Reviews

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The “Girls” Get New Clothes

Published April 24, 2016 by lynn k scott

I stopped into Lane Bryant yesterday. This has only been my second visit ever to a Lane Bryant store; first time in Roseville. I was able to look around for a few minutes before an employee, Madison, approached me and asked if I was finding everything all right. I asked if they had someone who could do a bra fitting. She was able to help.

Ladies…if you’re not getting fitted when buying a bra, odds are, you’re buying the wrong size.

Madison was able to do the measurement, asked what I was looking for, what I currently didn’t like about my current bras, etc. She gave me some suggestions and I was able to try some one. She made sure to come back and check on me. Then she helped me find another bra to go with the one I liked best.

At checkout, Madison asked if I had a Lane Bryant card. I didn’t; my credit isn’t great. She said they are a second chance company and if I was approved, I’d save $20 on my purchase. Ok, for $20 and a soft inquiry on my credit report…why not? Sure enough…I saved $20!!!  You have no idea how much saving money, especially on necessary items, makes me giddy with joy.

I also prefer Lane Bryant over another women’s store with “angelic” models, because unlike Lane Bryant, the other store refuses to carry any size over a 38 in their store; essentially saying they only want a specific body style shopping there.  Once, the other store’s employee actually told me I could order online or go to Lane Bryant.  Ya know, that’s exactly what I did!  I admit, having had five kids, being more than gifted in the “girls” department, I don’t look like a supermodel. I will, say I think I look pretty damn good for a mother of five, but I live in reality and I’m not every going have a size six again.

The store is clean, the merchandise is reasonable and well made. The customer service is OUTSTANDING!!! With so many businesses acting as if the customer is there for them and not the other way around, it was very refreshing.  They’ve definitely earned my future business, a positive Yelp review and a not-to-shabby blog post.

Crock Pot Potato Soup

Published January 16, 2016 by lynn k scott

This morning, as I was checking out what happened on Facebook while I slept, my friends had posted this recipe for a Crock Pot Potato Soup.  I shared the post and thought, I have all the ingredients to make this.

After I got back from the gym, cleaned the kitchen, I decided to whip this up.  I love my crock pot and if there is a recipe that I can make in it, using fresh ingredients, I’m all over it.  Add to the fact it’s been rainy and a bit on the nippy side here today, and potato soup, with a little cheddar cheese added to it, sounded pretty good.

I adore these little video clips adding the ingredients and quickly showing you quantities.  I personally don’t need the videos, the recipe would suffice too.  However, for those who may not cook often or are new to using the ever versatile crock pot, they are quite helpful.

Watch the video to see the soup come together in mere seconds.  I’ve listed the recipe below should you want to jump to the head of the line.

  • 4 cups potatoes; diced
  • 3/4 cup of onion; chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock (I used homemade vegetable stock)
  • 1/2 TBSP salt
  • 1/2 TBSP pepper
  • 4 TBSP butter
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

Add the potatoes, onions, stock, salt and pepper and stir (the video omits this step).  Set the crock pot on Low for 6 hours or High for 4 hours.  After the set time has expired, melt the butter and add the flour; stir.  I used Pamela’s gluten-free flour and it worked great. Let the mixture cook for about a minute and then add the heavy cream and sour cream. Stir mixture until it thickens a bit.  Add the mixture to the crock pot, stir, reset timer for another 30 minutes on Low.

I didn’t think there was enough salt for all those potatoes.  As soon as I tasted it, I knew I was right.  It could use more, but easily corrected by the person eating the soup.  Garnish soup with cheese, scallions, bacon bits, etc.  I like the texture of the diced potatoes.  If you prefer a creamier soup, by all means use an immersion blender or blend in batches in a traditional blender.

This soup would be great in a bread bowl or served with a few slices of baguette.  Sadly, these aren’t options for me, but it’s how I would have eaten this in the past.  I will definitely be making this soup again.  With my substitutions, the soup is now vegetarian and gluten-free (for those that need/want those options).

Enjoy!

Mayo-Free Coleslaw

Published January 15, 2016 by lynn k scott

I was excited to post this coleslaw that I made last night.  It’s the second time making it since originally find it in a friend’s Facebook post.

I thought I had taken pictures of my prep work, but apparently I hadn’t.  Then I only took one picture of the final product and managed to delete it upon reviewing pictures.  UGH! How am I supposed to blog about it without sharing pictures?  UPDATE:  I uploaded the pic to WP before my deleting spree took effect.

Never fear…Google to the rescue!  I actually tracked down the exact recipe from another food blog!  The recipe is really simple.  I like that it only has a few ingredients and one of them isn’t mayonnaise.  I have never liked the creamy oil and egg concoction.  I’d go without eating than eat a sandwich with mayo slathered all over it.

Not to mention, mayo-free means less calories.  No longer need to worry about spoilage for a summer picnic.  I know for some people it won’t be the same.  As I never jumped on the mayo bandwagon, I wasn’t missing anything and I am more willing to try dishes such as this.  Using fresh ingredients also means I can guarantee it’s gluten-free, which is a requirement for my diet.

Another reason I like this recipe is the use of fresh lemon juice, instead of vinegar.  Don’t get me wrong, I love vinegars; have 6 variations in my pantry.  I like the “pop” of flavor from the lemon and its zest.  This recipe also uses honey instead of sugar.  I have significantly cut refined sugar from my diet; including my coffee!  I’ve noticed how sluggish I used to be once my sugar-high crashed like the waves against a shoreline in a Category-5 hurricane.  It’s nice to be free of those highs and lows.

I’ve listed in the ingredients and recipe below, but please visit the website to see the amazing pictures of this simple, yet tasty, coleslaw.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 small red cabbage
  • 1/2 small green cabbage
  • 1/2 carrot, shredded
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Remove any tough outer leaves from the cabbage.
  2. Trim the core and any tough stems from the cabbage and thinly slice.
  3. Add to a bowl with the shredded carrot, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt and black pepper. Toss to combine.
  4. Serve this right away for more of a salad, or store it in the fridge overnight for a slaw that’s more pickled.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Originally found on:  http://www.pbs.org/food/fresh-tastes/no-mayo-coleslaw

Review of Sweet Potato/White Potato Gratin

Published January 14, 2016 by lynn k scott

Yesterday, I reblogged a post about a Sweet Potato and White Potato Gratin.  It looked so good that I had to try the recipe.  So I did; last night.  Here’s my review of the recipe.

First, it’s a very easy recipe to follow.  The above link has the recipe and directions, should you want to try for yourself.

First I shredded the cheese.  I don’t use pre-shredded, because they add a coating to the cheese to keep it from sticking.

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Then I mixed up the spices….

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I used Tarragon instead of Rosemary, because that’s what I had on hand.  I don’t think it hindered the final result at all.

I have a mandolin that has two thickness settings.  So I set it on thin and then just sliced what I needed for the recipe as I was layering the sweet and white potatoes.  I didn’t need to soak them in water, as the recipe calls for, by doing it this way.  The nice thing about using Yukon gold, or any potato with a thin skin, is you don’t have to peel the potatoes first. You can just slice them after you give them a good rinse.

I continued following the directions and started layering the potatoes.  I prefer to us scallop design (overlapping).

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I admit, it’s not the prettiest dish when all is said and done.  It’s a bit dark on the edges, but don’t let that stop you from making this.

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My family, who aren’t “potato people”didn’t care for it.  They chose to eat steamed rice instead of this.  However, this is nothing new.  My husband is Filipino and my daughter is half-Filipina.  Rice is a staple in our house and they would that with every meal if I let them.

I LOVE potatoes.  I tried it, just as prepared and thought it needed a bit more salt and pepper than was originally used in the recipe.  Also, when using 8-oz. of cheese, you will have excess liquid (oil) in the pan because of this.  I’m going to play with the recipe and perhaps mix in a little (gluten-free) flour to correct that.  That’s just my personal preference.

All in all, I think this dish is a keeper.  I really wasn’t in the mood to have chicken last night, with the rest of the family.  So, I prepared some peas and between the potatoes and peas, I had a very nice vegetarian dinner.

If you’re inclined to try the recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Enjoy!

Never hurts to look

Published December 13, 2015 by lynn k scott

Everyone has a favorite kind of store.  I happen to love quality, kitchen-type stores:  Crate and Barrel, Macy’s (3rd floor), Williams-Sonoma, etc.

My favorite of these stores is Sur La Table.  It is my fantasy shop, my wishlist shop, my ‘I want this but can’t afford it’ shop.  However, several times a year, ok every other month or so, I get the opportunity to stroll around “my” shop.

While the pricing can be a bit high on certain items, Sur La Table does price-match.  They have a great return policy and the staff is incredibly helpful and engaging.  That might seem silly to some, but in today’s world where customer service is typically a phrase instead of a practice, I truly appreciate the effort the employees make.

Another fun part of perusing the aisles of Sur La Table, is the coffee section.  They have a variety of coffee, latte, espresso and cappuccino makers.  Ok, so you won’t find a Mr. Coffee pot or even a Keurig here, but the options that are available will make the true coffee lover think they’ve died and gone to Heaven.  From Nespresso to a Jura you can literally take your pick of high-end, barista-quality machines.

I had the pleasure of sampling coffee from the Jura J9.  They only go on sale once a year, around the holidays, and I have fallen in love.  I truly appreciate coffee.  While this machine is definitely not affordable on my pauper’s purse, at the moment, it’s something I would consider saving up for.  Yes, I love coffee that much and I can appreciate this machine just as any car enthusiast would appreciate their favorite vehicle “purring” as it idled and wanting to own it.

My favorite spot in the shop, which calls to my bargain-hunting, never pay retail mentality, is the clearance section.  You never know what is going to be on the two to three free standing racks in the back of the store.

I stumbled up on some ceramic measuring cups and spoons.  I thought they were divine.  The cups were $12.49 for four cups and the spoons were $9.99 for four spoons.  I thought the spoons were adorable, but couldn’t justify $10 for them.  The cups, I couldn’t put down.  I would pick them up, tell myself no, and set them down again.  After the third time, I knew I had to have them.  I am really working on limiting plastic cookware in the house and trying to use glass, ceramic and stoneware.

When I brought them to the register, I was pleasantly surprised to find out they were marked down even further to $5.99.  Wait!  What?  Oh I had to go get another set at that price.  I ran back grabbed another set of measuring cups and then grabbed those delightful little measuring spoons too.  If the cups were on sale, then the matching spoons should be less than the current clearance sticker too, right?  YES!

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I managed to pick up two sets of measuring cups and the measuring spoons for a little over $18, including tax.  The original price tag was still on the spoons; they were $20!  I was elated at my little find in my favorite store.  It never hurts to look.

What’s your favorite store that just makes you all warm and fuzzy as you walk through the entrance?

 

Fitbit turned me into an expectant father!

Published November 2, 2015 by lynn k scott

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Fitbit has turned me into an expectant father.  Ok, so not literally; I am a woman after all.

I purchased a fitbit online about a month ago.  I don’t need something to tell me, I’m not sleeping, I just want to track my steps and maybe enjoy a few step-challenges with my friends.

Twice last week, I forgot to hook my fitbit to the pocket in my jeans.  You’d have thought I forgot my phone or worse, my bra, when I realized my little electronic tracker was safe at home.  I felt naked, vulnerable and I missed it!

I survived, but it wasn’t the same.  I had to resort to using my phone to track my steps.  Forgot to carry it half the time and didn’t get accurate information that way.  *BOO*

I’m back to having my little electronic buddy with me again.  However, my dogs think I have lost it (well by the looks I’m getting that’s my interpretation).  See, every night before bed, I look at my step total.  My goal is at least 10,000 steps per day.  When I realize I’m 250 steps, normally less, away from that goal, I pace my room.  The only thing I can equate to how I look is those tv shows that show the dad, in the waiting room, pacing back and forth, constantly looking at the door for the nurse to walk through and inform him on the status of his child.

So yes, fitbit has turned me into the proverbial “expectant father”.  I don’t mind though.  I am aware that I am exercising more and that I am staying more active.  If you haven’t obtained a fitbit yet, I highly recommend getting one!

My Culinary Obsession

Published July 26, 2015 by lynn k scott

I have a culinary obsession.   I have to place blame with my old neighbor for starting it.   He was moving and had a garage sale.   Seems harmless,  right?

Little did I know,  the three pieces of bakeware I bought for $20, included two Le Creuset pieces.

If you are unfamiliar with these multicolor pieces, they are quality non-porous stoneware,  glazed interior (for easy clean-up), heavy and can give some “sticker shock” when they check the price tag.

I currently only afford to add to my Le Creuset collection by saving a little and taking advantage of clearance sales.

Yesterday,  while perusing Sur La Table, I came across a very nice selection of Le Creuset and most of it was on clearance.   Sadly, much of it was out of my price range even with it discounted.

I found a piece, that had been marked down twice and was 40% off.  I made a comment to hubby about how our anniversary was just a couple weeks away. 

After walking through the store, we stopped back to look at the cookware again.  I was gifted a new piece for my collection.

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This 12.5″, 3.5 quart dish has a new home!  It can go in the oven, broiler, grill, freezer and microwave and dishwasher. 

I am moving away from cooking in metal pans and using glass or stoneware or ceramic.  I cook quite extensively, so the expense is justifiable to me; even if I use birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas presents to obtain them.

If you are a closet chef, kitchen guru or need a really nice wedding present, I highly suggest purchasing Le Creuset pieces.  They have everything you need to transform a kitchen.

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