Friday, November 30, 2012

Last issue of Everyday Food : (

No More Day Food
My and everyone else's last issue of Everyday Food.  It was one of my, if not THE favorite recipe magazine ever.  I was a subscriber from the very beginning in 2003. I thought the recipes were innovative, tasty and most importantly - easy to create in my own kitchen. "Martha Light", if you would.

Per the "Dear Everyday Food Subscriber" insert, Martha Stewart Living magazine plans instead to incorporate it in their subscriber issue copies (apparently not the newsstand ones?!) five times a year, beginning with the March 2013 issue.  And content will also be available on YouTube and as a video newsletter "Everyday Food with Sarah Carey".

But it just won't be the same without that cute little magazine I would either stuff in my purse or have on my coffee table, waiting to be flipped through for inspiration and feeding my family.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales - ALL of them are going on sale!

Super Weekend Sale - December 7/9
$1.99 Simplicity
$2.49 Burda (!)

December 14/15
$1.99 McCall's
$3.99 Vogue

December 15/22
$1.99 Butterick

Super Santa Sale - December 21/24
$6.99 Kwik Sew
Gutermann 26 spool thread box - $15 (a $49 value, regularly $29.99)
(I have this, great and usable colors for last minute thread run-outs and regular sewing projects!)

Thursday Tea Time

Double feature this week!
The Republic of Tea Life of Pi Mango Black Tea

Cost:  $11.99 at Cost Plus World Market
Number of teabags:  50
Caffeine:  Yes
Type of tea:   Black
Steeping time:  5 minutes
Add ins:  Just a splash of Coffee Mate's Natural Bliss Sweet Cream.  It's quite good by itself, too.
Teabag fragrance:  Mango
Ingredients:  Black tea, apple bits, sweet blackberry leaves and natural mango flavor
Opinion:  Normally I don't really like fruity teas in the cooler months, but the Life of Pi tea just came out along with the Life of Pi movie.  Maybe it will taste better when the weather is warmer and/or iced.  Maybe the movie is better.  It had a nice mango scent, but I thought it had a strange aftertaste I couldn't quite put my finger on.  Not bad, just unexpected.  I also brewed two bags and had eaten earlier white chocolate peppermint popcorn.  Well, that could be it right there - there's an unexpected and strange combo!
Rating:  2

Thursday Tea Time - Chai Apple

This week - Twinings Chai - Spiced Apple

Cost:  $2.69 at Publix in Jacksonville, Florida
Number of teabags:  20
Caffeine:  Yes
Type of tea:   Black
Steeping time:  5 minutes
Add ins:  Just a splash of Coffee Mate's Natural Bliss Sweet Cream.  It's quite good by itself, too.
Teabag fragrance:  Apple cinnamon
Ingredients:  Black tea, natural apple, chai, cinnamon and ginger with other natural flavors, cardamon and clove.
Opinion:  I finally found this!  Albeit in Jacksonville, Florida.  Definitely worth the search. I only knew it existed because it was listed on the side of the Ultra Spice Chai box, "If you enjoy...try"  And on this box it says "try French Vanilla Chai"  OK, the search is on!  So far I've been beyond impressed with Twinings Chais!   Again, just like the Ultra Spice Chai, this can sip alone.  But add that Natural Bliss Sweet Cream and OMG!  You have hot apple pie a la mode in a mug!   Whoa!  Think I will change this rating to 4.5.  And maybe go back to Jacksonville.  It's that good.
Rating:  4  4.5

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Purple Haze

Snapped these in the front seat on the way home!
Friday Flowers a few days early.  I couldn't resist these beautiful Purple Haze roses at Central Market on sale today.  Purple anything always makes me happy!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Shop Small

I love to support my indie stores and crafters - and what better place than Austin's Renegade Craft Fair - Winter edition!

I love to collect the cool cards from the vendors!

Got a new scarf to add to my Little Minnow Collection --  LOVE the animal print!

Framing these!  They match my new bedroom colors!

Of course!  Chickened out buying the "Unicorn Puke" scent!  Maybe next time?!  (It actually smelled pretty good!)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thursday Tea Time - Chai Spice

This week - Twinings Chai - Ultra Spice

Cost:  $2.99 at World Market and $2.69 at Publix
Number of teabags:  20
Caffeine:  Yes
Type of tea:   Black
Steeping time:  5 minutes
Add ins:  Just a splash of Coffee Mate's Natural Bliss Sweet Cream.  It's quite good by itself, too.
Teabag fragrance:  Cinnamon
Ingredients:  Black tea, natural chai, cinnamon, ginger and other natural flavors, cardamon, clove
Opinion:  Changing it up a bit to chai. Love this ultra spiced chai!  It has a strong cinnamon and ginger flavor, and then a nice afterbite. Great by itself to sip (think of cinnamon toast!) and super good with the Natural Bliss Sweet Cream.  Yum!
Rating:  3.75

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Fat Free Brownie Mix

Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Brownie Mix - Fat Free sounds like a great idea, right?!
130 calories, 26g carbohydrate, even 3g of protein!
Even the option to make a single serving in the microwave?
Yes, yes, yes?!
Oh no, no, no.

First, try stirring and mixing one carton of yogurt (Kroger Lite Vanilla) into the mix - not funsies at all.  I think I must have inhaled a serving.   Bake and slice and look at the result.   Bravely taste.

Yeah, it didn't taste much better...

I'm sticking with baking from scratch or using Costco's Ghirardelli and/or Wegmans brownie mixes.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Christmas Inspiration Traditions Old and New

Kicking off the 2012 holiday crafting season with the acquisitions of the December Martha Stewart Living (I've kept all of her Christmas and holiday issues), and this year trying out HGTV's December issue, along a new book, Mollie Makes Christmas.   Stay tuned for the results!  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

Daily Doorbusters start November 13 and go through November 21 -- Are you ready?  Here's the list!

Tuesday, 11-13
Duck brand duct tape $2.99, $4.99 for licensed and team prints
Wednesday, 11-14
9" x 12" felt squares 5/$1
$1.99 Butterick patterns, $3.99 Vogue patterns
Thursday, 11-15
Licensed character fabrics and no-sew throw kits (I see Hello Kitty!) 50% off
50% off Wilton candy melts, 40% off entire stock fine art supplies
Friday, 11-16
50% off Country classic solids, 65% off Holiday Inspirations fabrics, 40% off ready to finish wood
Saturday, 11-17
$19.99 Holiday Inspirations plush animals, $2.99/yard Blizzard and anti-pill fleece, BIGIF rotary blades (Olfa, Fiskars & Dritz), 2/$25 Holiday Inspirations wreaths, 40% off Keepsake calico prints, 40% off Sensations yarn, $9.99 Swarovski strung crystal, 40% off entire stock of paints and finishes, $2.33 Red Heart Super Saver yarn, 60% off Notions wall
Sunday, 11-18
$34.99 3-piece sewing room on wheels, 50% off Holiday Inspirations ornaments, ribbon and bows, 60% off framed art, 60% off Sew Classics apparel fabrics, 40% off nursery fabric, 40% off novelty cotton
Monday, 11-19
50% off nutcrackers (I hate nutcrackers, just FYI), $9.99 handy scrapbook carrier, $5.99 Caron one pound or Lion brand Pound of Love yarn
Tuesday, 11-20
$29.99 20 yard roll Pellon Siliconized batting, 40% off Creativity for Kids kits, 5/$1 open stock print and cardstock papers
Wednesday, 11-21
$24.99 Cricut Everyday cartridges, $179.99 Cricut Expressions 2, $8.99 12" x 12" Paper stacks, 60% off all candles, holders and fragrances, $3.79 Lion brand Homespun yarn, 50% off Organizing Essentials Seasonal storage, $99.99 25-yard roll Pellon Natural Cotton batting, 50% off Holiday Inspirations Christmas outdoors decor, 70% off Holiday Inspirations Christmas picks

Monday, November 12, 2012

Chantal Outlet Sale Finds

Bounty!  (and we are not talking paper towels)

Surprise deal on the mise en place cup dishes - they also came in shades of orange and green.  Love how they are nice and flat and less likely to tip and crash in my cupboard.  Another square baking dish - love these, and so glad to see them back this year.  And keeping with tradition and additions to my collection - another teapot with infuser, and two 20 ounce! mug/saucers.  I love that Pure vanilla color and the gorgeous red, which the camera did not do justice.  I got all this for $30, easily worth almost triple retail.

You still have another weekend to discover your finds.  They do restock with new merchandise and have different deals and specials all three weekends.  Don't forget to "Like" their Facebook page to print and bring a $5 off coupon!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Watercoloring Class -- 5 Weeks

I worked on the water and shadows a bit more before removing the frisket on "Fred" and the tops of the rocks. . .

Fred's close up. . I really like how he turned out!  (I honestly surprised myself)

I still need to blend the rocks a little bit more and he's done-- ready for framing and displaying in my husband's office!

I have really enjoyed working in this medium.  I went to Half-Price Books and stocked up on some watercolor books so I can practice and try different techniques.  Stay tuned for more adventures!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Thursday Tea Time

This week, The Republic of Tea Warm Up the Day Tea - Pumpkin Spice

Cost:  $9.99 at Whole Foods
Number of teabags:  50
Caffeine:  Yes
Type of tea:   Black
Steeping time:  5 minutes
Add ins:  Just a splash of Coffee Mate's Natural Bliss Sweet Cream.  It's quite good by itself, too.
Teabag fragrance:  Allspice
Ingredients:  Black tea, ginger, cinnamon, natural ginger and pumpkin flavors, sweet blackberry leaves, nutmeg, cloves, allspice
Opinion:  This week's entry in Pumpkinapolooza,   A nice pumpkin flavor, abeit more in the background, with an interesting blend of spices -- blackberry leaves?! -- for a warming and soothing mug of yum.  I've been drinking several mugs of this a day helping to recuperate from bronchitis and my tummy from the queasy caused from the Z-Pack.  Yes, it makes me feel much better!  : )
Rating:  3.75
Pretty pumpkin color!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

$10,000 Quilt

"America, Let It Shine"
This was the $10,000 prize-winning quilt at 2012 Houston International Quilt Festival by Sherry Reynolds of Laramie, Wyoming.  It has 5,121 sparkling Swarovski crystals!  My cellphone camera could not begin to do it justice.     Read all about it here.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Cooking Light Plum Galette

Plum Galette from Cooking Light

This recipe is from the June 2005 issue of Cooking Light.  It also appears in two of their books -- Cooking Light Dessert (ISBN:  0-8487-3066-6), page 86; and Five Star Recipes. (ISBN:  978-0-8487-3242-4), page 392

It was a hit!!  I will definitely be making this again - perhaps with peaches or apples.  Or even combining other fruits together.

I am getting more confident making crust from scratch, especially with the food processor -- easy-peasy!

A galette is a rustic, free-form crust/tart.  We bought plums from Costco, and while you can't beat the price, two people can only eat so many plums per day.  When they started to soften, I decided to turn them into this.  Bonus is the jam leftovers. The jam will keep up to a few weeks in the refrigerator.  And boy, did it taste good on some toasted slices of Central Market's Seedsation bread for Halloween breakfast!
Love the pumpkin and bat sprinkles?

Fair warning, it is a bit time-scheduling intensive, if you are making the jam and starting from scratch.   You may want to make the jam ahead of time.  Then make the crust and allow time for chilling.


1 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons ice water
1 tablespoon cornmeal - I skipped this
4 medium plums, each cut into 8 wedges
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup Plum Jam*
1 tablespoon Plum Jam*
1 tablespoon sugar

*Plum Jam --
4 1/2 cups chopped ripe red plums (about 8 medium)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water


Dough --
Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, butter, and salt in a food processor; process until mixture resembles coarse meal. With processor on, slowly add ice water through food chute, processing just until combined (do not form a ball). Press mixture gently into a 4-inch circle on plastic wrap. Cover and chill 30 minutes.

Jam --
Combine plums, sugar, and water in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer 50 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken, skimming foam from surface of mixture occasionally. Cool; pour into an airtight container. (Mixture will thicken as it cools.) Cover and chill.
about 50 minutes later
Note: Refrigerate jam in an airtight container for up to three weeks.

Preheat oven to 425°.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; sprinkle paper with cornmeal (I skipped the cornmeal part). Unwrap dough; roll dough into a 9-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. (I rolled between two sheets of  plastic wrap.) 
Apprehensive moment ahead, will it peel away nicely in one piece?
(It did!)

Place dough on baking sheet on top of parchment paper. Combine plums and cornstarch in a large bowl, tossing to coat. Add 1/4 cup Plum Jam; toss well to coat. Arrange plum mixture on top of dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border.

Fold edges of dough over plum mixture. Bake at 425º for 20 minutes.

Remove galette from oven (do not turn oven off). Brush crust with 1 tablespoon Plum Jam; sprinkle galette with sugar. Bake at 425º for 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes before serving.   6 servings

Note: Nutritional analysis includes Plum Jam.

Calories: 208
Calories from fat: 32%
Fat: 7.3g
Saturated fat: 3.4g
Monounsaturated fat: 2.8g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.3g
Protein: 2.8g
Carbohydrate: 33.8g
Fiber: 1.6g
Cholesterol: 18mg
Iron: 1mg
Sodium: 146mg
Calcium: 5mg

This does not factor in topping with a scoop of Bluebell Homemade Vanilla ice cream while it is still warm...

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Watercoloring Class - 4 1/2 weeks

I am probably the pokiest person in class, but I think I am really pretty good at rocks and grass!  I thought that would be hard for me, but no.   I started working on the water and discovered what I thought would be/should be easy is actually a bit not.  I think watercolor - water - easy?  Same with the clouds.  (Trying to conjure up my inner Bob Ross)  Others just zip right through them and I, hover hesitantly with my brush, hoping for the best.
I hope to brave up and  finish this weekend.

Friday, November 02, 2012

It's Houston International Quilt Festival Time!

Hanne and I are back  to trip up and down the aisles of the Houston International Quilt Festival after taking a break from last year.  We will be reporting our findings and goings on.
One thing to note, the ticket prices have gone up - $12/day adults, $9/day Senior Citizen and students.  Children under 10 are free.  Festival hours are 10 AM-7 PM Thursday/Saturday, Sunday 10 AM-4 PM.

I was just looking at the PDF -- Looks like they are going to have a Twitter wall?!  Cool!  @QuiltFestival,  #QuiltFestival    I just checked Twitter, it's already lively.  Get the inside scoop on the booths, vendors, deals, exhibits and events.
Psst!  Can't make it this year?  Next year's Festival dates are October 31/November 3.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Mollie Makes - Sweet !!

How sweet indeed!  Costco has Issue Nineteen of Mollie Makes and the brand new Sweet magazine, which I hadn't hope of even finding here in the U.S.   And discounted to $8.39 and $12.59 respectively from  $11.99 and $17.99.  I also just received their Mollie Makes Christmas book from Amazon - Oh happy crafty day!

Thursday Tea Time

This week - Celestial Seasonings Sweet Harvest Pumpkin

Cost:  $3.29 at Whole Foods, $2.49 at Super Target.
Number of teabags:  20
Caffeine:  Yes
Type of tea:   Black
Steeping time:  5 minutes
Add ins:  Just a splash of Coffee Mate's Natural Bliss Sweet Cream
Teabag fragrance:  Nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon
Ingredients:  Black Tea, Cinnamon, Ginger, Roasted Chicory, Natural Pumpkin Flavor with other natural Flavors (Soy Lecithin), Luo Han Guo, Cloves, Nutmeg, Natural Sweetener (Stevia Extract) and Pumpkin
Opinion:  Meh, but a little bit better than OK.  Would I buy another box?  No.  The bar was set pretty high with last week's Twinings Pumpkin Spice Chai. It had an herbal taste and was also really sweet, oddly. You definitely do not need to add any sweetener.   I did like the saying on the box - "Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower" ~Albert Camus
Rating:  3