Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Remember the bookmarks I made back in the day? Well I lost one of them so I decided to make a new one! Shabam!

Usually I'm not a huge pork fan, but this is GOOD.

Sage Pork
source: allrecipes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 6 center cut bone-in pork chops
  • 2 Tbl butter
  • 1 c water
  • 2 cubes beef bouillon
  1. Combine the salt, sage and black pepper in a small bowl and rub on both sides of the chops. Melt the butter or margarine in a large skillet over medium high heat and saute the chops for 5 minutes per side, or until well browned.
  2. Meanwhile, in a separate small saucepan over high heat, combine the water and the bouillon and stir until bouillon dissolves. Add this to the chops, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer chops for 45 minutes. 


Whole wheat rolls, no sugar, AND DELICIOUS?? Sign me up!

Sweet Potato Rolls
source: King Arthur Flour
  • 1/2 c water
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 2 Tbsp soft butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 c cooked, mashed sweet potato (1 medium)
  • 1/4 c nonfat dry milk
  •   3 1/4 -3 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 c sesame seeds (optional) 
To make the dough
  1. Place all of the ingredients (holding back 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour) into the bowl of your mixer or the bucket of your bread machine, set up for the dough cycle. 
  2. Mix until you've form a soft, but not sticky dough. Add more flour from your reserved amount if needed to achieve the correct consistency. 
  3. Knead the dough for 6 minutes, then place it in a greased bowl, cover and let rise for 45 minutes to an hour; it will almost double in size and look puffy.
To shape and finish the rolls
  1. After the first rise, deflate the dough and divide it into 6 pieces. You can roll each piece into a ball, then flatten it to make it 3/4-inch thick (this give it a large enough diameter to fit your sandwich on after baking). Or you can roll each piece into a 12- to 14-inch rope, and form into a Kaiser roll shape. 
  2. Place the rolls either in a hamburger bun pan or on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with greased plastic wrap, and let rise for 25 to 30 minutes, until almost doubled. 
  3. Brush the tops of the rolls with the beaten egg, and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using. 
  4. Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 17 to 19 minutes, until the tops are a rich golden brown color. 
  5. Remove the rolls from the oven and cool on a rack for 5 minutes.


Ultimate B.L.T.
source: thepioneerwoman
  • 8 slices Thick-cut Bacon, Cooked Till Slightly Crisp
  • 3 slices Marbled Rye Bread, Toasted
  • 3 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Adobo Sauce From Chipotle Peppers, More To Taste
  • 2 whole Roma Tomatoes, Sliced Thick
  • 4 whole Green Leaf Lettuce Leaves, Washed
  • Salt And Pepper
  • Optional Ingredients: Cheese Slices, Avocado, Red Onion Slices 
  1. Mix together the mayo and the adobo sauce, adding more to get the spiciness you want.
  2. Spread some of the chipotle mayo on one piece of bread. Lay on four slices of bacon, then top with lettuce and tomato slices. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the tomatoes.
  3. Spread chipotle mayo on another slice of bread and lay it face down on top of the tomatoes. Spread more chipotle mayo on top, then repeat the bacon, lettuce, tomato, and salt and pepper. Spread chipotle mayo on another piece of toast and lay it face down on top of the tomatoes.  

Men in Black III

Men in Black III ****
Okay, Russ and I didn't hear anything about this movie, but we enjoyed the first one a lot so we decided to give it a go. I'll admit, I have no idea why NO one say this movie or said anything about it! This movie was easily as good if not better than the first one. Thank goodness! The second one was painful. But this movie was great. It was of the same calibre as the first movie. Will Smith's character was back on form, just as clever and funny as he was in MIB I. The bad guy was seriously creepy and weird. The guy who plays Tommy Lee Jones when he was younger sounded and acted just like him. It was incredible how good of a job he did! This movie played with your emotions getting you to laugh out loud and even get a little emotional at the end. Overall we loved this movie. I would definitely go see it, especially if you like MIB I.



Entwined ***
by Heather Dixon
Book Type: YA, Fantasy, Romance, Fairy Tale
Summary: Azalea and her younger sisters dance in the mysterious silver forest every night, escaping from the sadness of the palace and their father’s grief. What they don’t understand—although as time passes they begin to get an inkling of the danger they are in—is that the mysterious and dashing Keeper is tightening his snare with deadly purpose. Luckily, Azalea is brave and steadfast. Luckily, a handsome young army captain also has his eye on Azalea. . . .
summary found on goodreads
My Review: This story is also based on the Brother's Grimm tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses. This story was not as similar to the Grimm tale as Princess of the Midnight Ball was. I would say that I preferred Princess of the Midnight Ball for the most part, but this story had some details that I enjoyed. This story followed the plot in that the sisters CHOSE to go underground to dance all night long. The underground kingdom is not as accurate in this story. In both the Grimm tale and Princess of the Midnight Ball the sisters walk through a silver forest before arriving at a lake where twelve handsome princes gallantry place them in boats and romantically row them across. Once the princesses have arrived on the other side they are swept up into a magical ball in which they dance all night long. In Entwined the girls merely walk through the silver forest, walk across a little bridge and dance all night long by themselves. The author barely talked about how the princes brought into the kingdom by the king attempted to discover their secret. It was like that detail wasn't important. I thought the princes were funny, and the love stories were pretty cute. The ending was a little dramatic and silly. But it was cute. I enjoyed reading this story but I still think I liked the other one better! :)

Friday, August 10, 2012


Beauty ****
by Robin Mckinley
Book Type: Fantasy, Romance, Fairy Tale
Summary: Sixteen-year-old Beauty has never liked her nickname. Thin, awkward, and undersized, with big hands and huge feet, she has always thought of herself as the plainest girl in her family -- certainly not nearly as lovely as her elder sisters, Hope and Grace. But what she lacks in looks, she makes up for in courage. When her father comes home one day with the strange tale of an enchanted castle in the wood and the terrible promise he has made to the Beast who lives there, Beauty knows what she must do. She must go to the castle and tame the Beast -- if such a thing is possible...
Here is the unusual love story of a most unlikely couple: Beauty...and the Beast.
My Review: Who doesn't love Beauty and the Beast? It is a CLASSIC story. Also one of the best Disney movies ever made. Beautiful music, gorgeous back drops (animation?), AND a main character that is smart and clever as well as beautiful. AND AND she falls in love with a BEAST. True love here in this Disney flick. No love at first sight, no super hotties to be attracted to. True love. Wonderful. That being said, I guess it's not ALL that surprising that I would love this book. It is not as exciting as most of the books that I enjoy reading. BUT as far as re-tellings of fairy tales go? This version of Beauty and the Beast is a WINNER. In this story the Beast has been cursed for hundreds of years so he has grown and developed into a really sweet and kind being. He is a much more sympathetic character in this story than any other I've read. You can actually understand how Beauty could fall for him. The story moves at a slow even pace and you follow the heroine along as she discovers her feelings for the mysterious creature that has entrapped her body, mind, and soul. How romantic! :) Robin Mckinley is very talented at taking classic fairy tales and turning them into new fresh stories while keeping them true to the original stories. This one in particular doesn't stray far from the original tale, however the heroine is developed at greater length and is a strong character that you learn to admire. Definitely check out this book, you won't be disappointed. I promise. :)
p.s. I think this review is a beautiful and perfect description of this book and what makes it so great. If only I could write reviews so well!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Have you ever had to go on the elimination diet? You are very lucky if you never have to. BUT if you have constant stomach pain, you should probably consider trying out this diet. It seems to have helped me at least a LITTLE bit so far :). 3 weeks of very specific eating... Then you slowly add things in and assess for pains and symptoms of discomfort. Anyway, it is an incredibly difficult diet, so I thought I would share some recipes you can do and some tips of food to eat for a bit of variety in your diet... :)
Foods you CAN eat:
  • chicken, turkey, lamb, and cold water fishes 
  • rice, soy, and nut milks 
  • all legumes (beans, lentils) 
  • all vegetables except corn and tomatoes
  • all fresh or juiced fruits except strawberries and citrus fruits
  • rice, buckwheat, millet, quinoa
  • breads/pastas/cereals: rice, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, teff, millet, soy 
  • clear, vegetable-based soups
  • drinks: fresh or unsweetened fruit/vegetable juices, herbal teas, filtered/spring water
  • fats/oils: cold/expeller pressed, unrefined light-shielded canola, flax, olive refined oils, salad dressings, pumpkin, sesame, and walnut oils
  • nuts/seeds: almonds, cashews, pecans, flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower seeds,
  • sweeteners: brown rice syrup, fruit sweeteners 
Foods you CAN'T eat:
  • red meat, processed meats, eggs and egg substitutes
  • dairy: milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt
  • creamed or processed vegetables
  • strawberries and citrus fruits
  • starches: gluten, potato, corn products
  • breads/pasta/cereal: wheat, spelt, kamut, rye, barley
  • canned or creamed soups
  • margarine, shortening, butter, and spreads
  • peanuts, pistachios, peanut butter
  • brown sugar, honey, fructose, molasses, corn syrup
So basically buy a lot of vegetables, fruit, and rice. Things we've added to our diet to make up for some gaps in variety and deliciousness:
  • almond butter
  • coconut milk
  • sweet potatoes
  • V8 fusion
  • rice flour pasta
  • oats
  • nuts: almonds, cashews, pecans
  • rice crackers
  • rice cakes
  • avacados
  • quinoa (it's actually quite delectable)
  • lots and lots of salad - buy several different oil-based dressings
Anyway, for most of our meals we have simply adapted recipes that we already have. Some recipes haven't even needed to be adapted, just the toppings have been left out. Anyway, here are some recipes that we've been able to do and the changes invoked. :) Good luck!
  1. White Chicken Chili - Just don't add the cheese at the end.
  2. Curried Squash Soup -Leave out the butter. Don't add sour cream as a topping-just the cilantro is enough!
  3. Dilly Veggie Pasta Salad - Use pasta made with rice flour and leave out the tomatoes and cheese. Add other vegetables such as cucumbers for more variety. Add apple cider vinegar instead of lemon juice in the dressing. :)
  4. Sweet Potato Fries - no changes!
  5. Roasted Veggies - Just leave off the Parm.
  6. Breakfast Shake - Coconut milk, oats, almond butter, 2 ice cubes, coconut flakes, half a frozen banana
  7. Oatmeal - use coconut milk instead of dairy milk. Add dried cranberries.
  8. Beans and Rice - Leave out meat. Leave tomatoes out of salad.
  9. Italian Wedding Soup - Use chicken instead of meatballs and rice instead of pasta.
  10. Hawaiian Haystacks - Leave out tomatoes, chow mein noodles, and cheese as toppings. Add other vegetables if desired. Leave out flour and milk in gravy. Add some almond milk to make it more of a sauce.
Things I miss the most: DAIRY, WHEAT, sugar, potatoes, and tomatoes... Man. Those alone make up most of the foods I ate pre-elimination diet. Seriously. Every time we try to find something I can eat these are the main food products that make it impossible. AHHHHHH. Only one more week. Then I can start adding things back in... And stop dreaming of ice cream and cheese every night...

The Tiger Series

The Tiger Series ***1/2
by Colleen Houck
Book Type: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Summaries: Tiger's Curse - The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she’d be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year-old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world. But that’s exactly what happened. Face-to-face with dark forces, spellbinding magic, and  mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever.
Tiger's Quest -  Back in Oregon, Kelsey tries to pick up the pieces of her life and push aside her feelings for Ren. But danger lurks around the corner, forcing her to return to India where she embarks on a second quest--this time with Ren's dark, bad-boy brother Kishan, who has also fallen prey to the Tiger's Curse. Fraught with danger, spellbinding dreams, and choices of the heart, TIGER'S QUEST brings the trio one step closer to breaking the spell that binds them.
Tiger's Voyage -   With the head-to-head battle against the villainous Lokesh behind her, Kelsey confronts a new heartbreak: in the wake of his     traumatic experience, her beloved Ren no longer remembers who she is. As the trio continues their quest by challenging five cunning and duplicitous dragons, Ren and Kishan once more vie for her affections--leaving Kelsey more confused than ever.
Tiger's Destiny - With three of the goddess Durga's quests behind them, only one prophecy now stands in the way of Kelsey, Ren, and Kishan breaking the tiger's curse. But the trio's greatest challenge awaits them: A life-endangering pursuit in search of Durga's final gift, the Rope of Fire, on the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal.  It's a race against time--and the evil sorcerer Lokesh--in this eagerly anticipated fourth volume in the bestselling Tiger's Curse series, which pits good against evil, tests the bonds of love and loyalty, and finally reveals the tigers' true destinies once and for all.
My Review: Okay. You can totally tell what kind of books I've been in the mood for lately. . . Mindless. Brainless. Cheesy. Sappy. Lovey-Dovey. Action Packed. People DIE. You know. Teen flicks. Anyway. I have a dear friend who suggested I check out this sappy romance series called The Tiger Series. I'll admit, when she said "it's like Twilight. But good." I felt a little nervous. I don't do Twilight. Granted, I haven't read it. I've tried to check it out of the library a couple of times, hiding it behind several other books because I'm ashamed to even be thinking about checking this book out... But I have never made it further than 50 feet from the book shelf before dropping it on the closest shelf and moving on. BUT. I love Megan. I trust Megan. When she told me that I would LOVE this series, I cringed at the story descriptions on goodreads and checked them out anyway. And I'll admit. Embarrassing as it may be... I truly enjoyed these books. I DID. Can you believe it? I read a Twilightesk book and enjoyed it. Granted. It's not perfect, there were things that irritated me a bit. But overall... I liked it. Maybe even bordering on LOVED it. You heard me. LOVED it. Okay. Now to my actual review... :)
The story starts out slow. Like, REALLY slow. The girl gets a summer job working with a white tiger at a circus. Somehow she falls in love with this giant beast. Woah woah woah. Did I say BEAST? Yes I believe I did. This book is a modern age twist on the classic - Beauty and the Beast. Shabam. Okay. So she gets this random offer to go to India by this random older/middle aged man in order to introduce the tiger to a new home. She flies across the country with a man she doesn't even know and feels totally and blissfully safe. No one is surprised or confused by this strange offer. But hey, whatevs. She gets there and her whole world is turned upside down! Okay. So I have to say, based on some of the descriptions I thought, yeah, this author has clearly never been to India. Example: the main character doesn't get sick from the food, at all. Ummm, everyone gets sick in India at least once. It's like the rule. Anyway, the description of the driver's was so spot on I almost jumped up out of my chair and screamed "SO TRUE". It is a perfect description. Which is why I couldn't believe it when the main character ended up driving by herself later in the book... YEAH FREAKING RIGHT. I'm just saying. Anyway. So once she get's to India the story picks up and gets much more exciting. I love Ren. Yes he does turn into a human for short parts of the day. When I first read the description I couldn't tell if he did or not and all I could think was "she's in love with a tiger? Is this author for real?" Anyway. Ren the human = major hottie. Yeah that's right. If I saw this man in person I would gawk. Married or not I would notice this piece of perfect masulinity. I don't know how Mr.Edward Cullen is described but Ren wins super hottie of the year hands down. I'm just saying. Also, Miss. Kelsey is a great main character, she's realistic. I like that. But you can totally tell that these books are written by a fat girl. I'm sorry but it's true. It just is. She describes food A LOT. The insecurities are realistic, but much more extreme than a cute, attractive girl would feel. I felt that Kelsey was pretty confident in some ways and totally pathetic in others. I guess that's real too. Anyway. I loved in the beginning of the second book when Kelsey starts college and gets asked out on a bunch of dates. It was totally like my college experience. Oh my goodness. Can I just say Artie = Andy? Anybody know what I'm talking about here??? Anyway. I felt for the girl. Been there. Done that. Although her boyfriend is a super model, which is different. I don't think I ever dated anyone THAT hot. My husband is adorable, don't get me wrong, I think he is incredibly handsome. But I never saw girls tripping over themselves gawking at him. But I'm not that gorgeous myself so I have no complaints. :) Anyway.
In the second book you get to know Ren's super hot little brother. And I adored him. Okay. Originally I LOVED Ren. But by the end of the second book I was conflicted. They are both Mr. Perfect and Kelsey has them both falling over their feet to be with her. Man. Jealous. Okay. So I liked that Kelsey wasn't like "I'm SO IN LOVE." Right off the bat, it takes her a while to feel that way and a lot of quality get to know you time. Also, she pushes away Mr. handsome because of her insecurities. Which I get. To a certain extent... I mean, if I were in her shoes I would have been like "heck yes you can be my boyfriend!" But maybe I was just more confident than this chicka. Or it was more like, "who cares if I get my heart broken I am SO dating the hottest guy in the world right now! What a great story for my friends. . ." I'm just saying. Anyway. I loved the main character. I loved the author's voice in the story. I love the super hottie love interestS. I love the action and quests that these characters have to go on. The only thing I don't TOTALLY get is why Kelsey is having such a hard time with the gorgeous men clamouring for her attention. 1. She is clearly obsessed with Ren. Just date the dang kid and give him a break. 2. If you really are so conflicted (like I am! I love Kishan AND Ren!) then say "I'm going to date both of you until I figure out what I want." Bam. That's what she did in school with Ren and Li. Why not now with brothers? I'm just saying. or 3. Dump them both. Take a break from having a super sexy boyfriend, save the day by breaking their curse and THEN decide who you want to date. You're 18. You don't need to be completely desperately in love with anybody yet. It's cool. Didn't happen to me until I was 20. And I still felt to young to have such strong feelings. You know what I mean??? Anyway.
At the end of Tiger's Destiny all I could think was WOW. What a finish. I can't believe this series is OVER! This series is a blast. It is a ridiculous yet fabulously fun story. If you enjoy love stories that are full of drama, adventure, hot guys, near-death experiences, and magic this is the series for you! Seriously, SUCH a great story! This ending was perfect! I did get a bit tired of Kelsey being such a dope and dragging around the sweet and handsome Kishan for so long... But I was happy with how Houck decided to wrap up her tired love triangle. Each book is unique and exciting. I loved how different each step of the journey was. It's like Harry Potter in the fact that you KNOW the basic plot before you even start each book, but none of the details. Leaving you pleasantly surprised as each task and journey occurs. Anyway, read this series! All the way to the end. It. Is. FABULOUS. So great. LOVE.
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