I am thankful for Thanksgiving

There are only two years in my life I have missed Thanksgiving with my family, and this was one of them. The first was in 2007 when I was studying abroad in Madrid, Spain; my group and I went to a restaurant that prepared us a special Thanksgiving-style meal of turkey and mashed potatoes. It tasted nothing like American Thanksgiving dinner, but it was delicious!

This year I attended the Baltimore Bieretz family Thanksgiving dinner, and it was lovely.

The Menu
-o- Bieretz family Artichoke Dip
-o- Mozzarella, oven-dried marinated tomatoes and homemade roasted red peppers with crostini
-o- marinated olives

-o- Roasted Turkey
-o- Grilled Bourbon and Cider- Glazed Ham
-o- Mashed Potatoes with Cream Cheese
-o- Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Coconut-Pecan topping
-o- Roasted baby yams
-o- Assorted Grilled Vegetables with Dijon-Shallot vinaigrette
-o- Boston Lettuce Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Avocado
-o- Cornbread and Bacon Stuffing
-o- Garlic Bread

-o- Pound cake with Toasted Almonds
-o- Cheesecake
-o- Pumpkin Pie
-o- Apple Tart
-o- Chocolate Chip Cookies
-o- Pumpkin-Cranberry Cookies

a few photos


Super unique gift for the book lover

I love Etsy. I love everything about it. Last year I bought my younger sister a Golden Snitch necklace that is also a locket. She wore it to the premiere of the final film.

My friend Elisabeth sent this to me today: an iPod docking station in the guise of Jane Austen’s best novel, Pride and Prejudice. Love it!

Pride & Prejudice iPhone and iPod Clothbound Book Charging Dock -- Jane Austen

Anti-capitalist or anti-crapitalist?

Is the Occupy movement’s plan to impede Black Friday shopping anti-capitalist in nature? Not at all, according to their Occupy Black Friday website – rather, the impulse is anti-crapitalist.

Those planning to participate claims that this retail holiday furthers the interests and fattens the pockets of the 1%, and therefore must be stopped.

All I know is I won’t be there to see it! There are online specials too, guys…

Here’s CNN’s item on the Occupy Black Friday plan.

Finalists for the Literary Review’s “Bad Sex in Literature” Prize Announced

It’s time! The Literary Review has announced its finalists for the Bad Sex in Literature prize, designed to isolate the worst sex scenes novelists have dreamed up in the past year.

Here is the list of nominees:

  • 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
  • On Canaan’s Side by Sebastian Barry
  • The Final Testament of the Holy Bible by James Frey
  • Parallel Stories by Péter Nádas
  • 11.22.63 by Stephen King
  • Ed King by David Guterson
  • The Land of Painted Caves by Jean M. Auel
  • The Affair by Lee Child
  • Dead Europe by Christos Tsiolkas
  • Outside the Ordinary World by Dori Ostermiller
  • Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy
  • The Great Night by Chris Adrian

Stephen King’s nomination is for this passage:

“She was wearing jeans. The fabric whispered under my palm. She leaned       back and her head bonked on the door.

‘Ouch!’ I said. ‘Are you all right?'”

Yeah, that’s pretty bad. And I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed King’s work – though I’ve never read a King-crafted sex scene.


Check out the Huffington Post article on the awards; here is the National Post‘s take.

Dinner Tonight: Baked Garlic Lemon Shrimp

-o- Baked Garlic Lemon Shrimp -o-


1 lb. medium or large shrimp, unpeeled and deveined (frozen, defrosted, or fresh)
3 tbsps. unsalted cold butter, cubed
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (or more if you like)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Juice of 1 lemon (put the lemon in the microwave for 20 seconds to yield more juice)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. fresh or dried parsley


Preheat the oven to 375. If your shrimp are frozen, rinse to separate and remove most of the ice. Mine had been defrosting in the fridge for a few days so I skipped to the next step: spread the shrimp in a single layer on a baking sheet.
In a small bowl, mash/stir remaining ingredients. Drizzle mixture over shrimp; toss to evenly coat.

Bake for 8-10 minutes if fresh or defrosted; bake for 25-30 minutes if frozen or partially frozen.
I was super hungry and so enjoyed these peel-and-eat style, but with some nice fresh crusty bread would also be tasty.


Inspiration: The Pioneer Woman’s Spicy Garlic Lemon Shrimp. This awesome chef used a bunch more fresh parsley and used a food processor to create the buttery topping  – she also didn’t use any oil. And she has great pictures!

Dinner Tonight – Simple Grill Pan Chicken and Sauteed Zucchini Medallions

It’s a short week because of the Thanksgiving holiday, so when grocery shopping I only purchased a few veggies and a few sources of protein: shrimp, asparagus, four small zucchinis, and chicken tenders. When all you have is your spice cabinet and some raw ingredients, you can still make a tasty and healthy dinner.


-o- Simple Grill Pan Chicken -o-

Chicken tenders or chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness
olive oil, for pan
a mixture of salts and herbs – I used rosemary, herbes de provence, Borsari Original seasoned salt, a pinch of red pepper flakes and freshly ground black pepper
grated/shredded cheddar cheese (optional)


Preheat the oven to 400.
After pounding, sprinkle raw chicken with seasoned or regular salt, herbs, pepper and red pepper flakes on both sides (or you could add some cayenne pepper and maybe some diced fresh green and red pepper). Heat a grill pan or frying pan over medium-high heat. Grill on one side for 4-6 minutes until golden. Flip and fry for another 1-2 minutes. Move chicken to center of pan and sprinkle cheddar cheese (if using) over top. Bake in the oven for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted and chicken is cooked through.

-o- Sauteed Zucchini -o-

Zucchini (I used four small for two people, with leftovers)
A mixture of salt and pepper and herbs – black truffle seasoned salt, freshly ground black pepper, rosemary and herbes de provence
Olive oil, for frying

Slice zucchini into 1/2-inch thick medallions. Heat a splash of olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add zucchini and sprinkle with salt or seasoned salt, pepper, and herbs. Cook for 10-12 minutes, tossing frequently. I sprinkled a bit of fresh lemon juice over the zucchini as it finished cooking, but you could also add a splash of red wine vinegar or a dusting of Parmesan cheese – or you could just leave it!


I am literally eating it right now (sadly Brian won’t get to have any ’til later because he is in class) and it’s delicious.