Friday, August 7, 2015

Baked Jalapeno Poppers

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Jalapeno Poppers are one of those foods that I always thought you could only get at a restaurant. I mean, who really de-seeds jalapenos and stuffs them with yummy cheese, then deep fries them at home? With all that effort I'd rather just drive to the nearest restaurant and buy them. But after this recipe I won't be making any trips to a restaurant for these! And I have a few tips to make it easier than ordering them at a restaurant!

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Please tell me I'm not the only person who has ever chopped up a jalapeno and a few hours later decided to itch my eye... anyone? No? Just me? Ok, well if you don't want to admit it that's fine but I will. I've done it numerous times and even after washing my hands a million times that spicy residue is still left behind. So to save my eyes and yours dig out some gloves to wear while prepping your peppers. (Try to save that 3 times fast!) Although this is a simple tip that makes you say duh you'd be surprised how many people don't do this!
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The next tip that makes these poppers easier is we aren't going to deep fry them. I know that sounds horrible but I promise you'll be surprised. Because we aren't deep frying them, we don't have to deal with hot oil or as many calories!

So get your gloves on and dive in to this easy, non-painful jalapeno popper recipe!

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16 large jalapenos
8 oz softened cream cheese
2 cloves grated garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
¾ cup shredded cheddar
¾ cup shredded monterey jack
¾ cup panko
½ cup grated Parmesan
cooking spray

  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Put on some gloves and cut off the top side of your jalapeno. You want to make sure you don't cut off too much of the sides so you have plenty of room for your filling.
  3. In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, garlic, cumin, cheddar, salt, pepper and monterey jack to make your filling.
  4. Fill each jalapeno with the filling.
  5. In a bowl mix together the panko and parmesan.
  6. Take each jalapeno and roll the filling in the panko mixture. Make sure all the filling is covered with the mixture.
  7. Place on a baking sheet and spray the tops with cooking spray.
  8. Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes until the tops are brown and the pepper is tender but crisp.
  9. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

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“Ori’s dead because of what happened out behind the theater, in the tunnel made out of trees. She’s dead because she got sent to that place upstate, locked up with those monsters. And she got sent there because of me.”

The Walls Around Us is a ghostly story of suspense told in two voices—one still living and one long dead. On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement. On the inside, within the walls of a girls’ juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom. Tying these two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries.

We hear Amber’s story and Violet’s, and through them Orianna’s, first from one angle, then from another, until gradually we begin to get the whole picture—which is not necessarily the one that either Amber or Violet wants us to see.

Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and innocence, and what happens when one is mistaken for the other.

My Review:
I could not put this book down! From the very beginning I needed to know the end and couldn’t stop until I got there. The writing is haunting and beautiful but not in a way that makes it hard to understand. You could easily relate to the characters even if you’re not a teenager. I’d recommend this book to anyone but especially if you are a fan of Orange is the New Black!

My rating: 5 out of 5

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

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Quin Kincaid has been put through years of brutal training for what she thinks is the noble purpose of becoming a revered ‘Seeker’.

Only when it’s too late does she discover she will be using her new-found knowledge and training to become an assassin. Quin's new role will take her around the globe, from a remote estate in Scotland to a bustling, futuristic Hong Kong where the past she thought she had escaped will finally catch up with her. 

My Review:
This book has been said to be like Game of Thrones or The Hunger Games. Because of this I expected this book to be medieval or a dystopian book. The beginning of the book led me to believe that it was happening in a medieval-ish world. The characters are fighting with swords and other weapons from that time frame. Shortly after you hear about there being cars and planes. I instantly went through a moment of shock and annoyance because I was reading this story in one time frame when in reality it was nowhere near it. I wish the author would have described the time period more clearly because that in itself almost ruined the book for me. After getting through that and pushing through, the book started to pick up a bit. That is not to say that anything was described more clearly but it did get better. This book was all over the place in my opinion. It had good potential and characters but really failed in delivery.

My rating:
2.5 out of 5

I received this book to review through NetGalley for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Pin Picks

I thought I’d start something new here on the ol blog. Each week I’m hoping to showcase some of my favorite things I’ve found on Pinterest that week. I will also hopefully be showcasing any completed pin projects in the post as well.

If you like what you see and want to see ALL the things I pin then you can follow me on Pinterest here.

Completed Pins:
There is just something about completing a pin that just makes me feel good. It’s like I have this giant virtual to-do list and I’m marking one off.

This week has been insane! Everyone has been sick at least twice including me! I just wanted dinner to be fast easy and delicious and these two recipes fit the bill.

Taco Pasta at The Girl Who Ate Everything. It was a quick, easy comfort food dish.

Roast Beef Big Mouth Sliders at Mommy I’m Hungry.  These were glorious. Like the best thing I’ve ate in awhile glorious. Make them. Seriously.

Pin Picks:
I’m drooling over these Fried Chicken Skins at Eat the Love. I’m not sure if Fried Chicken Skin would count as a main dish or what but I’ll just eat these all the time. Ok? Ok.

Anything that has the word Creole or Cajun makes me miss Mississippi. I practically crave that state. I’m not even sure why really, well, I am sure why, it’s the food and this Big Easy Style Saucy Creole Shrimp at Half Baked Harvest looks like it could settle that craving.

We have Guinea Pigs. And they eat A LOT of vegetables. I’ve been trying to re-grow romaine lettuce from the bases of the lettuce and that sort of has me on a re-grow all the things kick. This graphic helps.

How do people keep their throw pillows from getting dirty? I think my family is just a bunch of animals because ours are gross! I need to make some covers and this tutorial at A Curiously Chic Life looks simple enough for my very limited sewing skills.

I think the thing that makes me the saddest about the 6 year difference between my daughters is no one makes matching outfits in that size difference. After much research I found an etsy shop that does! My cheesy mom dreams have came true!

I hope you enjoyed my favorite pins this week! What was your favorite pin you found?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Hades by Candice Fox

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A dark, compelling and original thriller that will have you spellbound from its atmospheric opening pages to its shocking climax. Hades is the debut of a stunning new talent in crime fiction. 

Hades Archer, the man they call the Lord of the Underworld, surrounds himself with the things others leave behind. Their trash becomes the twisted sculptures that line his junkyard. The bodies they want disposed of become his problem for a fee. Then one night a man arrives on his doorstep, clutching a small bundle that he wants 'lost'. And Hades makes a decision that will change everything...

Twenty years later, homicide detective Frank Bennett feels like the luckiest man on the force when he meets his new partner, the dark and beautiful Eden Archer. But there's something strange about Eden and her brother, Eric. Something he can't quite put his finger on. When the two detectives are called to the scene of an attempted drowning, they find a traumatised victim telling a story that's hard to believe - until the divers start bringing up bodies. 

Frank is now on the hunt for a very different kind of serial killer: one who offers the sick and dying hope at murderous cost. At first, his partner's sharp instincts come in handy. Soon, he's wondering if she's as dangerous as the man they hunt.

My review:
I have such mixed feelings about this book. On one hand I loved the serial killer murders. What would you do to save someone you love? How low would you go? It’s something as a human you can relate to. I wish we could have learned more about the serial killers motives and such. I also really liked Hades. He had an interesting story line and I also wish I learned more about him. However, I feel like things fell short with Frank, Eden and Eric. I couldn’t get into their characters and was always bored when the book talked about them. Overall, this book is SO much like Dexter it isn’t even funny. It’s sorta like they threw a bunch of Dexter components in a bag shook them out and rewrote it with slight variations. Also once I started looking for Dexter similarities I couldn’t stop. A brother and sister in a police force and their names start with the same letter? I know that is a small one, but really. When you get past the Dexter similarities it’s a pretty good crime novel.

My rating: 
3 out of 5

I received this book to review through NetGalley for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Sweetwater Bar and Grill

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For my birthday dinner this year we went to Sweetwater Bar and Grill in Cinnaminson, New Jersey. Upon arriving I actually got a little star struck walking through the door when Chef George Kyrtatas greeted us at the entrance and seated us at our booth. I can’t say I've followed Kyrtatas’ career but I did see him on Cutthroat Kitchen and that was enough to make me feel like I was in the presence of a star.
        The interior of Sweetwater was absolutely beautiful! I felt like I should be paying way more for just the atmosphere but the prices are quite reasonable. Yet again I didn't take any pictures of the decor ( I really need to get it together) but you can check out their website to see what it looks like.
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  We started off with one of their many delicious sounding appetizers. After plenty of deliberation we chose the Philly Style Cheesesteak Spring Rolls. This choice did not disappoint! The filling was delicious. I’m sort of a sucker for anything fried in a spring roll with a delicious sauce though.
        After our appetizer the rest of our order came. I chose the Stuffed Jumbo Shrimp, my husband chose the combination seafood marinara and my daughter chose from the kid’s meal spaghetti and meatballs.
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My stuffed shrimp were so tasty. I've been on a seafood kick this pregnancy and what is better than giant shrimp stuffed with a crab meat stuffing?! My sides were good as well but nothing to write home about.  photo seafoodmarinara_zps05ca09a4.jpgdidn't try my husband’s dish but he said it was really good and it sure looked like it. The plating was beautiful.  photo spaghettiandmeatballs_zps644049ff.jpg 

My daughters dish was given two thumbs up! We also received great customer service the whole time we were there!
        Sadly, one thing I can’t comment on is their alcoholic beverages. Their website boasts a large selection and I am going to have to go back later when I’m not pregnant to give it a try! But not only will I be going back to try the drinks I need to try pretty much everything else on their menu! I’d give this restaurant 5 stars hands down.

Check out their website for their menu.
Don’t forget to follow them on facebook and twitter too!


Monday, February 2, 2015

Black Chalk by Christopher J. Yates


One game. Six students. Five survivors.

It was only ever meant to be a game.

A game of consequences, of silly forfeits, childish dares. A game to be played by six best friends in their first year at Oxford University. But then the game changed: the stakes grew higher and the dares more personal, more humiliating, finally evolving into a vicious struggle with unpredictable and tragic results.

Now, fourteen years later, the remaining players must meet again for the final round.

My review:
This book in my opinion was weird. Not necessarily in a bad way but not in a good way either. Does that even make sense? While reading this book I didn’t want to put it down sometimes. But at other times I was bored of reading about college students’ crushes and time spent drinking and smoking. Once the “game” started things became more entertaining but I was honestly disappointed in most of the aspects of the game too. Although the book left me wanting more I wanted to know how the book ended and yet again I was pretty disappointed. I could see some people really enjoying this book but it just wasn’t for me.

My rating:

2 out of 5.

I received this book to review through NetGalley for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Lemon Tea Cakes

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Now that I’m in my third trimester my sweet tooth has finally came back. My first two trimesters I could only handle a nibble of something sweet, even though I’d crave it but, sadly, my taste buds didn't agree. When my sweet tooth was coming back slowly or surely I made these tea cakes which were the right amount of sweet to satisfy my need. So, if you’re looking for something yummy and just sweet enough these are for you! These could also be iced to make them sweeter for those of you who aren't battling weird pregnancy cravings and such. Enjoy!

2 large eggs
½ cup sugar
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
Confectioner’s sugar (optional)

Preheat your oven to 375F. Mist a 12 cup muffin tin with spray oil. Melt your butter and let cool.
Whisk your egg, sugar, lemon zest, juice, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt until combined.
Fold flour and baking powder into the wet mixture until incorporated. Stir in butter.

Place batter into muffin tin and fill each cup about half full. Bake until risen and golden about 11 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool. Serve warm with confectioner’s sugar or topping of your choice.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Fedora Cafe

My husband and I decided to grab lunch at a lil place called Fedora Café. Fedora Café is not only an adorable café but they also offer catering.
 Sadly, I didn’t get any photos of the café itself but it seriously had the most unique décor. From its dragonfly lighting to its mismatched chairs this place was designed to be comfy. I seriously wanted to snuggle up in a chair and read a book for awhile!
To go with that book I was dreaming of they had a large selection of coffee and sweets. However, I was there for lunch and not caffeine, sweets and reading. I do plan to go back for those 3 things though!
My husband ordered a chicken wrap and I ordered the fedora club. The first words out of my husband’s mouth after a bite of his wrap were “I never knew a wrap could be so good!” My sandwich was equally as good. 
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The fedora club is a sandwich with grilled chicken, goat cheese, tomato, bacon, baby greens, corn salsa and avocado relish on sourdough. I loved the kick the corn salsa had and how the avocado relish balanced the spiciness. We both had the soup of the day which was cream of spinach soup. I was a little hesitant on whether I would like it or not and even more so after I seen it! But it was quite tasty! (Make sure to check your teeth afterwards!) 
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The wrap and sandwich came with a side of their famous chips and salsa. Or were supposed to I should say. We both had the chips but weren't given any salsa. It’s possible it was somewhere for us to serve ourselves but if so I wasn't told and didn't notice it either. The chips were good on their own but would have been elevated with an accompanying salsa.
We did have tea and coffee while we were there. My husband was disappointed in the tea selection but said the tea he did order was good. I ordered a mocha latte which was cute but wasn't quite mocha tasting enough for me.

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All in all I would and plan to go back. Their pastry case held some beautiful sweets that I need in my life and their food was delicious and affordable. If you are ever in the Lawrenceville, NJ area I would recommend stopping by here for breakfast, lunch or dinner and giving it a try.

Check out their menu on their website.
And don't forget to check out their Facebook too!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly

It is a secret the Chinese government has been keeping for forty years.

They have found a species of animal no one believed even existed. It will amaze the world.

Now the Chinese are ready to unveil their astonishing discovery within the greatest zoo ever constructed.

A small group of VIPs and journalists has been brought to the zoo deep within China to see its fabulous creatures for the first time.

Among them is Dr. Cassandra Jane ‘CJ’ Cameron, a writer for National Geographic and an expert on reptiles.

The visitors are assured by their Chinese hosts that they will be struck with wonder at these beasts, that they are perfectly safe, and that nothing can go wrong.

Of course it can’t…


My review:
        To start things off I wish I was more familiar with this author’s writing style before starting this book. This book is quite action packed and over the top and that sort of threw me off a bit. However, after some research I found that this is Reilly’s writing style and exactly what he was going for. I found some of the characters abilities a little unbelievable but I was thoroughly entertained by the story line which made for an exciting read. Overall I would recommend this book but keep in mind the author’s writing style.

My rating:

3 out of 5.

I received this book to review through NetGalley for an honest review. All opinions are my own.