Tuesday, December 23, 2008
This has been a favorite thing of mine for several years. I love the J.Crew Merino Turtleneck Sweaters. They are sooo soft, warm and perfect for winter weather. What I like best about these sweaters is they can be worn to work with a pair of nice dress pants or suit or dress it down with a pair of jeans. Merino wool is a 14-gauge knit. There is rib trim at neck, cuffs and hem. Right now these sweaters are part of J.Crew's final sale and on priced at $29.99. Great price and there are lots of fun colors to pick from. I have collected many colors over the years - orange, black, green, sea foam green, and white.
Monday, December 22, 2008
It was a wonderful day and I thought I would share some of my favorite gifts - both which would make great gift ideas for those last minute Christmas shoppers or an upcoming birthday, housewarming, etc. Stirrings Cocktail Connoisseur Set
I love this gift because it is the perfect sampling of drink mixers. Each bottle is 4 oz. and there are eight different types. It includes some of my favorites like Apple and Cosmos and also ones that I've wanted to try Pear and Peach Bellini. Here's a list:
Another favorite gift is another water bottle!!! This one is from Klean Kanteen. This was the perfect gift because I decided I really needed two water bottles because when I have one in dishwasher I need another to use. This one is made of recycled stainless steel and keeps my water cold for a long time. I got the 27oz which is the perfect size! Here's a description from the Klean Kanteen website -
Like every Klean Kanteen, the 27 oz bottles is made of 100% recyclable, high-quality, food-grade, stainless steel so it doesn't need a special lining like some other metal bottles. It's completely BPA-free and won't leach toxins or funky flavors into your water, juice, smoothie, or drink of choice. Plus it weighs only 8 oz and is incredibly durable, so you can reuse it for years.
The large-mouth design allows you to pour in big stuff like ice cubes, and makes cleaning your Klean Kanteen as simple as washing it with mild soap and warm water or throwing it in the dishwasher. Yet the slim design fits into just about any cup holder or Kanteen® bike cage. Day after day, year after year, your Klean Kanteen will keep your drinks fresh, crisp and clean tasting.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Another great recipe from Real Simple - Homemade Macaroni and Cheese. I found this recipe thanks to my sister-in-law Aimee. It's super easy and soooo good. I will say it is NOT HEALTHY and I recommend this as a side dish not as a meal.
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups whole milk
3 1/2 cups (about 14 ounces) grated sharp Cheddar
Heat oven to 400° F. Butter a casserole or 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
Cook the macaroni until almost tender but still firm, about 2 minutes less than the package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, parsley (if using), oil, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper; set aside.
In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Stirring constantly, add the flour and cook for 3 minutes; the mixture will clump together. Still stirring constantly, add the milk slowly. Cook for 7 minutes. Add the Cheddar and the remaining salt and cook, stirring, until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add the macaroni and combine. Transfer to the baking dish and top with the bread crumb mixture. Bake until golden and bubbling slightly around the edges, about 25 minutes.
Tip: You can vary the flavor of the bread crumbs by using a different herb, such as thyme or oregano. Or minimalists can choose to omit it.
To Freeze: Make the bread-crumb mixture and place it in a resealable freezer bag. Assemble (but do not bake) the casserole. Cover tightly with two layers of aluminum foil. Store both for up to 3 months.
To Reheat: Thaw the casserole overnight in the refrigerator or thaw partially in the microwave. Sprinkle the bread-crumb mixture over it. Cover and heat in a 350° F oven for 40 minutes. Uncover and heat until bubbling, about 20 minutes more.
NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 809.64; FAT 43.31g (sat 22.34g); CHOLESTEROL 101.74mg; CALCIUM 687.14mg; CARBOHYDRATE 72.96g; SODIUM 1030.58mg; PROTEIN 31.42mg; FIBER 3.01g; IRON 3.89mg
Monday, December 15, 2008
I would love to call Cosi one of my favorite things but I can't because we have a love hate relationship. I love their squagels (bagels that are square), sandwiches, salads, and of course their bread...I LOVE THEIR BREAD. The reason why I can't put Cosi down as a favorite thing is every time I go in there I have a bad experience. There are two things that really bother me about Cosi -
1. Bagel selection in the morning is horrible. Probably 8 out of 10 times I go to Cosi in the morning for a bagel they don't have what I want and the slection is so minimal. It's not that I am there at 10 am so its whatever is left, I usually get there around 8:30-9:00 and there are hardly any choices.
2. Their customer service sucks! They are not personable in fact most of the interactions I have had have been very rude. It is usually an unplesant experience when I am ordering food.
If it wasn't for the good food then I probably not be eating there. But lucky for you Cosi I do love your sandwiches so I will continue to get squagels and sandwiches.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Since meeting my husband I have a new family with new traditions. They include:
- A Holiday Dinner with all of our friends and my husband and I have been planning this for the past four holiday seasons. Each year we pick a Friday night, a great restaurant and get all of our friends together for food, drinks, and fun. It's so great to get everyone together.
- Scrippsmas - This is the annual dinner and gift exchange with my brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, and now my niece. It happens on a Saturday or Sunday night before Christmas. Each year we rotate homes and we have a nice home cooked dinner and exchange gifts. We started doing this about four years ago because each holiday we rotate family's for Christmas so this tradition guarantees that we will get together for Christmas.
- Ornaments - I started this tradition a couple years ago with the Scripps siblings and spouses (my husbands' side). Each Christmas I give each of them an ornament that represents them.
- Decorating the Tree - I love decorating the tree with my husband. We started a tradition that any place we go together we get an ornament. It's so fun to go through them and remember the memories of our travels.
- Christmas Eve - Every year we go to my mom's parents house and have a huge Portugeese feast cooked by my grandmother, exchange gifts with my mom's side of the family (each gift read by my grandfather), family picture, and rice pudding for dessert.
- Kitchen Gift - For the past 10 or so years I have been giving each woman in my family a fun kitchen gift. This tradition started on whim one year when my dad and I picked one out. It was such a hit we started doing it every year. Now than I have moved out of the house and am on my own I continue the tradition.
- Christmas Day - There are so many things I enjoy about Christmas Day - waking up to a roaring fire, bloody mary's w/ my dad, opening gifts, seeing my dad's side of the family, and of course my mom's cooking.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
This guest post comes from my dear friend Margaret. It is one of her favorite things ever this time of year: her grandmother's chocolate pie. She says its super easy to make and is always a crowd pleaser.
This favorite thing was a gift from my husband - Nashelle Initial Charm Necklace from South Moon Under. He got this for me as a you are working really hard at work and deserve something nice. At the time I was traveling a lot and so it was nice to wear something around my neck that he gave me. This necklace is simple and goes with any outfit. It features two circle charms, one with your initial and one with a stamped star. Chain measures approximately 17" long and charm diameter is 5/8". Below is an up close picture of the necklace.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Red Berry Wreath (on sale!)
Linden Tablecloth in Olive (on sale!)
Photo Coasters (Christmas Gift for someone and on sale!)
12 Days of Christmas Ornaments
Genesis Rug (on sale!)
Kiran Rug (on sale!)
Holiday Guest Towels
There are sooo many great things there I could go on and on...
Monday, December 1, 2008
The name of the game is a play on the phrase "apples to oranges," and the game is about making comparisons between different things. General game play is as follows: players are dealt red cards which have a noun printed on them, and the judge (a different player in each turn) draws a green card on which an adjective is printed and places it for all players to see. Each player then chooses a red card they are holding that they think best describes the green card. The judge then decides which adjective she likes best.
The fun is in the variety of unexpected comparisons people make, sometimes apt, funny, creative, or simply absurd. For example: people might match "Awkward" with "Oil Spills," "My First Kiss," "Dandruff," and "Gold Chains. " Or: "Painful" with "High School Reunions" and "Regis Philben. " Strategy comes into play since, because each player takes turns being the judge, you begin to pick up on the preferences of each player and tailor your choices accordingly.
Players can also try variations on the basic game play. For example, instead of choosing the most apt comparison, players might try choosing the red card that is least like the green one. These variations keep the game fresh and interesting every time.