melanie bruno

For Anyone Boycotting Sony b/c of #FreeKesha

There’s currently 3-4 major record labels in the music industry, and they account for about 75% of music sales. These labels are Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, EMI, and Warner Music Group. So, if you’re boycotting Sony Music Entertainment because of #FreeKesha, know that you’ll have limited music choices, but here’s some minor labels with great artists you can listen to. (throughout doing my research, I was actually surprised how many minor record labels had famous musicians. But please note, some of the very famous musicians on this list no longer work with minor record labels & moved to bigger companies/retired/are dead/whatever).

Atlantic Records
•Melanie Martinez, Bruno Mars, Led Zeppelin, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, AC/DC, Skrillex, Rolling Stones, Paramore (?), & many more

Fueled By Ramen
•twenty one pilots, Panic! at the Disco, Fall Out Boy, Maroon 5, & more

Glassnote Records
•Chvrches, Mumford & Sons, Two Door Cinema Club, & much more

Equal Vision Records
•Pierce the Veil, We Came as Romans, I the Mighty, the Dear Hunter, & more

Dim Mak Records
•The Chainsmokers, Zedd, Steve Aoki, Borgore, & a ton of other EDM artists

Neon Gold Records
•Mariana and the Diamonds, Elie Goulding, Foxes, the Sound of Arrows, and a few more

Cherrytree Records
•Lady Gaga, Far East Movement, LMFAO, Natalia Kills, & more

Interscope Records
•Selena Gomez, Eminem, Madonna, Katy Perry, & more

Hollywood Records (Disney)
•Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Jonas Brothers, etc. (please note many of these celebrities have moved onto different recording labels)

Strange Music Inc.
•my friend really likes hip hop music and she told me to put this on the list

Run for Cover Records
•Tigers Jaw, Basement, Turnover, Title Flight, & a couple of others

Two Steps From Hell
•this is actually a music production company, but they’ve made music for Harry Potter, X-Men, and Pirates of the Caribbean

(please feel free to add more, correct me, and anything else. and as I said before, these might not be 100% accurate, and are subject to change).


Dear Marian,

I am not really a Chunky Beef Stew Kinda Person, but when Adam’s Mom told me about how she makes her’s, I got intrigued. Although I did not use her recipe, I did do some of the same basic steps which you find throughout the stew world. 

Homemade Beef Stew with Carrot and Sweet Potatoes

I started out with 1.5 cups chopped onion, 1.5 cups chopped celery, and 4 cloves of chopped garlic. I let these cook in olive oil until they were translucent and removed them from the pan. Turning the heat up a bit, I seared 2 pounds of “Beef for Stew” on all sides. I did this in two batches after cutting the beef into bite sized pieces.

I put the veggies back into the pot with the beef and added in 1 can of beer (12 oz), 1 can diced tomatoes with juice, 4 cups beef broth, and 3 Bay Leaves. I let this cook for couple of hours and then turned the heat off. About an hour before I was ready to serve I added 1.5 cups carrots cubed and 1.5 cups sweet potato’s also cubed. I added these later on so that they did not cook too much and break up in the soup.

The sweet potato ended up being a random addition (I had some in the fridge), but I think it was a good one. It added a nice sweetness to the soup as well as a lighter color. I learned from this experience that I am not a huge stew fan, but it was still fun to make - especially on a chilly afternoon! 




Dear Marian,

Unfortunately, pictures do not do this recipe justice. I made this after researching about five hundred shrimp recipes on Martha, but then decided to wing it.

Sesame Shrimp

I started off by dipping about 20 medium shrimp (enough for about three people, or two with someone getting leftovers, aka moi) in a bowl of soy sauce, squirt of sirracha, minced ginger, and some miso paste. I shook off the excess sauce and covered each shrimp in sesame seeds. On high heat, I poured a tablespoon of sesame oil into the pan and then seared each shrimp for about a minute on each side. When they were cooked, I took them out of the pan and poured in the remaining soy sauce mixture to reduce and top on the cooked shrimp.

I served my favorite Trader Joe’s brown rice medley and sauteed baby bok choy.

Send more video’s, I am loving watching them!




Dear Marian,

Another successful NYC Thanksgiving under my belt. Last years turkey came out so well I figured I would execute the same recipe again - if it aint broke, don’t fix it, right? One of my coworkers wants to use this recipe next week for her Thanksgiving Dinner, so I am going to go through the steps one more time, a bit more in dept, for those of you who missed it last year. I know you are not a fan of the steps, but because timing is so important I am going to do it anyway.

Fool Proof Roasted Turkey

1. Purchase 1, 14 pound turkey; if frozen, well I can’t help you because I don’t know how long it needs to sit out in order to defrost. Fresh is the way to go.

2. 26 hours prior to cooking, create a brine by combining the following: 2 cups kosher salt, 6 cups fine sugar, 10 cups water (give or take; I think I added about four more, plus ice), couple of onions, some garlic cloves, carrots, and celery stalks. Simmer this in a large pot until the sugar and salt dissolve. Cool the brine and pour into a large container along with the turkey. My brine didn’t cover the whole turkey so I turned it once halfway through the brining process. The brine will help keep the Bird juicy and I believe, is key in the cooking process.

3. Two hours prior to cooking, take the whole bird out of the brine and give it a nice scrub to get all of the salt water off. I decided to save the veggies from the brine to use in the cavity of the bird while roasting, so I washed these guys off as well and put them to the side. Pat dry every crevasse of the Turkey and let it sit out for two hours to get to room temperature.

4. Heat the oven to 500 degrees and take a stick of butter out of the fridge and let it get to room temperature. If you don’t want to use the brine veggies in the inside of the Turkey you can also use cut up lemons, any fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, etc, etc), onion, celery and carrots. Just stuff the cavity until it is full and tie up the legs tight. Rub the softened butter all over the outside of the bird and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and cook at 500 for thirty minutes.

5. After thirty minutes at high heat, turn the oven down to 350 degrees, remove the foil and continued to cook the bird for two more hours.

6. After cooking, remove the bird from the oven and cover with foil. Let it rest for at least thirty minutes before slicing to keep the juices inside!

7. Slice and serve. Unfortunately I have no idea how to cut up a turkey - those who witnessed this on Sunday can attest to that. Jonas, where are you when we need you!? 

And your done! Promise, anyone can do this! The sauce is a bit more difficult, but I ended up taking the drippings, skimming off the fat, adding it back to the pan along with some roux to pick up the bits a pieces, and then adding water, mustard and about 6 ounces of creme fraiche - very similar to the chicken posting from Sunday.

One down, two to go! Can’t wait to see you next week! More T-Day recipes to come!



Dear Marian,

Adam and I picked up this organize farm raised steak from the Tribeca Farmers Market around the block from my apt and it was insanely juicy and delicious. I marinated it in soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and chopped garlic for a couple of hours and then grilled them up on my indoor grill. Easy as pie and totally worth the money for this farm to table steak!

I served it with marinated mushrooms, roasted cauliflower and corn bread muffins (why not!?). Not much recipe going on here - but simple and delicious!

I added a new device onto Dinner Sister’s so that our followers (are you out there!?) can now subscribe to our posts - enter your email address to the right and you will receive emails whenever we post anything! Let’s hope it works!

Love you!



Dear Marian,

Time for Thanksgiving, Round Dos. Change Scenery: Dad’s House. Slightly Change Cast: add two ten year old twin boys, an Evil Step Mother (not really!) and Pappa B. Change Ending: drinking way too much and end up on kitchen counter dancing all night and snacking on leftovers (the best part).

Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Candied Walnuts

Since there is always so much going on Thanksgiving Morning (such as five mile races you don’t want to run in but someone keeps on screaming at you to get up), I wanted to make this salad as easy as possible. This included making the same one as the night before, but changing the lead actor to roasted beets. I have been wanting to do this for a while, but fresh beets are quite hard to come by in this city. Roasted beets, like any veg, is quite simple. All I did was cut off the greens of the beets, rub the root in a little EVOO, cover then in foil and roast them in the oven at 400 until they are tender or you can stick a fork in them easily.

When they were done and cooled, I used a pairing knife to remove the skin and sliced them into bite sized pieces.

THE BEST DRESSING EVER: 2 tablespoons honey, 1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard, 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1½ tablespoons minced shallots, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 6 tablespoons Olive Oil. Put all of the ingredients into a seal-able container and vigorously shake until you form a consistent liquid.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Apple

Due to the success of my brussels sprouts last year, I wanted to kick it up a notch and do something a little different. I decided to roast brussels again, but add pancetta and apple in there for good measure.

Adam helped me with this one as well, cooking the pancetta until it was almost crispy while I cut up two apples into bite sized pieces. With the Brussels cut in half, I mixed all three ingredients with Olive Oil, a generous squeeze of Maple Syrup and Balsamic Vinegar.

I roasted these in the oven for about 45 minutes on 375.

Easy side dish and pleases most crowds… I won’t lie and say everyone loves them because so many people despise brussels. I feel sorry for those people, they don’t know what they are missin’.

I must admit, this Thanksgiving was the best yet. It was so amazing to have everyone in town - cooking in the kitchen together! I know you were there for the prep, but Steph even had the boys chopping up veggies for her. Next year won’t be the same… no one can beat a Bruno Family Thanksgiving! Nobody!

The End,



Dear Marian, 

I know this is not Christmas Inspired, but I haven’t had time to cook in the past couple of weeks due to travel and selling season! I made this about two weeks ago and the couscous would be a perfect side for any Holiday meal! I was inspired by a dish I saw at a local gourmet shop and it ended up being just as good as the pre-made one - and probably just as expensive for two servings in the store as it was for the entire batch, which I would say could be a side for about six people.

Sweet Potato Couscous

I started out with a pack of the diced sweet potatoes from Trader Joes, which make this recipe a breeze. I guess I could use the new mandolin as well, but in this case - for a side - it is worth the extra buck or so. I covered these bad boys (haven’t used that one in a while) with a little EVOO, salt and pepper, and roasted them in a 400 degree oven for about twenty minutes. I tossed them ever so often to make sure they were browning on all sides and then took them out to cool.

In a pot, I cooked a pack of Israel Cous Cous (or Pearl Cous Cous) according to package directions and let them cool in a large dish. When everything was cooled, I added the potatoes to the bowl along with about a cup of diced red onion, half cup of toasted pine nuts, and freshly chopped parsley.

For the dressing, I combined equal parts Dijon Mustard and Honey (about two tablespoons) along with a fourth cup of diced shallots, and a fourth cup of Orange Muscat Vinaigrette. I whisked this together along with a half cup of EVOO (I try and do the least amount possible for calorie sake). I tossed everything with this vinaigrette and that’s it! 

This lasted in the fridge for a couple of days and was perfect for lunch or a dinner side. The night I made this, I served it along side Roasted Chicken breasts with a little leftover Avocado Pesto which I had frozen because it made so much, and roasted carrots - which after they came out of the oven I tossed with a little bit of the Orange Vinegar and they tasted just like Grandmother Mimi makes them!

The cookies were my go-to Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe with half chocolate chips and had butterscotch chips - the perfect balance of sweet and chocolatey.

Miss you and can’t wait to “see” you later on Skype! Wish me luck at my trunk show today at Alder’s, in their Lakeside location - anyone in the neighborhood should stop by!



Dear Marian,

I meant to post this on Monday, but packing and the big move got in the way (Adam and I are finally moving into the new apartment this very moment!). Anyway, I wanted to post this on Labor Day to send off Summer and the last weekend in the Hamptons, but I forgot.  Adam and I are lucky enough to still have friends that do a summer share, and even though we now live in Dallas we found a way to spend the week there in August.

While we were there we we posed with a huge issue - the party goers from the weekend before had taken out this massive bag of Striped Bass from the freezer and we couldn’t very well free it again (ewww) so we cooked the whole lot. And by whole lot, I mean three three pound steaks - they were massive.

Fresh Herb and Watermelon Salad

I have been wanting to make a salad with watermelon for a while now, but the fact that Adam doesn’t eat it poses a huge problem. I am not going to make two salads in one night, just too annoying - so I did it this night since we had other members in the party.

I chopped the watermelon into half inch cubes, crumbled feta cheese on top, sprinkled it with fresh mint and basil, and drizzled a little bit of EVOO on top. Super Simple. Extremely refreshing - especially with the fresh herbs - and amazingly satisfying. I could have eaten just this and been A-OK.

Grilled Striped Bass with Tomato Israeli Couscous

While Andrew cut the fish into filets, I prepared the couscous by cooking it according to package directions. When it was almost done I added in about a half cup of diced tomatoes, some cayenne and curry seasoning. While I was in Vegas for work at the beginning of the summer I had a dish with these ingredients that was outstanding, mine was by no means close to this but it worked.

I seasoned the filets with Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, Fresh Basil and Parsley, and Lemon. Andrew took the lead on the grill, with his new grilling stone (awesome), and cooked them for about four to five minutes on each side. Simple, easy, and elegant!

Served with asparagus that were cooked in a very similar fashion, and you have a light and delicious meal.

Now, I want some of that watermelon salad again…So here is to the end of summer, the end of 100+ degree days in Dallas, and hello to killer fall nights, soup, squash and apples.