January 26, 2016

Tuesdays at the Table - Pull Apart Garlic Rolls

Have you all been matching the recipe micro-series Tasty puts out on Facebook and Buzzfeed's website?  For some reason I kept coming back to their garlic pull apart rolls.  So today I made them!  They are just as easy and delicious as they look in the video!

Garlic Pull Apart Rolls

1 tube refrigerated biscuits
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
½ tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Cut biscuits into fourths, and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter, garlic powder, parsley, and mozzarella, and mix with your hands, coating all of the biscuit pieces. Place the pieces in a muffin tin, three pieces per tin (you’ll have two extra — just use them in whichever tin you want). Bake for 15 minutes. Best served fresh out of the oven!

What's cooking in your kitchen?


January 25, 2016

Cake Smash!

Sunday I had the pleasure of accompanying my cousin Kristin to cake smash photo shoot.  What is a cake smash you ask?

smash cake n. a celebratory cake intended to be destroyed, especially by a child. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

Growing up, my mom made my brother and I each a tiny cake to smush into for our first birthdays. I still have the pictures my dad took as I demolished my cake in the midst of my birthday party.  The looks on the friends and family around me are almost as priceless as the look on my face at the texture and taste of yellow cake with chocolate frosting!

These days, professionally documenting a cake smash is all the rage! More often than not, it's done a few weeks before a first birthday and the pictures are either shown by mom/dad on social media on the birthday - or used for the birthday party invitation.

Sunday's photo shoot was for an absolutely adorable little girl, I'll call CC.  (Don't get me wrong, mom and dad were REALLY nice - but little CC was just the sweetest little thing!)

Prep: White backdrop and pink & green party decorations

Looking adorable in her party dress!

It took a little convincing - but she finally DOVE into her cake!

I can't show you pictures of the final product (yet).  Kristin is good, but needs a little more time to work her magic AND let Claire's parents see the pictures first.  Instead, here are a few other recent cake smashes! 

What are your thoughts on cake smash sessions?  Did you do it for your kids?


January 21, 2016

Five Reasons I Won't Adopt to You

Being in rescue is emotional.  It's full of highs - pulling a dog from a kill shelter moments before being put to sleep, saving a pregnant dog and watching them realize they can birth their pups in peace...and then NEVER be pregnant again, seeing the joy on the face of an adoptive family when we've found them the right match; and full of lows - fighting to get a dog healthy and it just doesn't succeed, watching a dog go through heartworm treatment and get sick and having to say "no" sometimes when we just don't have the resources to take even more dogs.

As any adoption coordinator will tell you, having to say "no" to an applicant is difficult.  And most of the time - we do it after trying to prompt better responses, reeducating an adopter, and well...just about anything we can think of to turn an applicant into the type of person that would do well with not just one of our dogs - but any dog.

But the fact remains - there are reasons that I just won't adopt to people.

  • If your yard is unfenced and you REFUSE to keep a dog leashed - I will not be adopting to you.  Dachshunds are scent hounds and will tune you out to follow their nose in pursuit of a squirrel, their pee-mail and that can get them into trouble.  I won't even tell you the heartbreaking stories of dogs who accidentally got out of their fenced yards never to be seen again. Or worse... You purposely let your dogs run?  Um...NO.

  • You don't see the need for heartworm preventative.  This is a nasty, nasty condition that could be prevented by a tablet (or topical solution) that costs about $20 a month.  If you won't invest $20 into your dog's health - I'm not confident you'll spend the money to treat them for other ailments, or God forbid, heartworm disease when they catch it from lack of preventative care. You won't be getting one of our dogs.

  • You won't consent to a home visit.  We aren't trying to invade your privacy or judge your housekeeping...trust me!  We just need to know that our dog is going into a home that is (reasonably) clean and safe.  Visiting you in person helps us get a grasp on what dog will do well with your lifestyle and environment.  When you say "no"...you make me say "no" back.

  • If your references can't say something nice about you.  I take references checks very seriously.  We check with your existing vet (if you have animals) and personal references.  These are individuals YOU are giving us to talk to.  When they think you won't be a good pet parent, or even scarier - tell us about the last dog you surrendered, we can't hand over one of our dogs.  We just can't.

  • Two words - outside dogs.  If you have dogs that spend their entire lives outside without adequate access to shelter - you are not going to be adopting from us.  This signifies to me that a dog is merely a possession to you. To me, to my rescue, dogs are family.  They deserve the love, the affection, the comforts, you would afford any other family member.  The lives our dogs led before coming into rescue is often a mystery to us - and we do our best to ensure the happy, healthy lives of our dogs moving forward. (Note: Please know I'm not casting judgement on hunting/herding dogs. While I'm not a huge fan of dogs specific to hunting, I understand the theory.  I know that these dogs have a "job", have safe, climate controlled kennels and are generally brought into a family environment at the end of the season.)


January 15, 2016

Five on Friday

Happy Friday!  It's been a while since the last time I've participated in one of April's link-ups.  I can't wait to swing by and see all your posts!

I was so surprised to hear that Alan Rickman passed away.  Like so many of you, I loved him as Severus Snape.  I will always think of him in that role, along with Harry in Love Actually, Metatron in Dogma, Hans Gruber in Die Hard...and so many others.

A photo posted by Nicole Fowler (@cole711) on

We got new iMacs at work this week.  I'm still getting used to it, but am LOVING the 27 inch screen, wireless mouse & keyboard, and the display on this thing is phenomenal! A terabyte of storage is pretty awesome too.

Everyone has been talking about Making a Murderer.  I think it might be time to binge watch it this weekend!

On a whim, my cousin Kristin and I decided to "knit the weather" this year. Above is an example of how the temperature breakdown works and suggested colors.  I decided to play with the colors a bit. I'll do a full post on it this weekend to show off how cold (but pretty) the Boston area in 2016! I should mention that I haven't actually started knitting yet...but do have a great spreadsheet of the temperature going.  Wish me luck!

A photo posted by Nicole Fowler (@cole711) on

Paisley has developed a love affair with my scarves lately.  Probably because the cold weather has FINALLY arrived around here.  I think it might be time to buy her her own little scarf.

What do you all have planned for your long weekend?


January 14, 2016

For the Dogs - My "Favorites" List

I am crazy about dogs.  But you all know that...and (thankfully) most of you appreciate that part of me!

I tend to buy most of my dogtastic items from Amazon.  It's easy to price shop, you know what you're getting...and hey, I already have Amazon Prime!  So, free shipping!

Here are a few of my current favorite items:

Nylabone Liquid Tartar Remover
This might not be the most fun place to start, but dachshunds have bad teeth.  Really.  As in "a trip to the dentist every year or so" bad.  I don't know if you've tried to brush your dogs teeth before, but some are less willing to participate than others.  If I can keep the tartar off their teeth by mixing in a little additive to their water, I'm all for it!

Outward Hound Slow Feeder Bowl
Mealtime can be like the Wild West in my house.  Yes, each of the dogs has their designated place to sit and wait for breakfast and dinner.  But are they quiet about it?!  Heck, no!  And two of them try to inhale their food instead of chewing!  I absolutely love slow feed bowls.  It keeps them interested and slows down the rate that they can get food in their mouths.  If you have a deep chested dog - you know that eating fast can cause bloat; something that scares me.  Just the prospect of saving myself and my dogs that kind of medical emergency is worth the bowls!

Jakks Plubber Dog Toys
These things are all the rage in my household.  Plush + rubber = plubber.  My herd are not aggressive chewers, but are known to take down a stuffy when they put their mind to it, so I prefer not to give them too many toys with stuffing.  Beckett is partial to this mallard!  It's medium rubber inside and covered in a nice plush on the outside.  Added bonus - when they throw the toys at each other (what, your dogs don't do that?!) you're less likely to bruise if you get in the way!

Earthbath Tea Tree Hot Spot & Itch Relief Spray
It doesn't happen often, but Beckett will get a hot spot from time to time.  My parent's spaniel is plagued by them.  It's her body's reaction to being stressed whenever they go on vacation.  This spray is all natural, smells good (kinda minty), and has helped poor Carmella so much.  A few spritzes take the itch away for her and it's enough to get her body healing.  I know a few people that use it between baths for all their dogs - it has oatmeal, vitamin E, aloe vera and teatree oil, so I bet the dogs love it!

Burt's Bees Oatmeal Dog Shampoo
Little secret...I don't like the scent of most dog shampoos, and some of them bother my asthma.  This shampoo doesn't smell much, rinses out quickly and I trust the brand.  The herd likes it too.  I mean, as much as they can for being anti-bath. Ha!  (P.S.  I might be holding a giveaway this dog shampoo next week...)

Poochie Bells
You're probably going to think this is nuts...but my dogs are bell trained when they want to go out.  It started for our family about 15 years ago when my mom put bells on the door for Christmas.  The dogs started hitting them when they wanted to go out, and the bells stayed at the end of the holiday season.  It was an easy system for the older dogs to teach the young dogs and they picked it up quickly!  Think it would work for you?

What are your favorite products?  Anything the dogs and I NEED to try?


I am an Amazon affiliate, If you *happen* to make a purchase of any of the linked products, I won't get rich.  But I just might be able to buy the pups a new bag of cookies...

January 12, 2016

Tuesdays at the Table - Coffee Cake

As all my cubicle-mates will tell you, I have a dangerous addition to coffee cake muffins.  Seriously.  Want my day to start on the wrong foot?  Be the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru team member that hands me a chocolate chip muffin instead of coffee cake.

So this week I'm sharing my favorite coffee cake recipe.  Thanks to those of you linking up and sharing your recipes!  I love you for it. <3 br="" nbsp="">

Coffee Cake
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (sift before measuring)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1/3 cup milk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In small mixing bowl, combine topping ingredients. Blend with fork until crumbly. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine together beaten egg, sugar and melted butter. Add milk and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt, mixing well. 

Pour batter into a greased and floured  9-inch layer-cake pan. Sprinkle topping crumb mixture evenly over batter. Bake at 375° for 25 to 30 minutes, when a toothpick will come out clean. Partially cool in pan on wire rack. Cut coffee cake into squares while still warm.
What's cooking in your kitchen?


January 07, 2016

Product Review: Chomps Snack Sticks

Like me, I'm sure you noticed the deluge of posts, tweets, Facebook statuses and Instagram pictures coming from your friends (or maybe you too!) that have decided to make a dietary change as part of their new year.  Whole30 seems to be the most frequent diet chosen.  I haven't tried it myself...but I can see the draw!

I was recently offered the opportunity to receive and review Chomps Snack Sticks.  Given that tastebuds vary, I decided to bring a few friends and my dad along for the ride! When I opened my sample package of Chomps Snack Sticks, one of the first things I noticed was that it was Whole30 approved.

What Are Chomps All About!?

Chomps Snack Sticks are new healthy snacks that recently hit the market and has quickly become quite popular in the Gluten Free, Paleo and Crossfit communities.  We use only the best 100% Grass-Fed Beef and the sticks are cured naturally.  Chomps are free of synthetic nitrates, nitrites and MSG. They're shelf stable for a whole year and the only natural preservative used is celery juice!
I'll be honest - beef sticks wouldn't be my first choice when looking for a snack.  But the more I read about these little morsels, the more interested I became.  They are 100% grass fed beef, nitrate and nitrite free, have no MSG, are 9g of lean protein per serving and use celery juice as their preservative!

On to the taste test!

First we tried the Original flavor.  I noticed right away that they didn't have the greasy feeling of other beef sticks that are commercially available.  We all (Jeanne, Rachel, dad and myself) agreed that they taste good! The spices come across well, and they're a little smokey. They are a bit softer than you might expect...think slightly firmer than a hot dog.

Next was the Hoppin' Jalapeno.  This was by far the favorite!  You can see the little bits of jalapeno in each beef stick, and the flavor is spicy without being overwhelming. They're just good!

Last was the Crankin' Cran.  I admit, I didn't look at the full ingredient list before tasting and was expecting something slightly sweet. At first, that's what you get too...but this flavor has habanero pepper in it.  The flavor of those peppers builds, and builds, and builds.  Unless you LOVE hot food, I wouldn't recommend this flavor.  The cranberry flavor is a good pairing with the beef, and wish it was more balanced with the habaneros.

All in all - I think that Chomps Snack Sticks are something that I'd recommend to my friends who are looking for a tasty snack that is Whole30 and Paleo friendly.


All opinions are my own (and my lovely friends & dad); this review is powered by BrandBacker.

January 05, 2016

Tuesdays at the Table - Jalapeno Poppers

Happy New Year!  As we transition away from the holidays, some of us are trying to get a bit healthier...but football games still mean finger foods.

Jalapeno poppers are one of my favorites!  Here is a slightly healthier version that still tastes as delicious as the "naughty" version.  (My favorite full fat version of jalapeno poppers can be found here.)

Jalapeno Poppers

10 jalapeno peppers
1 cup Greek yogurt (low-fat or fat free cream cheese can be substituted if you don't like yogurt)
1 cup cheddar cheese (grate your own for better melting)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, finely minced (I don't like cilantro, so I use italian parsley)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (plain, wheat, gluten free, panko...your choice)

Slice jalapenos vertically, removing the seeds and membrane.

In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, salt, pepper, cheese and cumin.  Fill your jalapenos with the mixture.

Coat the top of your jalapenos with breadcrumbs, then bake at 350 for approximately 25 minutes (until the jalapenos get bubbly).  Serve warm!

What's cooking in your kitchen?


January 04, 2016

Recent Reads

Happy New Year!  I owe you all book reviews...some all the way back from my trip to England and some from my recent residency at Barnes & Noble!

I'm setting a goal to read fifty books this year.  Before I was so involved in rescue, that goal would have been substantially larger.  But I need to find a balance between carrying my end of the rescue bargain and a little "me" time.  Fifty books sounded reasonable. :-) Any recommendations?!

Summary: When Nicolas Duhamel was twenty-four years old, he stumbled upon a troubling secret about his family, a secret that was carefully concealed. In shock, Nicolas embarked on a journey to uncover the truth that took him from the Basque coast to St. Petersburg-but the answers wouldn't come easily.

In the process of digging into his past, something else happened. Nicolas began writing a novel that was met with phenomenal success, skyrocketing him to literary fame whether he was ready for it or not-and convincing him that he had put his family's history firmly behind him. But now, years later, Nicolas must reexamine everything he thought he knew, as he learns that, however deeply buried, the secrets of the past always find a way out.
Page-turning, layered and beautifully written, THE OTHER STORY is a reflection on identity, the process of being a writer and the repercussions of generations-old decisions as they echo into the present and shape the future. 

What I think...  Kudos to the editor who wrote the summary and book jacket.  They make this book sound good.  I've read another of Tatiana DeRosnay's books and was expecting something of that caliper.  Sadly, she has utterly and completely missed the mark.  There is no discernible story line and the ending feels like she just got tired of writing.  The only likable character is one that we don't actually meet - instead we get snippets of her through memories.  I love you all...so don't bother with this one.

Summary: Cape Cod summers are supposed to remain reassuringly the same, but everything falls apart when three sisters and their families come together for their annual summer vacation—and they are carrying more secrets than suitcases.

Maggie is the oldest. She feels responsible for managing the summer house and making sure everything is as it always has been. But she’s hurt that her parents’ recent divorce has destroyed the family’s comfortable summer routines, and her own kids seem to be growing up at high speed. Is it too late to have another baby?

Jess is the middle sister. She loves her job but isn’t as passionate about her marriage. She’s not sure she can find the courage to tell Maggie what she’s done—much less talk to her husband about it.

Virgie is the youngest, her dad’s favorite. She’s always been the career girl, but now there’s a man in her life. Her television job on the west coast is beyond stressful, and it’s taking its toll on her—emotionally and physically. She’s counting on this vacation to erase the symptoms she’s not talking about.

The Herington girls are together again, with their husbands and kids, for another summer in the family’s old Cape Cod house. When their mother, Gloria, announces she’s coming for an unscheduled visit—with her new boyfriend—no one is more surprised than their father, Arthur, who has not quite gotten over his divorce. Still, everyone manages to navigate the challenges of living grown-up lives in close quarters, until an accident reveals a new secret that brings everyone together in heartbreak…and then healing.

What I think... I loved this book!  Written from the perspective of three adult sisters, all of whom have their own problems and family roles, it carries you through the highs and lows of one summer at the family beach house.  Wendy Francis does a great job leading you in one direction, only to take an unexpected turn. The book is well written and you can identify with each of the sisters.  As a local girl (the book takes place on the South Shore/Cape Cod), it made me happy that she stayed true to many of the things you encounter here.

Summary: On their farm in Denby, Iowa, Rosanna and Walter Langdon abide by time-honored values that they pass on to their five wildly different yet equally remarkable children: Frank, the brilliant, stubborn first-born; Joe, whose love of animals makes him the natural heir to his family's land; Lillian, an angelic child who enters a fairy-tale marriage with a man only she will fully know; Henry, the bookworm who's not afraid to be different; and Claire, who earns the highest place in her father's heart. Moving from post-World War I America through the early 1950s, Some Luck gives us an intimate look at this family's triumphs and tragedies, zooming in on the realities of farm life, while casting-as the children grow up and scatter to New York, California, and everywhere in between-a panoramic eye on the monumental changes that marked the first half of the twentieth century. Rich with humor and wisdom, twists and surprises, Some Luck takes us through deeply emotional cycles of births and deaths, passions, and betrayals, displaying Smiley's dazzling virtuosity, compassion, and understanding of human nature and the nature of history, never discounting the role of fate and chance. This potent conjuring of many lives across generations is a stunning tour de force.

What I think...  Unbeknownst to me, I happened to pick up the first book in a trilogy.  Some Luck carries you from 1920 to 1953 and starts in Iowa.  I knew it was going to be character-heavy when I saw a family tree at the beginning, but after the first hudle of characters, Jane Smiley introduces at a pace that it's easy to keep track of who's who.  However, it is a LONG book.  Each chapter is one year in the family's life - which has an equal measure of joy and tragedy, and brings the family through drought, WWII and other historically accurate events.  Here's a little oddity... when a new child is born, Jane Smiley writes from their perspective right away.  "Knowing" the thoughts of a baby is a little disconcerting! However, now that I took the time to get invested in the family, I know I need to see it through and read the other two books.

Summary: Everyone has days, weeks, even months they wish they could do over—but what about an entire year? After living through the worst twelve months of her life, intensive care nurse Olive Watson is given a second chance to relive her past and attempt to discover where she went wrong…

After a year of hardships, including a messy breakup with her longtime boyfriend Phil, the prospect of her mother’s remarriage, and heartbreaking patient losses at the hospital, Olive is ready to start fresh. But when she wakes up in her ex-boyfriend’s bed on New Year’s Day 2011a day she has already livedOlive’s world is turned upside down.
Shouldering a year of memories that no one else can recall, even Olive begins to question herself—until she discovers that she is not alone. Upon crossing paths with Sherry Witan, an experienced “repeater,” Olive learns that she has the chance to rewrite her future. Given the opportunity of a lifetime, Olive has to decide what she really wants. Should she make different choices, or accept her life as she knows it, flaws and all?

What I think... I'm intrigued by time travel in books.  I have a few issues with things Olive skipped over while doing her repeat year, but overall I enjoyed the book.  Olive does her best to turn a bad year into a good one!

Summary:  Taking it off in the name of history…

Thirty-five-year-old American social media master Vanessa Roberts lives her thoroughly modern life with aplomb. So when her elderly Jane Austen–centric aunt needs her to take on the public relations for Julian Chancellor, a very private man from England who’s written a book called My Year as Mr. Darcy, Vanessa agrees. But she’s not “excessively diverted,” as Jane Austen would say.

Hardbound books, teacups, and quill pens fly in the face of her e-reader, coffee, and smartphone…

…Until she sees Julian take his tight breeches off for his Undressing Mr. Darcy show, an educational “striptease” down to his drawers to promote his book and help save his crumbling estate. The public relations expert suddenly realizes things have gotten…personal. But can this old-fashioned man claim her heart without so much as a GPS? It will take three festivals filled with Austen fans, a trip to England, an old frenemy, and a flirtatious pirate re-enactor to find out…

What I think...  I really enjoyed this book! I'll admit, I'm an Austen fan.  And who doesn't want their own Mr. Darcy to sweep them off their feet?  Vanessa makes for a great anti-heroine, or so she thinks. I loved learning more about each character in the book, and learned a few things about Jane Austen too!  This was an easy read that subtly reminds people not to judge to quickly, to get through arguments with old friends and that what you need is sometimes right in front of you.

Summary: A charming novel about a 40-year-old Brooklyn mother, recently divorced, who starts writing copy for a bakery, discovers a knack for food-related literary puns, and becomes entangled in a love triangle.

Molly Hagan is overwhelmed.

Her husband left her for a younger, blonder woman, her six year-old son is questioning her authority, and now, so is she. In order to pay her Brooklyn rent and keep her son supplied with Pokemon and Legos-not to mention food and clothing-she has to get a job. Fast.

So when an old friend offers Molly a copywriting position at a new bakery, finding romance is just about the last thing on her mind. But the sexy British pastry chef who's heading up the bakery has other thoughts. And so does Molly when she meets the chef's intimidating business partner-who also happens to have a secret that might prevent Molly from getting her own Happily Ever After.

What I think... While this isn't one of my "top ten" books, it was a solid book.  Vanity Fare has a believable story filled with a main character that you want to find a happy ending, some great food puns and a touch of Pride and Prejudice.  Combining books and a bakery is on my "if I won the lottery" wish list, so this book was a winner!

Still an Amazon Associate, peeps.  But you all know I won't recommend anything I don't believe in...and you can read from my review that I'm only really recommending three of today's six books.
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