February 28, 2012

Tuesdays At The Table - Zucchini Fritters

Quick reminder: If  you're going to participate in book club, be sure to vote (in the top left corner) on our inaugural book!
How was everyone's weekend?  Mine was pretty darn good! 

Saturday was all about the errands, laundry and grocery shopping in the morning, a yarn run and Bed, Bath & Beyond field trip with my cousin in the afternoon, and an evening with my parents. 

Sunday was a small bridal expo down the Cape with my cousin Kristin and our friend.  Then some delicious Mexican food for lunch!  The mansion that housed the bridal expo was absolutely GORGEOUS! I wish that we had been able to poke around more. I also wish that the valet hadn't scared the bejeepers out of me - making me forget my phone in the car.  So, no pictures.  :-(  However, getting to spend some quality time with two of my favorite people totally made up for it!

This week I'm sharing zucchini fritters.  It's no secret that I'm typically not a big fan of zucchini, but these suckers are delicious!


Zucchini Fritters

2 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini)
3 eggs
1 Tbs flour (coconut flour for those of you gluten free or on a paleo diet)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil (coconut oil or bacon grease for the paleo diet)

Shred zucchini by hand or in a food processor and set aside (if it is wet, blot it dry with a paper towel).

In a large bowl, beat eggs together. Sift flour into eggs and beat together. (Note: coconut flour often has clumps, hence the sifting.) Add the shredded zucchini, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat a large skillet and add your desired oil. 

Spoon the mixture into the pan in desired sized fritters. Cook on each side until each side is browned and tender to the touch. (Prevent breaking by turning as few times as possible.) Serve warm.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

February 27, 2012

Book Club Questions

Alrighty, ladies! I took the three books from my initial list that got the most interest, and they are now a poll in the top left corner.  Please vote! The new book will be announced next Monday - March 5th.
I'm happy to recycle the book suggestion next month.  What I'd really like is for you to give me some book suggestions that I can keep on a spreadsheet and use as our "go to" list.  However you'd like to share your suggestions (comment, email, tweet) is wonderful. :-)

Now...we need to pick the questions we'll all use.  As I mentioned before, I think 3-5 questions would give everyone a little structure, but still give enough freedom to make each post our own.  If you don't agree, let me know!  I'm open to any and all feedback!

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?

So...anyone want to design a button for the book club?  Kidding.  Kind of.

February 22, 2012

Pick A Book. Any Book

People really want to be in a book club?  With me?!?!  Are you *sure*?
OK.  I guess we better get started on picking our first book.  :-)

I'm going to throw a few (alright.  more like ten) books out there varying between chic lit, pop fiction and the best seller list & see if any of them interest you.  Please give me suggestions, then once we get a good list, we can vote on which book to read first.

For your convenience, all the books I'm putting up for consideration have been linked to Amazon so you can read the blurbs before you tell me I'm brilliant (or horrifically stupid).

11/22/63 by Stephen King
Night Road by Kristin Hannah
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff
The Next Always by Nora Roberts
The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
Single in the City by Michele Gorman
Disengaged by Beth Orsoff

Whatcha think?

February 20, 2012

Tuesdays At The Table - Nutella Pocket Cookies

You know that you're boring when the highlight of your weekend was picking up a new dresser.  True story! :-)  Did any of you do something fun?
You might notice the poll in the top left corner.  I'm starting a book club!  If you're interested, tune back in on Wednesday when we take on the fun challenge of choosing our first book!

I fuzzy pink heart Nutella.  I'm not alone, right?  That stuff is heaven-sent!  I've slightly altered a recipe that I found here.


Nutella Pocket Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until smooth, light, and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract, cinnamon and espresso powder and mix well. Gradually add the flour to the creamed mixture and combine well after each addition. Divide the dough into four portions; cover and refrigerate until the dough is firm and easy to handle.

Remove one portion of dough from the refrigerator. On a floured surface, roll out one section of dough until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Using a circle cookie cutter that is approximately 3 inches in diameter, cut circles out of the dough (you should get about 12 per dough section) and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Place approximately 1 1/2 teaspoons of Nutella on each circle, slightly off-center, then fold each circle in half so that the edges meet and lightly press the edges to seal. Repeat this process for each portion of dough.

Bake the cookies at 350 for 12 – 15 minutes, when the edges are lightly browned. Leave the cookies on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before removing them to wire racks to cool.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

February 15, 2012

So...You're I'm Starting A Book Club

You heard that right!  I'm starting a monthly book club.  A huge thanks to Holly, Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Smith who encouraged me to get off my butt and start it.  :-)  You have to love a little friendly motivation!

Here's the idea:
Every month we'll read a book as a group.  Then answer a few (say...3-5?!) questions so that we're comparing the books on the same set of merits.

The plan right now is to pick a book the first Monday for each month and post the book review the last Friday of the month.  That gives everyone the most time to get through the book and get their post written.

I've put up a poll, so I can gauge interest in the book club.  I'll keep the poll up through next Wednesday, then we'll move along to choosing our first book.  I would like to make sure that each member of the book club has an equal say in choosing what we read (me choosing every month just isn't fair). If we can start a group list, then we can vote each month on our next book.

Also, I'm going to plan to review all the other books I've been reading and host a linky every other Friday in the month.  Sound good?  Everyone with me?! :-)

February 13, 2012

Tuesdays At The Table - Flourless Chocolate Cake

Happy Valentines Day!!!!  Perhaps you'll be celebrating with a romantic night out...but if not, this cake is pretty easy and a great treat for the man in your life.  :-)

Being the single girl I am...I'll be pretending the day doesn't exist.  I do, however, hope that your valentine does something sweet for you!


Flourless Chocolate Cake

6 1-ounce squares coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1-ounce squares coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate squares
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoon milk
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1/8 teaspoon vanilla

 Preheat oven to 350°F

Spray a 7-inch tart pan with removable bottom with cooking spray. If you don't have a tart pan, use a springform or cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and spray the paper.
Melt 6 ounces of chopped chocolate and butter in a heavy saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Add sugar and salt and reduce heat to low. Cook while stirring for about one minute, until sugar starts to dissolve.

Remove pan from heat. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. The mixture will look smooth and glossy.
Sieve to sift cocoa into mixture.  Whisk until the cake batter is smooth.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes. The center of the cake should be just firm to the touch, but be careful to not overbake the cake or it will be dry.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert the cake on a plate.

To prepare the glaze, melt 2 ounces of chopped chocolate and 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in the same saucepan you used to make the cake. When melted and smooth, remove the pan from heat. Add milk and honey and vanilla and stir until smooth and glossy. Let the glaze cool for a few minutes before pouring it on the cake.

Pour all of the glaze in the middle of the cake. Use a silicone or rubber spatula to spread the glaze evenly over the cake, allowing the glaze to evenly run down the sides of the cake.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

February 10, 2012

Talking About The Weather (A post for Alabama Disaster Relief)

My sweet friend, Mrs. Jones is asking those who can - to join in and write a post to benefit Alabama Disaster Relief.  I'm happy to do that for her!  Please join in!

As you all know, I'm from Massachusetts.  Until recently, tornados were an extremely rare occurrance up here!  I've been lucky to not have been in the western part of the state which has been affected by the recent tornados.  So I can't speak from any "tornado related" experience.

When the tornados in Alabama hit (much like up here), my first thoughts were of my friends in the affected areas! 

How are they?
Where are they?
Is anybody hurt?
Are their pets OK?
Are their workplaces still standing?
How can I help them?

So far, everyone I know has been lucky.  Homes have been destroyed, cars lost, offices gone...but everyone was not only ALIVE, but NOT INJURED!  Such a blessing.  Things can be replaced, those I love - can not.

Now, while I don't have any direct experience with tornados, I am very familiar with other weather related disasters.  We get some pretty fierce Nor'Easters around here (not to mention the week last year that I had no heat or water.)! A hurricane isn't unheard of here either. And I've been traveling and encountered some pretty drastic flooding and thunderstorms.

Recently, I've started putting together a "disaster kit".  A few gallons of water, lots of AA batteries for the random gadgets and DD for my flashlights.  I keep a stash of candles and matches nearby.  I have extra dog food, leashes, and a puppy first aid kit ready.  My theory is that - if I'm ready for anything, it will never happen.  I know that sooner or later I'll need to break into my emergency stashes (and yes, I do have an emergency stash of chocolate...hidden in the freezer), but I'm in no rush!  I still have canned goods, a human first aid kit and other little gems to add to my emergency stash.

The one thing that strikes about the Alabama tornados and all the other natural disasters is the resilience of people.  People pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and keep going...and help their friends, family and neighbors do the same!  I think it's one of the best and strongest components of human nature.  Well, that and the sense of community.  Something about the worst of times seems to bring out the best in people.  I admire that! You (or at least, I) don't see people helping each other and watching out for each other outside of natural disasters or times of emergency.  I truly wish that people could embrace that sense of community all the time.

What are your thoughts?  Do you have an emergency kit?  Do you think that natural disasters bring out the best or worst in people?

February 09, 2012

Eff...Marry...Kill - The Voice Edition

I lurve playing this game with Blonde Undercover Blonde and The Vintage Apple.  It's so much fun to theoretically pick celebrities that we'd marry (amongst other things), and every that links up has such great trios of men too!

If you want to see who I've chosen in past editions: Hawaii Five- O, Covert Affairs, and NCIS: LA.


This time around, I chose a new obsession - The Voice!

Eff.... Blake Shelton. He seems like a really sweet guy, and really nice to all the singers he critiques on the show. You don't mess with his wife Miranda Lambert though.  That country girl is FIERCE!

Marry... Adam Levine.   Um, hello!  He's hot.  He's so nice. He's got an amazing voice.  And his game of Guesstures on The Ellen Show was hysterical! (Watch it here.)

Kill...Cee-lo Green. He's a good singer/performer; I'll say that.  But if you pay attention - he says some things to the female contestants that vary from vaguely suggestive all the way up to pervy.

Do you agree?  Or do I have it all wrong?! :-)

February 08, 2012

February 06, 2012

Tuesdays At The Table - Pesto Flank Steak

Did everyone watch the Super Bowl?  I did...and was disappointed that the Patriots didn't win.  It was a good game.  Congrats to the Giants and all their fans!  I also didn't originally intend to watch the Super Bowl from home.  But, when random people starting showing up at my house looking for "Joe & Melissa's" party, (including one couple that opened my back gate and knocked on my back door!) I thought it best not to leave  my house unattended.
This week, I'm sharing one of my favorite flank steak recipes.  Really, add pesto to ANYTHING, and it makes it better.  :-)


Pesto Flank Steak

4 cloves garlic
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 lemon, freshly squeezed

1 flank steaks (about 1 lb)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Chop 4 garlic cloves in a food processor until minced. Add the basil and pine nuts. Pulse a few times to combine. With the food processor running, slowly pour in the olive oil (Stop a few times to scrape down the sides.) Place the Parmesan cheese into the food processor, and pulse until blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Rub the flank steak with 2 cloves minced garlic, salt and pepper, then set aside.

Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil grate.

Grill the steak to desired degree of doneness on preheated grill, about 4 minutes per side. Baste the steak occasionally with the pesto sauce. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting. Serve topped with the remaining pesto.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

February 03, 2012


I want to talk a little about cheerleading.  No, not the pom-pom - high pony - tiny uniform cheerleading.
Patriots Cheerleaders {via}

But if pom-poms and a good chant are you're thing...that's cool too.

I've seen a fair share of the blog/twitter world beating up on each other lately.  It makes me sad.  Life is hard enough these days. 

The economy stinks. A lot of us are looking for jobs.  Those working are sometimes having a hard time balancing family life vs. work life. Kids aren't behaving...or sleeping...or meeting the milestones...or whatever that is expected.  You know where I'm going with this, right?!

So, I'm challenging everyone to please pick a person today and be their cheerleader! Let them know that you understand that life isn't perfect and you're there to support them.  Tell someone that you love them for all that they are - whether it's the ability to find the silver lining in everything, or that they are the mom you model yourself after, or that they give until it hurts.

I'm not asking that you send flowers or candy or an Edible Arrangement (Though, I'm accepting them, if you're interested! heeheehee).  A text or tweet or email will do.  A simple "You can do it!" or "I'm so proud of you because...".

Ready. Set. Go!!!

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