I Whish for amazing bath products

I love beauty products. Eye shadow, nail polish, perfume and face wash. I love it all. I’d like to try it all. I admit I am often a sucker for products with cutesy names and in cute packaging. I will also say that I have never actually moaned out loud over a beauty product. . .until now.

A few weeks ago I caught a segment on the Today Show featuring different products being offered a discounted rate especially for Today Show viewers. There were lots of cute things, but what caught my eye was a set of body scrub, shave cream, body wash and body butter fromWhish. I had not heard of Whish before but apparently it is a celebrity favorite and has been featured in a number of magazines.

The deal was for a four piece set of the products (an $85 value) for only $19. I certainly couldn’t pass that up. I admit, however, that I was a little nervous about ordering a product I had never seen or smelled before. I put my full trust in the Today Show and I was not disappointed.

I’m telling you now, stop what you are doing and order you some Whish sugar scrub and body butter. Now! I’m serious? Why are you still here reading? Go!

Super Cute and Amazing Product!

Really, this stuff is AMAZING! I got in the shower and squeezed some of the sugar scrub into my palms and when I touched it to my skin I actually moaned. I’m not making this up. This stuff is the best feeling body product I have ever used. EVER. The End. The sugar scrub has a very fine grain and a creamy base that just makes  your skin feel so moisturized and smooth. The fragrance is called Vanilla Spice and it is so delicious smelling you will be a little bit enthralled with yourself for the rest of the day. It is also a great balance of a long-lasting pleasant smell without being overpowering. I am sort of funny about products with a sweet smell. Sometime it’s just too much, especially when you are combining body wash and then following up with lotion. I have  had some products that made me feel like I was choking it was so sickly sweet and overwhelming.

The shaving cream is also a great product. I usually just use soap or body wash instead of an actual shave cream and I could really tell a huge difference. My legs felt so smooth!

The lotion is also unbelievable. Before I had a chance to take a full shower, I used just a smidge of lotion and my hands felt so soft.

I’m hooked. I’ve already been perusing the web site to see what fragrance I should try next. If you have tried another fragrance please let me know which ones are best.

This is the body care line I have always whished for!

Trial Turkey Day – Part 2

Be sure to read part one of my pre-turkey day party. And here are some more recipes from our yummy Pre-Thanksgiving party.

In my menu from my last post I called my sweet potato casserole “crunchy yummy yams” because we already had two other casseroles on the menu. Whatever you call it, it’s yummy! Go make some right now!

This is my mom’s best friend’s recipe and it has always been one of our holiday favorites. Thanks to Patty for sharing her recipe.

3 cups sweet potatoes, cooked (We cheat and use canned yams, I promise it’s still delicious!)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 t. vanilla
1/4 cup milk
1/2 stick butter

topping:

1/2 stick butter (I usually find the that half a stick is not quite enough, but a whole stick is a bit too much. I’d recommend using 3/4 a stick)
1 cup brown sugar
1 t. flour
1 cup pecans (chopped)

Mash up the sweet potatoes. Add sugar, butter and milk. Beat egg and add to mixture. Add vanilla. Pour in greased baking dish.

For the topping, melt butter. Add flour, brown sugar and nuts.

Pour topping over sweet potato mixture and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Eat it all up!

Aside from just wanting to celebrate Thanksgiving twice, my other reason for this party was to try new recipes. The new recipe I tried was my dressing. I saw this recipe for cornbread and country ham dressing in Southern Living and thought it looked divine. I made several adjustments to it, however. The main thing I wanted to jazz up this recipe with was collard greens. What goes better with country ham than collard greens? And I ditched the chestnut idea. In the end, I basically ended up making my Mamma’s dressing only I used the bacon and country ham and collard greens.

I cooked out the six slices of bacon (I got the good Applewood Smoked kind from Fresh Market! And I may have used eight slices instead of six) and the country ham. Then I added in the chopped celery, onions and collard greens. (I left out the carrot too.) When  this mixture was done, I thought it looked so good I almost just ate it right out of the pan.

I also cheated and used store bought corn bread dressing mix, but I did add in some bread crumbs as well. And, when it comes to the chicken broth I really don’t measure. I just keep adding till the dressing is the consistency we like. We don’t like dry dressing. I put the dressing mixture in a greased baking dish and topped it with a few pats of butter and baked it on 350 for about 40 minutes.

Overall, I was pleased with the outcome of this new recipe, but I would definitely make a few changes when I make it again. I should have chopped the ham up into much smaller pieces. I also would not add the additional salt the recipe calls for as the ham and bacon make this dish salty enough. I think I might add a bit more collard greens too. I think this recipe is definitely a keeper!

Stay tuned for more Thanksgiving recipes coming soon.

Trial Turkey Day – Part 1

I love Thanksgiving! It is one of my favorite holidays and so this year I decided to celebrate it twice. My family is very traditional in what they want on the table for Turkey day. They want turkey, dressing, ‘taters, gravy, green beans, cranberry relish and rolls. I like all those items too, but sometimes it’s nice to be adventurous and try some new recipes. Trying them on Thanksgiving day might be too much of a gamble though. I decided that it would be a great idea to have a trial run where we could try out some new recipes and get a chance to celebrate two Turkey days.

I invited some of my nearest and dearest friends who like to eat and asked them to bring a new or favorite Thanksgiving recipe. We ended up with a most delightful menu that was a combination of classic Thanksgiving fare and menu items with a new twist.

Trial Turkey Day Menu
Herbs de Provence Brined Turkey
Mashed Potatoes
Country Ham & Collard Green Dressing
Company Carrots
Broccoli Casserole
Green Bean Casserole
Crunchy Yummy Yams
Cranberry Apple Relish
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Pear Pie
I’ll start with the Turkey, since it is clearly the star of any Thanksgiving celebration. A number of years ago we tried brining our turkey in a salt brine overnight and we really couldn’t tell the different in flavor so we gave it up. When I discovered a brine mix at Fresh Market I thought I would try again. I have now used this brine mix for the last three of four turkeys I have prepared and I love it. It gives the meat a great flavor and the turkey is always tender and juicy. I typically use the classic brine mix, but since we were trying new things for our pre-turkey day party, I  opted for the herbs de provence mix.
After doing the icky part where you have to pull the neck and stuff out of the bird, the rest is fairly simple. (Note: Last  year I got a pair of cute sassy rubber gloves and now I don’t mind that part so bad.)
You can use a brining bag or just put the turkey in a giant pot. I didn’t use a bag this year just dumped Mr. Turkey in a big ole pot and dumped those wonderful herbs on top.
After putting the brine mix into the bag or pot with the turkey, you add two cups of boiling water then immediately follow that with three cups of ice. Then you fill the rest of the pot up with water to cover the bird.

The turkey should stay in the brine mixture at least 12 hours. The directions also so to turn the bird at least once. I didn’t do that. So sue me!

After 12 hours, remove the turkey from the brine and rinse thoroughly. The turkey should then sit in the refrigerator two to four hours before preparing it for the oven. I’m not exactly sure what that does, but I did it. (Yah, me!)

Now is the time to stuff the bird.  We keep it pretty simple with salt, pepper, chopped celery and onions inside the turkey.  My wonderful godmother had some beautiful fresh herbs in her garden so I made a little bouquet of rosemary, sage and thyme to stuff in the turkey as well.

After stuffing your aromatics inside the cavity of the turkey, it’s time to get real personal with the bird again. This part also kind of icks me out, but I do love turkey so I deal. Rubbing the turkey all over with butter and also rubbing some under the skin really helps give it that nice golden brown color. I then also coat the bird down with some kosher salt and pepper.

And don’t forget to tuck his little wings under him and tie his legs together. That just makes it look purdy!

Cooking time for turkey is based on how big your turkey is so go look that up on your own, ok. You should use a meat thermometer to determine if the turkey is done. The temp should be 180 degrees when the bird is done. And it will hopefully be beautiful and golden brown like this. . .

Yum!

I’ll let you marinate on this a bit, but stay tuned for the rest of our great Thanksgiving recipes coming soon. . .

Pioneer Woman Wannabe

I admit it, I’m a Pioneer Woman wannabe. Well, minus that whole cattle ranch thing! I really do love her though and all of her recipes are fabulous! This week we (and by we I mainly mean Morgan) made her Salisbury steak dinner. Just go to her site for the recipe, but here are my pictures of our meal!

 

I had never heard of “kitchen bouquet” from Ree’s recipe and though I was willing to try it, I could not find it in the grocery store so we skipped that step.

The steak was delicious though! Even my mom who normally doesn’t eat a lot of meat loved it. This is a great meal for a week night.

I know some of you foodies make freak over this, but confess I had a purchased a can of cranberry sauce to go with this. You know the kind that slides right out of the can and you slice it? So sue me, I like that stuff! Sadly, I forgot all about it until after we ate.

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

I am obsessed with all things pumpkin and that is one reason this summer girl does look forward to fall. I am always on a mission to find great pumpkin recipes. I had seen this Pumpkin Crunch Cake recipe on a couple other blogs and so I thought I would try it.

I used the recipe from the Picky Apple, but clearly I did not read her comments very well as she explains that the consistency is more like a custard than a cake. That is one thing I was a little disappointed about in this recipe because from the picture, I thought it would be more like the consistency of a blondie. At any rate, the recipe is tasty and I would definitely recommend trying it, but just be prepared that the pumpkin layer is sort of custardy.

One thing I really loved about this recipe, is it requires fairly simple ingredients that we almost always have in stock in our pantry.

The ingredients are:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (the original recipe called for 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup butter, melted

We didn’t have a yellow cake mix, but I did have a butter pecan cake mix and I thought that would be a yummy twist on this recipe!

Another reason I loved this recipe is it’s simple. I’m not big on those recipes that require you to fold in the eggs separately etc. Also, I confess, I’m bad to forget to pre-heat my oven, so do as I blog, not as I do and get to pre-heatin’ at 350 degrees. Also, you should grease your pan. I vote for the spray stuff! Then mix your pumpkin, milk, eggs and spices together.

Then put it in your pan.

Then sprinkle the cake mix on top.

Then top with your crushed pecans and melted butter! Yum!

I baked mine for close to an hour. I kept thinking it would become more firm, but the pumpkin layer pretty much stays the consistency of regular pumpkin pie. I think I had some sort of mental block against something that consistency being in a square. If I make this again I think I would go ahead and bake it a round pan and present it more like a double layer pumpkin pie. Some cool whip would be nice with it also!
If you know of any other pumpkin recipes I should try, please share!

Kitchen Roselli

Dining out with my love is one of my all time favorite things! This weekend we enjoyed a meal at one
of our favorite local restaurants, Kitchen Roselli. I love going here to eat not only because the food is excellent, but I love the atmosphere.

A few years ago, a lovely couple renovated one of our last remaining historical buildings and turned it into a restaurant. I was thrilled because I used to work in this building when it was a “General Store” that sold everything from bib overalls to  Christmas knick knacks. The building was also featured once in a short film called Two Soldiers that won an Academy award!

Their menu is flavorful and hearty Italian fare. When we dined there this week they were featuring a steak special. I do adore a filet mignon! I devoured every delicious bite
of this little beauty that was cooked to perfection in a red wine and mushroom sauce.

Morgan enjoyed a hearty pasta dish, which unfortunately I did not take a picture of because I was too intent on eating my own meal.

My steak was also accompanied by a side of spaghetti, which was also delightful.

 

To compliment our meal, we enjoyed a bottle of wine  (as we often do!) Morgan discovered this wine when we dined at Roselli’s back in April and it is now one of our favorites. We are big supporters, and by supporters I mean drinkers, of Yadkin Valley wine, but we try not to be snobbish about wines not made in our own appellation. This lovely wine is made in Sicily and sipping it makes you feel like you are there. It is so smooth and the flavors of blackberry and fig give it the barest hint of sweetness although it is a dry wine. After taking a bite of our antipasti salad with salty olives and salami the wine tasted even sweeter. We plan to find out where we can buy this wine and have at home because we love it that much!

Of course, no good dinner out is complete without dessert. At Kitchen Roselli, getting dessert can be a little cut throat. The restaurant’s most popular dessert is a cream puff and there are not always enough for everyone. Sadly, we were told all the cream puffs were gone when it came time for us to order dessert. We do enjoy a cannoli so we were going to settle for that. And then, a most wonderful thing occurred. A cream puff was liberated and delivered to our table! We were beyond thrilled.

And then something even more amazing happened, the server offered us an after-dinner drink! Why is this amazing? My whole life, our town and county has been dry. The fact that we can even enjoy wine and now liquor at a meal out is quite amazing. I enjoyed a very soothing glass of Amaretto. Yum!

Cheers!