Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 - How'd I do?

At the beginning of this year, I set out a series of resolutions so I thought I would check in on how I did:

Be healthy. I am taking a new assignment at work that will involve more travel and responsibility. Last time, this resulted in workaholic hours, bad eating habits and a few too many pub crawls. This time, I resolve to take proactive steps to manage stress, exercise, eat healthy and continue to ensure that my family, friends and husband get the best of me - not what's left over.

On a scale of 1 to 10 - I give myself a 5 on this one. I did make progress in better eating habits and managing my work hours. I quit my job in November because of some of those issues. My husband and I have started a great habit of getting up at 5:30 am to go to the gym so that has been really good. Plus - it is CSA season so the bags of veggies we pick up at the farm every other week forces me to eat better. I am definitely ending the year more strongly than I began.
Actually use the cookbooks gathering dust on the shelf. I love to buy cookbooks. I have lots of beautiful cookbooks with pictures of amazing food. This year, I am going to make some of that amazing food. Each month, I am going to pick a cookbook and make at least 4 dishes out of the cookbook. I'll share the results here - minus the cursing, cries of desperation and mess of course.

If you have read the posts on the 2011 Cookbook Challenge, you know I did not do as good of job on this as I should have and I am already taking steps to tackle it in 2011. I did try a lot of new recipes off the web and shared many of them here with you.

Be charitable. Carve out time to volunteer. Select charities and be intentional in giving.
I think I will always feel like I didn't do enough. My two months off at the end of the year allowed me the time to volunteer quite at a bit at a local homeless ministry and the local library. I enjoyed both experiences very much and will work to put in a few hours every month in the upcoming year.

Get a better handle on my finances and develop a concrete plan to save for retirement. I will not be an elderly person eating dog food out of trunk of my broke-down Saturn Vue.
Yeah.... not so much. I did get a better handle on finances, but did not complete the retirement plan. Though my mom did point out that dog food is just as expensive as regular food so I should consider that if I am living out of my trunk.

Laugh a lot and often
This definitely got accomplished. It was a truly remarkable year filled with great memories from trips with my husband, time with family, and visits from and to friends. I am very blessed to have a life that is filled with laughter.

Try to limit reality TV to 4 shows. JUST KIDDING! We all know that is impossible.
So I think I actually came pretty close on this one. After much consideration, I made the difficult decision to break up with the Real Housewives series and I scaled way back on Big Brother this summer. It just got to be too much. I think I have narrowed down to: Survivor, Top Chef, Amazing Race, Hell's Kitchen, The Next Food Network Star, The Next Iron Chef, Chopped, BrewMasters, Drinking Made Easy. Given many of these shows are competition shows, I feel much better about my reality TV watching habits, but if Bret Micheals comes back with another Rock of Love - all bets are off.

Now to think about my resolutions for next year.... What about you? Did you set resolutions? How did you do?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 Cookbook Challenge: Molasses Cookies

I got this recipe from author Stacey Ballis' blog: The Polymath Chronicles.  I had to bake 2 dozen cookies for a cookie swap so I decided to try it out. I followed the recipe exactly - except I didn't have lemon zest so I left that out.

Spicy Ginger Molasses Cookies

12 T unsalted butter

1 c dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1/3 c molasses (robust or full flavor style)

Cream until blended.


1 T lemon zest

2 t baking soda

½ t salt

½ t ground white pepper

2 t cinnamon

1 T plus 1 t ground ginger

Blend well.

Sift 2 ¼ c flour and blend into mixture, which should make a fairly stiff dough. Roll balls of 1-2 T and roll in granulated sugar (cane sugar or raw sugar preferred for crunch).

Chill balls for 30 minutes.

Bake on parchment or silpat sheets on cookie sheets at 350 for 10-12 minutes…they will not look done, but should be slightly cracked, important to not overbake, or you will lose the wonderful chewy factor.

I wish the recipe had indicated how many cookies it makes. I had a little anxiety at the beginning wondering if I was going to have 2 dozen cookies at the end. I used our melon baller to measure out the dough balls and ended up with 32 cookies. Perfect - 24 for the cookie swap and 8 for us.

The directions were absolutely right about the cookies not looking done. I trusted the recipe and took the pan out after 10 minutes since cracks had appeared. It does indeed preserve the nice chewy quality.

I wouldn't call these spicy by any measure, but that could be because I left out the zest. My husband could notice the subtle ginger flavor, but I noticed the nice buttery flavor that complimented the molasses flavors.  Overall, a very good cookie with easy on-hand ingrediants that I will make again.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ask Angie: Tips for Holiday Sanity

Holiday cards

I love holiday cards. I love sending them and I love receiving them. This year I took a couple shortcuts and instead of writing out the addresses, I printed labels. I also shortened the list a bit. But the act of sitting down and writing out the cards is something I really enjoy. It gives me the time to think warm thoughts and say a short prayer for each card receipient.

Receiving the cards is very much the same. I love a good holiday letter. Reading about someone's year and the update on their lives makes me feel closer to them. Plus I learn some really good stuff.

If you are slammed with holiday joy, don't feel pressure to send cards or greetings. Take your list and divide it into four and send Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Halloween and Thanksgiving cards instead. Or choose June 25th as your day to send cards. If sending cards doesn't work at all, pick 10 people you can call, send a text message or email to reconnect at this time of year. If you are tech savy, get out the video camera, record a holiday video, upload to You Tube and send everyone the link.

We have a rule in our house - If you don't want to do it, don't. (This works because we don't have kids). What it basically means is if you don't feel like doing the dishses, don't. They can wait until morning when one of us will feel like doing them. Don't feel like making dinner - pop in a pizza. This a great alternative to being resentful that "you do everything around here."

The same can apply to Christmas. Don't feel like sending cards - don't. Send loving thoughts or messages instead.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2011 Cookbook Challenge: Candied Ginger

The recipe my husband used for our turkey brine called for candied ginger so I decided to make it myself. I have had the best luck and best value buying ginger at the Asian supermarket. Your local grocery store should carry it. At our Publix, it is with the fresh herbs.

This one comes from Alton Brown over at


Nonstick spray

1 pound fresh ginger root  - The hardest part of this recipe is peeling the ginger.

5 cups water

Approximately 1 pound granulated sugar


Spray a cooling rack with nonstick spray and set it in a half sheet pan lined with parchment.

Peel the ginger root and slice into 1/8-inch thick slices using a mandoline.

So, I tried to use the mandoline and it did not work. The ginger I had was too fiberous. I decided to just cut up the ginger into thin pieces. I cut the ginger root in half. Laid it flat and the just cut little half circles as thin as I could make them.

Place into a 4-quart saucepan with the water and set over medium-high heat. Cover and cook for 35 minutes or until the ginger is tender.

It is important to check to see if the ginger is tender and not just go by the time. The time will vary with stove top temperature and how thick you sliced the ginger.

Transfer the ginger to a colander to drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.

This measurement matters. I used too much water in my first try and the sugar ended up caramelizing before the water evaporated. No good.

Weigh the ginger and measure out an equal amount of sugar.  Yes, I actually weighed it. I trust Alton.

Return the ginger and 1/4 cup water to the pan and add the sugar. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar syrup looks dry, has almost evaporated and begins to recrystallize, approximately 20 minutes.

You have to stir, stir, stir. The sugar will become very dry and then start to come back together and the ginger will look like you dipped it in sugar.

Transfer the ginger immediately to the cooling rack and spread to separate the individual pieces. Once completely cool, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Save the sugar that drops beneath the cooling rack and use to top ginger snaps, sprinkled over ice cream or to sweeten coffee

IT IS SO GOOD!! It's sweet, but spicy and definitely helps with digestion. I thought the process was pretty easy and I will be making it again.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ask Angie: Today's Tip for Holiday Sanity

If you have made the effort to decorate your house, today is the day to enjoy it. Seriously, put it on your to do list.

 Grab your camera or even just your phone and wander around your house as if it is a house on a holiday tour. Take pictures of your holiday decorations or hand off the camera to one of your little ones and have them join you as you really enjoy how festive and fun your house looks.

Take a brief moment to stand in front of the tree and take three big breaths. Check out the ornaments and marvel at how branches and light make such a pretty picture. Allow yourself at least two minutes to do this. Everyone can find two minutes. Set a timer if you are worried about over-indulging in holiday wonderment.

If you do decide to take pictures, the good news is that you can print them and attach them to the boxes the decorations are stored in as you put them away so you know where everything is. You can also use them as a guide for next year as to where things go or a reference for those clearance sales as to what you still need or what you already have.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Our Christmas Drink: The Grasshopper

One of my favorite family traditions is making grasshoppers on Christmas Eve. My dad is the bartender. He combines equal parts creme de menthe (the green version, of course) and creme de cacao and then adds in vanilla ice cream and we have a party. How much liquor you add definitely depends on how strong you want it. It's pretty fun because you can tell how strong it is by how green it is. We like a nice minty green.

Does your family make a special cocktail for the holidays?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

2011 Cookbook Challenge: Caramel Sauce

For 2011, one of my goals is try one new recipe per week - preferably from one of the cookbooks piled high on the shelf in the corner. However, to start things off I am going to review a couple recipes I got off the Internet. You know, as a warm up. I hope you'll join and post the recipes you are trying in your comments.

Caramel Sauce

This one comes from Ina Garten over at

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/3 cup water

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Mix the water and sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Do not stir.

Here I had a problem. I just dumped the suage into the water and did not stir. That was wrong. You should stir the sugar and the water together at the beginning to ensure that the sugar dissolves into the water. You can tell the sugar is dissolving because the liquid will go from cloudy to clear. Once the liquid begins to clear up. That is when you should not stir.

 Increase the heat to medium and boil uncovered until the sugar turns a warm chestnut brown (about 350 degrees F on a candy thermometer), about 5 to 7 minutes, gently swirling the pan to stir the mixture. Be careful – the mixture is extremely hot! Watch the mixture very carefully at the end, as it will go from caramel to burnt very quickly.

As soon as the sugar mixture had a brownish color I turned off the heat because I was scared of it burning. This resulted in a sweeter caramel sauce.

 Turn off the heat. Stand back to avoid splattering and slowly add the cream and vanilla. Don't worry - the cream will bubble violently and the caramel will solidify.

And by solidify, she means you will have a hard chunk of what looks like brown glass in the middle of a pan of cream. Don't worry. This is right.

Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is smooth, about 2 minutes. It took me a little longer, but you'll be able to tell. It's when the hard chunk in the middle is melted into all of the cream.

Allow to cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours. It will thicken as it sits.

I struggled with how to store this until my husband had the brilliant idea to store in the empty 12-oz. Squeeze Bottles 3 pk. - Clear we keep for when we make simple syrups or sauces.   They were a great investment and made our brownies look extra fancy.

Overall the caramel sauce came out really really well. We have been eating gran smith apples covered in the stuff after we finished that tub of vanilla ice cream. It took about half an hour to forty minutes to make. This is not a recipe you can really walk away from because the sugar will burn so you do need uninterrupted cooking time. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ask Angie: How to avoid the snark

For a lot of people, it seems that holiday cheer is often accompanied by holiday jeer - those unpleasant comments from family. The comments usually involve some commentary on your life choices. I would like to offer some optional responses.

"Do you have a boyfriend yet?"
- Yes, but he's spending the holiday with his wife and kids.
- I've decided a string of  drunken one night stands is the way to go.
- What? Do I have a toy end? I don't even know what that is. (Walk away shaking head muttering someone's been hitting the whiskey a little early).

"So, when are you getting married?"
- When it's legal for all people regardless of sexual preference to marry.
- When we save enough for a spectacular ring.  Want to donate $100 to the cause?
- When the housing market turns around.
- Dude, you ruined the surprise.

"So, when are you having children?"
- Once we figure how where they come from. Do you know how babies are made?
- Once there is a new stock available, Angelina adopted them all.

Do you have a job yet? Are you still at that old job? When are you going to get a job?
- It's classified. Seriously, I can't talk about it.

When in doubt, a good old fashioned, "I don't think it's appropriate to talk about that here." and turn and walk will also do the trick as will hiding in the bathroom.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Book Review: 168 Hours and Unclutter Your Life in a Week

Today I wanted to feature two excellent books that are perfect to read as the last days of 2010 lead into the bright new beginnings of 2011 and resolutions to be better are made and hopefully, this year, kept. Thease books give you the tools to get there.

168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam

A lot of books out there discuss time management and how to achieve work/life balance. 168 hours is the best book I have read on this topic because it focuses on the core skill needed to achieve all this: prioritization. 168 hours is the number of hours in a week. The book is structured to help get the most out of those 168 hours.

Vanderkam ends each chapter with questions that help the reader focus on core competencies. Core competencies are the activities that give you joy, that you are really good at, and that you would not feel complete unless you were doing. One of the questions that really stuck with me was: If someone offered you $4 million, but you had to give up doing all of the current core competencies of your job, what one thing would give you pause? What is the one thing that it would be hard for you to never be able to do again because it gives you satisfaction or job? Program a computer? Provide help and guidance to someone? Fight a fire? Teach a child? What is that one thing? Because that is the thing you should be spending your time doing.

She also offers concrete suggestions for reworking your 168 hours. Some of her suggestions have been:

- Use those early rising morning with your kids as your quality time instead of beating yourself up for not being home at 5:00 pm.

- Use the time in the shower, the car, waiting in the car pool lane to mediate , pray and make gratitude lists.

I highly recommend this book. It is a must read for everyone.

Unclutter Your Life in One Week

Unclutter Your Life in One Week by Erin Doland is a fantastic book. It's more than just a simple organization book with tips like put things into bucket. She goes step by step through each room in your house and at your office on how declutter each space and make it more efficient in order to achieve a better, more peaceful life. She also tackles how to unclutter your schedule and even how to handle the holidays. I loved this book. I found her criteria for what to keep and what to re-evaluate tremendously helpful. A must read for anyone who needs some tools for organization both in their physical space and their schedule.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Brewing Report: Widmer Reserve Prickly Pear

It almost seems cruel to review this beer because it was a limited production brew from the spring,but it is so delicious. My husband and I tasted Widmer Brothers Reserve Prickly Pear Braggot at a craft brewing tasting at the Aquarium and just couldn't get enough. It is sweet, smooth and has a slight malt taste. The high alchohol contenet makes it more of a sipping beer than a chugging beer. This beer represents the reason we go to beer tasting events. There is no way we could put in the time to search out all the different beers we could possibly like. Through tasting events, we have really developed an appreciation for different types of beer and found some incredible gems.

After enjoying this beer so much, we decided to secure the winter reserve offering as well. Turns out it was a bourbon ale. I also liked Widmer Brothers Reserve Barrel Aged Brrbon. The aging process gave it is a nice oak flavor, but not too strong. The balance was still more heavy on the whiskey flavoring side than the traditional beer side, but it worked out well. This beer you should still be able to find in stores if you are so inclined.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Are You Watching? The French Chef

The French Chef With Julia Child 2
Okay, so this isn't going to show up in the TV guide, but I finally had the chance to watch some episodes of the French Chef last week and I am in love! This show is brilliant. It is a real joy to watch. I love that Child focuses on one ingredient or one method per show and then shows all the different uses. I watched episodes where she cooked vegetables using a blanching and sauteing technique, braised lettuce and cabbage, omelets and baked eggs, and made two innovative dishes with potatoes. She offers substitutes for ready made foods and how to make things in advance to help with the timing of dinner. This is truly a show that teaches the viewer how to cook - not just how to make a certain dish. Nothing on current television even compares. I picked up my copy at the library.  If you are interested in cooking or learning to cook better - you should definitely put this on your Christmas wish list or in your Netflix queue.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hot Topic: Facebook campaigns

This past week there was much ado about people changing their Facebook profile pictures to cartoon characters to raise awareness about child abuse. First,  it was criticized because how in the world is changing a profile picture really going to end child abuse? Then a rumor circulated that it was really a ploy by a pedophile to gain access to more children via Facebook.

To the first point - Everyone discusses how  the fundamental weakness of all Facebook campaigns from changing your status to fight cancer to not posting for a day to this latest incarnation is that these campaigns won't actually change anything unless you do something else. I mostly agree. However, I do believe there is value in the power of prayer or positive thinking.  I believe that the fact that all those cartoon character folks spent a moment thinking about the prevention of child abuse in a way that they wouldn't have without the campaign will manifest itself somehow. Will this be enough to end child abuse? Absolutely not. But it may flip a switch that makes someone send money the next time she gets a solicitation from a non-profit that supports children or intervene at the mall when an adult is being abusive to a child.  Prayers and positive thoughts matter.

To the second point - children should not be on Facebook. Children who should not be on Facebook should definitely not be accepting friend requests from people they don't know - whether the profile picture is a cartoon character or not.

What do you think?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ask Angie: Good ideas for Holiday gifts?

A couple people have asked me for good websites for looking for unique gifts.

For the philanthropic
A gift certificate to is great. The recipient picks an entrepeneur in other country to loan the amount of money equal to the gift certificate. When the loan is repaid, the receipient can decide to cash out or reinvest in another entreneur.

For fun gifts
I love It has great bar accessories and all kinds of kid gifts.

I also like and

Another site I love is It has a great mix of jewelry and I love their plant related gifts.

And of course, as you shop online - don't forget to stop first at You chose your favorite charitable organization and then the website will donate a percentage of your purchase to that organization.

Happy Gift Giving!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Book Review: If You Have Cry – Go Outside by Kelly Cutrone

If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You
Kelly Cutrone has appeared on the The Hills, The City and her own series Kell on Earth. She also runs People’s Evolution. If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You  surprised me. I didn’t expect much but I really enjoyed some of the key messages of the book:

1. Believe in Yourself

2. Find and listen to your inner voice

3. Focus on building a Tribe

4. Work hard

5. Give back

Cutrone is unapologetic about the need to work hard and pay your dues to the extent that no one in her office eats until the people higher up than them in the hierarchy have eaten. She is deeply committed to pay it forward and breaking the cycle of women competing, backstabbing and manipulating each other in order to get ahead. She lost me a little in the passages that explained her spirituality, but inspired me as some of the chapters read as pep talks. She is also committed to telling the truth. This is a good book for someone who is going through a transition – graduation, job transition, etc. It’s not as heavy handed as some books I have read and offers some good practical advice.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Brewing Report: Tasting Notes from the Cajun Cafe Beer Festival

In mid-November, my husband and I headed to the Cajun Café Beer Festival. Cajun Café is a great restaurant in St. Petersburg with fantastic food and great location. We were really impressed with this festival. It is unique because the owner doesn’t use one particular distributor and spends the year stockpiling interesting micro-brews. He also invites some of the local Home brewing clubs.

The festival was well laid out. Each table had six to fifteen beers to taste. The tickets also included a fruit and cheese plate and a Taste of Cajun Café plate – gumbo, red beans and rice, crawfish cornbread. Yum! Plus the band was so fun!

The beer festival highlighted a few of the beer trends:

- Super hoppy beers: I think this trend may be ending – thankfully, but it seems like breweries were completing to see how much they could out-hop each other.

- High alcohol – We had trouble deciphering between the 13% beers. They all had a very sweet, alcohol taste.

- Aging in a bourbon barrel – The fest had two bourbon barrel ales – Windmere Reserve and a local home brewer’s version. The Widmere Reserve has nice flavor, but we were impressed with how the home brewer was able to produce a very balanced smooth beer.

- Sour beers – I hadn’t tasted a sour beer before and the Festival had a couple stunners. It reminded me of sitting back in the back of bus on the way to Washington DC eating sour balls until we burned the insides of our mouth. The highlights were Zuur and the Cascade Creek Northwest Style Sour Ale. The Cascade Creek was the best at the Festival. It was smooth, full bodied and a great palette cleanser.

We picked up the best tip – a pretzel necklace. A lot of the beers had very strong flavors – sour, hops, and powerful stouts. We definitely needed a palate cleanser after some of those.

We will definitely go again.

Here are some of our tasting notes:

Red Hook Expedition 8-4-1: A nut brown ale with malty flavor on a strong background of hops.

Cuvee 2: Oak Aged, deep flavor, very smooth

Starr Hill The Love Wheat: Crisp, fruity with a slight note of sour

Ommegang 3 Philosophers Quadruple Belgium Style Ale: Tartness of the cherries helps to offset the sweet from the high alcohol content.

Ommegang Witte: Very refreshing wheat with great citrus notes

Great Divide Smoked Baltic Porter: A great porter base with a smokey flavor that delivers on the promise.

Ommegang Cup of Kindness Limited Edition: A scotch ale that delivers on its promise.

Mike’s Homebrew Pumpkin Spice: A great balance of both pumpkin and spice flavors. The only pumpkin beer Angie has ever liked.

Dunedin Brewers’ Guild Belgium Double Chocolate Stout: This stout made by a local home brewer was so decadent. It was delicious, velvety and super-sized chocolate flavor.

Dunedin Brewers’ Guild Petit Saison: A solid saison. Light fruity, but still had the body of a beer.

Red Brick Vanilla Gorilla: Smooth vanilla dark ale that reminded us of cream soda.

Fort Collins Brewery Common Ground: Coffee flavor but not dark. It is a really good and unusual beer.

Dunedin Apricot Wheat: This beer delivers a wheat background with apricot flavors and nose.

Dogfish Chicory Stout: What a great combination! The flavors of chicory meld nicely with the solid stout background.

Breckenridge Vanilla Porter: Definitely had vanilla flavor, but avoided being overly sweet. A solid porter.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Are you watching? Castle

Castle: The Complete Second Season

I am really enjoying the second season of Castle. The show centers on a writer who is shadowing a New York detective. The writer becomes an asset for whole team and, of course, a source of sexual tension for the dectective. The crime solving is augmented by a glimpse into the writers' home life with his charming daughter and eccentric mother. They usually provide a nice break from the investigation plotline.

I was very intrigued when I saw copies of the novel mentioned in the show for sale.

Naked Heat (Nikki Heat)

I read Naked Heat (Nikki Heat) by "Richard Castle" over the weekend. It's a pretty thick novel that reads like an episode of the show. What makes for great television doesn't necessarily make for a great novel. For instance, introducing new characters in the last couple chapters and one of them just happens to be the villian. I thought I missed a couple chapters. I think it is a very smart marketing ploy and it does match the plot quite nicely. If you are huge fan of the show, I would pick it up just for the novelty factor.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Recipe: Swiss chard - Almond Pesto Pasta

Photo credit: Dan Robert,

Yesterday for dinner I decided to test drive a recipe from the most recent Rachel Ray magazine. It was featured in the $10 spot - recipes for a family under $10. The original recipe was for Kale Walnut Pesto Pasta

I had rainbow swiss chard from our recent CSA pick up and smoked almonds from our Thanksgiving cheese plate so I decided to substitute. It turned out really well. I love the technique of turning greens into pesto. I had done it with spinach, arugula, and now swiss chard.

Here we go:

1 bunch of swiss chard - stems removed and roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 smoked almonds or toasted almonds
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp hot sauce
Rotini pasta - these spiral are important because they hold the pesto really well

Bring a pot of water to boil. Add at least 2 pinches of salt. Put the chard in the water for 5 minutes.
Remove the chard with a slotted spoon. You are going to boil the pasta in the same water.
Place the chard in a colander and run under cold water until all the chard is no warmer than room temperature. Squeeze the chard to remove extra water. Pat dry.
Add your pasta to the water and cook until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, put the garlic and nuts into the food processor. Pulse until chopped.
Add the cheese.
Add the chard.
The mixture will look a little lit tabbouleh. Taste it and add the salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste.
Continue to mix and drizzle in olive oil. The chard mixture will form a paste-like clump. You are done.
By now, the pasta should be done.
Reserve at least one cup of the water prior to draining.
Drain the pasta and return to the pot.
Add the clump of pesto. Add the reserved water until all the pasta is coated.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hot Topic: World's AIDS Day

Today is World's AIDS Day. You remember AIDS, right? That disease that scared a generation into practicing safe sex.

Remember when CNN showed stories about Ryan White, Magic Johnson and how to stem the AIDS tide instead of YouTube videos of cats peeing?

Remember the vigils, the fear, the hopelessness?

I do. I remember.

Even though football players won't be wearing red this Sunday and KitchenAid isn't making commemorative mixer - AIDS is still a huge burden here. Maybe we can forget about it because it takes place more in Sub-Sahara Africa than it does in suburbia.

But on this day we should remember. We should care. We should do something.

Maybe pray for the 33 million people battling this disease including two million children under the age of fifteen.
Maybe send money to organizations searching for a cure or a vaccine or providing comfort.
Maybe educate yourself on what is the current status of the fight against AIDS worldwide.
Maybe remind someone that AIDS still exists and lasts far longer than a one night stand.
Maybe just click on the Light for Rights banner up there on the left side of this page to see what other people are doing to remember.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I did it. I wrote a novel.

Yesterday marked the end of journey through National Novel Writing Month - a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. And I did it. For almost two decades, I have kept a rather large box of letters. In this box is every letter I have ever received. For many years, I had pen pals from Asia or Europe. Then in 1992, I got a pen pal in New Hampshire. Her name is Mary. We wrote to each other at least once every two weeks for five years. Interestingly, it was only when email became the main medium did we lose touch. I guess not having that physical reminder to refer to and use as a reminder to write back ended our friendship. We sent Christmas cards after that, but it wasn't the same. There was just something about that physical letter.

So when I decided to NaNoWriMo, I knew that I would want to use those letters as inspiration,  The novel is the story of two high school freshman who write back and forth. I pulled out a bunch of those letters and reread them. Even though they were someone else's story, I learned a lot about myself and the person I was back then. Memories can be very deceiving. I really enjoyed writing this novel. My husband was the best cheerleader ever.

Anyway, I present you.

Write Back Soon by Angela Lusk

Click here to read it on or you can email me for a PDF version.

 I decided to publish it in its raw form. I basically just wrote 50,000 words and then my dear husband converted to PDF. Hope you like it!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Book Review: Sliding Into Home by Kendra Wilkinson and Priceless by Nicole Richie

This week book theme is clearly books by people who are famous for being famous. This does not make them good authors. I learned this the hard way.

Sliding Into Home

Well, I think the statement that sums up this book is the question my husband posed to me when he saw I was reading it, “Is that by that idiot on TV? What is she famous for again?” Umm, yeah.

First, I don’t think Wilkinson is an idiot. She has parlayed her biggest assets into a fairly successful career and that does take a good head on a girl’s shoulders. Her time on reality TV also portrays her as a very kind girl with a good heart. Second, she is famous for being Hugh Hefner’s girlfriend and starring on the reality TV shows, “Girls Next Door” and “Kendra.”

However, that does not mean Sliding Into Home is a good book. It’s clear that the ghost writer tried his best, but it just wasn’t enough. The book is basically just the timeline of Wilkinson’s life. Missing from the book is any type of emotion or analysis of what happened to her. It was unfortunate that I read this book right after Diablo Cody’s Candy Girl because it made this omission all the more glaring. Wilkinson relates her time stripping as being crazy profitable and filled with sisterhood and rainbows and unicorns. I really have a hard time believing that. She recounts her time as a drug addict the same way. She could stop at any time, it’s just that she didn’t want to. Drugs magically appeared for free most of the time to maintain her habit. The violence and dirtiness that usually accompanies drug addict stories was suspiciously missing. And then she was able to just quit – again, magically avoiding withdrawal.

I’d give this book a pass unless you were a huge fan of the Girls Next Door. The strongest chapters of the book are where she provides the behind-the-scenes scoop on what was really going on at the Mansion during her time there. Otherwise – leave it on the shelf.

Priceless: A Novel

Priceless: A Novel by Nicole Richie is as good as you'd expect. I had high hopes for this book because I have really enjoyed Lauren Conrad's series of young adult fiction novels. Conrad's use of behind-the-scenes knowledge really elevates the book. In Priceless, Richie is just not bold enough. She has an okay plot and her writing style is adequate. She just doesn't take the risk and really delve into what it means to be privileged due to no doing of your own and the crossroads that many spoiled rich kids reach when they have to decide who they are going to be. She skirts around the edges of that discussion entirely. If she had really dove in, this piece of fiction would have actually been pretty good.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ask Angie: Preparing for Thanksgiving

As you prepare for the holiday season, I wanted to share a couple questions I have gotten over the last weeks:

How to handle sports watching?
At most Thanksgiving feasts, there will a contingency of people who want to watch sports and others who just want to enjoy time with the family. I suggest utilizing the closed captioning option on your television as much as possible. This way the sports fans can check the scores and enjoy the games, but the rest of the family does not have to deal with the blaring sounds of crunching bones and idiotic commentary. Commentary such as, “If they want to win, they are going to need to score.” DUH!

What to bring?
If you have not been assigned a dish or beverage to bring, may I suggest a few different ways you could go:

  • A basket of breakfast foods that don’t need refrigeration such as pancake mix, syrup, bagels and jams. It’s one of the things that many people forget to plan for – especially if they have guests.
  • A basket of foods to help utilize the leftovers: pizza dough, sauce, cheese, a nice loaf of sandwich bread and fancy mustards.
  • Desserts are always welcome

  •  One of those super soft throws from Brookstone
  •  A nice bottle of wine
  •  Fancy dish towels or soap and lotions
  •  Fancy chocolates

Most of all, just enjoy the day. Let all the petty issues and worries roll off you and just enjoy the time with your family and friends. Use the opportunity to ask your older relatives about their history - you'll get some great stories about their high school years, how they fell in love and their first job. And, of course, take a few moments to be grateful. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Book Review: Delivering Happiness by Tony Hseih

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh is a great inspiring book. It is part biography, part employee handbook and part company history. Tony Hsieh is the CEO of As a frequent online shopper, I am well acquainted with Zappos and their free shipping and 365 day return policy.

In the book, Hsieh details how he has followed his passion and created Zappos. It is an incredible story. For me, it was very inspiring to read how he made it through the tough times – going from a $20 million buyout to having to sell everything he owned to make Zappos’ payroll. He highlights the core values of Zappos and the huge gains that can be made by being honest, have a singular goal, and creating a fantastic work culture. He realized early on in Zappos development that the niche for Zappos was to be the best at customer service. He then weighed all of the major decisions that followed on that key principle. Later that principle has evolved into the tag line of Delivering Happiness. He challenges all his readers to evaluate how they are measuring up to Zappos core values.

Hsieh’s writing is straight-forward and sometimes even funny. He also includes vignettes from other members’ of the Zappos team. I highly recommend this book.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Brewing Report Great Divide Hibernation Ale and Abita Pecan Harvest Ale

Great Divide Hiberation Ale
It’s easy to see why this English Style Old Ale has medalled at the Great American Beer Festival. It has a rich malt flavor that is complimented with a nice hops finish. The ale is so balanced that the complex hops flavor is offset by the sweet malt in such a way that makes the beer very drinkable. Well done, Great Divide, well done.

Abita Pecan Harvest Ale

This ale is made with Louisiana Pecans. It’s has a good flavor and the pecans add a nice nutty finish to the ale. It has that signature Abita taste that is a good balance of hops.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Are you Watching? Downsized

If you are – please stop. This is a terrible show. And for me to say a reality show is terrible, well, that takes a lot. Let’s remember, I even liked Rock of Love. Downsized is a terrible show. It is supposed to be a reality TV show about how a couple with seven kids who lose everything when the construction industry dries out in Arizona tightens up their budgets and adjusts to life outside the mansion. The lose everything part is right; the tightening and adjusting - not so much.

 They have lost their house, declared bankruptcy and moved into a much smaller 3,000 square foot rental house. Yep, I said 3,000 square feet. The husband is basically not working and the wife is a teacher. The thing that drives me crazy is that the show is edited so that we supposed to feel sorry for this family – crying interviews with the parents and children, a shocking health revelation, and the touching scene where the boy sells his favorite baseball mitt so they can make rent.

However, the reality of the situation makes it a little difficult. The editors can’t exclude that every kid has a cell phone, the ten year old takes $145 a month cheerleading classes, the kids browse the internet, play on the Wii or the ping pong table, coupons are just too hard to use, and the mom can’t be bothered to keep track how much is left on the Food Stamps card. If I sound judgmental – it is because I am judging. These people are clueless. In the latest episode, the wife loses it because their straight-talking financial advisor tells her she has to lose her Starbucks addiction. They could not make rent because they were $300 short and she is defending her $5 a day coffee habit. Use math much?

Maybe the show will get better now that a financial advisor has entered the picture, but I am doubtful and I don’t plan on sticking around to find out. The idea of the show is interesting. I just wish they had picked a family that was committed to actually living with their means. I think that is what would make good television. Watching the debate about keeping cable and internet access or the 10 year old’s cheerleading.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cooking for Isaiah

So I had plans. Big huge plans. I was going to cook a recipe from this cookbook and then post pictures of what I created next to the pictures from the book and it was going to be lovely and inspiring and you were going to buy the cookbook and make recipes too and then we would all be happy.

Then I substituted brown rice for arborio rice and my dreams were shattered. This is NOT, I repeat, NOT  a good substitution because brown rice isn't as starchy. This creates irreparable damage if you are trying to make risotto cakes, which I was. So instead we got a very flavorful bowl of brown rice. Oops.

BUT - that doesn't mean this cookbook isn't fantastic, because it is. It is the 100% best gluten free cookbooks I have ever seen. And it is now one of my top ten favorite cookbooks. I present you:

Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy Delicious Meals
Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy Delicious Meals by Silvana Nardone

The recipes are approachable, but not something you would think of yourself. She offers easy substitutions for gluten free flour or pancake mix and covers all parts of the meal. She also has pictures. I love pictures. They inspire, but also let you know if you are on the right track.

 This is a must buy, people. Give it to anyone you know with a gluten or dairy allergy or a commitment to good food. Just don't substitute brown rice for arborio rice. That is a BAD idea.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hot Topic: The Carnival Splendor

I have had it with the media coverage of the Carnival Splendor. In case you don’t know, last week the Carnival Splendor cruise ship had a fire in the Engine room. The ship was disabled – no electricity and no working toilets for several hours – and had to be towed back to San Diego. From all the passenger accounts, this very serious situation was handled professionally. The cruise line is going beyond the call of duty to make the passengers whole – reimbursing for the cruise, offering another free cruise, waiving all charges and getting people home the fastest way possible. More importantly, every single person arrived safely back in San Diego. The media is trying to spin this as the “Cruise from Hell”. I cringed listening to reporters try to goad passengers into saying bad things about the cruise line or their experience. To their credit, many of the passengers spoke about what an outstanding job the crew, the Captain, and the cruise line did. Sure, they complained about the food, but that was about it.
The news could have been filled with heartwarming stories about how everyone pulled together. The message board are filled with such andetotes – human chains carrying food between decks, passengers carrying disabled passengers from deck to deck and opening up their cabins to those without windows or working toilets. Instead, we see one reporter after another trying to manipulate the truth to build the “cruise from hell” story.

Not too long ago, we had another story of a captain who relied on his training, made good decisions and safely ferried passengers through a serious situation. They called it the “Miracle on the Hudson”, not the “Flight from Hell.” I believe that the crew of this ship deserves the accolades and it’s a shame that CNN and other news outlets missed that important part of the story.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ask Angie: Can’t people just say thank you?

Dear Ask Angie :
I hate the holiday season! I am not a Grinch or anything – it’s just that I really enjoy buying people gifts or doing special things for them and people make such a big deal about it. They say things like “You shouldn’t have. It’s too much.. I’ll pay. We should split it. I couldn’t take that from you.” It is SO annoying! Why can’t people just say thank you?

I agree with you! I find this habit incredibly annoying! During the holiday season, we hear so much about how what we give is a blessing to other people and we should give, give, give. I believe being a gracious receiver bestows just a great of a blessing as giving. I mean who is going to do all the receiving from all this giving if everyone refuses to take help, a gift and a free lunch every now and then. People should just say thank you – and mean it. It is rude to deny people the opportunity to do nice things for you. I’ll say it again: IT IS RUDE!!!

If I want to buy you lunch – let me. I am not keeping a score card and neither should you.

If I see a bracelet that reminds me of you, let me give it to you damnit without some ten minute speech about how I shouldn’t have and you don’t have anything for me, blah!blah! blah. Just smile, say you love it and thank you very much.

How someone receives a blessing is a real statement to their character.

Think about the last gift you received or the last time someone tried to do something nice for you.

How did you react?

Were you gracious?

Did you allow it to be a blessing to person giving the blessing?

Or were you a jackass, mucking up what could have been a beautiful by arguing about it?

Let’s try a little less jackass and a little more gracious this holiday season. Okay? Thanks!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Book Review: Candy Girl by Diablo Cody

Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper

I took a break from business books to finally get around to reading Diablo Cody’s book: Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper. I really love the scripts for Juno and United States of Tara so I was looking forward to this book. I was not disappointed.

The book details the year that Cody entered the world of stripping, exotic dancing, entertaining, whatever it is you want to call it. Her perspective is very unique. She loved stripping, craved it. The book details her time at several strip clubs in the great Minneapolis area. The parts I found most interesting were how she details the economics of the job and how hard girls had to hustle to meet quotas so that they didn’t owe the management money at the end of the night. It’s interesting that the work she found most degrading was trying to get men to buy a drink coupon or a t-shirt. I generally like her writing style. Sometimes the pace gets stymied by a lengthy description, but overall it’s a fast read. I especially liked that she wasn’t trying to impart a moral or teach a lesson. She set out to tell the story of her year as a stripper and she did that well.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Brewing Report: Magic Hat Winter Seasonals

Odd Notions – Winter ‘10: We were a little timid to try this one since our experience with the Odd Notions Fall 10 was terrible. This ale was the exact opposite. Where the Odd Notions Fall 10 was overwhelming with strong flavors, this beer was much lighter. It has a caramel color with a good head. Based on the color, you would expect a heavier malty taste, but instead the brew is very light with a mild malt and flowerily background with a slight taste of hops. The lightness is deceiving because it has a 6% alcohol content. The flower notes come from the hibiscus with is brewed into the beer. It definitely doesn’t taste like a traditional heavy winter beer. It has a high drinkability, but not a “must-try”. The Magic Hat brewery describes it as a red ale with subtle spice and a slight zing from rye and Hibiscus petals. We definitely didn’t pick up the spice and zing, but that may be more a comment on our palates than the brewery’s description.

Howl Winter Seasonal – It is a black ale that hits all the right notes – smooth, full of the roasted malt and slight coffee flavors and avoids the bitter notes that often plague a black ale. It is a great complement to winter and the heavy comfort foods that go with it. This is a must try.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Are You Watching? Survivor

I have been very intrigued by this season of Survivor. The season started with the “Older” tribe versus the “Young” tribe. Then they switched things up and now they have merged. The interpersonal dynamics have not been all that interesting and the game play hasn’t been particulary noteworthy. It’s hard to follow two seasons with the ultimate game player: Russell. The challenges have also been a lack luster. I am wondering if the producers made the challenges less physical so more of the “older” tribe would last longer if Nicaragua just didn’t have any much land available to lay out the large obstacle courses. The tribal councils have rescued this show. It’s been amazing to see people just mouth off. They can’t control themselves at all. It seems like whatever game play they had goes out the window when they see Jeff. It’s always fun to watch who is going to keep their cool and who is going to just lose it. That’s definitely what keeps me coming back each week.

Are you watching? What do you think?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Recipe: Savory Swiss Chard Muffins

These muffins are great use of CSA greens. They are savory and make a great complement to a bowl of soup on a good day. I found them at the Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen website.  


3 cups Swiss Chard Green Leafs or Kale thinly sliced

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 teaspoon Salt

½ teaspoons Curry Powder

1 cup Sour Cream (heaping Cup)

3 whole Large Eggs

1 cup Grated Cheddar Cheese (heaping)

½ cups Bread Crumbs

½ teaspoons Baking Powder

Preparation Instructions

1. In a glass bowl (or any other microwave safe dish), combine Swiss chard, olive oil, salt and curry. Microwave for 2 minutes, until the greens wilt a bit and smell nice. Drain excess liquid.

2. In a different bowl, combine sour cream, eggs, cheese, bread crumbs and baking powder. Mix well and add the cooked greens. Mix well.

3. Divide mixture between 9 (preferably silicone) muffin pan cups or individual baking cups (oil well or line with paper cups if you are not using silicone) and bake in a 350F (about 180 Celsius) for 35 minutes.

Serve at room temperature or cold from the fridge. These should come out moist and juicy, so don’t overcook them. Next time, I plan to get myself a mini muffin pan and make miniature appetizers.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hot Topic: The new NFL rules

In Sunday’s Indianapolis Colts game, Austin Collie took a hard hit that left him unconscious on the field. The referees took a lot of criticism for penalizing the defense by calling the hit unnecessary roughness and giving a fifteen yard penalty. I think the ref was right to throw the flag. He saw helmet to helmet contact and a player lying unconscious on the field. The penalty was excessive for what the hit was, but without instant replay, I don’t see how the refs could have known that. This call ignited a lot of conversation because sports fan are worried that the NFL’s recent crackdown on concussions and helmet to helmet hits is going to take away from the sport. Somehow, if the defense line can crunched the head of an offense receiver, the sport will be lost.
I support the NFL’s increased attention on the risks associated with head injuries. I think they have been ignored for far too long and players have been encouraged to return too quickly from serious head injuries. I think the NFL is really missing the boat by holding only the players responsible after reviewing instant replays a week later. If the NFL was serious about head injuries, it would institute a minimum two week waiting rule for any player that sustained a head injury and all players would be evaluated by a NFL physician or physician panel in addition to the team doctor. The NFL would also begin researching alternative helmets, collars and padding that would further protect the players. A huge part of football is tackling. Any tackle, not just helmet-on-helmet could result in a serious head injury.

I understand that the men who chose to play this game understand the risks, or at least I hope they do, but if technology exists that can make the game more safe – the NFL should use it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ask Angie: Planning a trip with friend

How do you plan a vacation with a friend so you don't end up hating each other after?

This is a great question because I cannot tell you the number of times I have had friends come home from a trip and vow to never, ever travel with their latest travel mate again. So I have developed this check list of questions to help guide your discussions regarding your travel.

You have to know yourself and your expectations. What are you trying to get out of this trip? Days spent with an umbrella drink on the beach or hikes that last for hours and end in a muddy puddle? Waking up early each morning to double check your detailed itinerary or playing it by ear? BE HONEST! No one is as laid back as they think they are.

Think about your friend – How is she with logistics? Always late, annoyingly early? Good with directions? Never asks directions? Likes to have a plan or makes things up last minute? These traits will not change on vacation.

Getting it all out on the table. The most important to thing to remember when you have any conversations regarding planning the trip is that you have to be 100% honest and not just say what you think the other person wants to hear. You can be great friends that never ever travel together. It’s okay. The consequences of not being honest could ruin your trip and potentially your friendship. Once you both commit to being honest, here’s a couple questions to review together:

1. What type of vacation are you thinking about? Adventure? Beach? Ski? All-inclusive? Road trip Cruise?

2. How much do you want to spend for flights/hotels/cars?

3. How much do you want to spend daily? Fancy restaurants v. Street food?

4. How much time do you have to research and plan the trip?

5. Is it important to you that we do most of the activities together? Should the activities be planned in advance?

6. How will we make decisions on the trip ie. Where to go to dinner? (Careful here. The “I don’t care where we go gets really old really fast.)

7. What would make this vacation great?

8. Do you like having a detailed itinerary or going with the flow?

9. Is there anything you are concerned about regarding this vacation?

I recommend separately writing down the answers and then comparing. This ensures all the people involved really think about things, are honest about what each person wants, and one person doesn’t sway the whole group.

If you don’t think you need to have this conversation or you don’t want, I would say minimally you should assign a person to be in charge for each day so you don’t have to spend an hour and a half discussing where to go to dinner because everyone is saying, “I don’t care” and each person should identify one thing they really want to do during the course of the vacation.

Do you have any good trip stories? What tips do you have for planning a trip with friends?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Book Review: Good Boss/Bad Boss and the No Asshole Rule

I have been on a business-related book reading bender lately. Don’t worry I’ll get back to fun fiction in the next couple weeks. I was really looking forward to the Good Boss/Bad Boss and the No Asshole Rule books by Robert Sutton. I was pretty disappointed.

The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't

The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't is basically just chapter after chapter of why not to hire assholes. Yeah, kinda figured that out myself. I would have appreciated more guidance on how to change the culture at your worksite so that isn’t tolerated beyond just citing the studies and case studies of where it has been implemented. I find it incredibly difficult to move from a culture of “At least he/she turns in the work on time” to “we won’t tolerate any behavior that negatively impacts our business or our employees.” The reasons for why this shift is important are clearly laid out in the book, but I am missing how to get from point A to point B.

Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best... and Learn from the Worst

Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best... and Learn from the Worst by Robert Sutton is better. The book devotes its chapters to the qualities of a good boss: good listener, asks questions, listens to employees, confident, decision-maker, etc. This book would be very helpful for someone who has not found a good mentor or example of “good boss” within his/her organization. It provides a good amount of material to help you reflect on your own leadership style and the case studies illustrate the points very well. Again, the person reading would have to be open to changing it up or evaluating their performance. I could see it being used as a tool by a supervisor to help a manager evaluate their own performance.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Brewing Report: Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale by Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company is the reason people go to Craft Beer Festivals. It won the 2007 Silver Medal at the Great American Beer Festival in the Barrel and Wood-Aged Category.

This beer is insanely good. It is smooth and robust, more suited to sipping than chugging. It is aged in bourbon barrels – hence the name – so it takes on a whiskey flavor on a beer backdrop. It was the best beer we had at that Savannah Craft Beer Festival. We were devastated to find out it is only available in Kentucky and Ohio.

So, if you find yourself in KY or OH – you must check this out. That’s an order!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Those typing fingers are flying!

So I am writing a novel.

And I am going to do it in a month.

I have signed up for NaNoWriMo aka National Novel Writing Month.

The challenge is to write a 175 page novel in one month with no regard to quality. Yep, that’s right – basically write a crappy novel in one month.

The freedom to just write and not edit is very encouraging.

As you can see from the widget on the side, I got a few words working. You’ll be able to track my progress as the weeks go on.

My story is a the story of a girl's freshman year in high school– there just can’t be too many! . The chapters are framed by letters to a pen pal. I want to explore the idea of how our perception of reality and actually reality don’t exactly line up. The pen pal letters contain the silliness of a freshman girl - the "I kina like this boy, but I also like this boy." While the narrative just reports the facts.

I find the Just Do It attitude very freeing and I have amassed a group of writing buddies online to help with motivation and encouragement.

We’ll see how it goes!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Are you Watching? The Good Wife

The Good Wife: The First Season - Special 7-Disc DVD Edition (Includes Limited Edition Bonus Disc)

Season Two of The Good Wife is telling the sophomore slump to SUCK IT!

Disclaimer: I am a sucker for these law/crime shows. There is just something so satisfying seeing the crimes solved in an hour while the back story continues to develop. And the back story on The Good Wife is just so darn good.

The main character is a woman who stands by her cheating, potentially law breaking husband who is running for re-election. Yet, it’s not that simple. She is also a very talented lawyer in her own right who constantly struggles with the decision to stay with him. We see how the media’s coverage of the scandal and the campaign impact their family. We see how the dirty wheels of political campaigning work – a sanitized version, of course. And, we see her struggle with doing the right thing – both in how to deal with her feelings toward a co-worker and in the cases she takes on week to week.

I always worry about shows that set up sexual tension between two characters. I worry that the writers will cave to the desire to resolve that tension. Here, they are keeping it going. The gimmick they used to keep it going was a little annoying. A conveniently deleted voicemail message was a little to 90 minute Rom-Com for me. But all is forgiven.

Overall, I am loving this season. They take on contemporary topics – this week a Nobel Peace Prize nominee is accused of groping a masseuse in a thoughtful, even handed manner.

If you are not watching – you should be.