“Jessica Jones”: The Most Progressive Show on TV? #Marvel

Marvel and Netflix teamed up earlier this year to bring us the awesome original series, Daredevil. Husband and I watched it, and, as other collaborative series were announced (namely Jessica Jones and Luke Cage), we held our breath--though Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter on ABC were good, with Daredevil, they'd set the bar high. Was it too much so?Image from comingsoon.netJessica Jones was released in full (Netflix releases all episodes of their original series at once, unlike traditional television) this past Friday. With Melissa Rosenberg at the helm as show-runner (she's a fantastic producer/writer whose previous finest work includes some of the best episodes of Dexter, and she also wrote the screenplays for the Twilight Saga, but, hey, not everyone can hit a home run each time), the show was in good hands.We spent the weekend watching all thirteen episodes, each one better than the last. Krysten Ritter was fantastic as the title character, and David Tennant was delightfully evil--chillingly...
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#Thanksgiving Bonus #FoodieFriday: Roasted Carrots

Okay, I couldn't resist posting another one. Hey, next week is Thanksgiving, at least for those in the U.S., and who doesn't enjoy good food?I've been seeing a ton of "Help! What should I make?" posts on the Internet (jeez, Facebook, haven't you ever eaten a Thanksgiving dinner?), and I thought I'd help out a little.A lot of the questions are wondering what to make for a vegetable side. Most people say they're Pic from the Food Networkalready having the standard green bean casserole and/or sweet potato casserole, so they want something different or something that's not a casserole, too.My suggestion would be to make these amazing roasted carrots. The recipe is from the Barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten.I often mix the carrots with parsnips, which creates a pretty orange and cream dish. I usually cut the parsnips slightly smaller than the carrots because they're more dense, and that way the whole thing will cook at the same rate.This dish transports...
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#FoodieFriday: Double Chocolate Banana Bread

I hope you liked the coconut bread from last week, because I have another awesome recipe from Smitten Kitchen today: Double Chocolate Banana Bread.It's a crime against humanity not to make this bread. This is, hands down, the best banana bread--and maybe the best quick bread--I've ever made.It's rich and chocolaty, and comes together quickly and without much fuss. It's moist (yes, you all should know how damn much I hate that word, but it's so perfect for this bread so shut up), and pretty much like eating chocolatey cakey bananay goodness that you shouldn't even be allowed to consume.Pic from Smitten KitchenYour guests and/or gift recipients will beg you for the recipe, and this is the perfect quick bread with which to make people owe you favors.The loaves even freeze well, in case you don't manage to inhale them like we do.I'll add the same note about bread sizing as before: if a bread makes one 9x5 loaf, it will make...
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#FoodieFriday: Coconut (Quick) Bread

I promised you lovelies a couple of gift-worthy quick breads before the holidays, and that's what I'm aiming to deliver. One this week, one next week. Get your loaf pans ready!Pic from Smitten KitchenFor the uninitiated, a quick bread uses leaveners other than yeast to make the bread rise: baking soda/baking powder, etc. Because there's no yeast, there's no rising period, and the bread can be made quickly. Quick bread. Get it? They can be sweet or savory, but are generally very forgiving batter-wise and end up tasty.First up: Smitten Kitchen's Coconut Bread.This quick bread baked up beautifully, golden and crunchy. It was fantastic warm and with some butter.The coconut flavor is noticeable but not overpowering. I'm not a huge coconut lover--I'm not necessarily going to order a pina colada, for instance--but I love this bread.Plus, it's something different. Everyone around the holidays makes gingerbread, or pumpkin bread, or some kind of bread that involves nutmeg and cinnamon, and those...
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Leveled reading systems=pigeon-holed students? #amreading

Let me preface this by saying that I'm not a parent, and I haven't frequented schools where reading systems were prevalent in over twenty years.So let me tell you a story.I was recently chatting with a friend who does have elementary-school-aged children, and we got to talking about the books we enjoyed when we were in school, required reading or otherwise. Island of the Blue Dolphins, Hatchet, My Side of the Mountain, etc. She--I'm not feeling creative today, so I'll call her Polly Parent--is active in volunteering in her kids' classrooms and around the school as well.I mention remembering the little numbers on the backs of children's books--not the ISBNs, but the reading level. Polly tells me that reading levels still exist, but they're broader now; more...encompassing. Restricting, even. I ask he what she means, and she says that, in her kids' school, they use a leveled reading system. I don't know whether it's this one from Scholastic, but there are...
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#FoodieFriday: No-Knead Crusty Bread

Want to dazzle your guests with your home-made bread skills this holiday season? Never baked with yeast and making your own bread terrifies you? Think you can't make your own bread without a bread machine? Just looking for something to have with your soup?If the answer is "yes" to any of those things, sit yourself down right now and listen up.This No-Knead Crusty Bread recipe from Simply So Good deserves to be in your regular rotation.A single batch of bread dough, risen for 18ish hours--sharp cheddar and dried dill.Before I had made it, I was terrified of baking with yeast. I can make quick-breads with the best of them (and, oh, do I have some good ones for YOU, which I'll be sure to post on other Foodie Fridays before the holidays because---INSTANT GIFT!), but the idea that I had to add something alive (and therefore touchy and hard to control) to my food was nerve-racking. What if my water was...
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Good luck, #NaNoWriMo writers! #amwriting

I just wanted to wish all the brave writers tackling National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) the best of luck!I did NaNo in 2013, and I'm still not convinced I'd want to do it again. My feelings were mixed on it even halfway through the whole thing. I'm super proud that I did it and hit the 50K word goal, but I don't think it fits my writing style at this point. Not to say I won't do it again, but I'm sitting it out this year.May your muse be with you and may the words flow from your bleeding, cramped fingers like a leaf down a mountain stream.Wow, that was poetic.But seriously, good luck!And, if you're participating in NaNo this year, leave your username in the comments so other writers can link up and you can cheer each other on!xoxo Sarah...
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