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Archive for August, 2011

You’ve probably seen the ads in all the fall magazines and heard the buzz … Target has partnered with Missoni.  They debut the line on September 13th at all Target Stores.

You’ve got to love Tar – jay!!!  Apparently, it’s the largest collaboration Target has done with a designer … some 400 products in all!  And clearly a 60s vibe.

Will you be waiting in line for the stores to open on the 13th?  I will definitely make a store visit on the 13th.

In previewing the Look Books, here’s what I’m most interested in seeing…

These pumps look pretty darn cute!  We’ll see how they are constructed in person.

This black outfit is pretty nice – especially the black cardigan.

I love the scarves … great for tying on to a handbag or tote.  And what cute makeup bags.  They even have makeup brushes to match!

I’m probably most excited about the cute laptop sleeve!  And, can’t you just imagine drinking espresso in the cute cups?

See you at Target …

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Loving Leopard …

Animal prints have come in and out of vogue through the years.  Of all the animal print options out there, traditional leopard has always been my favorite.  What about you?

While I love the subtle addition of a leopard belt, scarf or pumps to an outfit, I have seen some amazing leopard print coats, dresses and sweaters through the years.

With the magazines and catalogs focused on fall, it’s been fun seeing what’s available in leopard.  Here are some of my favorites … most from JCrew (another favorite of mine):

The Leopard Print Shirt  (JCrew) 

Wouldn’t the shirt be great with bright orange or red?

The Edie Purse or Marlow Handbag in Italian Calf Hair (both JCrew)


I’d take either of these in a blink.  Just a bit too pricey to have as a handbag for that occasional leopard accent.

I do also love the Invitation Clutch (also JCrew) that will be available in September.  So cute!

What do you think of this leopard skin for the Macbook Air?  I just got the new Air (a work tool – and birthday gift from my hubby).  I think I’m going to go for the leopard skin!

As seen from this collage on Pinterest, leopard prints also make their way into home decor.

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We celebrated Nick’s birthday a few weeks ago.  For his birthday dinner, he requested pork chops.

Now, I can take or leave pork chops.  They have never been a big favorite of mine, but my family loves them.   And even though I have some great recipes for grilled pork chops, I decided to try a new recipe from my 2011 Cooks Illustrated Summer Grilling magazine.

Wow!  I may have changed my mind about pork chops!   This is definitely a keeper!!!

 

Grill-Smoked Pork Chops

Serves 4

Sauce

1/2 cup Ketchup

1/4 cup light or mild Molasses

2 Tbs. grated Onion

2 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce

2 Tbs. Dijon Mustard

2 Tbs. Cider Vinegar

1 Tbs. Brown Sugar

Chops

Disposable 13 x 9-inch aluminum cake pan

2 cups Wood Chips, soaked in water for 30 minutes

4  Bone-in rib Loin Pork Chops (12 oz. each), 1 1/2 inches thick ** See Note

4 tsp. Kosher Salk

2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper

Vegetable Oil for cooking grate

Directions:

1.  Place soaked wood chips in shallow disposable aluminum cake pan/pie plate and place on primary burner, repositioning grate(s).   Turn all burners to high, close lid and heat the grill until hot and chips are smoking (about 15 minutes).

2.   Make the sauce by combining all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and is reduced to about 1 cup (5-7 minutes).  Transfer 1/2 cup sauce to small bowl (for serving) and set aside.

3.  Pat chops dry with paper towels.  Using a sharp knife, cut 2 slits about 1 inch apart through the outer layer of fat and connective tissue to prevent buckling.  Sprinkle entire surface of each chop with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon of table salt) and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Place chops side by side, facing the same direction, on cutting board (with the curbed rib bone facing down).  Pass 2 skewers through the loin muscle of each chop, close to the bone, about 1 inch from each end (see Step 2, illustration below).  Once chops have been threaded onto skewers, pull apart to create 1-inch space between each.

 

 

4.  Scrape grill grate clean.  Lightly dip wad of paper towels in vegetable oil.  Holding wad with tongs, wipe cooking grate.  Place skewered chops bone side down, in center of grill on cooking grate over the aluminum pan (see illustration 3 above).  Cover grill and cook until thermometer inserted into center of pork chop (but away from bone) registers 120 degrees (28 – 32 minutes).

5.  Remove skewers from chops.  Tip chops onto flat side and brush surface with 1 tablespoon of sauce (illustration 4).  Transfer chops, sauce side down to hotter parts of grill (2 on each side) and cook, uncovered until browned (2 – 4 minutes).  Brush top of each chop with 1 tablespoons of sauce.  Flip and continue to cook on second side until browned and thermometer reads 140 to 145 degrees (about 2 – 4 minutes longer).

6.  Remove chops from the grill and allow to rest, tented with foil for about 5 minutes.  Serve with reserved sauce.

NOTE:

Buy chops of the same thickness so they will cook uniformly.  Natural pork is preferred.  If you buy enhanced pork (with injection of water, salt and sodium phosphate solution), don’t sprinkle chops with salt in step 3.

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Why is it that when you don’t really NEED anything and you really SHOULDN’T be shopping (both kids just got braces and our Am Ex bill just arrived in the mail — with our vacation expenses) — that you find AMAZING things that you really want???

I’ve been looking for an orange handbag since April.  And I’ve also been wanting a pair of leopard print pumps.  Do I need either?  No.  Would I like them?  YES!!!

So what do I find when I dash into TJMaxx this afternoon?

The orange handbag of MY DREAMS!!!  I found a Furla Ostrich embossed leather Greta Tote.  It originally retailed for $540.  You can currently find it on Bluefly in different colors for $358.  And I got it for a DEAL at $179!!!   Oh, how I hope my husband isn’t reading this post!  🙂

As I walked around the store, do you know how many compliments I got on the handbag?  TONS!

I’ve always loved the Hermes Birkin bags.  This is probably as close as I’ll come to ever having something similar.

And, I do love Furla handbags.  I have a few vintage Furla bags from my European traveling days as a single gal.  They are well constructed and have many classic, traditional styles.

Then I browsed through the Shoe department.  I can honestly say I rarely find shoes I like at TJMaxx.  But what did I find?  A cute pair of MaxStudio leopard calf print pumps.  Only $49 and they are actually pretty comfortable.

And, I found an adorable pair of Paolo pointed-toe plum suede pumps for $39!  I love pointed toe heels!  I have several Paolo brand shoes (from Nordstrom’s) that I really like and are quite comfortable.  In fact, I was wearing a pair of Paolo sandals today.  Can’t wait to wear these plum heels!

I haven’t purchased shoes (with the exception of tennis shoes or flats) in a year and a half.  I had knee surgery and have been relegated to flats.  So … I’m quite excited to have a couple of pair of fun heels to wear this fall!

I did purchase one thing that I really did need …


I found this laptop sleeve for $14.99.  While it’s not the cutest … it is certainly one of the least expensive I have seen.  And it looks very well made.

How pathetic is this???  Last weekend I used a manilla folder to protect my Macbook  Air — so I could slip it into my handbag and take it with me to the BlogHer Conference in San Diego — instead of taking my briefcase or a backpack.  The things we women do for vanity sake!

I was quite embarrassed each time I took my laptop out of my handbag.  (I attended BlogHer for my Gangaroo business … what a GREAT conference for women bloggers!)  Next year the conference is in NYC!

Anyway … I got some great deals today at TJMaxx!  Good luck to you on your next shopping adventure!


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I LOVE Chips & Salsa!  I’d have to say it’s my favorite snack food / appetizer.  But let me qualify … the tortilla chips need to be light and crunchy with just the right amount of salt.  And the salsa, a spicy, chunky version (preferably with chunks of green onion, tomato & cilantro) — NEVER from a jar – Ugh!   Add a margarita — and we have a perfect day!

But, there is a new Corn Salsa from Trader Joe’s (from a jar) that is amazing!  Pair it with TJ’s new Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips — and WOW!  Our local TJ’s chef told me about them last week.  TJ’s has them displayed together on an endcap at our local store.

The Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips are great with my Chipotle-Syrup Goat Cheese Appetizer (click here to view the recipe).  It’s a great combo, as the chips are heavier than most and add a great foundation for the creamy goat cheese and sweet & spicy syrup.  Yum!

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As you know, my all-time favorite cooking magazine is Cooks Illustrated.  So last week, when I wanted to make grilled Mexican corn, Cook’s was the first place I turned.

It was easy and delicious!   And the great thing about this recipe … you can make the crema mixture in advance!

Mexican-Style Grilled Corn

Serves 6

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Mayonnaise (I used light)

3 Tbs. Sour Cream (I also used light)

3 Tbs. minced fresh Cilantro Leaves

1 large Garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press

3/4 tsp. chili Powder

1/4 tsp. ground Black Pepper

1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper (optional)

4 tsp. Lime Juice

1 ounce Pecorino Romano cheese (grated, about 1/2 cup) OR use canuse Queso Fresco or Cotija cheese

4 tsp. Vegetable Oil plus extra for cooking grate

6 large ears corn, husks and silk removed

Directions:

1.  Turn all grill burners to high and heat grill with lid down until very hot (~15 minutes).

2.  While grill is heating (or you can prepare in advance), combine mayo, sour cream, cilantro, garlic, 1/4 tsp. Chili Powder, pepper, cayenne (if using), lime juice and cheese in a large bowl.  (Bowl should be large enough for you to roll the grilled corn in the bowl with crema mixture to coat.)

3.  In a second large bowl, or large shallow bowl, combine oil, salt and remaining chili powder.  Add corn and toss until coated evenly.  (You may want to use your hands to rub the oil and chili powder evenly over corn.)

3.  Using a clean grill, dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil.  Holding wad with tongs, wipe cooking grate.  Grill corn, turning occasionally, until lightly charred on all sides (about 7 to 12 minutes).

4.  Place hot grilled corn in bowl with crema mixture.  Toss to coat evenly.  Serve immediately.

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Here’s a refreshing lime drink for summer that’s so easy to make!  My sister made these on vacation in Durango.  While they actually have a name, it’s not one that I would print on my blog.  🙂  So … any name ideas for this great summer drink?

Directions

1 large can Limeade, thawed

1 can Vodka (using the Limeade can)

3 cans (or bottles) of Light Beer

Stir together and serve over ice cubes.  Garnish with lime slices, if desired.

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