount of positive feedback will move on the the short list/poll.  Any book that doesn't "win" for next month from that list but got positive feedback will cycle through again in the coming months.

March 20, 2012

Mug Swap Reveal

The awesome Ashley and Syndal decided to host a mug swap.  And you all know how much I love coffee, right?! Right!

So of course, I signed up.  My partner is Amanda.  Who, let me tell you - is pretty darn cool! Great sense of humor, super sweet and loves her pups (oh, and her husband).

She send me a box of goodies.  Even with the box, she way outshined me!  I recycled a box, she send me a pretty one!

If you think my skills at blacking out addresses is awesome, then you obviously should start a game of "Draw Something" with me.  :-)

Look at the goods!  A huge polka dot mug, an argyle cold cup (she just must know how much I like iced coffee!), a pound of coffee and treats for the pups.  Let me tell you, the dogs saw those treats and started BEGGING for one.

Ignore my ugly kitchen.  It will get renovated eventually.  Like in 5 years...

Seriously, how ginourmous is this mug?  Love it!

Now go visit Amanda and see what I sent her!

March 19, 2012

Tuesdays At The Table - Spinach Patties

Happy Tuesday!  Did everyone survive Monday?  From the look of Twitter...there were an abundance of not so happy campers.  :-(
Did you at least have an awesome weekend?  I did! I got to help transport two fuzzy little dachshund boys to their last stop before getting their furever homes.  Plus Sunday was my brother's birthday.  I am a little bummed that somebody put the kybosh on doing his birthday dinner *on* his birthday...but that's a story for another time {like when I'm being less generous}.

Anywho...I've told you all that I really like spinach, right?  So good.  And way more versatile than you'd think!


Spinach Patties

1 bag of frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
1 egg white
2 whole eggs
1/4 cup diced scallions
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl until well mixed. Form into small patties.

Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat and spray well with cooking spray.  Cook each patty 4-6 minutes each side. {Resist the urge to flip multiple times, or the patties may fall apart.}

Serve as a side dish, or make large patties as an alternative to your hamburger/turkey burger.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

March 18, 2012

A "Feel Good" Kind Of Day...

Sunday was a good day.  A really good day! 
About a month ago, I ambled upon Furever Dachshund Rescue.  I don't know where... another dog blog?  Facebook?  Twitter?  If I found it through you - THANK YOU!

This weekend, I had the distinct honor of participating in the transport team for Buddy and Murray. I took the last two legs of the journey - from Fairfield, CT to Worcester, MA.  Last minute my mom decided to do the road trip with me (at about 3 hours each way - it was most definitely a road trip), and was thrilled to have Buddy cuddle her from pick-up to drop-off.

Say hi, Buddy!

Murray is a nervous he was crated for the trip.  But such a good boy!  He only cried/whined if we went below 40 MPH.  {We hit traffic outside of Hartford, so we did end up sitting still for a while.}


Really, both boys were so well behaved and sweet and calm for having gone through nine states in two days with almost as many car swaps.

I'll definitely be volunteering again in the future.  Who knows... maybe I'll even foster or adopt too!

March 15, 2012

Gone To Seed... AKA It's Garden Time!

It's that time again... time to think about planting the garden.  I had grand plans last year to turn a raised plot of land in my backyard into the perfect garden.  However...holy sh*t, that soil is dry and packed.  It's going to take a lot more work than I anticipated.  Maybe it will be fabulous by next spring. Maybe.
In the meantime, it's container gardening for me again this year.  Which I'm perfectly happy with!
This year my garden will feature:

Everbearing Strawberry
Everbearing Strawberries.  It's my first year with strawberries, but I have hopes that I do well with them.  :-) {All pics via}

Heirloom Rainbow Blend Tomato
Heirloom Tomatoes.  Honestly, these suckers aren't as pretty as other tomatoes...but the smell and taste are like none other.  They are one of my garden staples.

Roma (VF) Tomato
Roma Tomatoes.  These tomatoes make the best sauce.  So yummy! 

Gurney’s<sup>®</sup> Primo JalapeƱo Hybrid Hot Pepper
Jalapenos.  Another staple in my garden.  My dogs absolutely love them (yes, my pups are as weird as I am), so it's a race to see who can get to the peppers first - me or them.

Cubanelle Sweet Pepper
Cubanelle Peppers.  Sweet, yummy and they freeze well. 

Weeping Cherry Tree
I had the tree in my front yard die this winter, so I'll be replacing it with a Weeping Cherry!  It's so pretty!

Elberta Peach Tree
Elberta Peach Tree. I'm most excited about this tree!  I've wanted a peach tree for YEARS.  I named the first dog that was just mine (as opposed to a family dog) Peach Blossom.  The tree has special meaning to me. 

Is anyone else as excited to plant their gardens as flowers as I am?!?!  Please tell me I'm not the only geek!

March 14, 2012

Book Club "Check-in"

Howdy, book-clubbers!  We're now halfway (roughly) through our first book.  How are you all liking Disengaged?
And...we need to start thinking about choosing our April book.  I would very much like to include your suggestions for the group to vote on.  PLEASE email me any suggestions.  I would like to put a small list out to the group for feedback on Friday.

March 12, 2012

Tuesdays At The Table - Guinness Brownies

Howdy!  I'm reveling in a 70+ degree Monday, and the rest of the week looks pretty good too.  How is that even possible in New England in March?!?! Is it unseasonably warm where you are too?
It's actually a good thing...the sun and a little warm air is helping me come out of hibernation (or at least that's how it feels), and I have the first of my garden fruits/veggies coming in the next few days!  I'll do a full post of what will be growing around the house/garden later in the week.  In the meantime, this will be my first year growing strawberries...and if you have advice, I'd love to hear it!

Anyway...  St. Patrick's Day is coming quickly.  To me, that means I have a good excuse to sneak beer into everyday foods.  I made something similar last year, and found a great new recipe to share.  {recipe and picture via}


Guinness Brownies

1 14.9 oz. can Guinness Draught, reduced down to 1 c.
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (the darker, the better)
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 T. espresso powder (Medaglia D’Oro or the like)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs

In a sauce pan, reduce 1 can of Guinness over medium low heat to 1 cup of beer. Skim the foam.

Melt the chocolate chips and butter in the microwave in 30 second increments. Mix in beer, sugar and salt. Beat in the eggs.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, espresso powder. Add dry ingredients to chocolate mixture.

Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment (or grease and cocoa powder).  Pour batter into pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out almost clean.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

March 06, 2012

Did Someone Say "Blogoversary"?!

Um...somehow I missed my blogoversary again this year.  I mean, I did better this year than I did last year.  Last year I missed it by a month.  This year, but a mere two weeks.

Really, all I can say is THANK YOU!  I'm so thankful that you read the drivel that I write, that some of you leave comments that make me smile...or cause me to think...or are just plain awesome. Mostly, I'm thankful that I've found some really amazing friends through blogging.

Now...what do you want to see more of on this sucker?  More puppy pictures?  Want to ask me a question?  Have a yearning desire to see the money pit that is my house?

Now, who's going to send me cupcakes to celebrate my blogoversary?! :-)

March 05, 2012

Tuesdays At The Table - Herb and Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes

Happy Tuesday! If you've caught me on Twitter, you know that poor Meadow pulled a muscle or two in her back - so we've spent a quiet few days hanging on the couch cuddling, watching NetFlix and enjoying the wonders of the heating pad.  :-)  If anyone has homeopathic remedies for pulled muscles in canines, please send them my way!

This week I'm sharing a quick easy side dish (or meal) that has a lot of wiggle room for customization. Recipe adjusted from (and picture via) this recipe.


Herb and Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes

6 medium to large tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh italian parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1/2 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend (cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan)
Extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the tops off of the tomatoes and spoon out insides and set aside. Leave the thick tomato wall in tact being careful not to pierce through the skin.

In a medium sized  bowl add in the tomato pulp, herbs, bread crumbs, cheese, and salt/pepper to taste.  Toss ingredients together until well mixed.

Put your tomatoes in a lined 9×13 pan and fill each with the filling mixture. Top off with a sprinkle of olive oil. Bake for 18-22 minutes at 375, until the cheese is melted.


What's cooking in your kitchen?

March Book Club Choice!

Thanks to everyone that voted on our first book club book!  By a very narrow margin (ahem...1 vote), it's been decided that we'll be reading:

Happy Reading!  As a reminder, below are our chosen book club questions.  You don't have to use all of them, but please choose at least three so we can be comparing the books on the same merits & provide a little continuity for the lovelies that read our posts.  :-)

1. Did you like the book? Why/why not?
2. Do the characters seem real and believable? Can you relate to them/ do they remind you of people you know?
3. Is the ending satisfying? If so, why? If not, why not...and how would you change it?
4. If you could ask the author a question, what would you ask?
5. How do characters change or evolve throughout the course of the story? If so, how/why?
Also, please please please start emailing, commenting or tweeting me your book ideas for next month!

March 02, 2012

Hunger Games

Who has tickets for the opening night of Hunger Games?  This girl! And four of her awesome friends - OF COURSE!!

I'll be there wearing "Stone Cold" from China Glaze's "Colors from the Capital" collection.  :-) Have any of you bought these nail polishes yet?

Is anyone else as excited as me for Hunger Games to come out?

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