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TJ Faves: Snapea Crisps September 30, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in Food, General.
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Snapea Crisps

While this product is not a Trader Joe’s exclusive, it is my purchasing location therfore I’m listing it as a “TJ Faves”.

I’ve never been a fan of the pea whether snap or english, but a friend of mine said that I absolutely had to try the Snapea Crisps. Since I did go out on a limb and try the wasabi peas, I figured why not go for the gusto. I was certainly not disappointed. These are like cheese puffs made with peas…making them pea puffs for lack of a better term. I have not seen the caesar, so my taste test was for the original which was extremely flavorful…but also a total breath buster! If you’re looking for an inventive way to get kids to eat veggies and learn about healthy snacking, then I HIGHLY suggest offering them these pea puffs. For those with gluten sensitivity, Snapea Crisps are gluten-free.

Southern Dictionary: 1/2 and 1/2 September 26, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in Family/Home, Food.

I bet you’re thinking, “Susan, coffee creamer is hardly southern.”

And I would come back and say, “I’m not talking about coffee creamer.”

In my great state (South Carolina, for those who don’t know) we have a lot of drive-in restaurants. My personal favorite is the Carolina Drive-In owned by a friend and fellow Wofford grad (Hey, Nick!!). My family and I have been loyal patrons of the Carolina since before solid food was part of my diet. My second favorite is the Palmetto Drive-In (mainly because they serve tater tots and a great Pink Lady), followed by The Beacon in Sparkle City aka Spartanburg, and Pete’s Drive-In over in Easley. These are not fancy restaurants and they are mostly known for great service, fantastic chili cheeseburgers, sweet tea, and 1/2 and 1/2. What is 1/2 and 1/2 you ask? It’s one half french fries and one half onion rings. So simple yet so tasty!! Don’t forget to ask for their ranch dressing…you need that for dipping.

P.S. If you don’t what a Pink Lady is, then I’ll save that for another entry.

mmmm….me like cookies September 25, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in General.

Kashi TLC

Kashi makes things that I can live with and without…meaning that some things taste really great and some things taste like cardboard. Pumpkin Spice Flax granola bars have been my latest obsession; however, I can do without the Ripe Strawberry Cereal Bars and their standing-in-a-field-chewing-on-hay flavor or lack thereof. They’ve just added TLC (Tasty Little Cookies) to their product lineup in three flavors: Happy Trail Mix, Oatmeal Dark Chocolate, and Oatmeal Raisin Flax. For a limited time, you can go to their website and get a free cookie to sample. The commercial is pretty cute too. What’s not to love about a free cookie?

Wishy Washy September 24, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in Around Town, Food, General.
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Sausage, Egg, and Cheddar Piadini

I’ve been a fan of the Starbucks breakfast sandwich since its inception in 2006. Slowly, and to my dismay, they’ve been disappearing from many of their stores. There’s even a website that’s dedicated to saving the breakfast sandwich at Starbucks which was scheduled to be removed from all menus next month. Well, there’s hope. The company who just last year wanted to scale back its food menu and get back to their true focus of coffee has recently announced that they will be revamping their food menu. If you’re a regular at Starbucks, then you’ve probably already seen their healthier breakfast options of oatmeal, apple bran muffins, and fruit stella bars. Beginning next week, they will offer a new sandwich called the Piadini in two flavor options: sausage, egg, and cheese OR portabello, spinach, and ricotta. My understanding is that the original breakfast sandwich served on english muffins will also remain with a few minor changes: for one, a switch to mild cheddar cheese.  Coffee purists had complained that the smell of the sharp cheddar previously used interfered with the aroma of their coffee and made the place smell like a fast food joint. I’ll spare you what I have to say to these folks. While they’ve been a little wishy washy, I am glad to see that Starbucks is working to make everyone happy by offering the best of both worlds: a great cappuccino and a tasty treat to go with it!

Berry, Berry Good: UPDATE September 22, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in Around Town, Food.
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Saturday night Casey and I were craving something sweet.  While Krispy Kreme seemed like a satisfying option, Casey suggested that we head over to Iceberry to get our sugar fix (so unlike him to offer up a semi-healthy suggestion).  I mentioned the intro of Iceberry to Springfield a little while back. They worked on the store all summer and it opened a little over a month ago. The decor is very modern and simple: bright orange, neon green, and white serve as the color palette. The menu is equally simple: original, chocolate, and honeydew yogurt with an assortment of toppings. There are also green tea drinks as well as smoothies. Casey took the original for a taste test with pineapple and granola as toppings. The original is tart and zingy. I chose to go with a swirl of original and chocolate with strawberry and coconut sprinkled on top. I liked the chocolate much more than the original, while the chocolate did not appeal to Casey at all. Many of the reviews I’ve read about Iceberry say that the honeydew is by far the best, so I’m excited to venture back and try it out…maybe with a little pineapple and kiwi on top!

A Georgetown location should be opening soon!

Flavor Flav September 19, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in Around Town, Food.
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Fortunately, I’m not talking about the rapper with the big clock dangling around his neck. I’m referring to the soul food restaurant Flavors located in Falls Church. We ventured out with a group of friends to find some good real southern cooking in Northern Virginia. I had read a review about Flavors in the Washington Post and we were dying to give it a try. Last Saturday night, I got to feast on fried catfish, collards, and mac & cheese. Collards, people…not kale, not seaweed, not chard…COLLARDS, the real southern green, the kind seasoned with a ham hock.  It was fantastic! There was sweet tea, sweet potato pie, BBQ, black-eyed peas, cabbage, potato salad. So far this is the closest thing to a meat ‘n three that I’ve seen up in these parts. Of course, the highlight for most was the fried chicken. It’s cooked to order and takes about 20 minutes to prepare, but the wait was well worth it.  I will go ahead and warn you that you will smell like fried chicken for at least 24 hours following a visit to Flavors.  It basically seeps into your pores!  I can say that the only thing that disappointed me was the absence of banana puddin’ on the menu.  I guess I can’t have my cake and eat it too!

If you want to read more about our outing and see a few pictures, then mosey on over to Nicole’s blog.

I’d Like to Thank the Academy September 18, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in General.
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I’d like to give big thanks to Tiffany over at The Garden Apartment for the “I Love You This Much” Award. What a treat!! Receiving this award made me think of that scene in A Christmas Story where the dad wins the infamous leg lamp and cries out, “It’s a major award!” 

Tiffany is a local food blogger that I discovered earlier this year through her husband who is a coworker of mine (small world, right). Her food looks so good that I wish she would adopt me and feed me…seriously, Tiffany, will you adopt me?! I will totally cheer for the Hokies if necessary!

Time to pass the fun on to some of my favorite bloggers:

  • Amalah was THE first blog that I ever read. My reaction, “This chick is crazy…and I love it.”
  • I first learned about The Houndstooth Gourmet through DC Foodies (created by Amalah’s husband…and, yes, I know this is getting to be a bit like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon) where Ramona is a weekly columnist.  I’ve been hooked ever since.  She’s introduced me to a slew of new restaurants, recipes, and farmers markets.
  • Every month I enjoy her Style Post, she’s always working on a redesign of her office or dining room, and now she’s revamping her yard. Nicole from Making It Lovely has a unique eye for style that I’ve come to enjoy and appreciate…oh, and did I mention that she designs fantastic stationary for her store, Pink Loves Brown!
  • Dooce. I can sum this up rather easily, “Best Blog E-V-E-R.” Reading it is like an instant pick-me-up! I feel better knowing that there are others out there who appreciate sarcasm as much as I do.

Ergonomics 101 September 17, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in Gadgets, Work.

If you sit in front of a computer for 8 hours a day, then you have surely heard of ergonomics and repetitive strain injuries (RSIs). It’s all about the height of your monitor, the distance you sit from your keyboard, the position of your feet on the floor. I mean, there’s even a diagram that shows you all the correct angles. Clearly, someone has mastered the use of a protractor. All of this looks like one of those GUIs from Stranger Than Fiction.

I try to be conscious of my seated position at work, but the reality is that I ususally look like this guy to the left.  How you sit at your computer is only one aspect of ergonomics.  There are other ways to prevent RSIs, like giving your eyes a rest, walking around, and stretching your neck and shoulders.  I discovered a site called Workrave a couple of weeks ago. It’s a program that you upload to your computer that informs you, through pop-up windows, when to take a “micro-pause” (30 seconds) and when to take a “rest break” (5 minutes). During the “rest break”, it shows you different exercises and stretches for your shoulders, back, neck, and even your eyes. I’ve been using the program for about a week.  It can be a bit annoying when the window pops up in the middle of something you’re working on, but it is a good reminder to take care of yourself first.

TJ Faves: Honey Mango Moisturizing Cream Shave September 16, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in Beauty, Shopping.
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Trader Joe's Honey Mango Shave Cream

I’ve talked about this product before back in April. It is fantastic! At the peachy keen Trader Joe’s price of $2.99, you get to enjoy smooth legs that smell like an island retreat. Even Casey has become a fan. Desperate for shaving cream after running out of his own manly version, he gave my Honey Mango shave cream a try and has been a loyal fan ever since. If it’s good enough for his beard of wires, then you can trust me when I say that this stuff rocks!

Anyone Can Be President…Anyone! September 14, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in TV/Movies.
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I saw this skit on Saturday Night Live and died laughing! I had to do a double-take because I seriously thought Sarah Palin was the guest host.