I’m in love and I’m not ashamed!

The Voice (Tuesdays, NBC, 9:00 CST)

I never thought I would watch, let alone adore, a reality show. But The Voice has won me over!

If you’ve not heard anything about it (which must mean you don’t watch anything on NBC because they have really been advertising the HELL out of this show), here’s how it works: There are blind auditions, in which the four celebrity judges (Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine [from Maroon 5], and Blake Something [he’s a country singer and apparently engaged to Miranda Lambert, another country singer]) have their backs turned to the singers (and these are the finalists – no embarrassing, cringeworthy performances here). Each judge will create a team of 8 singers and if they want someone for their team, they hit their button and their chair turns around. If one judge turns around, the singer is automatically on their team. If more than one judge turns around, the singer gets to choose whose team they want to join.

We’re through the blind auditions and everyone has their team of 8.

Now we start the battle rounds in which each judge/mentor will work with their teams and then whittle them down to four singers per team.

Then WE get to vote!

And, oh, yes, I will be voting.

I love it (so far) because it’s so positive – like I said, everyone here has made it through previous rounds of auditions. They’re not making us sit through all the sad, embarrassing singers who think they’re awesome but are not – these people are all very talented, but for whatever reason, just haven’t “made” it in the business yet. And I think the level of talent they’ve gotten is in a different league than American Idol. Adam put it best when he said, “The people we’re turning away could win American Idol easily.”

So the competitors are super-talented; Xtina, Adam, Blake, and Cee Lo all seem really intelligent and kind and supportive (especially Blake) and are adorable and have fabulous chemistry with each other; and the approach to the competition seems really positive which I like – I don’t want to see someone’s hopes and dreams crushed, I want to see constructive criticism that will push them to be better even if they’re not winning the game this time.

Heather and I are hooked and, barring a complete change in direction, will be seeing this through to the very end.

Happy Easter!

I know it’s more than two weeks late, but…

I don’t have an excuse. Shut up.

At any rate, I was a bit overambitious (surprise, surprise) with my menu.

We had mimosas and bellinis (either orange juice or peach nectar with champagne), caprese eggs benedict which were super-yummy (and poached perfectly, despite the worries of my philistine father), roasted new potatoes with rosemary and lemon (also super-yummy), Croatian Easter cake (lovely flavors of orange and cranberry, but quite dense), boozy hot cross buns (the recipe for which I’ll post at the end of the post since I combined three recipes to get these and they were very tasty), and the darling AND yummy topiary cupcakes!

Everything was very good, but, as always, took me much longer than we’d anticipated. My mom helped a lot – she basically decorated the cupcakes once the grass tip I was using with the frosting got too frustrating (I got two that looked as they do in my picture – she did a variety of different designs on the rest, the most successful of which was just stars). I think it was just on this side of too thick for the tip – it needed to be thick to be able to stand up under its own weight, but it also kept clogging the tip. If I’d had an actual adapter which would allow me to screw it on and off, I could have just rinsed it out after each cupcake, but I was using disposable bags and the pressure I was having to put on it popped a couple of bags before we gave up.

Click here for my hot cross bun recipe!