Monday, February 28, 2011

Roasted Spices...Does it Make a Difference?

I noticed a new collection from McCormick, Roasted Spices.
I decided to give them a try and see if there was a difference from regular spices.

McCormick has taken the work out of roasting and grinding spices.  Roasting intensifies the aroma and flavor of spices.  Think depth.  Rather than a flat flavor, roasting gives layer of flavor to spices.  Any recipes calling for these spices will be enhanced by the roasted variety.
Roasted Ground Cumin
Cumin is a spice I use often, especially in southwestern cuisine.  I am now a big fan of the roasted cumin.  This spice smells amazing.  The aroma is intense and deep as is the taste.  Warm up the taste of chili, salsa, refried beans, with this flavorful spice.  Maybe sprinkle some on nachos.  

Roasted Ground Ginger
Place some of this roasted ginger on your tongue and you'll be met with a "tang", not unlike fresh ginger.  I can't wait to try this roasted spice in a cake.  By the way, McCormick has some great recipes on their website

Roasted Saigon Cinnamon
When I opened the bottle of roasted cinnamon I immediately thought of those "red hot" cinnamon candy hearts.  That is to say the aroma was intense, hot cinnamon and not the wimpy cinnamon usually encountered in a bottle.  The flavor is spicy with lots of depth.  I sprinkled it on yogurt and the taste was piquant and zippy!   Cinnamon is loaded with anti-oxidants...use it whenever you can.

There is also a Roasted Ground Coriander  that I did not sample.

Meatless Monday
This week I'll be serving French Onion soup, Caesar salad and breadsticks.

Friday, February 25, 2011

RePurpose Shopping

More snow here in Michigan today.  The only sign that spring may really happen is that we have more hours of daylight.  I can walk Sydney at 6 pm without a flashlight.  
Do you have anything fun planned for the weekend?

I going to check out the sale at RePurpose in Northville.  Have you ever seen the TV show, Cash & Cari?  RePurpose is Cari Cucksey's store.  Cari is a "treasure hunter" or professional estate liquidator.    
This weekend is the Winter Bazaar Sale at RePurpose.  I'm going to check it out and see if I can find any great deals or things I can't live without.  
I'd love to find a table like this to use as a bar cart in the dining room.
I'll let you know what I find.

Last night hubby dropped a full bottle of beer in the kitchen.  The bottle broke and spewed foaming beer all over the floor, cabinets and walls.  This happened just as I was about to serve dinner. We ate dinner and then attacked the mess.  I was actually contemplating just moving instead of cleaning but I got out my Shark Steam Mop.  No, this is not a paid info-mercial, but the Shark did make short work of the sticky mess.  I've been using the Shark for a month now on my hardwood floors to remove the footprints from salty, melted snow.  Check out the Shark here.
Have a great weekend.  See you on Monday.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sydney's Birthday

Sydney, our Leader Dog puppy in training is one year old today. 

Happy Birthday Sydney!
Sadly, (for me) a birthday for Sydney means that it is close to the time she returns to the Leader Dog campus for intensive training and to meet her visually impaired partner.  We wish Sydney much success but we sure will miss her. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cheesy Ideas

I'm always looking for a good snack after a workout.  These snacks feature cheese.

Here, low-fat ricotta is spread on a cracker and sweetened with a bit of honey.  Flavor topper ideas are slices of dried apricot and sliced almonds.  
More ricotta.  This time the base is quinoa, sweetened with a sauteed mixture of almonds, dried apricots, butter, cinnamon and maple syrup.  Low-fat ricotta tops the nutritious concoction.  See recipe here.

I just discovered these Mini Brie Bites from Trader Joe.   At only 70 calories, these little soft cheeses are a perfect snack.  Add some cracker and fruits and a glass of wine and you have a perfect post workout snack.  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Winter Nail Care

My hands, cuticles and nails take a real beating in the winter.  Dry, chapped, get the picture.
I decided to try a cuticle oil.Opi Avoplex Nail and Cuticle Replenishing Oil  I'm finding that my cuticles are getting softer and less ragged looking which encourages me to keep using the product.  

Last time I was at SEPHORA looking for a nail polish, I found this nail brightener. SEPHORA by OPI Nail Treatment - Brightener  This product does brighten the nail and will protect the nail from taking on color from dark polishes when used as a base coat.  PS. background of the photo is the scarf I am knitting.

What are your tricks for nail care in winter?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Musings: On Dining in Detroit, Color, Eyes, and Meatless Monday

It took a Groupon coupon to get me to try the Detroit restaurant, The Whitney.  Voted the "one of the most romantic restaurants in Detroit", The restaurant is housed in the  Whitney mansion on Woodward Avenue in Detroit.

The grand staircase.
The mansion was completed in 1894 for lumber baron David Whitney.  In 1986, the house was converted into a restaurant, remaining true to its original style.

Tiffany stained glass panels.  
The electrification of the house was done by Thomas Edison, a friend of Mr. Whitney.

I'd like to tell you it was a fantastic meal but truthfully, it was underwhelming.  The temperature of the food was only warm when served.  The flavors were bland and the menu rather boring.  Service was just "ok".  Disappointing. 

I followed my own advice and wore bright tights with a dark tweed skirt.

Do you see that little piece of plastic to the left of the dime?  That came out of my eye this morning!  Last Sunday when I put in a contact I felt something sharp in my eye.  I couldn't see a foreign body in the eye, but the inside of my lower lid became swollen and red.  I kept searching my eye all week for the irritant but it wasn't evident until today.  Wow, does my eye feel better now!  Duh! 

It is Monday and that means Meatless.  Tonight it will be Asparagus Risotto.  

 Risotto  This is my favorite risotto book and a good resource for Meatless Monday.

Happy Monday

Friday, February 18, 2011

Have a Color Full Weekend

The snow is disappearing here in Michigan but now everything is gray.  I can't wait for spring when a fashion trend will be hyper color.
Spring Awakening

In the meantime, I'll add a pop of color with tanks under a sweater,  bright tights with  skirt or a bold color scarf.

Have a color full weekend.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Quick and Crispy Cookies

Cookies are my favorite sweet treat.  I didn't have any cookies in the house today and pretzels were not satisfying my craving for sweets.  I checked out my new cookbook and found a quick recipe.

These cookies are called croquants, which is French for crunchy.  The recipe for croquants reads like a meringue with egg whites and sugar.  Unlike a meringue, these cookies also require flour, yielding a less delicate cookie.  

I found the croquants recipe in this book by Dorie Greenspan.

3 1/2 ounces nuts (about 1 cup)  almonds, hazelnuts (I used salted cashews)
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup flour plus 1 tablespoon, sifted

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Give the nuts a rough chop. Mix the nuts with sugar in a medium bowl.  Add the egg whites and stir until the nuts are evenly coated.  Add the flour and stir to blend.  The result is a thick dough-like batter.  Drop by the teaspoonful onto cookie sheets covered with parchment paper, leaving 2 inches between them.  Pat the dough into mounds.  Bake 8 minutes, rotating sheets midway through the baking time.  Remove from oven when puffed, crackled and golden.  Let cool on rack for 10 minutes and they easily will peel from parchment.  
Store in cool, dry container and the cookies will last about a week...if you don't eat them first.  

These cookies are popular with ice cream in France or with espresso.  

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

TARGET Celebrates Five Years of Go Internationalo

In the past five years, TARGET has featured a collection of designers in it's GO International program.  TARGET is celebrating the collaboration by bringing back 17 designers and 34 dresses from past collections.  These favored dresses are still as relevant today as they were when they were first offered.  The reissued fashions will be available in limited editions in  stores from March 13 through April 10, 2011.

Thakoon $39.99

Tara Jarmon $29.99

Luella Bartley $39.99

Tucker $39.99

Now I wish they'd bring back Isaac Mizrahi

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Some Favorite Things

A few things that make me smile and brighten my day.

 A bouquet of mini calla lilies in a deep burgundy color.

A new find at Target.  I love this light formula eye cream for moisture.  Great price too.

Perusing the Crate & Barrel site, I found these napkins under the "outlet" tab.

More shopping under the "outlet" heading and I found these mugs for $.95.  Love the way they work with the plates I already owned.  I guess I bought the last four, they are no longer available. 

What is making you smile this week?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Flavor of the Week: Chipotle Chiles in Adobo

Chipotle chiles in adobo are an excellent way to "heat" up food.  They deliver a hot and smokey flavor.

Chipotle chiles are smoked jalapenos.
This is a chipotle in adobo sauce.  Sauce is on the right.
Chipotle chiles in adobo are purchased as a canned food.  You won't use an entire can in a recipe, they are too strong a flavor.  Usually a recipe will call for amounts measured by teaspoon or tablespoons.  The remaining chiles can be stored in the refrigerator for a long time.  An easy way to use the chiles is to puree the whole can and store to be used by the teaspoon.
How to use Chiles in Adobo
  • add to barbecue sauce to spice it up
  • stir a few teaspoons into mayonnaise or sour cream to use as a dipping sauce
  • mix into yolks for deviled eggs
  • use in marinades
  • how about chipotle meatballs?
  • make a compound butter and slather on corn on the cob
  • incorporate into scrambled eggs
  • enliven a soup or stew with the taste of chipotle chiles
  • how about mixing a bit with coleslaw dressing

The ingredients for a compound butter, including rosemary, cilantro, oregano and crushed coriander seeds as well as a chopped chipotle chile.
The compound butter was spread under the skin of a chicken and the chicken was then roasted.  
Chipotle Roasted Chicken  based on recipe from Epicurious.

Make the compound butter.
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves 

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves 

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves 

  • 4 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo*

  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed in resealable plastic bag with mallet

  • Roasting chicken, approx. 5 - 6 lbs. Wash and pat dry

    Slide fingers under chicken skin to separate from the meat being careful not to tear the skin.
    Spread 1/2 of the butter under the skin on top of breast and legs.
    Salt and pepper cavity of chicken.  Place sprigs of oregano, cilantro and rosemary in the cavity.  
    Peel 1-2 large onions and cut into wedges.  Distribute onion wedges in roasting pan and place chicken on top of onions.
    Roast chicken for 2 hours at 425 degrees, basing often.
    * After 1 hour, add peeled potatoes, cut into 2 inch size pieces, to the roasting pan.  Toss the potatoes in the accumulated juices and roast the chicken and vegetables for the remaining 1 hour.  
    Remove chicken to cutting board and carve.  Serve potatoes and onions with chicken and juices.  
    This is a very flavorful meal.  Serve with a refreshing vegetable salad.
    Hubby grilled this salmon outside in 7 degree temps!  
    The marinade was maple syrup and chipotle chiles in adobo.  (served with roasted cauliflower and broccolini)
    A spicy entree calls for a refreshing salad.  
    Spinach, grapefruit, avocado, pistachios, and pomegranate.

    Make it a spicy weekend.
    I'll be in Minneapolis this weekend.  No snow forecasted.
    See you on Monday.

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Lace: Behind the Scenes

    Cold weather means layer of clothes, boots, and heavy fabrics.  I often feel less than feminine with bulky layers.  Lace is truly a girl "thing".  Adding a lace piece when dressing may help make you feel more girlie, even if you are the only one to know it is there.  
    Lace behind the scenes
    Bronze Lace Tee
    25 GBP -
    Lace tee »

    50 EUR -
    Lace leggings »

    118 LACE Tights
    30 EUR -
    Lace stockings »

    Coralie Lace-trim Cami
    $5.99 -

    Silver Flower Lace Ring
    44 EUR -
    Flower rings »

    Gap Lace-trim tank
    $13 -


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