Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding Fever!

I'm kind of glad I didn't bust my butt, set the alarm at 4am, and wake up to watch the live coverage. My butt rolled out of bed at 6:15, mostly because I had hungry cats crawling all over me even though Mr. Allan shut them out of the bedroom. Apparently one of the cats figured out how to work some door knobs. I was pleasantly surprised to turn on the TV while making coffee and feeding cats to see that I really didn't miss anything. I sat curled up on my couch with a cup of coffee and watched, with most of the world I'm sure, as Kate stepped out of the car and we got the first glimpse at her dress...and I must say...I LOVED it! I loved that it's modern, yet classic and elegant, but didn't fall into the fruffy royal dress catergory like so many others!

But what really knocked my socks off...Maid of Honor Pippa's dress..I LOVED LOVED LOVED it!
Wowza...form fitting, modern, and it makes her body look amazing!

and, of course with great fashion comes a bunch of hot messes....the ugliest what we're you thinking and why on earth would you wear this to the Royal Wedding award goes to....

Seriously? It's not like they're ugly girls..they're both pretty with nice why they would ever chose these outfits is beyond me!

all photos from


My favorite day of the week...Friday! I'm hopping on the Fun Fridays bandwagon with Jennie from A Girl in Pearls and A Boy with Toys

Not only am I excited that it's the weekend...I'm loving that there is no Court today and I had an office day! I'm hoping to walk over to the mall during my lunch break and get some much needed office work and office cleaning done today! Mr. Allan arrived home from a week long business trip to Texas...I can't wait to grab some dinner and drinks with the Mr. tonight....and of course it goes without saying that I'll be looking at tons of Royal Wedding stuff!

On Saturday, it's time to start getting the yard ready for spring and summer. The weather has steadily gotten warmer and Mr. Allan is going to power wash and stain the deck. It's quite the task because we have quite the yard and quite a bit of deck. So I wish him the best of luck :)

Saturday night I think we're headed to Newport for some Mexican with friends! Hopefully lots of sangria and margaritas as well!

On Sunday I'm headed out for brunch with my sisters and a friend and then to see a play version of Steel Magnolias..

so many good lines from this movie! I've seen it a million times and can't wait to see how its interpreted into a play..and an afternoon with some ladies isn't too bad of a way to wrap up the weekend!

One to do task for me...clean out my's a hot mess! I'm dying to pack away some of the winter stuff and whip out some summer stuff!

I should be embarrassed to even post a picture of it!

I'm dying to get the summer stuff out!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Chick Fil A ducklings

 I think this is so ironic and absolutely adorable. A mamma duck made her nest behind the speaker at a Chick Fil A drive thru. The employees of the Chick Fil A gave her food and water and built a fence around her. They kept an eye on her and her eggs hatched earlier this week. Now the drive thru is home to the mamma duck and her ducklings!

The Best Banana Bread Recipe

That's the claim on the this recipe. That's what sucked me in. Once I read it, I knew I needed to try this right away to see if the claim was true or not. I'm glad to report..I think it's pretty damn close!

So, how did I find this recipe? I became obsessed with the idea of brownies a couple weeks ago. To me, they're a perfect treat to bake. You can cut them small, there's a big hit of chocolate, and you're satisfied without eating a 5000 calorie cupcake drenched in frosting. So, I was on a baking kick and perusing the Epicurious blog (the blog from the peeps at Bon Appetit). One post caught my eye...Aunt Holly's Banana Bread. I opened it and the author of the blog claimed it was the absolute best he'd ever had. I love me some banana bread..especially because I can't stand when the bananas in the fruit bowl get one tiny brown if they get weird, they're popped in the freezer for later use. Unfortunately...or maybe fortunately for my work freezer had way too many nanners! So..this recipe was up to get tested!

One thing I loved...a nice batter without a lot of ingredients. I feel like most banana bread recipes have buttermilk, lots of oil etc...this one had none of it!

Fresh out of the oven...this smelled sooooooo good!

Since Mr. Allan was away on business on this particular day...the bread got sliced up for the work people...

The original recipe suggest some chocolate chips or maybe some nuts..I had both on a handful of chocolate chips and some leftover walnuts made their way in! we go...the Best Banana Bread..also known as Aunt Holly's Banana Bread!

Aunt Holly's Banana Bread

3 to 4 ripe bananas
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar*
1 1/2 cups flour*
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon baking soda
Chocolate chips (as many as you want!)

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl mash bananas with a fork. Add in all ingredients but eggs and chocolate chips. Stir well. Add in beaten egg. Add in chocolate chips and nuts if desired.

Bake for 50-55 minutes.

* I took some advice from some reviews that were on epicurious. One was to cut down on the sugar. Some described it as too much and the sugar masked the banana taste. I used 1/2 cup of sugar.
* I also used a mix of whole wheat and white flour. I used 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup of all purpose flour. I didn't go all the way whole wheat, because whole wheat flour has a little bit of a mealy texture and I was unsure how it'd affect the bread.

I brought the tray of banana bread to work..I set it out near our coffeemaker at 8:45 and it was gone by 9:15. Rave reviews! In fact...I'm saving 2 pieces for Mr. Allan to have when he comes home from a business trip...but they're calling my name right now!!! We'll see if they make it! This was moist, delicious and definitely a keeper!


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

It's Wednesday...yeah for Hump Day..the weekend can't come soon enough...I sound like a broken record every Wednesday but Wednesday gets me so excited that Friday is only two days away!'s also time for What I'm Loving Wednesdays with!

So what am I loving this Wednesday....

I've held off but I've got Royal Wedding Fever! Maybe because Prince William is somewhat around my age, or maybe it's because I love the story of the commoner girl nabbing the Prince and becoming Her Royal Highness! I'm dying to see her dress..hoping it's not this old lady frilly deal and can't wait to hear the details. I'm not sure I'll be able to haul my butt out of bed at 4am..thank god for TIVO!

I'm also loving that 16 and Pregnant is back on MTV...I didn't get to into Teen Mom 2 (if you're, this chick watches really bad're absolutely right!) 16 and Pregnant is my guilty pleasure and I love to TIVO it on Tuesday nights and watch it on Wednesdays!

Although it might not seem like it...I do not watch 17 hours of television a day. I just selectively watch really bad tv and can do it in about an hour thanks to Tivo! When the bad tv watching is of my favorite things to do is curl up with my Kindle. I bought it on a whim after Christmas and have been having a love affair with it ever much that it was Mr. Allan's Valentine's Day gift (insert your awww here).

But..what I'm really when Mr. Allan is home..we turn off the tv, go into the bedroom ...(get your mind out of the gutter)...and just relax and read. It sounds cheesy, but just turning off the tv, putting our cellphones aside, unwinding and reading is my new favorite thing to do and I wish we did it waaaayyyyy more often!

I also love that the weather is FINALLY warming up around here! Mr. Allan spent some time raking and cleaning up the yard (my job is to make it pretty!). Daffodils are everywhere and I love it! Nothing says spring like a nice bright yellow daffodil

and lastly...I have a huge hodge podge of loves this week...but I'm loving fresh Ginger! I bought some to make this Ginger Apple HERE for the recipe and post.
Ginger's a little weird looking but I love the smell once I start to peel it. Besides using it for the recipe, I used fresh ginger, a little bit of olive oil, and some soy sauce for a marinade on both pork chops and chicken and it was amazing!
Hope you have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Love Homework with Man Wife & Dog!

It's time for some Love Homework....a little fun with Man Wife & Dog Blog!

So what's this week's assignment? Dedicate a song to the husband!

I could easily just choose our wedding song or go the cheesy romantic route....but when I think of Mr. Allan...who, by the way, is not known for his musicality or singing ability...two songs come to mind!

First up..."All or Nothing" by O-Town. know..the boys from the Making the Band reality show with Lou Pearlman who took credit for inventing the Back Street Boys? C'mon..I know I'm not the only stooge who watched this reality show before reality tv became popular??

When I first met Mr. Allan..he was one quiet guy. A couple weeks after we had started dating, we got into his awesome 1988 Jeep Cherokee with saggy ceiling and moldy seat and windows that didn't roll down. He turned on our local radio station and O Town was playing. To my surprise, he belted out the refrain of this song ..full blast...and I nearly peed myself it was so funny. Every time this song came on he gave his rendition!


the second song that comes to mind...On the Wings of Love. I torture my poor husband with bad television. One show he was fortunate or maybe unfortunate enough to watch with me..The Bachelor..On the Wings of Love season with Jake.  We both cracked up when ABC flew the singer, Jefferey Osbourne, to the Bachelor set to perform this cheesy 80's song. Mr. Allan had to travel to Alaska for work couple weeks back. Once he was done with work and getting ready to fly back, I was able to talk to him. One day he was in his rental car driving around Anchorage and this song came on. He immediately called me and I answered the phone to him belting out, in his lovely crackly high that's not supposed to be high voice, "on the wing of love" made my day and the fact that he had been for so long not that bad!

Here's the cheesiest version on YouTube I could find!

Head on over to to check out some other Love Homework Assignments..and sorry for using the word cheesy at least 3 times in one post..but it fits all of the above songs!

Ginger Apple Torte

My dad and stepmother came for dinner a couple weeks ago. While I like to cook..I LOVE to bake...I went on the search for a nice cake..I didn't want one drowning in sugary frosting, too loaded with chocolate, or this huge cake for just 4 of us.

A website and blog I love to follow...Food 52. I went on over and started to look at their top ranked recipes...this one caught my eye...Ginger Apple Torte. It wasn't this larger than life way too many ingredients including everything but the kitchen sink recipe. It looked sophisticated and tasty and right up my alley since I've been on a fresh ginger kick!

First off..the dry ingredients sifted together... 

Nothing smells better than apples on the stove top...

Apples make the base for this torte in a springform pan

batter on top..then walnuts pressed in and some turbinado sugar on top

Fresh out of the oven...this smelled so good!

I was also very excited to use my cake holder...

I loved how you cut into this cake and there were apples everywhere

Instead of whipped cream...a scoop of vanilla bean was a perfect pair to this torte!

Ginger Apple Torte (from 
3 large apples (I used Honeycrisp and Fuji.)
4 tablespoons turbinado sugar, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter + ~2 TB butter + more for pan
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger (if you want more of a gingery kick; optional)
3/4 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (I peeled a 2 inch piece and grated it with a microplane grater)
1 tablespoon molasses
3 tablespoons dark rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
10 walnut halves

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9” springform pan. If you are concerned about your springform pan leaking, wrap the bottom with aluminum foil

Core and peel apples, and cut into thin slices. Melt ~2 TB of butter in saucepan and cook until it is lightly browned. Stir in apple slices until all slices are covered with browned butter. Sprinkle ~2 TB turbinado sugar over apples, and continue to saute, stirring occasionally, till apples are softened and most of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger (if using) and salt. Set aside

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar till fluffy. Beat in two eggs. Beat in lemon zest, ginger, molasses, rum, and vanilla extract. (The mixture will look curdled. It's OK.)

Stir in the flour mixture a little at a time, stirring after each addition so the batter is thick and smooth. Fold in the milk and yogurt till batter is smooth and thoroughly combined

Scrape half the batter into the prepared springform pan. Cover with apple slices, and spread the other half of the batter over the apples. Smooth top with spatula. Place walnut halves on the top of the cake, and sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of turbinado sugar over the top of the cake

Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. The cake may slightly pull away from the sides of the pan

Transfer to a cooling rack. Run a knife along the edges of the cake to loosen it completely from the sides of the pan. Open the ring and remove it. If you want to remove the cake from the base of the springform pan, wait until it has cooled completely, then slide a long thin spatula between the cake and the base. Use a large spatula to then move it to a serving plate.

Serve as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a blob of barely sweetened softly whipped cream.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Starting Monday off on the Wrong Foot..literally...

I'm always in a funk on Mondays..the weekend is over and it's back to the daily grind. It's hard enough to get out bed, shower, get ready, get out the door on time...then to the office, review my cases, get everything I need for court ready and then truck over to the courthouse.

Today...I took my files out of my work bag, then reached for my shoes only to find that I grabbed 2 different shoes this morning...and it's not like they're even close to a match! it Friday yet?

Beekeeping and Some Ham

Mr. Allan and I had a low key Easter. We drove up to Western, MA to help my mom with some things around the yard and were rewarded handsomely with some great Easter grub! While Mr. Allan and my mom cleaned up the yard, I was on ham duty...I did have a friend who got quite cozy with the ham....

Here was our little Easter feast for three...I loved that it was all vegetables and some ham kind of meal!

This was my other little helper...who knew a dog this small could eat so much ham!

Then..after dinner my mom's bees were delivered. My mom is a part time bee keeper....just for all those that went to our wedding and was wondering why we had little jars of honey as favors...because my momma's a beekeeper..thats why!

Here's my mom and her beekeeping helper, Bill, all dressed up putting the bees in!

My mom was very excited to shake the bees and put them in herself

Zoe and I watched from a safe distance away..don't want that little cute dog getting stung!

Here's a close up of the was really something to watch!

I do also realize that my pictures have little gray bars at the bottoms of to picasa web albums and the edit feature not working this morning!

I hope everyone had a great Easter and isn't in a peep/mini egg sugar coma this morning!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Daddy's Bangor Brownies

I've had a thing for brownies lately...they're pretty easy to make, there are a million different combinations, and well, I feel less guilty eating a little brownie rather than a slab a cake, a decadent dessert or something smothered in frosting.'ll see lots of brownie variations. I tried to pinpoint some recipes that I thought were different..not your regular ole brownie we're starting with Daddy's Bangor Brownies...they're not my Daddy's recipe..and I grew up in a place called Woonsocket..not Bangor...but I still thought they were good! These are a big cakey brownie..not a small bite and I thought they were pretty damn good!

These came out of a cookbook called the Best of the has different recipes from the best cookbooks as determined by Food and Wine Magazine. This particular recipe came from the cookbook Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters.

all prepped and ready to go!

How to tell if it's a good brownie recipe..if you're melting good's probably going to result in a really nice brownie!

here are the brownies ready to go. If you line your brownie pan with foil, then grease it, it makes for easy removal once they're baked. You let them cool and simply lift the edges of the foil (be sure to have an overhang on the sides). You can also use parchment paper, but I find the foil easier. It avoids the disaster of having your corners stuck in the pan. This brownie batter had the consistency of cake batter...this recipe ain't messing around!

Again..these were some serious brownies..if you're looking for an extremely dense intense chocolate flavor..probably not the recipe for you. But, if you like your brownies more like cake and less fudge like..these will be a hit with you!

Daddy's Bangor Brownies
Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters

1 1/2 cups flour, sifted
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups sugar
6 eggs
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup milk
2 cups chopped walnuts

1. Set oven rack in the middle position. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 by 13 pan with foil and coat generously with a vegetable spray.

2. Sift together salt and flour and set aside.

3. Place butter, brown sugar, and sugar in the bowl of a mixer and cream together with paddle attachement until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, then cooled and melted chocolate. Mix together the vanilla and milk and then add the dry ingredients alternatively with the milk mixtures, mixing well after each addition. Fold in walnuts.

4. Pour batter into pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a tester comes out dry. Cool to room temperature and refigerate until cold. Cut into squares or triangles and sure.

Just a couple notes...Mine took way longer to an additional 15 minutes, so you need to keep a close eye on them. My oven is pretty good with temperatures...but I took these out and they were very batterlike inside and not done. I also didn't refrigerate them...they cooled and Mr. Allan and I dug in!

Fun Fridays!


It goes in bold this week because it was a long one! I'm so excited it's Friday...Good Friday at that..although I don't get the day off!

So what's in store for the Allans this weekend?

Today...I'm excited for my co workers to try a new brownie recipe..might sound very anti-climactic to most..but I was in the mood to bake last night and think I made some pretty good on the look out for the recipe!

Tomorrow I'm running the Scott Carlson Memorial 5k. This is a great race for a great cause. It supports ALS, or Lou Gehrig's, disease research. The race is named for a man who lost his battle to the disease in 2003 at the age of 39. I love to run and support this race since I know a great woman I used to work for in law school who died from this awful disease. The forecast is calling for rain...but I'll brave the sprinkles and go out and get some exercise!

Then, Mr. Allan and I are heading to Western, MA to spend Easter with this lady...

Why who is fabulous mom of course! We also get to hang out with her lovely sidekicks


and Zoe

Most of all I'm looking forward to a great weekend with a little exercise..then some time helping my mom out with things around the yard and house...and cooking a great meal for us on Sunday..maybe a little play time with the puppy too!

Happy Easter and Happy Weekend!

Be sure to check out Fun Fridays with Jennie from A Girl with Pearls and A Boy with Toys!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pappardelle with Ricotta, Spinach and fresh herbs

I'm always torn with pasta dishes. I like them light without heavy sauces and I always feel like pasta recipes try to shove as much stuff in a recipe as they possibly can or weigh the pasta down with thick creamy sauce. You might be asking..what the heck is wrong with that? Nothing..if you like your pasta that way, but if you're a pasta lovah and want a healthier lighter dish..this one might be for you..especially if you love fresh herbs!

I'm just going to do one more warning...don't use dried herbs. The fresh herbs make this dish. Also, if you want your spinach to be wilted and soft, saute with a little garlic and some olive oil. The one thing that took me by surprise..the spinach in the recipe stayed crunchy..and I kind of liked it...but..onto the recipe!

This is the picture off the cover of this month's Cooking Light that suckered me just reminded me of spring and summer..which I'm dying for both to get here already!

First up...lots of fresh herbs..parsley, dill, and chives!

I love cooking..but there's nothing better than doing it with Mr. Allan...there's nothing sexier than a husband who helps with the grunt work of making dinner. Mr. Allan's job...grating cheese.

I'm usually strict in our house and only buy whole wheat pasta..I couldn't find anything that was as thick as a pappardelle a special treat with regular pasta!

I'm also super organized when I cook..especially with new's everything prepped, ready, and waiting to go!

My finished product!

Onto the table for dinner...

Pappardelle with Ricotta, Spinach and fresh herbs
8 ounces uncooked pappardelle (wide ribbon pasta)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/3 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
3 cups baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
3 tablespoons grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


1. Cook pasta with 1 tablespoon kosher salt according to package directions, omitting additional fat. Drain in a colander over a bowl, and reserve 1 cup cooking liquid.

2. Combine 1/2 cup reserved hot cooking liquid and ricotta cheese in a food processor or blender, and process until well blended.

3. Combine hot pasta, cheese mixture, spinach, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl; toss gently to coat. Add additional cooking liquid to moisten, if needed.

Just a couple notes...the spinach stays crunchy..if you don't think you'll enjoy the crunch..saute beforehand. Also, I used Parmesan Romano on hand and it tasted fine. Also..measure your herbs. I saw a lot of reviews on the Cooking Light website of people complaining about an overwhelming chive or dill taste...I'm not a huge fan of either..but I really enjoyed this combo of herbs and the light ricotta sauce. One last note..I did use my food processor to mix the pasta water and ricotta..I'm not really sure that was necessary...I think it would have done fine stirring them in a bowl.