High Five for Friday!

Ugh, you guys.  This week.  Had some heavy drama at work and just did not have the mental energy to cook and clean let alone write blog posts.  But this week is OVA! and the drama has subsided.

1.  My Elizabeth & Clarke spring box is on its way!!  And now I own a full length mirror for pictures.  The mirror’s cheap and totally warped after about two days of being hung from the door, but I think I can fix that by gluing it down to a sturdier backing, like metal bars or plywood.  Have you had this problem with cheap mirrors?

2. The first of the month means a whole bunch more cheap kindle books at Amazon.  Looking forward to seeing what the options are.

3.  I have some good posts I plan to write over the weekend–my cooking from my cookbooks #2 for Feb, a writeup of the books I read this month, and an intro to water bath canning.

4. Fitnessblender.com is releasing an e-book Saturday, an 8 week exercise program designed for busy people.  I’m so buying it.  Getting to the gym has been rough lately because of both the weather and my work schedule.  So I am really looking forward to some more structure for my workouts.

5.  I’m enjoying the new Tonight Show–never cared for Leno, found him condescending.  But what I’m really getting at is there was this funny lip synch contest btw. Paul Rudd and Jimmy Fallon which I am guessing you’ve all seen already, but the article I saw talking about it linked to this video:

And I cannot stop laughing at it.  At all.  I feel like when people ask me what a day at work looks like for me, I’ll just send them this video instead.

Until next week, everyone!

Deal Alert: The Indian Slow Cooker cookbook, Kindle version

Just a fast post today to alert you of this sale I  noticed at Amazon.  I’m a convert to ebooks–did you know you can still buy kindle versions without a kindle?  Kindle apps are available for pretty much every tablet plus there is a kindle desktop reader for traditional computers.

On the first of every month, Amazon reduces the price of about 100 Kindle editions.  I’ve snagged a good number of cookbooks this way.  This month I noticed that Anupy Singla’s The Indian Slow Cooker is only $2.99 for the Kindle edition through the end of February.

I have the paper copy of this book–I bought it when it first came out.  It’s great!  And VERY healthy.  Many of the recipes are vegan, and all of them contain nothing but real food products, no convenience shortcut foods here.  Yet they’re very easy recipes to make.

Give yourself a $3 treat and grab this book before 2/28!

Recipe: No bake protein bars

These are great for breakfast and a piece of cake to make.  Four ingredients!  You need peanut butter, old fashioned oats, whey protein powder, and coconut cream.  I found all four ingredients at Trader Joe’s.  We went through a batch in a week, and they’ll be on my to-do list for the next few weekends, I suspect.

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Click here for the recipe. Note: I used natural peanut butter, without sugar. I found it’s best if you add a few tablespoons of honey to the recipe. However if you use pb with sugar added, you might not need it.

Now Streaming: Transparent

It’s pilot season again on Amazon Prime Videos.  Before checking out any of the five adult shows, I checked out some reviews to see how the offerings stacked up.  Based on the reviews, I picked Transparent.

Transparent is the story of three adult siblings who are gathered together for dinner one night by their father, who has a big announcement.  Jeffrey Tambor plays the father–you’ll recognize him from Arrested Development and Archer.  And Gaby Hoffman is one of the siblings, she just recently finished up a story arc in Girls.

The show starts out a bit slow, but by halfway in I was hooked.  The three children have their flaws, but the characters aren’t so grating that you’re put off by them.  I thought the father’s announcement was handled sensitively and with compassion, and by the end I felt there was enough of interest with all three children plus the father that I’d definitely watch more if they run a full season.

Check out Transparent here, and review it at http://www.amazonoriginals.com after you’ve watched.

Cooking from my Cookbooks: Cherry Cheddar Bar Cookies

This recipe comes from Cook’s Illustrated cookbook, America’s Best Lost Recipes. It interested me for two reasons–one, I had cherry preserves left over from canning this summer, and two, I love salty and sweet together.  So I thought I’d give this a try:

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  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup packed golden brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 stick chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup cherry jam or preserves

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on two sides. Grease the foil.

Pulse first four ingredients in a food processor to combine.  Add the butter and cheese, pulse into crumbs.

Press half the dough into the prepared pan (save remaining dough for topping). Bake 15 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes, but don’t turn off the oven!

Spread jam over the crust. Press the other half of the dough on top.  Bake until the top is golden, about 25-30 minutes. Cool completely in pan–I forgot to do this, so mine cracked a bit.

Use foil to lift cookies from pan. Cut into bars.

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Verdict:  These are pretty good.  They’re not great…the flour to butter ratio seems to be too high on the flour side IMO.  Or maybe it’s that they need more sugar?  However, I do think the cheddar adds a nice tang and I’m really tempted to try adding cheddar to a different fruit bar recipe, one with more going on in the crust.  I have a different bar recipe, from Baking Illustrated, and maybe I’ll tinker with the idea there.

EDIT: These are much better the second day!  They were a hit at the office.  The bar seems to gel together more, and create more of a shortbread.

Stitch Fix #2 arrives!

I LOVED this box when I first opened it.  But now that I’m trying stuff on, I’m not so sure. Let’s get it started!

SCHMITT MIXED CHEVRON MAXI DRESS

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this dress is delightful.  No doubt, it’s staying.

ROWSON COLORBLOCK STRIPED SWEATER

I absolutely love this sweater right out of the box.  But I’m not sure how much I like it on me.  No waist shaping, which I’m not really sure works on a garment of this length on me.  If I wear it with the sweater’s waistband resting above my hips, there’s too much fabric at the waist and it looks sloppy.  I don’t know guys, what do you think?  Am I being too critical or is this a case of “Girl, that’s not your sweater” as Tom and Lorenzo would say?

 

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JULIA UTILITY JACKET

This is pretty cute too, don’t you think?  And I though the same sweater above looked really cute with it.

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Note the critter, who *had* to be part of this whole production.

BATEMAN PRINTED MIXED MATERIAL TOP

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I also love this top.  I do not love how I bothered to style it, but it’s 10 PM right now as I write this and styling isn’t going to happen!  But how cute would this be under a blazer, or tucked into a pencil skirt?

I also received a pair of black pants, which are perfectly nice but about 4 inches too long.  However, if I keep everything else it only makes sense to keep them too, in which case I’ll have them hemmed at the tailor’s.

I also noticed that the house brand, 41Hawthorn, is now made in China instead of the US.  I’m not so keen on that.

As much as I love getting a box of clothes from Stitch Fix, the whole process of having to decide what stays and what goes is kind of stressful.  Plus, I don’t own a mirror other than in the bathroom (I really should rectify that this weekend, don’t you think?) means I have to rely on pictures that I take with a self timer or by my BF J. to determine how I look, which isn’t always helpful.  And, sometimes I worry that I am too self critical about how I look and I am not being objective.  Maybe this weekend, I can actually style these items that I’m on the fence about and that will help me.  But for now, I’d love to hear, what should I keep and what should go??

Elizabeth and Clarke Summer 2014 is up!

Stitch Fix #2 arrives Thursday, so I guess I have fashion on the brain.  Elizabeth and Clarke, which you’ll remember from my post last week on it, just released their Summer collection.

The Truman:

The Hart:

The Orton:

So?  What do we think?

I *love* the Orton.  I don’t have a black v-neck so I’ll get the Hart too.  The Truman…I am not sure.  I’m leaning towards yes.  I’m worried it won’t look as good on me as it does on the models.