April 28, 2011

New Nutty Obsession

I have been a nut butter fanatic my whole life.  I think if possible I could live on peanut butter alone and be completely happy.  When I went to Italy my senior year of high school I was introduced to Nutella. Let's just say it was life changing... Nutella now has been a treat that I'll get to have on my toast in the morning.  Well, one day when I was at Target I noticed Justin's Maple Almond Butter. I bought some and it was amazing! Then they created Chocolate Hazelnut Butter and you might need to sit down, but it is thousands times better than Nutella. Plus it has less sugar per serving.  So it's better for you too.  It's a winner all around.

I can find the almond butter and hazelnut butter at Target.   You can also order them online along with all their other varieties at justinsnutbutter.com. Take the chance. Trust me you will not regret it. 

April 27, 2011

Squirrel Cookie Cutter!

Cookie Cutters from Crate and Barrel

At work one day, I received a text from my dear friend and sorority sister Jordan informing me of a sale at Crate and Barrel on a 3 Piece Fall Cookie Cutter Set it has an acorn, leaf, and squirrel! Now most of you know I'm an Alpha Gam, so of course we freaked out and had to order them. Best of all they are on sale! Make sure to order them soon because quantities are limited.

April 25, 2011

Easter Recap

The product of my cousin and I's princess Egg dyeing kit.

 This Easter was great even though it rained the whole time!  We had a lovely lunch at my cousin Susie's house.  We all brought over a dish and I was in charge of stuffing. Now I know that stuffing isn't a traditional Easter food, but I have this great Ina Garten recipe that I love.

Sausage and Herb Stuffing

16 cups of 1-inch bread cubes, white or sourdough (1 1/2 pound loaf)
8 tablespoons (1stick) unsalted butter
2 cups medium-diced yellow onions
1 cup medium diced celery (2 stalks)
2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored and large-diced
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound sweet or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
1 cup chicken stock 
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. 
Place the bread cubes in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake for 7 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.  Remove the bread cubes to a very large bowl. 

Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, melt the butter and add the onions, celery, apples, parsley, salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened. Add to the bread cubes. 

In the same saute pan, cook the sausage over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until browned and cooked through, breaking up the sausage with a fork while cooking.  Add to the bread cubes and vegetables. 

Add the chicken stock and cranberries to the mixture, mix will and pour into a 9 by 12 -inch baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, until browned on top and hoot in the middle. Serve warm.

I made some substitutions because some of my family members are vegan.  So I used margarine instead of butter and made a batch with real and fake sausage.  I also misread the directions the first time I made it and peeled the apples, but I don't think it really matters.  Here are my pictures from the process:

My peeled version of the apples.

The onions, parsley, celery and apples cooking in the stick of butter. 
And now the sausage browning. Yum!
Mixing it all together.
And the finished product!
A family tradition in my family is that every Easter my Mom makes a lamb cake.  A cake in the shape of a lamb not one made of lamb. This year we all decided we wanted something different, so she improvised and made a lamb rice crispy treat. 

A little creepy, but it was very good.
All in all a great Easter with some very delicious food!

April 24, 2011

Easy Thank You Notes

Thank you notes can some times feel daunting.  When I was younger I always hated having to write them because I never knew what to say except "Thanks!".  With practice I have gotten a little better and I have come up with a crutch for those times I'm not sure what to write.  I just remember my G.I.F.T.S.

G- Greeting
Dear so and so, or just their name is fine. 
I- Include examples
If you received a gift you could say "I love my new scarf! I am always looking to add to my collection."  If you are thanking someone for a favor, "I would have never been able to pack my apartment up with out the boxes you brought by."
F- Future
Mention the future in some way you could mention how you are going to use the gift you received or how favor etc will influence you. . Ex: "I can't wait until this winter to wear it with my new coat."
T- Thanks
End your note expressing thanks.
S- Signature
Then sign.

Clearly, it doesn't need to fit exactly but I always find it helpful to have a few points to make if I am having a hard time.  It's the thought that counts and your thank you note recipient will be delighted whatever it says.

April 21, 2011

Texas Coffee

A few weeks ago my aunt came to visit.  She is a coffee addict and always has a new coffee that she is in love with.  Most times her new "it" coffee is pretty good, but her new favorite from Duncan Coffee Company is wonderful!  She brought Snickerdoodle and to my delight forgot to take it home!  It really tastes like a cookie. It is so delicious I can overlook the fact that it's from Texas.  The underlying cinnamon flavor is to die for. Their website duncancoffee.com has online ordering available, but no snickerdoodle!  Alas, I'm confident that their other flavors are just wonderful.
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