Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Get your nom on with this lemon garlic chicken!

Lebanese Lemon Garlic Chicken and Potatoes

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am fanatical about my love for all things lemon. I love the vibrant yellow colour, the crisp clean scent, the tangy sour deliciousness that they yield. Recently I also discovered a love for Mediterranean/Middle Eastern food thanks to a great restaraunt in Toronto, Ontario called Byblos. It was in that fine establishment that I developed a serious taste for the fresh, vibrant flavours of Egyptian and Lebanese cruise.
That single dining experience resulted in countless hours of scouring the Internet in search of as many recipes as I could find. One such recipe I came across for Lebanese Lemon Garlic Chicken. When I read the ingredient list I thought it would be a great recipe to have under my belt as most of the time I had the ingredients in the house.
So I whipped it up, quite easily I might add, and BAM! Instant hit. The dish is pungent with garlic, this is not date night food, so if you want to get lucky I suggest you hold off on this dish. The tang of the lemon brightened the dish and the addition of a middle eastern 7 spice mix topped it all off to perfection.
An easy to make one dish meal that is sure to please most guests, except for your vampire friends.

Lebanese Baked Garlic Chicken with Potatoes

Recipe: Baked Garlic Chicken and Potatoes – Djej w Batata Bil Sayniyyeh
Summary: A traditional garlic chicken dish from Lebanon.
Baked Garlic Chicken Ingredients (4 servings)


4lbs of chicken legs/quarters/breasts (I prefer thighs)
5medium potatoes
20cloves of garlic (or 1.5 heads) (this is the amount the original recipe calls for. Too much for me so I use half the garlic...purely up to you)
1cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
4table spoons of olive oil
salt to taste
2 tsp Lebanese 7-spices


1.Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels.
2.Make cuts in chicken in order to allow for the spices and garlic sauce to seep deep inside.
3.Rub chicken with a table spoon or two of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and 1 tsp Lebanese 7-spices. Quickly sear the chicken to add colour and flavour. About 5 minutes, then transfer to baking dish.
4.Peel potatoes then cut them in disks of about 1/2 inch, salt lightly.
5.Place chicken on bottom of baking tray (preferably metal), place potatoes on top, sprinkle with remaining spice blend and bake at 400F (medium heat) for about 30 minutes.
6.Meanwhile place the garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 2-3 table spoons of olive oil in a blender/food processor and spin for 4-5 minutes, add the lemon juice and spin for another 4-5 minutes until you have a nice lemony-garlicky sauce.
7.Once the chicken has baked 30 minutes, take the tray out of the oven and very carefully drain any excess liquids/fat/water that you see on the bottom.
8.Pour the garlic sauce all over it while mixing it well with the potatoes, put back in the oven and bake for another 10 - 15 minutes until the potatoes turn start to brown.
9.Serve warm.
10.Note: You may need to consume an unusually large quantity of toothpaste afterwards.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sharpie mug follow up

Hey all! I did it! I took a sharpie to a clean white mug and defaced that bugger. Let me tell you, it was almost therapeutic. I scribbled down some slightly rude and colourful words and sayings, just for the hell of it.
Rather than bake the mug for 30 minutes I left it for a full hour.
In the end, it looked great...except my writing sucks. I hand washed it and the ink stayed put. I ran it through the dishwasher and I am happy to report that the ink remained. 
It has been about 3 weeks since I did this little project and the ink has started to fade and come off.
I read somewhere that Sharpies come in an oil base. I haven't bothered to look but if they do I would think that would be more permanent.

Friday, November 21, 2014

DIY Sharpie Mugs

I recently discovered the Sharpie mug craze. I will admit, I am eager to jump on the band wagon. I love simple crafts like this that are cheap, easy and can say so much with little expense or effort. These mugs are great for kids who want their own personal mug for hot chocolate or need to give their favourite teacher a Christmas gift. 
So I have decided to give it a go. I read somewhere along the way that the usual suggested 30 minutes of baking wasn't enough, that doing so for an hour would ensure the permanency of the ink. I am first going to try the basic black sharpie and bake for an hour. Then I will wash it both by hand and dishwasher, microwave it, bleach it. See if it truly is permanent. 
I found other suggestions that might work better as well. Apparently Sharpie has oil based markers, and the ones in metallic work well. I am going to pick one up as well and write on the other side of my test mug to see which marker holds up.
Wish me luck! I am not a crafty lady but I think I can actually pull this off.

Here is a link to a great blog that offered good tips for the project.

Ciao for now!

Friday, October 17, 2014

When S*#%! Hits The Fan

It's been a while. I've been caught up in life and the bumps in the road along the way. Some where small, while others where bottomless pits of angst and....well, you get the idea.
I won't go into all the gory details, but I will say this....the grass always looks greener on the other side because you don't have to mow it. 
Think about that.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Review: All of You by Christina Lee

Avery has no desire to have a relationship, preferring to keep the men in her life as casual sexual encounters. Her troubling childhood are the main reason for her poor attitude towards love and relationships.
Bennett is the hot guy who also shares a similar background as Avery but deals with it in a much healthier and honorable manner. He is sweet and caring and 'gasp' a virgin! That's right, a sexy hot virgin according to the authors detailing of him.
That is really the whole story. Boy meets girl, they like each other. Girl wants to sleep with boy but he refuses because she doesn't want a relationship. A tale as old as time. Ha! This is where I found this story so unbelievable, hard to wrap my head around. Now I'm not saying that a guy can't be a virgin at 21, but lets be honest here, the possibility of that is pretty freaking slim. It would be just as likely as if I were to encounter a hot vampire at my local high school.
So I swallow my disbelief, pour a glass of wine and continue to read the book. First off let me say I do not like Avery. She is just that classless, trashy kind of character that I just don't care for. I don't expect the heroins in novels to be as pure as the driven snow, but perhaps if her persona was shared with the reader in a different way, I might have liked her a bit more. The sad thing is I have met a few 'Avery' type girls in my day. I found it difficult to be their friends. Call me judgemental, call me a meanie! I just didn't like  her nor do I have to!
Now Bennett is a different story. His sweetness and the physical description of him makes me like him instantly, a departure from the dark and complicated men I tend to favor in novels. If you are looking for an Alpha type man , Bennett is NOT your guy. He is honest, wears his heart on his sleeve and surprisingly innocent. He is for some reason drawn to the somewhat slutty Avery, which perplexes me as I would think that he would stick to his moral code and not date a woman who is even remotely like his mother. 
Given my dislike for Avery and my lukewarm feelings for Bennett, it is a miracle I completed the book. But I stuck to it, determined to find out if the story got any better, maybe had a few incredible drama's or love scenes. I gritted my teeth while reading solely about Avery, the only time she wasn't intolerable was when she was with Bennett.
I didn't care for this book. Sure it had its moments but it just seemed to drag on. The love scenes were few, not as passionate as I had hoped for, and the characters, mainly Avery lacked any captivating qualities, even the side kick friends annoyed me, immensely.
Near the end of the book the event that brought the young couple together was brought to light but it was done haphazard and hastily.
In all this was one of my least favorite books. Weak characters and story line, not enough to sink my teeth into...even while drinking a good Barolo!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Gabriel's Inferno Series Reviewed by Mammagoddess

As I have mentioned in a few other posts in the past I have found a love, a kinship if you will, with romantic novels. Not just any novels mind you, I will admit, I like them spicy, racy perhaps even taboo, not unlike 50 Shades of Gray which started my obsession.

I have read countless books since I discovered Christian and Anna over a year ago. I would venture a guess that it is nearing 100 books now! As a result I have really been able to peg down what it is that I like in a romance/erotica novel.

As you may have noticed the trend in many books it that they be written I a continuing series. Not sure how I feel about that and I think that is for another discussion. As this is the case with many of the novels I have read it has taken me forever to complete and form an opinion on a book, its characters and events.

One such series was Gabriel's Inferno by Sylvain Reynard. I absolutely adored this series. I waited for what felt like a lifetime to receive the final instalment to the series and was not disappointed. Sylvain Reynard is one talented writer. He can tell a tale of romance, broken hearts and dreams. He drew me into the story of Gabriel and Julia to the point that I was attached to these characters.

In the first book of the series, Gabriel's Inferno, we are introduced to graduated student Julia Mitchell and Dante specialist and Professor Gabriel Emerson who had crossed paths many years prior. Of course Gabriel has a lurid history and many events lead him to believe that his meeting with young Julia was just a hallucination. For years Gabriel pines for what he believes to be a figment of his imagination.

Julia has loved Gabriel since she was a teenager. Years later they are brought together at the University of Toronto and reconnect over their love of Dante and a shared past.

Both characters are complicated, having suffered in the past and struggle to find their way together. I like how Reynard builds up the passion between the couple. The first novel in the series is actually relatively sex free! Oh my! There are some intense kissing scenes but not until the very end of the book do they consummate their relationship, yet you can't feel anything but butterflies in your tummy when you think of Professor Emerson!

In Gabriel's Rapture, the couple struggle to keep their relationship going while they encounter adversaries and drama all around them. This novel is full of heartbreak and I admit I was pissed off at Emerson at one point! Julia grew to irritate me at time, she just seemed way too weak for me and I really wanted to cuff her upside the head, but in all, I felt for the couple and wanted their love to only grow.

Nearly a year later the final instalment of the series, Gabriel's Redemption was released. I was so excited I finished it in one day! I will admit though, that I am not sure the final book was necessary, it just felt like the authors attempt to appease readers and give them more of their beloved characters even though their story had been told. I did enjoy the book, but honestly wouldn't have missed it if I didn't know to expect it.

In all what captivated me about the series was the telling of a tale of two people who were damaged souls. Gabriel and Julia had been through some traumatic experiences that shaped who they were as adults and therefore how they dealt with love and relationships. This story proved that if you work towards a common goal, trust in your partner and most importantly forgive their past sins, that you could overcome the most troublesome obstacles.

On the spicy meter from 1 to 5, this book receives a 2 1/2. It was not erotic but the author managed to create the illusion of eroticism without even really going down the path. Powerfully suggestive!

This is a great book for a person who might find the hardcore sex scenes of books like 50 Shades of Gray or Bared To You, to be a little too intense and tacky. It is a wonderful love story with hints of passion sprinkled throughout.

I highly recommend the series and give it 2 thumbs up!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Addicted to Reading

I have always been an avid reader, I recall loving books from an early age. Of course how frequently I read depended on how busy I was at the time. Sometimes I had very little time to read a book for pleasure while I was in college and again when my children were really young.

I am pleased to say I am on a reading roll again. It all started with the least likely of suspects. Frankly I am still shocked to this day that I even picked the books up. You see, historically I have been a fan of thriller and horror fiction. Give this gal a grisly murder or ghost story over some prince and peasant girl love story anyday! With that said, I was curious about all of the hype, the chatter regarding some man named Christian Gray. I had no idea who he was so Googled him only to learn that he was a character in a popular BDSM related romance novel.

Whips and chains! Oh My! Really not my cup of tea but curiosity got the better of me and well as they say the rest is history. I found a new niche that I enjoyed reading. Contemporary adult romance novels struck a chord with me. I would likely need to spend many months on a psychologists couch in order to work through the many reasons for why this genre appeals to me. Perhaps I am going through some midlife crisis. Maybe I'm just a perv. Suffice it to say, I am a fan and in the last year or so I have read countless books, some great, some awful.

I have decided that I would like to share with my readers some 'thought' and suggestions for many of the books I have read. So every Friday I will (hope) to post a suggestion for a book along with a review, just in time for the weekend!

So please, ladies, and maybe a couple of men, join me in my Mamma's Tawdry Reads and share your thoughts on some of the novels I discuss.

Until my first official post, Happy Reading!