Excess is Just Enough.

Get Series(ous) #14

This week has been filled with tragedy and rhetoric. People slinging mud whilst others are simply trying to survive. We need some light, some humor, some incredibly inappropriate .gifs to relieve the pall which has settled so heavily on our terra firma.

Not to worry, I’m pretty boss at making/finding inappropriate .gifs.

And it’s time to Get Series(ous), and find the next series you should devour. And I mean devour. 

So, for whom is this series a good fit?

Let’s see…

This guy is your hero.

This thought has entered your mind more than once when you experienced an “encounter.”

This image makes you simultaneously dizzy and it makes you think this:

and this:

This series is for someone who likes a bit of dick in her dude. She likes a guy who may or may not be entirely PC all of the time, but it’s not because he’s racist or misogynist, but instead because he’s lost the ability to give a single fuck. This reader is turned on by bilingual men who can do more than just wear a suit and earn a paycheck. This reader loves a storyline that is linear with just enough zany to keep you on your toes, and keep the pages turning. This reader probably likes this movie:

It’s on Netflix. Watch it.


(Yes, I love that movie in a way that can only be described as “reckless.” Shut it. Yes, I watch sans subtitles. NO, that’s not influencing this post. {a lot.})

What’s the series?

The Amour et Chocolat series by Laura Florand. (Love and Chocolate).

Why do I love it?

So many reasons. First, they’re beautiful. The stories, the language–bits of French are scattered through the text–the characters, the setting. All beautiful. They’re completely fantasical. There are “witches” making chocolat chaud, (hot cocoa–recipe to come) a billionaire heiress breaking into chocolate shops, a woman bent on world peace settling with a brut of a chocolatier.

But the fantasy just makes the storyline that much sweeter.

Laura Florand crafts these novels with the same focus and skill that a chocolatier uses when creating the tiny works of confectionary art, and the result is equally as rich and satisfying. (Not to mention less-fattening!)

These novels transport you to the banks of the Seine, with the entire history of the City of Light whispering in the echoes of each installment.

BONNE! Tres jolie. J’aime! J’adore.

These books make you hungry–not only for decadent french food and confections–but more additional installments of the series. It becomes compulsive.

Laura Florand is now an “auto-buy” for me. Meaning, if she comes out with a new book–I’m buying it. And I’ll probably enjoy it with a chocolat et un verre de vin. (ou trois!)

What recipe complements this series?


Molten Chocolate Almondine.

Molten Chocolate Almondine

(psssst, it’s dairy free and egg free and my fancy pants french friend could not tell!) (french purposefully not capitalized as the French do not capitalize nationalities used as an adjective.)


Molten Chocolate Almondine

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Keywords: bake dessert vegan soy-free

Ingredients (4 ramekins)

  • 1/2 cup aquafabas (the water reserved from a can of white beans)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup salted almond butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa–sifted twice
  • 1/2 cup flour–sifted twice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup espresso
  • 4 squares of Ghiradelli (or whatevs) 72% dark chocolate.
  • coconut oil or cooking spray for the ramekins


preheat the oven to 375F

spray the ramekins with cooking spray or brush with coconut oil

in a mixer on high with the whisk attachment whisk the aquafabas to stiff peaks

in a separate bowl, melt the chocolate. (I do it in the microwave in 30 second increments)

stir in the coffee and almond butter

gently stir in remaining ingredients save the aquafabas and squares

fold chocolate mixture into the aquafabas slowly

pour into the prepared ramekins

insert a square into the center of each

bake for 15 minutes

serve. (with wine and ice cream)

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Simple Tattie Scones

Blind Superheroes Probably Don’t Have Time to Cook

The past week and a half has been a really trying time. Missing the marathon, dealing with health issues that leave me on the sidelines, and OMGSOMUCHEFFINGSCHOOLSHIT, have left me feeling ugggghhhh.

I’ve been stuck mostly in bed or at work, and I’m going insane. Rather more quickly than I would like, but at precisely the pace I expect. I’m in a bit of a reading…well,…funk. The PSM

bloggif_55281d7b9fab5and I have been working on a project for a few months, and it requires the mass consumption of romance novels, and I’m burned. However, there will be a book review of a NON-romance coming up here on B2B that I think will make everyone excited.

Alas, that was but one book. My time has been woefully long, and I’ve been in dire need of redirection from my own deep bouts of self-flagellating.

My husband and I are huge geek/nerds. We love science and comics and dungeons and dragons and long and winding discussions about books, movies, theology, food, everything. Our children are similarly consumed with the need to learn, to know, to revel in the feeling of passion about the fantastic–the absurd.

Lately, he’s been sending me text after text, and waxing poetic about a new series that he declares I MUST WATCH right this instant. Daredevil on Netflix. We were both huge fans of the comic years ago, and were so completely and utterly turned off by the Ben Affleck version. I was reticent to watch. I knew that there was so much on Netflix I loved, but I was in the mindset of “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, Jennifer Garner is not Electra.”

But Netflix’s version? OH MY GAWD. It’s dark. It’s gritty. It’s VINCENT FUCKING DONOFRIO AS KINGPIN. Deborah Ann Woll (from True Blood) as Karen Page?! Just, just…oh dear. Just, perfect. PERFECT.

I cannot believe I didn’t watch every single episode in one sitting. I wanted to open up my mind and pour it in like so much water.

Also? Points to the Foley artist. The sound is SO important in this series. It’s how Matthew Murdock gets all of his information. It’s how he fights, how he lives, how he sees. The trippy background music, the sonar pings, the mashing and thudding impact of bone and flesh on bone and flesh, is incredible. It’s more than a cleaver through celery. These artists are pulling out all the stops, mixing music with the nearly tactile sounds of daily life. Incredible.

I cant get enough of this series. I have no desire to wait months and months to get more episodes. Alas, though I blog for Netflix, they don’t love me enough (or trust me–rightly so) to let me see their (yet unfilmed) episodes.



Anyway, here’s some food. We never really see them “enjoying” food so much on the show, so I’m giving you something fun to eat. My hypothesis is that saving New York City from evil assholes doesn’t leave much time to enjoy a homemade meal.

I would soooo cook for Matt Murdock–or, at least, heat things up with him.

I made tattie scones. They’re like a potato pancake (like, exactly) but infinitely more interesting to Americans because of their cutesy Scottish name. They’re also bigger, like a crepe. Mother truckers in Scotland don’t mess around with their tuber-based foods. They embrace them. Like a hug…Come on, America. We need more large, potato filled finger foods.

French fries, potato chips, tater tots, potato skins, and those awesome, giant, curly whirly chip-type creations which are deep-fried at the fair, are not enough. Duh.

Tattie Scones

Simple Tattie Scones

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 1 hour (mostly down time)

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Keywords: fry

Ingredients (10 cakes)

  • 1 lb russet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup soft butter
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • pepper to taste
  • more butter for the pan.


wash, prick, and bake potatoes at 350F for about an hour or until fork-tender

when beginning to cool, peel the potatoes

mash with remaining ingredients

roll into 6″-1/8″ rounds on a floured surface

fry in butter on each side for a few minutes until they’re tasty-crispy brown!

top with savory or sweet ingredients.

(I like sour cream or cream cheese and tomatoes.)

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Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.
Though Netflix sponsored these posts, all opinions and recipes are my own.
revamped tequila and tonic

Kick the Protagonist in the Scull.

There is nothing more I needed last weekend than a complete literary escape. I’m tied up in knots about Boston, I was supposed to see a friend, and spend several hours sculling on the Hudson, and relaxing. Instead, I was bringing the winter coats back out of the closet, caring for sick children, and sanitizing every surface in my home.

Kids are disgusting germ machines. It’s a good thing they’re cute.

So, I curled up on the sofa, cozy in my hazmat suit and oxygen tank, and dug into a new book series.

I promptly finished the new series.

I then cried all the rivers of all the tears that I have to wait for more books from one of my favorite contemporary authors.

What’s the series?

Well, since the only one currently available is the first book of the series of three, I shall review that one, k? K.


The Blurb:

One week.
Private beach.
Invisible girl.
Jerk-faced bully.
What’s the worst that could happen?
Kaitlyn Parker has no problem being the invisible girl, which is why she finds herself hiding in various cabinets and closets all over her college campus. Despite her best efforts, she can’t escape the notice of Martin Sandeke—bad boy, jerkface bully, and the universe’s hottest, wealthiest, and most unobtainable bachelor—who also happens to be Kaitlyn’s chemistry lab partner.
Kaitlyn might be the only girl who isn’t interested in exploiting his stunning rower’s build, chiseled features, and family’s billionaire fortune. Kaitlyn wants Martin for his brain, specifically to tabulate findings of trace elements in surface water.
When Kaitlyn saves Martin from a nefarious plot, Martin uses the opportunity to push Kaitlyn out of her comfort zone: spring break, one week, house parties, bathing suits, and suntan lotion. Can she overcome her aversion to being noticed? Will he be able grow beyond his self-centered nature? Or, despite their obvious chemistry, will Martin be the one to drive Kaitlyn into the science cabinet of obscurity for good?

What did I think?

I loved it. Honestly. I’m not just saying that. 

I will be 100% honest with you, I typically do not like YA or NA books. There are a few exceptions, but mostly, this is the case. I’m just not into them. It typically takes A LOT to bend me in this.

Attraction definitely piqued and maintained my interest, as well as implanted a hunger for the rest of the series. I didn’t feel as though I was reading the typical NA that I simply cannot relate to in any manner. It made me cringe and laugh and remember every ridiculous and awful and memorable thing I did at age 19. In a good way. Because *cough*Xnumberofyears*cough* later, I can now look back and see what I’ve learned, and laugh at my own ridiculous antics.

I’ve been a fan of Penny Reid since her first book, Neanderthal Seeks Humanand have continued to read every single thing she writes.

Seriously, I’m contemplating stalking her to read her grocery list, because it’s probably hilarious. It probably reads like this.

Reid Household Groceries:




Golden Grahams

Cheap Box of Fiber Cereal to hide bag of Golden Grahams




possible weapons for world domination: think chocolate covered bacon donuts



Sometimes I have a hard time reeling in my inner creeper.

Moving on!!

As I read this first-person narrative, I felt as though I was seeing through Kaitlyn Parker’s eyes, and sharing her feels in my feels. At one point while reading the book, I realized I had chewed my lower lip to full redness and chapped anger–a habit I thought I shrugged off years ago. Apparently, if given enough early adulthood empathy, I can revert back to an early adult. (If only this worked on my skin and boobs.)

I feel like I should tell everyone…this book ends in a cliffhanger. HOWEVER, these books are being released fairly close together, and it’s NBD. It’s also TOTALLY worth it. It is chock full of the humor and absurd circumstances you’ve come to expect from Penny Reid, and also has the underlying heart that makes the book more than just a really funny romance.

But if you think for one second I didn’t create a meme for this book…

Attraction by Penny Reid

The heroine, Kaitlyn is navigating the often (read:always) tumultuous experience of first love. She’s uniquely written and utterly lovable. She’s flawed, and at times very immature, and she’s unsure and intelligent and wonderful. She’s exactly what a 19 year old should be. If she didn’t suffer from bouts of insecurity or impetuous behavior, or just pure post-adolescent stupidity, she wouldn’t be a realistic character. She’d be fluff.

The love interest, Martin made me want to put my head through a wall. To put it simply, he’s an asshole. Ok, Kaitlyn refers to him as a “jerkface,” but really…he’s a 20 year old boy, which in general would mean probably still an asshole, (I have a brother, I think he grew out of that phase at…I’ll let you know when it happens. JK, 23. I’ll say 23. Loves you, baby bruvah!) However, he’s not only an asshole because he’s 20–though…–he’s the son of what is possibly the King Master Overlord Asshole Diminutively-Dicked Shitbucket.

joke that eleven people will get.

So Martin may have a mite bit of emotional baggage. Just a hair. However, it appears as though he is actively trying to deactivate his inner dickhead tendencies. He shows small acts of unexpected kindness, and really tries to make sense of his overwhelming feelings towards Kaitlyn.

In the end, the reason this book worked so well for me is that it was a thoughtfully-written and enjoyable romance that propels the reader into the terrifying psyche of early adulthood with confidence and aplomb. Penny Reid manages the impossible when she swirls her pen into plot, and creates a billionaire who is not cliche and one-dimensional, and a young woman who is genuinely believable in her struggles and successes.

Five masses of hydrogen, helium, and heavy elements.

The Recipe Inspired by the Book:

Ok, it’s a cocktail, and the characters aren’t old enough to drink. That’s fine, I’ll drink their share. 

Since the story begins in Chem lab, and the series is named Elements of Chemistry, I decided to take the theme and RUN WITH IT.

I give you the NaC₆H₁₂O₆ Typical TnT.

AKA, a revamped Tequila and Tonic. Because tonic gloooows.

tequila and tonic

tequila and tonic tequila and tonic


NaC₆H₁₂O₆ Typical TnT: Revamped Tequila and Tonic

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Keywords: beverage


  • 1 part tequila (GOOD TEQUILA)
  • 2 parts tonic water
  • .3 ish parts Chambord
  • ice
  • options: salt rim, rock candy stirrer


shake chambord and tequila or stir all three ingredients with ice.

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Red Wine Cocoa Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Thoughts on Boston.

12 days.

In 12 days I’ll be running the Boston Marathon.

I’m a distance runner. I get lost in the miles. I thrive on the burning ache in my calves and glutes. I actually enjoy the tight constriction of every muscle in my respiratory system. It’s all hot breaths and sweat and endurance. I am more focused on my “self” while running than I am at any other point in my day. It’s as essential to me as sugar or books.

Still. Still, I never thought I’d actually run Boston. It’s one of those things that you tell people “yeah, maybe. I’d like to, but…” and you stop considering it because it seems like such an impossibility.

Logically, I realize that about 36k people run it every year. That’s not huge, but it’s not tiny, either.

Still, still.


Just saying it out loud sounds foreign in my ears. Like I’m speaking in the tongues of the religion of running.

Boston Boston Boston.

It’s euphoric and terrifying.

Boston Boston Boston.

Just typing it, reading it, it no longer looks like a real word, a real name. It’s elevated above that somehow.

Boston Boston Boston.

I never considered myself a racing person. I don’t like to put on clothes that early. I don’t like worrying about chips, or if someone will make a sign for me, or if I’ll puke in public at mile 24. I don’t want to worry about my time for a distance that is better measured in train stops than minutes per mile.

24 miles on the Long Island Rail Road–45 minutes, 15-16 stops, Bethpage. Not far enough. Not far enough to let me read more than a few chapters in my book. Not far enough to let me recite all the monarchs of England and their dates of birth, death, and wives/husbands. (That task requires the time it takes from going from the Coney Island area to Yankee Stadium. Fewer miles with more stops.)

26.2 miles on my feet, propelled by my own power, aided by only the immensity of the task, the energy of my surroundings, the training I’ve completed, and the waves of sound I choose to project into my ears.

26.2 miles through one of America’s oldest cities. Lobster rolls and Red Sox, probably more than one letter written to John Adams telling him what an asshole he is, Marky Mark. The impossible dream of runners.

It feels like the first day of college and graduation all at once. Is it the end? The beginning? Is this like being accepted by MIT, or graduating Summa Cum Laude? Where do I even go from here? Stockholm? London? KONA?!

Do I completely stop caring and just run the most ridiculous races I can find? Ugly sweater Christmas 10k?(fantastic, will the sweater wick moisture? I’ll start learning to knit now.) Naked 5k in Rio? (no.) Geisha run in Kyoto? (this is a thing, however, I’d need to first be a geisha–I think that takes a while, and I think I exceed the height standards.)

I know I don’t stop running. The day I stop running is the day I can no longer run. But, what?

Boston Boston Boston.

For now, I’ll focus on my goals. In 13 days? I’ll think about more in 13 days.

My goals for Boston.

Boston Boston Boston.

  1. I want to complete it. Just start at mile 0 and finish at 26.2.
  2. Ideally, I would do that in 3 hours and 30 minutes.
  3. ENJOY the race. It’s BOSTON.
  4. Get my Blue Steel on EVERYWHERE NEEDED, otherwise, the race will be very un-fun. 
  5. Find the BEST sushi in Boston for post-race noshing.
  6. Spend time with friends and family in an electric atmosphere.

Unofficial #7? Carbo-load with cake. Specifically, this one.

Red Wine Cocoa Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting.

Red Wine Cocoa Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Wine Cocoa Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Wine Cocoa Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Keywords: bake dessert breakfast

Ingredients (1 cake)

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup red wine. (like Cab or Shiraz)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (dark, not dutched)
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder

for the frosting

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, plus more for topping
  • 8 oz softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla


Preheat oven to 350F

cream butter and sugar

add egg, vanilla, and wine

slowly sift in dry ingredients

pour into greased and floured bundt cake pan

bake 30-35 minutes, or until skewer inserted in center comes out clean

let cool completely

for the frosting

melt chocolate chips in microwave on high for 45 seconds, repeat after stirring in 15 second intervals (about 1 minute 15 seconds total)

whip together room temperature cream cheese and powdered sugar

slowly add in melted chocolate, scraping FROM THE BOTTOM frequently

add vanilla


scoop frosting onto bundt and tap the top of the bundt to have it fall over sides of cake

top with more chips or chocolate shavings, or nothing!

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