mystery box at home

Smoked Bacon Wrapped Salmon on Herbed Rice with Black Bean Relish and Creamy Basil Dressing

Submitted to MasterChef by delishytown

The ingredients in the MasterChef at Home Mystery Box this week were: Salmon filets, bacon, black beans, balsamic vinegar, rice, fresh basil, fresh mint, and Plain Greek yogurt. I knew that the salmon had to be the star of the show, but I definitely wanted to use the bacon. I decided to break out the electric smoker for this dish, & wrap the Salmon in bacon. I finished it under the broiler to crisp up the bacon. It was soooo good! Every bite was heavenly and smoky and fresh. This was one of the best dishes I’ve ever made.

Here’s how I made this delicious Smoked Salmon:

Rinse 1 cup of rice a few times until the water runs clear. Add to a pot with 4 cups water and a pinch of salt. Simmer until al dente, drain and add back to the pot. Add 1 tsp chopped basil, ½ tsp chopped mint, sprinkle of celery salt, a grind of black pepper and a pinch of dried dill. Toss together with a fork, then cover and set aside to steam.

Drain and rinse black beans. Add to a bowl with 1 small chopped Persian cucumber, 2 tblsp balsamic vinegar, ¼ tsp minced garlic, ½ tsp fresh chopped basil and ½ tsp chopped mint, and season with celery salt and pepper.

Turn the smoker to about 180 to 200 degrees. Soak apple and mesquite chips in water. Remove any bones from the salmon. Rinse and pat dry. Drizzle the salmon with some of the balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with a little brown sugar, season with salt and pepper. Smash and chop 1 large garlic clove, (reserve ¼ tsp of this garlic for the dressing) spread the rest of the garlic on the fish. Slice a lemon very thin, you need about 4 thin slices of lemon depending on the size of the filets. Place basil leaves on the fish, top with the lemon slices, wrap with the bacon. Crisp up the remaining bacon for garnish. Place the fish in a shallow foil pan and into the smoker. Smoke the fish about 25 - 35 minutes. When it comes out, it should be most of the way cooked. Turn the broiler to high, sprinkle a little more balsamic vinegar and a pinch of brown sugar on top. Broil a few minutes until the sugar bubbles and the bacon crisps up.

While your Salmon is in the smoker, make the creamy basil dressing. In a small bowl add 10 - 15 basil leaves, 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, celery salt and pepper, ¼ tsp smashed & minced garlic, juice of ½ lemon, 1 tblsp balsamic vinegar, and a tiny pinch of brown sugar. Blend with a stick blender.

Serve the Smoked Salmon on a bed of Herbed Rice with the Creamy Basil dressing and a side of Black Bean and Cucumber Relish with Crispy Bacon Crumbles. Yum!

13 Reasons Why 

Netflix announced a brand new original series last week, based on Jay Asher’s best-selling novel. 

“13 Reasons Why follows Clay Jensen as he returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who tragically committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Will Clay be one of them?”

The show is set to drop on March 31st! Check out the trailer below


When the war is over, they return to Earth.
shallura. post-Zarkon. achronological. // also on ao3.

fifty words, fifty scenes — adopted from a list that @dragonshost challenged me to way back when. (i don’t have the link anymore, haha.) 

the exercise was to write a single sentence containing each word, and i attempt to make a haphazard achronological story out of each sentence, and then an entire world out of fifty of those.

  • Nothing means frisky more to him than when she waltzes into the kitchen as he’s making breakfast, wearing nothing but her thin nightgown and a mischievous smile that stretches past the magenta marks of her eyes. She comes forward to kiss him good morning and he’s not sure if his heart jumps because of the sudden pop of the toaster or because of her wandering hands.
  • Ever the natural athlete, Allura quickly picks up all the sports that Earth can offer her — easily throwing the furthest pass, scoring a goal from the most acute angle, finishing a marathon with barely a sweat — but Shiro still thinks she’s best at catching his eye.
  • Shiro thought she would have a natural affinity for cats after spending ages with the Lions, but ten scratches and four bites later, he decides — as he wraps a bandaid around her finger — that maybe his plan to adopt the stray cat isn’t such a great idea after all.
  • She still misses her planet dearly — the pink-tinted sunrise of the second sun rising over the fuchsia horizon of blooming juniberry flowers — but when the soft white Earth sunlight stirs him quietly awake, the first thing he sees is her brilliant smile, and she thinks she can see the same morning in the rose of his cheeks.

Keep reading


i came home today and there was a large, mysterious box on my bed. when i opened it, there were flowers inside and a card from a ‘secret’ admirer. my mother thinks it was from a pervert at work. but anyway.

today is also my one year anniversary with my girlfriend, maddie. <3 before i started writing this, i thought i would have more to say, but i’m drawing a blank now. i love maddie with all my heart and i’m so excited to see her again later this year, to one day get to live with her and see her everyday, and even get married.

happy pride month, everyone! 💖



Made with Instagram

Braised Chicken with Garbanzo Puree and Herb Tomato Jalapeño Salsa:

submitted by talkinsnack

Braised Chicken:

  • 2 chicken breast, skinless with bones
  • 1 lemon
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • bunch of fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 jalapeño 
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup of pearl onions, peeled and halved
  • 1 cup of dry white wine
  • 1 can of chicken stock

Garbanzo Puree:

  • 1 cup of fresh green garbanzo beans, de-shelled
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons of water
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • sea salt
  • pepper

Herb Tomato Jalapeño Salsa:

  • 1 cup of diced grape tomatoes
  • 2 jalapeños
  • lemon
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced basil
  • 1 tablespoon minced mint
  • sea salt
  • pepper

Ingredients In My Mystery Box:

  • 2 chicken breast, skinless with bones
  • pearl onions
  • jalapenos
  • fresh shelled green garbanzo beans
  • grape tomatoes
  • can of black olives
  • can of chicken stock
  • can of baby corn

In a large bowl, marinate the chicken breasts with slices of ½ a lemon, sliced garlic cloves, thyme, jalapeño (sliced with seeds), good drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well using your  hands, cover the bowl and keep in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, take the de-shelled green garbanzo beans, garlic, olive oil, and 2 tablespoons of water and puree in a food processor. Add more water a tablespoon at a time to get a creamy consistency. Season with salt, pepper, and a good squeeze of lemon juice. Mix, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Set aside in a bowl.

For the salsa, take the diced tomatoes, and diced jalapeño with seeds removed and add to a mixing bowl. Add the basil and mint. Dress with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix and set aside in the fridge. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large oven proof deep pan, drizzle some olive oil and heat at medium high. Remove chicken breast from marinade, discard the marinade, and grill the chicken meat side down in the pan for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Flip and cook the other side for another 5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate. Add the pearl onions to the pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes until golden (add more oil if needed at this point). Add the white wine to the pan and scrape up the brown bits. Bring the chicken back to the pan and sauté with the onions and wine until wine is almost evaporated. Then add the chicken broth, season with some salt and pepper, and bring the broth to a simmer. Once simmering, cover the pan and place in the oven. Cook for 45-50 minutes, or until the chicken is very tender. 

To plate, spread a spoonful of the garbanzo puree on a plate. Cut the meat of the breast away from the bone, and slice the chicken, add to the plate. Then add a spoonful of the fresh salsa. Drizzle olive oil over everything and enjoy!

A Study in Pond

Today I’ll be addressing a subject that repeatedly crops up in fandom and that is the work and times of Amelia Pond.

An argument that is repeatedly trotted out against Amy is that she’s “unrealistic” for having so many “unrelated” professions.

First of all, even if this were true, it would not be unrealistic. A lot of people jump from job to wildly different job throughout their lifetimes, especially when they’re young and are just trying to establish work experience and pay their bills. Later in life they may find something suited to them and get into that field, while still others never stop jumping from job to job without any link except the fact that it provides a paycheck. That is life and that is realistic.

But it is not Amy Pond. The ancestry of every single job Amy has ever held can be traced back to her first episode, “The Eleventh Hour.”

When we first meet Amelia, she is alone in her bedroom on Easter, praying to Santa in her Scottish accent to send help to fix the crack in her wall that she can hear things from, a story nobody believes. When she hears the TARDIS, she looks out her window and runs outside in the dead of night to check it out and when a sopping, strange man climbs out of it, she engages in conversation with him.

This relatively short amount of time gives us crucial information about Amelia. From her praying to Santa, we glean that she is a believer in magic and the impossible. From her sleeping every night next to the crack and then running into the darkness to confront the TARDIS and the weird man inside of it, we know that she’s daring and brave even in the face of her fear which she masks expertly. We also note that she’s keenly observant.

The Doctor deduces the same later, when he learns of the crack in her wall. Before that, she invites him into her house and puts up with the trial and error of cooking for him. She reveals that despite her Scottish accent, she’s in England because she “had to move” and “it’s rubbish.” She has no parents, just a neglectful aunt.

From this we learn that she’s fiercely independent, she’s not afraid to speak her mind, she’s already made a giant geographic and cultural transition in her young life and is unsatisfied, and when she puts her mind to something she works until she succeeds.

When the Doctor returns twelve years later than promised and Amy finds him intruding in her house, she hits him over the head with a cricket bat and handcuffs him to the radiator. She then comes up with an impromptu performance, including using an English accent, about pretending to be a policewoman and suspects him in the disappearance of Amelia Pond.

From this see her resourcefulness and her storytelling abilities.

And finally, at the end of the episode, the camera pans across Amy’s room revealing handmade dolls of herself, the Doctor, and an impressively accurate TARDIS.

This tells us Amy is not only creative, but a creator.

Kiss-o-gram (“The Eleventh Hour”)

The first job Amy holds is as a kiss-o-gram. She’s nineteen and she describes it as going around in different costumes and kissing people, “It’s a laugh.” This is a job for someone who’s unafraid of walking into a room of random people, under any number of circumstances, and kissing a random stranger.

We already saw that as a child, Amelia was unafraid of walking outside in the dead of night and approaching a random man who just climbed out of a mysterious box in her front yard and inviting him into her home. Check.

Model (“Closing Time,” “Asylum of the Daleks,” and “Imaginary Enemies”)

Later in her life, after the Doctor has decided to stop traveling with Amy and Rory following the events of “The God Complex,” he discovers Amy’s larger than life photograph on an advertisement on a mall wall in Colchester. By the time of her impending divorce with Rory, she’s immersed herself in photoshoots. This is a job that requires a person to be in the public eye and where people are always weighing their opinion in on a person’s appearance. A high amount of self confidence in one’s own image is key in long term success for this career.

Amy’s previous job as a kiss-o-gram establishes that she is confident in her sexuality and has no problem showing her body off to a lot of people, especially those she doesn’t know, even when she knows she will be judged on these choices. Check.

Business owner (“Closing Time” and “Imaginary Enemies”)

Amy is not just a model for a perfume line, she created and marketed the perfume line. We know this because of the name, Petrichor, and the perfume’s tagline, “For the girl who’s tired of waiting.” Both of these are unique to Amy. Both the product and the marketing are part of multi-billion dollar industries, meaning the name and especially the tagline did not occur by random happenstance. Amy was directly involved in the branding and marketing decisions for this perfume. There is no way, as a random model, she would have been allowed such enormous decisions. If she was just a pretty face for their perfume, the product would’ve been had a name and tagline long before she was hired to pose for their ad. The name comes from “The Doctor’s Wife” and the tagline is a play on one of the nicknames the Doctor gave her, The Girl Who Waited. It’s successful, too, because when little Allie sees Amy in the mall, she doesn’t think twice about asking for Amy’s autograph. To run a successful business, you need a sharp mind and a strong capability for leadership. To market, you need to be highly creative and very observant of your consumer base to know what will appeal to their sensibilities. You must be prepared to fail and try again, over and over.

As far back as her childhood, Amy has been inventing things. The moment we meet her, she thanks Santa for bringing her pencils. On her dresser we see those pencils, along with drawing paper and drawings and paintings plastered all over her room. Remember the dolls and TARDIS toys she handmade, inspired by her meeting with the Doctor? She carries this love of inventing into her adulthood and uses it to create her own products inspired by her own life. In this case, she draws inspiration from her experience on the TARDIS in “The Doctor’s Wife.” Check.

Amy is ripe with determination. When the Doctor says he loves apples, Amelia gets him an apple and calls him on it later when he says he hates apples. She does the same with yogurt. She isn’t discouraged when he throws a fit about bacon, beans, or bread and butter. She takes the Doctor’s nitpicky setbacks in stride. Later, when her parents send her to four psychiatrists, she never gives into them; she never stops fighting because someone, several someones, told her she was wrong. Check.

If you want observant, you want Amy Pond. As a child she saw “Police Box” on the Doctor’s TARDIS and when he told her he was a doctor, she called him out because his box said “police.” After the Doctor fails to come back for her as promised, she makes a stunningly accurate toy TARDIS from memory. On Starship UK, she noticed that the monster didn’t eat the children and in fact played with them instead. She made a critical connection between the Doctor choosing to help her as a child and the Star Whale coming to the rescue of the UK’s most innocent subjects. After meeting scheming Prime Minister Churchill and seeing his obsession with procuring the TARDIS, she doesn’t miss a beat when he pickpockets the Doctor’s TARDIS key and demands it back. While trapped with a Weeping Angel emerging from a television screen, she noticed a blip in the footage and disconnected the power on the blip, stopping the Angel from fully materializing. In 1969 she encounters a Silent in the bathroom and realizes that when you look away from it, you forget it. She get around this problem, she takes a picture of it on her cell phone. She remembers that the TARDIS operates through telepathic circuits and realizes that the password must be thought, not spoken. On her first day in Apalapucia, she saw the handbots knock themselves out with their anesthetic hands and learned to escape them by turning them on each other. Over and over Amy demonstrates exceptional skills of observation and problem solving. Check.

Travel writer (“The Power of Three”)

Still later in her life, when she and Rory have begun to settle down for a second time and try to establish a little stability in their “non-Doctor lives,” Amy begins writing travel articles for magazines. This is job that requires A) the desire and means to travel and B) the ability to tell a good story. In order to sell a location (or heavily advise against it), you have to be masterful with your words.

Amy has always been a storyteller. As a child, she recounted vividly what happened when the Doctor came to town. She roped Rory into games where he had to dress up as the Doctor and much of Leadworth knew about her fanciful tales. She was eventually sent to psychiatrists to talk her out of her “delusions.” When she encounters the Doctor again as an adult, she immediately concocts a fiction about being a policewoman and the mystery of missing Amelia. To her father-in-law, she and Rory come up with a story about how they went traveling to Thailand when they first got married. Amy experienced an evolution in her ability to tell stories. She went from screaming the unabashed truth to realizing that however true something might be, it also has to be believable. In order to write successful articles for a contemporary travel magazine, she had to be adept at abridging her stories for exciting yet believable travels and honing her skills to curb the truth, such as traveling to Venice and leaving out the part about it being 1580, is something she’s had to perfect so people see her as believable instead of delusional. Check.

Of course, she did travel. She traveled with and without Rory, all over space and time. But she was a traveler long before she met the Doctor. She was forced to travel from Scotland to Leadworth and yearned to escape Leadworth her entire childhood. Check.

Publisher (“The Angels Take Manhattan”)

In the latter part of her life, her post-Doctor life, Amy chooses to be sent back to 1938 New York City to be with her husband. This is where she lives until she dies, an immigrant in another country. Once again, she’s forced to start her life and career all over again and this time she does it by becoming a publisher. We know this because A) River sends her book, Melody Malone: Private Detective in Old Town New York, back in time to her mother to be published, B) Amy writes the afterward to the book, and C) the publisher stamp on the spine of the book says “Pond Riversandwiched between two wavy water symbols. Becoming a successful publisher is hard enough on its own, let alone becoming a successful female publisher in the face of the sexist 1930s and the decades that follow. But Amelia Williams did.

Amy is no stranger to starting her own business from the ground up. Her experience with her Petrichor perfume line primed her for this. She did exactly the same as she did before and put her determination, creativity, ability to invent, and inspiration from her own life to use to create Pond River and ensure it thrived. Check.

Moreover, Amy was a survivor. She landed in 1938 with nothing but her husband and the clothes on her back, but Amy has always made the most with little to nothing. When the Doctor arrived in her house twelve years after he said, she was caught off guard, but put to use the things she had: a cricket bat and her kissogram police uniform. When she she needed to get through a locked street on Starship UK, she picked the lock with a hair pin. When she needed to leave a message for the Doctor and Rory on Apalapucia and didn’t have a pen, she left it in lipstick. When she had to survive for four decades on a deserted planet against an army of robots attempting to kill her, she tricked the robots into disabling one another and disassembled them, using their spare parts as armor. She even had the genius to hack the computer system to use in her favor and build her own sonic screwdriver out of scraps. When she wanted to get one final message to the Doctor with no way to talk to him, she left it in a foreword of her daughter’s book. Surviving and thriving for the remainder of her life in a well populated foreign country was nothing by comparison. Check.

Children’s author (“The Bells of Saint John” and Summer Falls and Other Stories)

Not only did Amy write afterwards, forewards, and publish for others, she began writing children’s literature and became famous for it.

After serving as a travel writer and being inundated with stories for Pond River, not to mention her childhood of storytelling, it was no surprise Amy eventually began writing for children herself. She was a child with a vibrant imagination, steeped in fantasy enough to pray to Santa, and she intimately knew the needs of children to escape unsavory lives. Check.

As she did with her perfume line, her travel writing, and her publishing company, she used her life experiences as inspiration to fuel her work such as modeling Kate Webster and the Caretaker off herself and the Doctor and deciding to write a story about a little girl with special powers, lost on the streets of New York, after her daughter. Check.

To say that Amy Pond didn’t do anything, to say that she flitted from job to job with no rhyme or reason, is not only baseless, it’s blatantly dishonest. As dissected above, every one of Amy’s jobs are rooted in carefully constructed characterization established in seven-year-old Amelia Pond during “The Eleventh Hour.” Furthermore, each job builds off of the skills and requirements from the job(s) that came before it. Amy’s skill sets were demonstrated time and again in her “Doctor life” and “non-Doctor life.” She was a literal technical genius, on par with the likes of Torchwood’s resident tech genius, Toshiko Sato, who corrected faulty blueprints for another sonic device with far more resources at her disposal than Amy possessed on Apalapucia. Amy was creative, she was observant, she was an inventor, she was a businesswoman.

America was lucky to get her in her latter years, because she is the epitome of our “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” success narrative. Amy Pond was able to do it more than once because that was at the core of who she was.

imurfreakingfairygodmother asked: Hey ! Really love your blog :D Could you please recommend me some books like All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven ? I really loved it and want to read more such stories

I loved that book as well! Here are some that I think you may also enjoy. I believe I have quite a bit more that would also fit, so if you’ve already read most of these, just let me know. That last one is one of my personal favorites. Gorgeous book and gorgeous cover! 

I included the summaries from Goodreads below to see if you were interested in any of these! Hope this list helps!

1. Falling into Place by Amy Zhang - Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher.

Keep reading

Submitted to MasterChef by sayattheexplorer

My desire to highlight all the ingredients was really stumped by the mystery box at first. I had extremely pungent  ingredients such as balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, blue cheese, mustard, and Kosher dill pickles. Bringing these flavors out to the same plate and have them not fight each other is no easy task. Drunk Quebecois food and a refreshing Thai salad to balance the weight of the blue cheese gravy made so much sense! I went all out and got intoxicated to test the recipes!

Larb with an international profile

Instead of the traditional fermented fish and lime elements, I used soy sauce, mustard, pickles, and balsamic vinegar. Rice, beef, nuts and the overall flavor profile remain true to the traditional dish that is both Laotian and Northern Thai. Bright and deep in umami, satisfying and flavorful! 

Poutine with blue cheese

Poutine is a specialty of Quebec, typically served as fries with cheese curds and brown gravy. I used blue cheese curds, soy sauce, and beef broth to make mine. It was not surprisingly phenomenal when sober and divine when intoxicated. 

Go to my blog for the detailed instructions to execute this great plate — bon appetit, have fun and stay tuned for the next challenge!

.:BTS & You:. Out

BTS Suga, Jimin, and Jin as your brothers while respectively dating Jungkook, J-Hope, and V | Where you haven’t come home yet (for why?), a mysterious box is left in your house, and you’re at a crowded mall with your boyfriend and overprotective brother

mintycess14 said to quoted-books: Hiii :) Do you know the book “All The Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven? I really love this book and I was wondering if there is also a book similar to it and also a Young adult book :) Thanks :) xxx

I loved that book! Here are some others that you may enjoy- all of them involve dealing with some sort of physical or mental disorder - most of them depression since that fits with Niven’s novel! Let me know if you need any others. 

All of the summaries are from Goodreads! 

1. Falling into Place by Amy Zhang - Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher.

2. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson - Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit. Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery. 

3. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher - Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list. Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

4. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini - Ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life - which means getting into the right high school to get into the right job. But once Craig aces his way into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School, the pressure becomes unbearable. He stops eating and sleeping until, one night, he nearly kills himself. Craig’s suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.

5. Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern - Born with cerebral palsy, Amy can’t walk without a walker, talk without a voice box, or even fully control her facial expressions. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals, and crippling fear. Both in desperate need of someone to help them reach out to the world, Amy and Matthew are more alike than either ever realized. When Amy decides to hire student aides to help her in her senior year at Coral Hills High School, these two teens are thrust into each other’s lives. As they begin to spend time with each other, what started as a blossoming friendship eventually grows into something neither expected. 

6. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira - Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to the dead—to people like Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, Amelia Earhart, and Amy Winehouse—though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating the choppy waters of new friendships, learning to live with her splintering family, falling in love for the first time, and, most important, trying to grieve for May. But how do you mourn for someone you haven’t forgiven?
It’s not until Laurel has written the truth about what happened to herself that she can finally accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was—lovely and amazing and deeply flawed—can she truly start to discover her own path.

Thanks for the question! Happy reading! 


jerryjamesstone’s Breakfast “Panna Cotta”

Inspired by the Italian dessert panna cotta, this breakfast recipe is pure indulgence.

The bottom layer is a “salted” caramel made using soy sauce and brown sugar;  it’s as tasty as it is weird. The middle is stuffed with creamy coconut and vanilla bean grits. And it’s all topped off with a thin layer of grapefruit-fennel marmalade. This dish can easily be made ahead for a breakfast on-the-go or just as a healthier dessert.

Soy Sauce Caramel
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon cream

1. In a small saucepan gently combine the brown sugar, butter and cream. Warm over a medium-low heat until combined, then bring to a simmer over a medium-high heat.
2. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and soy sauce.  

Coconut & Vanilla Bean Grits
1 13.5oz can coconut milk
1/3 cup grits
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt

1. Add the coconut milk to a small saucepan and warm over a medium-low heat.
2. Add in the sugar, salt and vanilla bean seeds.
3. When mixture begins to simmer, add in the grits and cook on a low simmer for about 10 minutes, until the grits are tender.
4. Remove from heat and let stand.

Grapefruit-Fennel Marmalade
½ grapefruit, juiced
1 cup sugar
2 ounces shaved fennel

1. Add the fennel to a small saucepan and sauté over a medium-low heat until just tender and aromatic.
2. Add in the grapefruit juice (I added the pulp too) and the sugar and bring to a boil. Cook until fennel is translucent.

Breakfast “Panna Cotta”
1. Using 8oz widemouth mason jars, cover the bottom layer with Soy Caramel, then the grits, and top off with a thin layer of grapefruit marmalade.
2. Cover and store in the fridge until you’re ready for the most amazing breakfast ever!


Submitted by statelysandwiches

It’s not very often I read a sandwich description that leaves me wondering how those ingredients found their way onto the same plate. The Vermonter was one of the few state sandwich combinations that made me raise an eyebrow. It starts out pretty standard with sliced ham, turkey, and Vermont cheddar (of course). Green apples add a nice crunch but the twist is that these ingredients are all held together with cinnamon raisin bread. The Vermonter takes sweet and savory very seriously.

When I opened this week’s Plated box, I immediately knew I was going to create a variation of The Vermonter. The flavors create an unexpected bite and one that leaves me asking for a second helping.

4 Italian Sausages
1 pound Ground Turkey
Pinch of Garlic Salt
Pinch of Cumin
1 Egg
1 small Onion
Vermont White Cheddar Cheese
1-2 Green Apples
8 slices Cinnamon Raisin Bread
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

1.5 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1.5 tablespoons Honey
1 teaspoon Mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper to taste
Remove sausage from casing and combine with the next four ingredients. Place in the refrigerator.

Slice onion. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil over low heat. Add onion and cook until caramelized.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. White cheddar is crumbly so rather than full slices, simply cut enough small cracker-sized slices to cover bread. Cut green apple into thin slices. Lightly butter both sides of the cinnamon raisin bread and set aside on a baking sheet.

Combine all ingredients to make honey mustard sauce and set aside.

Remove ground meat from the refrigerator. Form thin burger size patties and cook on the stovetop for 4 minutes a side or until cooked through.

Meanwhile, place bread in the oven. Once lightly toasted, remove from the oven and top one side of the bread with cheese. Return to the oven until cheese melts.

Top the bread with the cooked burger, honey mustard sauce, caramelized onions, and green apple slices. Enjoy!

Submitted by Notions and Notations of a Novice Chef

For the final MasterChef mystery box challenge at home we have: Chorizo, Rosemary, Asparagus, Orechiette, AP Flour, Ground beef, Grits, Canned baby corn, Garlic powder, White rice and Butter.

It’s my personal favorite basket, since the ingredients are all pretty versatile and don’t have the tendency to point to one specific cuisine. My submission is pretty simple and uses three of the above as its main components. Let’s get started:


  • 1 cup water
  • 8 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb asparagus
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

Bring water and water to a boil in medium saucepan over high heat. Add in all the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until a smooth dough forms. Reduce heat to medium low and cook while stirring until the dough pulls away from the sides of the saucepan.

Remove pot from heat and add in the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition to prevent the eggs from curdling. Add in the chese and chopper parsley. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a ½ inch tip.

Let mixture rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer. Have a rimmed baking sheet ready on the side. Holding the bag over the boiling water, squeeze the mixture out and cut it off with a knife or scissor into 1-inch lengths and let them fall into to water. Continue cutting as many as you can in 1 minute, then stop.

When all the gnocchis have floated to the top, continue cooking for about 3 more minutes. Fish them out with a metal spider and transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Repeat with remaining dough. Set aside to cool for another 30 minutes.

Trim and blanch the asparagus in salted water. Cut into bite sized pieces and set aside.

Heat the unsalted butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add in the gnocchi and cook until brown and toasty. Add in the blanched asparagus and season to taste.

Grate some parmesan cheese or any cheese you like on top before serving.


Hipsterfood highlighted the fragrant fennel in this veganized homage to fettucine alfredo.

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Fennel & black pepper cream sauce

  1. Chop the fennel bulb into a small dice.
  2. Put a tablespoon of coconut oil into a large sauté pan on high heat. Toss in the fennel and let it sear for a minute, then turn the heat to medium-low. Squeeze in about a tablespoon of the grapefruit and let the fennel brown & cook down for about five minutes, stirring every so often so that it doesn’t burn.
  3. Remove about 1/3 of the cooked fennel and set aside. Pour the coconut milk into the pan with the fennel, stirring to remove any coconut clumps, then also add in 3 teaspoons soy sauce, 1 heaping tablespoon cornmeal, a pinch of fine salt, and about 2 teaspoons of freshly cracked pepper.
  4. Stir everything together, turn the heat to as low as possible, and let it heat until everything else is ready, stirring occasionally. If it isn’t thickening up, add in cornmeal 1 teaspoon at a time until it thickens into a cream sauce.

Lentil “meat”balls

  1. Cook the lentils until tender, about 10 minutes on medium-high heat.
  2. Strain and pour into a mixing bowl with the reserved cooked fennel, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, two heaping pinches minced fresh fennel leaves, 5 tablespoons cornmeal, and salt and pepper.
  3. Using a potato masher, mash everything together until the lentils are broken down and everything is combined. Form them into golf ball-sized pieces. Keep adding in corn meal, one teaspoon at a time, if they’re not sticking together.
  4. Heat a pan with a tablespoon of coconut oil, letting it get very hot. Add in a few meatballs at a time, turning them as they brown on each side. Let them cook until all crispy on the outside.

Cook the linguine until tender, then serve with the sauce and meatballs. Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Curry
submitted by cookingwithleftovers

This is a meal for a cold winter night. It just happens to be the dead of summer, but the pumpkin in this Master Chef Mystery Box beckoned for this dish to be made. The power is in the spice mixture. It is spicy but creamy and rich..

1 pound chicken, cubed
½ cup pearl onions, peeled and sliced
½ jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 can chicken broth (2 cups)
½ can pumpkin puree (1 cup)
1 cup fresh garbanzo beans, shelled
10 grape tomatoes, quartered
5 baby corns, halved
Spice mixture- 1 teaspoon curry powder, 1 teaspoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1/3 teaspoon chili powder
The chicken was on the bone so I cut it off and then into large cubes. Coat it in the spice mixture. Sweat the onions and jalapeno in some oil for a few minutes, then add the chicken and sear on medium high heat for 5 minutes.

Add in the pumpkin, stock, tomatoes, beans, corn, turn down the heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes until thickened up a bit. Season well with salt and pepper to taste.

Either eat in a bread bowl (me) or over a bit of rice (Meg). Either way, garnish it with avocado and it will blow you away..

Box 2 items: chicken, pearl onions, grape tomatoes, jalapenos, garbanzo beans, black olives, pumpkin, baby corn, and chicken stock.

We just ate the olives for dessert.


The Dumpling’s The Thing…
Submitted to MasterChef by thewayweate

Dumplings, may the one food loved the world over. While many cultures stake a claim to the origin of the dumpling (writing can be found over 1500 years old in both Roman-era Italy and Han Dynasty China heralding the joy of dumpling) the culinarians of today could care less. Personally, i’d much rather pursue the next dumpling than debate it’s origins. With a multitude of glutenous deliciousness to choose from, including dumplings from Korea, China, Georgia and a multitude of other nations, diners would be hard pressed to find a cuisine in the world that doesn’t serve a signature dumpling.

If these wonderful treasures wrapped in small parcels are new to you, perhaps one of the finest and most delicious examples available are the wonderful dumplings that are offered in Eastern European and Russian culture. While the recipes provided below by no means attempt to convey authenticity, they are quite celebratory of the spirit, flavor and history of a captivating part of the world, and their enchanting cuisine.

Bleu Cheese Pierogi, Pelmeni in Dressing & Free Form Varenyky

Prepare an all-purpose dumpling dough.

½ Cup Whole Milk
½ Cup Water
1 Large Egg
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
Pinch of Salt
3 Cups All-Purpose Flour

In a large non-reactive bowl, whisk the egg, water, milk, Oil and salt together.
Add the Flour, ½ cup at a time, incorporating with a wooden paddle.

Once the dough has formed and is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl, remove the dough and place on a floured work surface. Knead the dough for 5 full minutes, adding flour as necessary. Do not add more than ½ cup of flour or the dough will become too tough.

Roll the dough into a large ball and flour liberally, Place in a clean, non-reactive bowl, and cover with a towel. Let the dough rest at room temperature for ½ - 1 Hour.

To make all three dumplings, divide dough into thirds.

Bleu Cheese Piergoi

3 Medium sized potatoes
¼ Cup Crumbled Bleu Cheese
½ Large Yellow Onion
1 Teaspoon Yellow Mustard
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1/8 Teaspoon Table Salt
1/8 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
2-4 Cups Vegetable Oil
½ Cup Sour Cream

Peel and chop potatoes into 4-6 pieces each. Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with 1 inch of cold water. Set pan over medium high heat to boil. Once boiling reduce to medium low and simmer potatoes for 15 minutes. When tender drain potatoes in a colander and allow them to completely drain out. Meanwhile, Chop ½ onion very fine and add it to a saute pan with the butter set over medium heat, turning  the onions frequently. Caramelize onions slowly for about 15 minutes until deep golden brown, but don’t allow them to burn. Reduce flame to low if necessary. Remove from flame and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Add cooled onion and butter mixture and potatoes to a metal bowl and mash them. Add salt, pepper and mustard and combine well. Add Bleu Cheese and fold in with a spatula. Set mixture aside.

Using 1/3 of the All-Purpose Dough, knead dough slightly over heavily floured surface. Roll dough into a rope and cut off 1 inch sections using a heavy knife. Roll each section into a disc using a straight or french rolling pin. Stack the discs on top of each other, adding flour in between each layer.

Using 1 disc at a time, place 1 heaping teaspoon of the potato mixture on a disc. fold the disc over into a half-moon shape and pinch well. Crimp edges using a fork. Repeat for all the remaining disc, placing the pierogi on a floured plate.

In a deep frying pan, add about 1 inch of Vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat to 350 Degrees. Fry the pierogi in batches and let them drain over absorbent paper. Serve the Pierogi warm with a side dish of sour cream.

Pelmeni in Dressing

1 Large Yellow Onion
3 Garlic Cloves, Peeled
1 Pound Ground Beef
2 Dill Pickles
1 Teaspoon Yellow Mustard
1 Teaspoon Soy Sauce
½ Teaspoon Table Salt
½ Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
½ Cup Sour Cream
1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Fresh Dill, Finely Minced

Peel and coarsely chop onion and add to the work bowl of a food processor, Coarsely chop the pickles and add them with the garlic to the work bowl. pulverize the onion with the garlic and pickles until very finely chopped. add the mixture to a bowl. Add Mustard, Soy Sauce, Salt, and pepper to bowl and combine well.

Using 1/3 of the All-Purpose Dough, knead dough slightly over heavily floured surface. Roll dough into a rope and cut off 1 inch sections using a heavy knife. Roll each section into a disc using a straight or french rolling pin. Stack the discs on top of each other, adding flour in between each layer.

Using 1 disc at a time, place 1 heaping teaspoon of the Beef mixture on a disc. fold the disc over into a half-moon shape and pinch well. Fold the two points of the moon over each other and press, making a purse shape. Repeat for all the remaining disc, placing the Pelmeni on a floured plate.

Heat 2 quarts of salted water over a very high flame, and bring to a boil. Reduce water to simmering and add the pelmeni. Pelmeni will need about 6-8 Minutes to cook and is generally “done” when floating. Remove a single pelmeni from the water and check inside that the meat is cooked.

Remove remaining pelmeni with a slotted spoon and allow them to drain well in a colander.
Meanwhile prepare the dressing in a large, non-reactive bowl by adding the sour cream, vinegar and dill. Combine well. Add the drained pelmeni and coat them well, but carefully in the sauce, using a rubber spatula. Serve the Pelmeni in the sauce, about 4-5 for each person, and add more dill as garnish if desired.

Free Form Varenyky

1 Large Yellow Onion (divided in half)
2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled
½ Pound Ground Beef
1 Dill Pickles
¼ Teaspoon Yellow Mustard
¼ Teaspoon Table Salt
¼ Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
½ Cup Medium Grain Rice
6 Medium Sized White Mushrooms
½ Large Yellow Onion
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
6-8 Large Iceberg Lettuce Leaves, Minced Fine
1 ½ Cups Water
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce

Peel and coarsely chop ½ of the onion and add to the work bowl of a food processor, Coarsely chop the pickle and add it with the garlic to the work bowl. pulverize the onion with the garlic and pickles until very finely chopped. add the mixture to a bowl. Add Mustard, Salt, and pepper to bowl and combine well. Set mixture aside.

Chop the mushroom very finely and set aside. Chop ½ onion very fine and add it to a saute pan with the butter set over medium heat, turning  the onions frequently. Caramelize onions slowly for about 10 minutes until medium golden brown, but don’t allow them to burn. Reduce flame to low if necessary. To this mixture add the mushrooms and allow them to cook down, about another 10 minutes. Add minced lettuce leaves to mixture and allow to wilt. Add balsamic vinegar and soy sauce and stir all the ingredients well.

Add the rice to the mixture and coat the grains well. Turning frequently for about 2 minutes. Add the water to the mixture, ½ cup at a time, allowing the water to absorb between each addition. Turn frequently. After all water has been incorporated. Set aside to cool for five minutes then add the onion mixture to the rice mixture.

Using 1/3 of the All-Purpose Dough, knead dough slightly over heavily floured surface. Roll dough into a rope and cut off 1 inch sections using a heavy knife. Roll each section into a disc using a straight or french rolling pin. Stack the discs on top of each other, adding flour in between each layer.

Using 1 disc at a time, place 1 heaping teaspoon of the Beef/Onion mixture on a disc.
Using your fingers first bring up two points of the disc together over the mixture, then the opposite two points, creating four points of the disc to meet over the mixture inside. Pinch together and twist to create a purse shape with a sealed top. Repeat for all the remaining disc, placing the Varenyky on a floured plate.

Heat 2 quarts of salted water over a very high flame, and bring to a boil. Reduce water to simmering and add the Varenyky. Varenyky will need about 6-8 Minutes to cook and is generally “done” when floating. Remove a single Varenyky from the water and check inside that the meat is cooked.

Remove remaining Varenyky with a slotted spoon and allow them to drain well in a colander.
Serve the Varenyky cooled to warm, about 4-5 for each person, and add more dill as garnish if desired.

Asian Mushroom Meatballs with Rice and Toasted Peanuts

Submitted to MasterChef by Plated


10 ounces Ground Beef

1.5 tablespoons Soy Sauce, divided

.5  tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

8 ounces Button Mushrooms

.75 cup White Rice

.25 cup Peanuts

canola oil

salt and pepper

Prepare Ingredients

Preheat oven to 350[degrees]F. Pat beef dry and season with salt and pepper. Wipe mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel. Discard stems and roughly chop caps.

Roughly chop peanuts.

Cook Rice

In a small pot, bring rice, 1.25 cups water, and a pinch salt to a boil over high heat. Stir once, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 12 minutes. Remove pot from heat and allow to stand, still covered, for 10 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork, and set aside.

Saute Mushrooms

Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add mushrooms to pan and cook until softened and slightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Add .5 tablespoon soy sauce and .5 tablespoon balsamic vinegar to pan, and cook until absorbed, about 3 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Set aside.

Make Meatballs

Combine sauteed mushrooms with the ground beef, mustard, and remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce in a medium bowl. Roll mixture into 1-inch balls and place on a baking sheet. Bake until browned on outside and no longer pink, about 12 minutes

Toast Nuts

On a baking sheet, arrange peanuts in a single layer. Toast until golden and fragrant, 6-8 minutes.

Plate dish

Divide rice evenly between two plates, and top with meatballs. Sprinkle toasted peanuts on top.

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