Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Our Favorite Things........Holiday Edition

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!!!

We wanted to share some of our Holiday favorites with you.

One song that I absolutely love this time of year, is Burl Ives' Holly Jolly Christmas. It always puts a smile on my face and makes me want to dance around.

Listen to it here:

This is one of my favorite Christmas movies. I love little Cindy Lou Who, Grinch's dog Max and when the Grinch's heart grows three times it's size!!

Love the Holiday drinks at Starbucks! Something about the warm drinks, whip cream and deliciousness inside always puts me in a good mood. Grabbing a cup and driving around to look at the Christmas lights in the neighborhood are one of my favorite holidays things to do.

Candy Canes

Yum, SweeTarts Candy Canes.  The candy canes come in three flavors green apple, cherry and blue punch.

Candy Cane Lane Sauganash off of Devon

If anyone wants to look at Christmas Lights in the city, check out the Lincolnwood neighborhood. This is east of Central, north of Devon, on Pratt and Sauganash. This three story tree has been put up for years, its near Albion and Leroy.

Dancing Santa's Elves hat.  Do you want to be the coolest person at your Holiday party?  This hat is a guaranteed hit!  Walgreens has one for $9.99 that lights up, sings and dances. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Book Club Questions: The Hunger Games

This month's virtual book club pick was The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. Have you been reading The Hunger Games along with us?! We hope so. 

As we mentioned before, The Hunger Games introduces a sixteen-year-old girl, Katniss Everdeen, who lives in a post-apocalyptic world where North America once existed. This is where the government, called the Capitol, holds power. The Hunger Games are an annual televised event where the Capitol chooses one boy and one girl from each of the 12 districts for a massive televised battle in which only one person can survive.

Here are some questions that we thought of while we were reading The Hunger Games.

Who was your favorite character? What made them your favorite?

What do you think of Katniss' relationship with Peeta and Gale? Can she have feelings for both? Who are you rooting for? Team Peeta or Team Gale?

Katniss Everdeen, the heroine of The Hunger Games. She volunteered to take her sister Prim's place in the Games. What's Katniss' story? Will she do anything to win? Including faking a love, playing up for the cameras and charming the audience with a song for Rue?

Peeta Mellark, a baker's son who was also chosen to compete in The Hunger Games. From the start, he went out of his way to protect Katniss. Has he loved her from afar since they were young? Are they really 'Star Crossed Lovers'? Do you think Katniss has true feelings for him or is she just putting on a show for the cameras? Are Peeta's feelings for Katniss genuine?

Gale Hawthorne, Katniss' best friend. They have been through everything together except The Hunger Games. Can Gale truely understand Katniss now that she's been involved in the games?

Do you think Fire was an appropriate symbol for Katniss during the games? Why do you think so?

What did you think of the fact that they changed the rules during the middle of the game, so that two tributes could end up winning?

The tributes are on camera 24/7, how does this affect this behavior from the moment they are chosen until the end?

Let us know your thoughts about The Hunger Games!

Will you be reading the next two installments of this series? Catching Fire and Mockingjay are also excellent and you will get to see how the story turns out. What's great about reading them now, is they are already published so you don't have to wait months for the next book to come out.

In case you missed it, the trailer for The Hunger Games was just released. It looks amazing!! You can watch it here. It comes out in March 2012, so not too much longer to wait!!

We will announce our next virtual book club pick soon, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

You're know you are a Chocoholic when......

You dream of chocolate. 

You wake up thinking about chocolate.

You don't have any chocolate at home, so you run to the store specifically for chocolate.  Even with no make up on and in your pajamas.  You wear a hood, so no one will recognize you. 

You have a secret stash of cookies in your house, that is hidden from your roommate, spouse, kids.  You leave a note on the stash, "Don't Even Think About It" to warn off intruders.

You run out of chocolate in your house, so you eat the chocolate chips for baking.  OR You squirt Hershey's chocolate syrup in your mouth.

You get defensive when someone recommends that you slow down or teases you about eating too many cookies.  You might say something like "Ugh, this is my first cookie, relax!"  Knowing that it's really your tenth.

You leave the bar or a night out with friends becaue you have been fantasizing about chocolate and you can't hold out any longer.  You give an excuse like "I have to wake up early."  It's all a lie.

You buy extra halloween candy just in case you run out, but end up eating the extra bags yourself.

You can eat a whole sleeve of cookies, like Thin Mints, in one sitting.

You shop at the Jewel by the Blommer Chocolate Factory, just to smell the wonderful chocolate in the air!  People stare at you because you keep sniffing and smiling. They think you are creepy.

Not everyone loves the rich flavor of chocolate.  They wouldn't walk a mile for this treat.  They don't understand our lack of control when it comes to this divine dessert.  But we, lovers of chocolate, undersand each other.  We understand why your face lights up when you take your first bite of a dark chocolate Dove bar.  Why your body starts wiggling to an imaginary song after you tasted a Ghirardelli milk chocolate bar.  We have felt the gratification.  We are Chocoholics! 

What are your chocoholic moments? Please don't make us feel like we are the only ones!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Cookies - Seven Layer Bars Recipe

Here is another one of my favorite Christmas Cookies/Bars to make. This recipe is easy to make and delicious. You may have had one of these before and I've seen them by several different names. The combination of the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut and nuts is incredible!

Here's the recipe:


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/3 cups shredded coconut


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  2. Place butter in 13 x 9 inch pan and melt in oven. Swirl to coat bottom and sides with butter.
  3. Spread crumbs evenly over bottom of pan. Layer chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and nuts over crumbs. Pour condensed milk over nuts. Sprinkle coconut over condensed milk.
  4. Bake until edges are golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Cookies - Potato Chip Cookies Recipe

It's that time of year again........time to start baking Christmas cookies! This is one of my favorite things to do during the holiday season. My sisters and I always bake several kinds of cookies each and then share our cookies over Christmas. It's always fun to see what new recipes we each come up with every year.

Now I know what you're thinking. Potato Chips and Cookies? That can't be right. This is a family recipe that is one of my must-bake Christmas cookies every year. This really has potato chips in it! Jays or Lays are my favorite. The chips add the salti-ness you need to make these cookies delicious and they give them a little extra crunch. Plus you get to nibble the potato chips while you bake. Everyone will be asking you for the recipe after they try these!

Here's the recipe:


  • 3/4 crushed (not fine) potato chips (Jays or Lays)
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease cookie sheets. Or I like to use parchment paper, makes for easy clean-up after you bake the cookies.
  2. Cream together the butter, powdered sugar and egg yolk.
  3. Add the flour and mix again.
  4. Then add the vanilla, nuts and potato chips.
  5. Then roll into balls and place on cookie sheet. Flatten slightly.
  6. Bake 15 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Try baking these this holiday season! Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Two Cents picks the sexiest characters alive!

Two Cents is picking their sexiest television and movie characters!

We can all say certain actors are sexy, but what television and/or movie character make them the sexiest?

Take a look and let us know, do you agree with our sexiest character picks? Which character do you find yourself day dreaming about?


Phil (Bradley Cooper) from The Hangover, Dirty Sexy - Sexiest Groomsman

Noah (Ryan Gosling) from The Notebook, Sexiest Lover


Micky Ward (Mark Walberg) from The Fighter, Sexiest Fighter/Bad Boy

Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) from The Town, Sexiest Bad Boy

Mike O'Donnell (Zac Efron) from 17 Again, Sexiest Teen Heartthrob

Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) from The Proposal, Sexiest Fake Fiance

Jacob (Ryan Gosling) from Crazy Stupid Love, Sexiest Wing Man

Edward Cullen (Rob Pattinson) from The Twilight Saga, Sexiest Vampire

Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) from Twilight, Sexiest Wolf

Will Gardner (Josh Charles) from The Good Wife, Sexiest Litigator

George Altman (Jeremy Merton Sisto) from Suburgatory, Sexiest Suburban Dad

Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) from Friday Night Lights, Sexiest Husband

Dr. Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams) from Grey's Anatomy, Sexiest Surgeon

Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) from the Office, Sexiest Paper Salesman

Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Funny Sexy

Achilles (Brad Pitt) and Hector (Eric Bana) from Troy, Sexiest Warriors

Duke (Channing Tatum) from She's the Man, Sexiest College Guy (with a sweet side)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Are you ready for Breaking Dawn!?!?!

Its back!  Twilight fans can rejoice because Breaking Dawn part 1,the fourth movie in the Twilight installment, is in theaters Right Now!  

Movie Review:  Breaking Dawn was better than expected and leaves you wanting more.  Edward and Bella had the most beautiful wedding, with hundreds if not thousands, of flowers hanging over the ceremony and guests.  The honeymoon spot was absolutely gorgeous, completely unrealistic, but that's ok, we can all dream.  As the movie went on and Bella's health began deteriorating she took on the look of a gaunt anorexic patient...until she started drinking blood.  It was disgusting, but nowhere near as disgusting and gory as the birthing scene.   

Over the years, we have seen the acting ability of the actors evolve. It's clear that the hair and makeup artists have stepped up their game too.  Alice finally got a cute hairdo and the vampires, for the first time, didn't look like they were rolled in white powder.  I personally think critics are too harsh regarding the Twilight movies, I take it for what it is...a teen book series made into movies.  Though some of the scenes in this movie are unintentionally funny, overall it was good.  Bring on Breaking Dawn part 2.  I'm ready for it!

Breaking Dawn surprises:
* Stephenie Meyer makes a cameo in the wedding scene. It's quick, so keep your eyes peeled.
* You might think the movie is over when the credits start rolling, but its not!  So, stay in your seat for the extra Volturi scene...
* The cover of the "Breaking Dawn" book shows a white chess king on a chessboard with a red pawn in the background. It's a little unusual since chess pieces are more often black and white, not white and red, but you'll see the book cover recreated in a honeymoon scene, and yes, the colors match the cover.  (according to MSNBC)

Alice's hair over the Twilight years: 

Breaking Dawn


Rumors & Gossip:
Several news outlets have reported that the Breaking Dawn cast has not been getting along.  At a recent event, it was reported that as soon as the cameras turned off the cast was "cold and cliquey."  Are Kristen, Rob, and Taylor too big for the others?  Are the other cast members jealous of all the media time the three are getting?  Is it just life, not everyone is going to clique? 

Breaking Dawn Trailer:

Breaking Dawn quick recap:
Bella and Edward get married and spend their honeymoon on a private island off the coast of Brazil.  Two weeks into their honeymoon Bella realizes shes pregnant.  Edward and Bella immediately return to Forks, Washington to figure out how this has happened.  The Quileute wolf pack becomes nervous that the baby could be an out of control killer and make a plan to kill it and Bella.  Jacob protests and breaks off from the pack.

Bella eventually gives birth, and the baby breaks many of Bella's bones, including her spine.  As Bella begins to die, Edward injects Bella with venom and she turns into a Vampire.  Jacob "imprints" on Renesmee, Edward and Bella's baby.  As Bellas transforms into a vampire and explores her new abilities the others are amazed at her gift, she is a shield.
One day when Bella was out with Renesmee, another vampire named Irina spots them and thinks that Renesmee is an "immortal child."  Vampires are not allowed to reproduce, create an "immortal child," because the young vampires can't be controlled.  Irina contacts the Volturi.

The Cullens contact vampires from all over the world to stand as witness that Renesmee is not a baby vampire that will loose control.  The Cullens know that the Volturi are just looking for an excuse to attack them and take their family down.  All of the vampires, along with the wolves, begin training to fight the Volturi in case of an attack. The Cullens show the Volturi that Renesmee poses no threat and the Volturi leave.  Edward, Bella and Renesmee can now live their life in peace....Happily Ever After.

Team Edward:
I love Edward all day long, every day!  Jacob is a hottie, but I am Team Edward.  The younger generation tends to love Jacob and the older tends to love Edward. 

Team Jacob:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we all look forward to the best part of the meal, the Pumpkin Pie! But I have a pie alternative for you this year to try. They are the most delicious pumpkin chocolate chip bars! I make these every year and they are such a hit! And they are super easy to make, so you'll have no problem wowing your friends and family.

Pumpkin-Chocolate-Chip Bars
Prep: 30 minutes Total: 2 hours 30 minutes - Makes 24.
In addition to keeping the cake from sticking to the pan, lining the pan with foil makes it easy to lift it out after baking. If you can't find pumpkin-pie spice, substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon each allspice and cloves (all ground).
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree (mixture may appear curdled). Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan.
  4. Lift cake from pan (using foil as an aid). Peel off foil, and use a serrated knife to cut into 24 squares.
Try making these pumpkin chocolate chip bars this year and let me know what you think! Enjoy :)