Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ghosts Among Us

In my book club, I am being inundated with everyone's favorite books.  This book is one that a few of the girls absolutely love, so it was lovingly forced upon me. 

I'm one of those people that doesn't know what to think about ghosts or the supernatural.  I have instances where I think, "OK, maaaaaybe that could be a ghost" and then other times I'm like, "No way, that's rubbish."  But, I don't have a very strong feeling in either direction.  Sure, I'd love to think that our loving relatives are still with us, but I'm just not convinced.  I guess that's because I'm one of those people that have to see something to believe it.  And ghosts aren't (at least, typically) visible.

This book was very interesting and written like a manual of sorts.  I found the stories entertaining and, for the most part, uplifting.  I'm still unsure how I feel about ghosts, in general, but if they are least now I have more in depth knowledge!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dr. Pepper Cake

I finally made it.  This is one of those recipes that has sat in my recipe book for weeks...or maybe months.  But, I just haven't had an occasion to give it a whirl.  We had a "food day" at work a few weeks ago and I decided that was a good enough reason. 

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but this cake is more like fudge than a cake...with a little crispiness to the icing.  It was great.  And did I mention it tastes nothing like Dr. Pepper?  I think that was what deterred me from trying it sooner...being that David and I don't drink pop.  Of any sort.  I know, we're weird like that. 

You should try it...for the recipe please click here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

BBQ Chicken Pasta Bake

I do believe we have a new Dave's Fave in the house!  I made this a week or so ago and David has already asked if I'm going to be making this dish again.  It's so easy.  And sooooo good.

BBQ Chicken Pasta Bake
from How Sweet It Is

4-5 ounces boneless chicken breast, shredded
3 cups cooked whole wheat pasta
1/4ish cup BBQ sauce
1 small red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup milk
Shredded cheese (I used mozzarella)
1/4 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350.

Prepare pasta and shredded chicken and set aside. In a small saucepan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sliced onions.  Cook until caramelized, about 10 minutes. During this time, combine shredded chicken with 2-3 tablespoons bbq sauce. Once onions are caramelized, set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and whisk in flour to create a roux. Immediately add milk and turn down to low heat. Add a small amount of cheese and stir until cheese is melted and mixture thickens – about 2-3 minutes.

In the casserole dish, alternate layering pasta, bbq chicken, and onions. Add cheese mixture about 1-2 tablespoons at a time, throughly mixing to act like glue and hold the pasta together. Top with additional cheese sauce, remaining shredded cheese, BBQ sauce drizzles and bread crumbs.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Monday, October 18, 2010


In the book club I have recently joined, we don't read the same thing each month.  Instead, each girl brings whatever books they have read that month and we take turns sharing the books and lending out the really good ones.  This way the "duds" get discarded and you don't waste as much time (and money) on so-so books.  I love this about my book club and have read some books that I have really enjoyed.  Plus, I've lent out some of my favorites.  Currently, my favorite book of all time is on it's first rotation, The Thirteenth Tale.  If you haven't read it yet...well, you should.

Fallen is a book that was rotated to me by my friend, Natalie.  She really liked it and wanted to get this series started amongst our club.  I read this book in a little under three days.  Partly because the print is very large and partly because it is a young adult novel, targeted at teeny boppers.  Needless to say, it was a quick and easy peasy read.  I enjoyed and am looking forward to reading the second installment, Torment.

The basic gist of the story is that Luce, the protaganist, is sent to the reform school of Sword & Cross.  You learn the reason why Luce is there has to do with the suspicious death of her prior love interest.  Daniel Grigori, Luce's new love interest at Sword & Cross, treats her with disdain and irritation.  Yet, she can't keep her mind off of this fate?  Why is she constantly compelled to be around him and if she's not, think of him?  You begin to understand why at the end of the story...

I felt that this story was a cross between Twilight and perhaps Angelology?  Others have told me that it has a My Name is Memory twist to it as well.  I haven't read that yet, but perhaps...I currently have that one borrowed as well, so I'll be writing a review on it soon!  Although, this book is not as well written as the two mentioned above (storyline-wise) I do admit that I enjoyed it and look forward to Torment!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Marley and Me

I've done a lot of reading recently.  Can you tell?  Either that or I'm horribly behind on blogging...hmmm...maybe it's a little of both!

Like I normally do, I went to Half-Price Books a while back and was looking for some good audio-books.  This one, Marley and Me, jumped out at me.  I know it was made into a movie...and it's a tear jerker...and it's the last thing a dog-lover like me needs to read.  Unless you want a good cry.  My mom had watched the movie and when I said I was going to buy the book she asked, "Why?  You know how it ends and it's soooo not worth it."  She balled at the movie, obviously.

When I was nine, my mom and I bought my stepdad a birthday present...a puppy.  A westie puppy, we named Ruffles.  And prior to my mom watching this movie my nineteen year old lovely little "sister" had died.  It was hard on all of us.  The last couple years of her life Ruffles couldn't see or hear anything.  In the end, when she was put to was best.  She wasn't suffering anymore.

My mom had already told me that this book ended similarly, so I was prepared. 

There was a section at the end of the book I related to greatly.  John comes up behind Marley and starts talking to him while Marley is devouring the remains of grilled cheese sandwiches on the kitchen table.  Marley doesn't hear anything until the very end of the scene, then drops to the floor completely taken by surprise.  I don't know how many times I went to pick up Ruffles her last year or so of life and she started like a bomb was going off next to her when she felt my hands on her ribs.  It broke my heart. 

But, truly dogs are one of the more wonderful creatures in this world.  And this book tells it perfectly.  Dogs are never without flaws.  They'll be destructive, eat the most inconvenient items, cause you to procure vast vet bills...but, in the end...the loyalty, love and devotion they provide you's so much more than worth it!

Needless to say, I LOVED this book.  Ending and all.  But, I still think I'll pass on the movie.  I had a good enough cry with the book.

I'll leave you with my favorite quote from the book...

"Animal lovers are a special breed of humans, generous of spirit, full of empathy, perhaps a little prone to sentimentality, and with hearts as big as a cloudless sky."

Breaking Dawn

I have officially finished the Twilight series!  And I have to say that I love, love, loved them!  In the beginning, I was one of those people.  I didn't want to read about vampires nor did I want to read some teeny bopper series.  But, in the end my arm was twisted, I was wrestled to the ground...and it was forced upon me. 

When I first read Twilight, I literally wanted to get my red pen out and start making corrections to grammar...but, I will admit that the way the story is woven and develops...that makes it totally worth reading through the grammatical errors and redundant vocabulary.  Plus, New Moon wasn't as bad...and I hardly noticed errors by the time I got to Eclipse and Breaking Dawn.  I think Meyer got a better editor.

Throughout the series, I have been a Jacob fan...always a loyal member of Team Jacob.  In Breaking Dawn he did annoy me a couple times with his whining, but in the end I'm happy with how the situation turned out.  There were definitely a couple times that I was thinking, "Seriously, is this really happening?!"  Totally thinking that the story was going south.  But, little did I know that Stephanie Meyer had it all figured out.  She went from left field, all the way to right field and then came back home...literally wrapping everything up in a big, fat bow...then, she even plopped a cherry on top!  I loved it and will definitely be reading through the entire series again before the first installment of the Breaking Dawn movie comes out next year. 

I can't wait!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Football Food

It's that time of year, when pigskin and snacky foods encompass many individuals' Saturdays...and even some week nights.  This past Saturday was one of the biggest games around here, OU/Texas (insert upside down horns symbol here).  David and I had some friends over and here are the two scrumptious dip recipes I made for our lovely guests.  Try these for your next football game get-together!

Southwest Corn Dip (modified from Tasty Kitchen recipe)

2 cups frozen corn
1 can chopped chilies, drained
2 anaheim peppers, chopped
1 can black beans
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 cup sour cream
8 oz. finely shredded mexican-blend cheese
fresh cilantro, chopped (to taste)

Drain chilies and black beans (rinse beans and drain a few times). In a large bowl combine corn, chilies, peppers, black beans, bell pepper, and scallions.  Mix well.  Stir in the sour cream and grated cheese. Add the cilantro last.

Refrigerate before serving.

Serve with Fritos Scoops, yum!

I'm going to be honest...this next dip was the big hit and it was sooooo...stinkin'....easy....peasy!!  And I'm not posting a pic because, as Jessica said in her blog, this is one ugly dip.  Good...but ugly.

Chili Dip (from How Sweet It Is)

1-8oz block of cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups chili
1 1 /2 cups shredded cheddar

Preheat oven to 375.

In a bowl, mix cream cheese, 3/4 cup chili, and 3/4 cup cheddar cheese. Spread in dish. Top with remaining chili and cheese. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

Serve with chips and enjoy!

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Million Little Pieces

I recently finished A Million Little Pieces.  And I'm not really sure where to start with this book.  This book was originally published as a memoir...non-fiction.  It was written to capture James Frey's experiences as an addict and his treatment through an alcohol and drug treatment facility.  It has received a ton of acclaim and even became an "Oprah's Book Club" book.  After that it sold like crazy, just as any book with that classification would. 

After a while certain people started to question Frey's honesty because the story is very extreme.  So there were investigations made into the background of his story.  It didn't take long to figure out that some of the more "interesting" aspects of his memoir were...incorrect...fabricated...made-up.

Frey came forward and admitted that some of the more scandalous sections of the novel were perhaps a loose portrayal of what actually happened.  Because of this, sometimes the novel is classified as a memoir...other times it's classified as fiction.  Take your pick...

As for my opinion on the book...I'm split.  I'll start off by saying that it is extremely harsh with vivid descriptions and rough language.  Many have said that they don't like Frey's writing style and that it was hard to relate to him.  I can see this, but at the same time there was instances where I could definitely see why he acted the way he did. 

This book is not for the faint at heart.  If this type of topic interests you and you're mentally prepared to read  the "f" word a lot and hear graphic details...go for it.  Otherwise, it might be a good idea to simply shelf this one.


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