What’s On Your Nightstand? April Edition

What's On Your Nightstand? April | Hardly A Goddess

Let’s talk about books!

I was hoping this series of “What’s On Your Nightstand,” every 4th Tuesday of the month (see? I am late even for this…again!) would keep me accountable or at least give an account of what I have actually read but also be a motivation to read more. And it is! I have been reading a ton for me, this 2016, and I think it is improving my happiness overall. I am doing something that I love…just for me! If you love reading too, I am so glad for you. It is cheap, healthy, smart fun! Let’s share! Tell me in the comments what you are reading! I love talking book.

Books reading in April:

Girls’ Weekend, Cara Sue Achterberg (Publication Date May 3rd!)
I had the great luck of getting to read this fun book ahead of publication (Thank you publishers!)  about three mom-friends “facing forty” who go away for a girls’ weekend and decide they can’t return to the life they’ve been living for separate reasons. Part beach read, part chick-lit, part just perfect for anyone who has contemplated over dreams deferred, our identity after children, and our choices in life. It was a book that I didn’t plan on reading, but then I got into it quickly, and couldn’t stop! I could identify with the character’s stories and the tone of the book was light and fun to read.  You can read more about the author and this book on the author websiteHighly recommend.

The Golem and the Jinni, Helene Wecker
Literally ON the nightstand, this is one that I haven’t even turned to page 1 yet…we shall see. It is a fantasy book that comes highly recommended both personally and on GoodReads. We shall see!

Girls and Sex, Peggy Orenstein
Just starting this one, and to be honest, I know the title. Ugh. And the entire concept. Ugh. Heavy duty reading that every mother of tweens entering public school needs to at the very least be aware of. I am a mom to 2 girls and 2 boys. I need to know  this information no matter how shocking or painful it is to read. What is nice, is that Peggy Orenstein writes without judgement, and with insight, and is less academic, and more person, as she writes. It pulls you right in, without resorting to shock and awe. I read her, Cinderella Ate My Daughter book, and I like her writing style and feminist voice. Not for everyone. But a “yes” for me.

Books Listened to in April:

Wicked, Gregory Maguire
This is an anti-hero type of book, where the “bad one” gets her story told. I love it. I love this type of back-story that is the reveal about “more than meets the eye” type of characters. I loved explaining it to my daughters, and how much I like these type of stories that I think are more popular now with movies like “Malificient” that show that people are not just good or bad, but have experiences and stories that shape who they are. I am looking forward to reading more of this author and the series that keeps the story going! Definitely recommend this, in audio!

Year of YES, Shonda Rhimes
I am still listening to this one. Honestly, it was a tough transition from Wicked. This is a non-fiction memoir, read by the author, and I am mid, disk-4 hoping that I still like her by the end. The beauty of this book and the draw for me, is Shonda herself, as a powerful-go-getting woman, and Feminist for our current time.  She is young, smart, and her tone in the book is pretty darn funny. I will keep going, because I have a feeling that I will end up liking her more as it goes on and no doubt feeling a little inspired to be bad-ass as she so clearly is. Recommend.

What’s on YOUR nightstand? Comment below to share– I am not a book snob, clearly, so bring it on! I love hearing what’s out there: good, bad or ugly!

Check out these nightstands at 5 Minutes for Mom:

Also linking with: Booknificient, Book Nook.

My 6 Favorite Bloggers for Passover

My 6 Favorite Bloggers for Passover | Hardly A Goddess

If you don’t know this about me, I celebrate Passover, as I am Jewish. My husband and 4 kids are Catholic. We are what you would call maybe “interfaith” but I like to just call us: Flexible and open-minded. We all like what we do, and appreciate and respect one another’s beliefs. That said, you will note that I celebrate many Jewish holidays right along side the Christian ones. That was how I was raised and also sort of how I am doing it myself.  No matter what religion you are I have found 6 great blogging sites that have great recipes, most of which are for Jewish cooking or kosher cooking. During Passover, I like to find recipes that are  Kosher, easy to make and family friendly/adaptable to non-Kosher eaters.

Passover recipes are easy to come by, just like any other recipes, but to find tried and true, real “family” recipes I have found a few go-to sites that make my inter-faith life so much easier. I can adapt recipes during Passover to fit the lifestyle of my family, who don’t all necessarily have to eat this way but I like to. Here are six of my favorites to pull ideas from, during Passover or any time of year that you are looking for Jewish recipes or cooking:

Kosher on a Budget
I love this blog. It loads kind of slowly sometimes, but she is rich in recipes here and has menu plans (Ahhhhhmen!) specifically for the Passover week in addition to all the time. I love her Crockpot Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls.

Family Friends Food
This one is all about the food. The Overnight Matza Breakfast Bake looks perfect when you are sick of the same old egg and matza, and craving a little sweet. Since it is a UK blog, some recipes are measured in grams instead of (the U.S.) ounces, cups, etc. I consider this is blogging-find!

The Kosher Baker, AKA Paula Shoyer
Not so much the blog, but the book…I borrowed her New Passover Menu book from my library and can I tell you?… I made Passover Crumb Cake muffins(p.88)…yes, muffins! So good and moist- not crumbly. I am in love. I also made her Chicken Scaloppini with Mushrooms (p.81) and I will be making this make-ahead chicken all year! I love that it is designed to make ahead and reheat. If  you need more of these kind of recipes this is for you- and it was so, so good! I highly recommend her recipes!

Kosher for Passover Muffins | Hardly A Goddess

Never mind my finger here…or the Santa muffin wrappers…I told you we are an “Interfaith” household!

Joy of Kosher
So, this blog makes me feel bad about myself. She is amazing and has tons of awesome recipes for all year round, and also for the Matza-driven masses. Tons of cute Seder ideas for kids and other lovely things here. Worth a peek…or 2 hours!

What Jew Wanna Eat
I just like the name of this blog, so I went here and found tons of great recipes to choose from. A fun tone and superb pictures to lead you where you want to find deliciousness! This Matza Ball Chicken Tortilla Soup has me ready to make this NOW! Great food here.

Overtime Cook
All about good food, easy food, and lots of different food. She is a young and accomplished home-cook that has a great take on making family friendly kind of meals. I like the simple ingredient and kid-friendly Passover ideas that this blog offers.

Soooo that is it! I hope you take a peek at some of these sites (and one book!) since I have spent more than a little time looking at them, my Passover menu has already improved! Next year I think I will try a menu plan to pull lots of these ideas from. Have a Happy Passover!

Cola Marinated Steak Tips #SundaySupper

Cola Marinated Steak Tips | Hardly A GoddessSteak tips? If you don’t know what they are, you are not from New England! When I moved here from New York, I wondered the same. What is a steak tip, and why is it on every menu that I come across?! Well, adventurous girl that I am I soon realized steak tips are far from adventurous, and they are kind of like steak bites, that have been marinated to a tenderness unlike any other cut of steak. As a cut of meat they are usually a beef sirloin flap steak that has been cut into strips. They are virtually standard grill food for most people in my area of Massachusetts.  If you order steak tips from a restaurant, they are more saucy and usually served over rice pilaf or mashed potatoes. I am a grill girl though, and will always prefer them this way, if  I make them from home.

Now, as a marinade, you can just use a bottled teriyaki dressing, and be done with it, but I have found the best little variation (but still keeping it simple), works for us: Cola. They say soda is just like drinking battery acid, so I can’t imagine what it does to raw meat…other than make it superbly tender by breaking down all the protein in it. Wonderful tenderizer! Just don’t use the diet stuff- for this recipe you need the sugar syrup, good old, normal cola.

Here’s what I use for the marinade:

Cola Marinated Steak Tips | Hardly A Goddess

Here’s the recipe:

Cola Marinated Steak Tips #SundaySupper


  • 4 ounces Cola
  • 4 ounces bottled Italian dressing
  • 4 ounces bottled chili sauce
  • 5 ounces cranberry juice cocktail
  • 1 1/2 lbs. steak tips.


Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a shallow dish. Add the steak and marinate for 8 hours, turning once, half-way through.

If you are grilling, go ahead and preheat the grill to medium-high heat. If you are cooking on the stove, your pan should be medium high heat as well.

Remove the tips from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature.

Discard the marinade, and grill or saute the meat until done to your liking.


Cola Marinated Steak Tips | Hardly A Goddess

Since, I know many of you won’t grill, I am listing these easy cooking times recommended specifically for steak tips, from the Butcher site at the Meat House, a place where I used to get my steak tips, before they went and moved too far away from us!

Grill: 4-6 minutes per side on medium/high heat

Roast: 14 total minutes at 400 degrees

Broil: 4-6 minutes per side on high heat

Sauté: 4-6 minutes per side on high heat

Now, since I live in New England, there are a lot of other great regional recipes that I could have shared with you, but I hope you will try this one! Lots of other regional specialties abound outside of my world however, so I am happy to share the recipes from my friends at Sunday Supper. This event will be hosted by Sue Lau, from A Palatable Pastime Thank you Sue!






Side Dishes:


Main Dish:


Plus Rhubarb Steamed Pudding and Favorite Regional Recipes from Sunday Supper Movement

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement