Nice is Different Than Good

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“Nice is different than good.”
Into the Woods

 

Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.

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Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

I am one of probably a handful of people who actually loves Brussels sprouts. I LOVE them. Blanched, grilled, roasted…I’ll eat them however…and they’re even better if combined with pancetta or bacon…

I mean, what’s not instantly improved with bacon, really?

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Anyway, in an effort to eat more veggies, I’ve been keeping Brussels sprouts in my fridge for last-minute side dish ideas. And since I absolutely HATE grocery shopping, these particular sprouts would have actually started sprouting something if I didn’t use them ASAP…

So I scoured my fridge and pantry for ingredients I could throw together for dinner…and as luck would have it, I happened to have everything I needed to create this tasty rigatoni pasta dish with bacon and Brussels sprouts!

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This pasta dish made WAAAAY too much pasta (not a bad thing, just a forewarning!), so you could easily cut it in half for a more manageable amount. I think next time I might add some grilled chicken, since this dish is a bit lacking on the protein.

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Served alongside a side salad, this Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts and Bacon will force even the pickiest of eaters to widen their palette.

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Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. rigatoni noodles
  • 5-6 large fresh Brussels sprouts, sliced and chopped thin
  • 8-10 slices bacon, diced into small pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook rigatoni noodles according to package instructions.
  2. While your pasta cooks, cook bacon in large skillet.  Once crisp, remove from pan.
  3. Drain bacon grease, leaving enough to coat the bottom of the pan, about 2 tablespoons.
  4. Add chopped Brussels sprouts to the skillet, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.  Add garlic, bread crumbs, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until sprouts soften a bit, about 8 minutes.
  5. Once pasta is done cooking, drain and return to pan.  Add Brussels sprouts mixture to pasta, along with Parmesan cheese and cooked bacon.  Mix to combine.
  6. Drizzle olive oil over pasta.  Add oil to your liking.  Salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve immediately and top with remaining cheese.

 

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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25 Fun Facts You Should Know: BOOK EDITION

With a history that dates back thousands of years, it should come as no surprise that the industry of book publishing is bursting with interesting facts and tidbits. From the longest sentence ever published to the first published novel, this collection of 25 Fun Facts You Should Know: Book Edition is sure to satisfy any bookworm!

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So grab a cup of tea, settle in under a cozy blanket, and have fun learning about the history of books!

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25 Fun Facts You Should Know: BOOK EDITION

According to Google, there have been 129,864,880 books published as of 2010.  Clearly that number is much higher today!

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The first book ever written with typewriter was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

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The most expensive book ever purchased was Codex Leicester by Leonardo Da Vinci.  It was purchased by Bill Gates for a cool $30.8 million.

“Bibliosmia” is the joy of smelling old books.

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One out of every eight letters you read is the letter “E”.

The longest sentence ever printed is in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.  It clocks in at about 823 words.

The average person reads at about 300 words per minute.

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J.R.R. Tolkien typed the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy with two fingers.

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The Harvard University library has four law books bound in human skin.

The longest book in the world is Remembrance of Things Past (A la recherche du temps perdu) by Marcel Proust.  It contains about 9,609,000 characters.

It takes an average of about 475 hours to write an average length novel.  Better get crackin’!

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Women buy about 68% of all books sold.

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There have been more than 20,000 books written about the game of Chess.

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The biggest book in the world is The Klencke Atlas.  It’s about 6 feet tall and 6 feet wide when opened.

In the United States, people buy an average of 57 books per second.

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It took Noah Webster 36 years to write his first dictionary.

The first book described as a best-seller was Fools of Nature by Alice Brown (1889).

Sherlock Holmes has been portrayed in film and television more than any other human character in literature.

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The Bay Psalm Book is the first book written in America…it’s also thought to be the most expensive book in the world.Image result for The Bay Psalm Book

Technically, the first novel ever written was The Tale of Genji in 1007, a work of Japanese literature.

Only about 2% of more than 1/2 million books published each year sell more than 500,000 copies.

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John Milton used 8,000 different words in his epic poem, Paradise Lost.

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The Bible is the world’s best-selling book.  It’s followed by Cervantes’ Don Quixote.

The world’s first eBook was a digital copy of The Declaration of Independence.

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Fluid Concepts And Creative Analogies: Computer Models Of The Fundamental Mechanisms Of Thought was the first book ever purchased on amazon.com.

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Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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The Cast of Pushing Daisies…Where Are They Now?

Whenever I need a little pick-me-up or something to do on a rainy day, I almost always pop in an episode or three of ABC’s Pushing Daisies.  A whimsical and delicious wonderland of a TV show, Pushing Daisies was the story of a pie maker named Ned who had the ability to bring the dead back to life with a single touch.  Of course, this came with a catch…he could only keep the dead alive for one minute before he had to touch them again and make them dead forever.  If he kept something alive for longer than a minute, something else would have to die.  To make matters worse, once Ned touched a dead thing once, he could never touch it again.

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I know it sounds confusing, but it’s quite simple…and Jim Dale is there to narrate your way through it!  I mean, that alone is pretty awesome!  But just in case, here’s an example pulled right from episode 1:

Ned’s dog, Digby, gets hit by a car and is instantly killed.  Ned touches Digby and brings him back to life.  Now, he can touch him again and Digby will be dead forever, OR he can let Digby live and something else would then drop dead (in this case, it was a squirrel).  However, Ned can never touch or pet Digby because if he does, Digby will instantly die.  Make sense?  OK, off we go!

So in between baking pies, Ned works alongside Emerson Cod, a hilarious detective who uses Ned’s power to ask murdered victims “who dun it” before Ned touches them again and they go back to being dead.  Then they both collect – and split – the monetary reward.  I know this sounds SUPER morbid, but it’s so enjoyable and whimsy!

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Now, all that’s well and good, but when Ned discovers his childhood sweetheart was killed on a cruise and he has the ability to bring her back to life, he’s faced with a tough choice…he can do it, but in doing so, he’d certainly kill someone else and he’d never be able to touch, hug, kiss, or embrace his sweetheart ever again…

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#SpoilerAlert

So begins Pushing Daisies.

Also starring Swoosie Kurtz and Kristin Chenowith, alongside a whole slew of guest stars (including David Arquette, Diana Scarwid, Raul Esparza, Paul Reubens, Carlos Alazraqui, Mo Collins, Molly Shannon and SO MANY MORE), Pushing Daisies not only has magical storylines with hilarious death scenarios (death by scratch-n-sniff, death by taffy, death by hugging machine, death by deep fryer…you get the picture), it also includes fantastic makeup and visual effects – and don’t even get me started on the costumes!

Even though this show only lasted a short two seasons before it was cancelled, many of the cast members were nominated for awards for their work on the show and the show itself won an Emmy and several other accolades during its short time on air.  There have been whisperings about giving the show closure in the form of a movie or comic book, but nothing concrete has been mentioned as of yet.

If you were a fan of Pushing Daisies and wanted nothing more than to jump through your screen into The Pie Hole with Olive and the gang, here’s a little update as to what the cast has been up to since Pushing Daisies wrapped in 2009.

 

The Cast of Pushing Daisies…Where Are They Now?

Lee Pace
Ned the Pie Maker
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A graduate of the Julliard School Drama program, Lee Pace is a classically trained theater actor, having performed in a variety of Shakespearean plays, including Romeo and Juliet (Romeo), Richard III (Richard III), and Julius Caesar (Cassius).  After his time in Julliard, Pace made his Broadway debut in 2011 in the play The Normal Heart.  His first movie role came in the film, Soldier’s Girl, a true story about a transsexual soldier who falls in love with a military man.  He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his work on the film.  Pace went on to act in a few other movies, including Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and When in Rome, before his work on Pushing Daisies.  For his role as Ned, Pace was nominated for several awards, including:  Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series, and a Satellite Award for Best Actor in a Television Series.  After Pushing Daisies, Pace went back to the big screen and has done several great movies, including Lincoln (2012), The Hobbit (2013), and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).  Currently Pace can be seen in the TV show, Halt and Catch Fire on AMC.

Anna Friel
Charlotte “Chuck” Charles
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Born in Greater Manchester, Anna Friel is a gift given to us by our friends across the Pond.  An actress since the age of 13, Friel got her start on TV in British soap operas.  She was one half of the first on-air lesbian kiss in British soap history (on the program, Brookside) and won a National Television Award for her work on the series.  Friel gained even greater exposure when she appeared in the TV film, The Tribe, which included nudity and a controversial menage a trois scene between two of her male co-stars.  After her work on Pushing Daisies, Friel was offered six pilots following the cancellation of the show, but she declined all of them to focus on expanding her film career.  Unfortunately, the films she was in were a series of flops, including Land of the Lost (2009).  In 2011, she decided to do a few TV appearances and has done mainly TV work ever since.  She was most recently seen in the 2016 film, I.T., alongside Pierce Brosnan.

Kristin Chenoweth
Olive Snook
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A star in her own right, Kristin Chenoweth continues to impress with her amazing talent.  With a slew of awards under her tiny little belt, Chenoweth has not slowed down one bit since leaving The Pie Hole.  Her role as Olive Snook earned her two Emmy nominations, one of which she won in 2009.  After her work on Pushing Daisies wrapped, Chenoweth went on to guest-star as April Rhodes in FOX’s, Glee, a role she’d rehash several times throughout the run of the series.  She’s also since appeared in three Broadway shows, about 30 TV shows and movies, and a variety of other specials and theatrical performances.  Chenoweth is currently touring her new album, “The Art of Elegance”, and has recently signed on to star in a new CBS pilot titled Perfect Citizen.

Chi McBride
Emerson Cod
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Kenneth “Chi” McBride was born in Chicago, IL, which is how he got his nickname he goes by today.  Originally wanting to pursue a career in music, McBride studied several instruments and joined a gospel choir in Chicago before relocating to Atlanta, Georgia to work as a billing clerk.  His first success in show business came with the hit song, “He’s a Champ”, written about boxer Mike Tyson and actress Robin Givens.  Convinced he should try his hand in front of the camera, McBride moved to LA and landed guest spots in In Living Color and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.  Typically typecast as “the right hand man” or “the crass detective”, McBride delighted viewers with his portrayal of Emerson Cod in Pushing Daisies.  Since retiring from undercover work with The Pie Maker, McBride has done lots of TV and movie roles, most very similar to his role as Detective Cod.  He’s currently starring as Captain Lou Grover in Hawaii Five-O and has also appeared recently in Gone in 60 Seconds, The Terminal, and Draft Day.

Ellen Greene
Vivian Charles
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Similar to her character on Pushing Daisies, Ellen Greene is a true lover of music, theater, and entertainment.  A singer and actress by trade, Greene was in several Broadway shows and performances before landing her role as the artsy and whimsical Vivian Charles.  After Pushing Daisies ended, Greene starred as Miss Adelaide in the Broadway musical, Guys and Dolls and had a small story arch in the soap opera, The Young and the Restless.  Greene’s more recent work has included a handful of voiceover opportunities, as well as appearances in The Walking Dead web series.

Swoosie Kurtz
Lily Charles
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Named after her father’s military Boeing Flying Fortress bomber, Swoosie Kurtz is no stranger to TV, film, or stage.  Perhaps best known for her role as Alex Reed Halsey on the NBC drama, Sisters, Kurtz acted in a handful of television shows before landing the role of the tough but sweet one-eyed foil to Vivian, Lily Charles.  Kurtz’s recent work has included guest spots in ER, LOST, Desperate Housewives, Nurse Jackie, and Mike & Molly.

Jim Dale
Narrator
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There’s no denying that Pushing Daisies wouldn’t be the wonderful show it is without the voice of the narrator.  Voiced by none other than Jim Dale (the same man who narrated the Harry Potter audiobooks – a role that got him two Grammy Awards), the narrator provides whimsy banter that’s only occasionally topped with Emerson’s clever one-liners.  Dale recently had an off-Broadway one man show, titled Just Jim Dale, which one him the 2015 Outer Critics Award and the Drama Desk Award.  He’s also provided narration for a handful of audiobooks, including The Night Circus, The Emerald Atlas, and The Fire Chronicle.

 

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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Wanderlust Wall Art

Do you like to hit the open road with your friends or family?  Do you have a few favorite locals that you just loved exploring?  If so, you’re gonna love this cute Wanderlust Wall Art!

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Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved road trips.  My family used to take them all the time and we rarely flew anywhere for vacation.  I mean, why fly when you can pack five people and a ton of suitcases in a Toyota Camry, blast some Tom Waits and hit the open road?

Even now, my husband and I love to travel and we’ve taken a good handful of road trips in our time together.  To help highlight a few of our favorite places, I created this cute Wanderlust Wall Art, featuring heart-shaped cut-outs of cities we’ve loved along the way.

Chicago, Madison, Marquette, Nashville, Las Vegas, Boston, Portland, Seattle, and Cleveland all made the list as some of our favorite cities, but honestly this picture could have been twice the size filled with even more places.

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Whether you’ve been born and raised in one town or you find Johnny Cash’s song “I’ve Been Everywhere, Man” perfectly sums up your life on the road, this cute wall art is a super cost-effective way to remember some of your favorite spots!  Simply buy a map of the US (or print out smaller maps of your favorite cities!) and use a heart template to cut a heart around the city.  Glue your hearts to a piece of 12 in. x 12 in. scrapbook paper and pop that baby in a frame and in no time at all, you have a fun piece of artwork that may even motivate you to hit the road…again.

 

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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The Good Ol’ Days

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“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good ol’ days before you’ve actually left them.”

The Office

Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.

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Seasonal Produce Printables

One of my favorite things about summer is going to local farmers markets.  For those of us who live in the Midwest, it’s often hard to find fresh seasonal produce at our local stores, so whenever the farmer’s markets come to town, we do our best to stock up on fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies.

And one of the best ways to buy your produce is to know what’s in season when you’re out shopping.  Buying produce when it’s in season often means fresher, cheaper, and tastier ingredients…and who doesn’t love that?

To help you learn what is in season when, here are some handy printables so you can see what fruits, veggies, and herbs are in season every month of the year.  Happy shopping!

Looking for clever ways to use your favorite herbs?  Check out this herb printable for some handy ideas!

SUMMER PRODUCE

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FALL PRODUCE

fall

WINTER PRODUCE

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SPRING PRODUCE

spring

Download All Produce Printables Here!

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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