Friday, December 25, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
From Publishers Weekly
From The Washington Post
In the days following Sept. 11, 2001, hardly anyone, not even the late night comedians, knew what to say. Now, more than five years later, the roster of books and films addressing 9/11 and its consequences has grown long. There are explorations of religion and foreign policy, memoirs of life on the 21st-century battlefield, depictions of global culture, investigations, predictions and elegies. With Nicholas Sparks's contribution to the list, Dear John, we see our political climate in yet another light: candlelight, maybe. Or moonlight.
Narrator John Tyree is a wayward son of Wilmington, N.C., reformed first by the service (he seems to shed most of his rebelliousness at boot camp) and later by love. John meets Savannah Lynn Curtis while home on leave, in June of 2000. Savannah, a rising senior at UNC, is spending her summer building houses for those without. The couple share two fleeting weeks -- including an innocent scene under a half-built roof that's as big-screen-ready as they come -- before John must return to his post in Germany. For more than a year, he pines and she endures, counting the days until he will be honorably discharged.
Then the Twin Towers fall. Rather than returning to his love, John reenlists. In January 2003, his unit is sent into Turkey, then transferred to Kuwait. In March, he takes part in the invasion of Iraq. While John's days play out in the desert (when asked about his time there, all he mentions is the sand), Savannah must face her own unlucky destiny. Finally, with the death of John's father, whose somewhat unbelievable tale provides the main subplot of the book, the two are reunited and left to sort things out amid their tears and ours.
It isn't hard to picture John Tyree. We can simply imagine his predecessors, men in uniform staring pensively from earlier wartime romances. Apart from the occasional detail -- e-mail, cellphone, Outback Steakhouse -- Dear John could take place in any modern American era. For Sparks, weighty matters of the day remain set pieces, furniture upon which to hang timeless tales of chaste longing and harsh fate. Only in a novel such as this could we find our political buzzwords -- peacekeeping, IEDs, hurricane relief -- interspersed with these sentiments: "And when her lips met mine, I knew that I could live to be a hundred and visit every country in the world, but nothing would ever compare to that single moment when I first kissed the girl of my dreams and knew that my love would last forever."This book has been made into a movie which will be in theaters in February. The movie stars Channing Tatum (soo cute) and Amanda Seyfried (she's from my hometown and also starred in Mama Mia). I'm so excited for this movie to come out! Check out the trailer (I love the song they use in the background).
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
4 (8-ounce) fish fillets such as red snapper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces creme fraiche
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons drained capers
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. (You can also use an ovenproof baking dish.) Place the fish fillets skin side down on the sheet pan. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Combine the creme fraiche, 2 mustards, shallots, capers, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Spoon the sauce evenly over the fish fillets, making sure the fish is completely covered. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, until it's barely done. (The fish will flake easily at the thickest part when it's done.) Be sure not to overcook it! Serve hot or at room temperature with the sauce from the pan spooned over the top.
With the fish, I made Dill Potatos. This is what she paired it with on the show when she made the fish. The potatoes were super easy and I will definitely make them again with other dishes.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 pounds fingerling potatoes, rinsed but not peeled
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot. Add the whole potatoes, salt, and pepper, and toss well. Cover the pot tightly and cook over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are just tender when tested with a small knife. From time to time, shake the pot without removing the lid to prevent the bottom potatoes from burning. Turn off the heat and allow the potatoes to steam for another 5 minutes. Don't overcook. Toss with the dill, and serve hot.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
• 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
• 2 cups canned pumpkin, mashed
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
• 1 cup half-and-half
• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, optional
• 1 piece pre-made pie dough
• Whipped cream, for topping
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place 1 piece of pre-made pie dough down into a (9-inch) pie pan and press down along the bottom and all sides. Pinch and crimp the edges together to make a pretty pattern. Put the pie shell back into the freezer for 1 hour to firm up. Fit a piece of aluminum foil to cover the inside of the shell completely. Fill the shell up to the edges with pie weights or dried beans (about 2 pounds) and place it in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the foil and pie weights and bake for another 10 minutes or until the crust is dried out and beginning to color.
For the filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer. Add the pumpkin and beat until combined. Add the sugar and salt, and beat until combined. Add the eggs mixed with the yolks, half-and-half, and melted butter, and beat until combined. Finally, add the vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger, if using, and beat until incorporated.
Pour the filling into the warm prepared pie crust and bake for 50 minutes, or until the center is set. Place the pie on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Cut into slices and top each piece with a generous amount of whipped cream.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I needed a foundation that would match my light winter skin. I had a coupon for Almay's Smart Shade, Smart Balance foundation so I thought I would check it out. I picked up the light medium color and tried it. The foundation comes out in a white beaded liquid form and then it's supposed to turn into your skin tone and blend naturally. I was really skeptical because I thought for sure I had a foundation line around my chin but I couldn't see it (and my friend confirmed I didn't have a line). I really like the coverage it gave me, it was light but covered my imperfections. I still had to use cover up on some of the areas that are harder to cover up. It's affordable, I can usually find a coupon for it, and it works - I'm sold!
According to the Almay website. Here's how the foundation's matching works -
One: the shade sensing microbeads start out white and instantly adjust to match your natural skin tone.
Two: the skin balancing microspheres keep your oily areas shine-free and dry skin softly hydrated.