Monday, June 28, 2010

A good show you're probably not watching

Boston Med. It's on Thursday's at 10pm on ABC.

It's summer and the pickings on tv are slim. I probably should be outside enjoying the sun until 8pm because I bitch about it being cold and dark the other 9 months of the year. But, I love me some tv..especially reality tv. As I'm not a fan of So You Think You Can Dance or America's Got Talent...I needed some new stuff.

This was my fix last week

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Good Summer Reads

June has been a crazy month. Mr. Allan has been gone on business travel for about 90% of the month. This was one of the first weekends we were allowed to kick back and relax. The sink holes are gone from our pool, the weather is beautiful, the flowers are blooming, and all the hard work in the yard has paid off.

While I lounged by the pool this weekend I finished a novel and started a new one. I'm always on the hunt for some good books..especially bring to the beach worthy books.

Here are some of my picks!

I have the attention span of a gnat. I heard some rave reviews about this book. I grabbed it and started it in April. I read maybe 35 pages and thought..what's the big deal about this book? I stuck it out and am so glad i did! I LOVED this book. It wasn't fluffy chick lit that sometimes makes me feel not smart. I'm hooked and so excited there's a movie coming out as well!!!

If you don't want to read a book that will take you the whole summer..than this series might be for you. After finishing The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I needed a small breather. I love Janet Evanovich books. They go in numeric order, starting with One for The Money. I read them intermittently. A couple made it on the honeymoon to Hawaii. They're quick reads, and I love the main character, Stephanie Plum. I also love that there's a new one coming out every few months, so it's something easy to pick up anytime and keep going with the series.

Ok. I'll be honest. I hadn't heard about this book in any book review or intelligent publication. I was reading US magazine and saw a picture of Sarah Jessica Parker holding this book. It caught my eye because I thought it might be a self help book. I did some research and found it at Barnes and Noble and decided to pack it away for a read while I was in Hawaii in the fall. It turned out to be an excellent read. A 4H club Southern girl exposes the secrets and stories behind the Help in the 1960's in Mississippi. The stories are from the maids and nannies from that time and in that area make it an excellent read. So, US magazine is useful is certain situations.

And...just because I finished it today....

So good. I didn't think it would..but it topped the first one. I raved about it so much that Mr. Allan has picked up The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo after I assured him it wasn't a girly book.

Happy reading and don't forget your sunblock at the beach!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Chocolate Ginger Cookies

The husband has been traveling alot lately. It puts me in a bad mood when all the household chores fall on my shoulders. Things like taking out the trash when you have a very long driveway and cleaning up cat hairballs seem to top my list of things that annoy me when Mr. Allan is away, especially since the cats seem to act so incredibly bad when he's not they think I hog tied him and threw him in the woods and he's never coming back.

So, after a fifth week of travel for Mr. Allan, I needed to pop out of my cranky pants mood and put a happy face on. So, I thought, what better to do than bake some cookies. I looked in the cupboards, snagged a bag of chocolate chips and started flipping through some cookbooks looking to give a new recipe a whirl. Martha Stewart's Chewy Chocolate Ginger Cookies were the winner.

I liked this recipe for a few different reasons.

1) it's hard to be in a bad mood when you grate fresh ginger. It smells so good
2) these weren't gi-normous cookies you feel guilty eating. They were on the lighter side and not heavy and weighed down with too many nuts, chocolate pieces etc. I typically try not to eat too many of my creations, but snuck one and didn't feel guilty.
3) chocolate and ginger and these spices = a good combo

Chewy Chocolate Ginger Cookies from the queen herself, Martha Stewart

7 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate  ( I used 3/4 bag of Nestle Semi Sweet Chips)
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar


Line two baking sheets with parchment. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and grated ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.

In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more.

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

My new best friend

My beloved T3 hairdryer from Sephora bit the bullet a couple weeks ago. I was a bit devastated consider 1) how much it cost and 2) because I really really loved my hair dryer. The T3 made it so easy to straighten  my weird half curly half straight thick weird hair. Did I mention my hair is weird?

So began the search for something to replace it. Sephora was nice enough to give me a store credit, but it was my 2nd T3 since the first one burnt out and smelled like a forest fire every once in a while.

I hopped on A fantastic website with tons of beauty product reviews. If you ever want to try something and don't want to fork out $30 for a mascara you're unsure about, check out that website for reviews on all sorts of products.

The ladies with hair issues  similiar to mine, recommended the Elchim. I then hopped over to They had the hands down best price and free shipping. 2 days later, this beauty landed on my door step.
We've become instant best friends and my Elchim is sooooo much better than my old T3 mostly because it has 1) temperature settings. The T3 was always on super ultra wicked hot. My Elchim has 3 different settings and 2) it's more powerful and cuts my drying time by about 25%.

My only gripe- the straightening nozzle you see in the picture above is a bit small and I got a whole lot of hair to dry. But, for what it does, it's only a minor snaffoo.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Nars Blush

I've read about it countless magazines. I've seen it on so many websites. I've read rave reviews about this product. So, I had to try it.

Nars Blush in Orgasm. I love it. Go out and get yourself some.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pesto Scallops over Fettucine

Now that spring has sprung and summer is on it's way in New England, we're starting to enjoy the warm weather and our yard! After 2 straight weekends of weeding, mulching, shoveling, and preparing, our pool is up and running (yeah! No more sink holes from RI's great flood!) and our garden is planted and blooming!!

I only started gardening when we moved to our house. The previous owners had a raised bed garden. If we didn't replant, we'd have a large wooden 4 foot by 20 foot sandbox in our yard. Over the past 3 years we've learned some tricks of the trade. Our vegetable/herb garden is up and growing and this past weekend we enjoyed our first batch of homemade pesto.


Another great thing, we moved in next door to some great neighbors. Besides giving us information about the area and feeding the cats while we're away, our neighbor buys fresh RI seafood right off the fishing boats and sells to local businesses. We got to snag a few pounds of fresh scallops this weekend as well.

We made this recipe of pesto Scallops over Fettucine, although I used Linguine :)

Here's a snap shot of the dish and the recipe follows!

Home made Pesto

3 cups loosely packed Basil leaves
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
4 peeled garlic cloves
1/4 cup grated Parmesean
3/4 cup of oil

In a food processor, pulse together the first 4 ingredients (all but oil). Then slowly stream in oil. You can also add some salt and pepper to taste.

Reasons why I like this pesto: I'm not a huge fan of pine nuts. I think they add a bitter taste to pesto. I opted for the healthy alternative of walnuts. They still provide a nutty flavor. I also do not add as much oil as other pesto recipes you may see. I like the fresh basil taste of this pesto and saw no need to overload on oil. I typically add pesto to alot of pasta dishes. I find that when I use less oil, it sticks to the pasta better. If you like it more on the oily side, I would add 1 cup or 1 1/4 cup of oil.

Scallops Over Fettucine (or Linguine...)

1 pound fresh scallops rinses and patted dry
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup mushrooms
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 TBSP white wine
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound Fettucine or any pasta
1/4 cup of pesto
Parmesean cheese to top

Fill pot for pasta with generously salted water and bring to a boil. Cook pasta. While pasta is cooking, coat a heated skillet with approx. 2 TBSP of EVOO. Saute onion until soft. Add green pepper and mushrooms. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic. Once veggies are cooked for an additional two or three minutes, add wine and lemon juice.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes and then add scallops. Cover the skillet and let the scallops cook (scallops typically take 3-4 minutes to cook, be careful not to overcook them- they can become rubbery when overdone).

Drain pasta. Immediately toss pasta with pesto.

Remove scallops from skillet and set aside. Add the vegetables in the skillet to the pasta and pesto. Toss well. Plate pasta and top with scallops. Sprinkle with Parmesean cheese.

Just an additional note-- I added more like 1/2- 3/4 cup of pesto vs. the 1/4 cup the recipe calls for. This dish was a perfect summer dish. We paired it with a nice chilled Pinot Grigio!

Friday, June 4, 2010

It's officially Polo season

I learned many interesting things living in Newport, Rhode Island. Some things, like island mentality...aka not leaving the mass of land we lived on even though we live in the smallest state in the United States, stick with me.

I also met alot of interesting people..the Newport crew as I call them. We still vacation, dinner and hang out with them quite often. One of my favorite activities we were introduced to was Polo. I can say it wasn't a sport that interested me whatsoever. I think of polo and I think of Prince Harry and William and their girlfriends with large hats on. But, don't knock it til you try it!

The Newport Polo Club opens its season with the USA vs. Dominican Republic this weekend. We've reserved our spot on the field for the best part of polo- tailgating.

So ladies, throw on your sundresses, grab your bottles of chilled pinot grigio and make a cheese platter. We'll see you at the polo field many times this summer!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Carribean Sweet Potato Salad

I've become a huge fan of sweet potates. Not that white ones are bad, but the sweet ones are just too good to eat the white kind anymore.

So, my task last week was to find a sweet potato salad recipe. My one requirement--that it have no mayo in it. I hate mayonnaise. Unless it's well disguised, I try not to touch the stuff.

My task at hand was successfully completed. I found this recipe and at first, stuck my nose up at it a bit. The ingredients, well, the list just didn't go together. But, being adventurous as I am, I said what the heck, let's give it a whirl. I'm glad I did.

I give you Carribean Sweet Potato Salad courtesy of

Mrs Allan's Notes: I skipped out on the russet potato. I used 3 medium to large sized sweet potatoes. I also omitted the red onion. I have a weird hatred for raw red onion.


1 large russet potato, peeled and quartered
1 large sweet potato, peeled and quartered
1 cup corn
1 teaspoon prepared Dijon-style mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cucumber, halved lengthwise and chopped
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced 1/4 cup finely chopped peanuts


Place the Russet potato pieces into a large saucepan, and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the sweet potato, and cook about 15 minutes more. Remove a piece of each potato, and cut it in half to see if it is cooked enough. Once the potatoes are tender, add corn kernels; cook another 30 seconds. Drain through a colander. Fill the saucepan with cold water, and drop vegetables into water. Cool for 5 minutes, and drain.

In a large bowl, whisk together mustard, lime juice, cilantro, and garlic. Slowly whisk in oil. Mix in salt and black pepper.

Cut cooled potatoes into 1 inch cubes, and add to dressing along with cucumber, and red onion. Toss well. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Toss the peanuts in just before serving.