Saturday, February 18, 2017


As a kid, my mom tried to teach me to cook and I wasn't having it, so knowing that this child prodigy is actually a well traveled gourmet chef truly amazes me. I give many kudos to this brilliant young man.  I've been watching Man vs Child for the past two years, and all these young people truly know what they are doing.  I mean they literally battle well-known chefs for bragging rights! But don't take my word for it.  Say hello to Chef Holden Dahlerbruch.

1.  We watch you on the FYI Channel, but where else can we see your work?

Chef Holden: I have done a lot through the TV show, but I have done much more. I work in a restaurant in Culver City called The Wallace on Saturdays. I also am working on redoing the school lunch menu for my school district. Recently I did a pop up dinner and a small bites evening at Stage + Table in Santa Monica.

2.  Wow!  You're super busy! What was the first thing you ever cooked and how old were you?

Chef Holden:  I cooked first when I was four. I got up every morning to make scrambled eggs while standing on a chair.

3.  Do you do all of the cookIng at home for your family?

Chef Holden: I do not do all the cooking for my family but I do much of it. My dad also cooks dinner when I have too much homework. My mom likes to try our food, set the table, and loves making reservations at fun new restaurants to try out.

4.  I love trying new restaurants too! What is your favorite thing to cook?

Chef Holden: I love to cook almost everything. I make fresh pasta once a week and I have recently been trying more Asian flavors.

5.  Yum to pasta! When will the new season start, and are you friends with the other prodigies on the show?

Chef Holden: We have no idea when or if we are doing another season. I am as impatient as you are, because it was such a great experience.  I am friends with all the other prodigies so I hope we get to do it again.

6.  I'm sure keeping my fingers crossed! Who has been your favorite chef to compete against and why?

Chef Holden: I have so many favorite competitors. My top five are Joel Miller, Zoe Schor, Richie Farina, Dustin Trani, and Keith Breedlove to name a few.
For me, it isn’t just the competition. These chefs are my favorites because I learned from all of them. Chef Keith taught us about pickled grapes and I make those all the time. Joel is now my mentor at The Wallace. Richie is one of the best molecular
Gastronomy chefs in the world, it was such a pleasure to compete against him. I have staged in Dustin’s restaurant and my family still goes there for dinner all the time. And Zoe came looking for ideas. She is currently working on opening a new restaurant in Chicago and we were throwing ideas off each other. She later sent me an email saying she tested my stabilization technique for foam and it worked perfectly.

7. That's phenomenal to work with so many wonderful chefs and to learn new things. What was the last movie you watched and what did you like about it?

Chef Holden:  The most recent movie I watched was actually Toy Story 2. One of my best friends had never seen it. It is such a great film. I always remember it playing over and over again on Disney Channel. It is just one of the most perfect animated movies of all time.

8.  That's a movie I've never seen, but it looks like I should check it out soon. What would people be surprised to know about you?

Chef Holden:  Most people would be surprised to find out I am on my school’s ComedySportz team. ComedySportz is competitive improvisation played as a sport. Also, I started a Spontaneous Pancake Club at my school to give out free pancakes to students in need of a stress reliever.

9.  That sounds pretty neat! Where will we see you in the next 10 years?

Chef Holden: Truthfully, I have no idea where I will be in ten years. I want to go to business school and do something with food but I am keeping my options open. Currently, I am working on a few outside projects that I'm keeping under wraps for now but will announce soon!

10.  We'll be on the lookout for the upcoming news soon. If people want you to cook for them, or cater a meal, how can they reach you?

Chef Holden: The best way to contact me is via email: or direct message me on Instagram @ChefHoldenCooks  Please email me if you want me to cater, make an appearance, want to know a little bit more about me, or have a question on cooking. I am happy to answer!

Well there you have it!  We've hung out with a famous chef who's not even 21 yet!  Even better, Chef Holden is not only knowledgeable about the cooking world, but he has a very kind heart.  You can also meet him on Twitter to get more information. All this talking about food has made me hungry, so I'm outta here for a snack!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


I have a massive TBR pile of all types of novels, but my favorite authors actually have their own space on the bookcase. I'll purchase these novels without reading the blurb or checking out the cover. These are the writers that cause withdrawal while waiting for that next release.  Since I was 8 years old, I've literally read thousands of books.
In 2016 however, I ran into a situation when a release from one of my faves fell short.  The writing was choppy, and the characterization was very stilted.  The main story took so long to get to, that I found myself yawning frequently, waiting for things to pick up.   By the the 8th chapter, I was outta there, wondering if the original writer had been kidnapped.  Strangely, her next two novels were right back on target.

The 2nd matter came up because of a Social Media post.  As bloggers we see weird and negative posts all the time that we mostly ignore.  I didn't engage, but I couldn't forget that particular rant. This particular author received lots of favors from readers.  She later attacked some of these same valued fans who really cared about her, with some rude and unkind comments when they asked some simple questions. Sadly the comments continued for quite some time.  I didn't get it, and scratched my head in confusion.  

The final issue actually happened a while ago with a writer who had a kick ass first novel.  The intensity, the nail-biting suspense, and the research had me thinking for a long time.  The end of the book gave a 5 page excerpt of the next story which was to be released in about 6 months.  Yay!  It's 5 years later, and I'm still waiting for that second book!  Even worse, there's literally no info on what in the heck happened.

Notice that no names are given here, because even though I've been disappointed, authors are people too, and sometimes things happen. We see them at the grocery store, we hear stories about their families, they get sick, and they share exercise tips. They churn out books, consistently adhering to strict deadlines, fighting writer's' block, and needing to create stories that allow us to live in other magical places. Through them, we meet Dukes, Spies, Army Rangers, Chefs, Fashion Designers, Teachers, Physicians, Firemen, Millionaires, Cowboys and more from all over the world. Some are fortunate to make a ton of money, yet many others write what they love while still working full time to make ends meet.

Even though I may feel some disappointment on occasion, I can't ever imagine life without books and writers.  They are talented enough to create new worlds, and to introduce us to characters we can't wait to meet.  As long as there are writers out there to tell a story, my TBR pile and bookcases will continue to grow.  But how about you?  Has an author ever disappointed or surprised you?  

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Saturday, February 11, 2017


YAY! It's another excuse to celebrate chocolate because it's National Peppermint Patty Day!

Do you remember visiting a friend from back in the day, and all of a sudden she pulled out a zillion albums with pictures of people you didn't know?  
Seriously, it seemed like there were 300 pictures of strangers or relatives you'd never met, versus 50 pictures of your friend.

And what about those baby pictures? Every time you thought the album was finished and you could get a breather, 2 more appeared from out of nowhere to provide an overload of cuteness.  It seemed like I sat on that couch for hours. 

Today, everyone shows off pictures by pulling out their phones and scrolling through for your viewing pleasure, and it's still just as hard to walk away. (lol)

Do you enjoy trying products for free and offering honest reviews? Here's a great site to try.

If you're looking for a fun movie that's hilarious, check out the Santa Clarita Diet on Netflix. Timothy Olyphant and Drew Barrymore are adorable as a married couple with some unexplainable food problems.

Friday, February 10, 2017


If you've been watching this blog, you already know that I could care less about calories when I'm posting recipes - but I probably should be. This culinary delight is not only super simple to prepare, but has only a tiny 128 calories per slice.  Say what?

1 Medium Mango, diced (1 cup)
1 Medium Orange, segmented (reserve juice)
2 Pints Fresh Strawberries, divided
1 Tsp Freshly Grated Ginger
2 Tbsp Cold Water
1 Tbsp Seedless Raspberry Jam (low sugar)
1/2-1 Tsp Coconut Extract
1 8 Oz Store Bought Angel Food Cake, cut into 8 slices
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Coconut (toasted)

1.  Combine Mango, Orange and its juices , 1 Pint Raspberries and Ginger in a medium bowl and set aside.

2. In a blender or food processor, combine the second Pint of Raspberries, water, Jam and Coconut extract, then puree until smooth.

3.  Arrange the cake on  serving plates, with the fruit on the side.  Drizzle the cake and fruit with the raspberry sauce, and sprinkle with coconut flakes.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017


 Before I get started on today's rant, I need to give a major shout out to my girl Lissa from She graciously used her amazing artistic skills to re-create my Blog Header and I just love, love, love it! And she's a book lover too! Stop by her blog to check out some of her fabulous artwork and say hello. p.s. - did you notice the cheeseburger?!(lol)

Lissa's Artwork

The people I run into or hear about on a daily basis never cease to shock me, and I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.  

My friend *Amy recently moved and told me about her new neighbor *Jane, who lived next door. Jane was friendly, talkative and super eager to help my friend take some things into the house.  Now Amy is nice, but until she gets to know someone, she can appear to be standoffish.  She displays that demeanor because she is very shy.  Meanwhile, Jane frequently reached out to Amy by asking her over to visit, or to offer her food. Jane always made these gestures of kindness when her husband wasn't around. Needless to say my friend really didn't want to be bothered.  

A few days later while Amy walked to her car, she heard this:  Shut the ***k up.  I don't care about your ******g mother, and get your ass back in the house.  You've probably already guessed that the man (I use the term lightly) speaking was Jane's husband.  
You know - the guy you marry because he's madly in love with you.  If you've ever seen the exorcist, you remember how Linda Blair's head spun around, and that's just what Amy's did.  Then she glared at him with daggers before getting into her car.

Amy told her husband, who promptly told her to "mind her business", but now her job in life is to make Jane's husband miserable, and to spend as much time as possible with Jane. 

As I think about this scenario, I know that Jane is in trouble, and so does Amy.  Verbal abuse is horrible, and we're wondering what could be happening to her physically once the doors are closed and no one can see.

Have you ever had something like this happen while you were at a family gathering, a company function, or in your neighborhood. Do you just keep your mouth shut and say nothing, or will this guy be on your hit list?  Do you get involved in a subtle way? How do you handle one good neighbor and one bad neighbor in the same house when you live right next door?
Verbal abuse is still considered part of domestic violence. 

*Not real names