Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thursday Tea Time

This week - The Republic of Tea "Holiday Spiced Plum"
Cost: $11.99. Priced like all their special/limited edition/seasonal teas. But I found it at World Market and they are always running a 10%-15% off coupon. And it was on sale for $9.99. I bet you could find it for 50% off or even more right now in their after-Christmas sale.
Number of teabags: 50
Caffeine: Very little
Type of tea: Green
Steeping time: Per label 3 minutes, I did 5 minutes
Add ins: A teaspoonful of honey - just right!
Teabag fragrance: Fruity cinnamon
Ingredients: Green tea, cinnamon, natural cinnamon and plum flavors.
Opinion: A nice change of pace with a fruity tea suitable for the cooler weather. I like the plum/green tea combo, the fruit oomps it up and the spicing stays in the background. The plum flavoring reminds me of the jar of Gerber plum baby food. "One for Mommy, one for Baby!" We both liked it!
Rating: 4.50 - definitely worth finding and buying!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pecan Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Inspired by the December 21 Houston Chronicle "Overnight Coffee Cake" by Cindy Harris. I tweaked it to make it smaller and a little bit healthier. I really like the nutmeg flavor in the batter.


4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Daisy Light sour cream
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup chopped pecans
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg. Combine flour, baking soda, nutmeg and salt, add to creamed mixture alternating with sour cream. Pour into greased 8" x 8" or 9" x 9" baking dish. In small bowl, combine brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon; sprinkle over coffee cake. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Heat oven to 350. Bake, uncovered, 25-30 minutes (start checking at 25 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. (try!)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Netflix Stars - Just Go With It

4.5 stars - I was surprised, too! The previews/trailers did not do this movie justice at all. There was chemistry between Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston - wow! Nicole Kidman is funny, too. And the younger boy, Griffin Gluck, adorably steals the movie.

Monday, December 26, 2011

TALL Yoga Pants at Costco!

Boot cut with a 35" inseam - sweet!
And only $19.99 ?!?! Sweetens the deal even further!
Black with waist bands of gray, and two stripe shades of purples, pinks and turquoise. (One table over has the matching jackets for $24.99!)
All colors reverse to solid black on the inside. There's a hidden pocket in the waistband, perfect to slip in your iPod. I also like the flattering off-side seaming. While I love my Lululemons, you can get four pair of these for the price of one, along with a vegan cookie and a coconut water.
Item #559035

Hey Yoga Girl!

So funny!
Yoga Girl by Fog and Smog

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's Christmas Eve. . .

. . .There's magic in the air!

Oh, isn't she pretty?! She may still be at Another Place In Time! Call 713/864-9717

Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday Flowers - Christmas Edition

Normally I don't like mums, but these are hepped up Christmas ones with paint and glitter! All good! The new HEB in Montrose/Dunlavy carries "Market Bunches" for only $4.

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Sales

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

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thursday Tea Time - Two-Fer!

A two-fer this week!

Both of these teas are available and on sale right now at Kroger in the organic section -- Polar Berry and Santa Spice.

Number of teabags: 22

Caffeine: Polar Berry -Yes, Santa Spice - No

Type of tea: Polar Berry - Black, Santa Spice Herbal/Red Rooibos

Steeping time: I did 6 minutes

Add ins: A little bit of fat free condensed milk made it really sweet. I also tried it with fat-free evaporated milk and a little bit of sugar and I thought that was better and better for me.

Teabag fragrance: Polar Berry -"Berry" spicy , Santa Spice - Cinnamon and ginger

Ingredients: Polar Berry - Organic and Fair Trade Certified™ black tea, organic cinnamon, organic cranberry, organic allspice, organic hibiscus, organic licorice root

Santa Spice - Organic and Fair Trade Certified™ Rooibos, organic ginger, organic nutmeg, organic cinnamon, organic licorice root, organic chicory root, cinnamon flavor, caramel flavor

Opinion: Polar Berry - Very berry! Santa Spice - A sweet/spicy blend, not astringent at all. It seemed a bit more cinnamon dominating, fine by me!

It all depends upon if you are in a berry good mood (sorry!) or seeking cinnamon toast comforting. Both winners! I also think the tins are adorable and will probably keep them as Christmas decorations in the bookcase. Black tea and Rooibos teas are good for is cinnamon and also hibiscus. Can't decide? Get both!

Rating: 4 - definitely worth finding and buying!

Hello Kitty, Hello Winter!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Last Day of Fall

Taken with my Samsung Infuse phone at night with the flash, unretouched. I thought it was a a really neat shot of my tree transitioning to Winter. The brilliance of the red oak leaves in the day cooled to blue in the night. . .

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Can't catch me...

Here's the gingerbread man from the Chantal ceramic baking dish! (click here)

And here's the Cooking Light recipe - it filled two gingerbread molds.

1 1/4 cups flour...1 teaspoon ground ginger...1 teaspoon ground cinnamon*...1/2 teaspoon baking soda...1/2 cup sugar...1/2 cup low fat buttermilk...1/2 cup dark molasses...1/3 cup butter, melted...1 large egg, lightly beaten...1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, ginger, cinnamon and baking soda, stirring with a whisk. Combine sugar and next four ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Stir in flour mixture. Pour batter into 9" square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Sprinkle gingerbread with powdered sugar. Yield 25 servings (!) Serving size is 1 3/4" square. Good luck with that.
84 calories (30% from fat), 2.8g fat (1.6g sat, 0.8g mono, 0.2g poly) 1.1g protein, 14g carb, 0.2g fiber, 15mg chol, 0.7mg iron, 61mg sodium, 22mg calcium
*I now use Penzeys new Cinnamon Blend - Love!

(If you can bear to stand the graphics - click here for the Gingerbread Man story)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas in the mail

I thought this year's Christian Christmas stamp was pretty! It's called "Madonna of the Candelabra" by Rafael from the Walters Art Museum.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Snow Day

Taken through the window from inside a Whataburger. Think of this is as a Texas-sized snowflake! It does snow in Houston every once in awhile; but alas, not conveniently occurring at this blog posting time.

Begin doing what you want to do now. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand and melting like a snowflake. ~ Francis Bacon, Sr.

* * * * * *

From her living room window she watched as it stopped snowing and waited for it to start again, for the flakes to swirl hypnotically along her windowsill. And though it never did, she kept watch over the town (a place she had once heard a traveler refer to as "God's pocket") all through the night. ~ Molly Gaudry, "The Bees"

* * * * * *

"Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow!"

One of the best-selling songs of all time, "Let It Snow!" has been sung countless times by many artists. Due to its seasonal lyrics, it is commonly regarded as a Christmas song. However, think about this the next time you hear it -- despite the song's cheery, holiday feel, it is a love song. . .and Christmas is never mentioned!

* * * * * *

Here I am after the Blizzard of 1966 in Rochester, NY. All that snow (42 inches!) covered our first story apartment windows!
The family joke is that I buried my younger sister underneath. Ah, sibling rivalry - snow style!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Kitchen Tree

This was our 2' kitchen tree, on the pass-through counter. I love the "snowball" trim - it is actually ribbon from The Container Store.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

They got married and lived happily ever after. The End.

And so the story goes. . .

A friend of mine linked this post on Facebook. My husband saw it and said, "Very well written and true!"

A Girl You Should Date

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee. Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she doesn't. She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read will understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours, but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.

– Rosemarie Urquico –

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

This year's Christmas Cookie!

Here is the second version, rolled in a mix of powdered sugar and sprinkles! They look "iced" cool!

I love those chocolate peanut butter cookies, don't you? They are also called Peanut Butter Blossoms or Black-Eyed Susans. I got all excited when I saw the Candy Cane Hershey Kisses at Target. And since I am highly addicted to Starbuck's Peppermint Mocha (skinny/non-fat and now in a sugar-free version, thank you!) I thought they would go great in a chocolate cookie. I was surprised after dragging out all my Hershey cookbooks, I couldn't find a chocolate/chocolate Kiss version. So I flipped through my other tried and true cookie recipes and came up with this, our 2011 Christmas Cookie. Enjoy!


1 ¼ cups flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
Candy Cane Hershey’s Kisses

Preheat oven to 350. In medium bowl, mix flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In large (to be covered) bowl, combine sugar and butter. At high speed, beat 2 minutes until creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla, beat 2 minutes. Beat in flour mixture. Chill one hour or until dough is firm.

Roll dough in 1” balls and then roll in colored sugar (Wilton has a nice white sparkle sugar which I mixed with green sugar) and place 2” apart on cookie sheets. Bake 10 minutes, switching racks at 5 minutes. Cookies should start to have cracks. Gently push a Kiss in the center and bake for an additional 2 minutes – watch carefully before the tip starts to brown. Cool and enjoy!

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

These were originally the Cocoa M&M Cookies from the March, 1995 issue of McCall’s magazine. You can change it back by adding 1 cup of plain M&M’s and rolling the balls in confectioner’s sugar.

Here's the link to my March 13, 2008 post with the pastel-colored "Easter"/Springtime M&M's

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Zen of Pooh

"What day is it?"

"It's today!" squeaked Piglet

"My favorite day!" said Pooh

A. A. Milne

Thursday, December 01, 2011