Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays!!!!

Wishing you and yours a very happy and safe holiday!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Favorite Thing #96 - J.Crew Merino Turtlenecks

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

Merry Scrippsmas!!!

This weekend my husband and I celebrated Scrippsmas...yes Scrippsmas. It occurs every year the weekend before Christmas. My husband and I, his two brothers and wives, and now my little niece get together and celebrate Christmas together. We started this tradition four years ago because every other year we celebrate Christmas with the wives families and this allows us to celebrate with each other every year. This year was at our home. And I of course made Favorite Thing #58 - Sopapilla Cheesecake.

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

Great New Recipe - Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

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.

Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings

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

My Love Hate Relationship with Cosi

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

Favorite Thing #95 - Christmas Traditions

I love Christmas and one of the things I love about Christmas are traditions. My family and I have lots of them. Some new, some old and I treasure all of them.

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.
And some of my old traditions that I treasure include:
  • 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.
What are some of your favorite traditions?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Guest Favorite Thing - Mimi's Chocolate Pie - 8"

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.


1 scant cup sugar
3T flour
2T coca
pinch salt
3 eggs, separated (keep egg yolks)
1 large can evaporated milk
1t. butter
1t. vanilla
1 baked pie shell (just use the pre-made Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts and follow those directions)


First, bake your pie crust.

1. Mix sugar, flour and cocoa together with a whisk.
2. Stir in enough milk to dissolve powder.
3. Beat in egg yolks and the rest of the milk.
4. Cook in saucepan on medium heat -- stirring until it thickens (should be smooth - no lumps!) Cut off the heat.
5. Add butter and vanilla and mix it together.
6. Pour into baked pie shell.
7. Top with cool whip or whipping cream.

If you want to make a meringue for the topping (either is good!):

1. Whip 2 egg whites with 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon vinegar.
2. Add 4 Tablespoons of sugar - slowly - as you whip it together.
3. Bake this at 350 until the peaks of the meringue lightly brown. (about 5 - 10 minutes)

**As a general rule you use 2T sugar for every egg white you use. If you increase the amount of egg, proceed accordingly.

Favorite Thing #94 - Nashelle Initial Charm Necklace

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

Favorite Thing #93 - Crate and Barrel

I love love love love love Crate and Barrel. It is definitely my FAVORITE home store. I have been in their store a lot recently because we have been decorating our home and also buying Christmas presents. Below are some of my recent favorite purchases:

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

Favorite Thing #92 - Upright Plastic Bag Holder

This favorite thing was something we got off our registry and I LOVE it - Upright Plastic Bag Holder. We use this to store all of the plastic bags we get from the grocery store. I use reusable grocery bags but never have enough space so I always end up getting plastic bags too. I reuse them as the garbage bag liners in all the garbage cans in my bathrooms. This container is the PERFECT place to store them. It keeps them in one neat and organized place. I have not been able to find them at Target but have found them at Crate and Barrel and The Container Store.

Favorite Thing #91 - Apples to Apples

With the holidays here I thought this favorite thing would be a perfect post because its a great family game. Apples to Apples is such a fun game and great to play with family and friends. It's as easy as comparing apples to apples all you do is open the box, deal the cards, and you're ready to play. All you have to do is select the card from your hand that you think is best described by a card played by the judge. Right now it is available for $19.99. Here's a description from Amazon:

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.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...