Critically acclaimed foodie author Rachel Goodman stopped by XOXOAD to share a few of her favorite things! Keep reading for yummy recipes, brilliant life suggestions and delicious drink ideas, and then grab your favorite bottle of wine and settle in to read Rachel’s newest installment in the Blue Plate Series, Sour Grapes, on sale now!

9781476792903Carbs: Shrimp Scampi

Simple, flavorful, fast, and the perfect fix for when you’re craving pasta but not in the mood for something heavy. Make it on a weeknight and have dinner on the table in less than thirty minutes. 

Serves: 4-6


1 pound linguini

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 shallots, finely minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup dry white wine

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves


Add linguine to a large pot of boiling salted water and cook according to the directions on the package. 

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes to the pan and sauté until the shallots are translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, then add them to the pan and cook until they have turned pink, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside. Next add the white wine, lemon juice, the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter, and parsley and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until the sauce has reduced just a touch. Return the shrimp to the pan along with the cooked pasta. Toss to combine and serve immediately.

Characters: House of Cards

I am way late to the party on this one, but boy am I glad I gave into the hype, signed up for Netflix, and binge-watched all four seasons with my husband. I love the complexity of the characters, especially Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) and Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), who both have just the right balance of evil mixed with ruthless charm. Spacey in particular is compulsively likeable even when he’s committing deplorable acts, magnetic in the most basest way, and has all the swagger of a Southern politician who will stop at nothing to move up the food chain. 

Block out a couple of weeks on your calendar to lose yourself in this show—you won’t be sorry.


Colors: Bullet Journaling

Hello, my name is Rachel, and I have become a Bullet Journal addict.

The website describes bullet journaling as: 

The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less.

I’ve personally only been using the system for month and already it has become an essential part of my organization routine. And the best part about it is that it combines the necessity for a planner with the fun of an adult coloring book. I use it to plan out my daily tasks, track my writing progress, doodle, and even capture important life events.

Here is a peek into my Bullet Journal and some blank spreads that will be filled in during the month:


My favorite supplies for bullet journaling are:

Leuchtturm 1917 Medium Hardcover Dots Purple notebook (available on Amazon here).

Faber-Castel PITT Artist Pens, Black, 4-Pack (I use the ‘S’ as my main writing pen) (available on Amazon here).

Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens (for the adding color and shading) (available on Amazon here).

If you haven’t found a planning system that works for you, or if you like the free-form structure that regular journaling gives you, this may be your perfect solution. Did I mention coloring was involved?


Cabernet Sauvignon

Does this really need an explanation? Yes? Okay.

My favorite at the moment is B Side Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley for $25. It has a complex flavor profile of layered fruit—blackberry, pomegranate, and black currant—and notes of coffee and chocolate that are perfect when paired with steak, fish, or even a cheese plate.

Over the last several years I’ve become very interested in all things wine—the various varietals, the winemaking process, the regions where the grapes are grown—and I’ve made it a habit to not only visit wineries around the world but to also learn about all the love and care that went into my favorite wines. After I visited Texas Hill Country for a bachelorette party, I knew I had to use its rolling hills and vineyards as the inspiration for SOUR GRAPES. Not to mention it gave me an excuse to write about making out in a vineyard I hope you’ll enjoy discovering the Texas Hill Country with Marge and Ryan as much as I did.