Eat & Watch: Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes & Dead Poets Society


When I watched the classic film Dead Poets Society a couple of months ago, I couldn’t help but notice the scene where Mr. Keating, the character played by Robin Williams, helps himself to a mountain of freshly whipped mashed potatoes. When I think of mashed potatoes, my mind immediately thinks of one of the best times of the year – Thanksgiving.

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mashed potatoes

Instead of making mashed potatoes in boiling water as I usually do, I tried making them in my slow cooker. This Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes recipe allows for a lot of freedom with ingredients and for trying new flavors. Garlic, sour cream, butter, whipped milk, cheese, green onions, bacon, ham – any and all of these tasty ingredients can be tossed in for added flavor.

While eating these mashed potatoes, enjoy Dead Poets Society, a movie about an English teacher who inspires his students to seize the day and helps them discover their love of poetry. It’s a beautiful and moving film, and Robin Williams – as always – is inspiring and energetic in his performance.

Have a happy Thanksgiving, and enjoy these mashed potatoes and movie combo!

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Eat & Watch: Homemade Baby Ruth Candy Bars & The Goonies


If you’re not feeling trick-or-treating or going out to any Halloween parties this year, spend the night at home watching classic Halloween movies (or horror films, if you’re into that) and making homemade candy. Since Halloween falls on a Saturday, your entire day can be filled with spooky festivities or spending time by the stove stirring caramel and layering sugary sauces to indulge in that evening – I prefer the latter.

I’ve always wanted to try making homemade candy. After watching the 1985 adventure comedy film, The Goonies, I figured this was the perfect time to give homemade candy a go. The Baby Ruth candy bar makes an appearance in one of the scenes that involves Chunk, one of the young boys in the group of friends. The Goonies is about a group of young friends who find a treasure map and attempt to find the treasure where “X” marks spot. A group of criminals, the Fratellis, is also after the pirate treasure, creating a challenge for the group of friends along the way.

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The scene that involves the Baby Ruth candy bar is when Chunk is captured by the Fratellis and tied up to a chair in the basement next to Sloth, the deformed brother of the Fratelli sons. Chunk befriends Sloth by offering him a Baby Ruth, and together they break free and escape the basement. Though there is a variety of food in the movie (mainly because Chunk likes to eat), the Baby Ruth stands out because it is how Chunk and Sloth become friends, which ultimately saves their lives.

BR 2

In my attempt to make a homemade Baby Ruth, I set aside a good three to four hours. Candy takes time to make, so start it when you have plenty of time to do things right. Many recipes will say to use a candy thermometer, but I share David Lebovitz’s belief that “there’s nothing like your senses to tell you when food is prepared to your liking.” When the caramel becomes the color of an old copper penny you’ll know it’s ready. The mixture will get frothy and thick, so when you see those things you’ll know you’re doing something right.



Baby Ruths consist of nougat, caramel, peanuts, and chocolate – this is my take on the beloved candy bar:

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That’s a Wrap!


For the most part, the temperature has significantly cooled. Last weekend, however, was so warm that it warranted indulging in a strawberry sorbet popsicle from Popbar. I am eager for the holidays, which in my mind officially begins on Halloween. From then on it’s a whirlwind of excitement, holiday lights, hot chocolate, and festive activities. Oh, and there’s also this. It’s not a truly fulfilled holiday season unless Bill Murray’s in it. Until then, let’s wrap up the week with a recap…

RUN THE SHOW: Hollywood’s top showrunners.

MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING: Is being turned into a TV comedy series.

CAT CORA: And how she overcame sexism in the kitchen.

LOBSTER LOVE: Behind Maine’s mysterious lobster bonanza.

MAKEOVER: Written recipes get a new look.

SELF-PUBLISHING: Why Hollywood keeps turning to it.

SMARTIES: The retro candy is thriving.

POTAYTO, POTAHTO: How to make potatoes.

SUCCESS: How to succeed in Shondaland.

Have an enjoyable weekend!

Image by Lauren Jessen

Eat & Watch: Homemade Tuna Casserole & Manhattan Murder Mystery


Manhattan Murder Mystery is one of Woody Allen’s funniest movies – it’s filled with classic Woody Allen one-liners, a healthy balance of comedy and crime, and humorous and easy banter between Diane Keaton and Woody Allen. In this 1993 film, Woody Allen is a book editor named Larry Lipton who is married to Carol, a free spirit who is open to trying new things. Carol becomes suspicious when their neighbor’s wife dies, and she wants to investigate to find out if it was her neighbor who killed his wife. Larry, in the typical Woody Allen way, doesn’t want to leave his apartment. Ultimately, the two start looking further into what happened, with a couple of friends joining in along the way.

Woody Allen’s films are always packed with one-liners that usually prompt laughing out loud. One subtle line in particular is when he casually says, “Here, taste my tuna casserole and tell if I put in too much hot fudge.” It was this one line that inspired me to make tuna casserole from scratch, without any hot fudge, of course.

in the kitchen

This homemade tuna casserole is comforting, filling, and loaded with flavor. You’re going to help yourself to seconds and thirds. I used fresh ingredients such as mushroom, onion, celery, and milk instead of using canned soup as a base. Even though the tuna casserole is made from scratch, it doesn’t take more than an hour and a half to make. Super doable with plenty of time to watch Woody Allen and Diane Keaton humorously solve a crime.


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Homemade Tuna Casserole Recipe

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Eat & Watch: Pulled Pork Sandwiches & Rudy


We’re a couple of weeks into football season, and though the team I’m rooting for has lost both games so far, I still have hope for a victorious turnaround. Sundays in the fall are a little more relaxing knowing that the day will be spent with not only football, but good food. I purchased a Slow Cooker in anticipation of lazy Sundays, and it may have been the best purchase I’ve made in a long time. Slow Cooker Sundays is officially happening.

In honor of football season kicking off (hah), I watched the classic movie Rudy. I first watched Rudy on a middle school camping trip amongst all my peers, but I admit I only remember certain scenes and it didn’t move me the way I feel like it should have. Rudy is about a young man who is determined to overcome the odds of his small build and circumstances to fulfill his dream of playing college football for the University of Notre Dame.

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It’s always inspiring to see someone overcome their situation and work hard to make their dreams come true, but what I liked most about this movie was that it was realistic about the outcome. Rudy is certainly uplifting and powerful, and don’t be alarmed if you get emotional at times.

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Rudy 1

I made pulled pork sandwiches, Cole Slaw, and homemade BBQ sauce to eat while watching Rudy. Pulled pork sandwiches are insanely delicious for not only movie night, but also for game day. Pop the pork in the Slow Cooker or oven and let the magic happen while you run errands, clean, prepare other snacks, or get started on the movie/football game. These sandwiches do take some planning ahead of time since you’ll want to let the pork slow cook on the lowest setting for about 8 hours. I cooked my 2.5 pound pork shoulder for 7.5 hours, and it turned out delicious. Melt-in-your-mouth delicious. The BBQ sauce seems more difficult than it actually is to make, but it’s really not to bad and a little bit goes a long way.


Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches Recipe

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That’s a Wrap!

German Bratwurst nyc street fair

This was a great food week, to say the least. From apple picking in the Hudson Valley to German Bratwursts at a street fair to a late night Italian street festival, there certainly hasn’t been a shortage of delicious food in the past seven days. The Emmy Awards are this weekend, so that’ll be the major event for Sunday (and of course, the Seahawks game!). We’re slowly making our way toward Awards Season.  Until then, let’s wrap up the week with a recap…

MOVIE THEATER PRETZELS: These beloved theater snacks might become a thing of the past.

WHAT DO YOU HEAR?: The art of sound in movies. The sound of rain is actually bacon frying.

BIO-PICS: The difficulty of making movies about geniuses.

READ OR WATCH: 10 books that are nothing like their film adaptations.

OH! THE HORROR: Horror films are the best deal in Hollywood.

FALL BUCKET LIST: Recipes to make this season.

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Jamaica Jerk Chicken.

Have a lovely weekend!

Image by Lauren Jessen

Eat & Watch: Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts & Good Will Hunting


The official first day of autumn may not be until September 23rd, but I’m already over the summer season and am starting to embrace the cooler weather and changing color of the leaves.

One way to get into the spirit of the season is to partake in autumn activities, one being apple picking. In an attempt to escape New York City for a little while, to reconnect with nature, and to get fresh apples for a recipe, what better way to spend a Saturday morning than to pick fruit from trees?




I visited Fishkill Farms in the Hudson Valley and both the farm and Valley were gorgeous. It was my first time out to the area, and it’s no wonder people plan their weddings there. It’s an hour and a half drive from New York City, and it’s so refreshing to be surrounded by trees and grass instead of skyscrapers and concrete, even if just for a day.


With the variety of apples I picked (Fuji, McIntosh, Spartan, Jonamac), I made baked apple cider doughnuts inspired by the emotional film, Good Will Hunting. Not only does the movie take place in the fall, but there’s a scene when Will Hunting, a highly intelligent young man who comes from working-class South Boston, gets the number from a woman he fancies and brags about it to a rich kid from Harvard (Clark) who insulted him earlier in the Harvard bar. Will approaches a restaurant window where he sees Clark sitting and through the window asks him if he likes apples. Clark says yes, and Will slaps the woman’s number on a napkin up against the window and proclaims, “Well, I got her number. How do you like them apples?”



Autumn, apples, a great movie. Apple cider doughnuts were the way to go not only because they are a staple at most apple picking farms, but also because watching a movie while eating doughnuts is a winning combination. I chose to bake the doughnuts, and I added in little chunks of the freshly picked apples. I used coconut sugar instead of white sugar (a great and easy substitute!), and used apple cider from Fishkill Farms. Fresh and delicious. Don’t forget a doughnut pan and you’ll be all set for making these autumn treats.


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