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pillsbury pull-aparts

IMG_2067In a three-way (minds out of gutter) text between myself and two of my oldest and dearest friends, Lisa asked for Easter recipes. Meg and I dove right in to provide some. Lisa used none of them and Meg and I proceeded to add to our collection. I see why this is a go-to for her when she has house-guests. Meg, thanks for sending it! And Lisa, thanks for asking–next time, try this one! Enjoy!

While I got the recipe from Meg, it originated on the Pillsbury site.

Ingredients
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 (16.3-oz.) can Pillsbury™ Grands!™ Flaky Layers Refrigerated Original Biscuits
1 (2.1-oz.) pkg. precooked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 oz. (3/4 cup) shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions (4 medium)IMG_2061

Directions
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 11×7- or 12×8-inch (2-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In large bowl, beat egg and milk with wire whisk until smooth.

2. Separate dough into 8 biscuits; cut each into quarters. Gently stir biscuit pieces into egg mixture to coat evenly. Fold in bacon, cheese and onions. Spoon mixture into sprayed dish; arrange IMG_2063biscuit pieces in single layer.

3. Bake at 350°F. for 23 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into squares.

tara’s tips: I used an 8×8 square baking dish from Pampered Chef. Make sure the biscuits ‘stuffed’ into the pan. I fried 5 slices of bacon and drained it instead of using precooked.

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total surrender, by rebecca zanetti

Total SurrenderWhile I’ve never fancied myself a big paranormal fan–with the exception of J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood–the genetically enhanced Dean siblings in Rebecca Zanetti’s Sin Brothers series quickly found a place in my heart when I read the 3rd book, first. (Yes, out-of-order–it happens.) This may factor in to Nate being my favorite brother, though 4 books later, I love them all.

Zanetti, initially said that Total Surrender was the final book in the series, but clearly after reading it, there is so much she could do to extend this series. The new characters, unresolved storylines, the 4 original brothers… Apparently I wasn’t the only one having these thoughts of grandeur because I recently read that she’s now thinking about keeping the story going. Guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens–I’ll definitely be on the lookout. But on to the story at hand.

Total Surrender is about Jory, the brother who’s been missing for 2 years, and was presumed dead until Shane, in Forgotten Sins, realizes that maybe Jory’s alive after all. And in fact, he is. He was shot by a woman, he’s been in a coma for a very long time, and he is currently a prisoner of The Commander.

Speaking of the commander… Queue Piper. A hacker whose exceptional computer skills actually rival those of Jory. But Piper’s parentage is a complicating factor in her relationship with Jory because she’s the commander’s daughter. Yes, his daughter. And she’s quickly about to learn who her father REALLY is while faced with the challenge of choosing love or family, at the same time, coming to a hard truth about her mother–that was a zinger!

Yes, this is definitely part love story, but with only a week left before the brother’s kill-chips explode, severing their spines and instantly ending their lives, it’s almost secondary. Throw in the  added complication of Jory’s chip, in particular, and the angst and ticking clock make for a non-stop race against the clock.

I refuse to accept that I have become soft and super sensitive as I age–I was a die-hard Sons of Anarchy fan for crying out loud! But seriously, once again, I found myself in tears, on more than one occasion while reading this one. I blame these incredibly talented authors for evoking such emotion through their writing. There were definitely some heart-wrenching moments in this book. Jory may be the little brother, but he’s a force to be reckoned with and his love and devotion in saving his brother’s lives, at the same time realizing he doesn’t have a future with Piper…Keep the tissues nearby.

Overall, Total Surrender is a high-speed, action-packed story with serious sizzle thrown in. If this is the last in the series, it does not disappoint, but I for one hope that Zanetti has more up her sleeve.

rating:

the edible bookmark ratingthe edible bookmark ratingthe edible bookmark ratingthe edible bookmark rating

the shadows, by j.r. ward

the shadowsThe Warden, as J.R. Ward is affectionately known by her many devoted fans, has done it once again. The Shadows, the edible bookmark’s first 5-bookmark read, was an emotional story that drew on the strong history and character development of those we’ve grown to know and love. And true to form, Ward left us chomping at the bit (pun intended) for more. I finished The Shadows over a week ago and I still get emotional thinking about it.

As has become the case, there were multiple story arcs in motion:

  • Luchas, Quinn’s now disfigured brother who’s just barely holding on to life in the medical facility at The Brother’s Compound. Quinn is faced with making even more life-altering decisions on Luchas’ behalf that could forever devastate their already fragile relationship.
  • Selena is fighting ‘The Arrest,’ which has taken the lives of so many of her Chosen sisters. This, in the face of the newfound love she and Trez have just acknowledged.
  • iAm may have finally found love, only to have it torn away from him as quickly as it appeared. And in the midst of pursuing his own happiness, for once, he still maintains ultimately responsibility for Trez and his obligation to the s’Hisbe.
  • Xcor and Layla continue to fight the mutual attraction they have until things finally come to a head with consequences that may not be reversible.
  • Assail is self-medicating his loss of Marisol by getting high on his own supply.
  • Something is brewing with Rhage and it’s not the beast within.

It sounds like a lot of story lines, and it is. But unlike some books of old in the series, there are enough to keep you engrossed and not too many that you can’t keep up. So if you’ve been on this journey from the beginning, you most assuredly will not be disappointed. And if you haven’t hopped on The Brotherhood bandwagon, it’s never too late!

Now, the bad news–we have to wait an entire year for the next installment! And I have no idea who I’m hoping it will be focused on. Assail? Xcor and Layla? I can never get enough of Wrath. But wait…there’s a spinoff!

Bloodkiss, the story of new characters, Paradise and Craeg, a younger generation, is coming out on December 1. Think that just might make the wait a little easier.

rating:

the edible bookmark ratingthe edible bookmark ratingthe edible bookmark ratingthe edible bookmark ratingthe edible bookmark rating

 

 

loaded baked potato casserole

This was so easy it was criminal and yet flavorful and yummy. If you make it on a weeknight, leave yourself some time to make the bacon and do some chopping–but it’s definitely doable. Literally a meat and potatoes meal, and delish to boot. Enjoy!

Originally found on A Household Almanac Rachel Schultz

Ingredients

  • 4 russet potatoes, cubedIMG_2024
  • 4 chicken breasts, uncooked and cubed
  • 1 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 and 1/2 cups cheddar
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter, sliced
  • Salt & pepper
  • Season Salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.IMG_2033
  2. Place potatoes in a 9×13 baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Stir to coat potatoes. Mix in bacon, raw chicken, and cheddar.
  3. Lay butter slices over casserole. Season with salt & pepper.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 60 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes.IMG_2035
  5. Top with green onion.

tara’s tips: I used kosher salt on my potatoes and chicken instead of table salt. And when it came to mixing things up, I used my hands–sometimes there’s just no better way. I used salt, pepper, and season salt on my chicken. I fried 7 pieces of bacon and then crumbled it. Once again, I used thin sliced chicken breasts, which for recipes of this nature, does not make for easy chopping, I’d recommend using regular chicken breasts. Because I seasoned my chicken and the potatoes, I did not season with salt and pepper after adding the butter slices. It goes without saying, I grated my own cheese, in this case, an entire block of mild cheddar. And I admittedly forgot to cover with foil, so I baked for 70 minutes uncovered and it still came out yummy.

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soaring, by kristen ashley

soaringBig fan! I’m hoping my streak of bad reads is over. As I’ve stated, repeatedly, Kristen Ashley is one of my most fave romance authors. Her characters are real and more often than not, relatable. I’ve read almost all of her series and stand-alone’s, which comes to 20+ books, so when I say I’m a fan, I mean I’m a fan. Anyway…

Soaring is part of Ashley’s Magdalene series. Unfortunately, I did not love the 1st book, The Will. But I was very happy I stuck with this story-line because I really loved Soaring. I’ve noticed that while Ashley is still rather verbose when it comes to describing exactly what someone is wearing and how their homes are decorated–this is just part of her writing style–she has definitely heard her readers when it comes to the speech patterns of her alpha males. For quite a few books, they all had the exact same way of speaking and it was just above that of a cave-man. Just because you’re a man’s man, doesn’t mean you’re uneducated and can’t complete a sentence. Let’s dive in!

Amelia is a 47-year old, divorced, mother of 2 teenagers. Oh, she’s also an oil heiress–which in this case means she doesn’t have to work or worry about money, but that certainly does not put this in the category of other billionaire love stories. Amelia lost her children to her neurosurgeon ex-husband, Conrad, and his wife because of Amelia’s crazy public antics when she found out that Conrad had cheated on her and was leaving her for his girlfriend. She’s now followed them across the country, from CA to MA, to get her life back on track, prove to everyone, herself included, that she’s changed, and is worthy of being a custodian and mother to her children.

Cue Mickey, the 48-year old, divorced, father of 2–a teenage girl and an 11-year old boy–who lives across the street from Amelia. Mickey’s a construction worker and volunteer fireman. While he too is an heir–to a frozen seafood fortune–he has chosen to shun the money and find his own way, apart from the family business. It’s not the easy existence it could be, especially since his ex-wife is an alcoholic barely holding it together in the joint-custody agreement he has with her over their children.

Much of this story is about Amelia finding her way and who she is. How she can’t live her life for the approval of her parents, how her needs are important, and above all, being the best mother she can to her kids. Again, so many relatable topics. And of course, there is the fun and heart-warming love story of Amelia and Mickey. Which doesn’t have the smoothest start–especially since they initially date other people.

In today’s age of trying to do what’s right, divorce, starting over, finding yourself, and love, after 40–Ashley does an amazing job of addressing heavy current-day topics (bullying) while keeping the tone light-hearted and fun. Looking forward to the next and final installment in this series!

rating:

the edible bookmark ratingthe edible bookmark ratingthe edible bookmark rating