Thursday, May 30, 2019

A Can Of Pumpkin

Photo: Joy of Cooking
At one time supermarkets only sold cans of pumpkin in autumn. Nowadays it's available all year around ... lowering the price! Pumpkin, a variety of squash, is loaded with vitamin A, a tiny bit of C and some iron. It can be used to make a delicious bread pudding, lighter than other recipes for bread pudding.

I tweaked the one below from a cooking show, Let's Dish. Not only does it have vitamin A from pumpkin, but antioxidants from blueberries, protein from milk, walnuts and eggs, and vitamin E from the eggs. Moreover, ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, which are good for your heart, arthritis and skin. Raisins add fiber. 

Pumpkin Bread Pudding


2 1/2 cups skim milk
15 oz. can of pumpkin 
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
10 cups diced whole grain bread (about 15 slices)
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup raisins


1) In a large mixing bowl whisk together the skim milk, pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla extract and salt.

2) Fold in the bread, walnuts, blueberries and raisins.

3) Let sit about 15 minutes, so the bread soaks up the liquids.

4) Pour into a baking pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 55 minutes. I use a 9" by 9" pan, but a larger 9" by 13" will work too. You can also cut the recipe in half to make less.

If you half the recipe, turn the other half of the can of pumpkin into a soup by adding milk, chicken (or beef) bouillon cubes, dried garlic, onion and fresh pepper to taste.

We are lucky to have the goodness of canned pumpkin all year around.

Bon AppΓ©tit!

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

An Organized Purse

Although I've never been a slob, recently my organization gene kicked into high gear. Everything I own must have a home, including the things I keep in my purse.
So when the zipper on my crossover bag broke, I bought 2 new crossover bags from Foley & Corinna, a retailer previously featured on THE SAVVY SHOPPER. I selected their man made "liberated" leather, which feels like full-grain leather and endures through rain, show or shine. But perhaps what I like most are the pockets inside and out. There's a place for all my stuff from phone, wallet, makeup and odds and ends. Everything stays put and organized because it has a compartment. A home.
I got the 2 bags on sale, which is the reason I bought 2. Plus the crossovers are the exact size I need, with the same interiors, including the pockets. I plan to use one and save one for later. Occasionally, I do the same when finding a fabulous pair of walking shoes at a sale price.
If you own beautiful bags and desire to keep your contents organized, you can buy purse orgainizers to fit inside of your purses or totes. They cost between $19 - $30 depending on size, but are well worth the price to keep life orderly.
Every year I resolve to make an improvement. This year I hope to get rid of all the things I never use, that either hide behind other things in closets; or I keep just in case I might need them. Moreover, I know: I'll donate an item, then need it the very next week. So what, if I have to buy it again? I still want to hold unto less!

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Friday, May 24, 2019

One Stroke Launches From L'Oreal And Tarte

There is something about a warm balmy climate and more daylight that sparks many of us to up our makeup game with lovely new colors.

πŸ‘€Tarte has launched new eyeshadow with the Tarteist PRO REMIX Amazonian Clay Palette. Formulated with earthy, yet vibrate pigments, apply any of the 20 hues with a single stoke and be done. The new palette is sold at for $25 and comes with a free gift. (Ulta's free gifts are usually good ones, and customers earn points on purchases!)
πŸ’„I wear nude lipstick frequently. Often if it has staying power, it dries out my lips. But if it conditions my lips with moisturizes, the color fades licketysplit fast after applying.

L'Oreal Colour Riche has created a collection to overcome both annoyances. The 16 shades give you ultra matte highly pigmented nude lips that stay put. They are formulated with super intense hydration and a super matte finish. With one stroke, you get lasting lip color and "comfortable wear."
Some of the 16 "nude" choices, in fact, look more brown, pink or plum. Nonetheless all are natural, attractive colors, and one is a true classic nude. I'm fine with that ... and may even venture over to pink, rose or plum.

One drawback to be aware of: Customers say the lipstick bends and breaks easily. So to avoid a mess, don't roll it all the way up (i.e., out) to apply. For under $10 bucks, it's a steal!

The rule of spring/summer is: New makeup for new seasons!

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Emeril's Virgin Or Bloody Mary

Last winter I bought 4 large (48 ounce) cans of Sacramento Tomato juice with the intention of making tomato soup over the cold months. But the hookah smoker's fire knocked out the gas in our apartment building (for 5 months), so making soup didn't happen.

Now that I'm back home cooking again soup season is over. What to do with all the tomato juice?

Oh I know, make Emeril's Bloody Marys! Spring is brunch season, so what a refreshing way to drink tomato juice which is rich in vitamins A and C.

A Virgin Mary is a Bloody Mary without alcohol, so free free to enjoy the cocktail your way. No need to buy a mix. Perhaps Emeril's makes the best fresh mix in the country. Below is their recipe, which I have reduced to 4 servings.

Emeril's Bloody Mary Mix


2 cups tomato juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 
1/2 teaspoon of dried garlic powder (or mince fresh garlic)
1/2 teaspoon of hot sauce (Frank's, Louisiana or Tabasco), or to taste
1/2 teaspoon of dried celery powder
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Optional (aside for the original recipe): a sprinkle of dill if you have it - it's good too!

Vodka - 1 ounce per glass for a Bloody Mary


1) Toss the ingredients one by one into a blender and mix until smooth.

2) Chill for at least 2 hours. Make it the night before to have ready for the next day's brunch and all the spices will marinade to perfection. 

Poor into 4 glasses over ice and add an ounce of vodka to each glass. Enough for 2 people because who are we kidding ... you're going to use a pitcher and pour Bloody Marys into tall glasses, aren't you?

I want to thank Emeril's New Orlean's restaurant for sharing their famous Bloody Mary Mix with the world. None better!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Dior Launches 30 Montaigne

Angie, friend of THE SAVVY SHOPPER and I are discussing the new Dior 30 Montaigne bag which launched last week. Tuesday I visited a Dior store to examine it. A clean sleek bag of sturdy box calfskin (the leather similar to Hermes' Kelly bag), it has a sculpted gold-tone clasp with the initials "CD." An elegant crossover shoulder strap lets the wearer enjoy the bag hands free. It's a beautiful bag inside and out. The bag has an open/close zipped inside compartment, as well as, a back flap pocket.

The leather bag is available in 5 colors: black, peachy-beige, subdued red, green and white. It is also produced in logo designed fabrics.

On the leather bags, the strap is removable and can be worn as a belt, which is rather cool!

But as I told Ang, for a crossover bag, it's narrow, and you can't fit much in it: a phone, wallet, keys, lipstick, comb and ink pen is about it.

The 30 Montaigne bag is smaller than Chanel's Double Flap jumbo size bag. Perhaps it is about the size of Chanel's Double Flap medium bag. However, the advantage of Chanel's iconic bags are they are dressy in appearance, and customers often buy the smaller versions of them for black-tie occasions and the jumbo size for every day use.

While Dior's 30 Montaigne bag is smart and sophisticated, it isn't designed to look gala fancy like the Chanel Double Flap medium or small bags are. Therefore, you'd likely want it spacier, so you can carry more stuff in it for every day use.
So it's almost functional, yet not quite there. For the high $3,550 ticket price (and durable leather which it is), I'd wait for the Dior 30 Montaigne bag to come out in a larger size. 

That said, it's far cheaper and a winning alternative for shoppers who pine for a lovely designer bag, but won't pay the insane costs charged by Hermes and Chanel. Once Dior brings out a roomier bag, I predict it becomes a classic too.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

What Foods Are Always In Your Refrigerator?

Sitting  in Tupperware, strawberries are to the left and potatoes for a potato salad are to the right. Juniper Valley milk is delicious! 
I just got back from the supermarket ... as this morning I ran out of milk. It got me thinking: There are certain food items I restock immediately and never let myself go a day without them.

So the blog question of the day is: What food(s) trigger a run to the supermarket in your home? They must always be in your cupboard or refrigorator to eat or drink?

Here are some of mine:

1) a gallon of milk
2) dozen eggs
3) bag of carrots
4) ground coffee
5) cheddar cheese, extra sharp
6) saltine crackers
7) cans of tuna
8) cans of whole tomatoes
9) cans of cooked beans - red kidney, pink, or pinto
10) fresh fruit -- however, I mix it up, so not aways the same ones: strawberries, blueberries, oranges, bananas, avocados, pears, apples (and sometimes all of them).
11) Fresh and frozen vegetables - I mix these up too: green beans, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprout. These will change, whereas a bag of fresh carrots is a constant. There is always a bag of whole carrots in my refrigerator.
12) onions, 2 lb bag
13)  Idaho or Eastern potatoes, 5 lb bag
14) whole wheat flour, 5 lb bag
15) all-purpose flour, 5 lb bag
16) sugar, 4 lb bag and a jar of honey
17) Nuts - most often walnuts and dry roasted peanuts (technically, not a nut)
18) black and green tea bags (to make hot, or homemade kombucha
19) oatmeal, a big round 42 ounce box - I use it for breadcrumbs or quick meals.
20) peanut butter (from the health food store, 100% peanuts)! - for snacks, cooking and sandwiches.

I left off condiments or my list would be ridiculously long. Neither bread nor meat are on my list. I can make biscuits or bread with flour as needed. 

As long as I have protein at home running out of meat won't trigger a supermarket run. Yet running out of milk or eggs always will!

How about you? What makes you skedaddle to the supermarket prompt-o? 

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Sunday, May 12, 2019

Wishing You A Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers who click on THE SAVVY SHOPPER today! Hope you feel the love and appreciation for all your hard work and devotion to your families! 

Certainly, you are valued and loved here on this blog! Your heart and mind.

Where would the world be without mothers? Your wisdom, your experience, your insights. Your unselfishness and collective kindnesses. A huge thank you to all the mothers, and to one in particular who likes the color red ... Ein GlΓΌcklicher Muttertag!

Enjoy your day of honor!

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Friday, May 10, 2019

Danny Seo's Baked Kale Falafel

Photo: givemedelicious
I have no idea why falafel cakes are so expensive at the health food store. Five tiny appetizer-sized cakes range from $5 - $7 per package, and frankly I need 3 packages to satisfy my hunger. Since the vegetarian ingredients are cheap, why such a big markup? Could it be the labor? It's puzzling! 

I have no desire to spent lots of time or money on a basic dish, so I'm happy to stumble upon the following easy recipe for baking falafel cakes at home. Oh and note: baking instead of frying, what a healthy bonus! I saw this on television and wrote the recipe out for you, my lovelies:

Danny Seo's Baked Kale Falafel


5 springs of fresh kale - massaged and cut down into small pieces, then sprinkled with salt (Eyeball it. I stopped at 2 springs)
1 small red onion, chopped
olive or vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried cumin
2 teaspoons dried dill
1 teaspoon dried garlic
1 14 ounce can of chick peas, mashed
1 lemon - zest and juice (I used a capful of cider vinegar, easier.)
1/4 cup of bread crumbs (I used 1/2 cup oatmeal.)


1) Prepare the raw kale and toss into a mixing bowl.

2) Into a frying pan pour 2 tablespoons of olive (or vegetable) oil. Add a sprinkle of salt. Cook the onion and dried spices for 60 seconds, or so and toss into the bowl with the prepared kale.

3) Add a can of chick peas into the bowl.

4) Zest and juice a lemon into the mixture. (As noted I just added 1 capful of cider vinegar.) 

5) Mash the chick peas, kale and seasoned onion mixture. If dry add drops of water. Next toss in 1/4 cup of bread crumbs and stir to combine.

6) Using a spoon or ice cream scooper, scoop out a dense ball and drop onto an oiled or parchment lined cookie sheet. If using parchment paper, brush it with oil - so the falafel will be crispy.

7) With your fingers flatten them out and go back to drip an extra drop of oil on top of each patty to give them a crunch.

8) Bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. 

And while the falafel bakes, make a dipping sauce --

Tahini Sauce for falafel

Photo: chefehome

1 fresh garlic clove cut and mashed
1/4 cup tahini paste
1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup
a punch of salt
2 tablespoons water
chili flakes to taste


Toss all the ingredients into a bowl and whisk vigorously with a fork until creamy.

Let's say you don't stock tahini paste: You can cheat like I do and use ready made hummus as your dip. (I pay $4.99 for 17 ounce tubs, as opposed to $8 for a jar of tahnini paste. Why would I make it?). Also, feel free to substitute any nut butter, or peanut butter for tannini paste to make a dip. If desired, you could go in a different direction to make a creamy tangy yogurt dipping sauce.

Easy, healthy, delicious and inexpensive ... yes a bullseye recipe!

Update: The next time I will fry them in 2 tablespoons of hot olive oil in a pan on the stovetop. There's no benefit to baking them as you can simply brush the pan with a little oil. Fast and crispy. I will only bake them when making a huge amount.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

DIY Bookcase Using Narrow Wooden Crates

So. I thought I'd create a home for a few of my history books on Queen Victoria & her children. But I'm afraid of clutter. Bringing ill-fitted furniture into a space looks bad, i.e. cluttered! IMHO there needs to be space, as well as, the right articles for any home to look stylish. 

That's why I'm starting cheap. If a bad idea, I haven't invested much, but if a good idea, I can replace my DIY bookshelves with an upscale bookcase later on (if I desire). Because workers are still entering my apartment, my brand new area rug is left rolled up ... giving me the freedom to embark on a DIY project.
Enough storage for about 8 -10 regular sized books
"Narrow" is the key word. Any book nook I add to my space needs to fit a tight section of my wall. Therefore, I bought pine crates at Home Depot and painted them Bone White, the color of my walls. (The stool above was to sit on to paint; and yes, that's my foot in the picture. Not being a professional painter, I forget to remove my good shoes to do the job. I'm glad they aren't painted too!πŸ™‚)
After water damage from the upstairs fire, the wall behind the book nook was replaced with a new one, leaving the floor tiles shattered. Yet the powers in charge have no plans to fix or replace all the loose and shattered tiles in my apartment. This shelf will go in a corner of the room after it is finished.
Now I'm waiting for the paint to cure on my new shelves before deciding on the next step, whether to:

1) Stack one on top of each other (as I show above);
2) Put wheels on the bottom; 
3) Make another stack of 2 and attach back to back, then add wheels;
4) Leave them side by side;
5 Attach them together (using gorilla glue or nails, a must with 3 or more shelves); or leave them unattached;
6) Call it a bad idea and toss.
Moving the crates around the living room helps to find the right spot. Hmm?

Who says she doesn't have space for a bookcase? Futhermore, these versatile crates can be stacked vertically or horizontally on top of furniture, if need be. If they end up under a window, 2 crate high will do. Next to the wall, I could attach 3-4 crates high, but need a platform to lift them up since the wall molding keeps them from resting against the wall. In a corner, they look best flat against the wall.
People with knowhow could add adorable touches, no?  Each narrow crate holds about 4 books. So 2 (holds 8 books), 3 (holds 12 books), or 4 (holds 16 books), neatly, immaculately and organized, no?

In a large room, a homeowner could get more ambitious by using large crates, as well as, attach 6, 9 or 12, etc. together. Painted, or stained ... and  voilΓ  ... stylish DIY storage furniture for less!
Be it for books, or something else, there is no end to how a creative person can decorate with inexpensive wooden crates. See Pinterest here for the many impressive ways! I'm posting 3 of my favorites although they may be above my skill-set.πŸ™‚

What do your think of using wooden crates as storage units?

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Thursday, May 2, 2019

Kentucky Derby Favorites: Hot Brown And Chocolate Pecan Pie

Thousands of Louisvillians watch the Kentucky Derby at home like everyone else in the world. If you desire some Derby local color, here are two dishes to make this Saturday before or after the race, but never, ever during the most exciting 2 minutes in sports. Post time is at 6:30 pm EST, so plan accordingly.

The Hot Brown at The Brown Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky
First up is a Hot Brown, an open faced sandwich consisting of turkey, crispy bacon and sliced tomatoes covered in scrumptious Mornay sauce. The legendary sandwich was created by Chef Fred Schmidt in 1926 at Louisville's elegant Brown Hotel. Click here for the original recipe.

Follow up your Hot Brown with a slice of Derby Inspired pie. The real Derby pie, made of pecans, semi sweet chocolate chips and a touch of bourbon (OK, maybe more than a touch) was created by George Kern in 1950 at the Melrose Inn in Prospect, Kentucky, a suburb of Louisville. Because it is copyrighted and the Kern family hasn't made it available to the public, we need to call this dessert anything but Derby pie.

Homemade Kentucky Chocolate Pecan Pie🐴

Photo: Markmark28

An unbaked 9 inch pie crust
1 cup dark (or semi sweet) chocolate chips
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (one stick) softened butter
4 large eggs
1 ounce good Kentucky bourbon
1/3 cup maple syrup
2/3 cup light corn syrup {how to make your own: For one cup substitute 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water. You will only use 2/3 of it.}
1 1/2 cups pecans (*walnuts are often substituted*)


1) Sprinkle the chocolate chips on the bottom of the unbaked pie crust.

2) Whisk together the sugar and butter. Add the eggs, bourbon, maple syrup and corn syrup. Stir in the pecans.

3) Pour into the unbaked pie crust and pop into a preheated 350 degree F oven.

4) Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the center is set. Allow to cool before slicing.

If you host a Kentucky Derby party here are favorite Derby appetizers to serve: Benedictine spread and Pimento Cheese spread. It is not a day you will save on calories, however, the food is shared.

Undoubtedly, they are luscious!  You're welcome! Enjoy the Kentucky Derby!!🌹

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