Archive for February 26, 2011

The Bachelor – Season 15 – So, it’s Brad?

I’m SO sorry that this blog is SO late but I declared the word “SO” to be a keyword this week (after SO much use of the word in the opening segment) and I’ve only just now SObered up. Just kidding. It really only took ‘til Wednesday.  Not kidding about the watch word for this episode being “SO”…be prepared…and, if you’re playing (drinking) along don’t plan on driving after reading this blog. You might want to schedule a pee break too. That concludes the public service portion of this blog. On to the actual post…

Snacks served:

Bread sticks with garlic-herb cream cheese and prosciutto
Wasabi rice crackers
Bananas with chocolate sauce
Red grapes
Pineapple chunks
Vanilla cake with chocolate fudge frosting

Brad opens the episode by listing the locations they’ve shot at thus far this season. I wasn’t really paying much attention because a)I already know where they’ve been this season and b) I was busy wrapping prosciutto around pub cheese covered bread sticks because they need to be made right before they’re eaten, and I have my priorities.

He sums up their itinerary by saying this week is “SO (drink) important” because he has “four AMAZING (drink) women left.” He then runs down the list of who remains.

Brad’s summary of each gal:

Chantal’s up first. Brad claims he has “SO (drink) much fun with this woman.” He and Chantal had an AMAZING (drink) date. “I don’t hold back a single bit with Chantal.” (*cough*) He tells her “I have SO (drink) much fun with you.”

Ashley’s up next. Brad describes Ashley as “SO (drink) happy and outgoing.” He’s not sure we heard him the first time so he tells us two more times. “I’m SO (drink) happy, SO (drink) happy.” He’s just concerned because he wants to move forward and “reconnect” (*cough*) He repeats, “you make me SO (drink) happy.”

Shawntel N. has her own share of keywords in her description. According to Brad he and Shawntel “have this unsaid CONNECTION (drink).” Flashback to her telling him how much she wants him to come to her hometown “It’s AMAZING (drink)”, and her telling him how much she’s enjoying Anguilla “Oh, that’s SO (drink) pretty.” Brad’s hopeful they’ll take a step that’s “SO (drink) much bigger than the one in Anguilla.” (That’s what she said. *cough*)

Emily is last in the lineup, rundown, list. (*hic*) He kicks off with a flashback where he asks her “SO(drink) how are you?” then launches into the story about how she lost “someone she cared SO (drink) much about” and how there’s “SO (drink) much love that Emily has for her ex, and she holds on rightfully SO (drink).”  He also thinks Emily is  “SO (drink) much deeper than her and I.” (Don’t get me started on the whole me/I usage thing, seriously.) Is he done? Nope. Why not? Because he wants “the opportunity, SO (drink) badly (he’s) falling SO (drink) hard for Emily.” (That’s what she said. *cough*)

Just to recap, that’s SIXTEEN “SO” uses in the opening three minutes. Plus two AMAZINGs and a CONNECTION. Phew. Is it hot in here or am I dehydrating?

There’s no drinking reprieve in sight.  Brad tells us he’s “looking forward to meeting four different families…I’m SO(drink) excited.” And he just can’t hide it. (Those compression shorts sure helped a lot last week, though.)

Don’t even put your glass down, folks.

Brad(upon arriving at Chantal’s hometown date): This  city is AMAZING (drink).
Chantal: Isn’t this AWESOME (drink)?
Brad: Isn’t this AMAZING(drink)?  I can see myself hanging out here a lot.
Chantal: That would be AWESOME (drink)

(Editorial note: Are they trying to get us drunk and take advantage of us?)

Chantal is thrilled to be home with her family. How does she feel about it? You got it. “ SO (drink) AMAZING! (drink)” (*thud*)

The date goes well. I’m pretty sure Brad is now in love with Chantal’s dad. That could be the liquor talking. Dunno.

On to Ashley’s date. Things are hazy, but this date made me giggle. Brad attempts to say something in French to the restaurant owner where Ashley takes him for the French Canadian treat (known at diners across NJ as cheese fries with gravy) but the only French Brad has on the tip of his tongue is the word “Si” which is actually Spanish. Oh well. “A” for effort, Mr. Womack. Ashley reprimands Brad for trying to eat his cheese fries, I mean poutine, with a fork. She feeds him one with her fingers and announces “I can see your crown.” Seeing as she’s supposedly a dentist I’ll go on the assumption she’s talking dental work. (*cough*)

Ashely’s mom thinks Ashley and Brad have a “CONNECTION”. Thanks Ashley’s mom, I was feeling parched.

Shawntel’s date opens with scary organ music and a shot of her striding through her family mausoleum. (Seriously, producers? Organ music?) Shawntel’s dialogue isn’t much better than the opening music. “Do you want to be cremated?” she asks. I was hoping Brad would say “Not today” and run out of the building waving his arms, but instead he said “never thought about it.” Granted, I haven’t been on a date in a long time, seeing as my husband frowns on that sort of thing, but I’m thinking that’s not the most seductive question she could have asked. Also, I’m all for the gals getting Brad into a reclining position and having their way with him, but my choice would be to skip the vein drain, aneurysm hooks, face mask, etc. That’s just me.

Mind you, Shawntel is actually my favorite contestant. She seems very down to earth and appears to be a total sweetheart, plus she asks Brad a lot about himself, which is a nice change of pace from the women who can only talk about themselves or dwell on the rose they may or may not be getting. I REALLY felt bad for her during the family portion of her date. I know how this show is edited, but I also know what I heard come out of her father’s mouth, and the way some of it was worded gave me flashbacks to many a guilt-laden talking-to’s I’ve had from my own parents. At dinner her Dad announces how Shawntel will be his successor in the family business and a nervous Shawntel swills her wine before and after telling him she may just move to Austin. Dad doesn’t redeem himself one bit, in my eyes, when he tells his daughter in their “private” chat that she already disappointed a local high school teacher who needed Shawntel during the tragic ordeal she went through when her son recently passed. That may be the most horrible thing I’ve ever heard anyone say to anyone on this show. Ever. And I’ve watched a lot of seasons. Like I said, I know I’m bringing personal issues into this, but to sum up—NOT COOL. Me no likey. Poor Shawntel. Quick someone say “so” or “amazing”, I’m losing my buzz.

Dad tries to make up for things by giving Brad his blessing before he leaves. It was a nice sentiment. But too little too late, imho. (*falls off soapbox in drunken huff*)

Brad, ever the gentleman, tells her “you have an AMAZING (drink) family.” (Thanks Brad, I needed that one.)

He then graciously goes on to provide comic relief during his date with Emily by uttering my two favorite lines of the night:

1)    …when it comes to Emily “I’m rock solid.” (That’s what she said. *cough*)
2)    …when saying goodnight at her door “I don’t want to leave weird.” (Too easy.)

I’m not even going to get into an editing analysis of Brad’s interaction with Emily and her daughter—suffice to say I think their date was likely a lot less tense than they made it seem, the daughter warmed to him much faster than they made it look like, and they had to work to add the “drama” to this segment.

Chris Harrison earned his paycheck by reciting his mandatory weekly seed-of-doubt-planting-statement”:

CH: “One house where you seemed to fit in the best was with Ashley…Ironically she’s the one girl who really didn’t express for love for you this week.”

I’ll conclude with a coma-inducing list of all the “so” statements I counted in the final wrap-up:

So comfortable
So right
So passionately
So warm
So good
So glad
So sweet
So I can’t be guarded
So if she isn’t feeling it
So much deeper
So much different
So highly
So great
SO GREAT
So perfect
So good (again)
So much respect
So great (again)
So perfect (again)

Cheers! Please comment below if you’re still conscious.

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I won an award! Sweet! (literally)

I’m so happy to announce that I’ve received my first ever blog award! This honor was bestowed upon me by an amazing fellow-blogger, the ever-wise Margo who never ceases to entertain and enlighten with her posts at http://urbanpsychopomp.blogspot.com/

Thank you Margo!

This blog award comes with instructions for sharing the love and passing on the praise. And here they are:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award. (Done!)
2. Share four guilty pleasures that you have.
3. Pass the award on to six other blogs.

So…four guilty pleasures. Thinking. Still thinking. Distracted by several of the thoughts…. *cough*

And she’s back.

Okay, my four guilty pleasures (in no particular order):

1. Anything involving chocolate

2. Reading books with irresistible British male main characters

3. Writing books with irresistible British male main characters

4. Watching my favorite movies until I have the entire thing memorized (and if the movie happens to have a fabulous British male main character well,  I’m okay with that)

Now to pass the torch to six fabulous bloggers….

1) Karen Balcom’s Author Blog – http://karenbalcom.com (she’s my most-awesome critique partner and, lucky me, she just happened to write a book with a fabulous Brit as the leading man)

2) Barbarossa’s Amazing Bachelor Blog – http://barbarossasblast.blogspot.com/ (a fellow Bachelor-blogger who writes a hilarious take on the show, from a decidedly pirate-y point of view)

3) Kaete’s Essential E-book Site – http://www.theessentialebooker.com/ (my former teacher, current critique group leader, lovely friend who blogs everything you need to know about e-publishing)

4) Sommer Leigh’s Tell Great Stories Blog – http://sommerleigh.com/ (fellow writer and forum poster who maintains an incredible blog about writing and provided endless support and entertainment to NaNo writers throughout the month of November)

5) Virtual Davis – http://virtualdavis.com/ (fellow writer who blogged the Writer’s Digest Conference in such detail I felt like I was there….oh, wait, I was there…but his blog is still nothing short of amazing)

6) J.M. Kelley’s Author Site – http://www.jmkelleywrites.com/ (debut author of the newly released contemporary romance Drew in Blue)

Be sure to check out their blogs!

Cheers!

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The Bachelor – Season 15 – It’s just Brad

Forgive me readers, it’s been almost a week since the last episode of The Bachelor and I’m only now getting around to my recap. Sometimes reality interferes with reality TV—wrong on so many levels!

Better late than never…

Snacks served:

Barbecue flavor pop chips

Ghiradelli filled chocolate squares (milk chocolate caramel, dark chocolate raspberry and dark chocolate mint)

Red grapes

Port wine cheddar on pretzel thins

Chocolate silk pie

So it was Valentine’s Day and what was I doing? Out for a romantic dinner? Off for a day of pampering at the spa? Showered with rose petals? No. I was driving carpool, rushing my kids to scout meetings, and watching The Bachelor with my friends. None of our husbands minded at all. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Not sure.

Since it was a holiday and all I decided to modify the drinking rules for the night. It became apparent in the first five minutes of the episode that the word “amazing” might not be featured as heavily as one might hope or expect, so I adapted accordingly. The secret words of the night were “awesome” and “nice.”  This amendment made the first half hour of the show go down much easier. (That’s what he said.)

This episode opened at the exotic location of Anguilla.

What do the gals think of Anguilla? “It’s so NICE!” (drink)

You what else they think? “So AWESOME!” (drink)

And what does Brad say when he walks in to see his bevy of beauties? You’ve got it… “Everyone looks so NICE!” (drink)

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind drinking to other key words, but I’m really kinda jonesing for an “amazing.”

The first date card arrives announcing that Brad would like to take three things to a deserted island—-a picnic lunch, champagne, Emily.  Not my top three choices, but then I guess that’s why I’m not the Bachelor. Among other reasons.

How does Emily feel about her helicopter ride to the private strip of sand, I mean island? “It was AWESOME!” (drink)

What does she tell Brad? “This is so NICE!” (drink)

After some edited in awkward silences to make it look like Brad and Emily have a horrible date, Emily turns to Brad and asks him every guy’s favorite question: “What are you thinking?”

They have a brief chitchat then head to dinner.  What does he think about their private meal on the beach? “This is AMAZING!” (drink) *yay, I was really missing that word*

While they eat they talk about home town dates and Emily tells him she’s never let a man meet her daughter before. (Danger Will Robinson.)

Brad hears the canned robotic warning, I mean my sincere concern, because he immediately says, “These are the moments when I get SCARED.” (drink)

Brad breaks with tradition and turns rebel, telling Emily that even though he shouldn’t say it, he’s got to let her know she’s getting a rose at the next ceremony. With caution now thrown to wind Brad can relax and frolic in the ocean with his beautiful blonde-du-jour.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, I mean green room, I mean hotel  the girls are going nuts over the arrival of the next date card. Does it go to Britt, who has yet to have a single moment alone with Brad save for two stolen kisses? No, of course not. It goes to Shawntel.  “Let’s find love on the streets of Anguilla,” the card says. Really? Is that legal in Anguilla? Don’t know.

Shawntel lets us know that she’s very excited about having another one-on-one date with Brad, and she feels she must concentrate on Brad, not the other girls, lest she “go nuts like some of the girls have.” Can’t argue with that logic. I can, however, argue with the statement that she needs to focus on “Brad and I’s relationship.” Now I’m used to the misuse of the words “me” and “I” and “his” and “him” and all the other pronoun confusion that seems to go hand in hand with a group dating show. But turning “I” into a possessive word by making it I’s? That’s a new one, even for The Bachelor. It’s so new I’m tempted to drink a toast to it, but I don’t want to run out of beverages and it’s still early in the episode. I’ll eat an extra piece of chocolate instead.

Shawntel also tells us she’s “definitely feeling a strong CONNECTION (drink) with Brad.” He arrives for their date and announces “You look _________” and he kisses her instead of saying the word we all know he wanted to say (amazing). Dammit!

Brad and Shawntel pedal off on their shaky bicycles. He tells her he loves how “natural” she is. She tells him “That’s our word, natural.” Clearly they don’t know the secret words for tonight have already been set ahead of time. Shawntel says she’s “having an AMAZING (drink) time.”

Brad, who’s still aching to say the word “amazing”, lets us know that “There’s no denying Shawntel and I are CONNECTING(drink), but last night I CONNECTED (drink)with Emily.” Hmmm….does he mean connecting? Or connecting (wink, nudge)? Who cares?

Did Shawntel enjoy her night with Brad? “This date was so AMAZING (drink). I didn’t need another one on one to know how I feel—I’m falling in love with Brad.” I’ll take that as a yes.

Back “home” the last date card arrives and Britt finally gets her one on one date.

Michelle, who’s had no notable quotables  yet this episode, more than makes up for relative silence. She breaks into a total Shatner imitation (and no, I’m not snarking on her lack of make-up) and delivers her best Kirk-like line thus far this evening “Brad…and Brit are apparently…going to set sail…on the sea of love…but I think…there’s a good chance…this ship will go down.” (Again, that’s what he said.)

Shawntel’s a little worried the drinking, I mean viewing audience hasn’t become inebriated enough to stay tuned for the rest of the show, so she helps us out by summarizing her date with Brad: “I’m in the most AMAZING (drink) place on earth, with the most AMAZING (drink) man…it was the perfect ending.”

Michelle quickly brings the comic commentary. “You’re gonna use the yacht for Britt?” she asks. “Seems like a waste of a one on one if you ask me. Brad…and Brit…although it sounds really cute, not only do I not see them getting married, I don’t even know if I see them friending each other on Facebook.” Ouch! Sheesh. Kinda makes the way she tries to console a distraught Britt a few hours later seem a tad less than sincere.

Sadly for Britt, things don’t go well. It probably should have been a sign that she had to swim out to her boat. Word to the wise, gals, if your date shows up and tells you you’ll have to walk, jog, swim a mile to get to his car/limo/yacht, just say no.

Britt doesn’t seem to notice all the awkward moments or the fact that Brad has zero feelings toward her. In fact, she says she’s had an “AWESOME (drink) day!” *sniff*

Brad tries to nip her enthusiasm in the bud (oddly enough that wasn’t meant as a pun or a euphemism…I must be slipping). He explains to her that the last time he did this show he was “absolutely crucified for stringing people along (he’s right, he was), then he utters the most amazing double entendre  of the day “I’m not gonna do that with you, I don’t want to do that with you, at all.” Note: if a guy doesn’t want to do that with you, at all, he’s just not that into you, and he has no plans to be, literally.

I was a bit concerned they might have made poor Britt swim back to shore in the dark, but instead they gave her a boatride back, with an interrogation light glaring in her face, then had her trudge back up the beach to tell the other girls she’s managed to get dismissed on a date that wasn’t supposed to be a “rose-or-go” affair. How much Ambien does it take for these producers to sleep at night?

After a teary-eyed Britt packs her bags and wheels them out the door the other gals go to bed…only to be rudely awakened by Brad a few hours later. They’re tired. They’re cranky. They’re not wearng make up. So of course he takes them to a photo shoot. I can’t even summarize the photo shoot. If you haven’t done so yet, watch it. It will speak for itself. And I’m open for comments on how you think Brad got through a photo shoot with hot topless chicks whilst wearing a pair of white board shorts. I’m guessing the black bike shorts he wore underneath were of the strong support nature. But what do I know?

Let’s just say it didn’t go well. Even Brad realizes.  “Today’s date is not going well.” Sharp as a tack. I’m shocked he can think so clearly with so little blood flowing to his brain.

He takes Michelle, Ashley and Chantal for a post photo shoot cocktail party at a pool so they can stare at each other in red bikinis for just a little while longer, you know, in case the tension level wasn’t high enough already.

Chantal wonders if “Maybe Brad is SCARED. (drink)”

Brad tells Michelle he’s “SCARED(drink) that they’re a little too much alike.” He’s also “SCARED (drink) that I see an almost volatile woman.” How strong are these concerns? “It SCARES (drink) me a little bit.”

Things go from bad to worse. According to Brad “Today  by all accounts has been nothing short of brutal.” That’s nice.

He feels like he’s losing the women. He sees walls going up. It’s a good thing Chris Harrison is on hand to give him some advice. Oh, wait. No, all Chris does is fuel the fire. Brad says he doesn’t want a cocktail party (again, oddly enough, neither pun nor euphemism—I’m really off!), so of course Chris has to earn his paycheck by making sure all possible seeds of doubt are planted.  “Let me just throw this at you,” Chris says, clearly speaking off the top of his head and in no way reciting memorized lines or reading off cue cards. “I’m gonna play devil’s advocate…what if…”

Good ole Chris gave it his best shot, but Brad doesn’t change his mind. When that man says no cocktails he means it. Chris, on the other hand, was so worn out he couldn’t even make it out to the beach to announce the final rose of the evening. I was shocked. I mean there was only one rose left, but I wasn’t sure what was going on, because Chris is always there to explain it. Chaos ensued. I may or may not have had to drink to calm myself. I can’t recall.

To make matters even more shocking Michelle left in silence. After all the ranting she did all season she managed to be the first silent limo ride in the history of this show (or the history of my somewhat unreliable memory, whichever is accurate). Usually they drive the rejectees around for hours until they crack. Michelle curled up on the back seat and that was it. I guess she used up all her dialogue already. Her outrageousness will surely be missed in the remaining recaps.

I have no best lines for you this week—-there weren’t any. Or maybe I added one too many keywords and the resulting drinks made me miss them! In any case, stay tuned tomorrow for the most dramatic whatever episode this is of Brad’s second season….ever. (hic)

Cheers!

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Sweets for your Sweetie—Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Most of the recipes you’ll find on this blog are tried and true recipes I’ve been making for years, but once in a while I’ll come across a new recipe that is so good I simply have to share it immediately. Last week someone emailed me a recipe for Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies. It sounded so good I made a batch that day. The original recipe credit goes to http://picky-palate.com  ( http://goo.gl/oKMO0 ) for coming up with the idea for this insanely good treat. Below you’ll see my tweaked version of this recipe. I made it the original way first (and it was awesome) but I prefer it with the adaptations I’ve made (I prefer semi-sweet chocolate chips, used dark brown sugar for richer flavor, and used more vanilla because, well, I always use more vanilla than things call for). Either way you try it,  I highly recommend you make a batch of these as soon as possible. So, so good.

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1 cup white sugar

1 1/2 TABLESPOONS pure vanilla extract

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

10 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

24 Oreo cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream together butter and both sugars. Mix in eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt and baking soda. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture in small batches. The dough will get fairly stiff. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Lay a dozen Oreos on a cookie sheet and place a rounded tablespoon of dough on top of each.

Take a second rounded tablespoon of dough and place it on the other side of each Oreo.

Use your fingers to mold and pinch the dough shut so that the Oreo is completely surrounded in chocolate chip goodness.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cookies are turning slightly golden in color.

Allow them to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before moving them to a rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container. This should make 24 jumbo cookies.

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The Bachelor – Season 15 – Brad, not this again

So, some of you may have been wondering where my weekly recap was for Monday night’s episode. I was wondering too. I wondered a lot of things this week. When I was watching the episode on Monday I wondered if I had the right show on, because the entire opening passed without a single mention of anything being AMAZING. I got confused. Not to mention thirsty. It threw me. My viewing pals were particularly chatty this week, which lead to lots of needing to rewind to catch things.

When I finally sat down to write I couldn’t get past the increasingly loud murmurs about the “news that was about to break.” No, not talking about Egypt, talking about the US Weekly article about Brad’s ex-girlfriend, Laurel. Between the boring, unusual nature of this episode and the breaking story my heart wasn’t into blogging this week. Not because I was disillusioned by the article—please, when is there a season that news about someone doesn’t break? I could care less. These are adults (some older than others), of course they’re going to have pasts. Some juicier than others. So what? Unless we get a season where it’s The Virgin Bachelor Who Grew Up In Seclusion and his Thirty Virgin Potential Brides who’ve worn chastity belts since birth and never been allowed in the presence of men (now THAT might be the most dramatic season ever—are you listening ABC?), then every single person on the show is going to have some dirt than can be found.

My personal take on dirt in general? If it’s true, and you were directly involved in the situation, and it had an impact on you, and you’re being talked about and feel a need to set the record straight, then you should have the right to do so, in as public a forum as you choose. When people decide to be on this show they make a conscious decision to open themselves up to public scrutiny and to have their “real life” out on display for the viewing world. Unfortunately, the lives of people who are in their life go up on the same public display, only those people didn’t have it happen by choice. That, in my opinion, sucks (and not in a good way).

“But it’s in a tabloid! They never print the truth,” you cry.  Well, yes and no. There have been seasons where I’ve known for a fact that US articles are completely accurate and there have been seasons where I knew they were, shall we say, not so much so. There are also times where it’s simply two ways of looking at the same thing. The fact that the tabloids sometimes embellish/misconstrue/fabricate stories doesn’t mean that other times the stories didn’t need any of that to make it sensational. Sometimes the outrageous stories are factually accurate. Sometimes not. Makes it impossible to tell which is which unless you have an inside line. That’s unfortunate for the people who are telling the truth, because readers don’t believe them, and it’s unfortunate for people who are being smeared, because readers then doubt them. It’s a lose-lose situation. It’s still the best option for some people, though. As I said, if you didn’t agree to have your life opened to public scrutiny, but it is anyway, and you want to publically defend yourself since you’re being publically trashed, then you may as well take the money and tell your side of things…because often times if you don’t tell your side someone else will tell it for you, with much less accuracy.  That said, just because someone appears to be defending themself doesn’t mean they’re telling an unbiased account. Of course it’s not unbiased—it’s one person’s side of the story. Are you unbiased in the way you regard your own life? I’m not.

There are other variables at play too. Like the number of supporters people have—and by supporters I DO NOT MEAN FANS—I mean actual friends and family members who make an effort to stand up for the people being discussed. There have been other seasons (not going to stir the pot with specifics) where dirt has come out about someone and NO ONE has come out from their camp to stick up for them or refute the negative stories. That’s not hard evidence that the dirt is real, but it’s a strong indicator. Both Brad and Laurel have people jumping to their defense. To me that indicates that there’s truth to what each of them says. Again, not my place to judge, and I frankly don’t care enough to give it more detailed thought than that.

Clearly Brad and Laurel have a long complicated past. I don’t believe anyone is denying that. And anyone who has been in a long complicated relationship knows that they don’t go away easily, quickly or with a whole lot of dignity. Is Brad changed? I’m sure he is. Changed in all the ways ABC is portraying? Not necessarily, it’s a TV show, folks, the word “reality” is open to major interpretation. Did Laurel have the right to sell her story? Of course she did. Did she do it for the cash or revenge or closure? Who knows? Would Brad prefer she hadn’t gone that route? Probably, but it wasn’t his choice. Would she prefer Brad wasn’t dating multiple girls on her TV every week? Probably, what ex wants to see that?

So, have an opinion, get mad at who you feel is wrong, cheer for whoever you like best, but let’s try to remember that unless you actually know these people all of this is just a tiny glimpse into their very complex lives. Lives that are much more real to them than they are to us. We’re just spectators.

Now on to a recap of this, my least favorite episode so far this season (too bad Chris didn’t announce it that way, would have lowered expectations and saved some time).

Snacks served:

Red velvet cupcakes

Milano cookies

Little smokies in cranberry chili sauce

Pretzels with garlic herb cheese

Pop chips

Grapes

As I already lamented, no mention of AMAZING in the opening. What’s up with that?? Were they concerned people were still nursing their Super Bowl hangovers? No alcoholic beverages sponsoring this episode? Trying to keep the viewers sober for some unknown reason? No idea.

There were several times I thought the word AMAZING was coming and it didn’t—endless description of the excitement about going to Costa Rica, tons of babbling about  the beauty of Costa Rica, and lots of use of the word “awesome”. Hmmmm, word of the day? Noted. Watch for AWESOME, keep drink ready.

Emily informs us she didn’t grow up in a jungle and she’s pretty sure Brad didn’t either. No argument here.

Finally Michelle gives us what we want and tells us: “Costa Rica is an AMAZING (drink) place!” She goes on, in typical Michelle fashion, to tell us that the more time she spends with Brad the more sure she is that: “I’m gonna make HIM fall in love with ME.” No mention of her falling in love with him, but then this is just a competition, right?

Chantal gets the one on one date, even though she’s already had a one on one date.  Michelle is miffed. “All I can do is be myself, be patient and hope that Chantal gets attacked by monkeys or apes.” Sounds like a plan.

Thankfully on  my local channel they aired a Campbell’s soup commercial in which the slogan was “It’s AMAZING (drink) what soup can do!” Thank heavens. The key words in the show were not doing enough for me.

Brad helps outs a little when he talks about Chantal and how they have an “electric CONNECTION (drink)”. I’d have been happier if it were an AMAZING connection, but I’ll take what I can get. Sheesh.

Michelle utters her best line of the night when she says, with a totally straight face: “I just think she (Chantal) is really aggressive ad really overly confident, almost egotistical.” Uhhhhh, hello, pot? This is kettle….

After the most boring zipline ever…I mean the longest (sorry, easy mistake) it rains on Brad and Chantal, again. Wow, ABC’s connections (drink) are getting stronger—they’re getting much better at getting the weather to cooperate with their plot needs.

Brad graciously helps us viewers out by telling us today was “ AMAZING (drink) beyond words” and it’s “the start to the most AMAZING (drink) evening ever.”

Guess what happens next? Yep, more rain. Of course. It’s their “thing”. Even Michelle notices, though she has a different label for it, calling it “Crazy rain.” Who am I to argue?

Brad throws out the first secret word of the day—scare(d). He tells Chantal “You scare me a little bit.” From now on we drink on any form of the word scare.

Michelle is, of course, more than a little miffed when Chantal comes home with a rose.  “That is NOT Chantal’s man, he’s MINE!” Ummm, okay, if you say so.

The group date finally arrives. More rappelling. I’m finding it to be a bit repelling. But that’s me. I’m bored. I’m tired. These pretzels are making me thirsty.

Ashley thinks Brad is AMAZING (drink) because he reassures all the girls who are SCARED (drink). What’s he supposed to do? Tell them to look down like Michelle tells the terrified Jackie? I don’t think so.

Michelle is miffed again, big time, because she didn’t want Brad to repel, I mean rappel, with anyone else. Ever. Evahhhhhhhhhhhhh. Seriously. She literally beats on him, yelling at him, then jumps up and down like a three year old in front of a birthday cake the second he tells her they’re going to rappel together. Mood swing anyone? No thanks, I’ve already had mine.

Michelle is confident: “I know there’s gonna be a rose tonight and I’m 100% confident I’m gonna get it.” Yeah. Hold that thought.

The gals strip down to their bikinis and it’s time for some warm water catty chatting, I mean fun. Jackie mercifully declares the hot springs to be AMAZING (drink).

Bonus points to anyone who can tell me what Michelle says when they bleep her and blur her lips in this sentence: “Watching Brad take his shirt off makes you want to go home and ______ _________!”  Seriously, I must know. If you don’t know, feel free to Mad Lib it with your best answer.

Brad’s showing signs of distress as the gals take turns whining at him.  He tells the camera “I want to make her (Jackie) feel better—that’s what I’m here to do—I want to make everyone happy.” Whoa. Make everyone happy?? That’s a tall order under any circumstances and not even a remote possibility on this show. Get a grip, dude.

Ali’s one on one date was so uncomfortable I don’t even want to talk about it. Spiders. Eeek. Cave. Eeek. Most awkward, foreshadowing dinner conversation ever. Eeek. The island/raft they’re dining on is sinking. Seriously, producers? Can you think of no more clever metaphor for this pair? Sinking? Who’s not being paid enough?

Brad gives us a break by telling Ali she’s “an AMAZING (drink) woman, but….” And he sends her home. No big surprise. Every gal at the house knew she wasn’t coming back.

Brad’s emotionally exhausted and says all he needs is a little down time. So of course the producers encourage Michelle to go stalk him. She takes the opportunity to once again give him grief, and a nice orderly list of who should go home, and in what order. How considerate! She’s apparently attended the Jenna Jameson/William Shatner school of acting because her delivery is stilted but interspersed with seductive kisses. At least she got her money’s worth out of the class.

Okay folks, here’s the payoff with the aforementioned word of the night: SCARED.

Brad tells Emily: “I think good things about you. I’m SCARED (drink) of you.”

Brad tells Michelle: “ You’re SCARING (drink) me. You’re SCARING (drink) me badly.” Us too, sweetie, but please stop ending sentences with adverbs. Thanks.

Brad also tells Michelle: “Thank you for telling me, but now I’m SCARED (drink).”

Michelle mirrors the sentiment: “I do think I’m the one who’s supposed to be with Brad, but it SCARES(drink) me.”

The only part of this episode I actually enjoyed was Shawntel and Brad playing the silent game. I thought that was funny and they both seemed to get a sincere giggle out of it. Or maybe I just finally drank enough the show became tolerable. Dunno for sure.

I have no best lines wrap-up for this episode, because there weren’t any other than the ones I’ve quoted throughout this post. I do, however, have another questions for you:

In the coming attractions did anyone else hear Brad say “I feel very, very hard tonight…” ???? Anyone? Just me. Rewind if you recorded it.

See you all in a few days when we talk about the most ridiculous episode of the season yet. And please, tell me what you think Michelle said about shirtless Brad!

Cheers.

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Super Bowl of Soup ;) – Super Split Pea Soup Recipe

In honor of the Super Bowl I’m posting a recipe for a Super Bowl of Soup. I know. I’m ridiculous. I’m okay with that. This recipe for split pea soup is a favorite among my friends and is often requested even by people who “don’t ever like pea soup.” I’ve always liked pea soup, and this is by far my favorite recipe. It’s made with Canadian bacon, which adds a nice smoky flavor but not a lot of fat (or calories). It’s creamy, smooth, hearty, and reheats well. It’s also one of the only ways I can get my children to eat green vegetables. This recipe can be doubled, and often is at my house.

Super Split Pea Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1-2 cups carrots, diced (depending on how much carrot you want in your soup)

6 ounces bacon, diced

1 bag dried split peas (green or yellow), sorted to remove any non-pea items (pebbles, etc.)

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried thyme

8 cups chicken stock (If you have homemade stock on hand, great, if not you can use boxed or canned or bouillon cubes or some combination of all of them.)

In a large stock pot melt butter in olive oil until butter is completely melted and bubbly. Add diced  carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots begin to caramelize a teeny bit (if your carrots are too wet when you add them, this won’t happen, so dry them off first, and if for some reason they still don’t start to caramelize it’s no big deal—the caramelization just adds an extra touch of flavor but it’s not essential).

Add your diced Canadian bacon and stir. Add the split peas and stir.

Pour in your 8 cups of chicken stock. Add the bay leaves and the thyme.

Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for anywhere from one to two hours, until you have a creamy, thick soup. (The time varies depending on the brand of peas, and sometimes depending on the bag of peas. If the soup is getting thick but is still grainy, add more stock or plain water and continue cooking—-it will become creamy eventually!)

Once the proper texture is achieved, fish out the bay leaves (or offer a prize for the diner who finds them) and serve immediately! Note: Pea soup thickens as it cools. If you allow it to thicken, simply thin it out with a tiny bit of water while you reheat it—this will be necessary when reheating any leftover soup and it in no way compromises the flavor  of the soup.

I love to serve this soup with warm, toasty sandwiches—some family favorites include grilled ham and cheese, warm cheesy chicken salad on buttered toast (recipe to be given in future blog), or any kind of Panini. It’s also great served with some nice fresh hot bread (or rolls) and butter.

Let me know if you make it and what you choose to serve with it! Enjoy!

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Super Bowl Sunday – What are you serving?

I’ll have a new recipe post up later today, but in the meantime I wanted to know what everyone is serving for their Super Bowl Sunday meal.  We always eat a meal of all appetizers so I’ll be making little smokies in cranberry chili sauce, nachos, pizza bagels, sliders, chips and dip, veggies with hummus and whatever else gets requested as those get eaten. We’ll also have oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies and red velvet cupcakes, and lots of m&ms. So, what are you serving? And what’s your favorite part of the Super Bowl, the game or the commercials?  Comment below! :)

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What’s for dinner Wednesday! You tell me….

Okay, it’s Wednesday again. Not sure how that happened. I’ve been lucky enough to have several good dinners in the past week in honor of my son’s twelfth birthday—we celebrated with a home-cooked meal on his birthday (since it was a school night) then went out to the restaurant of his choice for a Friday night birthday meal. The home-cooked birthday dinner was my favorite meal of the week, partly because it’s one of my favorite meals, and partly because he was so happy and that made me happy.

In any case, best meal of the week for me was: Birthday dinner of (none other than last week’s recipe) Turkey sweet-ish meatballs with apple butter gravy served with buttered noodles, baked sweet potato, roasted salt and pepper asparagus, and locally baked artisan Italian bread.

What was your best meal of the past week? Did you make it or did someone else? Click on comment and let me know…

Cheers!

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The Bachelor – Season 15 – More Brad

Snacks served:

Cheesy stuffed pizza bread
Sour cream and cheddar potato chips
Red grapes and pineapple chunks
Ultimate chocolate brownies
Chocolate covered raisins
Lindt chocolate truffles

My viewing trio was all present and accounted for this week, so we celebrated with an appropriate blend of cheesy and chocolaty goodness. We also chatted so much during the show that I had to rewatch tonight just so I could write this blog! I made the husband watch with me, again, but I shared the same snacks with him so he didn’t mind.

The secret word for this episode is JOURNEY (drink).

Chris Harrison introduced today’s secret word in his opening monologue (so glad the cardigan is gone, not sure what was up with the cuffs of his sleeves) “(It’s) already been a long JOURNEY (drink)…(now you’ll be) leaving LA on your JOURNEY (drink) to find love…your first destination on this JOURNEY (drink) is Las Vegas!” (hic)

Was anyone else surprised when they didn’t see Journey play in Vegas? Just me? Must be the drinks talking….

The gals are excited to be going to Vegas. Ashley S. has a prophetic close-up where she tells the camera “Go big or go home, baby!” She had that right.

Brad’s also excited about his time in Vegas. He’s looking forward to spending the time with the girls to figure out their relationships. A week in Vegas to figure out relationships seems a bit counter intuitive, but I’ve heard the word JOURNEY enough that I don’t care.

Once they’re all settled into their suite Brad delivers the date card and makes a mad dash out of the room before the chaos ensues. Smart man.

Shawntel is the lucky winner of the one-on-one date: “Let’s end tonight with a bang!” Michelle’s card last episode was conspicuously devoid of the word “love”, tonight’s card rather boldly emphasizes the word “bang”. Wondering if Jamie the wonder therapist has had a hand at writing this season’s cards,..he seems to be a master of the double entendre.

Brad arrives to pick up Shawntel for their date and immediately tells her she looks (you guessed it) AMAZING (drink).

“She’s sexy without trying to be sexy, which makes her even sexier…” he tells the camera. Aww. Nice sentiment. I like that.

They shop till they drop, trying on countless outfits. Loved Brad in the purple Willy Wonka jacket. When they’ve bought as much as they can carry Brad loads up Shawntel’s arms with all her colorful shopping bags full of designer purchases and she is glowing with happiness. Did she enjoy her spree? You betcha. In fact, she thought it was AMAZING (drink).

Shawntel arrives back at the suite and shows the other girls her bountiful take. They’re more than a little jealous and she can tell. “I know they weren’t really happy for me,” she astutely observes.

Brad’s equally astute when he notices that “there’s some tension among the girls tonight”. Yeah, buying one of them a bazillion dollars worth of designer duds will up the drama level a little.

Shawntel looks stunning in her newly-purchased dress and she’s psyched about her upcoming bang, I mean date, with Brad. Why? Because she thinks “he’s an AMAZING (drink) guy!”

She does, however, wonder how he’s going to take hearing about her day job. “My profession is…different…” she says, as they begin their rooftop meal. Brad’s all ears and encourages her to tell him how so. She announces that she’s a funeral director and embalmer. Brad’s facial expressions for the rest of the date are priceless as he listens to her detail (and I mean detail) what exactly this means. Shawntel is a riot, open, chatty, “I’m gonna eat as I’m talking,” she tells him as she explains the process of vein draining. “That makes one of us,” Brad answers, a mix of amusement and horror on his face.

This was one of the most natural and funniest dates I’ve ever seen on this show. Brad had a serious case of the giggles, which was nice to see, particularly since he spends so much of his time consoling teary-eyed women. Shawntel not only tells him all about her job, she also somehow segways into imitations of Peaches, her apparently cross-eyed kitty. The two of them are laughing and seem to be sincerely enjoying themselves. I don’t sense a lot of heat, but I really think they had a fun date. As I said, after all the tears and melodrama, this had to have been a nice change of pace.

When the fireworks start booming overhead the gals rush to press their faces against the suite windows as they wonder where Brad and Shawntel are and whether or not there’s any banging to go along with the banging. Always with the double meanings. So wily, those producers.

The date card announcing the group date members arrives and everyone waits with baited breath to see which two girls will get stuck in 2-on-1 date hell. It’s Ashley and Ashley, probably so Brad can finally stop referring to them with their last initials and only have one to contend with for the remaining episodes. The Ashleys are upset, because they’re BFFs. The other girls are all upset for them. Tears ensue. Except for Michelle, who delivers another classic line: “I’m really, really glad that this is happening,” she announces. “I think it’s time for the Ashleys to part and go their separate ways…and there’s a chance maybe both Ashleys will go home…really at the end of the day I don’t care who it is, I just want to get out and see Brad.” Miss Congeniality.

Michelle then goes on to tell us how excited she is about the NASCAR date. “I think this will be an AMAZING (drink) experience because I’ve never done anything like this, plus I am fun and hot…and you should see me in a race car.” (Uh, dialogue writer, you coulda done a bit better with that punchline. Seriously.)

The NASCAR date is going well except for the fact that poor Emily is stoically suffering in silence. In spite of his racecar glee Brad notices that something is up. “Something’s really wrong with Emily, she’s smiling but it’s almost a forced smile.”

Again, if Brad was this sensitive and intuitive during his last stint as The Bachelor, they left all that footage on the cutting room floor. Maybe he’s matured, or maybe his years of therapy (YEARS) have really paid off, but he’s certainly in tune with this group of ladies and their mood swings. He takes Emily aside for a chat to find out if she’s okay.

Emily tries to pass it off as nothing, but finally tells him why a NASCAR date is particularly emotional for her; her deceased fiancé was not only a NASCAR driver, but he crashed on that very track, thus ending his career, and he died in a crash on the way to a NASCAR event. Brad’s jaw muscles clench repeatedly as he listens to her story. He’s been through this with ABC before, he knows how the producers work, but I’m thinking even he was appalled that they’d stooped quite this low. I know I was.

I hate it when they make people do the things they’re afraid of (diving, jumping off things, flying in a helicopter (I still get flashbacks of both Twilley and Bevin freaking out about the helicopters) etc.), when they use emotionally intense things like children or loss it quite frankly pisses me off. This was, in my opinion, a truly unnecessary new low. I give Emily a ton of credit for making it through the date with such grace and for facing her fears and memories and plugging along with determination. And I give Brad a ton of credit for saying to her “the very second you feel uncomfortable I’ll leave, we’ll all leave, I don’t care.” I believe him. Nicely said, Brad.

After the extreme tension of the racing date they all head off for some well-deserved cocktails and we, the viewers, are thankfully rewarded for our patience with an onslaught of drinking opportunities ourselves.

According to Britt it was an AMAZING (drink) day. Someone else randomly announces “It’s AMAZING! (drink)” Brad has another one-on-one chat with Emily, to check on her, and she tells him “I wouldn’t be here for half a second if I didn’t see something totally AMAZING (drink) in you.”

I don’t know about the gals on the date, but I feel better now.

One person who doesn’t feel better is Ali, because it’s hard for her to feel special when Brad’s spending so much time focused on Emily. Does the person with the saddest story have to win?? I think we have our runner up for Miss Congeniality.

Chantal’s also having a moment. Or several. She slips and says it makes her love, oops she means LIKE, Brad even more that he’s such a sweet guy….but she’s struggling with “the highs, the lows, the highs” and apparently all the related hand gestures. Brad’s flummoxed. “Is that a high or a low?” he asks while she manically giggles. Poor Brad. I don’t know either. I think he needs a hug. Or needs to start drinking every time the word “journey”, “amazing”, or “connection” is said. Seriously, it works for me.

The tension of the two-on-one date is cut for the viewing audience by the use of those very words. “Two girls, one rose, one stays, one goes” (how much should it scare me that I recite that from memory before each two-on-one date? That much, eh?)

Brad gives us all permission to imbibe: “Tonight’s been AMAZING (drink) but I only get to be with one woman… Ashley (S) from the very first time I met you we had a CONNECTION (drink)…Ashley (H) you have solidified that I have changed and that I am capable of this JOURNEY (drink)….a true CONNECTION (drink) has been made… a real CONNECTION (drink). I have to say goodbye to people I care about along the road on the JOURNEY (drink) to find a wife….I always knew we had an intense CONNECTION (drink) this reminds me how intense the CONNECTION (drink) really is.” (Hurry up and finish talking, Brad, I have to pee!)

Ashley cries and no one hands her a tissue. She needs a hug too. This episode is depressing me. I still have to pee.

After all that, Brad feels the need for a chat with Jamie the wonder therapist. Jamie feels a need to allow the viewing audience to drink some more and throw some more sexual insinuations into his advice. “All of you are on a JOURNEY (drink),” he explains. “You’ve got your individual JOURNEY (drink) and the JOURNEY (drink) you’re experiencing that you’re sharing with each other, you have to get to the deepest place you’ve ever gotten to with a few of these women let alone ultimately with the one of your choice.” Wait, what? Is he saying what I think he’s saying? Nevermind. I don’t want to know. Deepest place you’ve ever gotten… Cough. Okay.

Brad has some more chats with the gals before the final rose ceremony, the most memorable of which are with Chantal and Michelle. Michelle delivers yet another psycho soliloquy and tells Brad: “From here on out, no talking…you have some really big decisions to start making…and I think you should go send some girls home now…and the next time we’re together you can talk.” (She scares me.)

My favorite lines of this episode:

1. Michelle: “I look at all of these girls and to me I don’t think any of them is Brad’s wife material except me.” (Okayyyyy.)
2. Emily (when Brad expresses concern that she’s only been in love once but he’s been in love several times she tells him…): “Well you’re a little older than me, my dear.” (Touche!)
3. Brad (to Chantal): “But you have to stop giving me so much crap!” (Ha! Don’t hold your breath, honey!)

See you all here next week when we review the most controversial sixth episode of Brad’s second season, ever! Cheers!

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