Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sampleicious: BirchBox Edition: November, December and January Boxes

Unfortunately I let too much time go by in my BirchBox Edition again. Last post I made was for 3 months worth of boxes and I seem to have waited long enough to have 3 again. I know I've used a few from my January box but I'm honestly not even sure if I touched the products in November and December so this may be a short blog post.

Products in November Box:

Just looking at the full size products, this is a pricey box of samples.I honestly don't even remember this box so it must have gotten buried in my messy bedroom. I don't think I tried any of the products. I'll try to update when I do, stay tuned....

Products in December Box:

This box is laying out in my room. I have tried the lip gloss a few times. It's nothing special but I like it. I haven't tried anything else yet but am very curious about the masque. You rub it in instead of washing it off. Hope to try soon! Stay tuned...

Products in January Box:

I am obsessed with the face cream. I used up my sample and the full size is a little pricey, maybe one day I can get it. The only other thing I've used so far is the Harvey Prince Skinny Chic perfume. I sprayed it on once or twice running out the door. It smells very nice, not sure if I buy that it gives us energy and curbs cravings but it's worth a shot. I think I love everything Harvey Prince does. 

Top Ten: Current Obsessions

Here are some things I am currently obsessed with:

1. These Songs:
"Mama's Broken Heart" - Miranda Lambert
"The Only Way I Know" - Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Eric Church
"Better Dig Two" - The Band Perry

All three of these songs are amazing. Enough said.

2. These stores:
Trader Joe's

I've always been in love with Wegmans, I consider it to be the "castle" of grocery stores. I've never lived close enough to one to regularly shop there but it is truly an amazing place.

Trader Joe's is a newer obsession of mine, it is the opposite of Wegmans in the sense that it has a smaller number of items so more obtainable to try as many of their products as possible. Wegmans, while amazing, can also be overwhelming.

3. This Drink:
Dry Soda

I've been obsessed with this brand of soda since I discovered it in Seattle last May. Unfortunately it isn't readily available on the East Coast, mostly at Wegman, however it was sold out the last two times I went. Also, I can only get 2-3 flavors over here and I like them all.

4. These Shows:
The Big Bang Theory
King of the Nerds

The Big Bang Theory has been around for a few seasons but I only recently started watching it. I got the first two seasons on DVD as presents and regularly catch it in syndication on TBS.

5. This cheese:
Laughing Cow Wedges

I love all different kinds of cheeses however these laughing cow wedges are quite fantastic. They go great with all kinds of crackers as well as pretzels.

6. Lavender: The color, the scent and the flavor!

I love the color lavender and have always enjoyed the scent. This past year I also discovered that I rather enjoy the flavor of lavender as well. I tried a lavender infused martini at Ruby Tuesdays and we made lavender cupcakes for my cousin's bridal shower. 

7. This cocktail website:
Hampton Roads Happy Hour

I discovered this website via Pinterest recently. It's actually a directory for local happy hours near Hampton, VA but they have a fantastic cocktail archive with super fun drink recipes.

8. These beauty products:
Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream
Sweet Tea Sugar Scrub
Mint Lip Sugar Scrub

The Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream came as a sample in my BirchBox this past month. I love the way it feels on my face and it has a lovely scent. Unfortunately it was only a small sample and mine's all used up. The full size is $42 so a little expensive for me.

I'm not positive on the brand of my Sweet Tea Sugar Scrub. I got it for Christmas from my mom who purchased it at a craft fair. It smells just like sweet tea and I love it. She also got me a cute wooden spoon to scoop out the scrub from the jar that is just adorable and practical.  The Mint Lip Sugar Scrub is the same brand and helps soften your lips. It also tastes wonderful.

9. This beer:
Ballast Point Indra Kanindra

Photo: Obsessed with the flavors in this beer #BallastPoint #IndraKunindra

Some friendly guys at the Hulmeville Inn, my favorite beer bar, let us try this beer the other night. It has fantastic flavors including Indian spices and a hint of coconut.

10. These boots:

Not Rated Amplify Short Boot

I'm just obsessed with boots in general and I'm loving this pair from Buckle.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Freakin Fantastic Shrimp Tacos

Small/Medium size shrimp (6-8 per taco)
Sicillian Lemon White Balsamic Vinegar (I got mine at Taste)
Trader Joe's Habanero Lime Tortillas
Wegmans Southwest Salad Mix (including Wegman's Southwest Yogurt Ranch Dressing)
Diced tomatoes

After thawing my shrimp, I poured sicillian lemon white balsamic vinegar over the shrimp. Next I placed each tortilla on the George Foreman grill for a minute to warm them. After the shrimp soaked for a couple minutes in the vinegar, I put the shrimp on the George Foreman grill and poured the remaining vinegar on top of the shrimp. I cooked these for about 2 minutes each. The shrimp I used were already cooked, fresh shrimp may need a little longer. While the shrimp was cooking, I filled each tortilla with some Southwest Salad Mix and diced up some tomato. Next I put the shrimp on top of the salad mix, tossed on a few tomatoes, and topped with Wegmans Southwest Yogurt Ranch Dressing. Finally, I rolled them up and enjoyed!

These were fantastic. All the flavors mixed really well together to make a delicious taco. I will definitely be making these again. 

Creative Cocktails: TV Edition: New Girl

On New Girl, Nick said this quote:

"Sure, I could get a girl drunk and topless with only some crushed ice, a hollowed out papaya, and two fingers of rum. But then I grew up, and now I only want to make a drink that a coal miner would want. Straightforward, honest. Something that says, "I work in a hole"."

After seeing that episode, I made a note in my phone with those ingredients:

Crushed Ice
Hollowed out papaya
Two fingers of rum

I thought it sounded potentially tasty. We randomly got a papaya during our last Trader Joe's shopping trip and I remembered that I had a drink recipe saved for a hollowed out papaya. I thought it seemed like a good time to try out this drink. I had no idea what kind of rum to use so I chose a light rum. Looking at the recipe, it's basically straight up rum on the rocks in a fancy container. A papaya doesn't have strong flavor to begin with so the little bit left inside the papaya doesn't help the rum too much. If you use a good rum like I did, it still tastes okay, but nothing special. I would recommend using coconut rum or pineapple rum, it would make the drink more girly and taste a little fruitier. Or you can just add a bit of one of those juices to the regular rum.

Friday, January 25, 2013

King of the Nerds Contestant Questionaire

I might be slightly obsessed with the new show "King of the Nerds" on TBS. I was browsing the show's website and came across this questionnaire that they asked all the contestants. I may not be an obvious nerd, not a huge gamer or math or science lover, but I feel like I'm a nerd at heart and definitely have my nerdy moments in so many other ways! For example, actually taking the time to complete this questionnaire myself.

Contestant Questionnaire:

1. Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead or Battlestar Galactica: Game of Thrones.

2. World of Warcraft or Call of Duty: Neither.

3. Math or Science: Neither but if I had to choose, Science.
4. Edison or Tesla:

5. Asteroids or Ms. PacMan: Flicky.

6. Favorite Superhero: Spiderman.

7. Favorite VideoGame: Super Mario Brothers.

8. Favorite TV Show: Friends.

9. Favorite Movie: Life as a House.

10. Favorite Musician or Band: Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney

11. If you have a pet (what they are and what their name is): Chloe (Boston Terrier-Pug mix)

12. The one celebrity/icon (past/present) you would have wanted on your team on the show: Mayim Bialik

13. Aliens – Exist or Myth: Doubt it.

14. Favorite Game Show: Family Feud.

Chipotle Rubbed Burgers with Smoked Gouda, Apple Smoked Bacon & Avocado on Rye with Baked Garlic Parsley & Lime Potatoes

Photo: #chipotlerub #applebacon #avocado #smokedgouda #rye #burger

Last night I made some delicious chipotle rubbed burgers with smoked Gouda, apple smoked bacon & avocado on rye. I didn't get the recipe from anywhere, just thought of it based on ingredients I had, mostly inspired by my recent Trader Joe's trip.

The chipotle rub is a Pampered Chef mix and tastes absolutely delicious. I used Trader Joe's lean hamburger patties and sprinkled them with the rub on both sides and then cooked them on a George Foreman Grill. I topped them with avocado slices and grilled the tops of the avacodo before adding the smoked gouda cheese which is also from Trader Joe's. Finally I cooked up some Trader Joe's Apple Smoked Bacon and put it all together on toasted rye bread, also Trader Joe's. It all went together nicely for a delicious burger!

The avocado was from a local organic company, Suburban Organics. Along with that, I had 3 potatoes. I wanted to do something with them so I pulled a recipe off of Pinterest and adjusted it slightly.

Photo: #potatoes #vegetablebroth #parsley #butter #limejuice #salt #pepper #garlic

Baked garlic parsley and lime potatoes:

Cup up potatoes
Veggie broth
Garlic powder
Salt & pepper
Lime juice

Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Step 2: Peel and chop up potatoes, I used 3 potatoes
Step 3: Mix veggie broth with garlic powder and heat up (I didn't really measure, I just poured some of each in a bowl, mixed and heated up in the microwave)
Step 4: Pour heated veggie garlic broth mix over potatoes in a shallow dish
Step 5: Bake in oven for 30 minutes (I did just about 30 minutes and they had a very slight crunch still, if you like yours softer, bake a little longer)
Step 6: Remove from oven when done, sprinkle with parsley and lime juice and mix.

These turned out quite tasty and were fairly simple to make. I'd definitely make them again sometime.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Guess who's back?

I have not made a blog post in quite some time. A while back I was told that I had used up all my photo storage on google. Without thinking, I went and deleted a bunch of pictures. I quickly realized that this meant they were deleted from my blog posts as well. I have gone back and re-added some of the pictures, but my blog is still very incomplete. If you're browsing some of my older stuff, you'll notice many of the pictures are missing. Eventually I will get it all back in order, I just may limit pictures. In the past I have posted multiple pictures for one craft or recipe. I didn't realize I'd eventually get cut off!

I hope that everyone had a great holiday season, I was so busy that I didn't get around to doing a Thanksgiving or Christmas challenge this past year. I sort of started my official challenges with 5 Days of Thanksgiving last year so I failed to complete a second round of any so far. February is always a busy month for holidays so I hope to get back on track. Mardi Gras falls on February 12 this year so I am thinking of combining Valentine's Day and Mardi Gras, doing every other day for each.

I have also recently become obsessed with Trader Joe's. For those who haven't been, it is an awesome store with some unique and tasty items. I first went to one when I was visiting my brother in Washington. I got a few random snack items there that were quite tasty including Dark Chocolate Covered Edamame Beans and Maple Cookies. I didn't go back to another Trader Joe's until December when I was in Richmond, VA with my mom. At that point I got some more snacks such as Dark Chocolate Covered Blueberries, a couple of delicious cheeses: Chocolate Cheddar and Cranberry White Stilton, and Trader Joe's Gummy Bears. Since then I have been wanting to go back and get some real food in addition to snacks. I finally looked up the closest one to me, there is one in Jenkintown, PA, about 30 minutes from me, and one in Princeton, NJ which is about 20 minutes from my work. I decided to go to the Jenkintown one last night and today I have already been enjoying my purchases. I have a new favorite chapstick, Spearmint Lip Balm, and I had a delicious sandwich made of honey wheat bread, herb turkey and smoked gouda cheese. I think I'm going to try and do most of my shopping there from now on and try as many different Trader Joe brand products as I can. I'd like to try the Princeton store next time as the Jenkintown one was one of the smaller ones I have seen. Also, the Princeton one sells wine and beer. Stay tuned for my Trader Joe's blogs along with more fun holiday posts. I'm back!