Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thursday Tea Time

This week - Comfort and Joy Tea The Republic of Tea
Holiday Spice Blend - When It's Gone It's Gone Limited Edition Tea
Cost: $10.49 at Cost Plus World Market
Number of teabags: 50!

Caffeine: Yes
Type of tea: Black
Steeping time: 2-4 minutes, 3 worked for me
Mix ins: Fat-free condensed milk.
Teabag fragrance: Clove, licorice, cinnamon

Ingredients: Black tea, cinnamon, natural flavors, cloves, licorice root and apple pieces
Opinion: Licorice? What a surprise! The apple is a supporting flavor. An interesting combination and taste. I liked it!

Rating: 4.0


Trying out my new Galaxy Tab!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Rock Mafia - "The Big Bang" - 2:40

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Proof things improve over time as things to be replaced over time. And this Betty Crocker non-stick oven liner is a definite improvement from my worn out, thick, icky-looking black oven liner. Pretty gold color, almost sheer and very flexible -- easy to trim to fit. With a coupon burning a hole in my pocket, I found this at Bed, Bath and Beyond for only $9.99. I could get lost in BBB for hours. Dangerous aisles beckon. I originally went in for a flour sifter (and found a more usable 5 cup size to replace my broken 2 cupper).

Monday, December 27, 2010

Oooh! Gingerbread Cocoa?!

I found this on sale at Cost Plus World Market, on sale for $3.99 (regularly $5.99) Eight ounces, using about 2 1/2 tablespoons will make approximately 6 servings. The very gingery-gingerbread flavor definitely goes well with cocoa. Who knew? Yum!

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Edward Maya, featuring Vika Jigulina - "Stereo Love" - 3:04
Great beat...and how many songs have you heard lately featuring an ACCORDION?!
Perfectly timed for swimming laps and doing your flip turns.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hello Kitty Christmas

I found them near the Christmas candy/stocking stuffer section. Grab these at the Target after Christmas sale! Original price was $6.99.
"Holiday Home" and "Snowy Day" are Target exclusives.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

O Christmas Tree!

Part of our Christmas tree, it was almost 8 feet tall this year. L tried something new, putting four different types of lights on it. I love the way it turned out -- very fun!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thursday Tea Time

Cost: $3.95
Number of teabags: 5
Caffeine: Yes
Type of tea: Oolong
Steeping time: 5 minutes
Mix ins: Fat-free condensed milk
Teabag fragrance: Sweet floral/fruity, with hint of vanilla
Ingredients: Oolong tea, lilly blossom, dried pomegranate, natural and artificial flavorings
Opinion: Very smooth, not tart as I would expect from pomegranate. The vanilla is detectable and delectable, and really adds to the taste. Bonus with the cute little 3 1/4" tall mini tin, with inside lid. I will definitely repurpose this in the sewing room! I would buy this again, but this was the last one. I wish CBTL had this in the larger, 20-bag tin. Maybe next year they will bring it back in that size.
Rating: 4

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Patrick Hernandez- "Born to Be Alive" - 3:07
I actually entered a dance contest to this song way back when. Despite a swishy red dress, we didn't place. But had a great time then and now, dissolving in fits of laughter trying to teach my daughter the moves for one of her retro school dances.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Our 2010 Poinsettia

Does anyone know the name of this poinsettia? I got it at Costco the other day, marked down to $11.97. Isn't it gorgeous?!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

December 26/January 8
Every skein of yarn on sale!

New Year's Sale - December 30/January 2
Vogue $3.99
McCall's 99 cents
50% off thread

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Jingle Bell Scarf

I used Size 17 needles and two strands of yarn knitted together - I Love This Yarn "Seasonal" red/green/white, and its sister version in "Sparkle" with the silver metallic thread woven in. (Hobby Lobby $3.69 per skein) I thought it just begged for additional accents of three silver jingle bells on each end. Enough to be pretty without being irritating

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Netflix Stars - Letters to Juliet

4/5 stars - A bit of a slow start, hang in there. The scenery is gorgeous, reminiscent of "Under the Tuscan Sun". Vanessa Redgrave steals the movie. There were several lines which just struck me as LOL funny. Whether they were intentional or not, it helped turn this into a rom-com for me. Most definitely a chick flick and an enjoyable way to spend a Saturday morning knitting a Christmas present scarf.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thursday Tea Time

Cost: $6.95 at Starbucks
Number of teabags: 15 sachets (usually Tazo Teas in the cardboard boxes in the paper teabags have 20)
Caffeine: Yes
Type of tea: Black, Green and Oolong
Steeping time: 5 minutes.
Mix ins: Skim milk and sugar. I also tried it with honey, and it didn't taste quite as good.
Teabag fragrance: Tea-y! Faint jasmine scent, perhaps from the green tea?
Ingredients: Black, green and oolong teas and natural flavor
Opinion: Pretty tin and limited edition Tazo tea. This is moving fast at Starbucks. I first bought this about 10 days ago from the bookcase display and there were plenty of tins. When I went back tonight, one store was sold out, the other only had two. I left one behind for good Tazo Tea style Karma! Hopefully they will be restocking soon. If you are looking for a nice drinking tea without any exotic flavors and definitely a step above run of the mill Lipton, this is an enjoyable change of taste.
Rating: 4.0

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Netflix Stars - The Losers

0/5! How did this appear in my queue? It must have been the preview trailers seen on another DVD or in the theater. I like a good CIA/op movie, but this was awful. Both my daughter and I watched this and both of us ditched it after about 5 minutes. Loser indeed!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Netflix Stars - Sex and the City 2

1/5 stars. Only because I got halfway through until I ditched. This was terrible! The stupidity, stereotyping and racist/sexist remarks just offended me. I loved the series. The first movie wasn't that bad. But this!!! I hope they don't bother doing SATC3.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cool Christmas Ornament

I found this at Hobby Lobby during their 50% off Christmas ornament sale. It was in the "Fashion Ornaments/La Boutique" section. Even at the regular price of $4.99; it's quite the affordable addition to your tree and later on, your sewing room!
(The barcode item number is 6589311)

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Dear Sweet Blog,

I have missed you. I promise to be more attentive.

And I wanted a post date and time stamped:

12-11-10 9:00


Thursday, December 09, 2010

Thursday Tea Time

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Holiday Tea Trio - three tins of five tea bags each. $11.95

I'm not going to do my usual post for these teas, as I was not able to try all of them. They were packaged as a trio, which also included their featured Winter Dream Tea. Winter Dream had orange and lemon bits - and citrus gives me migraines. I gave that tin away as part of a holiday present exchange. But I thought I would at least be able to enjoy the other two. Nope!

Sugar Plum has Ceylon black tea, orange peel, whole cloves, ginger root, cinnamon, anise seed, mulling spices, nutmeg and lemon peel. It is very fragrant and smells interesting. I want to say I detect a faint Robitussin waft? I can't quite place it.

Candy Cane - Surely I'd be able to drink this one. Nope. I'm allergic to strawberries - they give me hives. What are the odds this tea would have Ceylon black tea and -- FREEZE DRIED STRAWBERRIES? I do give kudos to CBTL for an interesting combination - I bet it looks pretty and tastes great.

1, 2, 3 strikes - This week, I'm out!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Enrique Iglesias (featuring Pit Bull) - "I Like It" - 3:51
Great beat to keep you moving through the water when it's 42 degrees outside!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

December 10/12
$1.99 Simplicity
50% off Notions Wall
50% off Gingher
50% off interfacing

December 5/24
50% off flannel shirtings - sale $3.49/yard
(gah, I love flannels shirts on guys, even if I have to sew them myself!)

December 17/18
$3.99 Vogue
$1.99 McCall's

December 18/24
$1.99 Butterick

Monday, November 29, 2010

Netflix Stars - Away We Go

5 stars! What a hidden gem of a movie! The trailers did not do it justice - at all. It definitely showcases Maya Rudolph's talents way beyond the scope of her work on Saturday Night Live. Treat yourself to this indie and enjoy!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thursday Tea Time

Cost: $5.49 at Randalls
Number of teabags: 18
Caffeine: Yes
Type of tea: White
Steeping time: 4 minutes
Mix ins: Hot with fat-free condensed milk. It also tastes good with milk and a little bit of sugar. I haven't tried it with just honey yet, but doesn't that sound good, too?
Teabag fragrance: Rosy
Ingredients: Only two! 100% natural Fair Trade Certified and Organic Certified white tea and Organic Certified rose petals
Opinion: This grows on you. At first I thought it was very reminiscent of my grandmother's soap!? Then I tried another mug, then another. It is a very calming tea. In fact, in the midst of all the Thanksgiving dinner preparations, I took a break and had some of this. Just what I needed to get back into the kitchen, revitalized.
This is what Numi has printed on the box --
"Roses have been a symbol of love and beauty since the dawn of romance. Numi's enchanting Velvet Garden releases a provocative sweet rosy taste as it blushes a soft pink. With every sip this liaison of organic rose petals and delicate Spring White tea imparts a silken smoothness. White Tea is the tender bud of the tea plant making it exquisitely subtle and supremely healthy. High in antioxidants and Vitamin C, this uplifting Fair Trade Certified white tea blend will be the beginning of a long lasting love affair."
If this doesn't make you want to run out and buy one, I don't know what other words will!
Rating: 4.5

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fast, Easy and Cheap Christmas Wreath!

These three items from Target's Dollar Spot turn into
this --->
Total cost - $3
Total time - 15 minutes
Just fluff out the wreath and stick the ornaments on different branches. No need for wires, they slip right on. Target also has the wreaths and tubes of ornaments in different colors. I liked the more "retro" silver wreath with the multi colored ornaments.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Bars

Originally called "Frosted Pumpkin Bars" from the Penzeys Fall 2003 catalog, but when I brought them to a party, everyone was calling them Pumpkin Pie Bars!

I later found a very similiar recipe in Light & Tasty magazine -- the only things which made it "lighter" were the eggs (4 eggs whites plus 2 whole eggs. That seems like a waste of half a dozen eggs. Just eat a smaller piece!) and canola oil (1/2 cup plus 4 tablespoons of water) They also omit the ginger and the nutmeg --And they leave out the butter in the cream cheese frosting. Suffice to say, I have not made the Light & Tasty recipe. I just tore it out of the magazine and stuck it behind the Penzeys one.

To be honest, when I'm bringing these to a party, I make Penzeys full throttle version! Hey and yay! -- It's the holidays!

Frosted Pumpkin Bars
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1 15-oz can solid packed pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350. Sift together the dry ingredients (except for the sugar) and set aside. In another bowl, mix together the eggs, oil, sugar, and pumpkin and beat well. Gradually add the dry stuff and blend well. Pour the batter into an ungreased jelly roll pan (17x12x1). Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. If you use a 9×13 pan, bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack. Frost with cream cheese frosting and cut into squares.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz (1 package) cream cheese, softened at room temp - I use Neufchatel Reduced Fat
1 stick butter, softened at room temp - I actually use 1/2 stick (1/4 cup)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp milk
4 cups powdered sugar

Mix together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and milk until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar a cup at a time. Add additional milk if the frosting seems too dry.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sparkling Peppermint Cookies

Each year I try to find at least one new recipe to add to my Christmas cookie collection. This was the first one I tried, and now the first one I've added to our 2010 holiday celebration.
This recipe is from the 2010 Land O'Lakes Holiday Cookies Recipe Collection magazine, page 17. I reduced the butter by 1 1/2 tablespoons and used unsalted butter. Every little bit helps - And it was still a yummy crispy-chewy cookie! I used regular sugar to roll the cookies, but was later able to find Wilton Sprinkles White Sparkling Sugar at Super Target, 8 ounces for only $2.19. I plan to use that next batch for an even more festive look.
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (minus 1 1/2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 2/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup crushed mini candy canes or peppermint candies, divided use
1/4 cup sugar
Heat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, set aside
Combine 3/4 cup sugar, butter, egg, vanilla and peppermint extract in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Reduce speed to low, add flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Beat until well mixed. Stir in 1/4 cup crushed candy into dough.
Stir remaining 1/4 cup crushed candy into 1/4 cup sugar.
Shape dough into 3/4" balls, roll in sugar mixture. Place two inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. I rotate the cookie sheets halfway through. Do not overbake. Cool 1 minute, then remove to wire cooling rack. Try to cool completely before eating. Makes 4 dozen cookies. (Three dozen if you are in a hurry and make 1" balls using two cookie sheets!)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Personalized Baby Diapers

This is my favorite baby gift to make! You can still find cloth diapers at Target in either the 6-pack or 12-pack.

When my daughter was a baby, I would make several of these to coordinate with her outfit and mine! I'd have seasonal ones, too.

For baby shower gifts or if they hadn't decided upon the baby's name, I would sew neutral colors of turquoise and yellow, and sayings with "Baby Dear," "Cutie Pie," "Sugar and Spice," "Sweetheart" etc., pinning them together with a diaper pin.
I enjoyed making these with Sulky's varigated thread 40 weight (the multicolored one, second from the bottom) and Mettler's 30 weight. I couldn't tell the difference in the final result. Both threads were easy to use (no breakage) and gave good stitching results.
The Viking Husqvarna 1100 stitches used were D14 (flower/4-leaf clover), D24 (hearts) and F17 (snowflake/flower) and the C Script lettering card with two spaces between the letters.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday Tea Time

This week -- Bigelow Pumpkin Spice Autumn Spiced Tea

Cost: $2.19 on sale at Kroger

Number of teabags: 20

Caffeine: Yes

Type of tea: Black

Steeping time: 4 minutes

Mix ins: Fat free condensed milk

Teabag fragrance: Ginger and cinnamon

Ingredients: Black tea, natural pumpkin flavors, cinnamon, licorice root, clove, ginger, pumpkin flakes

Opinion: It tastes just like pumpkin pie! Especially more so if you use the thicker condensed milk. Regular milk gives it a more spice latte tea feel. Grab an extra box or two of this seasonal treat before it disappears.

Rating: 4

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Sales

November 26/Friday - Doors open at 6 AM
$1.29/yard flannels

November 27/Saturday - Doors open at 7 AM
$79.99 Gutermann thread 100 spool cabinet
$2.99 10 yard bolt fusible interfacing

3-Day Sale - November 26/28
BIGIF thread
BIGIF butons
99 cents Butterick patterns

3-Day Super Savings Sale - December 2/4
$1.99 McCall's
$3.99 Vogue

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stila at Costco!

What a Stila of a deal at Costco right now! The Blockbuster Color Palette is only $19.99 - Item #514275

30 eyeshadows, 15 lip colors, 3 cheek colors, 1 highlighter, 1 bronzer, 1 eye liner, 1 lip liner, 2 applicators, 1 lip brushy and 1 blush brush.
Special thanks to my daughter for letting me open and photograph her gift!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Swimming with my iPod!

I got my new little iPod Shuffle a bathing suit so I can take it swimming with me as I do my laps! I found it at H2O Audio.

Right now, the Amphibx GRIP Waterproof Armband is is the only holder out there which will fit the newest generation Shuffle.

They told me within three months they should have the holder which clips onto the back of your goggle straps. I think it will also be an all-in-one as far as having built-in earphones. As soon as it is available, I'm getting one.

The armband is OK, it gets a little heavy around my upper arm, and takes awhile to dry, but I'm willing to deal with those minor inconveniences so I can groove to my tunes in the meantime. And I did have to get the Surge 2G Waterproof Sport Earbuds separately, bumping up the initial outlay price. The $49 Shuffle was the cheapest in the trio!
But so far, so good. No leaks and despite the review complaints about the earbuds, I haven't had any problems at all.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thursday Tea Time

This week - The Republic of Tea Caramel Apple Red Tea
Cost: $9.99 at Whole Foods
Number of teabags: 36
Caffeine: No
Type of tea: Red Rooibos
Steeping time: 7 minutes
Mix ins: Fat free condensed milk
Teabag fragrance: Caramels and apples
Ingredients: Rooibos, natural caramel and apple flavors
Opinion: I've been searching for an apple tea, which didn't taste like artificial apple juice. The caramel flavor in this tea is the perfect touch. Not too sweet. Combined with the "heavier" feel of the condensed milk, this tea is yummy! Perfect for after dinner - bonus it's caffeine free, or a little pick me up/set you right with your day again anytime treat. Plus the health benefits of Rooibos? Red tea helps control allergies and fights colds, aids in digestion. What more happiness could you ask from a hot mug of tea? Update: This tea is so ridiculously delicious, I've gone through half the canister already!
Rating: 5!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Netflix Stars - The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader Murdering Mom

3/5 - Holly Hunter was just perfect for the role! However, it does seem a little dated. But if you you are in the mood for a little light-hearted dark humor, this will give you a good 90 minute giggle.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Houston Quilt Festival - 2010

I had a blast at the Houston Quilt Festival! Once again, incredible quilts and displays, LOTS of booths and cool vendors. I'll be posting some of my finds later this week. (I still have to unpack all my goodies!)

The schedule for the 2011 International Quilt Festival Shows:

Cincinnati - April 8/10
(Preview night April 7)
Duke Energy Convention Center

Long Beach - July 29/31
(Preview night July 28)
Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center

HOUSTON - November 3/6
(Preview night November 2 -- CLASSES begin October 31)
George. R. Brown Convention Center

Mark your calendars and start saving now!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

November 18/20
Butterick $1.99
Vogue $3.99

Merry Moohla Sale - November 20/24
McCalls $1.99
Simplicity $1.99
Rotary blades - BIGIF
Don't forget your $5/$10/$15 coupons!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Netflix Stars - 10 Items or Less

A solid 3.5/5 stars. Interesting pairing of Morgan Freeman and Paz Vega ("Spanglish"). They just click and are a delight to watch. Definitely run all the way through the credits. There are great scene clips and credit comments - including "No Gremlins were harmed in the making of this movie" The special features section is also good, especially the interview with the director, Morgan and Paz inside a Target. Interesting to note this movie was filmed in 15 days.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Thursday Tea Time

This week - Numi Organic Tea Golden Chai
Cost: $5.99 at HEB, Whole Foods, Super Target
Number of teabags: 18
Caffeine: Yes
Type of tea: Black Assam
Steeping time: 4 minutes, bump up to 5 if you are going to add condensed milk
Mix ins: Hot with a little bit of fat-free condensed milk. That is now my go-to add-in for chai teas. No need to add any additional sugar, either.
Teabag fragrance: Spicy cookie!
Ingredients: Assam black tea. Indian cinnamon, green cardamom , Chinese ginger, Turkish anise
Opinion: A nice chai without the peppery bite. You can definitely detect the cinnamon, ginger, cardamon and an unique touch of anise. I will definitely get another box of this for the upcoming cooler weather and holidays.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Netflix Stars - Date Night

1.5/5 stars - This was not what we expected. We thought it would be a light-hearted comedy. Wrong! There were some funny scenes, but it was surprisingly violent. We stopped watching halfway through. Maybe it got better, so I gave it a half star extra. Damning with faint praise at best.

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

40% off (is this their new sale or permanent pricing structure now?!)
McCalls and Butterick patterns

Veterans Day Sale - November 7-13
5 for $5 Simplicity patterns

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thursday Tea Time

This week - Zhena's Gypsy Tea Sense of Peace
Cost: $5.29 at HEB
Number of teabags: 22
Caffeine: Low
Type of tea: White
Steeping time: 3 minutes
Mix ins: Hot with a little milk and sugar, Iced with a little bit of sugar
Teabag fragrance: Rosy peppermint!
Ingredients: Indian White Tea, Egyptian Mint, Red and Pink Roses!
Opinion: A soft peppermint with definitive rose scent and flavor. All it needs is a touch of sugar. A little bit of milk is also an option. It also makes a great iced tea with just the sugar added. A treat for both senses of smell and taste. On the label it says, "Peppermint purifies the body, Roses enhance creativity. Nourish the body, senses, spirit and soul." I would definitely buy this again!
Rating: 4.25

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

Moonlight Madness - October 17/23
99 cent McCall's
BIGIF thread

October 28/30
$1.99 Butterick
$3.99 Vogue

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Netflix Stars - My Blueberry Nights

2.99 stars - Bizarre search for oneself/broken relationships/romantic movie - I only hung on for the ending with Jude Law - and that kiss! The movie was almost over when my husband came into the room and asked "how is it?" -- and I replied, "I'm waiting for it to end!" And we started laughing. Seriously though, the Jude Law Kiss is definitely worth it. Real subtle (not!) metaphors and appearances of the color blue and blueberry pie. Still it gives you something to focus on occasionally. Play the movie in the background, look up every once in awhile and wait.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Thursday Tea Time

This week -The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Limited Edition Chocolate Rose

Cost: $8.20
Number of teabags: 20
Caffeine: Yes
Type of tea: Ceylon Black
Steeping time: 5 minutes
Mix ins: Hot with a little milk and sugar, or CBTL's French Vanilla Powder. Iced with a little bit of sugar
Teabag fragrance: Milk chocolate with a faint rose scent
Ingredients: Ceylon black tea, heather flower, pink rose petals, natural and artificial flavoring
Opinion: Hot, its a little blah without adding in a bit of milk and sugar. The taste is mild, but with a nice chocolate scent and flavor. You can see the rose petals and heather buds in the teabag, too. A great mid-afternoon pickup or after-dinner treat. I think the other chocolate flavored teas I've reviewed previously have a stronger flavor. But this is still nice and worth buying and trying yourself. Bonus that CBTL is a sponsor of and will donate part of the sale proceeds to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Rating: 3.75

Friday, October 01, 2010

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

Columbus Day Sale - October 8/11
Simplicity 99 cents
50% off interfacing
BIGIF buttons and notions

October 14/16
Vogue $3.99
Butterick $1.99

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

2010 Chantal Outlet Warehouse Sale Dates!

Mark your calendars and get ready for bargains! The Chantal 2010 Warehouse Sale will be Friday-Saturday-Sundays -- November 5/7, 12/14 and 19/21.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Thompson Twins - "Lay Your Hands on Me" - 4:04
Good bouncy beat when you're halfway through and starting to lag a little.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Homemade BBQ Sauce!

This is from the Imperial Sugar advertisement in the September 2010 issue of Southern Living, in the special Texas subscriber edition. The creator is Chef Eddy, from "Bake It!" It is delicious! I put it on boneless chicken thighs and baked them. Everyone was using their fingers to get the drips off the plate!

Yield: 2 cups

1 1/4 cup ketchup
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup Imperial Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon hickory liquid smoke flavor
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon ground black pepper**
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon paprika powder**
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/8 teaspoon chili powder

**(Updated 6-28-11 -- I used 1/2 tsp regular paprika and 1/2 tsp Penzey's Smoked paprika, and cut the black pepper back to 1/2 tsp.)

In a saucepan combine the ketchup, tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, honey and molasses. Add all the remaining spices. Bring to a boil and then simmer for approximately 10-15 minutes or until the desired consistency is obtained. Freeze any remaining BBQ sauce.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Donna Summer - "Dim All The Lights" - 4:32
I always thought this song was so happy and fun. And yes, I did dance to it back in the day!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sandra Betzina's Fashion Forecast - Fall/Winter

Hooray! Sandra Betzina's 2010 Fall/Winter Fashion Forecast is now available! Click here to get your sewing mojo going!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursday Tea Time

This week - Zhena's Gypsy Tea Goji Cacao Berry

Cost: $5.99 at H.E.B.
Number of teabags: 22
Caffeine: A little
Type of tea: Green
Steeping time: 3 to 4 minutes
Mix ins: Hot with fat-free condensed milk, Iced with a little bit of sugar
Teabag fragrance: Like a fruity chocolate candy bar
Ingredients: Chinese green tea, licorice root, cacao nibs, goji berries, natural chocolate flavor
Opinion: "Cacao is rejuventating and anti-aging, and goji berries are antioxideant-rich" What a combo! The goji berries add a sweet-tart light fruity taste to a mild chocolate flavor. I've tried this hot with just a little fat-free condensed milk and iced with just a touch of sugar. Both tasted great! This flavor is perfect for the upcoming chilly days and nights.
Rating: 4

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Reboot, Recenter, Refocus

And get back on blog track again. Honestly, this blog has been feeling out of sorts to me, taking a back seat as I've been preparing for transitions and life changes this past year. I'll get back to the regular features I love to write about and maybe even try a few new ones. And I bet you're just as sick seeing the french fries at the top the page, too. -- this sunrise is much prettier and inspiring!

15+ Favorite Albums and CD's

Facebook currently has a meme going around, having people list their 15 albums/CD's that will always stick with you. I went a little over, because there were some I couldn't bear not to include. I associate music with people, places and events. And all of these have a connection to one, two or all three. I love creating playlists on my iPod to bring forth happy memories and good times.

In no particular order:

Tom Petty - Full Moon Fever
Belinda Carlisle - Greatest Hits
INXS - Kick
Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack
Gavin DeGraw - Chariot
Enya - Shepherd Moons and The Memory of Trees
Mary Chapin Carpenter -
-The Calling and The Essential Mary Chapin Carpenter
Gordon Lightfoot - Gord's Gold
Dan Fogelberg - The Innocent Age
Billy Joel - Glass Houses
U2 - Joshua Tree
Gerry Rafferty -
-Right Down the Line - The Best of Gerry Rafferty, City to City, Night Owl
Desert Rose Band - Greatest Hits
Clint Black - Killin' Time
Elton John - Sleeping With the Past
Scandal - Love's Got a Line on You
Al Stewart - Year of the Cat and Time Passages
Cat Stevens - Greatest Hits
Genesis - Genesis
Phil Collins - Face Value

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Sixpence None the Richer - "Breathe Your Name" 3:56

I was surprised I hadn't posted this one earlier. It's on a regular rotation on my iPod, I even downloaded the video from iTunes.

The song's lyrics have an underlying religious meaning of one's faith journey. I find it comforting to listen to the song and hear the words, "the part of you that's part of me will never die, will never leave..." Especially since I had just lost a very close friend. I was on the treadmill and literally felt a shiver shock run up one arm and down the other.

Take a look at the video, very quirky and fun to watch. I love the parachute guy!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

From Scratch Oven Fries - Southern Living

We tried the From-Scratch Oven Fries - September 2010 issue of Southern Living magazine, page 138. And again, and again! No frying, no mess. It's a keeper! Each time, I changed it a little bit more. I found just one good-sized baking potato gave us plenty. In fact, I'm even leaning towards a smaller one, especially when I cut them a little bit thinner than 1/2". Our current version uses olive oil--just enough to lightly drizzle the sliced potatoes and sprinkling a little of Kroger's California Seasoning Blend Garlic Salt. I also use the "rapid/speed bake" setting to get the fries crispier. Check out your grocery store's spice aisle and try other seasoning variations. Check the Southern Living recipe link for other variations and dipping sauces.
The basic directions are - peeled potato, cut into 1/2" strips (or thinner). Place in a bowl and drizzle some olive oil, toss with your choice of seasoning. Place on rack on a cookie sheet and bake at 450 (with speed/convection fan setting if you have one) for 30 to 45 minutes. Serve hot and enjoy! (You can be making these while you are making hamburgers using your Cuisinart Griddler)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Penzeys Free Arizona Dreaming Coupon Code!

I loved the smell of Arizona Dreaming so much, I bought it last month without the coupon! Penzeys Spices Fall 2010 catalog cover features a coupon for a free 1/2 cup jar of it, or use product code 15853C if you order online. Offer expires November 30, 2010. The catalog has lots of yummy-sounding recipes using Arizona Dreaming -- Ultimate Scrambled Eggs...Tacos Five Ways (Pork, Turkey, Steak, Lamb and Mushroom & Cheese)...Arizona Dreaming Salad Dressing (at Bean Tostadas, Arizona Dreaming Burgers...Amaizing Fresh Corn Salsa...and Arizona Dreaming Wings and Dipping Sauce (at

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

Three-Day Pattern Sale - September 16/18
McCall's - $1.99
Vogue - $3.99

Coupon Commotion - September 19/25
Lots of 40% off coupons!

September 19/25
Butterick - 99 cents
50% off entire stock of thread

Netflix Stars - I Love You, Man

Awful! Awkward, crude and cringy to watch. We kept waiting for the parts we saw on the trailer, which made us incur a momentary lapse in judgement to even think about adding this to our queue, but gave up and chucked it back to Netflix. I gave it 1 star only for the cast of supporting characters.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Netflix Stars - Cop Out

1.5/5 - Had its (very) occasional moments, and d r a g g e d. Not as good as I had hoped it would be.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Costco now has Gelato!

Just rolled out last Thursday, the Houston Galleria Costco is now making on the premises three different kinds of gelato.
Pistachio (which I sampled - YUMMY!), Mixed Berry and Stracciatella, which is vanilla mixed with chocolate shavings. And look at the price -- THREE scoops in a waffle cone for only $1.50 and hand-packed quarts for $4.99. Right now the only Houston Costco with gelato is the Galleria store.