Get a Signed Copy of Finding Mr. Righteous!

Written by Lotus on Saturday, 18 of October , 2014 at 9:41 pm

 Finding Mr. Righteous
 

You can now get a personally signed hardcover copy of Finding Mr. Righteous for only $25.00!  The best part?  Shipping is on me!  Click “Buy Now” to purchase.  Don’t forget to include who the book should be signed to by clicking on ”Add Special Instructions to the Seller.”

A personally signed copy of Finding Mr. Righteous is the perfect gift for:
 
- Your wife or girlfriend (she’ll realize how lucky she is to have you!)
- Anyone who celebrates Christmas (it is a Christian story!)
- Anyone who celebrates Hanukkah (I don’t mind if they skip the chapter on “Adam the Jew”)
- Yourself (#treatyoself)
- Everyone else (you don’t want others to be jealous)
 
Click below to buy via Paypal!
 

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Category: Finding Mr. Righteous

Fun with Coffee-mate’s New Flavors

Written by Lotus on Monday, 2 of September , 2013 at 5:19 pm

I recently had the opportunity to try Coffee-mate’s new flavors inspired by Girl Scout Cookies.  I tried the “Thin Mints” and “Coconut & Caramel” flavors.  In partnering with the Girl Scouts, they’re also “scouting” for a Girl Scout to appear in their commericial.  You can view the submissions here.

Here’s the thing though… I don’t drink coffee.  Instead, I wanted to see if I could use them in new and unique ways.

The first idea I had was Palmiers.  Don’t let the fancy French name fool you. If you use prepared pastry dough it’s super easy.  After defrosting the dough in the freezer, I laid it out on the counter top.  I mixed 1/2 cup of Coffee-mate’s Thin Mints and 1/4 cup of sugar in a small bowl.  Then I brushed mixture on the dough.  Then I rolled up the dough on the long sides until they met in the middle.  Wrap the dough in wax paper and freeze for 30 minutes to make it easier to cut.  Then cut in 1/4 inch slices and put on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes or until golden.

palmiers.jpg

The second thing I made was Coconut Chicken Nuggets.  I soaked chicken tenders in the Coconut & Caramel Coffee-mate for about an hour.  Then I coated in egg and seasoned breadcrumbs.  I fried them in some olive oil, but you could also bake them.  The Coffee-mate added a little bit of sweetness, which made them so delicious.  Kids would probably really dig them.  Assuming the adults leave them any.

coconut-chicken.jpg

In addition to the above recipes I tried, I think either of the Coffee-mate varieties would be good in hot chocolate (or iced chocolate!), in protein shakes, or even “affogato”-style — a shot or so poured over gelato or ice cream.  I hear you can also put it in coffee!

coffeemate.jpg

 EVENING UPDATE!

Last night I mixed 1 ounce of Smirnoff Kissed Caramel vodka and a splash (maybe 1-2 tablespoons) of Coffee-mate Caramel & Coconut.  So good.

 

 

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Category: Food, LOTUS Recommends

Take Your Pet on a Trip

Written by Lotus on Saturday, 17 of August , 2013 at 11:04 am

rehoboth-beach.jpg

Item 29 on my Summer 2013 Bucket List is “Take Your Pet on a Trip.”  I don’t have my own pet, but I do have a lot of dogs I watch from time to time. For the last week or so one of my “god-dogs” Auggie has been staying with me.  He’s a dapple mini dachshund. He’s a great travel buddy because he’s small and low-maintenance.

Auggie is named after the city of St. Augustine, FL. Coincidentally, it’s also where I went to college. Obviously, we have a special connection. St. Augustine is the first city in the U.S. (so, pipe down, Jamestown) and is on the beach. Sadly, Auggie has never been to his namesake city or to the beach! I decided to drive us to Rehoboth Beach, DE for a a day. I found a pet-friendly hotel (The Breakers) and found a few pet-friendly restaurants (Hobo’s in Rehoboth and Gilligan’s in Lewes).

Unfortunately, dogs aren’t allowed on the boardwalk or on Rehoboth Beach.  However, the nearby Dewey Beach does allow dogs before 9:30 a.m. and after 5:30 p.m.

 

auggie-at-the-beach.jpg

 

Even though we couldn’t go on the beach, we did walk along Rehoboth Avenue. Many of the shops were ok with me bringing in Auggie since I was able to hold him and because he’s well-behaved.  (Ok, he was also really tired.)   A few favorite stores are Dolle’s Salt Water Taffy, Olde Salt, which sells knick-knacks and clever signs, and Critter Beach, a pet store that sells doggy ice cream, clothing and other pet items. I got Auggie a Hawaiian-print bandana and a dog biscuit shaped and iced like an orange creamsicle.

I’m really glad Martha Stewart’s Summer Bucket List included this in addition to other trip ideas.  Bringing a pet really adds a different dynamic.  It’s important to go to a pet-friendly location because you don’t want to ever leave a pet in your car during the summer months (or spring in hotter climates).

Final note: Why are so many northerners into eating French fries on the beach?  Plus they load them with cheese, crab meat, vinegar and other toppings.  It doesn’t seem like good beach food. This is a trend I don’t get at all.

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Category: Summer 2013 Bucket List, Cute boys

To Have and To Hold (the Remote)

Written by Lotus on Sunday, 4 of August , 2013 at 6:18 pm

Disclaimer: This post is solely about weddings I’ve seen on TLC’s “Four Weddings.”  I mean no offense to those who may have had or will have any of these in their wedding. Clearly, I should never be allowed in public, especially on a day when two people are celebrating their love.  On that note, here are a couple wedding trends that really bug me when I’m home alone and watching TLC on a Friday night.

Viennese Hour
I haven’t been to a wedding in five or six years, but the “Viennese Hour” seems to be a new thing.  In addition to dessert and/or a wedding cake, you apparently have to give your guests a wide array of desserts — cookies, pies, cheesecakes, cake pops, chocolate fountains (though I think those are now out), among other things.  What’s next?  Nightcap Hour?  Breakfast?

Cocktail Hour
Like the Viennese Hour, I think catering companies and wedding planners made a pact that these two things were the best way to raise everyone’s bottom line.  Actually, my gripe isn’t with hosts on this one.  It’s specifically for the catty women on “Four Weddings” who expect a full meal during cocktail hour.  I’ve seen episodes where there are a few passed items and a cheese table.  They always complain there isn’t enough food.  Really?  You want an entire meal before the meal and cake (and Viennese Hour)? Some of the weddings, actually most of the weddings, on “Four Weddings” have an entire buffet of food. Here’s my rule: I don’t need any cocktail hour food that requires a fork and knife.

“The couple has written their own vows…”
Is there any other phrase that garners more internal groans and fake smiles at once? Ok, it’s not that I don’t want people to proclaim their love for one another. It’s that “their own vows” now seems like forced quirkiness.  It’s not just the love, but the details they think make them quirky and unique, i.e. “I promise to let you hold the remote… sometimes.”   Ha ha ha, says the audience while looking at their watches.  Want to make your guests happy?  Keep it short, simple and less like a Cathy cartoon.

Meaty Complaints
I’m starting to see a pattern.  A lot of my gripes are related to food.  I am not much of red meat eater.  If I do eat red meat, I usually like it medium-well to well-done.  I understand I am in the minority.  Some women on “Four Weddings” do not.  So often they score down other women’s weddings because red meat is served rare or medium.  In many cases the chef is serving the cut correctly, but the women have different personal preferences.  Accept that you live in a world where you are in the minority.  Or simply ask the waiter for a piece of meat that’s more well-done and then give a better score because service was great.  This also goes for picky eaters.  Oh, you don’t eat gluten and you’re a vegan?  Is this your first time out in public?  The world, especially a private wedding, isn’t responsible for accommodating you.

Tiffany Blue
Tiffany blue only looks good on a box or item that is stamped or engraved with “Tiffany & Co.” Not chair covers. Not bridesmaids’ dresses. Not napkins. Not wedding cakes. That is all.

Fist-Pumping Entrances
Call me traditional, but if you would do it at a sporting event, you shouldn’t do it in a wedding dress.  I’m talking specifically about the couples who enter their receptions with fist-pumping worthy of a Jersey Shore nightclub.

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Category: Trash TV

Find the Perfect Summer Theme Song

Written by Lotus on Wednesday, 31 of July , 2013 at 10:22 am

Item 30 on Martha Stewart’s Summer 2013 Bucket list is to find the perfect summer theme son.  While channel surfing this morning I think I found one. I think “Blurred Lines” has been forced on everyone this summer, so while that may have been a safe choice, I just couldn’t get into it. Enter, One Direction. I was never a boy band fan, even when I was their target audience.  I have to admit though that their new song “Best Song Ever” is pretty catchy.  It seems fitting for my Best Summer Ever that the theme should be “Best Song Ever.” Sorry, Robin Thicke.

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Category: Summer 2013 Bucket List

5 Favorite Finds on Amazon

Written by Lotus on Sunday, 28 of July , 2013 at 5:00 pm

I saw a piece over at the Washingtonian written by the cofounder of Birchbox on the five beauty items she can’t live without.  I’m not a Birchbox subscriber, but it got me to thinking about some of my favorite things. The worst is when you find a product (beauty, food, or whatever) and then can no longer find it.  I’m looking at you, Trader Joe’s. Amazon has been great for someone like me who is resistant to trade in old favorites. Here are five of my favorite things that I routinely buy on Amazon.  

Just Cavalli Her by Roberto Cavalli Eau de Toilette
I love this perfume and have been wearing it for at least 10 years.  It’s no longer sold in stores.  Sometimes the bottles I receive are marked “Tester.”  Also, I’ve seen reviewers sometimes complain about them being fakes or not as potent.  It’s possible, though I suppose age might also have something to do with it since Just Cavalli is no longer manufactured.  If you have a different favorite perfume, Amazon seems to be a good place for finding backstock

Estee Lauder Ideal Light Brush on Illuminator (Soft Pink)
Even though this awesome concealer is still sold in stores like Blue Mercury, they no longer carry it in Soft Pink.  I seriously don’t understand why they stopped making the best (and lightest) color for an illuminator product. Am I the last one to know that dark undereye circles are now in?  I’m not exactly a pale face and the next lightest color is still too dark for me.

Barney Butter Almond Packets
These 90-calorie packs of almond butter are great. I haven’t seen them in stores.  They’re comparable to Justin’s Butters, but a little cheaper. The packs are handy and it tastes great just by itself.  I’m a nut butter purist, I suppose.

Gummy Vitamins
I don’t do large pills, so I take all my vitamins in gummy form.  Amazon has the best deals and the most variety. I take Women’s multi-vitamin, Omega-3, B12, Fiber, Glucosamine, and Calcium with D.  Look for sugar-free when available.  Even though I take a few sugar-free variet

Free Books on Kindle
There are a ton of free (and deeply discounted) books available for Kindle.  Check out the Pixel of Ink blog and sign up for their email list for a daily email of recommendations.

(Note: This isn’t a sponsored post, I just happen to love Amazon. You can probably find some of these items on eBay, Overstock, and other sites.)

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Category: LOTUS Recommends

Make a Dessert from Fresh Summer Fruit

Written by Lotus on Saturday, 27 of July , 2013 at 5:03 pm

peaches.jpg

The next item I did on my/Martha Stewart’s Summer 2013 Bucket list was to make a dessert with fresh summer fruit. Someone bought me a dozen juicy, ripe peaches from a farmer’s market, so I put them to use. Of course, I did have to enjoy a few on their own first.

 

I used this generic recipe for Fruit Crumble from Epicurious.  The only thing I did differently was use honey-roasted almonds instead of plain almonds.

crumble.jpg

Not pictured: The perfect scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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Category: Summer 2013 Bucket List, Food

Go to a Farmer’s Market

Written by Lotus on Sunday, 14 of July , 2013 at 9:55 am

farmers-market-cropped.jpg

Item number 21 on my Summer 2013 Bucket List was to go to a farmer’s market.  Truthfully, I will do this several times before the summer ends.  On Friday I went to the local market just a few miles from my house.  I purchased the grape tomatoes and cherry heirloom tomatoes in the photo above.  Not pictured: The ham and cheese croissant I nearly devoured on the drive home.

I used a handful of each tomato to make a shrimp salad.  It’s a random mix of my favorite things, so feel free to make it your own.

Shrimp and Avocado Salad

8-10 cooked shrimp

Half an avocado, cubed

1/4 cup fresh or frozen cooked corn

10-15 cherry and/or grape tomatoes, cut to your liking

1/4 cup crumbled Feta cheese

Coarse salt, as needed

Mix all in a bowl.  If the avocado is ripe, it will coat all the ingredients as a sort of dressing.  I also like a bit of Green Goddess dressing on top.

shrimp-salad-cropped.jpg

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Category: Summer 2013 Bucket List, Food

Curbside Cook-Off: A Girl with a Plan

Written by Lotus on Thursday, 11 of July , 2013 at 8:50 pm

This Saturday in Washington D.C. the Food Truck Association is hosting the first Curbside Cook-Off, a gathering of popular food trucks, music and unlimited beer to benefit the local charity, Miriam’s Kitchen.

I am obsessed with food trucks and their battle with those trying to regulate them out of business.  Unfortunately, I have only eaten at a few. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited and I don’t want to be overwhelmed, so I have to approach this awesome event with a plan.

- Don’t fill up on drinks.  I’m not a beer drinker, so this piece of advice is more of a public service.

- Make a beeline for Red Hook Lobster Pound.  As I wrote here a couple years ago, one of my food regrets is not getting their lobster roll when I saw there was no line.  I wrongly assumed they only took cash (most food trucks accept credit cards, some add a very small fee like 40 cents).  I will not make this mistake again.

- Falafel. I’ve never had it. It looks like there are several trucks that offer it, so I should take advantage.

- Goodies Old Fashioned Frozen Custard and Treats. This is the only truck I’ve visited more than once.  It’s where I had my first (ever!) root beer float.  They’re always coming up with new and interesting treats.  All are as delicious and smooth as the owner.

- Cookies!  Clearly, I would need a food truck to tow me home if I were consuming full portions of everything.  The great think about cookies is that they are totally portable and, in theory, can be saved for later.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  I’ve also heard good things about Captain Cookie and the Milkman.  It would be an insult to not take my friend’s advice to try them.

- We plan, God laughs.  As I said, there are several foot trucks I’ve never been to, so I look forward to talking with other people there and hearing about their favorites and trying something new.  Here’s the list of all the trucks that will be there.

Here’s the list of venues for this weekend’s and future venues.  Hope to see you there!

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Category: Food

Make Homemade Lemonade

Written by Lotus on Wednesday, 10 of July , 2013 at 10:31 am

Lemonade

Item number four on my Summer 2013 Bucket List is “Make Homemade Lemonade.” I bought a bundle of 6 or 7 lemons from Trader Joe’s for $1.99. Then I got home and realized I didn’t have a juicer of any kind. I improvised with elbow grease and a whisk, then strained through a mesh strainer to get any pulp. I got about half a cup of juice. To that I added a cup (!) of sugar and two cups of water, then chilled for a few hours (not a fan of ice).

I’ve never made lemonade from scratch and I’m not sure I’ve ever ordered it either. I’m not a big fan of juices in general. However, this was pretty amazing. Very refreshing on a hot day.

Coming soon in my Summer 2013 Bucket List: Go to a farmer’s market, Take a road trip, Wake up to see the sunrise, Plan a picnic…

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Category: Summer 2013 Bucket List

Author

LOTUS lives in Northern Virginia. NOTE: The views expressed on LOTUS blog are the author’s alone. Organizations listed on this blog are for identification purposes only.