Happy Fall! Now that November has started, I am officially allowed to listen to Christmas music. (Insert happy dance here.) For some reason, my husband thinks that if I listen to it for more than two months, I’ll go crazy (hmm, he’s probably right, I’m already bouncing off the walls and wanting to decorate.) Also, the weather has been cooler here (70’s!), and I am just enjoying it all. If you celebrate Halloween, then I hope you had a good time. Personally, I celebrate by going to the stores the next day and buying candy on major clearance (tomorrow’s plan). Since we focused on fall favorites last week, I have several samples to tell you about; let’s get started.
If you “like” Seventh Generation on Facebook, you can try to request a free sample of their dish soap. They do have a limit of samples per day, so if you don’t get one right away, I suggest you try earlier in the day the next day.
You can also “like” the Nescafe Facebook page to receive a sample of their Peppermint Mocha drink. That’s one I’m really looking forward to because of the newly chilled weather.
Then you can head on over to Armani’s website to receive a sample of their new men’s fragrance, Armani Code Sport. Let me just say that I already received this sample and love it. Of course, scents differ with a person’s body chemistry, but this one definitely works for my husband. The top notes (what you smell first) are minty, but that quickly fades and leaves just a nice, clean, manly scent.
You can also go to the BOSS website and request a sample of either BOSS Orange Man, BOSS Orange Sunset, or Boss Orange Woman. I was pretty torn, but finally decided to request the woman sample.
Now, I’ve also got some yummy Mexican food to tell you about. A couple weeks ago, I brought these Mexican Spiced Shortbread Cookies to a church function. They were amazing and went fast. I actually didn’t have time to candy the pecans (I just used the glaze), but they were still very tasty. I would probably add more spice next time, since I couldn’t really detect it after the cookies were baked. I might also put a smidge in the frosting to see if that would convey it better. I actually drove home with these uncovered and they smelled captivatingly of maple and nuts; the odd part is that neither of those ingredients were in the cookies. The dough for these was easy to make and cut out, and they baked beautifully.
Mexican Spiced Shortbread Cookies (from Cooking Light)
For the cookies:
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. cocoa
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. chipotle chile powder
1/8 tsp. ancho chile powder
1/2 c. softened butter
1/2 c. canola oil
3/4 c. confectioner’s sugar
For the icing:
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. milk
1 1/4 c. confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla
For the candied pecans:
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. softened butter
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, chipotle powder, and ancho powder.
2. Place 1/2 c. butter in a large bowl and beat on medium til light and fluffy. Gradually add the oil and beat for 3 minutes or til well blended. Gradually add the 3/4 c. of confectioner’s sugar and beat well. Add the flour mix and beat on low til well blended. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
3. Shape the dough into 36 balls and place them 2 inches apart on some ungreased baking sheets. Flatten the balls to 1/4 inch thick. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool 1 minute on the pan and then finish cooling on a wire rack.
4. Melt 2 tbsp. of butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the 1/2 c. brown sugar and milk; cook for 1 minute or til the sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Bring the mix to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer 3 minutes or til slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove the mix from the heat and cool to room temp. Once cool, add the 1 1/4 c. confectioner’s sugar and vanilla, whisking til smooth.
5. In a medium bowl, combine 1 tsp. brown sugar, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. butter in a medium bowl. Arrange the pecans on a baking sheet. Bake the pecans (at 325) for 10 minutes or til toasted. Add the hot pecans to the butter mix, tossing well to coat. Let cool.
6. To finish the cookies, top each with 1 tsp. icing and 1 pecan.
By far, the highlight of last week was going on an afternoon date with my husband. First, we went to a local restaurant called Taco Taco (so nice, they named it twice). My husband had eaten there before, but I’d never heard of it. My dad was watching an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and saw it featured. He thought it sounded pretty cool, so he offered to pay for us to go. (That means this post is officially sponsored by my dad!! Thanks, Dad!) Apparently, they’ve received a lot of accolades, including best breakfast taco in San Antonio. We went for lunch and had an amazing meal. I had enchiladas verdes (chicken enchiladas baked in a tomatillo sauce) that were the best I’ve ever had. My hubby had regular cheese enchiladas, steak fajitas, and a carne guisada taco (beef tips in a brown gravy). We shared bites of each other’s food, so I can tell you that the enchilada sauce on his (which was a normal red sauce) was also the best I’ve ever had. Something I definitely want to figure out how to recreate. The taco and fajita were also really good, though they aren’t my favorite dishes. Taco Taco makes all of its tortillas and chips fresh each day, and those were delicious as well. We will definitely be going back.
While we were on our date, we also went to the mall, which reminded me of something I should have told you about a long time ago. If there is a Godiva store near you (check here for locations), you should consider signing up for their free rewards club. You can sign up online or in-store by giving them your e-mail address. Then, you can go in once a month and present your rewards card to receive a free truffle. This is one of my favorite reward clubs! My husband and I both have a card, so we go in together and get two different truffles. That way we can taste more of their wonderful flavors. Some of my favorite signature flavors are the key lime, coconut, and strawberry flavors. They also come up with new seasonal flavors frequently. And they offer extra discounts to rewards club members; I just don’t purchase from them very often.
Hope you have a great week!