zesty barbecue chicken sliders

We’re closing in on the end of summer, but luckily this chicken dish is good in any season. Made in the crock-pot and packed with flavor, I charmed my book club with these sliders and then froze the leftovers. Pair the sliders with cheese, eat the meat without the bun, the options are endless–and tasty to boot.

The original recipe is from Allrecipes and for a change, I followed this one to the letter. And served it with the crunch coleslaw. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 6 frozen skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Directions

  1. Place chicken in a slow cooker.
  2. In a bowl, mix the barbecue sauce, Italian salad dressing, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the chicken.
  3. Cover, and cook 3 to 4 hours on High or 6 to 8 hours on Low.

 

devil’s cut, by j. r. ward

Fans of the wildly successful Bourbon Kings have been waiting a year for the final installment in this captivating trilogy. The anticipation was quelled a little over two weeks ago when Devil’s Cut was released to well-deserved praise. Readers will easily be drawn back into the world of the rich, powerful, and incredibly dysfunctional. There were so many loose ends to tie up:

  • Edward was in jail for killing his father, William Baldwine
  • Sutton had been banished from Edward’s life and was stepping into the role of CEO of Bradford’s rival in the world of Kentucky bourbon
  • Chantal was pregnant with her recently murdered fathers-in-law baby
  • Lane had blackmailed his best friend into becoming CEO of Bradford Bourbon Company (BBC), while reconnecting with the love of his life Lizzie
  • Miss Aurora has succumbed to a coma as a result of her rapidly spreading cancer, complicated by her age and sickle-cell
  • Let’s not forget Gin’s marriage made in Hell to Richard Pford, in spite of her heart belonging to Samuel T., who we found out is Amelia’s father
  • And why has the black sheep of the family, Max, come home?

Rest assured, Ward delivered in bringing resolution to all outstanding cliffhangers–except for why that finger was buried in the yard? If anyone comes across the reason for that, please let me know. On the whole, this finale to the series was just as enthralling as the first 2 books and I for one am sad to see the series end. (Though rumor has it NBC has purchased the rights to make it a tv series. Fingers crossed on that one–pun intended.)

There are twists and turns a plenty in the book, with threads of humor, and Ward’s classic style of keeping you on the edge of every chapter by alternating story arcs throughout. In the end, the result is a cohesive tale that holds true to the essence of all of the characters we’ve come to love and hate, and some whose opinion may even swing from one side to the other.

I have to admit that I loved this series far more than I thought I would and found myself anxiously awaiting each book. A child of the 80’s, I was a huge fan of Dynasty, Knots Landing, and the original Dallas so this plot line was right up my alley. You see that money can’t buy peace of mind and certainly not morals. It also doesn’t shield anyone from hurt, feelings of inadequacy, mental or physical abuse. I guess the rich really are just like “us.”

It goes without saying to make sure to get your hands on this book as quickly as possible so your friends don’t start revealing spoilers. While a year can sometimes seem like forever when it comes to books, the wait was definitely worth it in this case.

 

movie review: ingrid goes west

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of going to a private screening of the movie, Ingrid Goes West. A dark comedy with an extreme take on social media–Instagram in particular–I found this movie to be very entertaining. While the cast is largely unknown, with the exception of O’Shea Jackson, Jr. (son of rapper Ice Cube and star of Straight Out of Compton) they deliver solid performances with perfect timing.

Ingrid, played by Aubrey Plaza, has just lost her mother and is desperately trying to connect with someone, (anyone) and at the same time, get over her recent loss. When the grief and pressure prove too much for her, she snaps and her antics land her in hot water. But after a stint out of the lime light and having seemingly pulled herself together, Ingrid takes her inheritance and moves across the country to California to start anew.

With O’Shea Jackson, Jr., as her landlord and Elizabeth Olsen (sister to Mary Kate and Ashley) her new bff, the ongoing adventures begin. And in the era of social media where people document their every move online, Ingrid’s actions are captured in real-time. But as most people have come to realize, most of the time what you see on social media, isn’t what’s really happening, or is it…

On top of being funny and thought-provoking, there are a host of messages in this flick; and while overt, they aren’t preachy. This movie just might give you pause the next time you decide to broadcast where you are, who you’re with, and what you’re doing.

Ingrid Goes West will be released broadly on Friday, August 11.

crunchy coleslaw

A new take on an old favorite, this coleslaw has been a fave of mine for years–ever since I had it at my friend Denise’s. While I think we have her sister to thank for the recipe, I’m also going to site Food.com for their version (minus the onions).

For those final cook outs this summer, or something a little out of the ordinary–give this a try and let me know how what you think. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1(16 ounce) package Coleslaw (grated cabbage and carrots)
  • 4 green onions, chopped (I never put these in)
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons  sugar
  • 1 package ramen noodles (beef flavor)
  • 1⁄2cup slivered almonds
  • 1⁄2cup  sunflower seeds

Directions

  1. Toss together cole slaw and green onions.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, sugar, and ramen seasoning packet.
  3. Pour over salad and toss together.
  4. Just before serving, add ramen noodles (broken into small pieces), almonds and sunflower seeds and toss together.

 

the ghost bride, by yangsze choo

The Ghost Bride is  debut author Choo’s stand-alone novel about the plight of a young girl in 19th century China. Li Lan is the daughter of a once wealthy and revered family. However, after her mother’s death, her father sinks into a depressive state that he combats by self-medicating with opium. While their financial status continues to deteriorate, Li Lan’s father is approached by the upstanding and well-to-do Lim family, who ask for his consent to have Li Lan marry their recently deceased son–thus becoming the bride of a ghost.

This curious and entertaining tale takes the reader on a journey through the small village of Melaka, as well as the Chinese spirit world. Billed as a romance novel, this story is equal parts mystery and fantasy with some underlying teenage love and angst mixed in. Though Li Lan and her suitors (yes there’s more than 1) are young, for the time period they are of age to marry–and though in her late teens, her time to become betrothed is slowly slipping away.

Not one for the fantasy/magic genre I was intrigued by the premise of this book. I read (or rather listened to the audiobook) because it was a selection by my book club. The majority of the tale is spent chronicling Li Lan’s travels through the spirit world and her interactions with various ghosts–and there are quite a few. I am admittedly biased because I find the twists and turns of ghosts, demons, magical powers, and spirits hard to keep up with, thus making my enjoyment of a book more work than fun.

However, ghosts and goblins aside, the plot is an interesting one and marrying the dead is a practice that actually used to occur. Li Lan and her devoted servant, who also guides her through the behavior of a proper lady and superstitious beliefs, have more of a mother-daughter relationship which gives the book an endearing quality. And Li Lan’s suitors range from evil and stubborn, to mild-mannered, to mysterious and amusing.

I enjoyed the portions of the book that were spent in the real world as opposed to the after-life. Overall, this was definitely off the beaten path of what’s considered a romance novel. If you’re looking for something a little different and enjoyed books like Geisha Girl or Snowflower and the Secret Fan, then definitely check this out.