the happygirl guide to a healthy onion ring recipe

My husband L. loves onions rings from a local Seattle restaurant called Red Mill Burgers (voted the Best Burgers in Seattle by Seattle Magazine). Earlier this week I tried to recreate these onion rings at home but with a healthy twist by baking not frying them. I hope you enjoy them as much as L. did. They aren't quite the same as Red Mill but they're still delicious!

This recipe makes 2 to 4 servings depending on how much you want to share!


1 cup flour

1 cup lowfat buttermilk

1 tablespoon paprika ( or for more spice try 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle powder. My friend, Stuart, recommends cayenne powder!)

1 cup Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

2 onions


1. Preheat oven to 450.

2. Use a large nonstick cookie sheet or lightly cover an aluminum pan with vegetable oil.

3. Prepare two bowls: Add buttermilk to one bowl and Panko crumbs combined with paprika to another. Pour  flour into a large Ziploc (gallon size) bag.

4. Slice onions into 1 inch slices, disgarding the ends and smaller bits closer to the middle of the onion.

5. Add  1/4 of the sliced onions to the flour and shake, making sure that all the onion rings are lightly dusted  with flour.

6. One at a time, dunk an onion (quickly) into the buttermilk letting the excess drain, then dredge it in the Panko crumbs. Place on prepared cookie sheet. Complete the first 1/4 of onion rings and follow with the rest.  Onion rings should be in one layer on cookie sheet.

7. Bake for 20 minutes until crispy.

8. Serve with chipotle dip: (1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream, 1/4 cup light mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon chopped chipotle peppers or 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder with a hint of fresh squeezed lime juice.)

Tip: If the Panko crumbs get clumpy and soggy they will not stick to the onion rings. The easiest thing to do is to continue with a fresh bowl of Panko crumbs + paprika.

entertainme: what would princess grace listen to?

A sweet alley in Monaco

As I write this it's grey and cloudy as Seattle can be in February but I'm listening to jazz radio live from Monaco and I can almost feel the sun on my shoulders. Thanks to you can listen to music from anywhere in the world from stations in the United States to Italy, Nepal, Brazil and Antarctica. It's easy to search for music by genre or location.

Jazz Radio from Monaco is happy and cool during the day (think blooming jasmine and the beach) and sultry and sexy at night (think Sade meets James Bond.) The breaks (spots) are in French but the music is almost 100% in English and mostly American. The playlist is quirky and fun and cool. I can imagine that this is what Princess Grace listened to as she frolicked with her children in the garden on the Grimaldi Palace on a sunny day in June. (Playing right now: Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga's version of "The Lady is a Tramp.")

Need to change your outlook? Transport yourself somewhere. In two minutes you can close your eyes, listen and be anywhere in the world.

the happygirl guide to being clever

I stumbled across the New York Times The One-Page Magazine this morning and instantly loved this one-page smart, relevant, clever site. Under deadline at work and no time to read the entire New York Times? Just reading this one pager will give you plenty of material for elevator talk or brilliant cocktail party fodder.

You do want to know what the word Bumerang means, don't know?

entertainme: "wanderlust" review

It’s February. Not awards season, not big blockbuster season and not splashy action movie season. This is get out of the cold weather and see a movie season. This week’s recommendation is a comedy about losing your job and finding your bliss. It’s “Wanderlust.

George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston) are a married couple living the upscale life in New York City, with George in a well paying job that he hates and Linda earnestly pitching a documentary about dying penguins to HBO. The film opens as they purchase a ‘microloft’, a tiny space of an apartment with a price tag that says “We made it.” However, in just a few days George loses his job, HBO passes on Linda's  documentary and George and Linda are left like many homeowners today, underwater.

With no money and no home, George and Linda drive to Georgia to live with George’s brother, Rick, a jackass of a Port-a-Potty king (portrayed maniacally perfect by Ken Marino), his lush numbed out wife and their bratty tween in their shiny Skymall object filled mansion. Early on, there is a funny scene which most couples will recognize in themselves as George and Linda take turns driving and singing and annoying the hell out of each other on the long drive south. Before they arrive at Rick’s house however, George and Linda stop for the night at a breezy sounding B&B called Elysium. It’s when they pull into the driveway in the darkness that they (and we) are introduced to writer / winemaker Wayne and his penis, one of many flailing male body parts to be seen in the film. Kudos to actor Joe Lo Trulio ("Role Models") for nicely pulling off the “Yes, I can act even as my private parts are blowing in the wind.”

It’s at Elysium the “intentional community” where George and Linda (still as uptight New Yorkers) are introduced to the quirky characters who make up the Elysium community from leader Seth (Justin Theroux) resembling a sexy Jesus and his willowy blonde partner Eva (Malin Ackerman) to Karen a quirky/angry hippie (Kathyrn Hahn) and Almond (Lauren Ambrose) an earth mother who takes to carrying around the baby’s placenta after giving birth. Alan Alda also stars as the acid burnout Elysium founder Carvin protecting his land from developers and Linda Lavin is brilliant in her small but excellent role as the “microloft” realtor, Shari.

After a night at Elysium George and Linda head to George’s brother’s house where after a nasty blowout with Rick, with nowhere else to go they head back to Elysium. Deciding to give it two weeks they adapt to a life without doors, shared property, veganism and free love. Aniston’s Linda falls easily into the role of groovy bohemian chick (complete with golden skin, beachy sex hair and cute hippiegirl outfits), even tripping out in one hilarious drug-fueled sequence while Rudd’s George starts to see cracks in the glimmer of commune life even as Eva throws herself at him. Rudd shines best of all in the scene where he tries out seduction lines for Eva  in a mirror. (Be sure to stay for the outtakes at the end of the film for more.)

Directed by David Wain (writer “Wet Hot American Summer”), “Wanderlust” tries hard to continue in the Apatow blueprint, complete with shock value body part shots. The comedy tries, it really does. Aniston and Rudd have chemistry together (they also appeared together in “The Object of my Affection” 1998) but the story wanders, not in a wanderlust kind of way but with a distracting “someone is trying to steal my intentional community away from me” storyline. Yes, there are the pot-smoking, guitar-playing, hummus-eating, free love hippie jokes that you would expect in a film about a city couple moving to a commune but the movie just falls short of past Judd Apatow produced films “Bridesmaids,” “Superbad” and “Knocked Up.” There are laughs and like a commune this movie is best shared with friends with an open mind.

"Wanderlust" is rated R. 98 minutes.

entertainme: the happy pink belly of billy-g

How can you resist a pink belly?

Earlier this week my friend, Megan W. posted this video of a dog rescue on Facebook and it is so moving and happy. I had to share it here.  Watch the video then scroll down to see what happened to Billy-G.

I was so touched by Billy-G's story that I emailed Meg Thayer (who first noticed Billy-G living in the parking lot of the Natural History Museum)to see if Billy-G was still available for adoption but she gave me the good news that he has found a forever home. There are still thousands of dogs and cats available for adoption, though who have pink bellies just like Billy-G, ready for rubbing. (Try for animals available in your area.) If only a video like this could be made for every animal. If only there were more people with great big hearts like Meg Thayer, Jessica Garzilli Doyle and Eldad (who captured both Billy-G and the video.)

And thanks Megan for sharing this video on FB. Your puppy is so lucky to have you!

You are Happygirls and a Happyguy!


entertainme: "this means war" review

Watching "This Means War" one can't help but enjoy the compatability of the two stars trading witty banter on the big screen. With their good looks, shiny Colgate smiles and charisma, they were destined to be paired together. However, the problem here is that the pair is not the affable Reese Witherspoon ("Water for Elephants") and Chris Pine ("Star Trek") nor is it Reese Witherspoon and Tom Hardy ("Warrior"). The couple stealing the scenes are Chris Pine and Tom Hardy as  CIA agents and best buddies who unknowingly fall for the same girl.

Directed by McG ("Charlie's Angels"), the film begins with a splashy fight scene as CIA agents /buddies FDR (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy) show off their proficiency as top agents, ticking off one serious bad guy (Til Schweiger as always perfectly cast in the role of villain) amidst the chaos and requisite dangling-off -the–roof-of-a-very-tall-building scene.

While these two suave agents with the boyish smiles could seemingly get any woman they want, they are alas, single. Thanks to an online dating site, however, they meet Lauren (Witherspoon), a product-tester who's also single with a dating profile courtesy of her best friend Trish (Chelsea Handler). Actually, Tuck meets Lauren on a date and minutes later Lauren meets FDR in a video store after the date. Lauren starts dating both guys not knowing they are CIA agents and neither Tuck nor FDR know that the other is dating Lauren. Follow me here? Once they do discover that they are dating the same woman, they  declare war on each other and deploy their spy gadgets  (and respective manpower) in order to keep an eye on each other and Lauren, planting bugs in her home while Lauren obliviously dances around to "This is How We Do It" (Think Tom Cruise in "Risky Business").

Reese Witherspoon is adorable as always as the girl caught between two gorgeous guys, Chris Pine IS the suave but sensitive good guy and  Tom Hardy plays the tough on the outside soft on the inside guy.

Maybe "This Means War" was supposed to an Action-slash-Rom-Com movie but it's really the scenes between Pine and Hardy that stand out, leaving Witherspoon dancing happily alone in her undies.

For: A first date especially if you met on a an online dating site then there will be the nudge nudge's throughout the movie.

"This Means War" is rated PG-13. 108 minutes.

the happygirl guide to espresso chocolate truffles (recipe)

Last Saturday night L. and I were strolling in Seattle's Queen Anne district after a lovely dinner at one of those little white Christmas light / white tablecloth restaurants and we stopped for a cup of hot chocolate from Chocopolis.  It was such a delicious chocolate moment that I wanted to try my own chocolate treat for L. I  decided on espresso truffles. They're fairly easy to make but they look like they came from a chocolate shop.

the happygirl guide to your love playlist

You're sitting there in chemistry class staring at the clock.

You know that right now the glee club is delivery the Valentine's Day flowers as their fundraiser as they do every year. For $3 students could buy a rose and have it delivered during second period.

There is the anticipation. Will you get a rose?

The door opens and everyone including the teacher turn expectantly to look at the door and the students who have an armload of flowers. You and your best friend make eye contact and smile nervously. You both know she'll get one from her boyfriend. Will you get one from your crush, the one who doesn't even know your name? Will you?

Your best friend gets the first rose, then another and another. One is from you, of course (just in case her boyfriend didn't remember). Your teacher blushes as she gets one (the principal bought a rose for each teacher) and you watch as the roses are handed out. The jocks laugh and pretend they don't care when they get a rose but inside they're breathing sighs of relief as they see get one.

You wait. Nothing yet. There are still four flowers left. Did he remember? The boy with the dimples and the long eyelashes? Did he remember? Does he know that at basketball games you secretly pray that he makes the baskets?

There are 4 more flowers. Please let one be from him. Just one. One.

Your best friend looks at her two roses then at you. She tilts her head at you and whispers "It's OK."

And the Glee Club boy you've known since third grade walks up to you, smiles and hands you all four flowers, each with a note- two are from your best friends ("We LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!") , one from your big sister ("You're not a bad little sister. Love ya!) and one, the very last one is from Him. All it says is "Will you?" "Yes, yes,"you think."

Life has never been happier. You have never been happier. You smile.

May this Valentine's Day, whether you are partnered up or not, may you always remember that feeling of being loved. This playlist should help you feel that way.

entertainme: who knew you could teach a baby goat to jump?

Now how much do you wish you had a baby goat for a pet?

entertainme: review - "the vow"

There are things that go together perfectly like peanut butter & jelly, snow days & hot chocolate. Add to that list Rachel McAdams ("The Notebook")  & Channing Tatum ("Dear John") who star together in the romantic drama "The Vow." As I watched the film last night whenever Rachel's character Paige glowed/laughed in the presence of Channing's character Leo, I thought the casting directors must have heard angels singing when these two actors first read together.

Written and directed by Michael Sucsy ("Grey Gardens") and inspired by a true story, "The Vow" is the story of a hip, newly married young couple Leo and Paige who live the ultimate urban life together in a Chicago loft living the dream. They have cool jobs, have geek-chic friends and they go to hot restaurants as we see in the montage of  Leo and Paige skinny dipping,  feeding each other a box of chocolates and enjoying a deliriously good sex life until one night a car accident injures them both but leaves Paige with a traumatic brain injury and no memory of their life together. As Paige recovers from her injuries with no sense of who she is, never mind the fact that she doesn't recall her life with her husband, Leo is  the doting husband, the patient husband even as Paige's last memories were of her engaged to her former fiance (played by the irresistible Scott Speedman), again perfectly cast in this role.

It does make you think about your own life. If you forgot everything you know about your partner, could you fall in love with him/her again?  If you didn't remember that you were a great lawyer before the memory loss would you want to practice again? Are we destined to become an artist or a nurse or web developer?

While it can be predictable at times, McAdams and Tatum have true "Are they or aren't they?" chemistry.  It's clear watching these two actors together that they a.) Really like other or b.) Know how to pull great acting from each other. Either way, it works. If you are a Channing Tatum fan, you're in luck. In the scenes where he appears shirtless, the most female crowd at the screening I attended all sighed in unison.

Celebrate love in all its sublime, goofy, happy, angst-riddled forms and check out "The Vow" this Valentine's Day weekend.

Perfect for: A romantic date, a first date, girls night out

"The Vow" is rated PG-13. 104 minutes.

insights: the puppy and the foxtopus

We call them her 'babies' but they are stuffed animals, actually, and the puppy loves them. (Yes, we do realize the error of our ways  in saying things like "Go get your baby! Make the baby squeak! Make the baby squeak!" which might make life pretty interesting when we do have a baby.)

This morning as I was working on my laptop at the kitchen table I looked over at the puppy curled up in her dog bed, patiently waiting for me to stop and play with her. I smiled at her and decided email could wait as I got down on the floor with her and grabbed one of her babies from her toy basket. (For the record she hates rubber toys, rope toys and balls. It's all about the stuffed animals.)

She watched me take out her "Foxtopus" (a 5 legged Fox that squeaks) and walk over to the other side of the room. She climbed slowly out of her bed and started hunting me and the "Foxtopus" quietly and stealthily crouching low to the ground like a cat. She paused, front left foot in the air. I threw the Foxtopus and she ran after it, pounced on it, shook it, growled at it and brought it back to me. She waited. I threw it again. She ran after it, shook it, made it squeak and stopped a few feet away from me with Foxtopus in her mouth. The puppy stared at me then walked over to me and dropped Foxtopus in my hands. I threw it again. This time she looked at me then looked at where Foxtopus laid on the hardwood floor. She looked back at me. "Go get the baby," I said. "Go get her! Go get the baby! Where's the baby?" The puppy looked at me and slowly walked over to her stuffed animal. Before picking it up she looked at me then at the stuffed animal.

When she got to me she didn't drop it in my hands. I was sitting cross legged and she shoved the stuffed animal under my knee and sighed. I got it. She was exasperated. I could see the  thought bubble over her head. "Please, for the love of God, hold onto the baby. Have some control over things. You keep letting it get away from you. I'm through fetching your toys for you."

I threw the stuffed animal one more time trying to get it in the toy basket. It landed half in / half out of the basket. This time she picked it up brought it over to her bed and laid on top of it.

Game over. Time for a cookie and a nap.

Well played, puppy. Well played.