Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Exotic Chocolate

I saw this on dooce today and was intrigued.

I can't even begin to imagine what most of these candy bars would taste like, but I would love to try them!


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Find these at

Mo's Milk Chocolate Bacon Bar

Applewood smoked bacon + Alder wood smoked salt + deep milk chocolate

Mo's Dark Chocolate Bacon BarApplewood smoked bacon + Alder wood smoked salt + 62% dark chocolate

Barcelona Exotic Candy Bar
hickory smoked almonds + Fleur de Sel grey sea salt + deep milk chocolate

Black Pearl Exotic Candy Bar
ginger + wasabi + black sesame seeds + dark chocolate

Calindia Exotic Candy Bar
cardamom + organic walnuts + dried plums + Venezuelan dark chocolate

Creole Exotic Candy Bar
New Orleans chicory coffee + cocoa nibs + Sao Thome bittersweet chocolate

Gianduja Exotic Candy Bar
almonds + caramelized hazelnut paste + deep milk chocolate

Goji Exotic Candy Bar
Tibetan goji berries + pink Himalayan salt + deep milk chocolate

Matcha Exotic Candy Bar
Japanese matcha green tea + deep milk chocolate

Naga Exotic Candy Bar
sweet Indian curry + coconut + deep milk chocolate

Oaxaca Exotic Candy Bar
Oaxacan guajillo & pasilla chillies + Tanzanian bittersweet chocolate

Red Fire Exotic Candy Bar
Mexican ancho & chipotle chillies + Ceylon cinnamon + dark chocolate

Woolloomooloo Exotic Candy Bar
Roasted & salted macadamia nuts + Indonesian coconut

Organic Enchanted Mushroom Candy Bar
Organic dark chocolate + mushrooms

Organic Habana Candy Bar
Organic deep milk chocolate + crunchy plantains

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cheap Wine, Mac & Cheese? Yes, Please

I saw this on a blog today.

"Unusually good wine paring:

Kraft Mac & Cheese and Columbia Crest Two Vines Merlot.

Just FYI."

The wine is about $6 bucks. That, my friends, is a recession friendly meal.

You are welcome.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Martha's Thanksgiving

I listen to satellite radio while I'm at work on my iphone - usually CNN or Martha Stewart.

This year, Martha is going to have a Thanksgiving hotline...and they've put a free Thanksgiving PDF cookbook on the website.

You can download it here It looks like it has some interesting recipes. Go check it out!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Flaws in Beef Inspection

I read this article in the NY Times a month ago and it made me think about all of the ground beef in my diet. Here are some excerpts from the article:

"Ground beef is usually not simply a chunk of meat run through a grinder. Instead, records and interviews show, a single portion of hamburger meat is often an amalgam of various grades of meat from different parts of cows and even from different slaughterhouses. These cuts of meat are particularly vulnerable to E. coli contamination, food experts and officials say. Despite this, there is no federal requirement for grinders to test their ingredients for the pathogen...

Confidential grinding logs and other Cargill records show that the hamburgers were made from a mix of slaughterhouse trimmings and a mash-like product derived from scraps that were ground together at a plant in Wisconsin. The ingredients came from slaughterhouses in Nebraska, Texas and Uruguay, and from a South Dakota company that processes fatty trimmings and treats them with ammonia to kill bacteria.

Using a combination of sources — a practice followed by most large producers of fresh and packaged hamburger — allowed Cargill to spend about 25 percent less than it would have for cuts of whole meat.

Those low-grade ingredients are cut from areas of the cow that are more likely to have had contact with feces, which carries E. coli, industry research shows. Yet Cargill, like most meat companies, relies on its suppliers to check for the bacteria and does its own testing only after the ingredients are ground together. The United States Department of Agriculture, which allows grinders to devise their own safety plans, has encouraged them to test ingredients first as a way of increasing the chance of finding contamination...

As with other slaughterhouses, the potential for contamination is present every step of the way, according to workers and federal inspectors. The cattle often arrive with smears of feedlot feces that harbor the E. coli pathogen, and the hide must be removed carefully to keep it off the meat. This is especially critical for trimmings sliced from the outer surface of the carcass. Federal inspectors based at the plant are supposed to monitor the hide removal, but much can go wrong. Workers slicing away the hide can inadvertently spread feces to the meat, and large clamps that hold the hide during processing sometimes slip and smear the meat with feces, the workers and inspectors say.

Ground beef sold by most grocers is made from a blend of ingredients, industry officials said. Agriculture Department regulations also allow hamburger meat labeled ground chuck or sirloin to contain trimmings from those parts of the cow. At a chain like Publix Super Markets, customers who want hamburger made from whole cuts of meat have to buy a steak and have it specially ground, said a Publix spokeswoman, Maria Brous, or buy a product like Bubba Burgers, which boasts on its labeling, “100% whole muscle means no trimmings...

The department moved to require some bacterial testing of ground beef, but the industry argued that the cost would unfairly burden small producers, industry officials said. The Agriculture Department opted to carry out its own tests for E. coli, but it acknowledges that its 15,000 spot checks a year at thousands of meat plants and groceries nationwide is not meant to be comprehensive. Many slaughterhouses and processors have voluntarily adopted testing regimes, yet they vary greatly in scope from plant to plant."

Articles like this make you really think about where your food comes from. And, it makes me want one of these...right now!

You can find this spiffy meat grinder attachment at Williams-Sonoma.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

We're Still Here...and Whoopie Pies

Sorry for the LOOONG absence - no good reason except that I can't blog from work.

We're still on the job hunt - anybody know of any good jobs...they can be anywhere, we aren't picky!

I've bookmarked a few things to blog about and I might include some Christmas wishes also. I'll try to get those up soon.

But for today, a delicious fall recipe - Pumpkin Whoopie Pies. These were VERY good, and didn't require me to go to the store for any ingredients. Martha says they make 12 - that is not true. This made about 30 for me - and Mark has eaten almost all of them. They are that good.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream-Cheese Filling
Adapted from
Martha Stewart

For The Cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cloves
2 cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Cream Cheese Filling
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Make the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well combined. Add pumpkin puree and whisk until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Sprinkle flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.
Using a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Transfer to oven and bake until cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cookie comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on pan.

Make the filling: Sift confectioner' sugar into a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until well combined. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla, beat just until smooth. (Filling can be made up to a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate; let stand at room temperature to soften before using.)
Assemble the whoopie pies: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Transfer filling to a disposable pastry bag and snip the end. When cookies have cooled completely, pipe a large dollop of filling on the flat side of half of the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edge of the cookies. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap.
Refrigerate cookies at least 30 minutes before serving and up to 3 days.

I hope everyone is having a great November!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Wild Olive Tees

I stumbled upon this shirt yesterday, and I think it would be perfect for some people, including me!

The front says "Such Things" and the back says "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things."

Find this tee and many others like it here.

ps - Yes, of course I read MckMama

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Just because...

Mark called me at work yesterday and told me to come outside. Look what he brought me - "just because flowers!" Aren't they beautiful (they're from favorite!)

Thanks Mark! I love them...and you!!!

Our First Apartment

I promised a tour of our apartment...and I am about to deliver. I was motivated to do a "deep clean" this weekend, so I went ahead and took pictures while things are mostly put up. (and if you follow me on twitter, you know that there was a certain cleaning item that was a major incentive to clean!)

Here is our bedroom:

Down the hallway to the den:

The kitchen table & office/junk room:

And the rest:

I hope you enjoyed the little tour (and it was as much for me to remember also, we'll only be here for less than 3 more months...crazy!)

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I heard a tip this week and decided to try it out. I added a splash of vinegar to my white sheets and kitchen towels in the washing machine. I swear they came out whiter and brighter. Try it for yourself - a green tip that doesn't cost any money!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Goat Milk Soap

Oh my gosh - I LOVE my goat milk soap that I ordered. Megan and I joke that we're green when the stuff is cute...but this soap is AMAZING! It is so moisturizing and it smells good. I had a couple of dry spots that I couldn't get to go away - even with Cetaphil lotion - but this soap did it the very first time. If you have dry skin or sensative skin - or want a soap that doesn't have chemicals and drying agents - this is the soap for you!

Also - you can order it as a loofah - I highly recommend the Pink Grapefruit loofah!

Find goat milk soap at

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Guyot Designs

Ok, I admit...Mark and I are both suckers for fun outdoor gear - we probably contribute a lot to keeping Bear Mountain here in Waco in business.

I saw these the other day on Hostess with the Mostess and thought some of the products they have are really neat...

Need a lantern? How about your water bottle...

How about a built in water filter for your water bottle(especially necessary for Waco water...and Kanakuk water)...

and because I can't resist - bowls and cups that you can squish up in your pocket...

You can find all of these here.

If you're lucky, I'll remember to fill you in on more of my blog finds like this...maybe.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It's been a month...

Well, it's been a month so I guess it's time for another blog post! Mark graduated from law school this month!

I've been working on getting him to do a post - but that hasn't worked out very well so far!! [I promise I would post more if I could from work...sorry to all of you who don't have Google Reader and actually check the blog!]

I don't have great pictures from graduation - I was counting on the professionals to take the really good pics - but it was a fun time! Mark was decked out in doctoral regalia - complete with purple velvet stripes (indicative of the school of law), a funny hat (not a mortar board - he's too advanced for that!), and he was hooded with a hood of purple, green, and gold. He looked very distinguished in the highest level of regalia! I promise I'll post pictures soon!

We also enjoyed a "mini-vacation," as I like to call it, last weekend at the Reitmeier's while they were visiting Lindsay in South Carolina. We took Rocky out to McGregor, I laid out by the pool all weekend and got a nice tan, Mark took full advantage of the media room, we grilled by the pool, and a good time was had by all. You can bet that we'll be back at our free vacation home (only 15 min away!) Memorial Day weekend while they are at Nick's sister's wedding.

In other new news - I LOVE the market tote that Lindsay got Edith for Mother's day. Apparently they are all the rage in the south (but you have to monogram yours, of course!)...and actually they are from the same company of the reusable bag I got in my stocking. Look how cute this is...I can already think of a million uses for it! Lindsay - what a cute idea! Find it here.

And you all know I love recipes - here is a great one for margaritas on the rocks:

1 can frozen limeade
2 cans of water
1 can tequila
1/2 triple sec

Mix and pour into glasses with ice. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Spring Activities

It looks like I'm a good once-a-month blogger! I've had a few posts that I keep meaning to put up, but with blogger blocked at work, it's a little bit harder to get motivated to look at a computer after I've mindlessly stared at one for 8 hours (and we all know what Mark's posts are like!)

A couple of weeks ago Mark and I went to the Hillcrest Hospital Gala to mark the opening of the new hospital building. We ended up getting there a little earlier than most people and were able to tour the hospital on our own. The new building is amazing - with talking hospital beds, state of the art lights in the ORs that change colors, and tons of other neat new features. We had a great time getting dressed up and having run of the building. Not to mention that we got to hear the great speaches by the important people - like Mark's dad!

I've looked for pictures of the new hospital, but can't find any right now. I promise I'll post some when I find them - it really is very impressive (and I know most people could care less about what facilities a new hospital has...what can I say, I'm a dork).

In other news, I had part of my toenail removed last Friday. All in all it was uneventful, and the spot we were worried about turned out to be no big deal. I'm still clear on the melanoma front here! My toe looks a little funny, but it doesn't hurt anymore - and might be back to normal in a year...

We've also been to many of the Baylor Baseball games - we're in 2nd in conference right now and the team is fun to watch. Friday was military appreciation night, complete with camo hats and veterans throwing out the first pitch. Of course Edith did a great job organizing her veterans (she's in the perfect Baylor yellow pants and green sweater).

Finally, we had a great Easter in Dallas. Mark and I went to the King Tut exhibit at the DMA yesterday - which was a lot of fun. We really emjoyed our cultural outing. We also stopped by the Flying Saucer in Addison. Lindsay and Nick first introduced us to the bar in South Carolina and we thought it would be fun to return last night. I had my first Snakebite (apparently famous from Baylor in Great Britain) and Mark had some really dark beers (yuck!).

We enjoyed church at Park Cities this morning...and then Easter Brunch on the indoor tennis courts at Royal Oaks - yum!

I'm already planning my next post - a tour of our first apartment - so hopefully I'll be back before the middle of May!

Happy Spring to everyone!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Mark's last Spring Break was last week - so we went to Montana!! We had a great time - mainly lounging on the couch and looking out at the snow on the mountains and the frozen river...

But we did spend 2 days we are in our ski get-ups:

If you look closely in this picture you can see Mark snowboarding:

We also had great homemade meals almost every night thanks to Mom's great frozen meals waiting for us. Thanks for cooking, Mom!

One afternoon we made it over to the Great Northern Brewery - Mark tried a few of the beers on tap and I had a Huckleberry Beer. It was a fun afternoon, something we'll definitely have to do again in August.

And we tried a few local restaurants, Mackenzie River Pizza and Wasabi - the sushi restaurant. Both we wonderful...and we will be returning!

Best line of the week: "If we're not back in the morning, we're stuck in Canada" - Michael.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Fun Website

I ran across this website today - I know it's basically an ad for fritos...but I played around on it for 30 minutes! Go take a look!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Nutella Ravioli & Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last night we made some nutella ravioli to complete movie night (we downloaded Body of Lies on our was good, not great).

They weren't hard to make and tasted great. Giada's recipe is here.

And in case you can't find wonton wrappers - they're in the Asian section of the refrigerated produce...who knew such a section existed. The Wooded Acres HEB surprises me sometimes - but I'm still holding out for a Central Market!

Here are some pictures:

And tonight I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies - I was trying to use up some pantry stuff. They turned out great. The recipe is here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Tribute to A True Red Devil

The one, the only, the incomparable Wayne Rooney...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Time Well Spent...

The blind love affair the media (FOX News excluded) has with Barack Obama is overt, obvious, and irrefutable. To give credit where credit is due, the media makes no attempt to hide their unabashed love and admiration. Throughout the campaign, and these first several weeks of his presidency, Obama has come to expect blind, no questions asked loyalty from the media. The media, for the most part, has acted in conformity with Obama's expectations. That is until yesterday...

Yesterday afternoon, Rick Santelli, an analyst for CNBC, was reporting from the floor of the Chicago Commodities Exchange. Mr. Santelli asked the traders what they thought about Obama's recently proposed housing bailout plan, to which the traders responded with a chorus of boos. Mr. Santelli then went on to voice his disapproval of the plan and the many reasons he felt supported his position. Pundits, and their many criticisms, have been around for decades. They just come with territory, as do their criticisms. That is unless you are Barack Obama. Throughout the campaign and his presidency to this point, political pundits have essentially given Obama a free ride. That being the case, one cannot be surprised that Obama would not have expected to hear any criticism about his housing proposal. The Whitehouse's reaction to the criticism, however, was quite surprising. In the press briefing today, the Press Secretary took several minutes to specifically address Mr. Santelli's criticism of Obama's proposal. The Press Secretary held up a copy of the proposal and told Mr. Santelli to read it. A great argument, because we all know that someone who lives and breathes the stock market on a daily basis could not possibly understand the fundamentals...

Let's all hope that none of Obama's remaining plans and proposals over the next four years are crticized in any way shape or form. If they are, all we will get to hear during Whitehouse press conferences are responses to the individual opiners of each and every criticism.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Have you seen this commercial?

We love it!
ps - look for the missing eye.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Valentine's Day

We had a great first married Valentine's Day this year - we slept in, I stayed in my PJ's all day, and we made fondue!

The first fondue - spicy cheese fondue - turned out really well served with french bread and green apples. It was really easy to make - Monterrey jack cheese, sharp cheddar cheese, chili powder, and garlic - yum!!

The dessert fondue was not as successful... you can see the oil floated to the top and it never quite melted. Not very appetizing. It was supposed to be a peanut butter chocolate fondue. Oh well, I'm determined to try the dessert fondue again soon.

Now that we've tried the fondue pot and seen how easy it is - we might be hooked!

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