Monday, December 26, 2011

2011 in Review

This was a very busy year for news both entertainment wise and "real world" wise.

~ Republicans still don't have a clue who may get the nomination. (Its hard to pick a wingnut when there are so many of them around)

~ Many many weddings this year...some high profile (Prince William and Duchess Catherine) Kim and Kris (which ended 72 days later)...some low profile...Big Ben.

~ Many celebrity deaths: Liz Taylor, Harry Morgan (M*A*S*H), Bill Keane (Family Circus), Andy Rooney, Elisabeth Sladen and Steve Jobs to name but a few.

~ Some great albums released this year...Miranda Lambert had 2...Erasure, Lady Gaga.

~ Some very interesting new television: Once Upon A Time, The Unforgettable, 2 Broke Girls, Grimm to name a few.

Share some of your favorite highlights or lowlights of 2011.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

A little interesting tidbit I learned about the English custom of plum pudding. The recipe has its roots in Catholicism.

Here's a bit of what I learned about the Puddin' via Wikipedia.

Basics


Many households have their own recipe for Christmas pudding, some handed down through families for generations. Essentially the recipe brings together what traditionally were expensive or luxurious ingredients - notably the sweet spices that are so important in developing its distinctive rich aroma, and usually made with suet. It is very dark in appearance - effectively black - as a result of the dark sugars and black treacle in most recipes, and its long cooking time. The mixture can be moistened with the juice of citrus fruits, brandy and other alcohol (some recipes call for dark beers such as mild, stout or porter).


Christmas puddings are often dried out on hooks for weeks  prior to serving in order to enhance the flavor. This pudding has been prepared with a traditional cloth rather than a basin.


Prior to the 19th century, the English Christmas pudding was boiled in a pudding cloth, and often represented as round. The new Victorian era fashion involved putting the batter into a basin and then steaming it, followed by unwrapping the pudding, placing it on a platter, and decorating its top with a sprig of holly.
Initial cooking usually involves steaming for many hours (the period can be shortened without loss of quality by using a pressure cooker). To serve, the pudding is reheated by steaming once more, and dressed with warm brandy which is set alight. It can be eaten with hard sauce, brandy butter, rum butter, cream, lemon cream, custard, or sweetened b├ęchamel, and is sometimes sprinkled with caster sugar.

History

The plum pudding's association with Christmas goes back to medieval England with the Roman Catholic Church's decree that the "pudding should be made on the 25th Sunday after Trinity, that it be prepared with 13 ingredients to represent Christ and the 12 apostles, and that every family member stir it in turn from east to west to honor the Magi and their supposed journey in that direction".[1] Recipes for plum puddings appear mainly, if not entirely, in the 17th century and later. Their possible ancestors include savory puddings such as those in Harleian MS 279, crustades,[4] malaches whyte,[5] creme boiled (a kind of stirred custard), and sippets. Various ingredients and methods of these older recipes appear in early plum puddings.
Features of these recipes were combined or refined in ways that could have yielded plum pudding recipes. For example, combining the stirred custard with sippets makes it into a fool, a contemporary of early plum puddings, which is very similar to a pudding. Some early custard tarts, such as the crustade lumbard in Harleian MS 279, are only unlike plum puddings in that they are held together by a pastry crust and not by crumbs or meal. Malaches whyte, another kind of pastry, has a filling of eggs, bread crumbs, and butter, but no plums. So a fully developed plum pudding recipe could be derived from the above list of possible ancestors by some recombination. This is not to say that there were no other ancestors, only that there need not have been any.
Although it took its final form in Victorian England, the pudding's origins can be traced back to the 1420s, to two sources. It emerged not as a confection or a dessert at all, but as a way of preserving meat at the end of the season. Because of shortages of fodder, all surpluses livestock were slaughtered in the autumn. The meat was then kept in a pastry case along with dried fruits acting as a preservative. The resultant large "mince pies" could then be used to feed hosts of people, particularly at the festive season. The chief ancestor of the modern pudding, however, was the pottage, a meat and vegetable concoction originating in Roman times. This was prepared in a large cauldron, the ingredients being slow cooked, with dried fruits, sugar and spices added. In the 15th century, Plum pottage was a sloppy mix of meat, vegetables and fruit served at the beginning of a meal.[6]
In 1714, King George I (sometimes known as the Pudding King) requested that plum pudding be served as part of his royal feast in his first Christmas in England. A recipe for "plum porridge" appeared in Christmas Entertainments in 1740.[1] As techniques for meat preserving improved in the 18th century, the savory element of both the mince pie and the plum pottage diminished as the sweet content increased. The mince pie kept its name, though the pottage was increasingly referred to as plum pudding. Although the latter was always a celebratory dish it was originally eaten at the Harvest Festival, not Christmas. It was not until the 1830s that the cannon-ball of flour, fruits, suet, sugar and spices, all topped with holly, made a definite appearance, becoming more and more associated with Christmas. In 1747, London food writer Hannah Glasse had given a recipe for Christmas plum porridge, but it appears that East Sussex cook Eliza Acton was the first to refer to it as "Christmas Pudding" in her cookbook.[7]

Friday, December 23, 2011

I Found A Funny @ Groupon

Take a look at this guide to Body Language from the Groupon website.

I love how snarky this is..

To communicate, humans use body language 95% of the time and slogans they learned from pizza commercials for the other 5%. Communicate clearly using this guide to the language of the human body:




• Holding Hands: Couples are often seen holding hands during the beginning stages of a relationship because they're trying to memorize each other’s fingerprints—a critical part of the test to get a marriage license. For non-couples, holding hands is a way to gauge each other's hand sweat; whoever is sweating less is not as alive as the other person and should be rushed to the nearest adrenaline-producing skate park.



• Crossing Your Arms: Crossing your arms holds your organs in, letting people know that you love yourself for what’s on the inside, not just for your good outer looks.



• Hugging: People used to wrap their arms around each other so that they could punch each other in the back more easily without their sympathetic-looking faces getting in the way. Today, hugging is taboo, because it just looks too disgusting to see two grown adults embrace each other.



• Shaking Your Head: Shaking your head slowly lets people know that something is "a crying shame," and shaking your head vigorously means that you just had such a sick thought that you're trying to shake your brain out of your skull

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mmmm Nutella

I love making cookies...and a few weeks ago I found a basic cookie dough recipe that can used in making 3 different cookies...

Allow me to share them with you. They appeared in last week's Relish magazine..

Here's the basic dough

3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour


1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla



Instructions

Sift flour, baking powder and salt onto wax paper.

Combine butter, sugar and brown sugar and beat with a mixer until well combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture and beat until evenly blended. Dough can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 3 days. Makes about 4 cups dough.


And now for the Nutella Sandwich Cookies

For rolled cookies, always start with cold dough,


Ingredients



2 cups Basic Cookie Dough

1/4 cup Nutella

1/2 cup powdered sugar



Instructions



Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment.

Divide 2 cups of Basic Cookie Dough into 4 pieces. Wrap 3 pieces individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Roll remaining piece on a sheet of lightly floured wax paper to about 3/8-inch thickness. Cut into 9 (2-inch rounds); arrange 1 inch apart on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until tops look done. Let cool on cookie sheet 3 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire rack; let cool completely.

Spread Nutella on half the cookies. Top with remaining cookies. Dust with powdered sugar.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Jen Aniston The Hottest Woman?

Sure Jen, is cute, but the hottest woman? C'mon! Ever? And for all time?

I'm totally baffled by this?

I mean she is up against people like Liz Taylor and Marilyn.

She doesn't even have good boobs!

Who votes for these things?

I guess beauty and sexy are in the eye of the beholder.

Still, if I were voting I'd go for someone like Halle Berry first...but of all time? Really, how can you vote on that?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

My Family's Christmas Song

Trying to get in the holiday mood. What better song than Merry Christmas From The Family by Jill Sobule. Her cover is awesome!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Frustrations, They Are All I've Got

I had to attend a Safe Child workshop yesterday so I can continue to be a lector in my church. It is the biggest crock of BS I've ever been put through.

I have to have a background check to get up and read in church?

Seriously?

I realize that we all need to be aware that things can happen...I can even stomach the workshop, but to have to have clearance to read, be a Eucharistic minister, or...get this..and usher, I'm sorry, that is just bullshit.

And the workshop is painful to deal with. You have to watch 2 videos where victims speak of their experiences and so do the predators.

OMG!!!

I left that workshop with a heavy heart.

See, we had a pastor be accused of some wrongdoing, (not that any of us were told what the allegations were), and seeing the stats that say less than 5% of the accusers are lying hit home.

Why?

Because I didn't want to believe this pastor could have done something like this. He was good to our family. I have always considered him a friend.

This meeting really hit me hard. In fact, it won't leave my head.

All that aside, I am left to wonder if members of other religions have to jump through this many hoops just to volunteer at mass?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Technology Hates Me

The perfect computer would have about 12 USB ports.

With all the gadgets that need plugged in, either for charging or for data transfer you would think that desktops and laptops would have more slots for USBs, but no.

I have an external hard drive, my keyboard and mouse, my printer and at any given time, an ipod, a zen, or a nook connected for some reason or another. I hate when more than one gadget needs charging at the same time.

The thought of buying additional ports, that get plugged into one of the existing ports makes me want to scream almost as much as buying ink for my printer.

Why is it so hard to create a device that has enough slots for all of the damn gadgets that they encourage us to buy?

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Wench Makes Cookies

Hannukah Apricot Cookies

Recipe taken from A Quilter's Christmas Cookbook

2 2/3 c of flour
1 c (2 sticks) butter
8 oz package of softened cream cheese
4 oz apricot preserves

1 Cut butter into flour. Stir in softened cream cheese
2. On floured board, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with a 2-3" diameter glass
Arrange on ungreased cookie sheet. Dab the center of each cookie with preserves
3. Bake @ 350 for 12 minutes.

As Mr. Food used to say...Oooo it's so good!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

5 Things You Must Do On Thanksgiving

1. Watch at least 5 minutes of the Macy's Parade.
2. Consume large quanities of food, preferrably stuffing and mash potatoes...a little bit of turkey or tofurky works too.
3. Nap.
4. Pretend to care or go totally nuts over whatever football game is on...usually when you are sitting down to eat.
5. Give thanks!

What things are on your must do list for Turkey Day?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Never Fail Nut Roll

This basic, easy recipe for nut rolls came from Arlene Williams, who does a fabulous cooking show on Cornerstone Television. I don't make my own nut filling though, I use the Bakers filling that you can get at any store.

Ingredients
5 Tablespoon Sugar
2 beaten eggs
3 Tablespoon butter
1 cup sour cream
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 large cake yeast crumbled
3 cups of flour

In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring sour cream to a boil. Remove from heat. Add 3 tablespoons butter, 5 tablespoons, sugar and salt and stir until well blended. Cool to lukewarm.

Add 2 eggs, crumbled yeast and stir until yeast is dissolved. Using a spoon, mix in flour until a dough forms.

Turn out onto a floured board. Knead lightly a few minutes to form a smooth ball. Cover and let rest 5 minutes.

Divide dough into 3 equal portions. Roll dough ball out on floured surface 1/4 inch thick. Spread with filling , roll up jelly roll fashion. Pinch seam to secure and tuck ends in. Place on a well greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Repeat with rest of dough. Let rise 1 1/2 hours, covered with clean cloth, in a warm draft free place.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake uncovered 35 minutes.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sexy Songs

I'm a bit of an oddball when it comes to music, so when it comes to "sexy" songs I'm sure my list would have a good many of you shaking your head, or at least wondering "who the hell are these people."

What brought on this topic?

I pulled out some of my Elvis Costello CDs recently and the song "Inch By Inch" was on one of them. That is one of the many Elvis Costello songs that always leaves me feeling a bit hot and bothered. It is more than just the lyrics...its the music...and Elvis' unique voice.

Another song that always gets me is Man Out Of Time



Another odd song that really gets me going is Paul McCartney's Hi Hi Hi



So what are some of the songs that you consider sexy?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rushing Things

I love Christmas, but isn't it a bit ridiculous hearing holiday songs and seeing Christmas commercials way before Thanksgiving?

Couldn't we get through one holiday first?

It is really making me bitter towards Christmas.

I don't have much in the way of money this year for presents, and this early push to spend more is really irksome.

Please tell me I'm not the only one annoyed by all of this?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Wenches Rant About The Penn State Abuse Scandal

Dear PSU students,

How can you possibly be sad about the firing of JoPa? Yes, he was a fabulous coach, but the man hid the fact that Sandusky was abusing children from the authorities. HE DID NOTHING!! That is wrong. That is what cost him his job.

What annoys me is that other asshat that saw it happen, that only went to him with the allegation, when he WITNESSED the abuse! The fact that that little asshat is only on administrative leave sickens me.

Actually the whole thing sickens me. Why is football placed higher than the lives and well-being of children?

I guess it is the whole issue that sports come before education. Is it any wonder that we are failing as a nation?

PSU students....you can love your former coach, but please think of kids that were harmed because that beloved man, did nothing to stop the harm...

Sincerely,

A rattled wench

Friday, November 4, 2011

Music Review: Jann Arden - Uncover Me

Jann Arden is one of Canada's finest singer/songwriter, which makes us wonder why she's going down the "covers album" road again. They answer is probably because, she can sing anything well, and let's face it...even though covers albums are a bit stale, we all love a good cover.

Jann delivers. One of the things that makes Uncover Me 2 different, is that Jann doesn't go for standards. She goes for hits from across the ages, Que Sara Sara from the 50s, Only The Lonely from the 80s  and Dreams from the 70s.

Jann doesn't seek to change the songs with her recordings, but she does bring her special sound to each song. Mr. McLennen, is a song by the country band SheDaisy. Their as yet unreleased album, A Story To Tell, was produced by Arden. When you listen to Jann sing the song, you can here the country vibe ringing through.

Jann gives a go at "You Don't Own Me." She brings a soulfulness to the song, rather than going the girl power route. Its a different twist, but by the end of the song there is some of the traditional "You Don't Own Me," angst shining through.

Surprisingly her cover of Fleetwood Mac's classic, Dreams is the strongest cover on the album. Arden seems to be channeling Stevie Nicks, because there are times when she almost sounds like her.

Jann has delivered a strong set of songs here. If you loved Uncover Me, you'll want to add this one to your collection. If you love great cover songs...you'll probably want to grab this too. Definitely one of the year's better listens

Sunday, October 30, 2011

TV Review: Once Upon A Time

ONCE UPON A TIME - From the inventive minds of "Lost" executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis comes a bold new imagining of the world, where fairy tales and the modern-day are about to collide. "Once Upon a Time" stars Ginnifer Goodwin ("Big Love") as Snow White/Sister Mary Margaret, Jennifer Morrison ("House MD") as Emma Swan, Robert Carlyle ("The Full Monty," "Trainspotting," "SGU Stargate Universe") as Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold, Lana Parrilla as Evil Queen/Regina, Jamie Dornan as Sheriff Graham, Jared Gilmore ("Mad Men") as Henry, Josh Dallas as Prince Charming/John Doe and Raphael Sbarge as Jiminy Cricket/Archie. "Once Upon a Time" was written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, who are also executive producers, along with Steve Pearlman (ABC's "V"). The pilot is directed and executive-produced by Mark Mylod ("Entourage"). "Once Upon a Time" is from ABC Studios. (ABC/JACK ROWAND) GINNIFER GOODWIN, JOSH DALLAS

If there is one crazy show to watch this season, Once Upon A Time is it. I can't pinpoint what it is about this that really pulls you in to watch more and more, but there is something there. I hope it succeeds, because it is so unusual, almost as unusual as Lost, who the executive producers also created.

The cast is stunning with Jennifer Morrison, who most of us know from House, as Snow White/Sister Mary Margaret. With short hair as Mary Margaret, she's really unrecognizable.

I really am interested in seeing how long they can keep this show going. What is the public's interest in fairy tales that try to become part of reality?

Well, it is a Sunday show, so the public doesn't have to be too interested to keep it going, and I would love to see it last more than 6 episodes. The scenery is fantastic, as are the costumes when the show goes into "fairytale land."

If you haven't given this show a shot, I suggest that you do, it is probably one of the most original things on right now.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Album Review: The Bangles - Sweetheart Of The Sun


The Bangles are making a return to the music scene. Their last album Doll Revolution was released in 2003. It has been a long eight years, but once you listen to Sweetheart Of The Sun you’ll know the girls are back and true to their form, albeit less popalicious than they were in the 80s.


What the girls bring to the table is that fantastic girl group 60s sound. This album has a heavy psychedelic sound, very reminiscent of their third album Everything only with songs that are more mature. The vocals are still shared between the three ladies, Michael Steel left the band in 2005, leaving Susannah Hoffs and Vicki and Debbi Peterson to soldier on.
This album is like a trip back to the “Summer of Love,” especially on songs like “Mesmerized.” The guitars are jangling and trippy. The girls harmonize perfectly, which contributes to that old school girl group feel. The album’s opener “Anna Lee (Sweetheart of the Sun)” sounds like it should have been a hit in the mid 60s.
The 60s vibe is there through all the tracks on Sweetheart of the Sun. That might be the one thing that keeps the album from being fantastic. Sure these are some great retro pop songs, but when you think of The Bangles, you think of fun pop music like “Walk Like An Egyptian” or stellar love songs like “Manic Monday” and “Eternal Flame.” There’s nothing of that caliber on Sweetheart, but there are a few songs that make a valiant effort. “Open My Eyes,” is a super fun rocker, which will remind some fans of “In My Room,” from Everything. It was penned by rocker Todd Rundgren. It has the same psychedelic harmonies and trippy guitar.


“Through Your Eyes,” is a George Harrison-esque ballad. It’s Susannah’s shining moment. She’s always done superb ballads, and this one is no different. Debbi handles vocals on “Circles In The Sky.” Her vocals are deep and mellow.


This album marks the band’s 30th anniversary and it is clear that they still have it. Though the kitschy pop songs that scored them many hits in the 80s is definitely not present on Sweetheart Of The Sun, the finely polished pop gems found here will definitely please old and new fans.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Acoustic Goodness

Sunday Girl was my favorite song from Erasure's last CD.  I love all the bleeps and bloops but I was totally surprised at how great it sounds acoustic...

Watch and listen

Monday, October 24, 2011

Musical Mondays: Ashton Sheperd - Where Country Grows


Ashton Sheperd's latest offering Where Country Grows is a "real" country album. Country has been flooded with more pop sounding music lately and Ms. Sheperd doesn't really play that way.

Her songs have that ole "My dog died, my car broke down, and my guy is cheatin' on me." She also sings it with a twang.

The lead single is "Look It Up" a cover, originally done by Jasmine Rae.  Ashton gives some hell to a cheater. The follow up single is the title track. It's a bit slower, but it is a true country anthem, that is great for blasting on sunny days.

Where Country Grows is infused with some humor too. "More Cows Then People," is one of those songs. It has a great fiddle and an infectious melody. How can lyrics like

"Ain't no noise, no red lights

Ain't no buildings messin' up my moonlight
Ain't no doubt, why I live out where there's more cows than people"

not bring a smile to your face?

The token sappy ballad is "I'm Just A Woman." It isn't the best ballad, and it is a trifle depressing, but it does show that Ashton can sing a sad sad song with the best of them. It also makes listeners glad for songs like "Beer On A Boat," which leave you smiling.

Ashton's music is all about fun. This album is 10 songs of good country. It is definitely worth a listen or two.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Awesome Steak In A Crock Recipe

This recipe came from the Fix It And Forget It Entertaining Cookbook.

It is super easy.

I placed 4 frozen steaks in the crock.

Seasoned with salt and pepper

Then put 1 cup of brown sugar and 1 cup of ketchup over it.

Put the crock on high for 3 hours and then low for another 3 hours.

The result was an incredible bbq steak that you didn't even have to cut!

Mmmmm good. I want to try the sauce with country style ribs next

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Movie Review: Inkheart

I bought Inkheart at Five Below several weeks back, because I love Brendan Fraser and I've wanted to see this movie since it came out in 2009.

I had heard bad things about it but I was prepared to enjoy the eye candy and nothing else.

After watching, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised in the film, and I really want to read the trilogy. I've heard the film doesn't do the book justice, but if you've not read Inkheart, then give the movie a go. It really is a nice fantasy piece revolving around a family of book lovers.

Brendan Fraser was a great Mort, who could read characters out of books...we later learn his daughter, Meggie shares the ability...they both are "Silvertongues."

Helen Mirren as Elinor is another fabulous character. She's an obsessive old bookworm.

My favorite character is Dustfinger (Paul Bettany), a character from Inkheart that Mort had read out of the book, who was trying to get back into the book.

I really loved the concept and the filmography was stunning especially towards the end when the darker characters from the book appear. The Shadow is really amazing looking. I also loved how Meg read out Toto from The Wizard Of Oz.

If you haven't read the book and you are looking for a good family film. It deserves far more credit than it received. Oh and Brendan and Paul are really easy on the eyes!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Films On Friday

There's so much buzz going around the new version of Footloose. I can't really understand why. I really think that it show a great lack of creativity in Hollywood.

There are way too many remakes going on both on the big screen and the small screen.

It is really pathetic.

Then there's the possiblity of a Dirty Dancing remake? That somehow seems sacriligious.

Why do people want to mess with things that are so well loved.

Granted, some remakes are good. Father of the Bride was done really well, so was Parent Trap (though not as good as the original)...and I'll even give props to Ocean's Eleven..but the for the most part...remakes are annoying. (Even more so in TV)

What are some of your likes and dislikes about remakes in films? Are there any you'd like to see remade?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Must See TV For The Fall

The new season has started and there are so many new shows to watch, but which ones are worth your time?

Here are a few that this wench is getting really excited about.

Two Broke Girls airs CBS Mondays @ 8:30


From the official site:

2 BROKE GIRLS is a comedy about two young women waitressing at a greasy spoon diner who strike up an unlikely friendship in the hopes of launching a successful business - if only they can raise the cash. Sassy, streetwise Max Black works two jobs just to get by, one of which is waiting tables during the night shift at the retro-hip Williamsburg Diner. Sophisticated Caroline Channing is an uptown trust fund princess who's having a run of bad luck that forces her to reluctantly give waitressing a shot. At first, Max sees Caroline as yet another in a long line of inept servers she must cover for, but she's surprised to find that Caroline has as much substance as she does style. When Caroline discovers Max's knack for baking amazing cupcakes, she sees a lucrative future for them, but first they need to raise the start-up money. While they save their tips, they'll stay at the restaurant, working with Oleg, an overly flirtatious Russian cook; Earl, a 75-year-old kool-kat cashier; and Han Lee, the new, eager-to-please owner of the diner. Working together, these two broke girls living in one expensive city might just find the perfect recipe for their big break. 


Why you should watch?  

Max is so snarky you have to love her. Caroline is not the typical dumb blonde. Believe it or not she breaks out of that mold and is smart. These two girls make for an awesome show and when you add the creepy yet funny Oleg in the show is really great. I hope this one lasts...It is perfect between the two hits How I Met You Mother and Two and a Half Men. (BTW...Ashton sucks!)


Suburgatory airs Wednesdays @ 8:30 on ABC

From the official site:

Single father George Altman is doing his best to raise his sixteen-year-old daughter Tessa in the big city. When he discovers a box of condoms in her bedroom, though, he decides the time has come to move her to a more wholesome and nurturing environment: the suburbs.

But behind the beautiful homes and perfect lawns lurk the Franken-moms, spray tans, nose jobs, and Red Bull-guzzling teens who have nothing in common with Tessa. It’s a whole new world, one that makes George wonder if they haven’t jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire.

With the help of suburbanites like old college friend Noah, flirty Alpha mom Dallas and awkward classmate Lisa, George and Tessa slowly learn to navigate the pitfalls of suburban life. With time, they might even find that it isn’t so bad. Once you get past the plastic smell.


Why you should watch:

It is a smart funny family comedy that isn't Disney sweet. It also keeps the sexual innuendo to a minimum, which is pretty hard to do on sitcoms these days. It is a perfect fit for most of ABC's family shows on Wednesday nights. It is a bit more grown up then The Middle but not as cutting edge as Modern Family, but still pretty damn fun to watch.

Unforgettable airs on CBS Tuesday @ 10:00

From the official site :

UNFORGETTABLE stars Poppy Montgomery as Carrie Wells, an enigmatic former police detective with a rare condition that makes her memory so flawless that every place, every conversation, every moment of joy and every heartbreak is forever embedded in her mind. It's not just that she doesn't forget anything - she can't; except for one thing: the details that would help solve her sister's long-ago murder. Carrie has tried to put her past behind her, but she's unexpectedly reunited with her ex-boyfriend and partner, NYPD Detective Al Burns (Dylan Walsh), when she consults on a homicide case. His squad includes Det. Mike Costello (Michael Gaston), Al's right-hand man; Detective Roe Saunders (Kevin Rankin), the junior member of the team; and Detective Nina Inara (Daya Vaidya), a sassy, street-smart cop. Being back on the job after a break feels surprisingly right for Carrie. Despite her conflicted feelings for Al, she decides to permanently join his unit as a detective solving homicides - most notably, the unsolved murder of her sister. All she needs to do is remember. Ed Redlich, John Bellucci, Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly are executive producers for Sony Television Studios in association with CBS Television Studios.

Why you should watch:

This isn't your typical cop/detective drama. Poppy Montgomery rocks as Carrie Wells. It is really hard to pinpoint why this show is so awesome, but it is. Of course anything is better than more rehashed Law and Order.



  

Monday, October 10, 2011

Musical Mondays: Erasure - Tomorrow's World


There are very few constants in this world. Good Erasure CDs were one of them, until now.

I'm not sure when things started to change for this band, but Erasure were one of those artists that put out quality music even when they were recording potboilers (ie: Erasure)

Maybe it is because 2007's Light At The End Of The World was so good, a return to form, that Tomorrow's World feels like a bit of a let down. I'm not saying that the album is bad, Erasure is really not capable of putting out an album that is unlistenable, but they have put out an album that is totally uninspired.
Every Erasure album has one song that is super catchy and fun. The Erasure ear worm is something that fans look forward to...nay yearn for witch each new CD. The closest we come to that is "Then I Go Twisting."

It is hard to pinpoint what is lacking in this album. Andy is in fine voice, as always. Vince delivers fun bleeps, bloops and other assorted fun sounds that make you want to get up and move. It all feels a bit forced though.

What is notably absent in Tomorrow's World is fun.  Erasure have recorded breakup songs before, but this CD feels SERIOUS, and Erasure isn't a band that does serious.

The album's lead single "When I Start To (Break It All Down)" sounds like a throw back from their self titled CD from 1995. "You've Got To Save Me Right Now," is Erasure doing something close to Motown. It proves that Andy Bell can sing anything that he puts his mind to, but the song just doesn't feel like Erasure. Maybe this is something he couldn't fit on his last solo album?

This album feels totally off. The only song close to feeling like the happy bouncy Erasure that we know and love is the album's opener, "Be With You." If only the rest of the album could have been as fun as that one.

Get back in the studio guys, we know you can do better than this, a whole lot better.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Restaurant Review: Old Mexico Belle Vernon

Foodie Beware!

Old Mexico in Belle Vernon was definitely not ready to open for business. Their staff is incompetent; slow service and not enough staff for a Sunday afternoon.

Word to owners. Belle Vernon is actually a high traffic area on weekends. Expect business!

When I arrived to pick up my fajitas for two at 4:30, the place was about 80 % full, but you couldn't find a member of the wait staff anywhere.

While I was waiting I noticed the following:

1. One large table hadn't received silverware.
2. Several parties left because they weren't going to wait for inept staff.
3. One waitress was handling way too many duties and was frazzled beyond belief

I waited an additional 20 minutes for my fajitas and when I opened the boxes, there were no wraps! What's the point of fajitas when you have no tortillas to put the meat in. I also ordered a combo of steak and chicken and I only got steak.

It is a good thing that the steak was good.

The food was OK, but after having eaten at La Fiesta in Charleroi for many years, this was sub par.

Oh and the restaurant placed coupons in the clipper magazine that they wouldn't honor for takeout, even after I waited over 40 minutes for my food, and there was nothing on the coupon indicating that the coupons were for dine in only.

I've heard good things about the location in Washington PA, but this no location isn't ready for the business it can expect. There are no Mexican or Tex-Mex places in the Mon Valley. If they want to build a customer base, they better learn how to serve the customers there.

It will be a long time before I try Old Mexico again.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Restaurant Review: Little Bamboo

It has been years since I've eaten at Little Bamboo in Belle Vernon, PA. The reasons have never been about the quality of the food served there. Every town in the mon valley has a Chinese restaurant and driving there for lunch on Saturday just doesn't usually work for me. Plus most of the smaller, less fancy places offer dinner specials, Little Bamboo does not.

Little Bamboo is an Asian restaurant specializing in Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Sushi lovers will be happy, because they won't have to travel out of the Valley to get their not-cooked fish fix.

There's a lot to be said about Little Bamboo.

1. The service is always good, even when the place is busy.

2. Of all the restaurants that are sit down/not buffet style, Little Bamboo has the best quality food. It is hands down one of the best Chinese restaurants in the Valley.

3. The steamed dumplings are a must order no matter when you eat there. OMG they are so good!!

4. The chef really knows how to chop veggies. You will never find huge pieces of peppers etc at Bamboo. The veggies are always nicely chopped, except in dishes that demand bigger pieces, such as pepper steak.

5. When they say a dish is spicy, believe them. The Kung Pao chicken at Bamboo is one of the spiciests I've had in ages. This is another must order if you like some heat in your meal.

6. The tea is absolutely fab!


Little Bamboo Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 7, 2011

Films On Friday

The weekend is upon us and TV is a vast wasteland now. So what's a wench to do, except try to find some good movies to watch.

I'm thinking of going for a little bit of fluff.

Here are two titles that I bought on the cheap in the past few months that I never did get around to watching.



I know neither of these films are super great. In fact, I've heard Inkheart really stunk, but Brendan Fraser is such lovely eyecandy that I may be able to overlook the badness of it. As for 27 Dresses, I've not heard anything about it, and I got it for my birthday, because I thought the plot looked cute and well, it was a $5.00 gift from my college age nephew.

So which one should I try? Or what should I rent?

There's no Doctor Who for a long while now, and I need to have some weekend TV viewing that doesn't involve the Disney Channel.

Help a wench out!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs

It is really hard to fathom that one man has changed much of the way the world communicates and is entertained the way Apple founder Steve Jobs has.

Take a look at all the innovative (and expensive) technology that Apple has rolled out since the company started in the late 70s. Macintosh....to iMac...to iPod...to iPhone ....to iPad.

How many of us have one or more of these devices?

I know I have many pods, though I was slow to convert and I still hate iTunes, but you really can't say anything against the quality of something made by Apple. (You can gripe about the price though)

I find it really amazing that the world has really shown such emotion in regards to this man's passing. He wasn't really a celebrity...he was an innovator and a businessman.

One can only wonder, if Apple will come up with such awesome gadgets now that he's gone.

RIP Steve!

Bloo and Ms Blackie my two iPod shuffles weep for you.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Books To Movies

It seems like a lot of the huge movies this season are based on novels, some huge sellers and others that aren't so well known.

So far this year we've seen several book to movie adaptations




Of course Breaking Dawn is coming over the holidays, but the one that I find the most intriguing is I Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson



The film version stars Sarah Jessica Parker, who is not my favorite actress, but she seems totally suitable for the character she playing.

The author also penned, I Think I Love You, a book that's been on my wishlist since it was released.

So many interesting book to movie releases, and I'm not sure if I want to watch them on the big screen before I've read the books. The disappointment that usually results is something that usually keeps me from seeing the films, but this year, there are just so many, and the books have had such rave reviews that I really would like to see the movies.

So which ones have you read or seen?


Sunday, September 18, 2011

When SNL Gets It Right

Okay, everyone has probably seen these. And Lonely Island, I'm sure, is for some walking a fine line between ridiculously hilarious and over-the-top and obnoxious. But frequently, they're spot on. Plus they guest stars they've gotten are insane.

Michael Bolton as Jack Sparrow?



Akon talking about the beauty of sex?



Insane, star-studded angst?



And perhaps best of all, the third installment of our favorite "Dick in a Box" bros.



I consider "Mother Lover" to be the sophomore slump.


Then there's the John Waters and Nikki Minaj cameos in "The Creep."

What fun will the new season bring?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Another Letter To Sarah Palin & The Teaparty

Dear Sarah Palin and  all the crazy Tea Party candidates,

A few things.

1. Wanting to have social programs in a country does not make you a socialist, it makes you responsible.

2. Poor does not = Lazy.

3. If you are going to speechify about what you would do if you were in office, this means you, Sarah, tell us what you'd do..not that you'd do it.

4. If you are going to through your hat in the ring, do it now, or get off my tv screen.

5. If you are running, please have the decency of possessing at least 4 functioning brain cells. Michelle Bachman, that means you need to back out.

6. Explain why cutting education is such a good thing when Americans are lagging behind in the world?

Sincerely,

A citizen that would like to see a good candidate running for office

Sunday, September 4, 2011

This Country Is Full Of Too Much Hate

Let me get this straight...People won't be watching Dancing With The Stars because of Chaz Bono? Because Chastity is now a Chaz? Because they are afraid of a transgender person? Because that is somehow the work of Satan?

That is seriously fucked up.

I'm so sick of people using God as an excuse for their hatred. There is no where in the Bible that preaches hatred. I don't care what your pastor says. It is wrong.

And for those that are getting huffy about it..I suggest you open your Bibles to the Romans and read the passages that say:

" Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law."

"The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, (namely) "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
 
"Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law."

Now leave Chaz Bono alone, you idjits!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Looking For A Few New Wenches

Are you a woman who loves Pop Culture? Politics? Food? Blogging?

If you do, The Certifiable Wenches wants you!

I'm looking for a few new bloggers so that the site isn't so dreary. If you are interested in becoming a member of the blog, leave a comment here with an email where you can be reached and how much posting you can do for the blog. I'd like to be able to have one post a week.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hollywood Skinny

What is is with Hollywood starlets and British Royalty? The obsession with skinny is getting to be a bit much.

Look at Angelina Jolie or The Duchess of Cambridge.

These are beautiful women, but yikes, a good strong wind could blow them away.

Being too skinny is just as bad as being fat, and is it really sexy?

Recent reports say Duchess Kate weighs 105 lbs! she's 5'10!

I think there are some runway models that would be jealous of that. Heck, I haven't seen 105 lbs since high school and I'm a mere 5'2 and a bit.

What's wrong with these women! And why do we all think we need to have similar bodies?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dirty Dancing Remake?

I'm really getting sick of the laziness of Hollywood? Why do we have to remake films? Especially films that are almost classics. Or at least campy classics.

Footloose? and now Dirty Dancing?

Really?

What next? Casablanca? Gone With The Wind?

And there are going to be country artists recording the music.

NO!

Now I really enjoy country these days, but not for Dirty Dancing, m'kay?

Why can't we leave things well enough alone?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Political Rant Ahead

In the past two weeks I've determined that every member of the government needs to be fired, tea party and republicans first.

Why is it so hard to agree on tax revenues for the wealthy?

Really?

They make more, therefore they should pay more, and isn't some of these huge corporations that took bailouts and don't pay any taxes anyway?

For the love of all that is holy, what is wrong with people!!!!

We are living in a country that is losing its middle class.

The median income of the town I live in is less than $25,000, which is POVERTY LEVEL. A good deal of these are seniors, and we want to mess with Social Security...a program that hasn't given a cost of living adjustment in years!

Essentially our country says, Fuck You! if you are poor or old.

The more political stuff I see and read, the angrier I get. AT BOTH PARTIES. I want to like Obama, but he doesn't have enough spine. I can't like the Repugnant ones because they don't give a shit about anyone except the people lining their pockets.

What a sad sorry state we our in..and even when the debt ceiling is passed, and it better be or we are all fucked...it will just be another few months before this BS starts again!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gadgets I Can't Live Without


Creative ZEN Vision:M 30 GB MP3 and Video Player (Black)There are so many things that keep us connected...to other people, to information to games. It is no wonder we have absolutely no social skills!

Here are my must have gadgets.

First up is an mp3 player. It doesn't have to be an iPod. I have two shuffles and I don't really like them. I do love my old Creative Zen Vision. It is a wonderful mp3 player and I've had it for several years now. I keep saying I'm going to get an iPod Classic or Touch, but I don't see a reason to with this little thing working so well

Barnes and Noble NOOK eBook Reader (WiFi only) [ Black & White ]My next gadet that I can't live without is my nook. I have the original Wifi version and thanks to a very special person, I have a nook Color which is something similar to an iPad only with a smaller price tag.

Have I mentioned that everytime I see an iPad, I still think Maxi Pad? I know its childish, but the name lacks something!

But back to the nook...the Color is fab and has gorgeous visuals...It makes me want to buy all sorts of kids books just for my eReader.

Motorola Citrus Android Phone (Verizon Wireless)Lastly, my little android phone makes the list. I don't make a lot of money, so I couldn't toss the cash on the HTC model I coveted or the LG model I wanted so badly.

So I went with Motorola's starter Droid and I have a love/hate relationship with it. I'm not sure the extra money I'm paying is worth the Angry Birds or Four Square Apps. I mean...when people know exactly where you are...couldn't bad things happen?

LOL!

But if you take any of these things away from me...I'm pretty sure I will perish.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Childhood Reading

Growing up, Little Golden Books were always found all over the floor in my house. I was cleaning today and I found Good Little, Bad Little Girl, one of my absolute favorites.

The illustrations in this one are absolutely beautiful, which is why I think I loved it so much. Written by Ester Wilkin and illustrated by Eloise Wilkin. The story is simple but the illustrations really carry the story.

I'm glad I found this book today. It reminded me of simpler times.

What books did you read when you were a kid?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Must-Have iPhone Apps

Yes, I've given in to smart phones. When my battery was dying ridiculously quickly and the back of the phone wouldn't stay on, I knew it was time for an upgrade and I went straight to the iPhone.

Sure, it's expensive, but it's fun as hell, not to mention convenient and helpful. To get the most out of your iPhone (and maybe even Droid, or whatever), here are the apps I've already got.

Angry Birds: Yeah, obvious, and just as addicting as they say. Be sure to check out Angry Birds Seasons, too.

Words with Friends: Basically, a Scrabble match with whatever friends of yours are also playing.

Hanging with Friends: The same concept except with Hangman.

Hisptamatic: Get beautiful pictures with different effects that basically make the pictures look like old Polaroids someone found in the attic. Like, "Remember way back in 2011 when iPhones were all the rage?"

Facebook: Yes, getting all your notifications and news on your phone is a very dangerous thing. But that's why it's so awesome.

Skype: If you want the thrill of a webcam but your computer is as terrible as mine, Skype on your phone is just as good. It'll be nice come fall to keep in touch with my long-distance man without using his minutes. The quality sometimes is sometimes mediocre, but it's better than nothing.

The Weather Channel: iPhone may come with a weather app already, but it blows. The Weather Channel is as good as you get, complete with maps, hourly predictions, and 36-hour coverage.

Flashlight: You know how you use your phone as a flashlight anyway? This makes it more legit.

Foursquare: Welcome stalkers and earn badges and points for every place you visit. Or prove that you really are a hermit.

PNC Virtual Wallet: My mom doesn't trust phone banking, but it rules. Transfer money, check balances, even deposit checks! No more trips to the bank. There goes my Foursquare points...

Pittsburgh Penguins: Up-to-date news and, come hockey season, live scoring and penalty updates.

Team Coco: All the ginger fun on your phone.

Fruit Ninja: Slice that fruit!

Alarm Clock: The chimes are so peaceful.

Twitter: Because you can never be too connected.

RedLaser: Okay, I haven't actually used this yet, but it scans barcodes and tells you if that item is available elsewhere cheaper.

Mancala: As addicting as any iPhone game hit.

Mahjong: Same deal.

ParkPGH: Need to know what garages in the Cultural District are open and what they cost? This will tell you!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Where Does It End

Have you heard about that idiot from Sister Wives? He's got a lawsuit against Utah because of their bigamy law. You can read more about it here

You know, right now we're trying to allow gays to be married. I have no problem with that. I think if you want to be married...that's just hunky dory! Get married, be happy...yada yada yada.

But when it comes to people like this, I start to wonder about the state of the world.

I'm sorry..polygamy is just plain greedy!

But now is the right time to bring this issue up. If gays can get married why shouldn't wackjobs be allowed to marry as many consenting women as the want.

This whole issue hurts my brain.

So what do you think...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Things I Don't Understand

1. Republicans: I don't think I have to explain this to you, right? I am a bleeding heart liberal!

2. The people leaving their porch lights on for Caylee Anthony! Uh...erm? Why? I understand the feeling of hopelessness that a murderer got to walk because of a lousy case, but the little girl is dead, leaving your porch light on isn't going to do anything to help her.

3. People that dislike Obama but can't come up with a viable reason why...Uh...my guess is the color of his skin. I'm also guessing if he were a white man, he wouldn't be getting half the shit he's getting in office right now.

4. What is the big fuss about Duchess Catherine wearing jeans 3 days in a row? GAH! Get a grip. The big fuss should be that she looks too freaking thin. Feed the duchess a CHEESEBURGER!

5. Ebook pricing! You only save when you purchase a brand new ebook or a classic. Anything else and you might as well buy the paperback.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Restaurant Review: The Panino Bistro

The people of Charleroi might say, "Do we really need another Italian restaurant in town?" Well as soon as they eat at The Panino Bistro, they'll take back those words.

The Panino Bistro is different from most of the other restaurants in the 'roi. It is a sandwich shop with a little taste of Italy to make you want more.

The Panini offered by Chef Scott C'one are nothing short of amazing.

The Panini that we brought home were wonderful. We chose the roast beef and the Cuban.  The roast beef had ample meat and the provolone cheese was thick and gooey and wonderful. This is the kind of cheese that makes you remember the old "Behold the power of cheese ads."

Then there was the Cuban. OMG! Shaved ham and pork...and when the menu says, sliced roasted pork, they aren't lying. The pork tasted like it came from one of my mother's slow cooked pork roasts.

If these two sandwiches are any indication of what the rest of the offerings are like, The Panino Bistro is a winner.

It is also in a better location than most of new restaurants in town. It has easy access to parking, which is really saying something.

So if you are in Charleroi and you have a craving for a great Panini, or maybe some pasta? You might want to give The Panini Bistro a try.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I Hate This Term

I want to know who coined the phrase baby bump?

There's just something about it that makes me want to gag.

The woman is simply pregnant. It is a baby, m'kay.

I don't know why we must sugar coat things.

And while I'm on the pregnancy subject, why do women feel the need to pose nude when they are pregnant? Personally I don't understand the desire to get naked for any camera, but naked and pregnant? No thank you.

I'm not a huge fan of nudity period...so I'm not just saying this to be nasty to pregnant women. I'm saying this to the whole world.


KEEP YOUR DAMN CLOTHES ON.

OK....enough of my pregnancy rants...go forth and have your babies.

Friday, July 1, 2011

An Intriguing Book

Untold Story: A Novel
I have to admit, Monica Ali's book that was inspired by Princess Diana really has me intrigued.

It has mixed reviews, but something about a what if, involving this woman really makes me want to grab a copy and start reading.

I always find it funny when people say American's don't care about British royalty. We do. They are intriguing people, even though it is hard to fathom why anyone is born to rule a country without anyone else having a say so in that matter. But then again....voting for someone doesn't always net a good ruler either...case in point...George W. Bush...oh wait, we didn't elect him the first time around, he stole the Presidency.

Ah well, it doesn't matter. I just think this looks like it might be a fun summer read. Tis a shame though that we don't have Princess Diana to read about. I'm sure if she were still alive, her life would be much more fascinating than what any author might dream up for her.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I've Started Watching True Blood

True Blood: The Complete Third Season
As always, I'm a little late getting aboard the ship, but yesterday I finally watched an episode of True Blood.

I was all excited too. I was ready for an hour of hot vampire sex.

Did I get that?

Hells to the no.

For a season opener, I found the show to be a bit dull, but I'm going to try to start watching, and then go back and watch the last...erm 3 seasons. I will say that I find the cast to be exceptionally pretty.

However watching these has made me wonder about how much they draw from the books, or if they have moved beyond them.

I guess what this means is...more tv to watch. Woo hoo! Anyone want to fill me in on this stuff?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Any Idiot Can Write A Book

Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far
There are some things that really make me go Hmmm.

As if Sarah Palin's Going Rogue weren't bad enough, daughter Bristol has a memoir out.


This is just insane.

Her journey so far?

Pardon me while I throw up!

Miles To GoThat's almost as bad as Miley Cyrus writing a book.

I realize publishers want to make scads of money off talentless people.

At least Miley has had some legitimate fame.

But Bristol Palin.

All she's done is get knocked up and go on Dancing With The Stars. I'm sorry that doesn't warrant a book in my eyes.

There are millions of teenaged girls making their way in the world with babies. Most of them have slightly more sane parents too.  Maybe one of them should write a book. Anything would be better than giving the Palin family more time in the spotlight!