Monday, December 30, 2013

Chocolate Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

Photo: Debra Turner via iphone
Don't start your diet yet because the next two blog posts will feature food. Christmas may have passed, but some of us are still celebrating, right up until New Year's Day. Par for the holiday course. Accept it.

This year I was a slacker when it came to baking cookies. I reasoned ... with the eggnog, chocolate candy and mulled apple cider (not to mention nuts and a few bakery cookies), did I really need to bake cookies too? Well, apparently, the answer is ''yes'' because I baked a butch.

Friends who live in the neighborhood went out of town for the holidays, leaving me the keys to their apartment. When I went over to check on things the first day, on their counter they left me a festive basket of fresh fruit and dark chocolate. Very thoughtful (and delectable) right?

So when they return tomorrow, they will find a batch of these cookies sitting in their kitchen (along with bags of white tea and chai tea, a surprise!). So you see, it is really their fault that I baked them. The oatmeal gives the cookies a nice texture, and there are chocolate chips in every bite. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup peanut butter (if you leave pb out sometimes, add a tablespoon of liquid)
Photo: Dr. Oz Show
1/2 cup graduated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1 large egg                                       
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 cup coconut (optional: I threw it in)
6-7 ounces chocolate chips (that's a package)

Directions:

1. Start by throwing the butter into a mixing bowl and microwave for 20 seconds to soften. 
2. Add the peanut butter. Mix together.
2. Add the remaining ingredients, one at a time, using an electric mixer to combine.
3. A full cup of oatmeal produces a drier (but still moist dough). Form into 1 inch balls and place on an oiled cookie sheet (or on parchment paper). I flatten them slightly.
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F oven. When done, cool for 2 minutes before removing the cookies from the pans. Let cool completely before storing in a container.

I have a feeling my friends will enjoy these cookies as much as I do. Naturally, I had to taste their deliciousness before offering them as a gift.

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

THE SAVVY SHOPPER Wishes You A Merry Christmas

Christmas images from several magnificent Southern cities:

Downtown Louisville, Kentucky, named after Louis XIV, France's Sun King, whose statue stands in front of the courthouse. "Old Louisville," located just South of downtown, has more Victorian, or Queen Anne homes than anywhere else in the USA.  (Photo: free Wallpaper)
Washington DC: Here is this year's National Christmas tree and behind it, The Capitol. (Photo: The Washington Post)
Opryland's Winter Wonderland Christmas, Nashville, Tennessee. Ice sculpures of the King of kings, his family and more.
Graceland, home of another king, Elvis Presley, Memphis, Tennessee. He must be having a blUe, blUe, blue Christmas. (Photo: CMT)
It's time for some end of the year thoughts ...
  
Thanks so much for stopping by the blog and visiting our Facebook page. I know from the stats that we are a global community. We may live all over the world and celebrate various holidays, but we are one human community here. We may take different paths, but we are all trying to live a life of purpose and value. Our differences make the world an interesting place, and we are more alike then we sometimes acknowledge. In the end, we strive for the same things ... love, understanding, acceptance and a secure place to live and raise our families.

Whether you're traveling or staying home, warm wishes for peace and joy this holiday season and always.Emoji

Merry Christmas Everyone! 

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas From Rockefeller Center

Always stunningly beautiful at night. Come visit during the holidays.

While at Rock Plaza, turn around and look across the street (on Fifth Avenue) to see Saks' light and sound window display:
Watch for Yeti, the snow monster and holiday mascot of Saks, who makes an appearance.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Should You Give Money As A Gift?

Photo: LiveAsAMom
Is it ever okay to give cold hard cash as a gift? Heck, yeah!! These are hard times for many people. The average person lives on a budget and can certainly use it. Cash is a much better gift when you truly don't know a person's tastes or needs. 

Why give a family member some useless item that will only take up space until it is donated to charity or regifted? (If you're a regifter be honest.)

I think the closer the relationship, the more appropriate it is to give cash. If you are distant, perhaps a gift certificate to a desirable retailer is less awkward. (Tips for service are another matter.)

If friends have a special need (like mounting bills due to illness), consider being their secret Santa, if you can afford it. That could avoid any embarrassment. 

Grandparents often give cash to their grandchildren, and I think it opens up an opportunity to teach kids a few lessons in money management. Have you noticed how much harder it is for kids to part with their own money then it is when you buy stuff for them? It's not uncommon for a child to be more deliberate when spending his own money. Having to consider a budget is good training for later in life. 

Toys and gadgets run on batteries, so I like to get them to think about those as part of the expense too. Batteries don't grow on trees either. Somebody has to buy them. As a rule of thumb, try not to add money to the Christmas, Hanukah or birthday sum, so a child can buy a more expensive gift; but if you must, cave on the batteries. You don't want your kid to end up in tears. Keep the lesson fun. 

If you're giving cash, you can still take the time to present it cleverly, if you wish. A money box with festive ribbons and bows is a darling idea. Be creative ... without damaging the money.
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Monday, December 16, 2013

Twelve Stocking Stuffers For The Twelve Days Of Christmas


Good things come in small packages ... small enough to fit inside a Christmas stocking. 

The perfect gift should: 1) meet a need, 2) satisfy a desire or 3) put a smile on a face. When you don't know what to buy for someone, just ask, "Will this gift make him or her happy?" A gift is a token. You want family and friends to feel appreciated.

With that criteria in mind, here are 12 Stocking Stuffers ... ideas for adults. Give one each day of Christmas, if you like:

1. Bling - Trust me, you can never go wrong by giving a woman jewelry ... for example gold post earrings and/or bracelets with sparkle: diamonds, rubies or sapphires. (Just saying ... for um no particular reason.)

2. Silk ties, or snazzy cuff links for him. He needs a few nice ones for grown up occasions when he must dress up.

3. makeup palette in flattering colors for her -- if you're skilled at choosing them -- or a travel makeup brush set, if not.

4. A travel grooming kit, so toiletries are organized, compact and easy to throw into a suitcase.

5. Gift certificates to a friend's favorite store, so he can buy himself  that perfect gift, one he really likes. 

6. Batteries - Everybody needs batteries, not just during Christmas for new gadgets, but throughout the year. It's a super thoughtful gift!

7. Scented candles - Containing soothing essential-or-floral-fragrant-oils. Men and women alike love good quality candles and rooms illuminated by candlelight.

8. Goat milk soaps - Rich and moisturizing to care for winter skin.

9. A handy kitchen, or bar tool - One you know will make your giftee's life easier, like a lemon squeezer (for making margaritas), or an avocado slicer for making guacamole dip. Something practical you know your friend will love.

10. An assortment of warm, colorful socks.

11. A music mix of favorite tunes.

12. Favorite snacks: A Cajun-flavored nut mix (again just saying ... for um no particular reason😊, dried fruit and nuts, or a granola-dried fruit mix, and/or chocolate (everybody's favorite).

We have nine days left ...


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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

TIME's Person Of The Year

Who is it going to be? Any guesses? Oh, I wish it were THIS easy. I like it inside this red border.

TIME's Person Of the Year "profiles the person, group, idea or object" who for "better or worst" had the "greatest influence on events" in the past year. Dispite what many people think, it is a distinction, not an honor nor an award for goodness. For that reason, the distinction has gone to world leaders, such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and inventors like Mark Zuckerberg, as well as, tyrants, Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin. The Person Of The Year is chosen by the editors of TIME magazine. TIME's managing editor (influenced by others -- namely, staff editors and corporate bosses) makes the final decision.

Editors are human, so the selection is arbitrary, but for the most part, TIME does a terrific job in making its decision. The one year, I might have differed is 2001: with Osama Bin Laden for Person Of the Year (not Rudolph Giuliani). I mean, we're still being searched every time we board a plane (and I lost my Olay lotion!) because of him.

Even "You" were TIME's Person Of theYear. In 2006 it went to individual content creators of the internet, i.e. all of us!

Now let's talk about the cover above ^.  Bright idea, right? Hey ... that was a rhetorical question. Be kind! There is no money in the blogging budget for lights or photo shop. And ... it is probably my only chance.

+++++++
UPDATE: December 11, 2013 - TIME's Person Of the Year is Pope Francis.

I was rooting for him. First of all, it's more interesting when the selection is a person. Secondly, P. Francis seems to be a people's pope and an excellect example of humility, who is making the Church mind its Ps & Qs. (Jesus was a carpenter, right? You go Francis!) So far, so good.

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Nursing A Cold

I rarely get sick, but came down with a head cold the day after Thanksgiving. I forgot what a nuisance having a cold is. 

December is such a busy time of the year. It is not the ideal time to get one ... nor to rest. Work picks up, there are gifts to buy, a few Christmas gatherings to attend, and I need my full energy to get everything done. But, I am trying to spend some evenings at home in order to get rid of the unwecome virus as soon as possible.

And, I am getting better. After a week, I'm breathing out of my nose again and haven't coughed once. No chest congestion, thank goodness, so I don't need an expectorant (a component in Robitussin) to break it up.

I don't know if anything has proven to shorten colds. I think the only ingredient scientists can agree upon is time. Regardless of what you do, it takes 14 days to get over a cold. Still, I am treating mine by doing the following:

1. Drinking fruit juice, including my delicious green smoothie.
2. Taking a multi-vitamin.
3. Consuming extra vitamin C and zinc.
4. Using a neti pot rinse (warm water, sea salt (without iodine) and a couple drops of tea tree oil). For the record, I hate putting ANYTHING up my nose, but the warm rinse seems to ease my unhappy nasal passages.  They have been very angry the last few days!
5. Enjoying a nightly rum hot toddy (consisting of 5 oz hot water, 1/2  lemon, honey to taste and about 3 caps of rum). The hot toddy seems to work like cough medicine. It soothes my throat and repertory system. Yes, that's my "for medicinal purposes only" story, and I'm sticking to it. Delish!!

So watch out holiday world ... I am on the mend.
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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

One Kings Lane


One Kings Lane is a website offering inspiration and discounts on upscale home goods. Some of the merchandise may be extravagant for the average person, but if you familiarize yourself with the site and its sales, you can buy many fine pieces, marked down, for your home. 

The site is part information-packed magazine and part online sample sale store. It is the place to go for ideas, flair and knowledge. A few visits will help you nail down -- and perhaps expand -- your personal style.


But note: Only store credits (not refunds) are given for returned articles, so you have to order very carefully. Know or have a pretty good sense of items before you buy. Avoid expensive mistakes by googling and studying goods before you place an order. Don't be too hasty to pull the trigger. Err on the side of letting the sale go if you are uncertain. However if you are willing to do the homework, you can acquire some stylish and unique furniture and home furnishings at up to 70% off. 


And ... One King's Lane is a terrific place to find beautiful, one-of-a kind, holiday gifts for family and friends. Indeed, if you're looking for quality, there is something for everyone; and the prices of many chic "him" and "her" things are very affordable.Emoji

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