free digital subscription to sauveur magazine

Although I am addicted to regular old magazines, digital subscriptions are nice, too. I have quite a few digital issues of “Taste of Home” magazine and it’s nice to browse through them when Laura is napping on me. For a limited time, Mercury Magazines is offering a free subscription to the digital version of Saveur magazine.

I got one for myself, and I’m looking forward to it. Saveur has wonderful articles in addition to great recipes. If you enjoy the stories behind the food, this is one you’ll enjoy. I had a traditional subscription a while back, and the magazine is published in a large format, so even though there were many issues I wanted to save, I just didn’t have the room. I won’t have to worry about that with the digital subscription 🙂

best headband ever


I am showing my Massachusetts roots when I say this: It’s been wicked freaking hot out. I am not a big fan of humidity, especially with my long hair. Normally, I would throw it back into a ponytail, or twist it into a bun. However, my daughter freaks out when my hair is up for some reason.

As long as my hair is down in back, she’s happy. But the minute I put it up, Laura furrow her little two-year-old eyebrows and says, “Mommy fix hair! Mommy fix hair!” She says it over and over until I take out the twisty pins or elastic. And with temperatures in the 90s and bangs that are growing out and hair halfway down my back, I need to keep it away from my eyes and behind my ears at the very least. So I needed another solution: headbands. Pinterest to the rescue! I found several great (free!) tutorials to make cute headbands and first decided to sew up a few using this tutorial from Happy Together.

This is a great project for all those fat quarters one tends to buy just because one likes the pattern. 😉 They are quick and easy to make and stay in your hair very well. I’ve been wearing mine constantly! I even got brave and decided to model one of them. Please ignore my grubby tee and my lack of makeup. It was about a zillion degrees out when I took these photos.

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These headbands reminded me of what Sassy magazine dubbed “Alice Bands” back in the early 90s (referring, of course, to Alice in Wonderland). Do you remember that trend with the thick headbands? I always liked it, so I’m glad it’s kind of back. You can obviously make these headbands as funky or plain as you like. I’d recommend giving the pattern a go!

they can’t all be winners

Am I the only one who gets absurdly disappointed when a recipe doesn’t come out as well as I thought it would? Because it’s happened twice recently.

First, there was the great pickled chard disappointment. I recently wrote about trying a recipe for quick pickled swiss chard stems. I thought it sounded delicious: spicy, sour… yummy, right? And the pickles looked pretty, too:



I followed the recipe without noticing the lack of any salt. What was I thinking? Where was my brain? I let the jar sit in the fridge for a few days and then excitedly opened them at lunch.

Sour? Yes.

Spicy? Yes.

Otherwise flavorless? Yes. Unfortunately, they really didn’t taste like much other than vinegar and crushed red pepper. Not awful, but not worth eating to be honest. I think this has the potential to be a good recipe, but it definitely needs the addition of salt. (That also explains the cloudy brine )

Next up: the ho-hum breakfast cake. I was browsing Pinterest yesterday and saw a recipe for lemon-blueberry-yogurt cake. I had a few ingredients in the fridge that I needed to use up, coincidentally: lemons, blueberries, and some vanilla Greek yogurt. I thought for sure this was a sign that I just had to try the quick bread. I altered the recipe first by substituting coconut oil for canola oil, and I cut the sugar down to 3/4 cup instead of the full cup the original recipe called for. I couldn’t wait to wake up so I could eat it for breakfast!

Sorry for the crummy photos, but my camera was in the basement so I just used Instagram, and there was not a lot of light in my kitchen at 6:30 a.m.:


I should mention that I also reduced the amount of powdered sugar in the glaze from 3/4 cup to 1/2 cup and still had more than enough. No one in my family could agree on this cake. While I think I could cut the sugar down even further to 1/2 a cup, I liked the bread. Drew didn’t. At all. He hated the texture (it is very dense), and thought it was way too sweet (eek – imagine if I made the recipe exactly as written). Noah thought “it tasted weird.” Jake thought it was “pretty good.” But Jake isn’t too picky, either. Laura wouldn’t eat it, but she doesn’t like blueberries, so I didn’t expect her to. (Instead, she ate her scrambled egg and the proceeded to devour half of my portion.)

Drew flat out said I shouldn’t bother making this again. So I cut up the rest of the bread, packaged it, and froze it. I’ll enjoy it as a treat when I am craving something sweet. Have you made anything recently that didn’t come out well?

menu plan monday, of salads and slow cookers

I’m trying to do as little shopping as possible this week, plus it’s going to be sweltering. So I’ve decided to use my oven as little as possible (especially since our A/C is out of commission and our plumber is on vacation). Luckily, we have all that lettuce from last week’s CSA! So my game plan is to either chop it and toss it in a bowl, grill it, or throw it in the Crock Pot.

The last time I made gyros I actually thought ahead and made a second loaf, which I stuck in the freezer to make things super easy. I’m currently roasting  a chicken in order to have the meat for lunches, and the bones to make stock so I can also make soup to go along with it.

Unfortunately, last week I never did get to try the copycat recipe for Ruby Tuesday’s Sonora Chicken pasta — I don’t even remember what the reason was. Nevertheless, last week I somehow managed to really overdo it on the carbs, culminating in a total indulgence at Red Lobster last night (their absolutely delicious shrimp and scallops alfredo — oh, all that spaghetti!) Anyway, that recipe will have to wait for another week. I really have to scale back on the grains this week and get back on track. Once I start eating that stuff, I find myself craving all kinds of breads and sweets, and I really can’t have that.

Here’s what this week is looking like:

  • Sunday: Burritos
  • Monday:  Gyro salads, avgolemono
  • Tuesday: Slow-cooker French dip sandwiches, cole slaw
  • Wednesday: Grilled filet mignon with blue cheese butter, smashed cauliflower, green bean, onion, and feta salad
  • Thursday: White chicken chili (slow cooker), salad
  • Friday: Leftovers
  • Saturday: Take-out

For more menu ideas, visit Organizing Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday feature.

summer days


Although the start of the week was sweltering, the temperatures have moderated and it’s been really nice the past few days. Of course, in the sun it is still quite hot. During the tag sale I was definitely thinking more along the lines of air conditioners and ceiling fans rather than electric blankets and infrared heaters. But on the other hand, the nights have been a little chilly (which I have been loving!)

I am the proud (ugh) bearer of an unfortunate-looking sunburn thanks to the fact that I forgot to put on sunscreen this morning. Good thing I don’t plan on swimming in the near future. I just hope it evens out quick. Don’t you just hate that?

a lovely day for a tag sale


Today was the tag sale I’d been planning for two weeks. I wish I could say we sold tons of stuff and made a lot of money, but we came in just short of $25. Oh well. It’s more than we had before, and some of that clutter is gone. We had mostly kids’ stuff — baby toys, clothes, tons of Rescue Heroes, etc. But we also had a good selection of housewares and some older electronics — a scanner, computer monitors, some speakers…

The boys were great helpers and Laura busied herself with the extra price stickers. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t the right day. Nevertheless, organizing the tag sale was the motivation I needed to clean a lot of stuff out. So, as things wound down, I organized a small pile of FREE stuff that I put curbside. (And just in time! Our mailman was excited to score our old cat condo!) Our trunk is now packed with clothing and houseware donations for Goodwill. (We’ll drop those off later this afternoon and probably treat ourselves to dinner.) And then I have two bags of toys and a box of books that I’ll donate later this week. My goal was for nothing to come back in the house, and while there were a few things I just couldn’t bear to part with (my sake set, a wine carrier, and a few other things), 98% will have found new homes.

Not bad.

6 issues of all you, family fun as low as $5

Right now Eversave is running a deal where you can get six issues of All You, Family Fun, for as low as $5. New customers get a $2 credit, and you can use the code SHARE at check-out to get an additional $3 off.

Today’s Save:$10 for a subscription to Every Day with Rachael Ray, All You, Better Homes and Gardens, or more of your favorite magazines (Savings up to 58%)

Expires 11:59 PM – Jul 16, 2011

Even without the $2 new customer credit, the total is just $7 if you only use the coupon. That’s still a great deal! I purchased one of these shares in order to get ALL YOU because I rarely see a good deal on that magazine. It has a lot of great coupons and recipes, so I couldn’t resist 🙂 The magazine pretty much pays for itself.

(Note: The links in this post are my referral links. Read my disclosure policy here.)

csa 2011: third share


Anyone feel like salad? Well, we have no choice because this week we got four (four!) heads of lettuce! Good thing I love salad! I took two romaine, one green leaf, and one red leaf. This share was HUGE, but somehow we’ll plow through it. We also got a bunch of swiss chard, green beans (alternate choice was broccoli), sweet onions, zucchini, yellow squash, cabbage, scallions (which I’d already cut up before I remembered to take a photo), dill, basil, parsley, cilantro, and of course PYO flowers.

Today I made a batch of yellow lentils, so I threw some of the chard in at the end. I’m not a big fan of swiss chard, so this was a great way to use it because it was barely noticeable.


I also came across a recipe for pickled swiss chard stems, so I made a batch of that as well.


I’d like to make some dilly beans, but it wasn’t going to happen today. Since I already had a bunch of cilantro I’d purchased at the store, I used the farm share cilantro and attempted to make mint chutney since I made the dal and tandoori chicken for dinner. It didn’t turn out well. At all. It was chunky and I couldn’t get it smooth and the flavors were just all wrong. Well, they can’t all be winners, I guess.

On the other hand, the salted caramel bars I made were BIG winners. Seriously, I think I need some weight loss pills just looking at that rich dessert!


The boys and Drew loved them. I did, too. But really… a little goes a long way. I tweaked a recipe I found so once I iron out the details of what I changed, I’ll post it.

I wish I could say it was fun having a cooking day like this, because normally it would be, but L. is at the stage where she likes to make every single thing difficult, so what should have taken me no time at all took forever. Sigh… At least I got it all done and the results were (mostly) tasty.

menu plan monday, summer camp edition

Both boys have different summer camps this week. Jake is at all-day Cub Scout camp, and Noah is at half-day camp at our church. There is a lot of picking up and dropping off (and naturally both locations are in opposite directions), plus Tuesday evening I have to pick up our CSA share, so this week has to be easy.

As usual, this is subject to change, and often does, due to the veggies we get in our farm share and what we actually feel like eating 🙂

  • Sunday: Grilled chicken Caesar salad
  • Monday: Surf & turf (grilled steak and shrimp), macaroni and cheese with broccoli
  • Tuesday: Tandoori chicken, rice, vegetable curry
  • Wednesday: Sausage & peppers, cole slaw
  • Thursday: No cooking (picnic at Cub Scout camp for the boys, and I might treat myself to Thai take-out)
  • Friday: Pizza & wings, salad
  • Saturday: Copycat Ruby Tuesday’s Sonora chicken pasta, salad

For more menu ideas, visit Organizing Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday feature.