Top Netflix Mystery Series in 2017

It is no secret that post parenting, I enjoy binge watching mysteries on Netflix.  I have to say I am so impressed with the quality of international shows on it, that I am proud to share the top Netflix mysteries and detective stories I watched last year that I know you will love!

Some of them I ended up binge watching, which was not the best idea in hindsight, however they were so captivating it felt like I couldn’t stop!

Here we go:

1.) The Killing

This is a fantastic investigation on several murders that are connected, where homicide detectives Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) and Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) investigate to find out the truth.  I literally watched the entire first season in a 12 hour span, back to back, as the cliffhangers were really intense!  Apparently this show was on AMC for some time but was cancelled most likely to poor viewership, however, Netflix did right on picking up this gem as it was golden!  This involves a murdered teenager, the police themselves become suspects, and dirty politics in the police force and the mayor all seem to connect.  It gets pretty bloody at times, so I would keep a big blanket handy nearby so you can jump under it during the scary parts. I will let you do the honors of watching it as it is really one of the best series I have seen in a long time.

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2.) BroadChurch

This one is super scary, especially in the beginning, and focuses on a murder of a small boy that is set up to look like he jumped off a cliff.  No spoiler alert here, however there are red flags everywhere in this small water town and everyone seems like they have bloods on their hands.  The actor pair here were especially superb, and the mystery of it all was really engaging, would highly recommend it.  David Tennant & Olivia Colman where an excellent team, as an unconventional pair of detective partners that went above and beyond in bringing to light the truth.  A great weekend warrior series I highly recommend catching!

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3.) Wanted

This one was a stellar empowering series, that basically gets two bystanders in for the ride of their life, while they witness first hand a dirty cops handiwork, while simultaneously getting kidnapped by their crew.  This becomes a tale of survival but also a tale of lies and deceit from the police department and how bystanders can become wanted criminals in action.  This was solid, gets a little cheesy here and there, but definitely worth the watch! The series connects two complete strangers, Lola and Chelsea, who see a fatal carjacking while at a bus stop.  The actors Rebecca Gibney (Lola) and Geraldine Hakewell (Chelsea) are suberb. Strangers become bestest of friends throughout the series, which is a cool path to follow as you watch.

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4.) The Five

A boy named Jesse, who went missing over 20 years ago, finds his case at the forefront of a current investigation where his DNA is found at a crime scene and the detectives are stumped.  This goes into the personal faults of all the characters as everyone is a suspect, but no one can pinpoint the solution to the case, until one detective gets a good lead.  Would highly recommend this for your weekday watching as you can watch each episode and take a breather.  Sara Solemani (Pru) really does a great job as the lead heroine, so I would definitely give it a shot!

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5.) Paranoid

A female General Practitioner or MD is murdered in broad daylight on a playground with her child and all hell breaks loose.  Detectives try to find out if this was a random act of a crazy man or a deliberated kill to hide medicinal secrets from the public.  A definite must watch this year if you missed it last!

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Time to get your favorite back of popcorn ready, along with a nice cold glass of Coke with ice, you are in for some good Netflixing! 🙂

 

75th Annual Golden Globe Winning Predictions – Family Night

We were driving around Santa Monica and Beverly Hills today, and the traffic was immense due to everyone getting ready for the 75th Annual Golden Globe Predictions!  Since my husband is an actor, this is like the Actor Olympics if one may say, and really helps to congratulate and celebrate those in the industry that are the best of the best!

So, as an acting family would do, since we are not invited, we will be riding couch and making predictions of the winners!

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I have made a condensed list of the nominees for each category where I think I can make an accurate prediction and then choose the winner for that category.

If you want more information on the Golden Globes history and nominees, check it out on the Golden Globes site!

My predictions below!

Best Motion Picture – Drama

  • Call Me By Your Name – predicted WINNER
  • Dunkirk
  • The Post
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

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Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

  • I, Tonya
  • Lady Bird – predicted WINNER
  • The Disaster Artist
  • Get Out
  • The Greatist Showman

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Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

  • Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
  • Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Meryl Streep, The Post
  • Michelle Williams, All the Money In the World
  • Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game – predicted WINNER

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Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

  • Timothee Chalamet
  • Daniel Day-Lewis – predicted WINNER
  • Tom Hanks
  • Gary Oldman
  • Denzel Washington

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Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

  • Judi Dench, Victoria & Abdul
  • Helen Mirren, The Leisure Seeker
  • Margot Robbie, I, Tonya – predicted WINNER
  • Saorise Ronan, Lady Bird
  • Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes

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Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

  • Daniel Kaluuya
  • Steve Carrell
  • Ansel Elgort
  • James Franco – predicted WINNER
  • Hugh Jackman

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Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture

  • Mary J. Blige
  • Hong Chau
  • Allison Janney
  • Laurie Metcalf – predicted WINNER
  • Octavia Spencer

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Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture

  • Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
  • Armie Hammer, Call Me By Your Name – predicted WINNER
  • Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
  • Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
  • Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

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Best Director – Motion Picture

  • Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – predicted WINNER
  • Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
  • Ridley Scott, All the Money in the World
  • Steven Spielberg, The Post
  • Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

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Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

  • Liz Hannah, Josh Singer, The Post
  • Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game
  • Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor, The Shape of Water – predicted WINNER
  • Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird

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Best Television Series

  • The Crown
  • Game of Thrones
  • The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Stranger Things – predicted WINNER
  • This is Us

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Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

  • Big Little Lies – predicted WINNER
  • Fargo (TV show)
  • Feud: Bette & Joan
  • The Sinner
  • Top of the Lake, China Girl

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Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

  • Jessica Biel, The Sinner – predicted WINNER
  • Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
  • Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette & Joan
  • Susan Sarandon, Feud: Bette & Joan
  • Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies

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Congrats to all the nominees and excited for tomorrow’s main event!

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Denny’s Friday Night Family Dinner

Happy Saturday everyone! I am happy to announce that my husband was able to convince me to go to a restaurant with the boys last night after work! It is super scary as the kids can be so unpredictable sometimes, but we were able to successfully eat an entire meal and not get kicked out! 🙂

 

My husband went buck wild and ordered the chocolate milkshake, banana salted caramel pancakes, that came with two eggs, hash browns and sausage, where I ordered the eggs and hash browns alone since I am on the Whole30 diet.

 

Luckily the hostess sat us right by another table of kids, two boys actually, so Pierce was closest to them and had fun with the little boy sitting in back of him. It was really cute as the neighbor gave him a goldfish of his, which was super sweet as he was starting to get a little antsy.

 

Good news is that we were all able to sit through one of our first family dinners outside the house in a long time. It is nice to know that Denny’s is very kid friendly so you can go with your children, nieces or nephews too! They have crayons and puzzles for them to work on too as the meal is being prepped by the chef. They also had sweet and low and sugar packets and maple syrup to which the boys were counting and trying to eat too.

 

Our waitress was very friendly and accommodating and we were happy to have a full meal there without them running out of the booth, crying, causing a scene, etc. For some time we were avoiding family dinners outside the home for this reason. It is unnerving to have to put them in a public situation as you know with kids they can be very unpredictable.

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Another great thing about Denny’s was the arcade games for kids in the front. One was minion related which was perfect for my boys as they love Despicable Me 3. So they were watching it and then watching the other game too, where they were excited to engage with it as we were waiting to be seated, along with catching them for a second time on the way out.

 

We ordered french fries and ketchup for the boys which is their favorite! We also were excited to be out on a Friday night as most of the week is the same old schedule, so great to mix it up.

 

I would highly recommend Denny’s as a reasonably priced diner to take the kids to when you are looking for something new and exciting to do with your family too.

 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! LATER! 🙂

Best YouTube Channels for Toddler Learning

It is all about responsible entertainment for the littles! 🌞😎😁👍

My husband and I have been through many different YouTube Channels to try and find the absolute best educational videos for our children, that enhance their overall learning with new shapes, colors, trains, planes, situations and much more!  We have done a ton of testing over the last 4 years so I wanted to share the wealth on the best YouTube Channels for Toddler Growth and Education.  We have memorized some of these episodes ourselves but overall we have found that the YouTube Channels listed below are the most helpful with engaging our children and getting them excited about our world!

Here goes nothing, our Best YouTube Channels for Toddler Learning below:

Blippi is this male character dressed in funky suspenders and a hat, looks like he is in his late 20’s, and loves to teach children about everything from playing at jungle gyms, outdoor playgrounds, trains, planes, sand toys and so much more.  He is a retired Air Force serviceman who became a children’s entertainer and is so phenomenal at it!  My children have learned all about a variety of playing, museums and more.  It is also entertaining for adults too as my husband and I always laugh at it.  Kids learn colors, shapes, letters, numbers, the alphabet, with Blippi’s nursery rhymes, educational songs and educational videos!  Blippi brings in things children love like Backhoes, Tractors, Planes, Trains, Animals, Boats, Unicorns, Construction Equipment, Firetrucks, Horses and more!  This incorporates cartoons and real life footage, which makes is extra entertaining for the entire family!

Straight from the YouTube about section, Kids Channel is an online educational platform, specializing in graphic videos, nursery rhymes and songs for children. With the help of colors and graceful movement children develop their cognitive capacities, imagination, creativity and logical reasoning. Taking preschool education to the next level our videos go beyond ABC, 123, shapes and colors we teach your preschooler moral values such as friendship, love, caring , sharing and more. Our videos bring to life the toys that your baby plays with such as cars, trucks, monster trucks and many more vehicles that bring kindergarten education to your door step, interactively teaching your toddler the alphabets, numbers and more. A land of car cartoons we have many special friends such as Little Red Car, the Haunted House Monster Truck, Monster Truck Dan and the Road Rangers take you to a special journey in each new episode. We are dedicated in nurturing young minds into young intellectuals. Let you children join the movement!

Straight from the YouTube about section, the StoryBots are curious little creatures who live beneath our screens, offering a world of learning and fun for kids, parents and teachers! The StoryBots are also the stars of the hit Emmy Award-winning Netflix original series “Ask the StoryBots” and its companion show, “StoryBots Super Songs,” also on Netflix and YouTube. Used in more than 35,000 classrooms around the world, StoryBots helps your child practice literacy and math skills and explore science, history, behaviors and more. From Starring You® videos and books that make your child the star of the show, to rockin’ learning videos, the StoryBots offer a creative collection of web and mobile apps designed to entertain grown-ups as much as kids.

Straight from the YouTube about section, the Super WHY! mission is to inspire children to develop a lifelong love of reading and books. The Super WHY! television series is the first preschool show designed to help children 3 to 6 learn to read through interactive story adventures! The adventures take place in Storybrook Village, a magical three-dimensional world behind the shelves in your library, where all of your favorite fairytale characters live, including four best friends: Red, from Little Red Ridinghood; Pig from The Three Little Pigs, Princess from The Princess & the Pea, and Whyatt, the curious younger brother of Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk, who discovers he has the power to fly inside books to find the answers to his questions.

Straight from the YouTube about section, welcome to the official Thomas & Friends YouTube channel, where you can find all your favorite adventures from the Number 1 Engine! Join Thomas, James, Percy, Gordon, Emily and all their friends as they explore the Island Sodor and the mainland beyond. The fun and cheeky engines will take your child on a journey of endless discoveries and teach valuable life lessons along the way. Look for new updates every week with new episodes from the Thomas Creator Collective every Friday!

This channel has over 2 million dedicated subscribers and has playlists of educational vehicle, color, number and counting learning.  Nursery rhymes and music are there too for your kid to dance around!

Pocoyo is a curious, fun-loving, friendly toddler who’s always into experiencing new and exciting adventures. Featuring core values of tolerance, respect, love and loyalty, kids around the world love to join Pocoyo’s adventures with his inseparable animal friends Elly (the elephant), Pato (the duck), Loula (his pet dog) and Sleepy Bird.

Straight from the YouTube about section, Peppa lives with her mummy and daddy and her little brother, George. Her adventures are fun, sometimes involve a few tears, but always end happily. Welcome to the Official Peppa Pig channel and the home of Peppa on YouTube! We have created a world of Peppa with episodes and compilations to keep even the most dedicated Peppa fans happy. Enjoy and don’t forget to subscribe!

 

Take Back Your Mojo via our Whole30 Dinner – Mojo Cubano Marinated Pork

I have to admit I have never been to Cuba, but I would really love to visit now that it is open to Americans to come in and stay! I hate to drop the Kardashian’s name in it but I saw them visit and Jezebel wrote an article about it here. Too funny!

I am always looking for new Whole30 recipes and now that it is the new year I am more determined to be creative with my meals. It is easy to fall into the monotonous cycle of food, so I knew that when I started Whole30 I would become a better chef. In gardening, good gardeners have the green thumb, in cooking, I have the opposite! LOL! I always seem to burn, or under, or over cook, and just the act of cooking more has made me more present when I cook, despite my two little boys running around the kitchen. I have to say my cooking skills are like a C+ right now, better then the D- I had before.

Onto the recipe, this came out excellent! Normally on the Whole30 diet you cannot drink juice however you can cook with it. This was the first time I cooked with juice and it really added a tangy and bright flavor.

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Ingredients

• ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
• ¼ cup lime juice
• ½ cup orange juice
• 1 teaspoon of lime zest
• 1 teaspoon of orange zest
• 6 garlic cloves, chopped up finely
• 1 ½ cups of cilantro
• 2 tablespoons of oregano
• 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
• 1/6 cup of mint leaves, chopped up finely
• 1 teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt
• 2 tablespoons of black pepper
• 2 pounds of boneless pork shoulder, in one piece

Instructions

STEP 1 – Add the cilantro, mint, garlic, orange juice, zest, lime and orange juice, oregano and cumin to a bigger ziplock bag and add the pork. Mash it around so that all is mixed up and coated nicely. Place in refrigerator and let sit overnight.

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STEP 2 – Preheat the oven to 425 degree Fahrenheit. Place a wire or cooling rack in your baking pan and take out the pork, leaving the marinade in the bag. Add the salt and pepper to the pork now, and add 4 cups of water to the bottom of the pan, then drop into the oven for 35 minutes. Bring the temperature down to 400 for an hour. If you are fancy and have a meat thermometer, inside temp of the meat should read 170 when ready.

STEP 3 – Pull out and let cool for 40 minutes before slicing, this allows the juices to redistribute to make sure you have the perfect texture! Carve and serve!

My mother used to make pork at home but would use a BBQ sauce which was nice. I will try to find another Whole30 compliant recipe and will share soon!

Bon Apetito!

Whole30 Dinner – Spicy Roasted Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

You guys are in for an extra special New Year’s celebration meal!  This was a nice comfort meal I made yesterday which made all members of my household happy! 👍😄

It does taste as good as it looks!

Ingredients

  • 3 Organic Chicken Breasts
  • 1 bag of Organic Mini Carrots
  • 3 Russet Potatoes, Organic
  • 4 tablespoons of red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of Himalayan pink salt
  • 2 tablespoons of black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika
  • 2 cups of wwater
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk for potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons of ghee for potatoes

Instructions

STEP 1 Peel potatoes, chop in half inch thick slices to cook faster if you are hungry. Put in boiling water and cook until mashable. Add almond milk and ghee, season as you wish.

STEP 2-4 Put oven roaster chicken in a pan with the carrots, water, olive oil, then season chicken with all the spices.  Put in oven at 400 degrees fahrenheit for an hour, 425 degrees fahrenheit for the last 10 minutes for a cripsy skin.

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There is something to be said about perfectly cooked chicken.  My mother mastered it as we were growing up and the secret trick is water at the bottom of the pan.  She always advised the first 1/4 inch of the pan should be water and it will come out perfect every time.  I have actually tried chicken without the water and it comes out awful.  Some prefer to boil their chicken, but in my opinion, it is gross.  The skin is the best part, so having it extra crispy and spicy is amazing.  If you are a dipper and love sauce, Tessemae’s has a ranch and Caesar dressing that you can use to help calm down the heat.  Overall this meal was an A++ so I definitely recommend you give it a try!

Have a great night!

Whole30 Lunch – Kale Chicken Caesar Chive Bacon Salad

Oh wow, this was the BEST salad I have had on the Whole30 diet since I started my first round in November this year!  I had leftover baked chicken drumsticks from dinner last night so I chopped this up and added Tessemae’s Caesar dressing.  It is definitely more pricey than the regular dressing you find that has sugar, but it is Whole30 compliant and saves time for you so you do not have to homemake the dressing yourself.  I am a big fan of Caesar salads and didn’t think the salad would be great without parmesan or croutons, but it was STELLAR!  It was also super filling as it is dinner time now and I am still not hungry.  Not sure if you are like me, but I am mainly cranky when I am hungry and this salad really kept me full for most of the day. As you can see I also made some bacon which was leftover from this morning.  There is this paleo friendly, sugar free bacon at the grocery store and that is what I used here.

After stripping chicken, breaking it this and the bacon into pieces in the bowl, and taking out the Caesar dressing, I started on the salad part.  I bought Red Kale from WholeFoods last night as I made a night time trip which was so relaxing. Only stressful part is checking out as there is always a line.  Hopefully now that Amazon is invested in the company they can work on speeding up the checkout process somehow!  I heard there are stores that you can actually check out of without actually checking out.  Obviously it is not widely accepted yet but this is definitely in the works in the future!

As you can see I washed the kale first then hand separated it into small pieces.  I also had chives on hand and used a pair of kitchen scissors to cut and add chives into the salad as well.  I think chives are a lighter onion that does not overtake the salad.

After this was complete I added the chicken and bacon along with the Caesar dressing on top.  If you are fancy and like the Caesar dressing on every inch of the salad, I would definitely recommend putting all the ingredients in a plastic covered bowl, covering and then mix it by shaking it.  If you are not into chicken, then you can always substitute this with shrimp, chicken, steak, egg or garbanzo beans if you are vegan.  Tofu would be good too!

I dressed the salad right on top and it came out really delicious.  I ended up using more dressing later on, also adding some pink Himalayan salt and ground pepper to it as well to give it a kick.  I would suggest if you like your salads extra salty, you can add green olives and it should give you the salt fix you need.  Just be sure they are Whole30 compliant.

I wanted to share a few extra pictures of the Tessemae Whole30 Caesar Dressing, so you know what to look for at the grocery store.  Luckily I have found this dressing at Trader Joe’s, Ralph’s and WholeFoods thus far, so you should have no problem finding it.  Most salad dressings have added sugar, so you are in for a real treat with this one!

Happy Eating from Bradley Cooper and I! 🙂 🙂

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