Things I Learned Spending A Vacation Without My Husband

Jenn being all cute at the castle in Edinburgh and me being
really silly and striking a "FREEEEDOM" pose. [I'm hold-
ing a fake bow and arrow, by the way!] 
Spending a week abroad and away from my husband was a nervous proposition for me. Sure, I knew it would be really fun bashing about the UK with my two girlfriends, but I also wondered if it meant something deeper....were we becoming one of those couples who no longer vacationed together?? Was I being a bad wife by taking this trip by myself?!?!

For some the answers to this might seem obvious (no, and NO!) but I had them in the back of my head anyway. In the end, though, there were several things I learned while spending a vacation abroad without my husband.

When you're alone, you grow
Taking a little time to focus on myself gave me a little growing space. I came back with a renewed sense of confidence and self. I also was able to just do what I wanted and not really take into consideration the types of things you might when you are with your romantic partner. That allowed me to think "what do I want" instead of "what might we both like?" I feel really solid in myself.

The heart does grow fonder 
You know the saying, and it is so true. The going away makes the coming home sweeter. I had time to think about all the things I missed about my husband, and so coming home was such joyful experience, especially coming home to him.

I missed someone making my coffee
I didn't have coffee the whole time I was in Europe because, simply, there was no one to make it for me. My husband often brings me coffee in bed and without him there, I just wasn't in the mood for coffee. This might seem silly, but people become accustomed to routines and I just didn't care all that much about the coffee to make it myself. So I went without.

We are just as dorky as other couples
Spending a week with my girlfriends, we naturally spent a ton of time giggling about our significant others (we are all in relationships). One thing that stuck out is that couples get cheesy with each other, do silly things, make silly love, and have their little inside jokes. I felt in good company in this way.

There is no replacement for your girls! 
My husband rocks, but there is just something about close girlfriends that is a life force. I laugh differently with my girlfriends and feel able to talk freely about all the little gushy girlie details. Besides, who else can you talk into tea parties if not your girlfriends?

"There is no place like home"
You said it, Dorothy! I love to travel, but there is just no place like home and when I was away and then home again, I had a deeper appreciation for being here. I love love love my home! And after all the fun I've had abroad, I'm glad to be back. 

Mini Cheesecakes for Two!

I searched and searched for a recipe online for a goat cheese and cream cheese cheesecake for two. It was a tall order. I have these two really cute springform pans and I wanted to make two little cheesecakes for my husband and I. Well, that was part of it. It all stemmed from a goat cheese dispute, of sorts.

I had bought this great crumbled goat cheese with candied cranberries in it when I went shopping. I was putting it on our salads. About four or five salads in, my husband said, "What is this cheese?" I smiled and proudly said, "Goat cheese!" He made a face. "I don't like it...the texture is bothering me."


He can like something one time and another? Ugh. So I had to find a way to use it up. I decided on cheesecake. When I couldn't find a recipe? Well, don't you know, I had to make my own. And since I had gone that far already, well, I decided I would share it with all of you!

Here are my little springform pans. Aren't they cute as heck?! 

Well, we all know I have a thing about miniatures, anyway. 

So, I have now greased my cute lil pans and then I DOUBLE wrapped them in foil. This is because I'm gonna set them in a pan and pour some water in 'em. And we don't want any leaks! 

Graham crackers and butter. These two things are like super heroes. They are awesome separately, but when their magical powers combine, they form an unbeatable combination: CRUST! 

I like to use my food processor to get them all crumbled up finely. 

And I've melted my butter and now I'm gonna add them together. 

Shhh! Don't tell. I totally scooped one--okay, two--big mouthfuls of this crust. It was slightly warm from the butter and so good. 

Then press them in the bottom of your pans. If you want a full ring of crust, feel free. It's just not my preference. 

Get your goat cheese and cream cheese. 

And put them in your food processor. See how the goat cheese has the candied cranberries?? Yum right!? 

Process until smooth and then add in your egg, sugar and vanilla. 

This looks great, doesn't it?!?! 

Pour it in your pans.... 

Then put your pans in a bigger pan and add enough water to come up about half way. 

Then you are going to bake them on 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. 


When the bake time is up, I turn off the oven and I let them cool for 15 minutes in the oven. 

Then you can transfer them to the fridge and let them cool completely. 

When I'm ready to serve them, I remove them [carefully] from the springform pan and topped it with some of my canned plum conserve. 


My husband also enjoyed some strawberry jam on his cheesecake. Really, you can top it with whatever your little heart desires: chocolate, nuts, fruit, or whipped cream are all excellent choices!!! 

Mini Cheesecakes for Two 

Time: 1 and 1/2 hours | Serves 2 | Difficulty: Easy 

You Will Need:

Crust- 7 graham crackers
4 tablespoons of butter (plus a little extra for greasing pans)

Filling- 1 egg
1/2 cup goat cheese
6 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Special equipment- two small springform pans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare your springform pans by greasing them with butter and then double wrapping them with tin foil. Set aside.

Break up your graham crackers with your hands and place them in your food processor. Process them until they are finely ground. Add to a bowl.

In a microwave safe bowl, place your butter and melt in the microwave (anywhere from 10-30 seconds, depending on your microwaves).

Add your melted butter to your ground graham crackers and mix immediately with a fork. Sneak a bite. Press into the bottom of your spring form pans. If you prefer, you can make a full crust, but I only do mine on the bottom. Set those aside.

Clean out your food processor and place your goat cheese and your cream cheese in the processor. Blend fully. Add your egg, vanilla and sugar. Blend again. Distribute mixture evenly between the springform pans.

Place your two springform pans in a larger pan. Pour water into your larger pan, allowing it surround the springform pans on all sides. Fill up about half way. Place the pan in the center of your preheated oven.

Allow the cheesecakes to bake for 45-50 minutes or until they are set in the center. When they are done, turn off the oven and crack the door. Allow them to sit there and cool about 15 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely.

When you are ready to serve, remove the springform pans and top with your choice of toppings. Strawberry jam, fruits, chocolate or whipped cream are all good choices!

Tea for Three

I am a tea fanatic. I just love the stuff. I have quite a collection in my cabinet of different teas from red tea to green tea to "love" tea (chamomile, lavender and rose) to orange tea and peppermint tea. I also love tea parties. I have had a few of them this year so far, and one of my favorites was with my small friend Anna. 

So, when I went to see my sister-in-law in the UK, a tea party was on the top of my list of things to do. Lucky for me, my sister-in-law and my girlfriend Jenn were both down for an official tea party experience and we headed to one of the swankiest tea rooms in Glasgow, The Willow Tea Rooms. Willow Tea Rooms are famous because they were crafted with Mackintosh's design (he did all kinds of glass, furniture and architecture all over Glasgow!) 

It was my first "official" tea party, and I was pretty excited. Because I love learning about things I love and also because I have watched a TON of Downton Abbey and seen their tea times, which, look so pretty and fun! 

Here was my tea set up. Just this was enough to get me sufficiently excited, and my tea hadn't even come yet!!! 

In case you aren't as into tea (or just don't watch Downton Abbey as obsessively as I do) the thing on top of the cup catches the loose tea leaves as the tea is poured into the cup and the little metal dish to the side is for setting the piece when you are drinking the tea. 

This was our tea fare! Check out this triple decker! 

From the top: Scones and cream and there is jam there too
Second Tier: Desserts! That weird shaped pie is a pineapple dessert that was so sweet I couldn't quite stomach. The other is a carrot cake and then there was a toffee apple pie which was the best one. 
Bottom level: tea sandwiches! Salmon and cream cheese, beef and mustard, cucumber and egg salad. 

My tea came! It was peppermint. I drank peppermint tea everyday I was in Scotland because I found it to be so soothing and yummy with lunch! 

My scone. I ate so much of this double cream (which is also called Devonshire cream) that it should have been illegal. It was awesome. Very light and creamy! 

So you can see my tea (and how this works). 

We ate downstairs because this room wasn't open yet, but this is the famous Chinese tea room, and it's beautiful so I had to snap a shot!! 

So, tell me, are you as obsessed with tea parties as I am? What's your favorite type of tea??? Share in the comments section below! 

Re-lining Your Cabinets

This totally matches my color scheme and is so chic, right?!
I am almost embarrassed to show a picture of my old shelf lining. Almost. But I feel that I have to brave; you know, in the name of fearless blogging and such. I actually wasn't planning on re-lining my shelves at all, but around Christmastime when I found some Laura Ashley cabinet liner on sale at Marshall's I just couldn't resist.

I relined my cabinets for an astounding.....wait for it.... $4!!! That makes me really happy. Cheap = happy me! Now, I love opening my cabinets.

At first my husband was like, "Why are you doing this? The liner is fine." I knew he was wrong, but I tried not to be all like, "You are so wrong!" Instead, I said to him, "You are gonna love this liner, babe!" He acted all like "whatever" about it for an astounding five hours, and then I caught him telling the dog, "Mommy's liner looks good!"

You're welcome.

Oh. My God. 

I want to take a moment to convey my embarrassment regarding this picture. And I would like to request sympathy points for being brave enough to share it. Also, I would like to pretend you never saw this, okay? It's alarming. 

I cleaned it, of course, but given the fact that it was installed sometime in the 80's does not bode well. It was totally time to update these shelves. 

The grid on the liner makes it easy to measure and fit. 

Now, I can suggest that you use smaller pieces than I did at first because it led to some unnecessary cursing and, when all else failed, called my husband into the room. I said, "Baaaaaaabe, I need help. I can't do it." I was getting frustrated. He helped and then I cut smaller pieces so I could carry on by myself. 

AND, I also peeled it back a little at a time after that, too. It was a ton easier after that. 

Check out that awesome liner!!! 

I am in love and swooning.

Stuff I Use: Scottish Ice Cube Bags + A Giveaway!

While I was away in Scotland, I was hard at work finding awesome products that I could bring home. One product my sister-in-law had introduced me to during Christmas were these ice cube bags. They were big on my list of things I just had to get while I was in Scotland. And since I was loading up on them, well, I thought why not share a little love with my readers?!

That's right, I am giving one lucky reader a box of these totally awesome ice cube bags. I apologize in advance for your new addiction to them. Seriously--they are awesome. Someone should petition local grocery stores to carry them. While someone gets on that, let's take a few moments to discuss the finer points of these [awesome] bags.

You fill them with water, and then you stick them in the freezer--that much at least should be obvious. But it's what happens once the ice is made that gets me excited. By pulling on the opposite ends of the bag--VIOLA!--suddenly all the cubes move to the bottom and they are encased in a bag! Just. Like. That.

If you don't need a bag of ice, you can pop the cubes out one at a time, which is an advantage. And they are in perfect little sizes. I just love this product. Love it. If I am being perfectly honest, it's hard for me to part with a box of that should tell you just how much I love you guys.

Perfect for the summer time, at the beach, on the go. Perfect just to have and marvel at. Perfect for impressing your friends because you have them and they don't. Perfect in every way.

In the past, my giveaways have centered around getting FaceBook, but this year I wanted to get into some new and different techniques, so we're going to use this awesome new widget that you see at the bottom of the post! Enter a comment telling me what kitchen product you just can't live without AND sign up through the widget and you're entered to win. Want an extra chance to win these ice bags I know you can't live without?!?! Follow my blog by clicking GFA (Google widget) on the right side of my blog for an extra entry!

The winner will be generated at random and announced next Sunday, March 3rd and entries close at 7am.

This giveaway is sponsored by Bossy Italian Wife--and don't you forget it!


Nothing gets me going like a little free love. Since I love you all so very much, I want to share my love with you--my readers! You guys are what make my writer's heart smile because without the people who read my blog, well, I would be talking to myself. Even so, I talk to myself a lot more than I should.

But back to the task at hand: I've got something for you and it's FREE! It's some free love--that is, A Moment With Each of My Lovers is available FOR FREE on Amazon today and tomorrow! That's right--FREE!

So if you have been putting off reading my book because you've been busy, lazy, or you just downright forgot, here is your big chance to scoop it up for NOTHING!

The book is the steamy true story of my life--in lovers. I am spending a little time recounting the tales of love that got me from high school to marriage--and everywhere in between.

Meet my lovers one by one and prepare yourself to get a dose of sexy with a side of humor.

I hold nothing back from my very first time (in a most interesting place) to sleeping with a military man who had a little something he was keeping secret to meeting my husband. Just when you think the story has taken a turn for the expected--look out! I'm going THERE.

Some of the people who read my book [so far] have shared with me that they loved the way it brought back memories of their own lovers, or silly situations they found themselves in sexually. Another told me, "We were all thinking it, but you just actually said it!" What will you find when you spend a moment with my lovers?

If you enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey, or the Bared to You series, then you will love the truth and hilarity in A Moment With Each of My Lovers! Get it FOR FREE. There is literally no reason not to!

Quick Fix: Pasta with Egg

When my friend Paul saw this recipe in The New York Times, he gave it a try and told me about how utterly fabulous it was. Naturally, I was more excited than you could imagine because I am obsessed with everything pasta and everything egg. Putting these two items together? Hello--where has this been all my life?!

I was overjoyed to try the recipe with Paul as my pasta and egg leader. Naturally, the two of us being such foodies and all, we couldn't just make the recipe the way it was. Instead we have added a couple of our own twists to it. And, if I dare say, we also made the recipe a little more clear. And I took pictures.

Once you make this pasta recipe, you are going to devour it. It's amazing. It's simple. It's perfect.

So we're going to start by lightly crushing some cloves of garlic. Paul and I are HUGE garlic fans, so we used 7 cloves. We're going to use them to infuse some olive oil with their goodness. 

I love this picture. I mean, it sort of goes without saying that you will need to add oil to your pan and heat it, but I love the way the reflection of the oil and vinegar and the tile came through in the oil. 

Anyway, you are going to heat the oil over medium -high heat. 

Then you are going to add your garlic cloves to the hot oil and "blonde" them. 

See? Blonde. 

Do that on each side and then set them aside. You can move the pan off the burner and turn the burner off. You will be re-heating the pan in a few, though. 

The original recipe didn't make use of the garlic after this point.... 

But when I saw them sitting there like that, well, I ate them! 

Well, Paul and I ate them together. We love garlic. No risk of being bitten by vampires here. I am a regular consumer of garlic, raw or "blonded." 

At this point, our water was boiling. So, we got our half pound of pasta, broke the pasta in half and added to the water, which was salted. 

The trick, we believe, to this recipe is to make the pasta and when it's done, get your eggs going. 

So, we had our eggs ready. We used four of them. 

Right before your pasta is done, put your pan back on the heat, this time on medium. What we are basically going to do is put the eggs in the pan and cook them a little bit. Then we are going to throw the pasta in and toss them together, cooking the eggs fully with the heat from the pasta. Sounds like fun, right?!?! 

So, your pasta is done and you are going to put your eggs in your garlic-infused olive oil over medium heat. 
Now you can drain your pasta. 

Let the eggs cook a little while your pasta drains. 

At this point, you are ready to throw your pasta in! 

Using some tongs, quickly toss the pasta and egg in the pan. This will fully cook the eggs and coat the pasta. 

Then we transferred the pasta into our pasta pot (which is now empty) and added some red pepper flakes (to taste), a palmful of parmesan cheese, and some fresh ground pepper. 

Seriously? This was SO GOOD that Paul and I barely talked at all during our lunch unless you count, "MMMMMMMMM" as a word. 

Pasta with Egg 

Time: 15 minutes | Serves: 2 | Difficulty: Mostly Easy 

You Will Need:

7 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
4 eggs
1/2 pound pasta 
red pepper flakes
palmful of parmesan cheese 
2 tablespoons olive oil 


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. 

Meanwhile, in a skillet heat your oil over medium high heat. Add your cloves of garlic to the oil and "blonde" them on either side, about 2 minutes total. (see picture above for blonding reference.) Set garlic aside, ponder them, and then eat them. 

Remove your pan from the heat. 

Break your pasta in half, if desired and then add to salted water which should be boiling by now. Allow the pasta to cook until al dente, about 8 1/2 minutes for regular pasta. 

Crack your eggs into a bowl and have them ready. 

Just before the pasta is done cooking, return your skillet (with the oil) to the burner and bring it to a medium heat. 

When pasta is done, put your eggs into the skillet. 

Drain pasta. 

When eggs are white on the bottom, throw your drained pasta in the pan and using a set of tongs, stir it to combine evenly with the eggs. The eggs will cook as they coat the pasta. 

Transfer all of it back to your pasta pot, which should be empty. 

Add your red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese, and fresh ground pepper. 

Divide between two plates and try not to inhale all in one bite!! 


Bossy Italian Book Review: A Good American by Alex George

When I picked this book up, I have to be honest, I had no expectations. I was just reading it thinking I was along for the ride. But as I began reading, I found myself drawn into the book and the story that was unfolding. What I loved about this book was that it is everyone's story in a way....

It all starts out with Frederick and Jette Meisenheimer, two lovers who board a boat from Germany bound for the United States. Only Frederick and Jette don't quite have time to plan their journey and instead of a boat bound for Ellis Island, they find themselves dumped off in New Orleans. Jette is nine months pregnant and neither of them speak a word of English, but even so, there they are in America and they've got to start making plans.

The plans seem to be a little less than thought out, it would seem, but Frederick quickly falls in love with America and the promise of its dream. Being a "good American" becomes his guiding principal as he and Jette come to land in small town, mid-Western America. It is there that their first child is born and the story roots.

As the story of their family unfolds, you see the family in a journey that spans generations. It has all the makings of a life: love, loss, dream, and the subtle beauty that comes with an ordinary life. That was something that just drew me in....what makes us extraordinary, at times, is simply our existence. There doesn't have to be anything grandiose to lift us up. But rather just the experience of being alive is a grand one.

Tied together with love, music, and written in a style that allows the reader to savor the experience, A Good American is a great perspective on what it means to be American. I enjoyed this book, even in the moments which I found breathtakingly sad--which were quite numerous.

Readers who enjoy history will certainly devour this book. And those who love their family history as immigrants are sure to relate.

All in all, I thought the book was beautifully written and the stories were capturing. Right at the end, when I thought it might all wind down, there was more unexpected ties that hooked me and made me fall in love all over again.

**Bossy Italian Wife participated in reviewing this book as part of BlogHer's book club. I was compensated for my opinion, but all views expressed are my own. Ya Heard?! 

A Really Yummy Peach Cake

I'm really glad I found this peach cake because I was beginning to wonder about myself. You see, I have a lot of canned peaches that we canned over the summer, and up until I made this recipe, I hadn't used any of them. I was started to wonder if maybe I would ever use them. Now that I have made this cake, though, I am sure that I will because this cake is AWESOME.

It's actually more of a dessert than it is a cake, which is also what Bakerella says, which is where I got the recipe. CLICK HERE for the full recipe.

It's a pretty simple recipe with not many ingredients. A stick of butter, a cup of brown sugar, peaches and yellow cake mix-- I made my own and so can you! CLICK HERE to see how easy it is!

 I only showed two cans of peaches here, but I actually used three: two pints and a half pint. You could also just use a quart, which is what I will do next time. 

Now, I used 3 cans of peaches, which was a snap decision, but I wanted to show you I used three varieties of peaches--drunken, spiced, and regular. I really liked the combo! And by the way, the drunk peaches had rum in them. 

Dump the peaches--juice and all--into your baking pan. If you've got some big pieces, you can cut 'em up a little, too. 

Put your yellow cake mix on top. No mixing. Seriously. No mixing. It made my day. That's a lie--it made my week! 

Most fun part: cut up a stick of butter into 16-18 pieces and lay them out on the cake batter. It's just awesome, right? It looks all geometric and what not. 

The put your brown sugar on top. 

Marvel at the simplicity of it all and then do a little "oooo" and "aaaaahhhhh" before popping it in the oven. 

This is what it comes out looking like!!! YUM! 

I took this to a dinner party and it was a big hit! I was really happy with the way it came out. It was peachy and crumby and yummily.