Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bow-Tie Pasta

I'm so behind on posting recipes and have been really bad about taking pictures. I'm not such a big fan of life being so busy, but I'm surviving.

I really enjoyed the bow-tie pasta, and it froze really well. It was great having some pre-made lunches ready to grab in the morning.

Recipe from Tasty Kitchen


* 1 pound Ground Chuck
* 5 cups Bow Tie Noodles
* 3 cups Spaghetti Sauce (or Pizza Sauce, Whatever You Prefer, I just use a whole jar)
* 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
* 1 teaspoon Salt
* ½ teaspoons Garlic Powder
* 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning (or More, Make It To Your Taste)
* ½ cups Mozzarella Cheese
* ½ cups Sour Cream


Fry ground chuck in small pan. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions.

After noodles are cooked, drain and drizzle with olive oil. Mix in your spaghetti sauce.

Add your fried hamburger, seasonings, cheese, and sour cream. Fold together and allow it all to combine and melt together, over low heat, for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Serve and enjoy!

Bridge of Sighs

Bridge of SighsBridge of Sighs by Richard Russo

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book really wasn't anything to write home about. I felt the story was drawn out and I couldn't relate well to any of the characters. I really only finished it because I had such a long commute the past four weeks.

View all my reviews

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hands Free Pumping!

One of my patient's moms was using this today and I just had to share. What a great idea! She got hers off of e-bay, but this picture is from Amazon

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Her Fearful Symmetry

Her Fearful SymmetryHer Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I mixed thoughts on this book. About 1/2 in I absolutely loved it and would give it 4 stars. However, by the end, I really didn't like where Niffenegger was taking the plot and I would give the 2nd half 2 stars. If you do the math, that leaves me with a 3 star rating. I know a lot of people loved Time Traveler's Wife, well, I wasn't one of them. I liked the flow of this book better and and I definitely felt the characters were stronger and more independent. I don't want to spoil it, but it was the last 1/4 of the book that really bothered me...way, way too unrealistic and almost not worth the mystery set up in the beginning.

Despite all of the above, the narration was wonderful!

View all my reviews

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Kitchen Dilemna

If you follow my blog, you've probably picked up that I love to be in the kitchen. That being said, I'm trying to determine what to do with our new kitchen. I took some pictures tonight and it's currently a dumping ground while we paint, so please disregard the mess.

Here's the kitchen walking in. I like having the space behind the stove and all, but I'd like some more counter space.

And as you can see, this wall is completely open.

As is the dividing wall...

So I'm left with deciding how to use that extra space. It's definitely enough space for a little table or a breakfast nook, but since the kitchen is directly next to the dining room, I really would prefer more counter space over a place to sit.

My initial thought was to add another row of bottom cabinets along the length of the long wall. However, I'm having trouble matching the cabinets. I know the current cabinets are aged, and they'll not be directly next to each other, but I still want to get as close as I can. I can't lie, the thought of redoing the whole kitchen has crossed my mind, but that's just not in our budget right now.

Another thought is purchase a kitchen cart or island, but I'm not falling in love with any. So, I'm trying to decide if I should settle on a kitchen cart for now and eventually redo all of the cabinets when we have the money, but I don't know when that will be...or if I should just try to find cabinets that are very close and go ahead and put in cabinets on the opposite wall.

Any thoughts or other suggestions? Also, any tips on removing wall paper?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

We're Homeowners!!!

It's been a whirlwind of the past couple of weeks. Regardless, Joe and I are ecstatic to say we're now homeowners! Hopefully I'll be able to update the blog with our projects, but needless to say, Intern year has been just a wee bit busy.

Grand Finale

The Grand FinaleThe Grand Finale by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Really, same old plot, different characters.

View all my reviews


Graceling (The Seven Kingdoms, #1)Graceling by Kristin Cashore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this book! I truly didn't want it to end. I'd love to write more, but busy, busy, busy. Oh, and I loved the narration. Some of the music in the background was a little too much, but I loved having different voices for the characters.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


HonoluluHonolulu by Alan Brennert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is no doubt better than Brennert's Molakai, and that was pretty darn good too. Historical fiction is my favorite genre and I find myself reading a lot of stories set in Europe. I loved listening to the stories and struggles of the Asian characters and their transition to living in an American settlement. It's amazing how some individuals can be experiencing something so different than others somewhere else in the world during the same time period. I loved the character development, and I really felt Brennert captured emotions on all levels. If you're looking for a touching and inspiring story, I definitely recommend Honolulu.

View all my reviews

Stitch Pink!

I know I'm not the only one who's been affected personally by breast cancer. I was on call this year for Baltimore's Race for the Cure, and couldn't participate. When I saw DMC's Stitch Pink Campaign, I saw another way to help! Unfortunately, this meant I had to put my current cross-stitch project aside, but that's another story. I've been working on this blanket for almost a year and realize the pattern has too many color changes. The kicker, the baby for whom I'm making the blanket is already 4 months old.

I digress. I mailed my cross stitch blocks last week and was wondering if they received them. Today, DMC's blog posted a picture of the blocks they've received thus far...

...and I'm happy to see mine in the pile. So, since they're all alike, how do I know which two are mine? If you look closely at the two blocks in the utmost right corner, you'll see the images are surrounded by a raised rectangle--yup, that's from my annoying hoop for this project. It'll disappear after they stretch and steam the fabric. I'm excited to see how the quilt they're using these for turns out!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Banana Cake with Hazelnut Ganache

This cake was an epic fail. Since our current apartment living is only temporary, I didn't unpack my round cake pans and I tried to bake the cake in a 10x13 springform pan. The outer edges of the cake were chewy and the inside was just raw. I think the cake could have had some potential if I actually used the proper baking utensils.

The ganache on the other, OMG! I used half and half instead of heavy cream. It was still good, but I little too thin, plus I don't think I stirred it enough. Even if you don't try the cake, you must try the nutella ganache on something! Ahh, so when blogging this, I found the original blogger updated it to reflect US Nutella since that sold in Europe is thicker...recipe below in the updated one.


Recipe adapted from All Recipes


* 3/4 cup butter
* 1 1/2 cups white sugar 10.5 ounces
* 3 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 3/4 cup sour milk - buttermilk
* 1 cup mashed bananas - 3-4 bananas
* 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 10.63 ounces
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon baking powder


1. In a large bowl, mix together butter or margarine, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Set aside.
2. In another bowl, sift together flour, salt, soda, and baking powder. Add these dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Add sour milk and bananas to the batter. Beat together well.
3. Line two 9 inch round cake pans, or one 9 x 13 inch pan with wax paper; the pans can be greased and floured instead, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 17 to 20 minutes for the layered cakes, or for 25 to 40 minutes for the sheet cake.

Recipe from Pam's Pantry

1/2 cup Nutella
1/4 to 1/3 cup heavy cream

Cook in heavy-bottomed sauce pan over MEDIUM heat*, stirring constantly until the mixture is completely smooth (~7-10 minutes). Let ganache cool slightly (~5 minutes). Pour over warm cake. Let the ganache cool completely before serving.

*Do NOT use HIGH heat; if you rush this, you won't like the results.

Note: If the mixture is too thin to set up as a typical ganache, simply re-warm it and stir in a handful of chocolate chips (preferably semi-sweet) until smooth. Also, I have not tried to whip this frosting, so I do not know if it can be used as a substitute for whipped ganache.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Irish Born

Irish Born (Born In trilogy #1-3)Irish Born by Nora Roberts

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Born in Fire: So far I've finished the first book in the trilogy. I have a sweet spot for anything Irish and I loved how this book took me back to my Irish vacation. Galway was my favorite stop on the trip, and I love that this is set in the West Country. That being said, I didn't fall in love with the book. I felt like the love story was a little forced. I'm really looking forward to reading about Brianna's story next and seeing how some of the previous plot lines develop.

Born in Ice: It was nice learning more about Bri's story, but the plot is so predictable, I couldn't enjoy it.

Born in Shame: I've opted to not read the third in the trilogy. I can already tell you excactly what will happen before I even pick up the first page.

Overall, I liked reading about characters set in Ireland, but the storyline was too predictable for me and the characters were sometimes annoying.

View all my reviews

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Joe wanted to dress up as Alice from the Brady Bunch this year, this is my attempt at being Sam. That's a package of ground beef in my arm.

Other than the huge boobs, it was scary how much Joe resembled Alice!

Hope you have a safe and fun Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming

The Girl Who Stopped SwimmingThe Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The rating is more of a 2.5, but not a 2, so I rounded up. There were parts that I enjoyed, but then other times I found my self driving with my jaw open. I couldn't connect to any of the characters. I feel like some of the character's actions were swept under the rug, and that's just not acceptable to me. I could tell Jackson had a good message she wanted to deliver, but I think she fell short. I finished it though, and it wasn't complete torture to finish it, so three stars it is.

View all my reviews

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Death and Denial

This weekend Joe and I saw the movie Hereafter. I didn't really like it, but that's not here nor there. The movie dealt with the afterlife.

I don't deal with death very well. In fact, I don't deal. I'll be the first to admit that I almost live in a state of denial for several months. Yes, I know denial is one of the stages of grief, but sometimes I feel like it takes me ages to get to acceptance. Other times, I'm there when the person passes.

I visited my grandfather in the nursing home the day before he died. I don't know how, but when I left that nursing home, I knew it would be the last time I saw him. I went back to my dorm and cried and bawled, and wrote in my journal about my memories with him. The next day he passed. I don't know how I knew it, but I felt I had done the majority of my grieving before he even passed.

On the other hand, when I was about 19, a close high school acquaintance died in a car accident. I went to the viewing to help support my other friends. About a year later I was scrapbooking a New Year's Eve party and it hit me, "Amy will never have another New Year's." I had to stop scrapbooking and grieve. This was such an opposite experience from my grandfather's.

Today is my in-law's 40th wedding anniversary. The problem is, Mr. Joe's not here any more. I know it's been 3 months, but I keep expecting to see him when we go watch the football games with Joe's family. Between the movie last night and time, I'm realizing I can't be in denial anymore. I'm almost afraid to grieve because then I accept the hurt I have and realize Joe and my mother-in-law are experiencing it ten to hundred times worse. I'm a fixer and I know I can't fix this. I want their pain to go away. I want my mother-in-law to have her best friend back. I want Joe to have more time with his father. I want to have another dance with Mr. Joe. I want to go back to my phase of denial, because it didn't hurt as much.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

I'm a little of a pumpkin fanatic. Joe hasn't succumbed to the joys of pumpkin yet, but my brother loves it, so he loves when I bake with it and share. These pancakes were good, but not OMG good. Truly, I felt I could hardly taste the pumpkin, but I loved the added spices. I topped them with apple butter, and was in Heaven.

Recipe from Annie's Eats


1¼ cups all-purpose flour - 5.31 ounces
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
Dash of ground ginger
Dash of ground cloves
1 cup milk
½ cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 tbsp. vegetable oil or melted butter


In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and spices and stir with a fork to combine. Mix together the milk, pumpkin puree, egg and oil or butter in a liquid measuring cup. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk together just until combine. (The batter may still have a few lumps – that is okay.)

Preheat the oven to 200° F. Have an oven safe plate or serving dish ready. Heat a greased skillet or griddle over medium heat. Once the skillet is hot, add a 1/3 cup scoop of batter to the pan. Let cool until bubbles begin to form on the top surface. Carefully flip with a spatula and cook the second side until golden brown, a couple minutes more. Transfer the cooked pancake to the oven safe dish, and place in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the rest of the batter until it has all been cooked, regreasing the pan as needed. Serve with cinnamon sugar, maple syrup, apple butter, and/or whipped cream.

Source: Annie's Eats, adapted from Joy the Baker, originally from Martha Stewart

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Tarts

When I saw these, I immediate loved the pumpkin feel. What a great idea to use a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter!

Taste wise, they were only OK for me. My favorite part of pumpkin pie is the filling, and these tarts were mostly crust. That being said, the filling was still delicious! Some of my other friends didn't mind all of the crust.

Recipe adapted from Picky Palate


1 Cup canned pumpkin
1/4 Cup granulated sugar
1/4 Cup heavy whipping cream
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
4 sheets (2 boxes) of puff pastry, thawed - I used one box and got creative with spacing my pumpkin cutter. I had some filling left over, but only spent money on one box.
3 Tablespoons melted butter
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl mix the pumpkin, sugar, heavy cream, egg, cinnamon and nutmeg until creamy and well combined.

2. Place puff pastry onto a lightly floured countertop and cut out 4 pumpkins per sheet of pastry (I got five and then rerolled the scraps to get a sixth). Place pumpkin cut outs onto silpat or parchment lined baking sheets. Brush each pumpkin lightly with butter then sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Spoon about 2 Tablespoons of pumpkin pie filling around center of pumpkins leaving 1/4 inch border around edges.

3. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until puff pastry is golden brown on the edges and pumpkin pie is cooked through. (This is hard, cook a little longer than you think they actually need). Let cool for 10 minutes on baking sheet then transfer to cooling rack. Serve room temperature or chilled. Drizzle with melted chocolate if desired before serving.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

White Chicken Chili

The seasons have started to change again, and that means it's time to break out some new soup recipes. I wanted something hearty that I could take for lunch and have heard tons of great things about white chicken chili, so I decided to give it a try. I find I tend to think I like my foods spicier than I really do. I added a jalapeno and a jar of diced chilis, and it was just a little too spicy for me. Other than that, definitely nice and hearty, and delicious of course!

Recipe adapted from Le Petit Pierogi


1 lb. BS chicken, cubed (about 2 large breasts)
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1-1/2 t. garlic powder (I used 3 cloves of freshly minced garlic instead)
1 T. oil
2 15 ½ oz. cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
14 ½ oz. can chicken broth
1 4 oz. cans green chilies (I used 1 can which I thought was the perfect amount of heat for me)
1 t. salt
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. dried oregano
½ t. pepper
¼ t. cayenne pepper
8 oz. container sour cream
4 cup whipping cream


In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté chicken, onion, jalapeno, and garlic in oil until no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilis and seasonings; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream and whipping cream. Serve immediately.

Monday, October 11, 2010

PW's Blueberry Crumb Cake

Delicious, delicious, delicious! Just blogging about this makes me wish it was still blueberry season so I could mix another one up. The crumble is very rich and buttery, but that just makes it all the more delicious!

Recipe from Pioneer Woman


* ½ sticks Butter
* 1 Tablespoon (additional) Butter
* ¾ cups Sugar (5.25 ounces)
* 1 whole Egg
* ½ teaspoons Vanilla Extract
* 2 cups All-purpose Flour - (8.5 ounces)
* 2-¼ teaspoons Baking Powder
* ½ teaspoons Salt
* ¾ cups Whole Milk - I used 1%
* 2 cups Fresh Blueberries

* ¾ sticks Butter
* ½ cups Sugar
* ½ teaspoons Cinnamon
* ½ cups Flour (2.125 ounces)
* ¼ teaspoons Salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, baking powder, and a salt. Stir and set aside.

Cream 1/2 stick plus 1 tablespoon butter with sugar. Add egg and mix until combined. Add vanilla and mix. Add flour mixture and milk alternately until totally incorporated. Do not overbeat. Stir in blueberries until evenly distributed.

Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Pour in batter.

In a separate bowl, combine topping ingredients and cut together using two knives or a pastry cutter. Sprinkle over the top of the cake.

Bake cake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Sprinkle with sugar. Cut into squares and serve with softened butter.

Share with friends so you don't find yourself eating the whole thing!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Peanut Butter Nutella Brownies

I saw this recipe on Tasty Kitchen and knew I had to give it a try. Can we talk about yumminess! I think I could have skipped out on the peanut butter and just added the nutella. The nutella gives the brownies such a rich, decadent taste. If you're craving chocolate, go make these now!

Recipe adapted from Tasty Kitchen


* ½ cups All-purpose Flour - 2.13 ounces
* ½ cups Cocoa Powder 1.5 ounces
* ¼ teaspoons Baking Powder
* 1 pinch Salt
* 1 cup Sugar - 7 ounces
* 1 stick Butter, Melted
* 2 whole Eggs
* 1 teaspoon Vanilla
* ¼ cups Peanut Butter
* ¼ cups Nutella


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper.
  • Measure flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a small bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Stir the sugar into the melted butter. Beat in the eggs one at a time until each is combined. Then stir in the vanilla. Then add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  • Put the Nutella and Peanut Butter in a small bowl and microwave until runny (about 30 seconds). Fold into the brownie mix.
  • Pour batter into pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until top forms a crust. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes, then cut the size to your liking.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Old-Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies

Photo from

I made these delicious pumpkin cookies two years ago and once the temperature started to change, I knew I had to make them again. Thank goodness I had saved a can of pumpkin from last season since there's a shortage again this year.

The cookies are very cake like. I made these to transport, so I opted against the icing. I'm sure the icing would be a nice touch, but it's certainly not necessary.

Recipe and picture from Libby's Site


* 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour - 10.63 ounces
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar - 10.5 ounces
* 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
* 1 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
* 1 large egg
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* Glaze (recipe follows)


PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease baking sheets.

COMBINE flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.

BAKE for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle Glaze over cookies.

COMBINE 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in small bowl until smooth.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2)Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've seen mixed reviews on Goodreads about this sequel. Personally, of course I didn't like the ending, but it made sense. The subject matter is already fantasy, so why not? I also liked hearing the story from more than two perspectives. Isabel and Cole added a new dimension to the story and definitely didn't sugar coat the plot. Each voice had his or her own personality, a great feat for a writer and speaks to Stiefvater's talent.

Grace's parents drove me absolutely nuts, but I guess every young adult has to have some issues with her parents sometime in her life.

Again, I'm curious to see how the third novel plays out.

View all my reviews

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fix It Friday 72

Ahh, it's nice to be able to do a fix-it-friday again.

Here's the original:
And here's my edit. I used Pioneer Woman's Lovely Action and then the Fresh Color Action. I don't know the story behind this picture, but I love the emotion in it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chicken Coconut Curry

I guess I like to think I enjoy spicier foods than my palate actually enjoys. I used the full amount of suggested curry and peppers, yeah it was definitely a little too hot for my liking. I did really enjoy the hint of coconut though.

Recipe from Proceed with Caution, who was inspired by Check It Out

* 2 1/2 pounds chicken (I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
* 1 can coconut milk (I used King Arthur's coconut powder)
* 2 cups chicken broth
* 2-3 teaspoons cayenne pepper (depending on how hot you like your food)
* 2 tablespoons curry powder (again depending on how much you like curry)
* 1 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 1 teaspoon coriander
* salt and pepper to taste
* 1-2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
* juice of 1 lime
* 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
* 2-4 carrots, peeled and sliced on the bias
* 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
* white or brown rice, for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Wash and pat dry the chicken with a paper towel. Pour the chicken broth, coconut milk, and jalapenos in a baking dish then lay the chicken in the broth. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then sprinkle the rest of the spices and squeeze the lime all over the chicken and broth. Add the carrots.

Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven, carefully remove the foil and mix up the broth mixture so the coconut milk breaks up. Put the baking dish back in the oven uncovered for another 30-45 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked and very tender.

Once you remove the baking dish from the oven, carefully pour the sauce into a saucepan and add 1 tablespoon butter (optional - I made it without the butter and it was delicious!). Mix using a whisk, bring the sauce to a boil and whisk till smooth and reduced. Taste the sauce to make sure it is spicy enough for your liking. If not, add more cayenne pepper and curry powder. Serve chicken and carrots over rice and add the reduced sauce.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Alice I Have Been

Alice I Have BeenAlice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Honestly this book was tortuous to get through, but I did, so I'll give it two stars in stead of one. I understand the concept of the book--Benjamin wanted to give the world a glimpse into the girl who was Alice in the story, but it just wasn't keeping my attention. Alice had too many plots in her life and Benjamin tried to weave them all together, but it just didn't work. Even by the end of the book, I really didn't feel any feelings towards the characters. Sometimes I don't like the characters themselves, but at least that means the author did a good job developing a strong character. These characters were mostly names in books and didn't invoke any feelings or emotions from me.

View all my reviews

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall I really enjoyed this book, but I will admit, I'm a little tired of the werewolf/teen love saga. That's not to say I can't wait to pick up Linger and see how the story continues.

View all my reviews

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Banana Bread

Since I've discovered King Arthur Flour, I'm searching their site more and more for recipes.

I had some leftover bananas and figured I'd give a new banana bread recipe a try. Honestly, it was only ok for me. I like my banana bread sweet, but this was more of a spicy recipe. I think I'd love it with zucchini instead.

Recipe from King Arthur Flour
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 5 ounces brown sugar, light or dark, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces mashed ripe bananas ( about 1 pound, unpeeled)
  • 2 1/4 ounces apricot jam or orange marmalade, optional but tasty
  • 3 ounces honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 9 1/2 ounces King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 ounces chopped walnuts, optional


1) Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan.

2) In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, beating till smooth.

3) Add the mashed bananas, jam, honey, and eggs, again beating until smooth.

4) Add the flour, then the walnuts, stirring just until smooth.

5) Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top. Let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.

6) Bake the bread for 45 minutes, then gently lay a piece of aluminum foil across the top, to prevent over-browning.

7) Bake for an additional 25 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven; a long toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center should come out clean, with at most a few wet crumbs clinging to it. The tester shouldn't show any sign of uncooked batter. If it does, bake the bread an additional 5 minutes, or until it tests done.

8) Allow the bread to cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Remove it from the pan, and cool it completely on a rack.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Mockingjay (Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed it, but with life, I had so many interruptions reading it, I know I didn't get the full effect. I think when life slows down a little, I'd like to reread the whole series.

I'm still not sure if I like the ending though.

View all my reviews

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Confession Time

I really haven't had much time to blog lately, but I have lots of random thoughts...

1. I like alone time. Having spent the last 4 years in Nebraska, I'm not used to socializing a lot. Don't get me wrong, I love it, but sometimes I'm a little socially exhausted. This weekend I decided I'm not driving to Baltimore. I love my family and friends, but I'm tired of making the drive every weekend. Honestly, this will be the first weekend since we moved into our apartment at the end of May that I've spent both weekend nights sleeping in my bed. Today I did a little retail therapy, grocery shopping, and now I'm getting ready to curl up with a book.

2. I don't handle death well. Sometimes I think I'm a delayed griever. I'm still in denial that Mr. Joe has passed. I feel guilty for not making a bigger effort to spend time with my mother in law. I don't know what to say when Joe says he misses his dad. I try to be there for Joe, but I want to give him his dad back and I know I can't. I'm missing a lot of my passed family members right now.

3. I need to stop taking work home. I spend at least 60 hours a week at the hospital. Since we have electronic medical records, I can access the charts at home. I'm often checking on my patients before I go to bed every night. I know some may say that's good, but it's also taking me away from spending time with Joe.

4. I only made dinner once this week. Tomorrow I'm going to try to make some meals ahead of time so that I have food pretty much ready when I get home from work this week.

5. I'm tired of this apartment. I think I'd like the apartment a little more if we moved all of our stuff in, but I feel like we're in limbo--we're still living out of our suitcases. Originally Joe and I thought we'd like to stay in Delaware when I finish my residency, but we're realizing we'd like to be even closer to our family. We don't know where we'll be able to find jobs 3 years from now, but we're pretty sure we want to move to a suburb of Baltimore. So, do we buy or rent? Joe wants to buy, I'm indecisive. I'm worried that we won't be able to sell our place in three years, but I also prefer to start investing in a house. We're going to look into closing costs, etc a little more closely. Actually, I'm hoping Joe will do that since work's been so busy with me.

6. I've been thinking about my faith a lot. I need to stop being so lazy about it. I'm going to force myself to get up and go to a service tomorrow. I think I'm going to give a Lutheran church a try.

7. I've fallen off the work out van again. I'm going to start making it a goal to do something 3 times a week again. I feel so much better about myself when I do.

8. I want a new left leg. It's been a year since my knee surgery and it still hurts. I know I haven't been a good patient with my PT exercises, but I was hoping I wouldn't have to do them forever. I just want to be able to work out how I want. I also want my left arch to improve, that's my new theory-- my arch is causing non-symmetrical calf muscles and leading to knee pain.

9. I sound like a whiny little girl tonight. That's all for my rambling. I can't promise I'll get back into regular blogging anytime soon, unfortunately.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fix It Friday - 67


I'm too tired to link actions. I used Nelly Nero's Ivory Beach Action and Shadow House's old leather and vd21 textures. I'm still not liking her skin tone though. I think I made it overall too dark.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Girls from Ames

The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and FriendshipThe Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and Friendship by Jeffrey Zaslow

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was good, but not amazing. In general, the book tells the story of a group of friends and where their lives have taken them since they first met. The author tried to intersperse some data and facts about how women develop better friendships then men, how women can deal with the death of a spouse better than men because they have stronger friendships, etc.

I'm fortunate enough to have a great group of friends since high school. I could relate to the Girls on their statements about making new adult friends, but they're not the same as your group of childhood friends. My girls are my rock. I've made friends throughout the different phases of my life, and those friendships were essential, but they're not the same as my high school friends. Since I'm blessed to have these types of friendships, I really didn't need to learn about the psychology and sociology of it in a book. That aside, it was nice reading about these women and how they've maintained their friendship.

View all my reviews >>

Fix It Friday - 65

Again, I think this is a pretty darn good photo already, which makes editing it harder, in my opinion.

Here's the original:

Edit using Nelly Nero's Moody BW action

Edit using Noel Joy's Picture Pop action

And lastly, edit using AMP's Apricot Cream action

I think the black and white is my favorite of the three edits, the skin tone looks washed out in the others.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My Catholic Dilemna

My brother is getting confirmed this year and he asked me to be his sponsor. In Catholicism, confirmation is one of the seven sacraments and your sponsor is supposed to give you spiritual guidance and has to be Catholic.

I still call myself Catholic, but I'm definitely not an active Catholic, and I'm still trying to own my faith. I'm really not sure if Catholicism is where I see myself a couple of years from now. When I went to a new Catholic church a couple of months ago, I loved how orderly and universal Catholic services are. However, I don't like how the Catholic church is condemning women for being ordained, and that's only the tip of the iceberg.

Truth be told, I'm dissatisfied with the Catholic church and I know I'm not in the right place in my faith right now to be my brother's sponsor. I told him my faith dilemma and he says he still wants me to be a sponsor. I know how important a sponsor is supposed to be in offering guidance in the Church and I feel like I'd be short-changing my brother and the idea of the sacrament of Confirmation.

My dear friend Megan always said "faith isn't easy," and it's not, especially when you don't know what you want from your faith/church.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Strawberry Scones

I made this back in the beginning of July for a graduation party. I think some guests were expecting something a little sweeter, since they were on the dessert table, but I thought they were just the right amount of sweetness. My brother absolutely loved them and I saw him sneaking a couple extra. I think this recipe would also be wonderful with blueberries!

Recipe adapted from Family Fun


* 1 cup hulled and finely diced fresh strawberries
* 2 cups (8.5 ounces) flour
* 1/3 cup (2.333 ounces) sugar, plus a little for sprinkling
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt

* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* A lemon, for zest
* 6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
* 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon light cream (I used half and half)
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Heat your oven to 425ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, using a few spots of butter or cooking oil to stick it in place. Set the baking sheet aside. I used my mini scone pan.

2. Place the diced strawberries on several sheets of paper towel to absorb their juice. Meanwhile, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Zest half of the lemon into the ingredients, taking care to remove just the outermost skin and not the white part.

3. Cut in the butter with two butter knives or a pastry blender until the flour-coated pieces are the size of peas. Add the strawberries, tossing them gently with a fork to coat them.

4. Make a well in the mixture. Blend the 1/2 cup of light cream and the vanilla extract in a measuring cup and pour them into the well. Using as few strokes as possible, gently stir the dough until it forms a ball. Let the dough sit for 1 minute.

5. Clean and flour your hands and dust your work surface with flour. Place the dough on the floured surface and knead it gently three or four times. Transfer it to the large baking sheet and pat it into an 8-inch circle. Using a lightly oiled pizza cutter or a serrated knife, cut the dough into 8 wedges, as you would a pizza. Use a small spatula or pie server to carefully separate the pieces, leaving at least an inch between them. Since I used a scone pan, but just put it in the wells.

6. Brush the tops of the scones with the remaining tablespoon of light cream, then sprinkle the surfaces with sugar. Bake the scones until the outsides are crusty and starting to brown, about 18 minutes. Let them cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then slide the parchment and the scones onto a wire rack to cool for another 20 minutes before serving.


Monday, July 26, 2010

The Last Olympian

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5)The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great ending to an enjoyable series.

View all my reviews >>

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Black Bean Corn Salsa

Wonder where my recipes have been? Well, I've been just a tiny bit busy with intern year and family life. I made this dip for a July 4th party and it was a hit! I didn't get a chance to take a picture though. I ended up doubling the recipe below and I'm glad I did, just because there were 30-40 people at the party.

Recipe from CDKitchen

Serves/Makes: 5 cups

1 (15 oz.) can black beans ( rinsed and drained)
1 cup frozen corn kernels (thawed)
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons lime juice
8 small green onions - chopped ( use some of the stem also)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
** Optional **
1 small green chili chopped or have used crushed red pepper - go lightly

Mix all the above well. Refrigerate over night to let flavors blend.

Hot Stuff

Hot StuffHot Stuff by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm learning I really like Janet Evanovich. Hot Stuff was a nice quick read. The love story at the end got a little melodramatic, but it was still nice. Evanovich does a great job weaving comic relief into a fun mystery.

View all my reviews >>

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fix It Friday - 63

Here's the original, already a pretty darn good picture!

And here's my edit. I added a lens flare to the top right corner and used Nelly Nero's Poisoned Peach action. This a little more dramatic than editing I'd do with my own photos, but it was fun to be a little bold today.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Gathering

The GatheringThe Gathering by Anne Enright

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I could not get into this book at all. I listened to about 30% of it and finally gave up. I'm not a prude, but I really don't like reading, yet alone listening to, a narrator describe her dead grandfather's erection and graphically imagine her grandparents getting on.

My sole reason for picking up the book was because it was set in Ireland. Ireland or not, too much vulgarity for me.

View all my reviews >>

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Moloka'iMoloka'i by Alan Brennert

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think I'd say historical fiction is my favorite genre of literature and what a treat this one was! I find that a lot of the historical fiction novels I pick up deal with hierarchies in Europe or the American Civil War. It was so nice to read about the not-so-distant past of Hawaii. Before reading this novel, I never knew there was a leper colony in Hawaii.

Brennert did a wonderful job illustrating the life of a single leper, while incorporating small bits of what her fellow peers encountered. I found myself "googling" characters and was thrilled to see how accurate Brennert's descriptions were to actual individuals and events.

I'm too lazy to write more, but if you want to learn more about Hawaii and read a great story about love, devotion, and overcoming life's obstacles, go pick up this book!

View all my reviews >>
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...