Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ballard Design Outlet Trip

I have discovered something super fantastic right in my little neck of the woods. It's a Ballard Design/Frontgate Outlet! If you're unfamiliar with Ballard Design, they sell home furnishings and accessories that are just fabulous. Fabulous except for their prices. Let's just say I can barely even afford the things that are on sale let alone full price. So, imagine my excitement to find out that not only is there an outlet but, it's within driving distance of my home! Yea hooray!

Look at all these stools and chairs! Rows and rows of seats. I was alone but I sat in many of them. I'm not even in the market for seating but they had some great ones.

What is that? A dog bed? You ask. NO! It's a giant couch with a cover and lots of pillows for you to sit on...outside! I love this. Despite the whole store being an extra 20% off it was still way out of my budget and of course, I've got nowhere to put it. I refrained from lounging on this one though because there were lots of people around. But, I love it! Maybe someday it will be mine. I could lounge and sip some wine. It would be great.

Do you know what this? Why yes, it IS a dog bed. A dog crate to be exact, for the fancy canine in your life. Those shades? They pull down so your pooch can get uninterrupted shut eye. Only at Frontgate, a partner of Ballard Design. BTW - it was at least $200.

I didn't buy anything but I found many things to covet. I'll definitely be back to this establishment. If you find yourself in the Dayton/Cincinnati area, you should check it out too. Bonus home furnishing shopping tidbit: IKEA is less than a mile down the road from the outlet. What are the chances?!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

I think that Young Adult literature has replaced my previous guilty reading pleasure of chick lit. Chick lit just doesn't really do it for me anymore. Young Adult Lit, on the other hand, is often very interesting and a genre not to be dismissed just because you're over the age of Young Adult. I'm 27. I'm a full adult now, right? Well, anyway, this one was highly recommended on a number of book boards and without knowing a single thing about it, I checked it out from the library.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan is told in alternating chapters by two high school boys both named Will Grayson in various parts of Illinois. Both Will Graysons are struggling to find their niche in life in their own way and always being brooding and moody. One Will has a best friend, Tiny Cooper, who is gay and putting on a musical about his life and and gay love life. The second Will Grayson has only one partial friend and maintains an online relationship with someone named Isaac. Get it? It's not nearly as confusing when you're actually reading it. And one of the authors writes all of his chapters in lowercase, just in case you forget which Will you're hearing from. Anyway, eventually both Wills' lives converge under very strange circumstances. They affect each other without really affecting each other at all, sort of. This was an awful synopsis.

I read a number of reviews that mentioned how hilarious this book was but I didn't really find it funny at all. I also didn't find any of the characters super relatable. Does that doubly mean I'm a full adult? Anyway, it was a nice departure from some of my recent reads and thought the subject matter was presented with a fresh approach. It was a fast read. I liked it, but I didn't love it.

P.S. Can. Not. Wait. For. GLEE. To. Come. BACK!
P.P.S. In the rerun of Glee that I'm watching while I type this, one of the guest stars is also on True Blood. Love when I recognize bit parts played by actors from other shows. Whee for Glee!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Wine Loft

On Saturday night, John and I headed over to the Greene, an outdoor shopping and dining destination here in Dayton. We love the Greene. Lots of shops, TONS of restaurants to choose from with more being added all the time, a movie theatre, comedy club, spa.....the list goes on and on. Oh, for a pretty penny you can live there too. For about a year, a wine bar called The Wine Loft has beckoned us but we didn't answer the call until this weekend. I don't know what we were waiting for!

We walked in and were encouraged to seat ourselves. The whole place had this dark, sexy vibe with fluffy couches and large ottomans throughout. All of the seating areas were separated by sheer curtains to give each setting a more private feel. We didn't choose our seat very wisely. We'll know better next time to pick a loveseat. We were in two chairs on either side of a small table. The menu is full of wine, duh, but they also serve small plates including sliders, flatbread pizzas, and so on. We shared the artisan cheese plate for $13.

It didn't seem like much food but by the time we were done enjoying the smoked gouda, brie, manchego and something unidentifiable but tasty, we were downright full. In fact, we had only planned on going to the Wine Loft for a drink and appetizer and then going elsewhere for dinner. We ended up skipping dinner all together. To be fair, we had both eaten late afternoon salads at home ahead of coming here. Normally, you probably couldn't make a dinner out of this plate. We sipped on a Schlink Haus Riesling for $7/glass. We've only had the Schlink Haus red but the Riesling was quite tasty. We also had a Shiraz by Anthropolgy (Australian) for $8/glass. That was good too. They have flights you can order that include 3 - 1 1/2 oz tastes for somewhere in the range of $11 - $20+ for the flight.

According to the local newspaper, The Wine Loft was just voted the Best Romantic Restaurant in Dayton. That's true, it was romantic. But, we also saw a lot of groups of friends enjoying wine and each other's company. We think it would be a lot of fun to go with our wine club buddies. In addition to the comfy couches, there was also a nice covered patio if you prefer outside seating. Another point of note was the music. It was awesome! A great mix of U2, Jack Johnson, Oasis and the like. Each song was a winner. When's the last time you went somewhere and that happened? Obviously a restaurant's choice in music won't necessarily make or break the experience but in this case, it just capped off a perfectly date night. We'll definitely be back!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Death of a Garden

My garden is just dreadful. I don't know what happened this summer. The balcony doesn't get full sun but that didn't seem to be a problem last year. I watered religiously but I think our sustained high temps took their toll. In the beginning the heat seemingly caused my tomato plants to thrive. But, in the last few weeks, they're just...well, see for yourself. They went from this:

To this:

Isn't that the saddest plant you've ever seen? Eventually the tiny tomatoes did turn red but they were kind of a marbled, strange red. John tried one because they smelled okay but he quickly spit it out. They burned, he said. Yikes! I didn't get to harvest a single tomato this summer. Not one! I'm crushed. I don't even like tomatoes but I had so many plans for them. My green thumb has turned black. What a sad state of affairs.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Loving Frank

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan has been on list after list of recommended reads so I thought it high time I see for myself. It's a work of historic fiction. The Frank, in this case, is architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Loving Frank follows the story of Mamah Cheney, a client of his that he has an affair with (while leaving a wife and nine children at home) and eventually they make a life together causing great scandal at the turn of the century.

Horan does a terrific job in her portryal of Wright as a womanizing, difficult man. She really captures Mamah's feelings of despair at leaving her children behind and second guessing the decision she has made to run off with Frank. The pair spend a couple years in Europe and she does not see her children at all during that time period. Mamah spends her days trying to find her own identity apart of Frank's intense work life. Eventually, they move back to the states so that Frank can construct his famed Taliesin studio in Wisconsin. Mamah's fragile relationship with her children is slowly repaired until......well, I certainly won't ruin the ending of it for you.

I knew almost nothing of Frank Lloyd Wright's extramarital affairs and I certainly knew nothing of Mamah Cheney before reading Loving Frank. I really enjoyed this one. Having no prior knowledge of the events at Taliesin, I was not prepared for the ending of this book. I also really liked the sympathy Horan was able to evoke for Mamah, even though she did abandon her husband and children in an awful fashion. Even if you're not really into historical fiction, I think this one is worth reading.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Super Summer Sunday Salad Supper Wrap up

Regretfully, I won't be making it to my 10th Super Summer Sunday Salad Supper. For boring reasons, we're having a crockpot dinner tonight and next Sunday, we're hosting my parents for 5 days. While they enjoy salads, I decided against serving one. Then, it'll be Labor Day and the official end of summer....plus we'll be in Ft. Lauderdale waiting to embark on our cruise. (!!!) Regardless, I'm pretty proud of all these creations so I'm going to tell you all about them one more time.

  1. Chicken and Strawberry Spinach Salad
  2. Southwestern Salad
  3. Asian Salad
  4. Cobb Salad
  5. Steak and Cranberry Salad
  6. Buffalo Chicken Salad
  7. Tutti Frutti Chicken Salad
  8. Salmon and Asparagus Salad

Gosh darn it! When making this list, I realized I was 2 away from 10 salads anyway. :( I must have miscounted in there somewhere. Blast! Oh well, a valiant effort all the same. I think we'll try to continue these through the fall. And of course it'll be warm here all through September probably so we'll still feel like eating salads. I have to say, as much as I like summer, I sure am looking forward to fall's cooler temps and hearty flavors.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Recipe Re-blog

I realize this may not look super appetizing but, oh my goodness. I stumbled across a recipe for Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese on this blog, Christine's Cuisine. We love a good mac and cheese here at Chez G. but this one kicked it up a notch. It wasn't really that hot at all. Just the right amount of heat. I didn't follow the recipe exactly. At the end, I got lazy and just put some Panko on top instead of melting butter to mix with the Panko. It was still delicious.

If you like macaroni and cheese and you have even the slightest interest in buffalo chicken. TRY THIS RECIPE!! Oh, and I was super proud of myself. It calls for shredded chicken. To save myself time, I threw my frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot on Low with a little water and went to bed. In the morning, they were perfectly cooked and ready for shredding! Winner winner chicken dinner.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rainy Sadie

I forgot to tell you this in my post about the weekend yesterday. After the rain stopped and we came home from Rumbleseat Wine, we were walking up to our building and noticed something amiss. "The balcony door is open," John said. I looked up and said, "yes and the screen is open." Then John says, "Oh NO! There's SADIE!" During longer time periods, like when we're at work, we crate Sadie. But, on the weekends when we're just going to be gone for a few hours, she sleeps on our bed and we shut the bedroom door. Well, during the storm, we figure the wind blew open not only the door to the bedroom but also the door to the balcony. The screen door having been left halfway open provided Sadie with the opportunity to hang out on the balcony unsupervised.

When we got inside she ran around like crazy. We think she must have been worried about where we were and also wondering why she was able to get out to the balcony. Also, saddest fact of all, her head was all wet. So we also think that during the storm, she stood on the balcony with her furry little head poked through the bars watching and waiting for us! We felt so badly. Poor little Sadie.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Vino for Me, Sushi for You

This past weekend we had some new local experiences that were a lot of fun. So, I'm going to share them now. Lucky you! On Saturday at a local outdoor concert venue, a wine festival was being held. There was no admission fee, you just paid for your tastings ($2/taste, $6/glass). They were grouped in various tents by category: Old World, New World, Southern Hemisphere, Italian, French and Sparkling (sadly I never did find the sparkling tent). The weather was looking ominous but we headed out anyway, trying to embrace a spirit of trying new and exciting things.

Here are our first tastes. Each tent had reds and whites that fit the category. These were from the Southern Hemisphere tent. I had the Lindeman's Moscato from Australia. This was sweet and delicious. I know it's readily available at my wine shop too so I'll be sure to seek it out. John had this Mistero malbec from Argentina. It was dry and smooth. The only other malbec I had ever tried was digusting but it was also only $4.00 for the bottle. Never a good sign. This one was great. Would be delicious with a steak. So, the Southern Hemisphere was a hit for us! Not surprising. I really like Australian wines.

The next two were Old World (I think). I tried a Blufeld (There's an umlaut in there somewhere and I can't remember where) Riesling from Germany. It was sweet and tasty. John's Old World selection was not so good. Going out on a limb, he chose an Albarino by Monticello. It was dry and the flavor seemed to just stop in our mouths. Pass on that. We had never had Albarino before (more on that later).

Here is a view of the park during the deluge. We were seeking shelter under an awning. The skies had promised rain and they did not disappoint. Ponchos were available for $2.00 but we sucked it up and ran to the next tasting tent. No one looks good in a poncho. No one. And they just make you hot and sweaty. I will say, that as hot and sticky as it had been all day, the park was treed and breezy. Very pleasant. Anyway, this isn't a very good picture. My bad.

Because the rain didn't seem to be letting up, I just tried one more and we left. This was in the New World tent. I selected a Hatteras Red from Duplin Winery in North Carolina. This was very sweet made from the muscadine grape. It was similar to the local Concords that Ohio wineries are so fond of.

The rain still hadn't stopped by this time (we were there less than an hour) but nearby was a newish wine shop that I've been wanting to visit. It's called Rumbleseat Wine and it's super cute inside! They have several wines that you can taste each week. There are probably 6-7 tables for people to taste or enjoy a bottle and there's a patio for outdoor seating as well. I love a patio, but not in a downpour. We were telling the shop owner that the rain forced us in and what we had tasted at the festival. He felt badly that we were disappointed in the Albarino and gave us another to try that was much better than the first. I can't remember what it was! I didn't write it down like I did the others and by this point, I'd probably had the equivalent of 2 glasses of wine in a rather short period of time. I wasn't driving! Anyway, I tried a delicious Viognier whose name escapes me now and also a Lucky Star Pinot Noir that was really good. It was a winey kind of day!

In the evening, we went to a Thai restaurant with some friends. I had been there before but not in a few years and John had never been. It's so good! John even had his first sushi which he deemed tasty. It's a spicy tuna roll.

John was brave and ordered his stir fry at a spice level 4. I wisely chose a 0. He was paying for it Sunday. Lesson learned.

What a great weekend of new experiences, fun time with friends, and good food and wine!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Super Summer Sunday Salad Supper.....Salmon

I'm still battling these tiny photos but hopefully you can tell this week's salad featured salmon! We love salmon but hardly ever make it at home for some reason. This was a great way to incorporate the delicious Omega-3 packed fish without breaking the bank on whole filets. We bought just 1/2 a lb. and it was more than enough when it was all flaked and in the salad. Starting, as usual, with baby spinach I then added blue cheese. The salmon was baked for 20 minutes at 400 alongside our asparagus, that also got roasted. Both of those were simply dressed with some salt, pepper and EVOO. Man, do we love us some asparagus! This was my first asparagus roasting experience but it surely won't be my last. It was quite tasty. I would have also enjoyed pine nuts on this salad for a little more crunch but pine nuts are expensive, people. $6.00 for a tiny little container. Pass. I whisked up my own balsamic vinaigrette and voila my 9th summer salad supper. It was a hit at Chez G!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

He's here!

And in this corner, tipping the scales at 9 pounds, 12 ounces, it's.......BABY BEN!!!

I have been remiss in announcing my nephew's birth. My apologies to this sweet little nugget. My sister had her first baby on August 2nd after what sounded like the easiest labor story ever. All day at work I was waiting for the arrival text. What an exciting time! I think this hat makes him look like a garden gnome. As he gets bigger and bigger he looks more and more like my sister everyday. I'm sure some of my brother-in-law's features will come through soon but right now, he's got her chin and eyebrows and sometimes he makes these faces that look exactly like her.

John and I already have our tickets to go to Texas to meet him at Thanksgiving but that seems so far away. He'll be nearly 4 months old by then. I'm selfishly hoping that means he'll be sleeping through the night (the guest bedroom shares a wall with the nursery) but I'm also hoping he'll be more animated and awake and ready to play. John says he won't be holding him; he just wants to play with him. He has also flat out refused to change any diapers. I told him we'd see about that. The truth is, Ben is our tester baby. Neither of us have baby skills so we want to see how we do with him. NO, we are not thinking of having kids anytime soon. Calm down.

So, love and sweet dreams to Baby Ben. I guess it's time to find somemthing baby-like to sew.

P.S. If there are a lot of typos in this, I'm sorry. I'm getting this weird flashing light in my field of vision that's making reading extremely difficult. I hope this doesn't mean I'm going blind. Good thing I've got an eye appointment on Monday.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

How Did You Get This Number?

I forgot to review this book! It’s been finished since Sunday, I think. This has been a crazy week. More on that another day. I somehow found myself without anything to read before my last trip to the library. That sends me to the Express shelves where you can only keep books for a week because they are the new releases. I picked up the new Carl Hiassen (which I did not get to read in the allotted amount of time and will have to check out in the future) and this little nugget by Sloane Crosley.

How Did You Get This Number? is Crosley’s sophomore collection of essays. I checked it out from the library not really because it grabbed my attention, but because her first book, I Was Told There’d Be Cake, is something I often have to utter to John at various family functions, meetings, etc. I’ll have to go back and read that one but for now, let’s talk about this one. Crosley does a great job of twisting the tales of her life into interesting little vignettes. The nice thing about a book full of essays is that they’re essentially short little chapters that will all (hopefully) present a cohesive story in the end (spoiler alert: they do).

I won’t go to deep into the topics but Crosley writes of her travels, roommate situations, love life, and living in NYC. I found her very relatable and funny. I laughed out loud a few times. Her voice is extremely entertaining. And, it’s always good to work in some non-fiction every now and then, right? So, pick this one up if you have the chance. And stay tuned for a review of her first book, if I can remind myself to check it out!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sizzling Sixteen

Sizzling Sixteen is the 16th (duh) installment of the Stephanie Plum-Bounty Hunter series by Janet Evanovich. This is going to be short because all of these books pretty much follow the same formula. In this one, Stephanie's boss and relative, Vincent Plum, has been kidnapped and the girls in the bond offices are forced to make good on some of his outstanding debts to free him. Meanwhile, Stephanie has more skips to track down. With the help of a lucky bottle and Ranger and Joe (her sometime lovers), she gets her man in the end.

If you've read any of these, you'll know that this synopsis can basically be plugged into any of these books. Also, as the numbers get higher, the books seem to get shorter and the font larger. Hmmm.....I guess that's what happens when you devote 16 books to a single character. You run out of things to write about. This was definitely not my favorite in the series but, it held my interest for the 2 days it took to read.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Super Summer Sunday Salad Supper

I didn't think it could be done after 7 weeks but this, the 8th Super Summer Sunday Salad Supper....C'est magnifique! I was really having trouble coming up with a theme for the salad this week. It being summer and all, I wanted to take advantage of the fruits of the season. Thus, the Tutti Frutti Chicken Salad! Yep, it's just like it sounds. To a bed of spinach I added: blueberries, strawberries, mandarin oranges and grilled chicken. I didn't even miss the cheese (and I LOVE cheese). I took a little help from the store with a fat free Poppyseed dressing from Maple Grove Farms. Poppyseeds are expensive and I really didn't feel like making my own. This dressing paired perfectly with the sweetness of the fruit by adding just a little tang.

This salad is a keeper for sure! My goal is to try to do these all the way up until the cruise (which is in just 27 days!!!) So, I have 3 more themes to come up with. Actually, only 2 because I've already thought of next Sunday's theme. Although, the last Sunday we're hosting out of town guests. I wonder if I can convince them to partake. Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Pain in the Neck

Guys, I am in rough shape. Just a few weeks ago I was going on and on about my love for my new yogi, Steve, and his Inhale workout on the Oxygen network. I DVR'd 10 episodes and once a week, I do one. It's taking the place of my previous rest day and also counts (in my mind) as strength training. If you don't think yoga builds muscle, just try it. Better yet, try Steve's workout (although I haven't been seeing new ones lately). I digress.......

On Wednesday, I queued up an episode I had never done before. The hour was brutal. Grueling poses held for way longer than I like. Boy, I was cursing Steve that day. Expletives were flying out of my mouth left and right. Sadie looked appalled at my sailor-like mouth. I was so glad when it was over, and then the pain set in. I was sore in places I didn't even know could get sore.

For example, the base of my neck in the front. That's right, my windpipe hurts. Also, it looks like my glands in my neck are swollen but I think it's just the few muscles there are inflamed. It hurts like crazy when I bend over, as if I were heading into down dog. Damn you, Steve!! My shoulders and triceps were screaming. To add insult to injury, I went to zumba Thursday against my better judgment. It was a toning night so there were 15 min. of weights after class. I wanted to die, or cry. Or both! I have woken up in pain every night for the past 3 nights. I can't get comfortable. Oh, here's another insult to injury.....my computer at work died so I had to work on my laptop for 2 days straight which is at a different height than my monitor and hurt my neck even more.

For some reason, my mother in law gave John a sample packet of Biofreeze that he never used. Have you ever used this stuff? I think it's probably like Icy Hot, which I've also never used. That stuff scares the crap out of me. At this point, I'll try anything. So last night, I rubbed it on my neck and shoulders. IT BURNS!!!! Because I apparently enjoy pain, I tried it again this morning. It's burning while I type. I can't tell if it's helping the pain or not. I think the burning is just masking the original pain. John thinks it's maybe not meant for necks.

I'm trying not to let it get me down though. There are a lot of good things going on in my life right now. But that's a post for another day.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It's Fair-tastic!

This is me in my "mom-ish" outfit next to giant pumpkins.

This guy is ordering him some deep-fried Buckeyes. I did not partake but of COURSE they would have deep fried buckeyes. We're in OSU Country after all.

Deep fried macaroni and cheese!


Guys, I definitely took some great pictures at the fair this weekend and when I try to post them, they're all mini! I don't know what is up with Blogger but I didn't want to put off my fair post while I tried to fix the picture size. So...here we go!

This past Saturday, John and I dropped Sadie off at day camp and met up with my parents in Columbus at the Ohio State Fair! We LOVE a good fair and can you believe it? We've never been to the state fair, only our local County fair. My parents had never been either (go figure) so when I suggested we meet there (sort of halfway between our homes) they quickly agreed. We had a lovely weather day, for awhile.

The state fair is no joke, people. This ain't your podunk county fair by any stretch of the imagination. It was HUGE! And there were all sorts of buildings and exhibits and livestock to see. Admission was $10 but, penny pincher that I am, we bought our tickets ahead of time at Kroger for only $6/each. Bargain! Parking was $5 but we were still $3 ahead in this equation, yes? I felt like I was totally rocking the mom-wear that day but I knew I wanted something comfortable and while I hate wearing tennis shoes with shorts (sandals please!) I did it anyway to save my foot from all the walking we'd be doing. Oh yeah, to add to my mom-ness, I also picked up this drawstring backpack at the Nike outlet so I wouldn't have to carry a purse. I'm glad I didn't run into anyone I know!

When going to the state fair, make sure you have clearer directions of where you'll meet your party rathern than "just inside the gate." There are multiple gates and of course, we went in a different one than my parents. So, we hauled ass down past all the vendors on the "Food Highway" (Seriously, that's what it was called) and finally found them near the ferris wheel. We weren't sure which direction to head in first so we picked the closest barn. It was the Ag-Hort building. There were lots of things like nuts and corn and prize winning flowers here.

After that, I don't have the slightest idea of the order in which we saw things. We went to the "Commercial" building, which was basically row after row of Sham-wow, Mighty-Tite and other things you'd see on infomercials. We saw rows and rows of poultry and cows. Nary a rabbit in sight though. I was pretty disappointed by that. I love rabbits. We may not have seen rabbits but we did catch some...pig races!!! That was very exciting. Smelly, but exciting. In fact, lots of the fair was very smelly.

Here are some things we saw that you wouldn't think of as being at the fair. In the middle of the day, we got stuck in a downpour in the pavilion that housed the boxing tournaments. This was interesting for awhile but was also confusing. I couldn't ever tell who was winning. Then it got really boring. We also watched a cooking demonstration for half an hour or so. This was more interesting plus we got to sit down. Whee!!! I also read on the schedule that there was to be a spelling bee. Unfortunately, we missed this (I am an awesome speller) but again, not your typical fair fare. (see what I did there, with the spelling?)

Onto the food.....John and I had been banking calories all week in preparation for the fair. However, we were determined not to get too out of hand. We thought we may have been derailed at the start when my parents bought some fried macaroni and cheese. That's right, fried nuggets filled with macaroni and cheese. Can you feel your arteries closing in? Boy, was it delicious! We skipped the fried Oreos, fried Buckeyes, fried Twinkies, etc. For lunch we both had corn dogs and fries with lemonade. Then we treated ourselves to ice cream from the dairy barn. It's been a LONG time since I had real ice cream. It was tasty but very soft, for hard serve. Nothing beats a good mint chocolate chip. Yum yum.

The fair had lots and lots of rides. I don't trust fair rides. Do you? Plus, they kept running them during the rain. That doesn't seem like a lot of fun to me. But, like I said, I wasn't riding them.

We ended up spending about 5 hours there and our dogs were sure barking by the end of the day. The fair runs for something like 3 weeks and everyday there are different competitions and judging and other things happening. Lots of people make going to the fair a vacation and camp out there. This would not be a vacation, in my mind, but I'm not a camper. All in all it was a great experience. Even the day didn't damper our fair spirits. I would definitely go again in the future!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dead to the World

It’s been awhile since I read a Sookie Stackhouse book so I thought it was time to revisit the series. I’m way into True Blood on HBO now. Each season follows a whole book. I have read up through the 3rd book and am watching the new showing third season so Dead to the World won’t be happening until next year. But, I read it all the same.

At the end of the previous book (Club Dead), Sookie and Bill have pretty much called it quits. Sookie had to kill Bill’s maker, Lorena. Bill had lied to Sookie about a whole bunch of nonsense and she didn’t take too kindly to that. So, at the beginning of Dead to the World, Bill tells Sookie he’ll be out of the country on an assignment. He leaves and is gone for most of the book. Yea! I don’t really like Bill. On New Year’s Eve, Sookie is driving home from work when she sees Eric running through the woods. She picks him up and soon realizes his memory is gone. He has no idea who she is or what he’s doing in the woods, half-clothed. He does, however, know he’s a vampire. Turns out, some local witches have cast a spell on him to cause his amnesia in an attempt to steal his businesses. Sookie finds herself in the position of vampire guardian while she and Eric’s vamp friends try to figure out what the witches are up to and how to restore his memory.

Meanwhile, Jason, Sookie’s brother, has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. In addition to guarding Eric from the witches, she must now also find out what happened to Jason and where he is. Poor Sookie, can’t catch a break.

I liked Dead to the World a lot. I much prefer Eric over Bill so I was glad to see Bill gone and Eric (though not quite himself) playing a major role in this storyline. Charlaine Harris continues to keep things interesting by introducing even more supernatural beings and developing the characters we have already come to know and love. Of course it was an easy and fast read but if you’re working your way through this series like I am, I think you’ll really enjoy Dead to the World too!

P.S. This was my 30th read of 2010, and my 300th blog post for the last 2 years!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Super Summer Sunday Salad Supper #7

I am sorry the picture on this is so small because our 7th salad supper was a doozie! Buffalo Chicken Salad. Mmmm mmm! As usual, we started with a bed of leafy spinach. To that, I added chopped up celery and bleu cheese crumbles. I made a simple vinaigrette whisking together red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, EVOO, salt and pepper. Then, the piece de resistance....the buffalo chicken nuggets. Don't worry, they're not fried so it was pretty healthy too. We started by chopping boneless skinless chicken tenderloins into bite sized pieces. Then, John mixed up some buffalo sauce. I don't know the measurements (sorry! I can ask if you want to know) but it included: butter, Frank's Red Hot Sauce, Worcestershire, salt, pepper and tomato sauce. Not too mild, not too spicy. Just right!

When the sauce was ready, he tossed the chicken in it. Here comes the best part, he tossed that chicken in Panko bread crumbs (our new fave kitchen item) and baked them for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Delicious little tasty nuggets came out and were tossed in the remaining reserved sauce. Oh mah gah. Mouthwatering. John already said he'll have to make them during football season. (Don't remind me that that's just a month away.)

Toss everything together and voila! Supper Summer Sunday Salad Supper #7 was a raving success. But, since next week is week 8, I'm going to have to get creative. While I've really enjoyed everything we've made thus far, I'm determined not to do any repeats. I'm going to have to put on my thinking cap for this one.

In other Sunday news, my Sunday night TV schedule is bursting at the seams! There are so many good shows on and a few have recently returned that by Monday morning my DVR has been severely overworked. Between Next Food Network Star, Entourage, True Blood, Mad Man (!), My Boys, Khloe & Kourtney Take Miami (no, I'm not ashamed), and Iron Chef (when it's a good ingredient), do you think I watch too much TV? Nah, couldn't be. Some of these shows I get more excited about than others, which I suppose is to be expected. The non-reality ones take precedence when it comes time to watch them on Monday. Always Mad Men and True Blood first. Always. I.Love.Television.