The Husband Parade

Is it just me, or do other married women out there feel like they are doing a lot of housework? It’s not that I mind, really. It channels my anxiety into clear tasks and afterward I feel accomplished. It’s no secret that I love the grocery store. I love when the house looks all sparkly and stuff, and when people tell me that my house looks nice, I feel I have won a small victory.

Let’s talk about hubby. I’m not knocking him at all, but there are times when I feel like I’m doing all the work; sure, he tends the pool, which I am eternally grateful for. He fixes things that I have not the patience to fuss with. The truth is, though, that those regular cleaning chores I seem more apt to do can sometimes be overlooked....

It’s clear how we enjoy a pool, right? We swim it, people comment on how clear the water is, or whatever. But how often are people like, “Wow I really ENJOY this clean shower!” Not often. And the difference between my husband’s expectation for praise and my own, well, they could not be more different.

You see, I don’t really care all that much if he doesn’t tell me he’s thankful that I vacuumed the floor or that the dishes got done; it’s implied to a certain degree, I believe. But nothing will make me more mad than when my husband tells me that he didn’t get a thank you for, say, buying dog food or something... then suddenly I remember all the other chores I did that I didn’t get a thank you for.

Now, there are a lot of times when do, in fact, thank each other for the small things. I am not saying we’re two ungrateful people who are running around thanklessly doing things for one another... It’s just that, it seems to me, he needs more thank you’s than I and more forms of external praise.

Sometimes I feel like I have to roll out the parade. The husband parade. I’ve heard other women complain about such things... how their husbands need higher amounts of praise than they do for smaller things. Sometimes I envision myself getting together my girls and rolling out an ACTUAL parade for our men...

We would go marching as they stood on the sidelines. We would have banners that say things like, “Thank you for working this week!” or “I LOVE how you schedule oil changes!” There would be the group of working women, of course, whose husbands now stay at home while they go to work that says, “Fathers who stay home are sexy” or something to that effect. And there would, of course, be the “Thanks for giving me your penis” banner, maybe even a float in the shape of a giant penis.

All of the wives would wave to their husbands, and instead of throwing candy at them, we would instead throw beers and NFL tickets to the adoring husbands. The husband parade would also need a band. Something REALLY manly but the only lyrics besides “you rock” would be “thanks a million, husbands!” Like an 80’s hair band with only positive lyrics!

Yes, there are clearly times when I wish I had said parade to tell my husband just how much I love and appreciate all the things he does around the house, in my life, and in my bed. And had I more time, I might actually organize such a feat... all I ask in return?

Maybe flowers... because I certainly don’t expect a parade.

Make Your Own: Bubble Tea

Bubble tea is amazing stuff. If you live rurally, like me, you might not be as familiar with it because we don't have those fancy shops that serve this delicious stuff. Bubble tea (also known as Boba Tea) is tea that has been poured over giant black tapioca pearls that you suck through a giant straw.

It's basically like drinking yummy sweet, creamy tea with gummies at the bottom. YUM! I was hooked the first time I tasted it, and then I came back to my hometown and cried because I couldn't have it anymore. So I relentlessly searched online for a place to buy the tapioca pearls to make my own. And for the straws--you have to have the straws.

After a tireless search, I found and they have the best rates for shipping and the pearls themselves. Now I make my own. I like coconut flavor, but you can get creative as you like with it. But here is my recipe for you bubble tea enthusiasts out there! Please enjoy!

Tapioca pearls... mmmmm. They are my favorite! You will use a half a cup for the purposes of this recipe. You don't want to make too many because, really, they don't store all that well once they are cooked. 

Measure 'em out and then sift out the excess tapioca dust. Once I didn't do this and all the balls turned into one big ball because the dust turned to a gummy gel and I had to start over. 

Bring two cups of water to a boil and then add your tapioca. 

Your tapioca balls will float to the top. Let them boil about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. When they are done boiling, you cover them and let them sit about 30 minutes. 

And I know what you might be thinking--we're in this tea for 45 minutes? It'll be totally worth it, I promise!  

While all that tapioca business is going on, you will want to deal with the actual tea part. I have tested several recipes in finding my favorite one. For this you want about a cup of water. One chai tea bag and a can of coconut water. 

Bring your water to a boil and then remove from the heat. Steep your tea bag about 5-7 minutes. 

In a pitcher filled with ice, like this cute one here, pour your tea. 

Add your can of coconut water.... 

Then add sugar. I used 2 and 1/2 tablespoons of sugar, but if you like it sweeter or what have you, you know, don't let me tell you how to sugar... sugar. 

Same with the cream. I love the creaminess of this drink. I used a quarter cup of heavy cream, but it's a suggestion more than anything else. You can use flavored creamer, powdered creamer, or no creamer in any quantity you find befits your flavor! 

You got your tea! 

When your tapioca pearls are done soaking, this what they will look like. I wanted to make a joke about how I love these black balls--oh wait, I think that counts. Rinse your balls. 


This recipe will make up to 4 bubble teas, depending on the size. I had leftovers, but I was only making two for the moment. One for me and one for my husband who is also bubble tea crazy. 

So, you put your tapioca pearls at the bottom, then add ice, and your straws. The straws are essential and they are cheap on 

Then add your tea! And at long last, you have your perfect bubble tea, all laid before you--take that local coffee shop who told me bubble tea wasn't "trendy" anymore! 

Billie's Bubble Tea

Time: 1 hour | Serves: 4 | Difficulty: Medium

You Will Need:

 For the pearls: 
1/2 cup black tapioca pearls
2 cups water 

For the tea: 
1 cup water
1 chai tea bag
1 can of coconut water 
1/4 cup heavy cream 
2 and 1/2 tablespoons sugar 


Special items: Bubble tea straws 


Measure your tapioca pearls and then sift them to get the access powder out. 

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add tapioca pearls. Allow them to boil about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. 

When they are done boiling, remove them from the heat, cover the pan with a lid and allow them to sit for 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Remove from heat and allow your teabag to steep in the hot water for 5-7 minutes. 

Fill a small pitcher with ice. Pour your tea over the ice once steeped. 

Add to your tea the coconut water, sugar, and cream. Stir. 

When the tapioca pearls are fully soaked (after the 30 minutes), drain them using a colander. Give them a little rinse as well. 

Fill 2-4 cups (depending on how many awesome people want to join you for bubble tea) with tapioca pearls. You can add as much or as little as you like, but 2 tablespoons to each cup seems to be about perfect. 

Fill cup with ice and add a bubble tea straw. Pour prepared tea mixture over the ice and tapioca, and serve! 


Out Today: Chicken Soup for the Soul Married Life!

My box of books! 
Some of you might already know, but for those of you who don't: I am published in the new Chicken Soup for the Soul book. The new one focuses on being married, which is why the book is appropriately dubbed, "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Married Life!" I am proud to be a part of the book!!! 

My story is story number 58--The Sweet Thereafter. It's a story about getting married and thinking that once we were married everything would just fall into place. Of course, life just isn't like that, and before we knew it we had lost track of exactly what was important: supporting one another through good and through bad. It is included in chapter six, which is called "Love Will Keep Us Together."

Sweet, huh?

I am pretty excited about the book, and, of course, being a part of it. I am also really excited to do a little event at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach this Saturday, June 2nd. I hope that everyone will come out and support me, and buy lots of loot from Browseabout too!

I feel like I have to take a moment to share something with all of you, though... because the story about me and Chicken Soup is more than meets the eye. The simple story is that I submitted a story and they published it. The other story is that I set a goal for myself a couple of years ago to be in the Chicken Soup books....

I thought that if I could get myself into the book that I could take it as a sign that what I was doing with my life (writing, which at the time also meant struggling), would be worth it. That was a long time ago--as the world of publishing can take such slow pace--but looking back, I am so happy that I stuck with it. Writing has given me things that I couldn't have imaged I wanted or needed. It nourishes my soul and I think that is the most important aspect of a career; everyone should love the life they live.

Thanks so everyone who reads my blog, the editors who have accepted my work, and other writers who entertain me and keep me on my writing toes. You guys all rock.

The only question now is, is it too early in the morning to have a drink in celebration??? 

The Seduction of a Woman

I know that I have male readers out there in cyberspace. And I know I have female readers out there who share what they read with their men. This post is for you guys and gals. It came to my attention recently that men may have difficulty in seducing their women... it’s not what you think.

Look, women get horny, just like men do, and so we have sex with them, men that is. This is not the same thing as seducing your woman. Let me be clear: your woman will use you for sex. You might think you did something right to get it, and maybe you did, who knows. But it's not the same thing as seducing a woman--seducing your woman takes finesse. When you seduce your woman, she doesn’t even know what hit her. She’s yours and you can get sexual pleasure out of her like you didn’t even know.

The problem is, gentlemen, you didn’t even know...

So let me tell you. Because I like to be seduced and so does every other woman out there. We want it. We want it baaaaad. Every woman’s scenario will be a little bit different, as will your approach as an individual male, as it were. But the formula is pretty much the same.

The reason you guys are missing the boat, really, is because you are looking for the g-spot when all this time you should have been using her brain. It’s a woman’s biggest pleasure center. She wants to hear things from you---things you haven’t been saying. For instance, that you love the way her breasts fall into perfect teardrop shapes. (yes, you have to use the word breasts.) Or that you just want to be able to grab her and kiss her because she's so beautiful (yes, beautiful).

In case you were wondering, she DOES want you to grab her kiss her, but really she wants to hear you say it first. Then, once you’ve wooed your way into her heart with your very complimentary talk (which can also include words like “I love the curves of your body” and “I love you so very much”) then she wants you to break nasty on her. Break it down you dirty little thing...

Unfortunately, this is where men tend to foul it up a little bit. It’s not entirely your fault. So in your head you might want to say something REALLY dirty... like things I can’t write on here dirty. That’s fine, we get it, we think it sometimes... so take whatever you want to say and then tone it down. This is the art of seduction.

There is only one way I can describe this subtle art. And it comes from an episode of “Girls” on HBO. The guy walks up to the girl and says, “The first time I f*** you, I might scare you a little. Because I’m a man and I know things.” THAT is precisely what a woman wants to hear from you. We don’t need vulgar words or anything too graphic. We want confidence, assuredness and something that tells us something about yourself. So the above-mentioned line is just perfect. Of course, you may need to tweek it a bit to fit your own scenario.

After the kind flattery turns to breaking nasty, then you have to back it up with action. This action should include, but not be limited to, kissing, touching, and lingering. Use your hands, gents. The fact of the matter is, people in general jump right to sex when they ought to be more focused on other things first.

Touch, stroke. Run your hand up the her side and then settle on her breast. Grab her face and look in her eyes and then kiss her deeply. It sounds a little bit dramatic because it IS. It’s awesome when men act like the only thing they have to do in the world is to pleasure the woman of their affection.

And you know what happens? Women get turned on, forget everything and suddenly they want to give you awesome blow jobs or get incredibly vocal or ride you like a stallion.

The formula is as follows:

Awesome, doting compliments + really sexy (but not vulgar) forwardness + awesome touching, face grabbing and/or starring in the eyes = THE SEDUCTION OF A WOMAN. 

Magazines For Foodies

Since I do a lot of cooking, I am always looking for more ways to satisfy my appetite for food. Magazines are a great way to get lots of info constantly and so this year, I began subscribing to several magazines that fit the bill.... I thought I would share with you the magazines I have subscriptions to, in case you were looking to build your foodie magazine repertoire!

That, and I like to say “foodie magazine day” just like Billy Madison chants “nudie magazine day.” Is my dork sticking out? Good.


This was the first one I subscribed to, and boy was I impressed! It’s a great magazine that blends articles, essays, and recipes into one lovely publication. They are pretty diverse in their coverage of food, getting in lots of ethic recipes, which is great when I am looking to branch out into something other than Italian cooking.

Saveur is definitely one that I recommend you subscribe to, and one I also save the recipes from. A friend of mine gave me the idea because she had a binder full of her own magazine recipes, and so now I tear mine out and put them behind sheet protectors. That way I can always thumb through and find something awesome to make!

La Cucina Italiana

An entire magazine devoted to Italian cooking!? Yes please! Found it in the airport once, read it in-flight and was hooked! This magazine is the epitome of Italian cooking, and it’s important to note that it’s not the Italian-American version of it... what I enjoy is really sinking my teeth into authentic recipes as well as those that are all fancy pants!

A word to the wise on this magazine, though, some of the ingredients can be hard to find if you are in a small town, like me. If you are in a city, you would probably be able to find them no problemo, so I end up having to make special orders, special trips, and sometimes special substitutions. It’s worth it.

Cook’s Illustrated

I love Cook’s Illustrated! It is THE no-nonsense cooking magazine. They are testers and problem solvers over there, and you know what hey don’t have? Advertising. No distractions, just recipes and helpful kitchen stuff. They even do these great little drawings that are really awesome and detailed.

If you were wondering which pan works better than another, they can tell you. The perfect chicken salad? Check. Tips and tricks without a bunch of gimmicks? Yes sir!

Quick Fix: Blood Orange Martini

I'm a bit blood orange obsessed this week.... and every week. I just love the slightly more sour taste of the blood orange to the Florida orange. It makes for a great drink and it's so fast! And I just know that when you get off of work today, you are going to be in need of refreshment because: IT'S FRIDAY! YAY!

A little word on blood orange juice; you can squeeze your own or you can buy it already juiced. I generally like to squeeze my own, but they didn't have any fresh blood oranges at the store, so I had to buy the juice. Que sera. It's all good to me, especially when you add the booze!

And while we are speaking of booze, let's speak of booze. MMMmmmm. Vodka. We're in love. But not all vodka is created the equal, as you likely know. For a drink like this, you need to break out the good stuff. I have certain vodka for bloodies, and nicer vodka for these moments. 

Orange liqueur. But yourself a bottle, it'll last forever and helps you in your drink mixing endeavors! 

Lastly, add your blood orange juice..... and of, course, lots of ice to make it all cold and refreshing! 

And then you gotta shake it! Shake it reeeaaaaal good! 


And share it with someone you love. Or for that matter, share it with someone you hate, it'll make them that much more bearable. Am I wrong? No, of course not. 

Blood Orange Martini 

Time: 5 minutes | Serves 2 | Difficulty: Too Easy 

You Will Need:

2 ounces vodka (more if you like, but I'm not trying to get wasted) 
1 ounce orange liqueur 
3 ounces blood orange juice 



Add your liquids into a shaker. Add ice to fill shaker. 


Pour into fancy pants glasses. 


See what I mean about that being too easy?? 

Pork Roasted in Blood Orange Juice

I love blood oranges. I love pork. I love roasting. Hmmmm....I wonder how this recipe came together? Hehe. No matter what the season, a good pork recipe never goes to waste. The best part about this recipe is that you can use nearly any cut of pork. I used the butt roast and it was delish!

Pork also pairs well with a lot of veggies that are in season no matter what the season seems to be, so it's always a winner for me! As far as this recipe goes, I would have loved to use a little white wine in there, too, but as luck would have it, I was fresh out of wine. If you have got some white wine, it would go beautifully in this dish and you could use 1/4 cup white wine and 3/4 cup veggie broth.

Okie-dokie, here we go!

The ingredients aren't so complicated: 
salt, pork, blood orange juice, onion, rosemary, garlic, vegetable broth and black pepper. 

Slice your onions into nice rounds. 

Salt and pepper your pork! 

In a small dutch oven, add some olive oil and heat er up! 

You want to brown the pork on all sides before we gets to the roasting.... 

Let's talk tongs: they are like another pair of hands in the kitchen, only the kind of hands that don't have to get dirty, if you catch my drift. In the kitchen I wash my hands a ton, which leaves my little hands dry... so anytime I can reach it with the tongs, it's a help! 



Just wanted to make sure you had the idea about the browning. 

Once that's over with, you want to add the minced garlic (this is done easily with a garlic press) on your pork. 

Then those onions. Looking purdy already, right?! 

Mmmmmm! Blood orange juice. I love the stuff. Pour it right on top! 

Then your broth... 

Then place your sprig of fresh rosemary on top. I grow mine in my herb garden this time of year, and let me tell you, it's fabulous! 

"Put a lid on it"--that's what they keep telling me--so I did! 

Then this sucker gets roasted for two hours on 375. By the time it comes out, it's falling apart juicy and a might fine dish! 



You know what I did with my leftovers? Made them into pork tacos! 

Roasted Pork in Blood Orange Juice 

Time: Prep 25 minutes, Cook 2 hours | Serves 4 | Difficulty: Easy! 

You Will Need: 

2-3 pound pork roast (mine was a butt roast, but you can use any) 
1 onion
1 sprig fresh rosemary
4 cloves minced garlic 
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup blood orange juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper 


Preheat oven to 375. 

Slice your onion into nice little rounds. Set aside. 

Give and generous salt and peppering to your pork on both sides. 

In a dutch oven, on the stove, heat the oil over medium high heat. Place your roast in the pan and brown it on all sides. 

When the pork is browned, turn off the heat on the stove. Place your minced garlic on top, or press your garlic through a press right on top. 

Add your onions. 

Pour juice and broth over it all and, finally, add that sprig of rosemary right on top. 

Cover and place the roast in the oven for 1 hour. After the hour is up, turn the roast over and continue to cook, covered, for an additional hour. 

Pork should be falling apart tender when it's done! 

Serve and enjoy! 

BIW Versus Make Up Sex

Some people love the fight because the making up is soooo good. You get all riled up with your honey and it's all yelling and upset until the two of you are in a hopeless tangle in the sheets; making up for lost time with a tryst. This scenario sounds sexy for, say, a feature film. But for me, I am not sold.

I have never understood this concept of make up sex, try as I might. Nope, on the issue of make up sex I stand firmly opposed... I don’t like the concept of it at all. Why in the world would I want to have sex to make up with someone? That’s like using sex as a tool, and that I am firmly (no pun intended) against!

Having make up sex, to me, is counter intuitive as well as counter productive... for instance, if you know that at the end of the fight you are going to get to have sex, what’s the incentive to actually be nice to your partner? Doesn’t it sort of perpetuate a vicious cycle of fighting and sex? And fight and sex, and fighting and sex?

In the past, my husband has approached me after a fight and asked me if I wanted to have make up sex.... he was, in fact, trying to be funny because he knows that I will not give him “make up” sex. I always will say the same thing, " Don't do the thing that made me angry in the first place, and you won't have to make up for it. Then we can have sex." But we stand in different camps on this issue, and that's okay. He believes that his penis is a magic etch-a-stetch that can shake out whatever he did wrong, and while I think it's great, flowers would sometimes be nice.

My sex must be joyful, loving, or just downright lustful--disagreement, especially loud disagreements, are not joyful, loving or lustful. They aren't worthy of sex, that's for sure.

So ladies, or gentlemen for that matter, when your partner has done you wrong, get the sex part out of your head and concentrate on the issue at hand. Better to work on problems than your positions at a time when your feelings have been stepped on. Sure, maybe it feels good to blow off some literal steam after a fight, but actions speak louder than words in my opinion.

So the last thing I want is someone thinking that after they’ve fought with me... they can screw me too.

Bossy Italian Wife, over and out!

Salad with Warm Beets

Beets are at their beety best June to October, and you know what that means: they are getting ready to come into season!!! I love beets but I have a beet confession to make.... I didn't try them until last year. *Gasp!* I know. But ever since then beets and I are tight.

I would love to take full credit for the yummy salad you are about to behold, but I can't. I gotta give the credit where it's due, and that goes to my mother in law, Chris. She brought a salad like this to our house and people devoured it! It was sooooo good. Now mine is a little bit different, but I want to discuss the dressing, which is jalapeño jelly.

I know it sounds a little bit funny, but it is delish! I urge you to try it, no I implore you to! It adds a lot of dimension to the salad, as well as being a great way to use up that extra jalapeño jelly that you canned last year (am I alone in this dilemma?)

Take a beet ..... and beet it. Just kidding. Just slice it. 

And a note on the beet: I used a huge beet for my salad because I wanted it extra beety. This is totally your call. Use whatever size beet you want. There are not, to my knowledge, beet police lurching in your cabinets. 

Cut it up into manageable slices so that they will steam easily and a little more quickly. 

Meet my steamer--that metal thingy. It comes in all kinds of handy and if you haven't got one, I am lead to believe that you don't steam things. BAD! Steaming? GOOD! Get a steamer. They are cheap and they sell them in most grocery stores and they are very reasonably priced. 

To use the steamer, you put water in the bottom of a pan (not enough to come up through the steamer, though) and you put your steamer in the pot. Put the heat on medium high, cover and steam away. SO EASY! 

While your beets are steaming, wash your lettuce, cut it up and place it on some fancy plates. Fancy plates always make food taste better, obviously. 

Add nuts and crumbly cheese. I used almonds and ricotta salata, but you can use any nut and crumbly cheese your little heart desires. Be creative! 

Observe: left over jalapeño jelly. 

When your beets are steamed up, cut them smaller (if desired) and top your salad with them! 

Then pour on your jalapeño jelly and drizzle with a touch of olive oil. 

YUM! The perfect salad for beets in my opinion! 

Salad with Warm Beets 

Time: 20 minutes | Serves 2 | Difficulty: Easy 

You Will Need:

1 beet, peeled and washed 
Crumbly cheese (goat cheese, feta cheese, or ricotta salata) 
1 head of artisan lettuce (or any lettuce) 
Nuts, I like almonds... that, and, it's what I had 
Jalapeño jelly 
Drizzle of olive oil 


Cut up your beet into nice even-ish pieces. Place them in a steamer and put the steamer in a pot with water in the bottom. 

Turn your heat on medium high, cover your pot, and steam the beets until they are fork tender, about 15-20 minutes. 

While beets are steaming, wash and slice your head of lettuce. Divide it between two fancy plates. 

On top of your lettuce put a healthy dose of your cheese and nuts. 

When your beets are tender, cut them to your desired "bite" size. Place them atop your salad while still warm. 

Top with jalapeño jelly and a drizzle of olive oil.