On Norah Ephron....

I was really shocked to hear that Norah Ephron had passed away on Wednesday. I have been reading "Crazy Salad" for about eight months, which is not so much a reflection on her book as it is on my lackadaisical attitude when it comes to reading too many books at once...

... I started reading her book because I knew how influential she was on the world of writing and women. She was a genius; able to look at two books simultaneously and see how they could so easily meld into one script. Able to capture the complex relationships between men and women and write them into a script that captured the hearts of both... and she was able to translate being a feminist in a man's world into a solid career that paid off without a ton of compromise.

She was the type of person who wasn't afraid to get it wrong, about face and get it right only to discover that maybe she had gotten it wrong again and about-face all over. I don't understand that type of courage and in my confusion of her audacity and strength, I am a bit jealous and a bit angry that she kept these secrets and tucked away her imminent death. It was her right... and I wouldn't want to take that away... but I am saddened immensely by it.

I don't make a habit of crying at the news. Twice I can say I have taken notice of my tears where the news is concerned... the last time was when George Bush was re-elected. The latest, when Norah Ephron was reported dead. It shocked my system. It made me want to randomly quote "When Harry Met Sally" (which I watched for the umpteenth time just last weekend.)

For writers like me, she was a hero... this golden god on a hill that could brink out scripts that we could only dream of. Women pried to be like that. She's right up there with Gloria Steinham for me. What dream can I hold when it'll never be to meet her?

I am sad that she is gone... I don't have many heroes, to be honest, but there have been so many of her films that I have watched and re-watched and felt a connection to. Writing can be a vague sort of profession; some of us like it that way and others of us are looking for something more. Yet still, some others of us stumble upon something that strikes a cord in the hearts of the masses and that, I believe, is what Norah Ephron did for women the world over.

There are a ton of women like me, sitting at home and viewing that name on the screen and feeling a kick in the chest. This post is for them... we'll miss you Norah. We'll miss your Crazy Salad of honesty, feminist ideals, and funny moments. You brightened our world, warmed our hearts and told us that we are more... and we intend to be more still.

Thanks, Norah.

Quick Fix: Barbecue Sauce

Every home chef needs a good barbecue sauce recipe in their back pocket, especially during the summer time! Sure, you can buy the stuff at the store, but in my humble opinion, nothing impresses like homemade.... you know what else? You probably have all the stuff you need to make it and you didn't even know it!

This recipe make s a big batch--enough to make pulled pork or a nice hearty batch of chicken (up to 4 pounds!). You can always half it if you like. Another note: you can substitute red wine for the vinegar if you like, especially if you have extra wine that has soured.

Best of all? It takes literally five minutes leaving you plenty of time in your day for other more important things...like gavin a cocktail poolside!

Here we have the lineup: rosemary, cayenne pepper, red wine vinegar, black pepper, ketchup, garlic, brown sugar, oregano, worcestershire. 

And a note on the herbs: you can use dry or fresh and you can tailor them to your meat. I was using this for pork, so I added rosemary. If you were doing chicken, you could use basil. Up to you! 

If using fresh, cut up a bit! 

Basically you are just putting all these ingredients into a bowl.... 


...in no particular order... 


And then whisk it until it's good and combined! 

I like to give it a taste as well, just to be sure it's got that good tangy taste I like! 

Pour it on your meat and marinate! 
I like to pour mine on in the morning that way when I got to cook my meat, it's good and marinated. You can also just use it as you would any other barbecue sauce! YUM! 

Billie's Quick Fix Barbecue Sauce! 

Time: 5 minutes | Makes 3 cups | Difficulty: Easy! 

You will need:

2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar 
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
2 sprigs oregano 
1 sprig rosemary 
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
2 teaspoons black pepper 


Chop your fresh herbs, if using fresh (remember you can use dried if that is what you got on hand). 

Combine ingredients in a bowl and whisk until fully blended. 

How seriously easy was that? Yes, I know--it's awesome 

Bossy Italian Book Review: Fifty Shades of Grey

I held out as long as I possibly could on this book, but by the way people were talking about it, I knew it had to be read. And so, last week, I downloaded it on my Kindle and began to read... and I read..and I read... and I read until I had devoured the entire dirty tale in less than 24 hours.

What I can say about the book is that it isn't especially well-written, but who in the heck cares about that when there are such steamy scenes playing out between it's pages?! The tale of the wealthy Mr. Christian Grey and his new interest Anastasia Steele made my loins quiver in the most literal sense of the word. It's such a page turner and the sexually explicit nature of the book left me panting.

It's the basic dominance fantasy... what woman wouldn't want a man who wants nothing more than to shower her with gifts and have sex with her--tantalizing her with new, exquisite fantasies--every second of the day? Sure, Mr. Grey might be a little weird, but he is just as much a conquest as is his Ana, who he desperately seeks to make his submissive.

Before I read the book, I heard that it was basically "BDSM for beginners," but whatever the case may be, the scenarios are downright dirty and made me blush.... like, I found it was hard to read it with anyone else in the room, blush. Reading the book before bed the night I started it resulted in my waking my husband in the middle of the night for an especially raunchy sex session... and what did I do next? Picked up book up at 4:00am and read some more.

Madness, I tell you, pure madness! But in only the best ways. This book could quite possibly save sexless marriages across the nation!

Surely, for some, this is just not going to be their cup of tea. For me, I was totally willing to overlook some of the less than stunning literary points of the book (like the repetitive language and the lack of sophistication)  in the name of carnality. The plot is great and that can't be denied... does genius always need to use big words and complicated story lines to get our attention? Apparently not. This book is sex, pure and simple. It's a fantasy, and a good one at that. Sexually creative, and tailor made for horny women the world over who really have this stuff in their head anyway and are just too afraid to verbalize it, I know why all you dirty women like it!

I guess I have to count myself among the filthy women who loved the fantasy of Mr. Grey and I am ready for his darker shades in book two... which I have already downloaded. Tititate me, Mr. Grey! 

The Drunk Facebooker

I wish that I had a cute and clever scenario to discuss that didn’t have to with me; but it was me--I was the drunk FaceBooker. Something has come over me lately. Up until recently, I have always been a pretty bad drinker and for this reason, I never got drunk. With the summer season in full swing, though, I have noticed that I am drinking a little bit more.

The other night, after dinner with friends, I found myself not only tipsy, but on FaceBook. While at first my husband thought it was a little bit funny, before too long he was asking me to close the laptop and consider an activity that was a little more mellow...like reading a book or watching television.

Thankfully, I took his advice before the FaceBooking led to any serious infractions.

But this happens, and not just to me. People get a bit sauced and they find themselves pulled to the screen and before they know it, BAM, they have dropped a serious FaceBook bomb. Me? I was mild.. making jokes on a friend’s wall and making fun of someone on my sister in law’s picture of fish and chips.

I refrained from posting any weird status updates or saying anything too crazy (or sexual). Luckily my husband had the foresight to tell me maybe FaceBook wasn’t the best activity for the drunken lass...but what happens when someone isn’t there to pull the proverbial FaceBook plug? I’ve seen it and it isn’t pretty.

I have seen people over-post as a result of drunk FaceBooking, and on many a Sunday morning, I have read status updates to my husband from someone who posted at 2:37, 2:43, and 2:51 in the morning in a rant of incoherence. Sure, we all think it’s a little funny sometimes... sometimes it’s a little sad because someone had a break up... sometimes it’s totally inappropriate and we like that too.

All of that considered, though, you know the internet stuff that we put out there--deleted or not--is stored somewhere in the folds of cyberspace. Besides the entertainment value or the horror of realizing you wrote something truly gasp-worthy on your friend’s wall, there should be the realization that the things we write on the internet might as well be written in stone.

Because the internet isn’t as tangible as a carving in a tree or something actually written in stone we humans have a hard time understanding it’s permanence, but that doesn’t make it any less true. So while we all like to laugh at the stuff that happened online the night before, we should all think about the reaching consequences of that which we say online while intoxicated...

Because if you think a hangover is bad enough punishment, there is nothing like logging on to discover you wrote something truly ridiculous for the world to see.

Shredded Chicken Tacos

Tacos are great, but they can get so wrote, right? So this is a new twist on the tacos that will have you saying "Ole!" It's a nice change from the taco we have come to know--ground beef or the cut up chicken cooked in a pan... and also comes with some amendments in the topping department.

This, my friends, is a cheese less taco. This taco gets topped with shredded cabbage, and sautéed bell peppers and onions, and a little sour cream if you like. Of course, this is only a serving suggestion, as it were, but one that you should definitely give a try to.

First of all, it's healthier. Second of all, it's delicious and the cabbage gives these tacos a great "crunch." If you think you aren't a total fan of cabbage, you might want to reconsider. My husband isn't the biggest, baddest fan of cabbage and yet he loves this version of the taco...because it's delicious!

Simple ingredients: extra virgin olive oil, black pepper, cayenne, cumin, garlic, honey, vinegar, chicken broth (not pictured) and, of course, chicken! 

You guys know me, I'm a boneless skinless thigh kinda gal. But you can also use breasts. 3-4 will do. I had three, but they were whoppers! 

Put on your dry ingredients--garlic, cumin, peppers. 

Drizzle on your honey, honey
Then your olive oil and vinegar. 

Pour your chicken broth over all of it. 

Looks good, don't it?! 

Now you are going to pop this in the oven on 250 degrees for 2 hours, turning halfway through. 

Viola! The chicken should basically fall apart. I use tongs and a fork to shred mine a little bit more, but it's seriously easy. 

Of course then you need your fixings! I like to sauté some onions and peppers. I also bring to the table some hot sauce, shredded cabbage, sour crew, and salsa. We do both hard and soft shells because we like variety! 


Shredded Chicken Tacos

Time: 15 minutes + 2 hours in the oven | Serves 4 | Difficulty: Easy! 

You Will Need:

3-4 chicken breasts or thigh (no skin) 
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper 
1 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon vinegar 
1/2 cup chicken broth 

12 taco shells (I do 6 hard and 6 soft) 

Suggested toppings: sautéed onion and pepper (1 of each), salsa, sour cream, shredded cabbage, hot sauce


Preheat oven to 250 degrees. 

Place chicken in an oven-proof dutch oven. 

Distribute evenly over your chicken the dry ingredients: garlic, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and cumin. 

Drizzle over the honey, olive oil, and vinegar. 

Pour the chicken broth over all of it. 

Cover the dutch oven with the lid, and place it in the oven for 2 hours, turning halfway through. 

After the two hours, the chicken should shred easily. Use two forks or a tongs and a fork to shred it further. 

Note: I like to make mine ahead and stick it in the fridge--it can be made up to a couple days ahead, so it's great to make on the weekend to enjoy on a weeknight! Just heat it up in the microwave! 

Condom Nation

I went off birth control because it was turning me into an anxiety monster. I was afraid of everything, all the time, and after several doctor's appointments and supposed "solutions" I was told it was my birth control. This was a difficult decision for me, but long story short, I am not trying to get pregnant, and I am not on birth control.... and I enjoy a healthy sex life with my husband.

Did I also mention that I am allergic to latex?

All of these situations converged to present me (and my husband) with quite a quagmire. First of all, I made the decision to use a sort of rhythm method. I am tracking my ovulation, so when I am not ovulating, we don't use backup birth control. But when I am ovulating, well, that is a different story because, like I said, we aren't baby ready.

Ovulation, as it turns out, makes a woman incredibly turned on. It is nearly impossible for me NOT to jump my husband's bones. The option I have is to use condoms that are not latex based. As it turns out, all non-latex condoms are not created equally. If you, too, have a latex allergy, well, I am here to help you because no woman should have to suffer these inferior options if they don't have to!

Lambskin Condoms: 

Yea, it's a little weird... it's made out of lamb's intestines. But to tell you the truth, it hardly bothered me. The thing about these condoms? They won't irritate the latex sensitive guy or gal, but they feel a little like having a trash bag on the wiener. So they totally aren't my first choice. At all.

They have no give, so they barely stretch. These also don't grip the penis toward the base, so they slip, like, a lot. UGH. Also, these don't protect you from STDs. Go figure.

Lifestyle's Skyn 

These are made of polyisoprene. So they are supposedly good for latex sensitivity. They fit well, they stay in place, and feel sort of like traditional condoms... they give you infections like traditional condoms too. Lesson learned...lesson burned.

I wish I had googled these condoms before using them because the pain they caused was hardly worth it. I would rather use lambskin than have the experience of these condoms again... also, these are less than gentle on the male. Major soreness from friction= that sucks.

Trojan Supra

DING DING DING! We have a winner. Made from polyurethane and engineered to be super thin, this is the closest thing a non latex girl is getting to the real thing, if you know what I mean. They didn't irritate me or my husband... in fact, I barely felt the thing and THAT is precisely what I want in a condom because, let's face it, no one really enjoys using them to begin with.

Also, they have lubrication, which is awesome for the gents. I have found my match and I am never going back!!

Just a note, I have also heard great things (in the form of internet reviews about Durex Avanti, but unfortunately, they are always out of those at the store so I haven't had the "pleasure".)

Happy [safe sex] everyone!

BIW Versus The Kids on the Bus

The in heck is wrong with kids today? After watching this video  you might be asking yourself the same thing. It's been all over the news lately; this elderly woman who was supposed to be in charge of the supervision of the children on the bus is bullied so relentlessly by them that she breaks down in tears.

When she does, the taunting continues. And these are middle-schoolers. WTF?

When I was in school we had health class and that included a discussion on how to treat the elderly and how to respect them. These kids are seriously lacking respect and a good spanking if you ask me. They are lucky Bossy Italian Wife didn't get on their bus, otherwise there would have been a distinctly different atmosphere.

The things that these kids were saying to this poor woman--calling her fat, telling her to shut the f*ck up, saying that she misses her box of twinkies when she cries--it's all a little bit chilling to see and hear these kids acting this way toward an elderly person. I was completely disgusted by these children and their lack of respect or decency.

There is so much pressure on adults to act a certain way, to turn the other cheek and to set examples for the children in our nation... where was all of that when these little brats were being brought up? And what is going on in Rochester--and our country for that matter--that allows our children to engage in this kind of behavior?! They were not only attacking this woman for her age, but also for her weight and her emotion... is this the standard that we have set in America? If you are overweight, old, or too emotional you are an easy target?!

The elderly have lived their lives, most of them having worked the better part of it, and now that the economy has totally tanked, they are forced to continue working for ungrateful little brats who verbally abuse them. It is madness. This woman shouldn't have to work let alone be abused at her job.

There is a distinct lack of compassion in this country and this is a prime example of that. What we are teaching our children as a country is that they want to be the top dog--they want to rise to the top in all things--and at any cost. We foster a competitive if not outrightly mean atmosphere where money is the main concern, and where bullying is becoming an epidemic that takes no prisoners. If you are perceived as weak, then you are a target for this type of bullying and it's just shocking to me.

I am sick of it. I am sick of seeing bad parenting at it's most shocking all the time. I am sick of these kids on the bus, of the kids whose parents videotape fights they have with other children, and I am sick of there being no consequences for being unkind.

As far as I am concerned, being kind should be the most important thing in the world--not rising to the top of the monetary or power pyramid. Perhaps if we concentrated more on being compassionate and getting to know one another, the country would be better off. We need to have basic respect for all human beings, and especially our elders. That was always taught to me within my Italian-American culture, and I hold that value in high regard.

The kids on the bus need a serious wake up call. What they did was indecent, despicable and their parents should be completely ashamed of themselves for raising scum like that. 

Quick Fix: Marinated Olives

I am crazy about those olive bar olives in the grocery, but they can be pretty pricey. So, I have come up with a solution for the budget-concious, olive bar loving human.... a sort of do it yourself marinated olive that is fast, yummy, and easy to throw together for a party, happy hour, or just a night to yourself.

The key here is to mix fresh and dry herbs so that you get a great flavor that feels fresh and layered. You can switch out the fresh and dry herbs, depending on the season, so don't feel like it's set in stone. For instance, if you have fresh basil, use that and do dry oregano instead. If have all fresh herbs, well, that is great too!

This can be easily doubled to accommodate more people if you are having a party, and you can get away really cheap; where the olive bar olives can cost up to $8 a pound, these will only run a couple dollars! Who doesn't love to save some dough and simultaneously feel like they are getting just what they want?

Basically a can of olives, a bunch of herbs and spices and olive oil. Simple! You probably even have most of it in your cabinet. 

I used some fresh parsley and oregano, but like I said, if you have fresh basil on hand, you can throw that in too! 

Garlic, minced. One clove. 

The best thing to do is to combine all the herbs and spice into one bowl..... 

So dried basil (because my garden basil wasn't quite ready yet) 

Red pepper flakes for spice... which are optional if you don't like heat. 

Black pepper.... 


Mix it up! 

You have your drained black olives ( if you like green, use those!) Put all your mixed spices on them. 


Then pour over 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.... 

And stir! And you are ready to enjoy! 

For me!!! YUM! 

Stores well in the fridge, too. 

Marinated Olives 

Time: 10 minutes | Makes 6 oz. | Difficulty: Easy! 

You Will Need:

1 6-ounce can of pitted olives, drained
1 sprig fresh oregano 
a few leaves of flat leaf parsley 
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil 
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 


Place drained olives in a bowl. 

In a separate bowl combine oregano, parsley, garlic, basil, red pepper, black pepper and salt. Mix it up. 

Pour the herbs and spices over the olives. 

Pour the olive oil over all of it. 

Stir to combine fully. 


Fighting With My Crock Pot

Last week I wanted to make pulled pork. I got this beautiful piece of pork shoulder at the store and I knew it was going to make the most succulent pulled pork sandwiches--enough to feed a crowd. I figured this would be the perfect time to use my crock pot, which I hadn't used in at lead two years... at least.

I was feeling bad about this nonuse of the crock pot, especially after my friend Elise told me about how much she loved cooking in her crock pot. So in the back of my mind I was thinking, Elise will be so proud of me for using the crock pot! I gathered my recipe and began filling my pot with the pork.

Thus began my journey to discovering I am crock pot idiot.

From the start, I overloaded the crock pot, but since I was able to close the lid, I thought it would be okay. That was my first mistake. I started to feel funny about the crock pot thing from the beginning because there was no light on mine; if there is no light how do I really know if it's on? So I first turned the sucker on and kept feeling it to make sure it was hot. It was. Then  I was thinking to myself, what temperature is low and what temperature is high? So that was sort of nagging at me.

As I set the crock pot to low and placed the lid on, I googled the temperatures correlated to the crock pot. I didn't find a clear answer because, depending on what you are cooking in it, that can vary. Then I kept starring at it thinking about why the meat still looked kind of raw two hours in. Then I decided the best thing to do was to walk away and let the crock pot do it's thing.

A couple hours later I came back to check it. Oh it was cooking all right... but my overload had finally caught up with me and the sauce for the pulled pork was leaking its way out of the top of the pot and onto my counter. Thank goodness I caught it in time. That was when I pulled the plug.

I took the pork and the sauce and loaded it into my enameled dutch oven and I threw it in the oven on 250 degrees for a couple more hours. It came out beautifully! I guess I am just more comfortable with ovens and cast iron than I am with set it and forget it.... but the next morning when I woke up, I decided to call a truce with the crock pot.

I shredded the pork and I returned it to the crock pot, leaving PLENTY of room at the top. I set it to low at about 9am, and by lunch time my pulled pork was hot and bun ready! So I suppose I have found a use for my crock pot after all, and maybe we will work on our relationship from here. After all, it did help me out in the end! 

What My Mother Said About Rain...

When I was a child, my mother used to tell me about all kinds of rain she had seen in her life... she seemed to have so many life experiences that I couldn’t believe it. It seemed like myth when she told me she had seen it rain on one side of the yard and not the other... or when she said she had seen the sun shine and the rain rain at the same time. She told me about great storms she had seen--especially if I was afraid of a thunderstorm, which I often was. She would allay my fears by telling me she had seen much worse storms and she would describe them.

I would wonder when I would have the opportunity to see these various types of rain. I have thought about it often in my life--the times she told me about all types of rain--and I always recall these fond memories when I hear a clap of thunder.

During a rain storm the other day, as I listened to the falling rain hitting the roof, I found myself thinking about it as a metaphor for life. In life, as in the weather, there are different types of rain; different types of sorrows. Sometimes we hit a patch in our lives where there is joy and pain so acutely intermingled that it is like watching the rain fall through the rays of sunshine. That type can be quite confusing, but oddly comforting.

There are other times when we see a little rain here or there, now and again, and we know instinctively that it’s just a hiccup--a bad day--and that when we awake the sun will be beaming and the wind will rustle through our hair and we’ll shine on another day.

Other times still we feel like the rain never ends and the thunder rolls as loud as it might. At those times we might need a mom, or a friend, to tell us about the storms that they have seen that are much worse. We may need them to tell us this one, like the bad ones they have seen, will be over soon. And that all that water that was rushing the streets and the thunder that seemed so defending and the lightening that was like to kill us will all be a distant memory.

But during any rain storm, it is also important to remember that just like the earth and the plants need rain, so do our souls. That the sweet is made more sweet by the sour, and that we grow enormously through that patches where the rain is the thickest. Sure, none of us are looking for sorrow to enter our lives... just as most of us would not prefer a rainy day to blue sky day.

Just so, we need them all the same.

Duck Pot Pie Recipe

Anyone who has made a whole duck knows that you end up with a lot of leftover duck. The first time I googled "what to do with leftover duck" I learned that if you don't like duck soup, you are out of luck. So I made duck risotto. This last time I made duck, I didn't want to do the same duck leftovers...

...And my husband is very fond of meat pies. I mean, aren't we all? Pot pies are sooo delicious--why not a duck pot pie?? It makes so much sense when you think of it, but you don't often think of it. Well, at least I hadn't until now.

This recipe is great because you can make it and freeze it and bake it whenever you are feeling lazy. Of course you can always just bake it right there and call it dinner--the choice is yours and yours alone. Let's get started, shall we?

I am a Jiffy Crust user. I love the stuff, but you can use any type of pie crust that makes your crusty day. There is a variety out there from Pillsbury to the frozen section. You need a top and a bottom and I like to have mine all ready to go ahead of time. 

As far as I am concerned, there are no rules as to the veggies you have to use in your pot pie. There are only suggestions. Here I have celery, carrot, onion, potato, and fresh peas. (And my duck meat!) 

Cut your veggies small, drizzle a couple tablespoons of olive oil in your skillet and heat over medium high heat. 

Cool and stir about 10-12 minutes or until the start to get tender--especially those stubborn potatoes. 

Stirring is important because we don't want all that sticking and burning business. 

Then add your flour and stir to combine.... 

Followed by your broth! 

A note on your broth. You can use a variety here. Beef goes well, vegetable is great, or if you have it, use some duck broth! 

Then bring your soupy mixture to a boil and it should begin to thicken quite nicely. 

When it has, go ahead and add your duck meat. Stir to combine. 

YUM. I feel a pot pie coming on! 

Pour your filling into your bottom crust. 

Cover it with your top crust and slice some holes to vent it. 

You can cook it from here (350 degrees for 35 minutes or until golden and bubbly) 
You can wrap it and freeze (which is what I did!) and bake it at 400 degrees for about an hour when you are feeling fancy! 

Duck Pot Pie 

Time: 30 minutes plus bake time | Serves 4 | Difficulty: Purdy Easy 

You Will Need:

1 pie crust, top and bottom shells 
Leftover duck meat in bite sized pieces (I had about 2 cups) 
1 small potato, peeled and diced
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and cut into small pieces 
1 celery stalk, cut small 
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
2 tablespoons flour 
2 cups vegetable or beef broth 
2 dashes cayenne pepper 
salt and pepper to taste 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Put your olive oil in a skillet. Heat over media high heat and put your veggies in the pan. Add the garlic as well. 

Cook and stir your veggies 10-12 minutes or until the potatoes are getting tender. 

Add the flour and stir to combine with the vegetables. 

Add your broth and stir. Bring to a boil to thicken and let it boil about 3 minutes or so until it's getting nice and thick, like a gravy. 

Add your duck to the gravy mixture along with your cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and let boil 2 minutes more. 

Fill your pie shell with the duck/gravy mixture. Top your pie with the second pie crust and press the crust together (either with your fingers or a fork... I generally use my fingers because I like a rustic look.)* 

Bake for 35 minutes or until crust is golden and center is bubbly. 

*Freeze, if desired. If you are freezing the pie, wrap first in plastic and then with foil. To cook frozen pie, preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for about an hour or until crust is golden and center is bubbly. 

A Baby To Complete Your Life

My brother had a child... that’s to start in case you were wondering where this post might be coming from. He’s five years younger than me, and it began to stir a lot of emotion when I first found out. Now that the beautiful child is here and I am officially an aunt, I am thrilled.

But in a conversation with my brother the other day he said “ you should have a child otherwise your life won’t be complete.” And then my inner rebel came to the surface. I can’t help it. Every, solitary time someone tells me that I have to have a child to “complete” my life I cannot help but feel totally insulted because, frankly, my life doesn’t feel incomplete now!

Of course children are great. I love them. I love hanging around with them and giving them ice cream and listening to their overly honest perspectives of the world. Heck, maybe someday I will even have a little sucker of my own. But I don’t expect that child to complete anything for me except for maybe my education on how many types of messes they can make. I can do “complete” all on my own.

Children, they are for something else entirely... they are about love and the perpetuation of the creation of life. Children are about joy and fascination and watching them grow. No doubt many people have a ton of fun being parents and they love it. Many people aspire to be great parents, and that is awesome. But there are also a lot of people out there who don’t have children... and they don’t feel in any way incomplete.

A lot of people feel this way. The funny thing is, you aren’t really supposed to say it out loud, and least of all to parents. The older I get, the less I tend to care about what we “are” and “aren’t” supposed to say. I’m married, I have been with my husband nearly nine years, and I don’t feel incomplete just because I am lacking a room with a crib. THERE--I said it.

We people without kids sometimes have a way of offending parents--I get that. We roll our eyes when a kid is throwing a tantrum in the store or when they are loud in a restaurant. We act like we can’t be bothered sometimes or we accidentally make the mistake of telling one of our parent friends that we are “so tired” when they are thinking we haven’t got a clue about what the word means. We childless people do all these things and more.

But you know what? Parents do a similar set of crap to childless adults, too! They tell us how incomplete our lives are without kids. They act like we don’t know “real love” because we haven’t procreated. They continually ask us about when we are having children even though they know we aren’t trying. When their kids mess up our expensive stuff, they act like we shouldn’t be bothered by it, even though we are really trying our best not ot be bothered by it...

We do it to each other-- these little things that secretly tell the other side how much greener the grass is--and for what? I don’t actually think my life is any better than that of my friends with children. I know people without kids who are miserable, and I know people with kids who are happier than me. It works all ways and everyone’s life is different.

Granted, there are parents out there who understand precisely what I am saying and at the same time there is some single gal or guy sitting behind their computer thinking that I am off my rocker because they can’t wait to have a baby to complete their lives. It works all ways.

So let’s make an agreement here between the parents and those of us currently without kids. I will promise to try my hardest not to talk about how tired I am from drinking if you stop telling me to complete my life with a pregnancy. Deal?

Quick Fix: Poached Eggs

For some reason I thought that poached eggs were this incredibly hard thing to make. Something about the egg going in a vast pot of water got me, I guess. So when I first made poached eggs just a couple of months ago, I was shocked at how easy it was. Which is why I have been making them like a maniac ever since.

The funny thing is, they are not only pretty easy, but they are also fast. Also, I have a problem with flipping fried eggs. I seem to without fail break them. So poached eggs are my answer to runny yolks. And runny egg yolks are what I live for. So this recipe? It makes the tippy top of my quick fix list.

I hope you enjoy them and find them as startlingly easy as I did!

So you want two eggs, vinegar, a skillet of water and some sort of carb to place your eggs on... in case you were wondering, yes, that is a leftover hamburger bun. No shame in my game. I eats what I gots. 

In your skillet full of water, add 3 tablespoons of vinegar. I use my cast iron skillet, but if you have another you can use another. Makes no difference. 

A note on placing your eggs in the water. I find it's easier to put the egg in a small bowl or a mason jar and then gently pour it into the water. 

What I was TRYING to show here is the little bubbles on the bottom of the pan. You don't want the water a rolling boil, you want it hot and about to simmer. This, I really believe is half the battle to poached eggs. I play with the heat a tad and you can too. 

Observe: egg in mason jar being poured into water that is hot, about to simmer, but NOT boiling. 

Once your egg is the pan you want to gently <<GENTLY>> use a spoon to make sure you get the white "draped"properly. You have to do this the moment that you drop the egg in. Use a swirling motion to achieve this, sort of going around the egg without handling it too much. 


Egg number two! 

Two purdy eggs if I do say so myself! Let 'em cook for 4-5 minutes. 
While this is all going down, you can toast your bread (or hamburger bun, as it were) and put it on a plate. 

Using a slotted spoon, take your eggs out of the pan and place them on your bread... 

I would like to focus on the perfection of these poached eggs and not the fact that I burned my hamburger bun. What it is between the toaster and I that I just can't figure out, I still don't know... but I know that I prefer the oven. 

I added salt and pepper, as you might be able to tell. 

Yolky perfection? I think so! 

Poached Eggs 

Time: 15 minutes | Serves 1 | Difficulty: Easy enough! 

You Will Need: 

3 tablespoons white vinegar 
2 eggs
1 english muffin, 2 pieces of toast, or a leftover hamburger bun--your choice 
salt and pepper to taste 
slotted spoon 


Fill a skillet about half way with water. 

Add your vinegar and heat the water/vinegar mixture until there is a almost a simmer but not yet a boil. I like to see those little bubbles on the bottom of the pan that signal a boil is close but not yet there. (See bad picture above). 

Crack one egg into a small bowl or cup and gently pour the egg into the water. 

Immediately use a spoon to swirl the white of the egg about the yolk gently. You want to try and keep as much of the white of the egg together as possible, and let it "nest" around the yolk. 

Repeat with second egg. 

All the eggs to cook 4-5 minutes in the water. 

Toast bread product while your egg is cooking... try not to fight with your toaster. Place them on a plate when they are toasted and hopefully not burnt. 

Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and put them on the toasted bread product. 

Salt, pepper and serve!