Thursday, September 30, 2010

Crustless Tex-Mex Meatloaf-Cheddar Pie

Recipe from Rachel Ray Magazine

Makes 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 45 minutes

  • One 16-ounce jar fire-roasted red peppers drained, split and seeded
  • 12 ounces shredded Mexican cheese blend (3 cups)
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • One 16-ounce jar chunky salsa
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Grease a 10-inch pie plate lightly with olive oil and line with the red peppers. Scatter 1 cup cheese on top.
  2. In a large bowl, mix 1 cup cheese, the beef, 3/4 cup of the salsa, the bread crumbs, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper until just combined. Press into the pepper-and-cheese-lined pie plate. Spread the remaining salsa over the top. Bake for 35 minutes.
  3. Scatter the remaining 1 cup cheese on top and bake for 10 minutes longer. Let cool for about 15 minutes before slicing.
Jason is a big meatloaf fan, the weather has been cooling down and I haven't made a real dinner in ages. I blame pregnancy and being tired plus never knowing what I want to eat. So I decided to pull my weight in the kitchen again and whipped this up. It was pretty easy to make. Instead of parsley I used Italian Seasoning in the meat, I thought it tasted pretty good! I also switch the oven to broil for the last minute or so to give the cheese that nice brown color in spots. I steamed broccoli and made mashed potatoes to round this meal out! Makes for great leftovers!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Robin Hood

Director Ridley Scott and actor Russell Crowe reunite for their fifth big-screen outing, a retelling of the Robin Hood legend featuring the Gladiator star in the titular role. A bowman in the army of Richard Coeur de Lion, virtuous rogue Robin Hood rises from an unlikely background to become a hero to the impoverished people of Nottingham and lover to the beautiful Lady Marion (Cate Blanchett). Cyrus Voris, Ethan Reiff, and Brian Helgeland collaborate on the screenplay for a costume adventure produced by Brian Grazer (Frost/Nixon, American Gangster).

I thought this movie did a great job at bringing us back to the life that was once lead "way back when". I loved how this movie explained to us how Robin Hood came to be and set us up for a possible follow up at some point later on. It filled us in as to how Robin Hood became an outlaw, how he met up with his merry men and Lady Marion. It kept your interest and was only slow at some parts but for the most part it remained at a steady pace.

Night Tales

Night Shift
Radio DJ Cilla O'Roarke can't believe it when she starts get threatening phone calls at the station. Then, to make things even worse, she's got cop Boyd Fletcher assigned to protect her. How's a girl supposed to stay alive - and keep her heart - in a situation like this?

Night Shadow
ADA Deborah O'Roarke finds herself torn between two men - sexy, wealthy business man Gage Guthrie, and Nemesis, the mysterious stranger who fights crime. Little does she know that they are one and the same.

**Personal Thoughts**

I love Nora Roberts writing, I love that she writes series as well so you can follow the characters through the different stories. That being said - this series is "eh" in my book. She's written much better in my opinion. I had a hard time staying with the first story and then just moved right along with the second one. There are four other stories in this series which I'm reading but it really isn't my favorite by her. The stories are too predictable, the plot line twist isn't that impressive and I skip over the sex scenes. Not that I'm a prude, just I want to read more of the story line, the mystery, the adventure and not how she felt when he kissed her for the millionth time.

Promises to Keep: A Novel

Callie Perry is a successful family photographer living in upstate New York. She adores her two daughters, has great friends, and actually doesn't mind that her workaholic husband gets home at 9 p.m. every night-that is, when he's not traveling six months out of the year.

Callie's younger sister, Steff, on the other hand, has never grown up. She's a free spirit, living in downtown Manhattan and bouncing between jobs and boyfriends. Lately, she's been working as a vegan chef, even though she can't cook.

Lila Grossman is Callie's best friend and has finally met the man of her dreams. Eddie has two wonderful children, but also a drama queen ex-wife who hates Lila. And then there are Callie and Steff's parents, Walter Cutler and Honor Pitman. Divorced for thirty years, they rarely speak to each other.

The lives of these colorful characters intersect when they each receive a shocking note that summons them together for one extraordinary summer in Maine and changes their lives forever. This novel is about the hard choices we have to face, about having to be your parents' child long after you've grown up, and about the enduring nature of love.

**Personal Thoughts**

No one told me this would be a book that would bring on the waterworks - it could also be that I'm pregnant as well but it still caused me to swipe at my eyes a few times. I was sucked into the book pretty quickly - the characters all play well together and the story flows seamlessly. It's a great read and you find yourself turning the page to learn what happens next, always keeping your fingers crossed that good prevails. I've fallen in love with Jane Green's writing and adore her books.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Photographic Life: Photo Tips for Moms

I just received an email from the wonderful ladies at Mommies with Cents that I won one of their giveaways - a year membership to a fantastic site called The Photographic Life - Photo Tips for Moms. This site shows you how to take better pictures no matter what equipment you have or what your photographic level currently is.

I was thrilled to find out I won! With our little bean on the way I know there will be a ton of picture taking of every moment of his/her life. To be able to have a better understanding and grasp on how to take pictures I would be proud to show off, print and frame will be fantastic. We'll have to use our cat for our model until the baby make his/her debut.

I'm excited to learn more about our point & shoot camera we bought this summer, to have the ability to take awesome pictures and really feel like I'm not just capturing an item on the screen but a memory!

What really makes this site even more awesome than the tips, the community forums, the blogs - is the fact that part of the proceeds go to two different charities - Tiny Sparrow Foundation, which is a non profit charity dedicated to providing photography to families of children with life threatening illnesses. As well as Wipe Out Kids Cancer - which is an organization that devotes itself to researching all types of cancer in hopes of wiping it out.

If you need more of a reason to fall in love with this site - your trial membership is $1 and then an incredible $6 a month after that. $6 a month to learn how to take fantastic photographs of your family and the great feeling of knowing that part of that goes towards two awesome charities as well.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella

Fans of The Twilight Saga will be enthralled by this riveting story of Bree Tanner, a character first introduced in Eclipse, and the darker side of the newborn vampire world she inhabits.

In another irresistible combination of danger, mystery, and romance, Stephenie Meyer tells the devastating story of Bree and the newborn army as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion.

Bree Tanner can barely remember life before she had uncannily powerful senses, superhuman reflexes and unstoppable physical strength. Life before she had a relentless thirst for blood... life before she became a vampire.

All Bree knows is that living with her fellow newborns has few certainties and even fewer rules: watch your back, don't draw attention to yourself and, above all, make it home by sunrise or die. What she doesn't know: her time as an immortal is quickly running out.

Then Bree finds an unexpected friend in Diego, a newborn just as curious as Bree about their mysterious creator, whom they know only as "her". As they come to realize that the newborns are pawns in a game larger than anything they could have imagined, Bree and Diego must choose sides and decide whom to trust. But when everything you know about vampires is based on a lie, how do you find the truth?

**Personal Thoughts**

If you haven't read the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer you could get a little lost on this book. This takes a second point of view look at a character Stephenie wrote in the Eclipse book, Bree. It was a very quick read, I started & finished it in about one day, it made for an easy read. I was curious to see if this book might cause Stephenie to branch off even more from her Twilight series and find more outlets to unravel a novel from.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Nursery Purchases

Jason & I have agreed on a "Forest Friend" theme for the nursery. It's pretty gender neutral and it really fits our current theme at the house. Amy introduced me to the idea of clothing divers when she was pregnant with her daughter. I thought the idea was awesome, you get so many clothes - this is a great way to separate them by size so you can easily grab what you need. I just purchased these on Etsy yesterday - super cute & they totally go with our theme of forest friends. I LOVE them.

Yesterday night Jason & I went to the mall for dinner and to grab a replacement part for his bow for hunting season at Bass Pro. We noticed the kids toy section and wandered around - they have an entire series of animals that we fell in love with - most were birds but they had a few others. We grabbed this little guy and made our first decorative purchase for the nursery.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fantastic Mr. Fox

A wily fox uses his formidable cunning to outsmart three feeble-minded farmers, who resort to extreme tactics to protect their chickens in director Wes Anderson's animated adaptation of the popular Roald Dahl children's book. For 12 years, Mr. and Mrs. Fox (voices of George Clooney and Meryl Streep) have lived a peaceful life in the wilderness with their son, Ash (voice of Jason Schwartzman). Shortly after their young nephew Kristofferson (voice of Eric Anderson) arrives for a visit, Mr. Fox's long-suppressed animal instincts begin to take over and the faithful family man resorts back to his old ways as a cunning chicken thief, endangering not only his family but the entire animal community as well. When evil farmers Boggis, Bunce, and Bean force the animals underground in a desperate attempt to capture the audacious Mr. Fox, dwindling food supplies force the frightened animals to band together in one last attempt to fight for the land that is rightfully theirs. Bill Murray, Michael Gambon, Willem Dafoe, and Owen Wilson provide additional voices.

I added this movie to our queue simply based on the fact that it was based on a book by Roald Dahl - I always enjoyed reading his quirky books when I was younger. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was based on his book as well - the Johnny Depp version - not the first movie. Plus James & the Giant Peach is also based on his writing. But I regress - besides the fact that it was a Roald Dahl movie I thought it was awesome to have all these big names do voices for the characters.

If you haven't read Roald Dahl you may not "get" this movie - it's quirky and odd but totally Dahl. Jason watched about five minutes of it and wandered off. I love the animation of it and how true it holds to the book. It held my interest and I loved it - it made me want to go out and recollect all of Dahl's books for my children some day, and in the meantime, read them again for myself!

Eagle Eye

Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan star in Disturbia director D.J. Caruso's race-against-time thriller concerning two strangers thrust together by a mysterious telephone call, and their frantic efforts to discover why they have inexplicably become the nation's most wanted fugitives. Jerry Shaw (LaBeouf) and Rachel Holloman (Monaghan) were complete strangers at the beginning of the day, but that changed the instant a strange woman called to threaten both their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Suddenly forced into a series of increasingly dangerous situations, Jerry and Rachel must now take orders from a woman who's using everyday technology to track and control their every move. As the situation intensifies and the hapless duo are deemed the country's most wanted fugitives, they must work together in order to discover who it was that turned their lives upside down, and what they can do to thwart the criminal mastermind's cunning yet diabolical plan. Billy Bob Thornton, Rosario Dawson, Michael Chiklis, and Anthony Mackie co-star.

This was on TV & we decided to watch it & ended up getting sucked in pretty quickly. It was fast paced and I never felt like that plot line was dragging which some movies tend to do these days. It was always moving onto the next item of business and kept you waiting for more. While Jason enjoyed the movie he also thought it was unrealistic in parts which ruined it for him. I tend to suspend reality when watching movies and just enjoy the plot line. I thought this was one of Shia's better movies - I had only seen him in Transformers and couldn't finish watching the movie it was so bad. I loved how quickly the plot came together and we figured out what was going on instead of waiting two hours for the rush at the very end to explain it all and then end. Great movie! Four out of fives stars.