Friday, August 26, 2016

Foodie Friday: Jalapeno Chicken Sliders

We loooooove us some sliders.  I have no idea where the original ham and cheese slider recipe came from but it's one of our very favorites.  We love those and I make them a lot, especially during football season. 
A few months ago, Mark picked up the jalapeno Hawaiian rolls and I KNEW I had to make a chicken slider with those.  I finally did last Friday and, I have to say, these are the best sliders I've ever made.  Kendra loved them and Mark also declared them a winner.  I think these will be making several more appearances.  Of course, I have to share the "recipe."
Here's what I used:
Ranch dressing, pepper jack cheese slices, Laughing Cow swiss, jalapeno Hawaiian rolls, and chicken strips (yeah, I went the lazy way but I love these Perdue chicken strips -- I keep them on hand for an easy, go-to high protein snack.)

I want to point out that I would've added jalapenos to them as well - and will in the future - but I didn't know that all the kids would eat them if they had jalapenos. 

Cut each Hawaiian roll in half.  Spread the Laughing Cow cheese and a little bit of ranch dressing on each one.  Top with chicken and half a slice of pepper jack cheese.

Before baking, melt a tiny bit of butter to pour over the tops.
Bake at 350 for around 15 minutes until rolls are golden brown and cheese is nice and melty.

Y'all.  These are SO GOOD.  Give 'em a try sometime!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Foodie Friday: The Burger Joint

A couple weeks ago, we stood in the kitchen trying to figure out what to do about dinner. 

"We should eat leftovers.  We have a ton of leftovers."
"Meh.  I don't really want leftovers."
"Neither do I."
"But we should eat them . . . "
"I want a burger.  And maybe some egg foo young."
"A burger!  We haven't had burgers in forever!  I mean, since last week."

Long story short, Yelp to the rescue and we ended up at The Burger Joint.

And until I Googled it for the website, I had no idea it was a chain burger joint.  One of the reasons we chose it is because it sounds like a dive.  And we love us a good dive. 

I ordered the Legend burger with cheddar cheese, pickles, lettuce, and caramelized onion.  Everything is cooked to order diner-style.  My burger came out fabulously, just the way I'd ordered it, and it was delicious.  I'm still partial to Huey's or Kooky Canuck when it comes to a burger in Memphis.  But this one was right up there.  Good stuff.  I decided to go with the fries topped with parmesan and garlic.  Ummm . . . I wasn't all that impressed.  The fries were GOOD but the parmesan and garlic wasn't melted properly so it was all just kind of glopped onto the fries.  We took my leftovers to go and heated them in the toaster oven a day or so later.  They were super delicious that way.  I just wish they'd been fixed right at the restaurant. 

So, for the most part, the food was really great.  The service, on the other hand, left much to be desired.  There were only two employees -- the guy who took our order and the cook.  The man taking our order was texting on his phone while he was taking our order.  I mean, what?!?  He ended up charging Mark for a pitcher of beer rather than one glass.  Annoying but he did end up giving us a pitcher and the glass (so we basically got a free beer.  I'm cool with free beer!) I just really have a hard time with people acting put out because, ya know, you expect them to do the job they're getting paid for. 

It was a super good burger.  Good enough that we'll probably give it another try and see if the service is any better.  If not, though, we'll stick to Huey's.  Besides, the boyfriend grills some of the best burgers in Memphis.  ;)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

In the Unlikely Event

I love Judy Blume.

I've loved her since age seven or eight when I picked up my first copy of a Fudge book. I graduated from Fudge and Pee-tah onto Margaret and Stephanie, Rachel, and Allison and then onto Deenie and whoever that girl was in Forever. I discovered Summer Sisters in my early 20's and, to this day, it remains one of my favorite books ever. I found her newest, In the Unlikely Event, for THREE DOLLARS at the Goodwill a couple weeks ago. And now ... Now I can say I've read every single book she's ever written (and that includes Wifey which will make you blush when think Judy Blume wrote it while also thinking ... well, damn, go you, Judy!) I consider reading every single one of her books a bucket list accomplishment and, honestly, one that everyone should have on their bucket list. From Green Kangaroo to In the Unlikely Event  ... Full circle, y'all!

In the Unlikely Event is set in Elizabeth, New Jersey, which happens to be Judy's hometown. I'm going to assume it's semi-autobiographical. Mainly just because if I set a book in Greenbrier, Arkansas, in the 80's and 90's, if would be semi-autobiographical. Of course, the most excitement we had there were things like ice cream socials and Sunday night sings (Number 92 in the Heavenly Highway hymnal was Victory in Jesus!) 

In Elizabeth in the early 1950's, there was a series of plane crashes.  Now, I consider myself somewhat of a history person but I had NO IDEA this happened.  I Googled when I finished the book and realized this wasn't just the plot line of a book . . . it happened.  I immediately asked Mark if he knew about this nugget of historical information and he had no idea either.  Why don't we know about this? 

The book introduces us to several different residents of Elizabeth (one could even say there are too many characters to keep track) but the central character is 15-year-old Miri Ammerman, who lives in Elizabeth with her single mother, grandmother, and uncle.  The book takes you through how the crashes changed Miri's life and the lives of those around her. 

In my mind, Judy B. can do no wrong and this book is a shining example of that.  Is it Summer Sisters?  No.  But, honestly, you don't get much better than that one.  It is, however, a really great book.  The characters are well developed, interesting, and relatable.  There are twists and turns that make you judge certain characters (like, whyyyyy did you DO that?!?)  I love that the book introduced me to some history I had no idea about. 
All in all, it was a great book, the kind that I couldn't put down.  I was disappointed when it ended but that was only because, well, it ended.  Pick this one up! You're gonna love it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Beauty Shop

So, the stars aligned over the weekend and this sexy guy and I were able to make SUNDAY BRUNCH. 

And by "all the stars aligned," I mean I texted Kendra the day before and asked if she could babysit because we were supposed to go to breakfast* with Anfrunny and Girl Child did not want to tag along. Anfrunny bailed early Sunday morning but Kendra - even though she was sick - insisted they wanted to keep Girl Child and, well, there's nothing else to say except #bestfriendsforever, #blessed, #whatwouldIdowithouther

* Breakfast: Mark and Anfrunny often meet for it on Sundays, around 8:00 because they're both early risers. You can have breakfast AND a Bloody Mary in Mississippi -- at least at The Filling Station in Southaven. You cannot, unfortunately, find the same in Memphis. We learned the hard way. 
So, we dropped the girl child off and Yelp'ed to try to find SOMEwhere that had a breakfast/ brunch with Bloody Mary's that opened before 11:00. And that's how we found The Beauty Shop. 

They opened at 10, we were there at 10 till and there was a line at the door. Luckily, we didn't have much of a wait and were seated - on the patio! (it wasn't too hot) - quickly. Our server was friendly but not overly so. She promptly took our drink order and brought out, hands down, the best Bloody Mary I've had in Memphis, Tennessee. 

I can't call it the best ever because, hello, there's no bacon or cheese garnish! But, damn, it was good and spicy. Delish. 

We started with an order of biscuits and gravy. I'm an Arkansas girl so I KNOW good sausage gravy and this stuff fit the bill. No way was it the canned-and-reheated stuff. Somebody made it from scratch and knew what they were doing. My only complaint is that we got two biscuits and a small cup of gravy ... for $8. Your grandmama would want you to share more! ;)

I opted for one of the specials: quiche with caramelized onions, artichoke, bacon, cheddar, and Gruyere cheese. Caramelized onions are my love language. I asked for the hash browns as my side. The quiche was AMAZING. One of the best things I've ever had for any breakfast EVER. Flavorful and cooked to perfection. I want to try to recreate it but there's no way I could do it justice. My hash browns, on the other hand, were merely so-so. They were a mix of white and sweet potatoes. The sweet were divine but the white were undercooked. The whole dish was room temperature which, how bout a nuh-uh, hash browns should be piping hot. 

Mark ordered the steak and eggs. The steak was really flavorful (of course I tried!) and he said the eggs were good as well. His entire plate, however, was room temperature. "They need 500* plates like Ruth's Chris!"

The crowd was a good mix of midtown 20-somethings (many of whom arrived obviously a mimosa or two already in), families, and the 40+ "WOO HOO AIN'T GOT THE KIDS THIS WEEKEND!" divorced set.  The patio was perfect for people watching as it was situated right on the sidewalk, a perfect view of what was going on at Cooper/ Young. 

All in all, it was a very enjoyable brunch and we'll (probably) go back. I do wish the food had been warmer because it was seriously tasty. Four stars (four and 3/4 for those Bloody Mary's!)

Monday, August 1, 2016

Moriarty Times Two: The Hypnotist's Love Story and The Last Anniversary

Liane Moriarty has quickly grown to be one of my favorite authors.  I read two of her books recently (one at the gym, one by the pool), loved one and wasn't impressed with the other.  Here we go . . .

The Hypnotist's Love Story

Ellen O'Farrell is a hypnotherapist with a waiting list of clients who want her assistance with phobias, addictions, or any number of other issues.  She's on the cusp of falling in love with Patrick, a widower with a young son, when he drops the bombshell on her that he has a stalker.  This excites Ellen rather than frightens her.  Soon she realizes that she has actually already met the stalker, as a client under a false name.  The story unfolds from there but it's hard to tell more without giving away the (meager and predictable) plot.

I didn't care for this book.  I didn't hate it.  I just wished I'd picked it up at the Goodwill rather than ordering it from Amazon.  Moriarty is an amazing writer and if this was the first book of hers I'd picked up, I would've missed out on amazing works like The Husband's Secret.

The thing that really got me about the book is that the stalker - the stalker! - comes out as the most sympathetic character.  I'm sure that was somewhat intentional.  In fact, it had to be.  Moriarty was great at making her come off as more sad and sympathetic.  No bunny boiler with this stalker!  The main character, Ellen, is . . . she's okay but hardly a main character to fall in love with.  And the boyfriend, while he does redeem himself somewhat in the ending stages of the book, is just a jackass.  There are also competing storylines that needed to be left out completely.  It was a mess of a book with the main plot -- STALKER!!! -- not even all that fascinating or exciting.  This book could've, should've, been a whole lot more.  Give me the bunny boilers.

The Last Anniversary

I like to read when I'm on the treadmill at the gym so I downloaded this book to my (well K2's) iPad as my gym read.  Mistake that was not a mistake . . . meaning, I only let myself read my gym book while I'm actually at the gym.  This way I'll go and workout.  I can't read it by the pool or before bed or in stolen moments during the day.  And, man, did I WANT to read this one.  It made me go to the gym and spend more time there, that's for sure.

Sophie is approaching 40 and desperate for marriage and babies.  She gave up her last chance at that three years ago when she broke up with her boyfriend around the same time he was preparing to propose.  Fast forward a few years and Sophie surprisingly realizes that her ex-boyfriend's Aunt Connie has passed away and left her a house on Scribby Gum Island.  Scribby Gum is home of the "Munro Baby Mystery."  Sisters Connie and Rose found a baby at the home of Jack and Alice Munro . . . and Jack and Alice had mysteriously disappeared, not a trace of them.  Sophie moves to the island and, in the process, becomes part of uncovering the mystery of the Munro family.

I absolutely loved this book.  It had lots of twists and turns.  There were several sub-plots, something that usually annoys me, but they just WORKED in this book.  They gave you a real sense of the characters, it was like you were truly getting to know them.  I'm usually pretty good at figuring out the mystery in a book - ESPECIALLY when there's some "big twist" (always expect the unexpected!) - but it wasn't happening with this one.  I honestly had no idea what the solution was.  Love that about a mystery.

I would absolutely, 100% recommend this book!