Monday, May 31, 2010

Spinach Apple Salad with Maple Cider Vinaigrette

Sometimes it pays to go through older issues of magazines first before tossing or donating -- otherwise I would not have found and tried Southern Living's Spinach-Apple Salad with Maple-Cider Vinaigrette Not only were we surprised by the fresh combination of spinach and apples, but everyone loved the Maple Cider Vinaigrette and especially the Sugared Curried Pecans. I'll probably make the pecans again before the salad!

A few substitions I made -- I just weighed 6 ounces from my Costco bag of pecans...I used a little less butter and and sugar...I toasted the pecans in the microwave instead of the oven -- it's in the 90's here already, every little degree helps! I though I had apple cider vinegar but didn't and used regular vinegar instead. If I had had apple juice, I would have tossed in a few splashes. I used a Granny apple instead of a Gala and feta cheese instead of goat. Skipped the red onion, as the onions are looking pretty sad and a bit gross right now. There were signs above the bin apologizing for their condition. Next time I will add grilled chicken to round out and create a complete summer weather meal.

Here's the vinaigrette recipe:

Maple-Cider Vinaigrette
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup olive oil

Whisk together cider vinegar and next 4 ingredients. Gradually whisk in oil until well blended.
Vinaigrette may be made up to 3 days ahead. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

And the best for last, the pecans!

Sugared Curried Pecans
1 (6-oz.) package pecan halves
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

Toast pecans in microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring until toasted and fragrant. Add melted butter, toss and then add seasonings. Spread on a pan, separating with a fork until cooled.
Pecans may be made up to 1 week ahead. Store in an airtight container.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

New Sandra Betzina Patterns!

Today's Fit Vogue 1173 dress and top
Today's Fit Vogue 1184 vest and shorts

The Vogue Pattern website has all of her patterns on sale right now for $3.99, Otherwise, the next JoAnn's Vogue sale is June 3/5.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thursday Tea Time

Cost: $9.99
Number of teabags: 20
Caffeine: Yes
Type of tea: Black and green
Steeping time: 5 minutes
Mix ins: Plain with a little bit of sugar/honey...or CBTL's French Deluxe Vanilla Powder to try and duplicate the store's tea latte
Teabag fragrance: Mostly blueberry with a touch of pomegranate
Ingredients: Oolong tea, Lung Ching tea, Ceylon tea, lemon balm, diced blueberries, freeze dried blueberries, natural and artificial flavoring
Taste: The combination of sweet blueberries and tart pomegranates make for a very unique and delicious fruity taste.
Opinion: I was in Austin last weekend and had the iced tea latte version in the South Austin store -- and ended up buying a canister! They also have this flavor in the smaller 5-bag size. I think it would also taste great iced with just a bit of sugar or honey, which was the main purpose for the purchase. I haven't tried it hot yet - it's 92 degrees here!
Rating: 4 teabags

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Netflix Stars - The Blind Side

5+/5 - Of course! What a great movie. Based upon a true story, all the actors nailed their parts. That Oscar was truly deserved. (And Jesse James did not deserve her)

Netflix Stars - The Box

Should have heeded Netflix's rating/warning for us. It lasted only 10 minutes and that was including the previews.

Upcoming Pattern Sales

Hobby Lobby will have McCall's on sale this week for $1.99 starting tomorrow, May 24.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday Tea Time

This week -- Zhena's Gypsy Tea- Pink Tea for Women's Health - Superberry Tea -Cacoaberry Green Tea

Cost: $8.99 at Whole Foods
Number of teabags: 15 "couture" sachets made out of corn silk
Caffeine: Yes
Type of tea: Green
Steeping time: 3 1/2 minutes
Mix ins: A little bit of sugar and a splash of milk...or CBTL's French Deluxe Vanilla Powder (swoon!)
Teabag fragrance: Raspberries and chocolate!
Ingredients: Organic and Whole Trade Guaranteed Top-Tier Sencha Green Tea, South African Rooibos, Roasted Chicory Root, Licorice Root, Carob, Natural and Organic Flavor, and a Superfood Blend of Freeze-dried Raspberries and Dark Cacao Shells
Taste: Chocolate and raspberries
Opinion: It tastes just like a chocolate-covered raspberry nouget candy from a box of chocolates - Only you are drinking it! Definitely worth the extra premium price. Plus cacao has all those beneficial extras - antioxidants, protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, iron, zinc, copper, calcium and magnesium. Per the website description, "Magnesium helps to build strong bones and is a cramp and muscle relaxant associated with feelings of bliss and calmness. Cacao is also high in sulfur, which helps form strong nails and healthy hair." Drink up!
Rating: 5+ teabags

Costco has Pear & Green Tea Neutrogena Rainbath

I remember working at Key Drug Store back in the 70's and the twice yearly sales of the special sized bottles of Neutrogena Rainbath shower and bath gel. People would buy armloads of these huge bottles to last them until the next sale. Back then there was only one scent and I forever associate it with those days of my youth -- someone had opened, dropped and spilled a bottle and I had to clean it up. That's why I was so glad to see Costco had it in a new scent - Pear and Green Tea! 40 ounces, Item #414510

And it rings up at $12.99 - there's a $4 coupon for it now through June 6. That's an even better price...and scent...from back in the 70's.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

Memorial Day Sale - May 28/31
5/$5 Simplicity
50% off Red Tag fabric
50% off all buttons

June 3/5
$1.99 McCall's
$3.99 Vogue

June 10/12
$1.99 Butterick
May 23-June 12
$2.99/yard shopping bag fabric
40% off Gutermann thread
Vintage postcard print of Columbia and flag from

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Netflix Stars - The Young Victoria

4.5/5 stars! This was great! I had no idea Sarah Ferguson was the producer. (Her daughter, Princess Beatrice has an uncredited role as one of the ladies in waiting.) Emily Blunt & Rupert Friend have perfect chemistry and bring to life Victoria and Albert. I was actually sad to see the movie end.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Netflix Stars - Whip It

4/5 stars Got a kick out of seeing the transformed Girl Scout uniforms (vintage 1960's green Junior with Brownie troop numbers for the player number) for the "Hurl Scouts" roller derby team. A fun take on the typical chick flick. I like Drew Barrymore both as an actress and now as a director. And where (and why) have they been hiding this other Wilson brother, Andrew?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Netflix Stinkers

After seeing and absolutely loving "Coco Before Chanel", seeing Lifetime's "Coco Chanel" was pale in comparison. And "Sherlock Holmes" was a dark disappointment and not what we expected. If it got any better after the first 15 minutes, please let me know and will give it another try.

Another J.Jill savings weekend

Today is the last day to use your $20 coupon off of $80 or more at J.Jill....and they also currently running 15% off Pure Jill sale through May 23 and 10% off skinny, boot cut and slim-leg denim through May 31.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Look! Nook!

Pimp my Nook!

"Pink Tranquility" from DecalGirl. They even send you a download code with your order so you can get a free coordinating screensaver! Google for coupon codes, I found and used PSPHOME for 10% off. Shipping is also very reasonable, too.

I got a Nook for Mother's Day- I LOVE it! The letters and contrast are so easy on the eyes. I don't know about you, but after about 15 to 30 minutes trying to read on the iPod or computer (or newspapers or paper paged books -- is their type getting smaller to squeeze more words on the pages to avoid using more paper? I tell myself that...), my eyes are buggy-blurry! With a Nook, no problem. And maybe I can put off getting new glasses a little bit longer.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cooking Light - Cooking Through the Seasons

Like a moth to a flame - the latest Cooking Light cookbook, "Cooking Through The Seasons - an everyday guide to enjoying the freshest food" jumped into my cart yesterday at Costco. $17.99 (Item #521914) ISBN: 0-8487-3319-3 Publisher's price $29.95 Over 250 recipes, 400 pages. Hopefully this will inspire a new seasonal rotation of recipes to my repertoire. I really want to start exploring our local farmer's markets, too.

Thursday Tea Time

Cost: $5.99 at HEB
Number of teabags: "eco friendly" 22 round-shaped
Caffeine: Yes
Type of tea: Green
Steeping time: 3 1/2 minutes
Double-Dipping potential: Didn't try yet, but I think this could be a single-use teabag. The flavoring by nature is not that robust.
Mix ins: A little bit of sugar, or add a splash ofmilk...or CBTL's French Deluxe Vanilla Powder
Teabag fragrance: Pineapple and rum
Ingredients: Organic, Fair Trade Green Tea, Organic Licorice Root, Organic Coconut Pieces, Organic Compliant Pineapple Flavor, Organic Compliant Coconut Flavor, Organic Compliant Rum Flavor.
Taste: Coconut rum -- and yum!
Opinion: Like a hot pina colada! This is de-LISH! Do you remember the Life Savers Butter Rum flavor? That secondary kick tastes just like it. I have been drinking this after dinner to keep me away from dessert. Can't wait to try it iced!
Rating: 5+ teabags

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

More Liberty of London markdowns

30% off all stationery, including gift bags, candles and fabric-covered boxes. Did you know the gift bags have two sheets of coordinating tissue paper?

Can you believe this is Coach?!

"Pinky" Coach totebag at Macy's - $198. From their new "Poppy" line.
WTF, Coach?! (to borrow from "Modern Family" -- What The Face?!)

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Earth-Friendly Mother's Day Gift

And also celebrate Mother Earth!
An eco-friendly and wallet-friendly gift find at Nordstrom Rack -- Aquis Essentials Microfiber Hair Towel. Of course I had to buy and try one for myself, right?

What I did find was a large 19" x 39" soft microfiber towel. Large enough to wrap easily around my head turban style. It absorbed so much water so quickly, I was able to cut my blow drying time by 2/3!
Added bonus, since your hair is clean, you can just hang to dry afterwards (it dries quickly even in Houston's humidity). I launder it every few times, however, but still line-drying. Since it is so lightweight, it's perfect for traveling and camping. I also love the reusable ziplocking plastic bag.
$9.97 at Nordstrom Rack - White and Celadon (Light Green) Hurry, there were still a few left. If they are gone, I think Bed, Bath & Beyond and Amazon also sell them.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Thursday Tea Time

Cost: $5.99 at HEB
HEB has really expanded their tea selection, probably due to their Central Market stores
Number of teabags: 22, round shaped
Caffeine: No
Type of tea: Rooibos, Herbal
Steeping time: 5 minutes
Double-Dipping potential: Didn't try, but I think this is a single use teabag, as you want to appreciate the combination of flavors full strength.
Mix ins: Sugar, milk...or CBTL's French Deluxe Vanilla Powder
Teabag fragrance: Chocolate, clove, cinnamon
Ingredients: Rooibos, Honeybush, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cardamon, Cloves, Orange Peel, Pepper, Nutmeg, Licorice, Cacao, Roasted Chicory, Natural Carob and Chocolate Flavor
Taste: Chocolate, spicy, a peppery kick
Opinion: A great dessert or pick-me-up tea. Added bonus it is 100% Organic and 100% Fair Trade Certified! Pretty container, too - the lid is embossed with "Infused with Health and Happiness"
Rating: 4.5 teabags

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

Super Weekend Sale - May 14/16
McCalls $1.99
Vogue $3.99
50% off Olfa, Fiskars and Dritz rotary cutting tools

May 20/22 -
Butterick $1.99

May 9/22 -
50% off Fashion Knits
50% off Tutti Fruitti fabric

Monday, May 03, 2010

Cooking Light - Buttermilk Quick Bread

Cooking Light Buttermilk Quick Bread
- another from the January/February 2009 issue.
Just as I did for the Kalamata Olive bread, I divided the dough into two 3 x 5 loaf pans and baked for 32 minutes. Perfect! The extra loaf didn't even make it to the freezer - it tasted great the next day with some peach jam for breakfast! A keeper! I may even try it in muffin tins next time.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Gold Award Ceremony!

I love vintage notions...this is from A Collection A Day 2010, April 25
I am so hoping she does a book, or at least notecards. Wouldn't these be cool?