I obviously did not know what this movie was about when I added it to our Netflix queue.


All I knew:

The name

It was about the British Secret Service

It had Colin Firth

Turns out, two of those three things are true.

The movie is not about the British Secret Service.

It’s part satire, part action adventure thriller, part gross out comedy, part live-action comic book, and if it wasn’t for Colin Firth, it would be a complete waste of time.

Actually, even with Mr. Firth, it’s a waste of time.

Basically, it’s about a group of elite spies in the UK. There’s a vacancy and several recruits are given the chance to make it onto the squad. Meanwhile, Samuel L. Jackson plays a media baron whose generous gift of free phones/data/new tech is really part of his plot to take over the world. Add implants that cause the person’s head to explode and that sums up his diabolical plan.

The movie starts out with some action and tension and sympathetic characters. But it quickly devolves into crass slapstick that tosses around the f-word when it doesn’t know what else to say or do. Then heads explode and it goes downhill from there.

Don’t bother with this one.

Food Talk Friday: Carmelized Bacon

I don’t like my pancake syrup to touch my bacon or sausage or ham.

But …

add brown sugar, chopped pecans, and a touch of heat to the syrup, slather it on the bacon, and roast it in the oven? Then I will allow syrup to touch my bacon.

BX1001H_Caramelized-Bacon_s4x3.jpg.rend.sni12col.landscapeWe found this recipe a couple of years ago and assigned it to Stud Muffin’s brother to bring to a Men’s Supper Club event. It was the hit of the dinner.

He’s made it several times now. Stud Muffin has made it. It’s always a hit. Especially with the men, who, interestingly enough, won’t usually try it until they’re told that it’s bacon. Men. Such scaredy cats.

There are several recipes out there, but we’ve always used Ina Garten’s and it’s delicious!

We also keep it in the oven a few extra minutes and often finish it with a minute under the broiler, just to be sure the bacon is fully cooked.

1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup chopped or whole pecans
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 pound thick-sliced applewood-smoked bacon (regular bacon works too, but the thick-sliced is best)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil (for easy cleaning) and place a wire baking rack on top.

Combine the brown sugar and pecans in a food processor and process until the pecans are finely ground. Add the salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper and pulse to combine. Add the maple syrup and pulse again to moisten the crumbs.

Cut each bacon slice in half crosswise and line up the pieces on the baking rack without touching. With a small spoon, evenly spread the pecan mixture on top of each piece of bacon, using all of the mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is very browned but not burnt. If it’s underbaked, the bacon won’t crisp as it cools.

While it’s hot, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside to cool. Serve at room temperature.

2012, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof, All Rights Reserved

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Woe! It’s Wednesday

A lovely person died recently. Her name was Mavis and I knew her a long time ago.

We were in a Bible study/diet accountability group together. She was older than me. Older than my mother, in fact. But we met together weekly for probably ten years. Even after our group stopped meeting, we continued to exchange letters and Christmas cards.

We had lots of things in common. We loved books and reading. We loved Hawaii. We loved our families. She grew up in Kingsburg, not far from I live now, and we both knew the Central Valley well.

When my family moved out of the area, we continued to keep in touch. When Mavis’s health grew more frail and she went into assisted living, her daughter kept up the annual tradition of letting Mavis’s Christmas card list know how she was doing.

2015’s card said Mavis was quite weak, but she had hit the century mark back in October.

Monday, I got the note that she had died on February 13.

I let my girls know and they both remembered Mavis well. The picture on the note was just how we remember her. Short gray hair, sweet smile.

The only time I ever saw Mavis angry was when she was telling our group about a conversation with her doctor. She’d lost a bit of weight and expected the doctor to tell her she’d done well and to keep it up. Instead he said, “Well, Mavis, you’ll never be svelte.”

She was spitting nails as she repeated that. “I don’t care about svelte! I care about healthy. What a jerk!”

Svelte or not, Mavis was indeed healthy, living to 100 years old. I bet that doctor has been dead a long time.

Seems that Mavis got the last word after all. As it should be.


Book Talk Tuesday: THE FRIENDS WE KEEP

THE FRIENDS WE KEEP is book 2, the latest offering in Susan Mallery’s new Mischief Bay series.

A few of the characters are familiar and some are new.

cover-friends-we-keepWe know Nicole from book 1, The Girls of Mischief Bay. Her husband had received a million dollars for his screenplay and left Nicole at the end of the last book. Now, she’s still working at her Pilates studio, Mischief in Motion, and raising her son, in spite of his obsession with Brad the Dragon, a book character and merchandising behemoth. She’s not expecting to meet Brad’s creator and even less prepared to actually kind of like the guy.

Hayley was a secondary character, but she moves to the forefront with this book. She’s been trying to get pregnant but her body refuses to cooperate. Now, her husband and her doctor are telling her the one thing she refuses to believe, the one thing she can’t believe.

Gabby is looking forward to going back to work so she can use the bathroom without interruptions. She’s been at home with her five-year-old twins teenage step-daughter and now that the twins are starting kindergarten, Gabby’s┬áready to do more than wipe runny noses, bake cookies, and sound the warning gong about how fast fifteen-year-old Makayla is growing up. But things never turn out the way we expect, do they?

THE FRIENDS WE KEEP is a keeper. Charming, with great characters who I feel are friends already. Friends I intend to keep a long while.


I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.