Saturday, February 19, 2011

My Favorite Things Right Now: beauty, TV, clothing accessories and electronics

Here's some of my favorite things at the moment:
J.R. Watkins Hand Soap
My WHOLE family adores this hand soap!  At first I didn't want to spend the extra $ but you can totally tell the difference from the cheap-ies...soap is not just soap!  Now we're totally addicted!  The 5 yr old asked if we can put another bottle in the upstairs bathroom, too.
Cover Girl Olay Simply Ageless Serum Primer
I've been eye-balling primers but they can be pretty pricey so when I came across this one day for around $15, I had to pick it up! Promoted as a "3 minute face lift", it helps with elasticity and fills in the lines/wrinkles to help your foundation go on smoother -making you look younger.  The best part is, you can use without foundation so it is an instant pick me up!
Downton Abbey
LOVE this show!!!!  From PBS it's now only available for purchase and to rent.  It's SO, SO good! Reminds me of Upstairs, Downstairs
Eternity Scarves
Having a little love affair with these right now.  With all my running around, I hate when I lean over and my scarf goes into my food, etc the perfect solution is a scarf that is a complete circle.  Pics shown here are with jewelry pins which I wouldn't wear but ...
Normally I am a "pointy-toe-shoe-gal" wanna-be (that's a story for another day) but I bought a pair of grey flat boots similiar to these at Target and they have been MY.FAVORITE. I don't even take them off when I get home.  And the best part is...when I'm out, my heels don't get stuck in the sidewalk!
Hubby's Camera
Since my camera "broke" (Canon S3IS) this technically is Hubby's camera but I've loved using it!  It's a Nikon D40X. Ours has this HUGE lens (18/135 millimeter).  Right now I'm a little frustrated though because my flash keeps getting stuck in the down position but I -seriously- think it's worn out from overuse!....I'm not taking the blame for breaking another camera though...
T Mobile My Touch 4G
MY NEW PHONE!  I am TOTALLY loyal to T-Mobile so will be with them forever. I got my first smart phone two years ago but cancelled the internet to save money. But when my daughter needed a new phone and the special was buy one, get one FREE...I had to go for it! I'm absolutely in love with my apps! I have no need for an actual Kindle (the app is free and the touch screen is nice), I don't have to worry about forgetting my big navigator, and if the kids forget their DS, I can click on the Angry Birds game! I also like "My Days" App to keep track of your womanly cycle, when you take your pill (I use it for remembering my allergy shot) and you can keep track of when you're fertile which we are SO not interested in!  My 5yr old son's favorite app is my flashlight which actually has three brightness levels, and Hubby's is Disneyland Wait Times app which shows you -in real time- the line wait for the rides at Disneyland (so cool).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Eatin' Out 'N' About at Duke's Chowder House- WA and shop online, too!

Duke's Chowder House
240 W Kent Station St
Kent WA 98032
There are also five more locations and you can SHOP ONLINE!
Thinking we had a little bit of time to spare while our son was at a birthday party, we headed on over to Kent Station to go to Duke's Chowder House. I have been here a few times - with the kids, for a birthday (they are very accommodating for large parties) and then this time just with the hubby.
To go with their name, all of their decorations are things having to do with nautical items or "Duke" like John Wayne, Duke of Earl album, etc.  My favorite is there to the left of the light- The Duchess Of Duke Street which was a wonderful BBC Miniseries (watch it if you get the chance!).
First off, I have to say the have THE. BEST. clam chowder!  100% natural ingredients...and you can taste that!  Hubby ordered the Cajun Chicken Corn Chowder Bowl (for $10.99 with an extra $1.99 for the Bread Bowl).  He said that it could have done with a little more kick (being it was supposed to be Cajun) but it was very good, filling, and went well with his Redhook Blonde Ale.
Though I like the chowder, I wanted to try something different so I ordered the Fish 'n Chips.  The side dressings for this are yummy (all homemade), and I really liked their Award Winning Coleslaw. tasted good as leftovers considering my son got upset at the birthday party so we had to leave almost as soon as we got our food (thank you to the nice waitress who packed our stuff up so quick).

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Recipes- Jane's (simple) Stuffed Mushrooms

This is one of my MOST favorite dishes....and mushrooms are my husband's LEAST favorite food so imagine how happy I was when Housewife Tari made this for a recent brunch.  Very simple recipe but it is very flavorful!
Jane's Stuffed Mushrooms
Mix cream cheese and REAL bacon bits together and stuff into cleaned mushrooms with the stems removed.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes in butter.  TIP:  Tari said you can tell when they are done when they start to smell like "mushrooms" (don't overcook!).  She also served this with a yummy cracker trio spread that's from a SECRET RECIPE (see blog here) and a Chinese Chicken Salad.  
Thank you Tari- might have to make this one next time Hubby is gone for poker night!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Recipes- Carolyn's Dip and Won-Ton Chips

Shhhhhhhhh......I'm passing on a SECRET recipe!! Our friend Carolyn made this up and it was such a hit that Carolyn's neighbor Tami passed it onto Housewife Tari and after asking for it NUMEROUS times, I finally got a copy and am sharing it just with you! I don't feel guilty about it because it's so DElicous, it has to be shared with the world!
Carolyn's Dip and Won-Ton Chips
1/2 round of Boursin Cheese
4 oz cream cheese
Big dollop (less than 1/4 cup) of sour cream
chopped green onion
REAL bacon bits
Small handful of shredded cheddar cheese
Mix together and heat in microwave a minute or two. (SOOOO good!)
For the chips:
Cut won-tons in half sideways to make a triangle.  Brush with butter and place on a cookie sheet.  Top with Parmesan cheese and bake at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes or less- keep an eye on them until they're slightly brown.
If you don't want to make the won-tons, you can serve the dip with any crackers (even veggies!).  Here's how Tari served it at our last Housewives' get together- with large, yummy crackers from Costco.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Recipes- Buttermilk Lemon Pie

One of my childhood dessert memories was my Mom Karen's lemon meringue pie. Since then, I haven't found another lemon pie I liked so I quit lemon desserts of any kind which made it a very pleasant surprise when Housewife Tari made this for brunch the other day!  And the best part was, since she hosted brunch at my house, I got to keep/eat the leftovers!
Buttermilk Lemon Pie
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup water
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
6 TBS lemon juice
2 TBS butter or margarine
3 egg whites
6 TBS sugar
1 9" pastry shell baked
IN a large saucepan, combine sugar and flour. Gradually stir in buttermilk and water until smooth. cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat;cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat.
Stir a small amount of hot filling into egg yolks; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. remove from the heat; stir in lemon juice and butter until butter is melted. Keep warm.
In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, 1 TBS at a time, on high just until stiff peaks form and sugar is dissolved.
Pour the hot filling into pastry shell. Spread meringue evenly over hot filling, sealing edges to crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until the meringue is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour; refrigerate for at least 5 hours before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.  Makes 6-8 servings.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Recipes- Chinese Chicken Salad

Housewife Tari made this for our recent get-together to chat and work on our upcoming Crop For A Cause fundraiser.  I have seen something similar at Costco but not only is this version more fresh, it also tastes better, too!
Chinese Chicken Salad
Mix and Chill:
3-4 chicken breasts (cooked and diced)
3 green onions- chopped
small package of slivered almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 T poppy seed
Toss all together with:
chopped lettuce
Chinese noodles
Add dressing just before serving:
4 T sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp salt
4 T vinegar
3 tsp accent
1/2 cup oil
Dressing is best made up beforehand and shaken several times to mix well.  
This is good for home with the family but "fancy" enough to serve for company- you'll enjoy it!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Recipes- Grape Pickers' Skillet with Chicken for FOODball Brunch

Hungry Housewife Hubby Seth made this for brunch while we were watching football playoffs.  SO good and filling!  Can't wait to taste what's cooking for Superbowl!

Grape Pickers' Skillet with Chicken
10 ounces bacon strips
2 tablespoons fresh thyme -- minced
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes -- peeled and thinly sliced
3/4 cup Gruyere cheese -- shaved and divided
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken -- cooked and shredded
1 cup leeks -- sliced
1 tablespoon garlic -- minced

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Line an 8-inch cast-iron skillet with bacon, covering the bottom and the sides and leaving a third of each strip hanging over the sides. Sprinkle thyme over bacon.
Layer half the potatoes onto bacon and thyme, covering the entire surface. Sprinkle 1/4 cup Gruyere over potatoes; season with salt and pepper. Repeat layering with chicken and 1/4 cup Gruyere. Continue layering with leeks, garlic, remaining potato slices, salt, pepper, and remaining Gruyere.

Fold hanging pieces of bacon strips to the center of skillet, covering entire top. Transfer skillet to stove top and cook over medium heat, 10 minutes.

Cover skillet with foil, transfer to oven, and roast 30 minutes. Remove foil and roast until bacon is crisp and potatoes are fork-tender, 30 minutes more. Let meal rest 10 minutes, then drain drippings and loosen edges to serve.  Add salt to taste.
(Note: Length of time - (1 hour in a cast iron skillet) - works perfectly)