Salt & Vinegar Sweet Potato Chips

When you are in a group of girlfriends it is only a matter of time before the ultimate question is asked.

Are you a Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, or Charlotte?

This might be overly generalized, but this happened in no less than three separate friend groups that I am in.  There are several unique situations in which the question arises.  It can be a Friday night and you’re all binging on pizza and Netflix.  Or you’re out on the town, walking down the street in a perfectly synchronized line.  Or, you know, one of your friends exhibits loose morals.

She’s so our Samantha!

I’m always Charlotte and I take that categorization with pride.  There’s a lot to admire in Charlotte.  She’s optimistic – almost to a fault – and knows how to rock a sweater set.  She’s also fiercely loyal to her friends but not afraid to tell them when she completely disagrees with what they are doing or saying.  I could do a lot worse than Charlotte York Goldenblatt.

I like to think these sweet potato chips are something Charlotte would whip up on the weekend for Harry.  They’re quick and nutritious, and look absolutely divine on a table.  I have a deep love affair with salt and vinegar flavored chips, and these did not disappoint!  They definitely aren’t as heavy on the flavor as their fried counterpart, but for a healthy alternative they were just perfect.

Salt & Vinegar Sweet Potato Chips

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Ingredients:

2-3 sweet potatoes, peeled

1/2 cup malt vinegar

salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare two baking sheets.

Thinly slice the sweet potatoes potatoes.  Put the potatoes in a large ziploc bag with the malt vinegar and a healthy dose of salt.  Give it a good shake and then let sit for 10-15 minutes.

Place the potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheets.  Bake for 10-15 minutes.  Flip them over, sprinkle with more salt, and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

Source:  Creme De La Crumb

 

Baked Pumpkin-Banana Oatmeal

I used to not like breakfast, which is sort of crazy.  How can you not like a meal that is almost a carb by default?  I mean, even my egg-based breakfasts have some carb on the side.  A scrambled egg is just depressing without a little bread and jam with it.  And cheese.  Actually, the best way to eat a scrambled egg is piled on top of a slice of bread with some strawberry jam and provolone cheese.  It will change your life.  And…I’m getting off topic.  Deliciously so, but still.

ANYWAY, it was crazy.  Thankfully, I grew out of this insanity and breakfast is held in the high esteem it deserves.  I go through phases with breakfast.  One month it will overnight oats.  The next a cereal loaded with nuts and oat clusters.  And after that dry waffles tucked in a napkin so I can eat them without interrupting my morning blog cruising.  My latest breakfast crush was two Nutrigrain waffles topped with peanut butter, sliced banana, and shredded coconut.

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The one thing all of these breakfast phases have in common is that they are fast.  During the week I just don’t have time to make something fancy.  Even five minutes in front of the stove is too much for me in the morning.  This weekend I discovered what all of you probably discovered years ago.  The weekend is the perfect time to make labor intensive food for the week!  This baked oatmeal isn’t too bad, but it does take about an hour in all to make.  I whipped it up yesterday morning and now plan to enjoy the leftovers for the rest of the week!

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I love this oatmeal because it has all of my favorite flavors.  The base is some nice caramelized bananas and then there’s the oatmeal layer and delicious smooth pumpkin as the topper.  Oh!  And chopped pecans!  You cannot forget the pecans!  Each layer is generously spiced, so you end up with a really nice warm and cozy baked oatmeal.  It’s fall in a baking dish, people.  It’s a beautiful thing!!

Baked Pumpkin-Banana Oatmeal

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Ingredients:

2-3 ripe bananas, sliced

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup old fashion oats

1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 cup milk

1 egg

3 tbsp brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Line an 8×8 baking dish with the sliced bananas.  You only want one single layer, so put any leftover banana back in your refrigerator for another use!  Sprinkle 1/4 tsp cinnamon on the bananas.  Drizzle the honey on.  Cover the dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes.  The bananas will reduce and make a really nice sauce on the bottom of the pan.

While the bananas are cooking, whisk together the oats, remaining cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, half of the pecans, and baking soda.  In another bowl, mix together the pumpkin, milk, egg, and brown sugar.  When the bananas come out, top with the oat mixture.  Pour the pumpkin mixture into the pan, spreading as evenly as you can.  Sprinkle the remaining pecans on the top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is browned.

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Source:  skinnytaste

What I’m Loving Friday: My Fictional Boyfriends

I like doing these Friday posts themed.  I also like talking about TV.  So, in a paltry attempt to continue on that happy train, I am dedicating this What I’m Loving Friday to those men on screen that make all of our hearts go pitter patter.

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I’m pretty sure I have a man for every taste in this list.  I hope you enjoy!!

For the girl who likes her man nerdy I bring you Ben Wyatt.

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He’s smart.  He’s sexy.  He can hold his own in a Star Wars debate.  I think Ben Wyatt is probably the closest to someone I would choose in real life.  He’s the perfect nerdy cute guy who has serious plaid shirt game.

For the girl that likes a man with dimples and a badge I bring you Derek Morgan.

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I’ve had long conversations with friends over who we would lock down from the men of Criminal Minds, and I always end up caught between Derek Morgan and another of the BAU team members (Spencer Reid for those who watch!).  At the end of the day, though, Derek Morgan wins.  Because of abs.

For the girl that likes her man with a side of superhero I bring you Oliver Queen.

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I had a lot of superhero men to choose from, but Oliver Queen is the winner because of how magnificently he pulls off a pea coat.  If you don’t want a man who can pull of a good pea coat I don’t think we can be friends.

For the girl who likes her man with a long, long way to go I bring you Mr. Big.

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I’m a Big fan.  It’s out there now.  He started off awful but then really redeemed himself by the end.  I mean – SPOILER ALERT – he flew all the way to Paris to get back the woman he loved.  So, yes, it took him a long time to get to a place where we -as viewers and decent human beings – didn’t hate him, but OH WAS THAT PLACE GLORIOUS.

For the girl who likes her man with an accent I bring you Niklaus Mikaelson.

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Okay, so he MIGHT be a murderous vampire.  And if you lived in Mystic Falls, odds are he’d have turned or killed someone you know.  But, you can’t have everything.  Stop having such high expectations.

For the girl who likes her man sporty I bring you Coach Eric Taylor.

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Unfortunately, this man belongs to Tammi Taylor, but we can look.  And repeat his team mantra whenever the situation calls for it.  Which is pretty much any and every situation.  Repeat after me: Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!

For the girl who likes her man a little grumpy and a whole lot sexy I bring you Danny Castellano.

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No man in the history of television – or life – has made red reading glasses look more sexy.  He should start a reading campaign.  If I didn’t read already, I’d start.

What TV men make your heart go pitter patter?  

Cracker Crumb Chicken

Have you ever noticed that it’s difficult to read tone in emails?  Really, go look at some emails.  Unless they’re riddled with emoticons and exclamation points, you will see that it is REALLY difficult to discern tone in emails.  One of my friends was telling me about a professor who would put smiley faces in all of his emails so that they would sound nice.

I thought this was sort of silly until I encountered the uncertain-tone-email and immediately was wishing for ANYTHING that would let me know that my professor wasn’t pissed off and subsequently making a voodoo doll of me and dropping my grade by eighty seven letter grades.

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I’m going to just ply all of my not serious emails with emoticons from now on so that people don’t read too much into what I write.  A little winky face action there.  A little :D here.  A smattering of “lol”.

Of course, in reality I can’t do any of this.  Only over educated law professors with things like Harvard and University of Chicago in their resume can put emoticons in actual academic emails without people questioning their intelligence and sanity.  Also, I would never use winky faces.  Ever.  For a short time in college it suddenly became a thing for guys to use them in texts to flirt.  Maybe that’s still a thing.  I don’t know.  I clearly haven’t flirted via text in a while.  But the point is, winky face is never okay.

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Okay.  Since THAT rant is over, let’s talk about this chicken.  It’s a family recipe that immediately makes me think of family parties.  One family party, actually.  The only time my mom makes this is for my brother’s birthday party, which of course leads to me being salty for 24 years now that he gets this and all I get is Brown’s chicken.  I’ve been given many excuses over the years, the main one being BROWN’S CHICKEN IS TRADITION FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY, LIZ.

Yes, yes it is.  And my brother clearly got the better tradition.

Anyhoo, I adore this chicken.  It’s doused in melted butter which pretty much ups the odds of it being good to near certainty.  Nothing doused in butter is bad.  Nothing.  I’d eat a bar of soap doused in butter.  Before the butter, though, there’s some pretty jazzy things happening.  The chicken goes in the basic egg wash and then is dredged in a coating made up of butter crackers and corn flakes.  What you end up with is the juiciest, crunchiest, BUTTERIEST chicken.

Yummers.

Cracker Crumb Chicken

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Ingredients:

8 boneless chicken breasts

2 eggs, whisked

2 cups crushed butter crackers

1 cup crushed corn flakes

4 tbsp butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a baking sheet for the oven.

Whisk the eggs in a shallow bowl.  In another shallow bowl combine the butter crackers and corn flakes.  With the dredging-coating-station set up, take your chicken breasts and dip them in the egg mixture first and then dredge them in the cracker mixture.  Repeat with the rest of the chicken breasts.

When all the chicken breasts are ready on the baking sheet, pour the melted butter directly on the chicken breasts.  Don’t skimp on the butter here –  it really adds flavor!

Cook for 25-30 minutes, until cooked through.

Tzatziki (Cucumber-Yogurt)

So, I went to Target recently to buy a humidifier because I’ve been randomly waking up with nosebleeds.  TMI?  Maybe, TMI.  I’m going to go on, anyway.  Ever wake up with a nosebleed?  It’s not pleasant.  Especially when you blindly run to your bathroom, whipping your head around and flailing trying to find your kleenex, and when you finally get everything under control your bathroom looks like a crime scene.

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Along with the humidifier I wanted to get myself some clothes.  I went with my friend and told her that I wanted to get some comfy casual clothes, as opposed to the dresses I typically wear.  Naturally, I ended up leaving with almost the entirety of their workwear dresses.  If nothing else, I’m consistent!

Moving on to the food, one of my best friends is Greek and I just know this post will make her cringe.  Yes, this is not even a remotely authentic tzatziki.  I’m going to plead ignorance, though, and justify this with the argument that I don’t actually know how to make authentic tzatziki.  So, I didn’t know any better!

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Okay, I sort of did.  But this is just so simple and delicious.  It takes minutes to whip up and tastes so refreshing on an unseasonably warm or suddenly-rudely-cold-day!  It also smells like heaven, at least to me.  I don’t know about others, because when I brought this into the clinic office it did prompt several people to immediately comment on how weird the office smelled.

Tzatziki

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Ingredients

1 7-ounce container Greek yogurt

1 small cucumber, seeded, peeled, and cubed

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1 tbsp of fresh dill (or more if you’re a crazy dill-lover like me!)

pinch of black pepper

juice of 2 lemons

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients except for the lemon in a bowl.  Add the lemon juice and stir.  Voila!

Source:  Lea Michele’s Brunette Ambition

What I’m Loving Friday: TV Edition

With premiere season in full swing I thought I’d dedicate an entire “What I’m Loving” post to the good ol’ boob tube.  I love premiere season.  The networks just exude hope and excitement with their returning favorites and the new shows that are tirelessly promoted with endless advertisements and spots on talk shows, which will predictably be for naught when the show is cancelled two months later.  Ahhhh, premiere season!

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Here is a rundown of my favorite shows on TV now – new and old!  I’ll try to talk about shows that you haven’t already heard me obsess over ;)

1.  Sleepy Hollow

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I do think I talked about this before, but it was last year!  That was so long ago I barely remember it.  So, I’m banking on you not remembering it, either.  The basic synopsis – a soldier from the Revolutionary War is resurrected in present day Sleepy Hollow, and him and his kick ass partner fight to stop the end of the world.  The four horsemen of the apocalypse are involved.  So is Benjamin Franklin.  And George Washington.  And, naturally, a headless horseman.  Just talking about it has me all excited – it’s so good!!!!!!

2.  The Mindy Project

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I used to only watch this show because it aired after New Girl and I never got around to changing the channel.  Now, I would happily watch it without New Girl.  While that show has devolved into something barely recognizable, The Mindy Project has only grown sharper.  Quick synopsis for those who haven’t seen it – imagine The Office set in a gynecologist’s office.  There you have it!  Also, there are a bunch of golden quotes like the one above.

3.  Gracepoint

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This one is actually new!  It’s based on the BBC drama Broadchurch, and is the rare network show that is structured like its cable television counterpart.  Instead of the standard 22 episode season, Gracepoint will be wrapped up in a succinct 10 episodes.  I personally love this, because it allows for each episode to be more meaningful.  There are no filler episodes when you only have 10!   Again, for the uninitiated, a quick synopsis – a quiet town is shaken by the murder of a young boy, everyone is a suspect, and David Tennant with a questionable American accent.

4.  Arrow and The Flash

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Oh, Arrow.  I had an entire post dedicated to Arrow and the beauty of all its shirtless workout scenes.  I mean, the lead IS a vigilante.  He needs to keep fit!  Along with Arrow, I am so loving its spinoff The Flash.  It focuses on Barry Allen, who after a freak accident becomes the fastest man alive.  Both of these shows have the feel of a big action movie with the sort of intimacy that you can only find with characters who live in your living room each week.  Plus, there are lots of pretty people in them.

5.  Bad Judge

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This one pretty much explains itself.  Kate Walsh plays, well, a bad judge.  I like it less for her acting out than for the subplot where she serves as pseudo guardian for the thirteen year old son of two people she put behind bars.  It’s only been on for two episodes, but I think it has potential.  Kate Walsh is always a delight, and as a law student I get a certain level of amusement out of law-based shows.

6.  Selfie

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This show is the victim of a terrible title.  Seriously, whoever came up with that title should be fired.  Despite its contrived name, the show really does have a lot of heart.  It’s a modern day incarnation of My Fair Lady, and Karen Gillan and John Cho are an absolute dream together.  She is adorably dense and him delightfully exasperated.  Is it cartoonish at times?  Yes.  Do they try too hard to be hip?  Absolutely.  But, it’s a feel good comedy, and after watching something like Gracepoint you need that!

What shows are you excited about?

 

Goddess Garbanzos

I’m putting myself on a self-imposed grocery-shopping-diet for the next few weeks.  Namely, I will only go to the store for absolute necessities – think milk, bread, more milk.  My reason for the grocery-shopping-diet is simple: I want to waste less food.  I have a bad habit of freezing portions of meals and then not touching them until I clear out my freezer at the end of the year.  Same goes for odds and ends in my refrigerator.  My hope for the next week or so is that I can clear out a lot of my leftovers, as well as getting creative with the other food in my refrigerator.  Added bonus – I’ll spend less at the grocery store which means a happy wallet!

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These goddess garbanzos are something I recently made out of pantry staples, and I definitely plan on making it during this week.  The best way to describe this is chicken salad without the chicken.  I know that probably sounds totally wacky, but trust me it’s delicious.  I ate this stuffed in a pita.  I ate it with Wheat Thins.  I even ate it straight out of a tupperware while standing in front of my sink (welcome to my weeknights!).  It’s one of my favorite – and most simple! – meals I’ve made lately.

Goddess Garbanzos

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Ingredients

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

3 1/2 tbsp Annie’s Naturals Goddess Dressing (or something comparable)

1 tbsp mayonnaise

1 tsp lemon juice (or, just a nice squeeze if you don’t feel like measuring)

1 tsp tahini

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup celery, diced

2 tbsp apple, diced

Directions:

Combine all ingredients up to the celery in a bowl.  Fold in the celery and apple.  Serve alone or in a pita pocket.

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Source:  Eat, Drink, Be Vegan

Italian Comfort Soup

I work in a clinic at my school which means that I spend a lot of time in the clinic office.  I really love it because it allows me to have semi-privacy for studying while still having a steady stream of people to chat with.  I’m of the strange study variety where I need something in between complete silence and cozy, chatty coffee shop.  The clinic office is the perfect halfway.  It even has a big ol’ water bottle where I can get constant hot water for tea!

The only downside is that it is freezing.  I swear when you walk from the office to the hallway outside there is a five or ten degree difference.  It’s crazy.  I just sucked it up for the first few weeks and shivered while I worked, one hand constantly wrapped around my decreasingly warm mug of tea.  Finally, though, enough was enough.   It was time to bring in the blanket.

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I am notorious for bringing blankets with me to offices.  I had one for most of my stint at Northwestern this summer because my office was an absolute freezer.  Supervising attorneys would always comment on it when they came to give me assignments and I’d just nod in agreement, clutching my blanket.  The warmth greatly outweighed any potential backlash for having a blanket in my office.  Eight or nine hours of shivering straight is too much.

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So, let’s talk about this soup.  When I cooked this up a few days ago it ended up being more of a stew than a soup, which is why I said to add more broth or water as you think necessary.  The original recipe said to add 8 cups of stock, which I thought was a typo, but now I’m not so sure.  Either way, if you’re getting near the end of the cook time and it’s looking a little more like a stew than soup, add some extra broth!

Italian Comfort Soup

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Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 carrots, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 onion, chopped

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, more as needed

juice of 3 lemons

3-4 unpeeled red potatoes, cubed

1 bunch of kale, de-stemmed and chopped

2 15-ounce cans lentils (or 1 cup dry lentils)

parmesan cheese

salt/pepper

pinch of red pepper flakes

Directions

In a large stock pot heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.

Pour the broth into the stock pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and let cook for 30 minutes.  If you are using dry lentil, add them in the last ten minutes here.

Add the potatoes and cook for 15 minutes.  Next, add the kale and canned lentils, if using, and let cook for an additional 15 minutes.

Finish with the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve garnished with some parmesan.

Source:  Slightly adapted from Lea Michele’s Brunette Ambition

What I’m Loving Friday

1.  Jimmy Kimmel

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A few days ago I was watching a video on Youtube and clicked over to a Jimmy Kimmel video that showed up on the side of my screen.  I don’t even remember what it was that I clicked, but it led to me being sucked in for a full two hours of Jimmy Kimmel videos.  My favorites, without a doubt, were the “Jimmy Kimmel, I Told My Kid I Ate All Their Halloween Candy” videos.  For those of you unfamiliar with them, it’s a series of videos where parents tell their kids they ate all their candy, and the kids FREAK OUT.  If you have some time to spare, definitely take a glance.  Just make sure you have a few hours to spare for the inevitable hours of video watching that will follow.

2.  Criminal Minds

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This show is the unique variety that can make me feel simultaneously prepared and terrified to live alone.  On the one hand, I now check every nook and cranny before I go to bed and never make quick runs to my car or the garbage without locking my door.  But I also can envision pretty much the most disturbing ways to die.  It’s definitely a show that I’ve kept strictly to the bright hours.  Serial killer shows are better served with sunlight.

3.  Brut Classic – Chandon

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I ordered this sparkling wine at a restaurant downtown and it was served in a split bottle with a champagne flute.  Did I look elitist?  Probably.  Did I love it?

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4.  Emily Gilmore

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I’m sorry for more Gilmore Girls stuff, and I promise to keep it brief.  I’ll just say this – Emily Gilmore is one classy broad.  And she throws phenomenal shade.

5.  Sarah Dessen novels

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I might have blogged this before.  I don’t remember.  Either way, I’m still loving her books and am currently reading my fourth or fifth.  There’s something about her books that are so relatable.  You end up getting really invested in the characters and rooting for them to get their happy ending.

My Definitive List of Perfect Romantic Comedies

I watch a lot of romantic comedies.  Like, a lot.  This probably isn’t too surprising considering my recent soliluqoy on my love of the Hallmark channel.  I’m a sucker for romance!  Who isn’t?  I have to admit that I don’t branch out too much when it comes to my rom coms.  I have a select few that I find myself coming back to time and again.  I hope some of these are new titles for you guys!  Who knows, maybe you’ll find your new favorite movie?!

1.  27 Dresses

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I saw this movie in theaters, really liked it, and subsequently bought the DVD for cheap from my local video rental store.  I probably watched it once after I bought it, and then didn’t touch the DVD again until my senior year of college.  My mom was visiting for the weekend and I let her choose the movie for the night.  Her pick was 27 Dresses.  I think I watched it three or four times that week (twice in one day, even!) and ever since it’s been my go-to.  There’s just so much to love about that movie.  Uptight Katherine Heigl in questionable fashion choices.  Cranky James Marsden.  Ugh, I love it so much!

2.  The Decoy Bride

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I actually discovered this movie because of all the Doctor Who that I watch.  The male lead played the Doctor and Netflix kept recommending it for me.  Personally, I thought it would hokey.  And I was right.  It is far from a quality movie, but that’s part of its charm!  Bonus points – Michael Urie (Marc from Ugly Betty!) plays the female lead’s publicist and is all sorts of sassy.  If you have Netflix, get on it!!

3.  Love Actually

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This movie wins for having the absolute highest number of adorable, heartbreaking, moving love stories in one single movie.  I dare you to watch this and choose a favorite!

4.  The Nora Ephron Trifecta:  You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless In Seattle, When Harry Met Sally…

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I couldn’t separate these because they’re really a package deal.  Nora Ephron set the bar for rom coms in my opinion, and what is better than to see that bar in action!  If I had to rank these, I probably would put When Harry Met Sally at the top, but you can’t forget this gem of a quote from You’ve Got Mail:

“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms.”

Sa-woon!!!!

5.  The Way We Were

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I know this is more of a drama than a romantic comedy, but I think there’s enough humor in it for me to include.  I love me some Barbra Streisand – throw in Robert Redford and some good Marx Brothers references and I’m in seventh heaven!

6.  The Sandra Bullock Collection:  The Proposal, Two Weeks Notice, Ms. Congeniality

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Again, I’m sort of cheating grouping these.  BUT, I am justifying this because of the fact that sometimes I find myself in a purely Sandra-Bullock-Rom-Com mood.  It doesn’t matter which one, I just want her in it.  So…there it is!

7.  The Princess Diaries

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I actually just watched this a few days ago.  I downloaded it on iTunes because – this is going to date me – I ONLY have it on VHS.  It occurred to me that it being on VHS would keep me from watching it pretty much anywhere, so I took immediate action.  I actually think the budding relationship between Mia and her grandmother (Julie Andrews!!!) might be the true love story in this movie, but it still makes the list.  Because of Julie Andrews.  And Mia’s douchy high school love interest.

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Ugh, all that hair gel.

What are your favorite romantic comedies???  Give me suggestions for what to watch next!