Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Flowers

Road show edition! Spicy-scented Stock from Central Market - 4 stems for $4.

(note the Numi tea bottle "vase"!)

Texas Sized!

The new Texas-sized Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf drink container. . .Only in Texas! Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearl Green Tea latte!

32 ounces

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thursday Tea Time

This week - Numi Peach Pu-erh Tea
Cost: $2 at Central Market, $1.50 with current 50 cent off manufacturer's coupon
Type of tea: Green Pu-erh organic tea
Ingredients: Osmanthus and hibiscus flowers, peach puree, ginger juice, organic sugar (9g), passionfruit juice
Opinion: The label says, "Ancient Healing Tea - Rejuvenate" OK! Well, here's the backstory. I found four stalks of purple stock flowers at Central Market for only $4 and thought it would be a great way to scent and cheer my hotel room. And I needed a vase. And I was thirsty. And I was starting to drag butt a bit after a long day in Austin. Kismet! This wasn't bad. Despite all the ingredients - shake before drinking, they settle at the bottom - it only has 50 calories. A peachy flavor with a ginger afterkick with bonus 99% more antioxidants than regular tea. And look - Vitamin A-4%, Vitamin C-12%, Calcium-2%, Iron-4%. Overall, a very healthy, drinkable and recyclable tea.
Rating: 3.5

Friday, July 22, 2011

Annie Get Your Needle!

What an interesting factoid from the book, "Eiffel's Tower" by Jill Jonnes (2009, ISBN: 978-0-14-311729-2 --- Costco $9.49; Item #586711, paperback)
Page 2. . .

..."Annie (Oakley) was also a virtuoso seamstress who designed, sewed, and embroidered her own beaded and fringed cowgirl costumes."...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bye-Bye Borders

If you are a Borders Rewards member, print that 30% off coupon and get to the store ASAP. You can't use it once the store closing sale begins (I heard this Friday). Go now and get your first choice and best selection of books. When some of the other stores in the Houston area closed earlier, it took a few weeks for the markdowns to get higher than 25% and even then, the shelves were pretty bare.

I think it's a bit sad that the three stores Borders, Amazon and Barnes & Noble could not co-exist. While Borders prices were higher (no discounts save for an occasional coupon), they carried an interesting and different collection of books and magazines than the books and mortar BN.

P.S. I found the reusable totebag at the Borders on Kirby, on sale already for 30% off - $1.39!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Kooky for Kuchen! Plum edition

This is from the July 2011 issue of Cooking Light - (click here for the recipe, nutrition details and reviews)
I liked the cardamon flavor in the dough and the allspice in the topping. They worked really well together. I left out the lemon rind.


6 3/4 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/8 teaspoon salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
7 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
Cooking spray
1 1/2 pounds plums, quartered and pitted, about 6-8
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cardamom in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Cut in 4 tablespoons butter with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.
3. Combine milk, vanilla, and egg in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, and stir until just combined.
4. Spoon batter into a 9-inch round metal cake pan coated with cooking spray. Arrange plums in a circular pattern over batter.
5. Combine remaining 2/3 cup granulated sugar, remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, lemon rind, and allspice in a small bowl, stirring well. Place remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 30 seconds or until butter melts. Stir into sugar mixture. Sprinkle plums evenly with sugar mixture. Bake at 425° for 35 minutes or until browned and bubbling. Cool in pan 1 hour on a wire rack, if you can wait that long. Cut into wedges.

Ready, set, bake!

Kooky for Kuchen! Apple edition

This is a family favorite recipe. Through the years, I've tweaked it and I think made it even betterer!


1/3 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup (or 4 ounce container) unsweetened applesauce

1 1/4 cups and 2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon*

2 cups apples, sliced (Granny Greens are perfect!)

1 egg

1 egg white

Melt butter, add applesauce, flour, baking powder, 2 tablespoons of sugar and vinegar. Stir until dough is formed. Pat into 9" pie pan.

Mix remaining sugar (1/4 cup) and cinnamon with apples. Arrange on dough in pan. Beat eggs and pour over top.

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, then at 375 for 10 minutes, until golden.

*I use Penzeys new Cinnamon - it's a blend of China, Vietnamese, Korintje and Ceylon cinnamon

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bright Lights, Big City

NARS Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Exclusive! Very pretty, very sparkly, very wearable colors --

Top/bottom from left to right
Cyprus/Night Clubbing...Biarritz/Coconut Grove...Fathom/Night Breed

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A cardinal moment

(click to enlarge)

Lost Creek Park - Sugar Land, TX
Sent from my Samsung smartphone on AT&T

Good Egg Peg

My Dad would always say, "You're a good egg, Peg!"

And now after all these years, I finally can boil an egg!

The back page of the July 2011 issue of Cooking Light covers Mistake #34 "Your Hard-Cooked Eggs are Icky" Their direction correction clicked and worked for me. I had already done the first step all along -- placing the eggs in the saucepan filled with water and then bring to a boil, and then removing from the heat and letting it stand. It was the part afterwards, which always threw me for a loop. Different sources said different times. Cooking Light says 10 minutes and then run under cold water. But I'm in the throws of a hot Texas summer, and that cold water faucet gives you lukewarm water at best, no matter how long you run it. Their suggestion of putting it in an ice water bath - I just drained, refilled the water and added ice - cooled them ricky-ick. For the first time, I had that pretty yellow hardboiled egg!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Sales

College Discount Days now through July 30 - 15% off your total purchase, including regular and sale items. (Grab your student and go shopping before they go back to school!)

Coupon Commotion is July 17/23 - Lots of 40% off coupons!

July 17/30 -- 40% off Gutermann thread

Sew & Save - July 24/30
50% off notions wall

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursday Tea Time

This week - Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf "Austin 2nd Anniversary" Limited Edition tea

Cost: $6.95

Number of teabags: 20

Caffeine: Yes

Type of tea: Black Ceylon

Steeping time: 5 minutes

Mix ins: A little fat-free condensed milk

Teabag fragrance: Smells great! Can't quite pinpoint the scent--Slightly non-descript fruity

Ingredients: 100% Bogawatalawa Black tea

Opinion: I must confess I bought this because of the cool container design and the commemorative Austin 2nd Anniversary of CBTL. Though I keep questioning and emailing CBTL why Austin has 5 stores now, and the only ones in Texas -- I just want one in Houston. Please. It's a bit of a drive, y'all!

But anyhoo, I was surprised that this was also a very nice all-around black tea to enjoy when you want just that. I liked and agreed how they described the flavor - "bright" Now please brighten up my life and get a location in Houston!

Rating: 3.5

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fun on my patio with crape myrtle blooms!

They look just as pretty on the ground as in the trees!

(Taken with my Samsung Infuse)

Garden Update

Could be watermelon...or pumpkin? I planted both, but with drought conditions, only one survived!

Sent from my Samsung smartphone on AT&T

Netflix Stars - Country Strong

1/5 - Hated it! I'm just not a big fan of Gwyneth Paltrow. L and I gave this an honest shot - 20 minutes! But it just didn't reel us in. I can say that hunky Garrett Hedlund is a younger Brad Pitt ringer, very nice on the eyes.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Trying out Blogger-droid...
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.2

Father's Day Shirt 2011

An oldie but goodie - here's the 2011 edition of The Father's Day Shirt
A rather sedate print selection this time, it's 100% cotton from David Textiles/Printex Fabrics scored at 50% off (and buttons, too!) during Jo-Ann's grand opening sale in Sugar Land, Texas.

The pattern - McCall's 2205, most likely OOP, but I'm certain they have a new classic Hawaiian shirt pattern in their current catalogue.

Dad's still looking pretty good...and so are his shirts!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Martin Solveig and Dragonette - "Hello" (Single edit) - 4:41
Lots of good changeups - a perfect workout song for swimming and treadmilling!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Fredericksburg peaches, straight from the Hill Country - what a great crop this year!

And what a timely bonus the July issue of Southern Living magazine features a section of peach recipes...peach enchiladas?!

Alas, these didn't transform themselves - but were eaten straight from the bowl in their purest and juiciest and sweetest state as is!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Thursday Tea Time

Finally the Texas Tea "Nacogdoches Blueberry Green Tea" is now available!

We found it at a promotion in the South Austin Costco a couple weekends ago. We were able to taste, mix and match all their flavors - 12/$11.99. I stocked up on my Fredericksburg Peach, which I blogged about previously, and tried and fell in love with the Nacogdoches Blueberry, too!

Not only is Nacogdoches one of the oldest cities in Texas, it is the top-producing blueberry county in Texas and hosts the Texas Blueberry Festival the second Saturday in June.

A really nice blueberry flavor, and bonus it's green tea, too!

Per bottle - 140 calories, 40mg sodium, 34g carb/sugar

Hopefully the Houston area Costcos will soon stock and carry them, even better if they all would, right?! I'm down to my last few bottles. . .

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

Matt Nathanson - "Mercy" - 3:09
This song grows on you. It was an iTunes free download a few weeks ago. Quite a different sound from "Come on Get Higher"!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Today's Favorite iPod Workout Song

The Byrds - "Eight Miles High" - 3:34
GREAT song to swim to - I'll try to time the flip at the end of the lane, right after the first line of each verse. But if I'm in the middle, I dive and arc down underwater : ) Keeps it fun and interesting!

Happy Fourth of July!

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Sunday, July 03, 2011

Netflix Stars - How Do You Know

3.75 - Better than expected, despite the bad reviews. The beginning starts out a little slow, but picks up. We had to take a break halfway through, but actually looked forward to be able to finish watching it the next day. Kathryn Hahn has several funny scene stealing moments, which make the movie worthwhile to put in your queue.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Patriotic tootsies!

Bling it! (Those are actually tiny star sequins! I can't wait for my new Android phone next week...)
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Friday, July 01, 2011