My kind of trivia

Tonight Jon and I headed to Johnny’s to meet up with friends for some trivia. I love me some trivia but I am usually not much help in the answers department. Tonight was different. The reason? The theme for the night was Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and if you know me at all you know this is right up my alley!

Trivia at Johnny’s has four rounds with eight questions and one question each round pertains to the theme.  The one downside to trivia at Johnny’s is that it was so smokey!  I left smelling like an ashtray!

I thought I would know all the answers for real housewives but there were two that stumped me. For you mathwizzes, yes, that means I did not know half the questions I should have. Thankfully Shannon knew one of the ones I didn’t. 

My saving grace? Knowing that the mermaid in the movie Splash was named Madison. No one else on my team knew that – thank you childhood! My sisters and I watched Splash quite a few times when we were growing up. Our team came in first and I am sure it was all thanks to me 🙂

Our twins met us there! Shannon and I both showed up in grey shirts, green jackets and tan purses. Jon and Adam were both sporting green jackets. What are the chances?!


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My new winter accessory

On Sunday, Jon and I headed to Frothy Monkey in 12th South for lunch.  It was hopping so we had to park on a side street nearby and walk.  Lunch was so good – I had the Cortez which is a curry chicken salad sandwich and a mocha monkey coffee!  We used a scoutmob deal and got 50% off – score!  If you have an iPhone and scoutmob is in your city you should definitely download the free app.  It saves all the current scoutmobs so Jon and I check it when we feel like eating out but don’t have a specific place in mind.  The deals are usually for 50% off up to a certain amount.

Back to the point of this post…

When we parked on the street, to the right of the sidewalk was a bunch of weedy overgrowth.  And right on the edge…my new winter accessory!  A red flowery crocheted headband/ear warmer.  How cute is this?

I noticed it as soon as we got out of the car but didn’t want to take it just in case someone was looking for it (even though it was in the weeds and had obviously been there awhile).  Well, I figured that an hour of lunch and coffee was enough time for someone to realize they lost it and come looking for it, right?!  I brought it home and washed it just in case there were any bugs in there from the weeds.  Can’t wait for the temperature to drop later this week so I can start wearing my new free accessory!

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The girl with the dragon tattoo

I love reading!  Last week one of my co-workers lent me…

It took me a few nights to get into it, but this weekend I was finally able to sit down and read…and now I can’t put it down!  The story and suspense have totally captured me – so much so that I was trying to solve the mystery in my sleep last night!  I am hoping to finish the book tonight or tomorrow so that I can go see the movie while it is still in theaters. 

If you enjoy suspenseful, intriguing, mysteries I would definitely recommend reading The girl with the dragon tattoo.  I had been warned that it is at times quite violent & graphic, but so far it is very comparable to some of the James Patterson books that I have read and loved.

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Friday Fun

I remind myself of this everytime I am on facebook…

…and I have been told I would make a great investigator 🙂

Happy Friday!

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Snow flurries!

Today Nashville received it first dusting of snow for the winter season.  Snow always excites me – I love how majestic everything outside appears with a little dusting!

Hello my flurry friend!  I have missed you!

The weirdest thing happened when I went outside to snap a few photos.  Bella stayed calm and let me catch two great images of her.  She is really such a pretty girl!  Usually she is busy going bonkers and will not stay still for a photo so she looks possessed in any that we have of her.  I think these are the only two photos we have of her that she is staying still and she is three years old!

The snow and low temperatures clearly do not affect play time!

Time for some tea.  I hope that all my Nashville friends made it home in good time and that everyone is staying warm!

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Strawberry shortcake with homemade almond whipped cream

There were some strawberries on sale at Publix this weekend and when I saw how ripe they were I decided to add two pounds to my cart. I thought strawberry shortcake would make a yummy dessert even though I think it is usually more of a spring and summer treat.

I purchased some pre-made dessert shells at Publix which are the start to any amazing strawberry shortcake.  I love how moist and sweet these are!

I decided to whip up some homemade whipped cream. My Mom shared her recipe with me and I made it for the first time a few weeks ago and Jon loved it! I love it because it is the same price – if not cheaper – then store-bought whipped cream but it is so much creamier and tastier!

I tweaked my Mom’s recipe a little bit this time.  Far East Nashville, my favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Nashville, used to have the most delicious cherry pie made with phyllo dough and the best whipped cream I had ever tried (sorry Mom!).  One time I asked what was in the whipped cream that made it taste sooo good.  The answer was my magical ingredient Sunday night…

***almond extract***

Sounds weird, yes.  Tastes amazing, yes!  I could literally eat it with a spoon as my dessert.  For those wondering – the almond is not over-powering in any way!  After I made it I had Jon try it and told him to guess what was in the whipped cream.  He had no idea but loved the taste of this version!

Look at how fluffy the cream gets! It only takes about 5-7 minutes.

The whipped cream recipe is:

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Whip cream for about a minute or two on medium-high. Add 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Whip cream for another few minutes until fluffy on medium-high to high. Once you have the consistency you want to add 1 teaspoon almond extract and let it whip on medium-high for about 30 seconds. Your taste buds will thank you!

The finished product! Yes, I believe that if you make homemade whipped cream your dessert should be equal parts whipped cream to actual dessert.  I wasn’t sure how the almond whipped cream would taste with the strawberry shortcake but I was determined to make it since it was that good at Far East.  It actually made an incredible topping to the strawberry shortcake!

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BBQ black bean & quinoa burgers

Last week, after I wrote about wanting to eat less meat, my friend Emily contacted me with the offer to help if she could since she has been a vegetarian for the last six months. I was so happy she reached out to me since I am still trying to cultivate a vegetarian recipe stockpile. I requested that she share any recipes that she and her husband Matt have already taste-tested and loved.

Since Emily’s review for the BBQ black bean & quinoa burgers was: ‘#1 best vegetarian alternative EVER – Matt will eat this for DAYS and asks for them allll the time’ I knew I should start with it! I posted the actual recipe at the bottom of this post.

It was such a simple recipe to make and I had almost all of the ingredients in my kitchen already! Jon loved these and even went back for seconds! When Jon gets seconds I always know its good. While they are called ‘burgers’ I think the consistency is actually closer to meatloaf. The BBQ sauce and liquid smoke flavored but did not over power the burgers. I would definitely make them again! I even tasted the pureed black bean, bbq sauce and liquid smoke mixture and think it would make a great dip!

As you can see I did not make round burgers. Since you are supposed to let the combined mixture set in the fridge for about 10 minutes, I mixed and then pressed it into a 9×13 pan. I thought this way I could easily remove them with a spatula which worked great (mine were probably in the fridge for around 30 minutes though since we decided to take the dogs for a walk).

I decided against a bun since I didn’t feeling like buying any 🙂  I thought they were great plain and with ketchup.  The salad was a perfect accompaniment.

Burger recipe from Live Learn Love Eat. My one recipe modification is noted in green

Smoky Hickory Black Bean and Quinoa Burgers

Makes 8 Burgers


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (540 ml) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup hickory BBQ sauce (I use Bulls Eye)
  • 1 + 1/4 teaspoons hickory liquid smoke
  • 1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs instant oatmeal
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons canola or olive oil for frying
  • 8 whole wheat burger buns
  • Topping of your choice. Lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, relish, dijon mustard, onions or pickles.


In a medium saucepan, bring the quinoa and water to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. While the quinoa is cooking, place the drained and rinsed black beans in a food processor along with the BBQ sauce and liquid smoke. Process until smooth. Place the processed bean mixture in a large mixing bowl. Once the quinoa is cooked, remove it from the heat, uncover, stir and allow it to cool a little.  Add the quinoa to the bean mixture along with the breadcrumbs, minced onion and garlic. Stir until everything is well combined. Refrigerate to set about 5-10 minutes. Heat a skillet on medium heat along with a bit of canola or olive oil. Form the burgers into 8 thick (2 inch round) patties.Fry the burgers for 3-5 minutes on each side until browned.

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