First, I highly suggest that you go over to the Target Style Facebook page and click on the Target Summer Beauty Bag Giveaway tab. I’ve gotten their giveaway bags before, and you definitely don’t want to miss it. They send you a cute little cloth makeup bag filled with numerous samples of great products and a little booklet of coupons. You definitely need to hurry, because the offers usually run out fast.
Now, once you’ve done that, I’ve got some very exciting news. One of my best friends has started a blog!!!!! I know you can’t tell through reading this, but I’m just so excited. We’ve been best friends for about 9 years and still try to talk at least once a week. She is an amazing gal who is good at so many things (for example: cooking/baking, sewing, saving money, making me laugh, coming up with creative dates for her and her husband, scrapbooking, DIY-ing, and so much more), and I’m so glad that she’s going to share that with the rest of the world. I encourage you to visit her blog, Maison Raye, if you are interested in good food, cute crafts, and other household tips and tricks. And who knows, we might even do some guest posts on each others blogs!
In fact, Raye was one of my two best friends who got me to start shopping at Kohl’s. (Thanks guys!) I’d never even heard of Kohl’s until I was in college, but it’s hard not to wonder what you’re missing when every other cute things your besties wear comes from there. The first time I went, all I noticed was that the prices are more than I usually like to pay. But lately I’ve heard from so many of my friends that they were given coupons for $10 off a purchase of $10 or more, or that they got some Kohl’s cash to spend. Now that perked my penny-pinching ears up. While Kohl’s prices are high, you can use their coupons to buy items that are on sale for a great price. And that’s exactly what I did. I signed up to receive their e-mails, so they sent me a coupon for $5 off my next purchase (of $5 or more). I went shopping with my hubby and found these adorable flip-flops on sale. With my $5 coupon, I got an adorable pair of grey flip-flops for just $13! Now that’s a great deal to me. The moral of this rabbit trail is that if you like a store (or restaurant or whatever), you should sign up for their rewards programs or e-mails so that they will give you great deals that you can use to purchase what you like for less.
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I really love finding great deals and trying new products. I did get to try the Starbucks chai frap that I told you about recently, and I loved it. I think the reason that I love their chai products so much is that the flavor is light and clean. To me, it’s a nice treat when you don’t feel like getting something overpowering or really sweet. I also got to try something that I’ve been drooling over for a long time, French macarons. (Here‘s a picture.) These cookies are similar to a meringue cookie, but have a little more substance. They are beautiful and so variable. I got to try a chocolate cookie and a raspberry one, and they were both delicious. I am now officially obsessed with them. I will try them anytime I can, and will eventually attempt to recreate them at home (though they are apparently ranked up there with phyllo dough and croissants in difficulty to make). If you get a chance to try them, take a bite for me.
I also tried making corn fritters for the first time. The recipe is easy and quick to make; basically, it’s like making corn pancakes. We had them as a side dish to some pork chops, and they were delicious. You want to make sure that you season them with salt (Oops, I forgot.), and then you could serve them with butter, maple syrup, a soft cheese, or any other topping that you heart desires. These will definitely become a regular in our house.
As part of our ongoing movie series, I watched The Nanny Diaries again. I only discovered the movie last year, but it quickly became one of my romantic comedy favorites. (See why in the trailer.) I only said a little bit about it before, so I’ll give you some more reasons today. In the movie, Annie (Scarlett Johansson) becomes a nanny for Mrs. X (Laura Linney) while she tries to figure out what to do with her life. What Annie didn’t plan on was becoming attached to her charge while being expected to fix all of the X’s many problems. She learns a few life lessons and even finds time for a little romance along the way. This is actually one of the few instances where I prefer the movie to the book. The movie producers toned down many parts of the book (though the movie still has some sexual references and cursing) and improved the ending (in my opinion). Some of my favorite parts are the opening sequence, Annie’s habit of putting people in anthropological profiles, how they turned the movie into Annie’s “field diary”, when Annie’s mom comes to dinner at “her” apartment, Grayer’s birthday party, Annie telling of the nanny cam, and Mrs. X’s letter to Annie at the end of the movie. Though there are a lot of times when I get so frustrated at how the people are acting, I do love seeing all the sweet moments between Annie and Grayer. My favorite line comes from the July 4th party: “Grove, come on, what is wrong? Why won’t you shake your booty?” “Because I have to make a doodie.”
Even though I love y’all, I was not about to attempt Coquille St. Jacques for this week’s recipe. I decided instead to play with the idea of eating peanut butter and jelly (straight from the jar!). I decided to make Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pound Cake and top it with a homemade strawberry sauce. It’s a delicious recipe that yields a moist, flavorful cake, and the strawberry sauce was a perfect complement to it. This will definitely satisfy the peanut butter fiend in your life.
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pound Cake with Peanut Butter Glaze (from Recipe Girl)
For the cake:
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. creamy peanut butter
1/2 c. softened butter
3 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. chocolate chips
For the glaze:
1 1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar
1/4 c. milk
1/4 c. peanut butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. mini chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 10 c. tube pan (or bundt pan). In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt, then set aside. In a large bowl, cream together 1 c. peanut butter and the butter. Add the sugar and beat for 5 minutes. Add the eggs and 2 tsp. vanilla and beat til well combined. Then add the dry ingredients a little at a time, beating jut til incorporated. Finally, stir in the chips and scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Tap the pan on the counter to shake out the air pockets.
2. Bake for 80 minutes, checking at the hour mark to make sure it’s not too brown. When a toothpick inserted in the center removes cleanly, remove the cake from the oven. Cool on a rack 20 min, then invert, remove from the pan, and let cool completely.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioner’s sugar, milk, 1/4 c. peanut butter, and 1/2 tsp. vanilla til smooth. Drizzle over the cooled cake and sprinkle with the mini chocolate chips.
I hope you are having a great week! Come and see me again soon.