Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday Tea Time

This week -- Celestial Seasonings Red Tea Madagascar Vanilla
Cost: $2.99 at Whole Foods
Number of teabags: 20 - individually sealed in attached double paper bags
Caffeine: No
Type of tea: African Rooibos Red
Steeping time: 4 minutes
Double Dipper potential: Yes, give it 6 minutes the second time
Mix ins: Sugar, milk
Teabag fragrance: VANILLA!
Ingredients: Rooibos, Natural French Vanilla Flvor and Vanilla Bean
Taste: Vanilla, with a bit of astringency which you can temper with a little more sugar than usual
My opinion: Pretty orangy-red - when you add milk it looks peachy. I tried a cup after lunch when I really wanted those chocolate chip cookies, and this did the trick! Rooibos/red teas are very high on the good for you tea list. And you have to admit, a lion drinking a cup of this tea on the box is a strong endorsement.
Would I go back and buy another box? Yes!
Rating: 4.5 teabags out of 5

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sources for replacement sewing machine manuals

Or really any machine manual or instruction guide-- they have a huge database. I was able to find my Singer user manual here --

Another source I discovered afterwards -- when I printed my download, their page was the last one (oops to!) --

I went to their website and downloads are only $5. You may want to check with them first.

Three New Sandra Betzina Patterns!

Perfect timing for holiday sewing! Making their debut in the new Vogue Winter/Holiday pattern catalog, which magically appeared on the pattern counter yesterday --

1139 skirt with obi belt

1140 corset blouse

1147 coat/jacket with cool trim variations

Boo! Next Jo-Ann's $3.99 pattern sale is October 29/31. Happy Halloween pattern shopping!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

2009 Chantal Outlet Warehouse Sale!

The Chantal Outlet Warehouse Sale is coming next month -- the first three weekends in November!! GREAT opportunity to score some goodies for yourself...and others! They always have a different promotion deal each weekend, with unbelievable prices. Stock up for all your gift-giving needs for the holidays and throughout the year. I've got my wish list already started, but I'm flexible -- you never know what you are going to find and decide you need!

Thursday Tea Time

Cost: $3.49 on sale at Whole Foods, regular price is $3.99
Number of teabags: 20 - individually sealed in attached double paper bags
Caffeine: No
Type of tea: White and green tea
Steeping time: 2 minutes
Double Dipper potential: Yes, give it 4-5 minutes the second time
Mix ins: Honey
Teabag fragrance: Smells like Wrigley's gum!
Ingredients: Decaffeinated green tea, decaffeinated white tea, spearmint, peppermint and natural peppermint essence (contains soy lecithin)
Taste: Mostly spearmint, not overpowered by peppermint. The white and green tea combination helps temper and balance the mint so it is not bitter.
My opinion: I'm not a big fan of peppermint tea, but I loved this! First time I've ever gone back and made a second cup immediately after the first. The box has pretty artwork, too.
Would I go back and buy another box? Yes!
Rating: 5 teabags out of 5

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bake Sale Cookie Time - Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

"There's a bake sale tomorrow - can you bring some cookies?" Betty Crocker to the rescue with my tried and true Chocolate Chip cookie recipe posted here earlier.

I doubled the recipe and instead of butter/margarine plus shortening, I used two sticks of Smart Balance 50/50 Butter Blend (trying to make them a little healthier for the cookie toll we take for the home team), and added 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts and a container of Fall jimmies/sprinkles from the Target Dollar Spot.
Update: (my commenter doesn't seem to be working this morning_
I'm with you there, Lala! I'll do that and add a little whole wheat flour to the recipe - but for a bake sale, I didn't want anyone to have any surprise after effects ; )
Good news is they raised over $800 for the Adopt a Family program. Their goal was $300, so we are hoping they can adopt 3 families this year!
P.S. Was told these cookies were gone in less than 5 minutes. I don't know if that means sold...or..EATEN!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


1. The two houses we see on the way to school - decorating with larger than life, bigger than Texas-size spiders, goblins, pumpkins and more

2. The Fall versions of yogurts -- Target's Archer Farms' Apple Cider, Caramel Apple and Stonyfield's Organic Pumpkin Pie

Monday, October 19, 2009

Amazon's Deal of the Day - Lyle Lovett's new CD only $3.99

Actually debuts tomorrow, October 20 - but you can download the entire CD today for only $3.99! Go to and search Lyle Lovett "Natural Forces" Click to go to the MP 3 Downloads. Amazon's MP 3 downloader pops your purchased songs right into iTunes, easy as pie!

I love these Amazon Deals of the Day and Week!!!

When in doubt, shove it!

Which is what I did when I was trying to figure out how to wind the bobbin on the Singer 2010 Touch Tronic Memory Machine. In a fit of anger and/or brilliance, I shoved the bobbin holder spring clip thingy over all the way as far as it could go thinking it couldn't be right, but it was and it worked! Whew!

The few blurry PDF copies I was able to find and download are not only hard to read, but do not include the entire User Manual for this rather cool machine, which purrs and sews like a champ. It has all kinds of neat stitches and features; I'd like to get to know it better.

Does anyone know where you can get a copy of the instruction manual? I tried Googling, eBay and Amazon without any luck. Surely there has to be a resource out there, somewhere. I would even be willing to give back to the corpus of knowledge with a copy of my 1970 Sears Kenmore machine manual.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

Moonlight Madness Sale - October 18/24
McCall's patterns - 99 cents

October 29/31 -
Butterick - $1.99
Vogue - $3.99

Hobby-Lobby has Simplicity patterns on sale this week for $1.99

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday Tea Time

Cost: $3.49 on sale at Whole Foods, regular price is $3.99
Number of teabags: 20 - individually sealed in attached double paper bags
Caffeine: No
Type of tea: Herbal
Steeping time: 4 minutes
Double Dipper potential: Yes, give it 6 minutes the second time
Mix ins: Sugar, milk. I tried it one time with fat free Half and Half and vanilla sugar - uh-uh. Sounded like a good idea, didn't taste as good as regular milk and sugar.
Teabag fragrance: Vanilla
Ingredients: Roasted carob, roasted chicory, milk thistle, roasted barley, natural vanilla and hazelnut flavors (contains soy lecithin), cinnamon, licorice, anise seed and vanilla bean.
Taste: VERY smooth, slightly sweet and vanilla-y, with hazelnut undertones. Medium color.
My opinion: Make a cup of this and drink to drown out the siren call of cookies. The warmth and sweetness help divert your attention and appetite quite successfully.
Would I go back and buy another box? Yes.
Rating: 4 teabags out of 5. Very desirable if you are jonesing for a hazelnut undertone.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Everyday Food #65 - Three-Cheese Skillet Lasagna

Three Cheese Skillet Lasagna From Everyday Food issue #65, September 2009, page 97

Another instance "sort-of" following the directions. In the freezer I had 1/2 jar of leftover pasta sauce with mushrooms and an opened 1/2 mozzarella "ball" from a Costco two-pack. With a 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes + the pasta sauce, it was the perfect consistency. I used my Cuisinart Little Chopper to chop up the mozzarella instead of trying to shred - it was too soft. I also used the entire 15 ounce container of ricotta cheese (low fat). As far as the skillet, which seemed like a good idea, I didn't have an all-metal one shown in the magazine photo and didn't trust my skillet's composite handle at 400, so I used my Chantal "Party Pan" - basically a round casserole. Worked just fine.

With the no-bake noodles, this was a pretty fast and easy lasagna in less than 1 hour. Not bad! I will add it to my recipe notebook.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


1. Talent -- from contractor, to tile installer, to sink maker...and sewing machine repairer!

2. Honesty -- fair prices for skilled work...

I am appreciative of all!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Money Monday - Call Me!

Here's a number worth putting in your cell phone or your home phone speed dial:

1-800-Goog-411. (1-800/466-4411)

This is a FREE nationwide service from Google -- great when you are on the road...or even at home. Save your money on information calls and save your time dialing the number.
When you dial 1-800-goog411, the prompts will ask for "City and State", then "Business, Name or Type of Service" and then say "Connecting", placing the call for you automatically.
It is nationwide and absolutely free! Click on the link below and watch the short clip for a quick demonstration.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Everyday Food #65 - Maple-Pecan Bread Pudding

From Everyday Food issue #65 - September 2009, page 126

A perfect marriage of Vermont Maple Syrup and Texas Pecans!

The only change I made was to use Land O'Lakes Fat Free Half and Half and bumped up the pecans to almost 1 cup. Two of Target's Archer Farms French Demi Baguettes - 3 ounce size, had just the right amount of airy-ness/holes and volume to fill a 9 x 9" square baking dish.
If you plan to visit Vermont or have friends there and can get the "good stuff", this recipe will do it deserved justice!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Penzeys Free Turkey Seasonings Coupon Code

The Holiday 2009 Penzey catalog issue arrived in my mailbox today, along with a coupon on the cover to use for one of three turkey seasonings -- Poultry Seasoning (15037C)...Bangkok Blend (10337C)...and Bicentennial Rub (20635C).

Plus the catalog has three great recipes I can't wait to try with Penzeys new Cinnamon - Gingersnap Cake, Spice Cookies and Pumpkin Roll Dessert!

Thursday Tea Time

This week - Celestial Seasonings Roastaroma One of their 1970's classics, it's still great today!

Cost: Around $3.50 at Whole Foods

Number of teabags: 20 - individually sealed in attached double paper bags

Caffeine: No

Type of tea: Herbal

Steeping time: 4 minutes

Double Dipper potential: Yes, give it 5-6 minutes the second time

Mix ins: Sugar, milk. I tried it with 2% instead of skim or whole, just to keep the docs happy. Tasted just fine.

Teabag fragrance: "Roasty!" With a little bit of spice

Ingredients: Roasted barley, roasted chicory, roasted carob, cinnamon, allspice and Chinese star anise.

Taste: You can detect the chicory, but it is not bitter. It looks dark, like coffee. Smells and tastes great. Love the cinnamon/allspice/anise combo, and the carob is a good substitute for a chocolate essence.

My opinion: Perfect flavor weight for Fall/Winter.

Would I go back and buy another box? Yes. I panicked last Spring when I couldn't find it anymore at the store location I usually shop. But Whole Foods brought it back.

Rating: 4+ teabags out of 5. As of right now, this is my favorite herbal tea, hence the "+" after the 4. It's hard to be consistent!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


1. It could have been worse. . .

Much worse. Freakishly heavy rain in the wee hours of Friday morning plus the unsuccessful valiant efforts of our patio drain caused our house to flood. Fortunately it was contained to the master bathroom, kitchen and garage.

2. The master bathroom updating moved to the top of the list.

I look forward to new sinks, vanity, flooring...and finally getting rid of that horrible wallpaper!

Just goes without saying...

...but I thought I will say it anyways. . .

If I blog about or mention a particular item, it is my own personal opinion. And my own personal purchase. With my own money. Without a discount, save for a mass-produced coupon available to everyone. I do not accept advertising offers nor respond to all those emails asking me to review or mention a product, etc.

Just so it's said, just so it is.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Happy Hello Kitty Halloween!

Found at Target - $2.99 for two sheets
Look at HK Trick or Treating as "Dorothy," complete with ruby slippers!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

My top side picture is taken from this fabric -- The Pink Ribbon Sisterhood Breast Cancer Awareness quilt fabric designed by Suzy Torontos. I found it at The Oz Material Girls

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

Columbus Day Sale - October 9/12

Simplicity patterns - 99 cents
50% off Red Tag fabrics
Look for the 50% off regular price coupon in the special insert
Buttons and notions - BIGIF

October 15/17 - Vogue patterns $3.99

Thursday Tea Time

This week -- Bigelow Vanilla Caramel. I seem to be on a caramel kick! Must be the "it says it's Fall" calendar vibe and subsquently seasonally linked caramel apples, Halloween candy bags already appearing in the stores (!), and spicy home baking fragrances coming into play. Bigelow even has a recipe page for desserts made with this tea!

Cost: ? Don't remember. Bought it at either Super Target or Kroger
Number of teabags: 20 - invidually sealed in foil packets
Caffeine: Yes
Type of tea: Black
Steeping time: 2 minutes
Double Dipper potential: Yes, give it 4 minutes the second time
Mix ins: Sugar, milk. Bigelow also suggests it iced? Hmmm
Teabag fragrance: Caramel-y, with a hint of vanilla
Ingredients: Black tea, natural and artificial flavors (soy lecithin)
Taste: Just like a caramel without destroying your teeth and dental work.
My opinion: Good way to temper your sweet tooth
Would I go back and buy another box? Yes
Rating: 4.5 teabags out of 5 (I need to leave a little wiggle room in the caramel category. It's going to be hard to dethrone last week's Celestial Seasoning's Chocolate Caramel Enchantment Chai)