Monday, January 31, 2011

Book Review: The Two Lives of Miss Charlotte Merryweather by Alexandra Potter

From Goodreads: At age thirty-one, American Charlotte Merryweather has spent ten years in London pursuing personal and professional perfection. Yet her present-day success- heading her own PR company, owning a gorgeous apartment, planning a future with her devoted boyfriend- only heightens the shock of a visit from the past. "Lottie," Charlotte's twenty-one-year-old self, drives onto the scene at the wheel of a rusty, orange Volkswagen Beetle identical to Charlotte's first UK ride. Charlotte pursues a friendship aimed to bestow upon Lottie a decade of wisdom. Yet Charlotte's prosperous polish proves a pale substitute for Lottie's innate, youthful graces- openness, passion, and kindness. Will the student become the teacher in this witty turnabout? The clever plotting and winning characterization that made Me and Mr. Darcy a bestseller are on full display in these pages. My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. It's a good chic lit book, along the lines of Sophie Kinsella but I think I prefer Alexandra's style better. The story line poses the interesting question, just what would you say to yourself if you met yourself at age 21? This is has some mild elements of time travel in it, which I think I am a sucker for when it comes to a good love story. I can't wait to read some of her other books. 4/5 stars

Friday, January 28, 2011

Valentine's Day Dessert Idea

Chocolate Covered Oreo Cookie Cake

This cake looks like a huge Oreo cookie, and it tastes even better.  Who doesn't love a little chocolate on Valentine's Day?

Chocolate Covered Oreo Cookie Cake 

(adapated from Kraft Foods Magazine)


1 pkg. (2-layer size) devil's food chocolate cake mix
4 squares  BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 pkg.  (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups  thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
12 OREO Cookies, coarsely crushed


HEAT oven to 350ºF.

PREPARE cake batter and bake in 2 (9-inch) round pans as directed on package. Cool cakes in pans 10 min. Invert cakes onto wire racks; gently remove pans. Cool cakes completely.
MICROWAVE chocolate and butter in small microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Cool 5 min.
MEANWHILE, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with mixer until blended. Gently stir in COOL WHIP and crushed cookies. Stack cake layers on plate, spreading cream cheese mixture between layers. Spread top with chocolate glaze; let stand until firm. Keep refrigerated.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chicken Madeira

What's for dinner tonight?  How about something new to try that is easy and delicious?  

Chicken Madeira - Cheesecake Factory Knockoff (serves 2)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 boneless chicken breast
8 asparagus spears
2 slices mozzarella cheese
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
1.5 cups Madeira wine (I used dry)
1 cup beef stock
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in frying pan over medium-high heat. Saute fillets until done and browned just a bit. Remove from pan and wrap in foil to keep warm while you make the sauce.
In chicken pan add olive oil and sliced mushrooms; saute for about 2 minutes. Add Madeira wine, beef stock, butter, and pepper. Bring to boil then reduce heat simmer 20 minutes until reduce to about 1/2 original volume. When sauce is done it will be thick, and brown.
While sauce is reducing, bring a pan of water to boil. Add salt to water at boil; blanch asparagus (3-5 minutes). Drop asparagus in ice water to halt cooking.
Set oven to broil. In baking dish arrange chicken, cross 2 asparagus stems over each piece of chicken and top with a slice of cheese. Broil until cheese melts.
Put chicken on plate. To serve, top with sauce 3-4 Tbsp on each piece.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I heard about this fashion site today called Polyvore while reading the Pioneer Woman's Blog. I just spent a little time on it and it IS addicting. You can design your own outfits with items that are linked to where you can buy them. Apparently you can also design rooms with it. So fun!! I just did the below outfits for fun since I am always thinking about spring....

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Golden Globes 2011 Red Carpet

I liked Eva Longoria

As well as:

Dianna Agron

Mila "Sweet Lips" Kunis

Lea Michele

Carrie Underwood

Emma Stone

I didn't like Angie or Claire and Catherine Z Jones looked like she was on the set of Gone with the Wind

More Least Favorites:

Books Read in 2010

I meant to do an update on the 75 books I managed to read last year!  This year I am attempting 100 and so far I am off to a good start.  I think I've read 5 so far.  So out of the below list my favorite book of the year was The Help.  I also enjoyed the Pretty Little Liars Series, The Lost Symbol, Shiver & Linger, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Series, and all of Elin Hilderbrand's books that I read over the summer (I think I've almost read all her books).  It was sad to see The Hunger Games come to an end.  If anyone is on Goodreads please add me!  Here is my Goodreads:

1. I Alex Cross by James Patterson (3 stars)
2. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown (5 stars)
3. Fly on the Wall: How One Girl Saw Everything by E. Lockhart - CD (2 stars)
4. Dramarama by E. Lockhart - CD (2 stars)
5. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and The Olympians) by Rick Riordan - (1 star)
6. Queen of Babble in the Big City by Meg Cabot - CD (3 stars)
7. How to Build a House by Dana Reinhardt (3 stars)
8. How to Be Bad by E. Lockhart (1 star)
9. When you Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (4 stars)
10. Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella - CD (2 stars)
11. Queen of Babble Gets Hitched by Meg Cabot - CD (2 stars)
12. Nanny Returns by Emma McLaughlin (1 star)
13. Jinx by Meg Cabot - CD (1 star)
14. Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1) by Charlaine Harris - CD (3 stars)
15. Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie Stackhouse #2) by Charlaine Harris - CD (4 stars)
16. Club Dead (Sookie Stackhouse #3) by Charlaine Harris - CD (4 stars)
17. Tempted (House of Night #6) by P.C. Cast (3 stars)
18. Pretty Dead by Francesca Lia Block (2 stars)
19. 90 Day Geisha - My Time as a Tokyo Hostess by Chelsea Haywood (3 stars)
20. Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater (4 stars)
21. Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse #4) by Charlaine Harris - CD (2 stars)
22. The Bright Forever by Lee Martin (1 star)
23. Dead as a Doornail (Sookie Stackhouse #5) by Charlaine Harris - CD (2 stars)
24. The Van Alen Legacy (Blue Bloods #4) by Melissa de la Cruz (1 star)
25. Definitely Dead (Sookie Stackhouse #6) by Charlaine Harris - CD (2 stars)
26. All Together Dead (Sookie Stackhouse #7) by Charlaine Harris - CD (1 star)
27. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (5 stars)
28. From Dead to Worse (Sookie Stackhouse #8) by Charlaine Harris - CD (1 star)
29. Stupid and Contagious by Caprice Crane (4 stars)
30. Dead and Gone (Sookie Stackhouse #9) by Charlaine Harris - CD (3 stars)
31. Pearl of China by Anchee Min (3 stars)
32. The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand (4 stars)
33. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (4 stars)
34. Graceling by Kristin Cashore (1 star)
35. Lunch in Paris: a Love Story by Elizabeth Bard (4 stars)
36. Vision in White by Nora Roberts (3 stars)
37. Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts (2 stars)
38. Family Affair by Caprice Crane (3 stars)
39. Learn to be an Optimist by Lucy MacDonald (4 stars)
40. Nantucket Nights by Elin Hilderbrand (2 stars)
41. The Beach Club by Elin Hilderbrand (3 stars)
42. Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand (2 stars)
43. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (3 stars)
44. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson (5 stars)
45. Forget About it by Caprice Crane (2 stars)
46. The G Free Diet by Elisabeth Hasselbeck (3 stars)
47. Buying a Piece of Paris by Ellie Nielson (2 stars)
48. The Island by Elin Hilderbrand (5 stars)
49. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (0 stars)
50. Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts (4 stars)
51. The Castaways by Elin HIlderbrand (4 stars)
52. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest by Stieg Larsson (4 stars)
53. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (3 stars)
54. The Love Season by Elin Hilderbrand (5 stars)
55. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins - reread (4 stars)
56. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (2 stars)
57. Dead in the Family (Sookie Stackhouse #10) by Charlaine Harris (3 stars)
58. Poker Face: The Rise and Fame of Lady Gaga by Maureen Callahan (2 stars)
59. The Espressologist by Kristina Springer (2 stars)
60. Lauren Conrad Style by Lauren Conrad (1 star)
61. Size 12 is not Fat by Meg Cabot (1 star)
62. Burned (House of Night #7) by P.C. Cast (1 star)
63. Misguided Angels (Blue Bloods #5) by Melissa de la Cruz (0 stars)
64. Pretty Little Liars by Sarah Shepard (3 stars)
65. Flawless (PLL #2) by Sarah Shepard (4 stars)
66. Perfect (PLL #3) by Sarah Shepard (3 stars)
67. Unbelievable (PLL #4) by Sarah Shepard (4 stars)
68. Wicked (PLL #5) by Sarah Shepard (3 stars)
69. Killer (PLL #6) by Sarah Shepard (3 stars)
70. Heartless (PLL #7) by Sarah Shepard (3 stars)
71. Wanted (PLL #8) by Sarah Shepard (3 stars)
72. Let it Snow by John Greene etc. (4 stars)
73. Grayson, Will Grayson by John Greene (4 stars)
74. Crank by Ellen Hopkins (1 star)
75. Glass by Ellen Hopkins (3 stars)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Valerie's Fluffy White Flour Frosting

Flour frosting??? you might say, but actually it's one of the best frostings.  
Not too sweet and light and fluffy. :)
Continuously whisk the flour and milk over medium heat.
Constant whisking is important for no lumps.  You do not want lumps, trust me.

Cooking the flour will result in something that looks like mashed potatoes.
It's sticky and comes together away from the sides.  

Mix the mixture for a minute or so to make sure there are no lumps.
Cover and refrigerate until cool.

Cream together the shortening, softened margarine and sugar.

Slowly add the cooled flour/milk mixture in little bits beating after each addition.
Continue to beat for 7-10 minutes until light and fluffy and all sugar is disolved.

Ha, don't laugh at my attempts at writing with a gel frosting.

  • 5 tbs. flour
  • cup milk
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup margarine 
  • cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. 1In a small saucepan blend flour and milk.
  2. 2Cook stirring constantly until mixture bubbles.
  3. 3Transfer to a small bowl, beat mixture with mixer for one minute.  Cool.
  4. 4In a large bowl, cream shortening, butter and sugar with a mixer until fluffy.
  5. 5Add vanilla and salt, blending well.
  6. 6On medium speed beat in cooled flour mixture in small portions (teaspoonful at a time), beating well after each addition.
  7. 7Continue beating until light and fluffy.