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The Write Stuff March 31, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in Eco/Green, General.
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ecojotI’ve been on the lookout for a cute journal to jot various things down. While I am a gadget girl and do utilize my memo pad on my blackberry, I do love to physically write things down. I don’t know if it’s related to my mild OCD or my weird obsession with writing utensils. In my search, I came across Ecojot. They have unbelievably cool journals and organizers. What makes them even more unique is that the pages are 100% post consumer content. They also use vegetable-based ink and landfill gas as a power source for their plant in Canada. On top of all that, a portion of their sales goes to an environmental cause. Does this company rock or what?!

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The Bestest Brownie E-V-E-R! March 27, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in Food.
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I bought the March issue of Cooking Light simply for the cover which featured Chocolate-Mint Bars. They looked heavenly like an Andes Mint in brownie form. Some friends invited us to lunch on Easter Sunday and I decided to give this recipe a try. The recipe has you make the brownies from scratch. I decided to pass on that and instead I bought a box of Betty Crocker Low Fat Brownie mix (only 130 calories per serving, but tastes like 500 calories per serving). I made the brownies according to the package directions, allowed them to cool, smoothed on the mint layer, and then the chocolate glaze. Holy freakin’ cow, these brownies rock like old school David Lee Roth!

Who knew that simplicity could taste so good? I will say that they are incredibly rich, and while they may be like an Andes explosion in my mouth, I can only eat half of one in a sitting. However, I have never enjoyed a half brownie so much in my life!

Hip, Hip, Fa-yeh March 26, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in Food.
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MykonosI like yogurt. It’s low in fat and good for you. It provides you with a high dose of calcium, Vitamin D, and probiotics. I’m typically a Yoplait gal. The consistency is to my liking and the flavors are dee-lish! However, I’ve been attempting to eat more natural sugars, so to find those options you obviously head to Whole Foods.  This is where I was first introduced to another variation in yogurt, Skyr, which is actually a cheese and not a yogurt. It’s still found in the yogurt section of the store, so call it what you will. It comes to us from Iceland. The consistency and taste is more like pudding, and I’m partial to the vanilla flavor with a few blueberries and homemade granola thrown in. Plus, it comes with its own little collapsible spoon making it too cute to resist. In an attempt to purchase a few containers of Skyr, I found that they were sold out, so I had to opt for yet another alternative. This time I went with the Fage (pronounced fa-yeh). Fage is a greek yogurt and actually tastes more like sour cream. The cool thing about Fage is that you can get it with a honey pot or a fruit pot attached. Sounds crazy, I know, but the taste is really something.  It ends up as the perfect combination of sweet and sour.  My fave is the Fage 2% with honey, but I’ve been known to settle for the 2% strawberry or cherry. Now if I can just make it to the Mykonos.

Jib Jab March 25, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in General.
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O-M-G!

That just about sums up my reaction to Jib Jab. I found out about this website this past weekend when some of our friends were talking about it. I went to their site to check it out and it is freakin’ hilarious! Jib Jab has an assortment of laugh out loud videos which you then edit to include the heads of your friends, family, and coworkers. The result is minutes, possibly hours, of hysteria! I took the liberty of creating a break dancing video using the heads of a couple of my coworkers/friends. I have never laughed so hard in my life. You can also check out their original videos which feature everything from jabs at politics to celebrities.

Go Ahead and Take a Peep…It’s Easter! March 22, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in Around Town.
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Yellow Chick PeepsPeeps are a sweet treat that have long been associated with Easter. Those little marshmallow bunnies and chicks coated in colored sugar have brought joy to us since we were kids…and way into college when we would put them in the microwave to watch them grow! Now they’ve expanded the collection to include tulip shapes, other flavors like chocolate, and decorate-your-own varieties. This year marks the second annual Peeps Diorama contest hosted by the Washington Post. Check out the top contenders here. My personal top three are: Thrilla in Manila, It’s a Major Peep Award, and Peepator Craig’s Wide Stance. HAPPY EASTER!

Herb-a-licious March 21, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in Food, Gadgets.
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Herb SavorI love to make caprese salads in the summer. It reminds me of a restaurant that we enjoy when we visit the San Francisco/Napa Valley area. I typically will buy fresh basil at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. The bummer about buying fresh herbs is that they spoil so quickly. So when I saw the Herb Savor in a magazine, I just had to check it out online. It’s made by a company called Prepara. I watched their demo video, but I’m still not convinced. I keep my herbs in water which I change out as necessary; however, it doesn’t seem to make a difference. What’s so special about standing it up in this gadget? Maybe I’m not understanding the underlying features.

The other item that I noticed on their website was the Power Plant Mini. It uses aeroponic technology and an automatic watering/nutrient application system to keep your plants growing and looking great. At about $40, maybe I’ll start growing my own basil…since I’ve been unsuccessful in the past.

You Want Me to Shave My Legs with a Yogurt Cup? March 20, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in Eco/Green.
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Recycline_PreserveNo, I haven’t lost my marbles. You heard me right. A yogurt cup. A Massachusetts-based company called Recycline is making it possible with their line of Preserve™ products. They have partnered with Stonyfield Farm to take yogurt cups (returned to the company by consumers for recycling) and turn them into toothbrushes and razors. Not only do you get a product that utilizes recycled materials, Recycline also provides you with a postage-paid mailer so that you can return your product for recycling if your community doesn’t accept #5 plastics. For those products that are returned to Recycline, they are then recycled for a third time into plastic lumber “which is used to make picnic tables, decks, boardwalks and other durable products.” Pretty cool, huh? I love innovative green ideas!

Mrs. Smith Meet Mrs. Jones March 19, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in Fashion, Shopping.
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I came across “Bag Borrow or Steal” while visiting another website. I saw the banner ad and couldn’t resist checking it out. Apparently, it’s like Netflix only the handbag version. Basically, you can become a member for as little as $5 per month (that’s for the one year membership), or rent as a guest, and you’re given access to designer handbags (and jewelry) that you can “borrow” for a week, a month, or a year. There’s no time limit for the rentals. If you enjoy the item so much that you want to “steal it”, you can contact the company for a purchase option. You should note that shipping and handling is not included and runs $9.95 per item.

Here’s an example:
The Coach Bleecker Elisa Laced Leather Slim Duffle (that’s a mouthful) has a retail price of $748 according to the Coach website. BagBorrowOrSteal.com gives you the option to rent it for a weekly rate of $32 for members or $53 for guests.

So if you’ve just got to keep up with the Jones’ and can’t afford to buy that handbag that you’re coveting, you now have the option of owning it temporarily for a fee. As for me, I’ll stick to those bags that fall within my affordable range.

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice March 18, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in Food, General.
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Well, I’m focusing mainly on the sugar. Last month, I saw a story on GMA that talked about how your body processes artificial sugar. Most people use artificial sugar (sugar substitutes) for the purpose of maintaining a healthy weight. It gives them the opportunity to enjoy sweets without the weight gain. This study, however, contradicts that popular belief.

“In the Purdue study, the rats whose diets contained artificial sweeteners appeared to experience a physiological connection between sweet tastes and calories, which drove them to overeat. ‘The taste buds taste sweet, but there’s no calorie load that comes with it. There’s a mismatch here. It seems it changes your brain chemistry in some way,’ Savard said. ‘Anything you put in your mouth, your body has a strong reaction to it. It’s much more than counting calories. It seems normally with sweet foods that we rev up our metabolism.’”

In light of this study, I’ve been trying to avoid artificial sweeteners. Do you know how hard that is?! It’s in EVERYTHING.

This past weekend we were at Barnes & Noble and I was flipping through an issue of Body+Soul magazine. I came across an interesting article discussing the best sugar substitutes. They reviewed five various sugar substitutes: agave nectar, brown rice syrup, erythritol, maple syrup, and stevia. They provide you with pros, cons, and uses for each substitute. I’m interested to give a few of these a try especially using the guidelines provided in this article. Erythritol is at the top of my list for experimentation, but be sure to keep it under 20 teaspoons a day…or else!

Who Wouldn’t Want Their Mimi to be a Pirate? March 14, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in Family/Home.
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As one of her birthday gifts, OletaKate received an inexpensive ball (you know the kind that they keep in those giant bins at Walmart). Note to Parents: These balls cost like a dollar and can provide entertainment for hours! Well, EmmaClaire was playing around with the ball and wanted to toss it back and forth. I was sitting next to Andrea (aka Mimi) on the couch and EmmaClaire was tossing the ball back and forth to me. She then decided to toss it to Mimi, who wasn’t looking, and it nailed her square in the eye. We were all like, “Oh no, EmmaClaire, you hit Mimi in the face! Is she ok?” We started to mildly tease that she could’ve knocked Mimi’s eye out and then she would have to wear a patch like a pirate (we then accompanied our taunting with a few pirate impersonations). She looked mildly traumatized. She’s 3, what do you expect?! We went about playing and tossing the ball around. Then I accidentally hit OletaKate in the head. EmmaClaire turns to her and says, “OletaKate, are you ok? You didn’t lose your eye did you?!” We all rolled.