Friday, January 24, 2014

My Favorite Books of 2013

I love reading.  When I get wrapped up in a good book I become a bad mother and wife. My mom has even told me that I am not allowed to read when we visit each other because I ignore her.  In 2013 my goal was to read 100 books, unfortunately, I was only able to read 91.  I want to share with you a few of my favorites from last year (in no particular order).

Roam series by Kimbery Stedronsky

I am a fan of paranormal fiction and the Roam series was wonderful for me.  It is a very interesting and imaginative series, different from most paranormal books I've read.  West and Roam have seven lifetimes to protect her from evil and save the world.  West fails six times and the series picks up with them finding each other in the seventh.  This series is unique and I fell in love with it immediately.  I believe I read the entire series in a week.  

Inferno by Dan Brown

I love Dan Brown and have read all of his previous Robert Langdon books.  This book did not disappoint.  I have always been fascinated with Dante's Inferno so when I found out that the plot of Brown's next book was based on Dante's Inferno, I couldn't wait to read it.  Just like previous books in this series, Robert Langdon is on one huge mysterious adventure where he needs to decide who to trust before the world is forever damaged.

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon

The story takes place in 1968 and tells the story of a young white woman and an African American man who have been placed in the School for the Incurable and Feeble-Minded.  The story spans a 40-year time frame and tells of the seemingly unsurmountable obstacles these two go through for their extraordinary love.  Be prepared to shed some tears if you read this amazing book.

The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon

Once I start reading and liking a book in a series, I must read them all in succession.  A friend of mine recommended the Outlander series to me and it has become one of my favorites of all time.  This series is a beautifully written, historical fiction work detailing an epic love story.  The time travel satisfies my love of fantasy and the love between Claire and Jamie is great for my need for romance.  The only downfall I have with this series is that the novels are LONG and at times Gabaldon's attention for detail can get a little boring.  I am excited about the fact that the Starz network is creating a series based on the novels.  I can't wait to see how the tv show compares to the books.  I highly recommend this series to any fan of historical fiction and romance.

Crossfire series by Sylvia Day

For any of you who are fans of the Fifty Shades of Grey, the Crossfire series will be perfect for you.  I'm kind of ashamed to admit it, but I am a sucker for smutty books and this one fits into that category.  The love story between the two main characters, Eva & Gideon, who are both flawed and damaged, is very hot and steamy.  Day also tells about both of their pasts which come back to haunt them as they move forward to their future.  If you are a fan of the hot and steamy with a decent story line, this series is for you.  

The Blackdagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward

I am also a huge fan of vampires which is why the Blackdagger Brotherhood series is probably one of my favorite series ever.  It is about a brotherhood of vampires who work together to protect the world from their enemies in the Lessing society.  Each book is about a different sexy vampire brother,  the woman he loves and the brotherhood's fight with the lessing society.  These books are perfect for the vampire and paranormal romance lover, like me.  

If you take my recommendations and read any of these books I'd love to hear what you think about them.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Brown Sugar Glazed Pork Roast

Last weekend when I gave my guys the options for the weekly dinner menu they all voted for the pork roast to be their first meal of the week.  I must admit I'm not a huge pork lover, unless it is bacon or ham, so I wasn't as excited about this meal as the guys were.

  One thing that did get me excited about this meal was that it is a crockpot meal which meant less work for Mommy.  I don't have many crockpot recipes, but when I find one that is good I cook it as often as possible.  

Even though I'm not a huge pork lover, this one makes the cut for me because it is really good.  The caramelized outer layer is delicious.  I love the flavor from the glaze.  It isn't too sweet, just enough.  RJ really liked it, he kept asking for more of the bbq ribs??

One change I made from the recipe I found on Laura's Sweet Spot was that I cooked the roast in chicken stock instead of water.  Emeril always says water has no flavor so I figured I should cook the roast in something that will add to the flavor.  

If you decide to make this, I hope you enjoy it as much as my guys did.


2 pounds pork tenderloin
1 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce


Mix together the seasonings:  sage, salt, pepper and garlic.  Rub over tenderloin.  Place chicken stock in crock pot.  Place tenderloin in crock pot.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  About an hour before roast is done mix ingredients for glaze in a small sauce pan:  brown sugar, cornstarch, balsamic vinegar, water and soy sauce.  Heat over medium and stir until thickens, about 4 minutes.  When roast is finished cooking, remove from crock pot and place on aluminum lined baking sheet.  Brush roast with glaze and put under broiler for a few minutes until caramelized glaze is achieved.  Brush roast 2-3 times while under broiler.  Serve with glaze on the side.  


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Honey Cornbread Muffins

My family loves cornbread and I make it for them quite often.  I just pull out my box of Jiffy and tada, cornbread!!

One day I was surfing Pinterest and I ran across this great looking recipe for honey cornbread muffins on Relativetaste.  I know so many people who make their cornbread from scratch so I figured I give it a try.  

I was pleasantly surprised, not only were they easy to make, but they tasted great also.  The recipe called for paper liners, but I didn't use liners.  I just sprayed my muffin tin with Baker's Joy and that worked out fine.  

I told Hubby that this recipe was good enough for me to stop using my Jiffy and he said "I hope so".  So I guess he liked them too.  :-)


  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.  In another bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, butter and honey.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and stir until just mixed.  Place muffin paper liners in a 12-cup muffin tin.  Evenly divide the cornbread mixture into the papers.  Bake for 15 minutes, until golden.  


Monday, January 13, 2014

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

My parents spent Christmas with us again this year so I had to make one of my dad's favorite cookies, oatmeal raisin.  
Doesn't the cookie dough look yummy!!  

Hubby also loves oatmeal raisin cookies and it was very comical watching their playful quarrels about who I actually made the cookies for.  

One thing I started doing after I made this batch of cookies was using parchment paper.  This was my first time using it and I promise I will never make cookies without parchment paper ever again.  
The cookies just slid off the baking sheet.  

In addition to the oatmeal raisin cookies, I made 4 other types of cookies for my daddy, the cookie monster!  I will share those recipes with you later.

We were hoping we would get a little snow Christmas day like we did last year.  Unfortunately, it was just really cold so we enjoyed our cookies in front of the fire.  

I have accumulated quite the collection of Christmas tins.  They really came in handy this year with five different types of cookies to store away.   

I hope if you enjoy oatmeal raisin cookies, that you will make these cookies for yourself and your family.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Recipe


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Saints vs. Seahawks - Who Dat Baby!!

I am going to have butterflies in my stomach all day as I await the Saints vs. Seahawks playoff game at 3:35 CST.  My Saints have made it to a second round playoff game and the entire Who Dat Nation will be anxiously watching this event.  

In addition to a win, I am looking forward to seeing my favorite player, Jimmy Graham, make some big plays.  

Whatever happens, I love my Saints and they have given us another great season of football.  We really don't want it to end yet so we are lighting our candles, saying our prayers and making our gris gris in order for us to beat the Seahawks today!!

Our boys are the underdogs in this game, but win or loose our fans will be behind them 100%!!!!


Proud Member of the Who Dat Nation!