A few of my favorite things — of late

I thought I’d post a few very random things that I’ve been enjoying this past month. ¬†Why? Well just for the fun of it, I guess ūüôā

FOOD ITEMS:

Have you tried this Chobani Greek Yogurt with oats? ¬†It is SO good!! ¬†I particularly love the apples and cinnamon flavor, which I believe is “limited edition” and won’t be around forever. ¬†Oh well, I’ve tried other flavors too, and they’re all good.

  chobani

 

Then there’s this yummy Pumpkin Spice Chai tea latte mix from Trader Joe’s. We went to Trader Joe’s a couple weeks ago and they were having “Pumpkin Palooza”! ¬†There were so many pumpkin-flavored items that I was overwhelmed, trying to decide on one item to try. ¬†Hubby is NOT a big pumpkin fan (for some reason, the love of all-things-pumpkin in autumn seems to be reserved for native-born Americans, not transplants from England!) so I knew I wouldn’t be indulging in a lot of the pumpkin products. ¬†There were pumpkin waffles, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin cheescake, pumpkin bagels, and on and on and on. ¬†So anyway, I grabbed the chai latte mix. ¬†It’s really yummy! ¬†One caveat: This drink mix really needs some milk or cream mixed into it. ¬†They say “just mix with hot water” but the addition of a creamer makes it SO much better. ¬†I’ve even stirred some of the mix into my morning cup of coffee, and oh my, that’s delicious too!

pumpkinchai

SCENTS FOR THE HOME:

One of the lovely things about autumn is the cooler, definitely crisp weather that encourages a more “cozy” atmosphere inside the home. ¬†I so enjoy burning candles this time of year – they just add to the homey, cozy ambiance inside my little home in the forest. ¬†My favorite candles come from Bath and Body Works. ¬†They actually smell just like whatever the label says – and this one smelled good enough to eat!

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Seriously, this smelled like a warm caramel apple, just waiting for me to take the first bite out of it!!

I also got a room spray from Bath and Body works, which again smells good enough to eat —-

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Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin.  Perfect Fall Scent.

On to another random favorite – Rachel Ray’s natural cat food, “Nutrish”.

nutrish

Our cat, Jinx, loves this stuff. ¬†That is actually saying a LOT because Jinx has been a terribly persnickety eater for a couple years now. ¬†He has turned his nose up at all dry cat food, until our neighbors brought a sample of this over for him to try. ¬†He is now on bag number two and still loving it. ¬†He also likes the Nutrish wet food, which is quite pricey (99 cents per small container) so we have to ration those out a bit. ¬†Of course he still eats his Fancy Feast, but I’m just so happy he’s regained an interest in dry cat food. ¬†Maybe he’ll put a little meat on his skinny frame.

TV SHOW: ¬†¬†I’m not a huge fan of regular TV. ¬†I watch a few shows on the network channels, but not many these days. I watch a few shows on cable too, but again, not many. ¬†Heck, I guess I don’t watch much in the way of TV. ¬†On second thought, that’s not exactly true. ¬†We do watch the news quite regularly and then there’s the sports. ¬†Between my Seattle Seahawks football, Seattle Sounders soccer, and all of John’s favorite sports like English Premier League soccer (“football” over¬†there) and Formula One racing, we do have the TV on quite a lot. ¬†Too much, probably. ¬†One show I really enjoy watching is “Nineteen Kids and Counting“. ¬†Hubby will NOT watch this program, so I have to DVR it and watch it when he’s not around. ¬†That’s fine. ¬†We don’t have to like¬†everything with the same passion.

19 kids

Recently, they have been showing the courtship, engagement, and just last night, the wedding of one of the girls, Jill. ¬†I could write a LOT about the program – the pros and the cons – but I’ll try and keep this short. ¬†I’ve always liked the Christian values portrayed on the program. ¬†I can’t imagine having 7 or 8 kids, let alone 19. ¬†Their “courtship” rules fascinate me {You can’t hold hands till you’re engaged; you can’t kiss until you are married}. ¬†None of the kids have strayed at all from the values instilled in them by their parents [so far]. ¬†These are just things that keep me watching and keep me intrigued in their show. ¬†Seriously, I could write a whole blog post on my thoughts on this show. ¬†Mostly, I like it.

RECIPE:

I love to cook (and eat) – I think everybody knows that by now. ¬†I also love to save a buck when I can, and I found a recipe recently that is SO good and so reasonably priced, that I’ve made it twice so far this month. ¬†The recipe is for¬†Balsamic Steak¬†using a very reasonably priced cut of steak called “flat iron”. ¬†I bought a chunk of flat iron steak for $12 and will get two meals out of it. ¬†That works out at about $3 per serving! ¬†For a delicious¬†steak, that’s just unheard of!! Click¬†Here¬†for a link to the recipe. ¬†Note, you do NOT have to make the zucchini along with it! ¬†It’s the steak with the balsamic glaze that is so darn good!! ¬†The recipe calls for “skirt steak” but I used the Flat Iron and we both enjoyed it thoroughly. And simple? Honestly, Jinx the cat could prepare this! ūüôā

steak

WEBSITE:

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Yes, I shop online. ¬†When my hip was SO bad, I did most of my shopping (other than groceries) online. ¬†My favorite website lately is Ebates. This company pays YOU a percentage back of things you purchase online. ¬†It sounds too good to be true, but it’s not! ¬†I’ve received real, honest, old-fashioned paper¬†checks¬†in the mail from this company – rebates from my purchases. ¬†The percentage of return varies from store to store, and yes, there are some stores that aren’t connected with Ebates…. but truly, most online stores I go to – from Amazon to Ebay to Bath & Body Works, to Old Navy, to Target – all get you a percentage back. ¬†Anyway, if you are interested in signing up, it would be great if you used my referral link: ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=U5stD54WdGVjOXp61HcfWg%3D%3D&eeid=26471

LOOKING FORWARD TO:

wine-tasting-party

Next month we are hosting a wine tasting party!! ¬†I’m so excited to get friends and neighbors over for a blind wine tasting, with everyone bringing a bottle. ¬†Of course every bottle will be in one of those brown paper wine bags, so we won’t know what we are trying. ¬†We’ll rate each wine with our “scoring sheet” and the person or persons bringing the best scoring bottle will win the “Grand Prize”!! ¬†Ha! ¬†Oh heck, there will be a prize, but how “grand” it is may be up for debate. ¬†ūüôā ¬†More about the party – possibly with some pics – on another post.

Hope you’ve enjoyed perusing a few of my favorite things!!

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A long post with pics!

It seems like I’ve had pretty much nothing to blog about in weeks!¬† Who wants to hear about my everyday… day-to-day life?¬† I have to wait till something at least semi-remarkable happens to blog.¬† Maybe that’s silly.¬† Maybe I really should blog about the humdrum, the run of the mill, but I don’t.¬† I mean, who wants to know about my latest trip to the grocery store or the outlet mall or the dentist (I did all three today!)?¬† Who wants to hear about the insanely dreary weather we have trudged through since last November?¬†¬† I decided with all the devastating weather that has happened in recent days in the midwest, that I’d just SHUT UP about the fact that we’ve had rain all but about 10 days since last N0v.¬† That I’d keep mum about the “S.A.D.” (seasonal affective disorder) that ALL of Western Washington is struggling through these days.¬† About how downright insane people from these parts get when we actually have two days of sunshine in a row!¬†¬† Who would be interested to learn that we’ve been watching hockey, hockey, Stanley Cup Hockey, (GO CANUCKS!) and soccer, soccer, soccer of late?¬† Maybe it’s just plain wrong for me to use “we” in that last sentence.¬† Instead of all that mundane stuff, I’ll share our latest news.

The Chevy Blazer

Last week we said a final goodbye to our 2001 Chevy Blazer.¬† It was a great car for us for several years and certainly served it’s purpose of keeping me safe in the snow and heavy rain on my way to work in the winter.¬† But all good things must come to an end.¬† With all of our vehicles rapidly approaching or reaching the 100,000 mile mark, we needed something with a bit of life left in it.¬† It also needed to be 4WD and able to navigate the steep hills of our neighborhood in the snow.¬† This new vehicle also needed to be reliable and priced fairly reasonably as well as good on gas.¬† Hmmmm….. what did we find that would fit all these stiff requirements?¬†¬† Meet our newest addition to the family:

Here it is, on a rare sunny day, our new 2011 Honda CRV.¬† This car does it all.¬† You just have to speak to it!¬† “A/C on”¬† “Fan speed three” “Call John’s cell” “Nearest McDonalds” etc etc etc.¬† It has a back-up camera (ahem. how have I been successfully backing up without it all these years?!) a navigation system … AND….

What’s this????¬† Oh.¬† Of course.¬† No car is complete without it!¬† A Wolverhampton Wanderers (English Premiership Soccer) decal.¬† Funny thing… here in the USA we call it a “de-cal”.¬† Hubby’s got me calling it a “deckle” – the English pronunciation¬† for a sticker you put on your car.

Buying a car is always an experience that I’d sooner forget….. yet this time it wasn’t too bad.¬† Hubby told “the manager” that he’d pay XXX for the car and after a few minutes “the manager” knew hubby meant business, and came through with the right $$.¬†¬† ONLY FIVE HOURS later we walked out of the dealership as “Happy Honda owners”.¬† This is hubby’s first Honda and my second.¬† Son #2 surely remembers Honda #1.¬† He was the last person to drive it in 1995 when it was totaled on a snowy road.¬† Son #2 was just 16 at the time.¬† Honda #1 was a great car.¬† Hopefully Honda #2 will be as well.¬† No teenagers, repeat no teenagers will be driving Honda #2.

On to another subject: New Years Resolutions.¬†¬† You may remember that early this year I decided I’d do my best to “go through every drawer, every closet, every dusty box in the garage” and DE-CLUTTER my home.¬† Well, my progress toward that goal is far from complete, but I have definitely made a dent into decluttering.¬† So far we’ve taken one SUV-load of stuff to the Goodwill.¬† This week I’ve gathered another huge black garbage bag full of stuff and more to come.¬† A lot of the stuff is clothes.¬† I’m happy to report that although it was NOT one of my New Years Resolutions, I’ve been able to rid my body of one and one half STONE of F.A.T.¬† Actually a teeny bit more than 1.5 stone.¬† Twenty-two pounds to be exact.¬† YAY!¬† I’ve looked at my clothes with new eyes and discovered a lot of stuff that I didn’t want to keep.¬† I (very briefly) considered a garage sale for some of our castoffs.¬† Then I remembered a promise I made to myself the last time we had a garage sale.¬† NO MORE GARAGE SALES.¬† I absolutely love to go to them, but putting them on is a different monster altogether.¬† No, I’ll donate the clothes and misc and I’ll be ever so happy about it.¬† On the subject of F.A.T…. I’d like to lose another 10 pounds and then I’ll be fairly content.¬† Not that I think that will happen right away.¬† It took 5 months for the first 22 to come off.¬† People have asked me the obvious question: Has losing weight helped the pain in your hip?¬† The answer: NO.¬† I’m sure it cant hurt to have less F.A.T. pressing down on my hip, but to be perfectly honest, the darn hip still hurts just as bad.¬† It is seriously messed up and I think it would kill me even if I were emaciated!!!¬†¬† Which brings me to another subject…. FOOD!!

Here are a couple of my favorites….

Trader Joe’s Organic whole wheat pasta …. and a steal of a deal found this week also at TJ’s – “Green Fin” Organic white wine for a whopping $3.99!! Now I don’t normally seek out organic wine, but this stuff is SOOOO good! And the price is certainly right!¬† If you like white wine for summertime and have a Trader Joe’s nearby, DO TRY this Green Fin stuff.¬† It’s great!!!

So, I made a super yummy dinner the other night.¬† I used the organic whole-wheat pasta with leeks, peas, prosciutto, marinated artichoke hearts, and parmesan.¬† Here are a couple of pics of the process and the plated results.¬† I used a Martha Stewart “Everyday Food” recipe for inspiration.¬† I also made an easy favorite… slow-roasted plum tomatoes.¬† We love tomatoes and these that are topped with a few bread crumbs and some grated parmesan are “to die for” delicious.

I LOVE using parchment paper when I bake these tomatoes!

So there you have it in a nutshell.¬† My life for the past few weeks.¬† Here’s hoping it won’t be another month before I have more to blog about!