Saturday, December 3, 2011

Advent Event: 23 Days

Well with just 23 days left until Christmas, I don't know about you, but I am thinking about Christmas shopping.  We have lots to do before we go to Texas to visit the family for Christmas.  And since I only have a couple of presents picked out, shopping is on my mind almost constantly. 

This year I am so thankful for the internet because it makes it so much easier to window shop, purchase, and even ship gifts to loved ones.  I am also thankful for the new trend in deal-a-day websites (like Groupon, One Kings Lane, and Zulilly).  It seems there is a new one that pops up everyday, each with a little bit of a twist on the deal thing.  My new favorite is Open Sky.

Open Sky is like Twitter and Groupon got married and had a baby and named it Open Sky (sounds almost like a celebrity baby name, huh?).  It combines the deal-a-day format with the Twitter format by getting celebrities and style mavens (called curators) to pick out some of thier favorite products and getting the manufacturer to offer thier followers a deal on the products.   As an added bonus, they often send out coupon credits for anything you want to buy on the site - it is like a deal on top of a deal. There are four different categories of curators: Food, Design, Beauty, and Style.

The food curators are, of course, my favorites.  They include Chefs Bobby Flay, Tom Colicchio, and Rick Bayless; cookbook authors Lucinda Scala Quinn and Marcela Valladolid; and TV food personalities Martha Stewart, Ted Allen, and Padma Lakshmi.  Every few days they add a new product to their list of favorites, along with recipes and tips. 

So today's foodie treat for the advent calendar is a small sampling from the food section of Open Sky (all for under $100).
A Trio of Maple Syrups
An OCD cutting Board!

Cute Bird plate and noodle bowl
Comfort food bowls

If you like what you see, or are interested in finding some of your own favorites, think about signing up with Open Sky.  When you do, you will get to pick what you want to see and who you want to follow, as well as great discounts on the products they find.  You will also get $10 to spend on your first purchase.

Merry Shopping!

Disclaimer: If you click through the above links, I will recieve a reward for your membership in the program, but I will not be paid any money.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Advent Event: 24 days

When I was a kid, winter mornings meant waking up to the smell of breakfast cooking and coming to the table to find a fresh cup of hot cocoa with lots of melting marshmallows at my place.  My mom made her hot cocoa the old fashioned way: warming up milk on the stove and adding cocoa (not packet hot chocolate), then adding marshmallows just before pouring into a mug.  No wonder I love winter! 

So my foodie treat for the 24th day until Christmas is Cocoa:

The weather is getting cold here (for us...65 is the high today) and so I will be taking the time to sit down after putting the little one to bed to enjoy a hot cup of cocoa. 

Whether you prefer the old fashioned way or the packet stuff, the joy of a warm beverage with milk and chocolate is undeniable.  Here are a few ways to enjoy the day today:

Go all out with a party for hot cocoa enthusiasts:

From My.Creative.Flavors: Mexican Hot Chocolate from a Hot Chocolate Tasting party

Make it at home for you and your sweetie:

From Williams Sonoma, it froths you milk just like the coffee shops.

Or, get someone to make it for you:
Cocoa Trio from Seattle's Best.

Happy Cocoa!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Advent Calendar: 25 days

So here goes on the advent calendar thing:

I have been waiting somewhat impatiently to watch my favorite holiday movie since Thanksgiving day.  It is normal for us to watch it on Thanksgiving night, but I didn't get a quorum on movie watching, so we just looked at Black Friday ads.  Well, tonight I will demand that it get watched.  Or.  I will watch it myself. 

My favorite Christmas movie is Elf!  My niece who has seen it with me a couple times says that I laugh at it every time like it is the first time.  And I do.  It is so classic to me - every single scene makes me smile and it kicks off the holiday season for me in just the right way! 

So, you might be wondering why I am calling this a foodie treat.  Feast your eyes upon this perfect scene:

There you have it, all that a holiday season should have:
Family dinners
the Four Food Groups
and guests that stay too long

Time for me to go pop some popcorn and pour myself a soda; it's 25 days til Christmas!!

What movie makes your holiday season?  Leave a comment and let me know what you will be watching this year.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Advent Calendar Event

One of my very favorite things for the holiday season is an advent calendar.  To be honest with you I have not used them very often, but I love the idea: the countdown, the little treat associated with each passing day.  They have a way of making each ordinary day in December something to look forward to and mark as a milestone. 
So this year, I have decided to do an advent calendar of my own for this here blog.  And I thought I would do a foodie one.  Starting on December 1st, I will be posting an item a day that will make a foodie smile and point to the wonder of the season.  If anybody would like to join me, leave a comment with a link to your blog - I would love to check it out. 

But in the meantime, here are some of my favorite advent calendar ideas:
From Family Fun Magazine

From Crafty Nest
From A Little Wonky
From Martha Stewart

Monday, November 28, 2011

Inspiration on Repeat

So Black Friday came and went and with it came Grace's initiation into our Black Friday traditions. 

Here they are:
  • Discuss endlessly for weeks ahead of time how we are not really sure we are going to go this year because we really don't need anything.
  • Go to CVS on Thanksgiving morning for pre-Black Friday shopping extravaganza (this gets me so excited that I am propelled through the rest of the day (including cooking and cleaning) by the high of getting so much for so little!).
  • Drew checks out the paper while I cook and tells me the deals he sees as noteworthy.
  • After all the guests leave and the dishes are done, I look at the deals and we sit down and decide where we are going to go and what we are going to try to buy.
  • We go to bed and wake up EARLY!  None of this late night shopping for us.
  • We shop a couple places and then THE REASON WE DO THIS EVERY YEAR: 

Yes, we endure this whole Black Friday thing because all I really want for the day after Thanksgiving is bagels.  Not just any bagels, but the Gourmet Cheddar Cheese Bagel with plain cream cheese from Bagel Bistro.  Nothing beats it.  And as far as I know, you can't get a bagel over the internet.  Take that Cyber Monday!

So Grace got to experience all that for the first time, but I can just tell that her favorite thing was the bagels.  She is definitely her mother's daughter! 

But this year was really special because I got something at a great price that I have been wanting/needing for a long time: a food processor!

So, all these ideas are now spinning (pun intended) through my head of what wonders can be whipped up with this magical machine.  I am thinking pie dough and pizza dough because of the special dough blade.  Oh, and some carrot muffins.  And sliced veggies. 

Any suggestions of how to use my new machine?