Friday, October 29, 2010

"You've Been BOOed!" *if you're over 21!*


"You've Been BOOed by the Spirits of Jack Daniels and Jose Cuervo!!"


Pumpkins, 'Trick or Treat' and Halloweens past,
Remember, 'You've Been BOOed!' Which time was the last?


The kids are gone and out on their own,
Once were costumed cuties but now have college loans.


The fright of climbing tuition costs always on the rise,
They think we're made of out money but that's not our Halloween disguise!


Halloween isn't the same for us and this we know is true,
But now it's our turn to howl at the moon so how can we feel blue?

So as Halloween comes closer and we've already eaten 2 bags of candy,

Remember you've got a fellow empty-nester friend who thinks you're just dandy!

"You've been BOOed!"
by the Spirits of Jack Daniels and Jose Cuervo!!


by Pink Martinis and Pearls (ahem!)



I wanted to remember my fellow empty-nester friends whose Halloweens don't have the excitement of the 'ding-dong ditch' at this time of year when our kids were little and would run to the door to see if some ghostly friends had "booed" us and left us a basket of goodies.

My trick *and* treat was to make a little basket of spirits of my own to haunt them with cocktail recipe cards and assorted festive goodies.

My first spirit is Chambord because it's delicious but also because it's dark purple.
It's black raspberry liqueur goodness and is sweet and wears a crown!
How fabulous is that?
I love it poured over vanilla i scream!


I found 2 recipes using Chambord with Jack Daniels and Jose Cuervo, separately, but of course, or that would be really scary!
I used poetic license in renaming them.


One recipe calls for fresh lime juice so I added limes to the basket. On my way out tonight I'm stopping at the store and picking up POM to slip into the basket too. In goes the paper mache ball I found at William's-Sonoma filled with candy and I tossed in some See's milk-chocolate pumpkin balls and a ghost.

In larger baskets I added pumpkin bread I made and some crackers to go with the spirits.
Goodie combinations are endless!
Cheeses would be good too if you knew the basket wasn't going to be sitting out over night exposed to crawling critters on the porch.


I would have loved to have found waxed teeth or lips and made a pun out of waxing poetic and attached it to my poem. I am very corny!! I must stop!!

A few cello wraps and bow tying and I'm out the door!


And yes, I do plan to ring the door bell and run!!!
I LOVE being a midnight marauder.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ina's New Book *Great*!


Happy, happy! Joy, Joy!


I spent the entire evening visiting with Ina and Jeffrey (we're old friends as I have every one of her books, well, I mean I spent the entire evening reading her new book).

barefoot contessa~ how easy is that?
is true to what Ina does best and why we love her- full beautiful photos, laughing with friends, Jeffrey peppered among the pages and doable recipes for any ability. She invites us to pull up a chair and offers us a glass of wine in her signature goblets. We are home.

Her philosophy in this book is ~
~easy ingredients
~easy shortcuts
~easy techniques
~easy menus
~easy recipes
~no stress

No wonder we feel so at ease in her kitchen.

She whets our appetites with Pink Grapefruit Margaritas (page 37) garnished simply with half a lime circle. Lovely. Gives tips on planning a menu, good equipment, setting the table, and serving dinner in her no-hassle, relaxed style.
Pure Ina.

I highly recommend her recipe for Steakhouse Steaks (page 138) for filet mignons done to perfection. It's the only way I cook them since finding this recipe about a year ago on the Food Network. I'm glad to find it here in a more permanent home.
People also rate it 5 stars out of 5.

If you do try the steak recipe the Roquefort Chive Sauce (page 139) and the Cornmeal Fried Onion Rings are great accompaniments and are killer, plain and simple.

Of course, dessert leaves a wonderful taste in our mouths as the last section with red velvet cupcakes that only use 1 Tbl. of red food color instead of the usual 1 to 2 bottles (very sensible, don't you think?) and fleur de sel caramels (page 239).

I look forward to spattered pages from bubbly concoctions and whirling mixers with my secret notes hidden in the columns to match my other books by Ina.

Are you an Ina fan like me? :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Loaf Pan


At Michael's. Used my 40% off coupon.

You know the one you get with every purchase and you think why didn't I have this before I bought all this stuff? Well, this time I showed shopping restraint and went back.

Just for this beauty.
And to save $15.00


I want to make pumpkin bread today.
If you have an exceptional recipe, I'd love for you to send it my way!

It's lightly raining this morning, left over tropical storm from the Pacific.

I've got to bake.


And the pumpkins and leaves releve is akin to a new page in a coloring book waiting for my crayon to fill in the page with autumnal colored glazes.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Williams-Sonoma Specials


Feeling incomplete from my mall snafu on Friday and obsessively needing to try on the Steve Madden shoes with the zipper on the back of the heal, I went back and made a wrong turn into Williams-Sonoma. I say wrong turn only because I haven't been there for a long time and I went there first and left with 2 heavy bags to cart around with me but it was worth it.

They were doing something I have never seen them do before ~ having non-publicized discounts on many things!
The "only through this weekend" kind of promotions.
So here are some of my finds. I hope they are available near you too.


Deco Drops
~
Okay. Not on sale. Pink & green. Dragees on steroids. How could I resist?
Available in stores only.

Spiced Pecan Pumpkin Waffle & Pancake Mix ~
Normally I wouldn't have given a pre-made mix much thought but they were making mini pancakes in the store and they were so good I had two! Beyond delish and smartly pared with the Pecan Pumpkin Butter that was packed with flavor... definitely an 'OMG/eye roll' moment. I bought 2 of each. I'm thinking for the Walton family breakfasts during the holidays we all look forward to.
"Good morning John Boy(s), look what your mama has made for you"!


Normally ~ $14.95/ea. Set of 2 special ~ $12.00/ea. Saved ~ $5.90
Discount available in stores only.

Pecan Pumpkin Butter ~
Stock up it's seasonal, is all I can say. Can you imagine muffins made with this and then spread with it too? On the pancakes it was incredible. The very nice sales person at WS wrapped one for me in a cello bag and tied it with ribbon. I gave it to my MIL last night after we took her to dinner for Thai. She had just returned from seeing the touring production of South Pacific and I thought this would be a nice surprise to finish her day.
I think she thought it was too. :)

Normally ~ $9.95/ea.
Set of 2 special ~ $8.00/ea. Saved ~ $3.90
Discount available in stores and on the website

Nielson-Massey Vanilla ~
Call me a vanilla snob, but is there really any other kind?

4 oz. Normally ~ $10.00 Special ~ $8.50 Saved ~ $1.50
Discount available in stores only.

One more thing...


I am strangely attracted to these slightly creepy grinning paper mache pumpkins and am using them for a project which I will post about this week.

Normally ~ $14.95 Now ~ $10.99
Discount available in stores and on the website.

Note: Yes, I know WS isn't the most cost effective place to shop but they did have these unique items and holidays always provide an excuse to splurge. I also used to work there in the South Coast Plaza store when I first was married and relocated to OC. This was while I was waiting for a job in advertising to open up which it did a few months later. I was a Media Director until I was became pregnant with son1 and then became a SAHM. Little tidbit there. I don't know why. I think it's the fall weather today. It tends to make me retrospective and think about all that has passed.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

J. Crew Cuff Love


Hello.
My name is Ms. Pink Martinis and Pearls and I have a huge problem.

Bracelets.

Especially cuffs.

Oh my!


Someone, please stop me!
(but don't try too hard.)


How pretty would either of these be with my J. Crew black metallic scarf I bought yesterday and the white one with a soft tarnished-look silver threading I'm going back to get today?


Okay. Maybe I have another problem since NYC.

Scarfs.

But aren't problems more fun in pairs?

I think so.

Crystal Cluster Cuff $88
Pearl Cobblestone Bracelet $78
Chunky Black Metallic Scarf $59.50 in J. Crew stores
*Argento Vivo Sterling Hoops ~ Nordstrom $48

*At the mall yesterday I locked my keys in my car and left my phone at home. I waited in the parking structure for almost 2 hours for AAA (they missed my floor the first time). After being rescued from my ordeal of leaning up against the bumper with wind chill factor and asphyxiation added to the mix, I felt I needed an additional treat and went back into Nordstrom and bought the earrings.

Don't judge me too harshly. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.
It was either the earrings or the Halloween candy for my boys from See's that was going to be riding shotgun on the long, hungry ride to meet Mr. P.M. for dinner. I saw it as a crisis intervention and wore the hoops to dinner where they enjoyed a fine Chianti. :)

Have a sparkling weekend, friends. :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Henri Bendel et al


Shopping in NYC? But of course!
I had three stores on my list:

Henri Bendel.

I had no idea such an exquisite jewel box of a place awaited me!
I was only able to visit the first floor for less than 20 minutes but I coveted practically all I could see and my eye went to this set of three bangles.


I love subtly.
Can you see what makes it so special?
The brown Bendel stripe in the middle of the crystal.
What a lovely remembrance of 5th Avenue.


There was also this little bag that had to remain behind. Black. One side was covered in pearls with various sized round crystals. It was $800. I knew it was not going to be following me home. If it follows you home please send me a holiday card with its photo. You will love it being part of your family.

Fishs Eddy.

I gasped when I stepped through the door. I had hit whimsical china pay dirt!
Mr. P. M. took one look around from the doorway and said he'd meet me at Starbucks.
Even better!

Since our one suitcase was already at the weight limit when we left OC (not good planning on my part). I bought this for our friend who is up for Congressional re-election this year. I think it'll warm the cockles of his little Republican heart just for fun.

To be fair they also had the other ticket.
Strange, I never looked to see who was on it.
I guess you know which side sweetens my tea (no pun intended)! ;)



They had me at the beautiful entry and steps.


I could not leave without my own NYC scarf.
Wispy and willowy blue silk.
This color mesmerizes me.
It reminds me of the skies on our trip and how most of the time my gaze was turned upwards to the enchanting architecture.

Oh yes, I do have a swizzle stick from the Old King Cole bar in the St. Regis where it is rumored the Bloody Mary was invented so I had to give it a try. One drink ~ $20, weak and tasteless without any garnishes whatsoever. I do believe there was enough profit margin to include a stick of celery or a shrimp, don't you? They did however throw in an over-sized postcard of the mural for a souvenir and it was a lovely old-New York setting but that was a really expensive postcard and swizzle stick. :)

What trinkets do you like to bring home from a trip?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tailgate!


A house divided with tailgate togetherness.


Menu ~

*Chicken Curry Wraps
Lentil Salad
Team Colored Chips
Grapefruit Margaritas
*Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

We kept the menu easy and disposable so we could go directly from the campus to the stadium.

Since the filling for the Chicken Curry Wraps was a beautiful Trojan golden color, I found red tortillas to use for the wraps and cardinal and gold sandwich picks.
Oh, yes I did!

I made yellow cake cupcakes with vanilla bean icing using red wrappers and tinted the icing a golden color and sprinkled with red dragees. I kept and re-used the cupcake holder from the Magnolia Bakery from my trip to NYC last week. Sweet!

Mr. P.M.'s contribution was buying tortilla chips in Cal's team colors. Put it this way, he refused to buy USC's colors. I put the chips in glassine bags so everyone could have their own pack and used the extra Cal stickers I made for cupcake toppers from this post to use as decorative seals.

As painful as it was for me to have this bag in my house it had to do double duty for Cal's colors.


Local readers can find either ucla or USC chips at Pavillion but not in the regular chip section. I found these on an end cap in the liquor department.

The game was a completed blow-out.
USC 48 ~ Cal 14

One thing I wish SC fans wouldn't do is boo when the other team comes out of the tunnel. Afterall, they are just kids and it doesn't show good sportsmanship on our part.
There is nothing worse than arrogant, obnoxious fans on either side of the stadium.

Some SC fans even booed the Cal band! So unnecessary and embarrassing!

We are so fond of a trumpet player in the Cal band who is a friend and was in my sons' high school band and we had the pleasure of seeing him play yesterday.
It was such a thrill for us! Here's a shout out to you Ben!
You looked and sounded terrific!!
Did you see me cheering for the band? :)

Okay, now that I have changed everyone's attitude in collegiate sports to be polite and civilized, here are a couple recipes. :)

Chicken Curry Salad ~

4 Chicken Breast halves cooked, cooled and cubed
1/2 cup mayo
1/3 cup plain yogurt
5 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup Major Grey's Chutney
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 ground black pepper
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium apple, chopped
1/2 cup seeded and salted pumpkin seeds

I used chicken breasts with bone in and skin on. Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 350 for approximately 40 minutes or until done. Cool and cube.

Whisk together mayo, yogurt, curry, honey, chutney, ginger, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add chicken, chopped bell pepper, apple and pumpkin seeds and fold to combine.

** You can add a mango to the mix and substitute 1 cup halved red seedless grapes or use cashews instead of pumpkin seeds.

Vanilla Bean Icing ~
1 pound powdered sugar
6 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 cup milk

Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer or with heavy spoon until smooth and creamy; scrape bowl often. If too stiff to spread easily, beat in a few drops of milk.

Here's to the Trojans for their victory, to the Cal band and the next excuse to make cupcakes. Also, a heartfelt thank you to our gracious hosts, my former college room mate, Lady Kate, and her husband who is a master of all things cocktail! We had such a great day with you!! xoxo

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New York


Everything I learned about NYC, I learned on the Grey Line tour bus.

You're invited to ride along.


Times Square.
Because the NY Times was located in the building behind 'the ball' at the intersection.
Like Vegas only more squooshed.
Been there. Done that. Don't need to do it again.


Uptown.
Not a location per se, but a direction.
If you are going anywhere north on Manhattan it is considered 'uptown'.
Going south? It's 'downtown'.

"Up. Down. Cross. Town".
I give it a 10. It has a great beat.

Columbus Circle.
The lower west corner of Central Park.


Look up!
Beautiful old architecture is everywhere!


The Dakota.
Named so for when it was built it was so far 'uptown' from the original populous in lower Manhattan that someone said it might as well be in Dakota. The builder knew a good marketing tool when he heard one and the name stuck.


It was also John Lennon's birthday the next day and camera crews were setting up in Strawberry Fields across the street in Central Park. Strawberry Fields is a small renovated section Yoko Ono sponsored to the memory of John. There is a very pretty brass medallion with 'Imagine' displayed. It was filled with flowers as we walked by. Lovely.

Driving up Central Park West.


St. John the Divine, Harlem, on Amsterdam.
Duke Ellington's service was here as was Luther Vandross'.


I loved these little neighborhood markets.
Everything was so pretty and inviting.


Did you know...


The difference between a deli and a delicatessen?
A deli has no place to sit down and eat. You order 'to go'. A delicatessen has tables but you can also pick up to go. Therefore, you can have a deli in a delicatessen but you will never see a delicatessen in a deli. Got that?

Broadway Theaters
To be considered a 'Broadway Theater' it has to have a certain number of seats (which I don't recall now). There are many theaters that meet this requirement but only 2 are actually located on Broadway. Most are on side streets like the Ambassador Theater where we saw Chicago.

Bravo!

Back at Central Park on the Bow Bridge.
I think it's been in every NY based romantic comedy.
Next time, I am hitting every Upper West Side location from
"You've Got Mail".


Funny, I didn't see one other life guard hat in the entirety of Manhattan.


Every detail on this bridge was beautiful.


Are you still with me?
And we're walking... walking...


... and fantasizing this was my city apartment.

The Plaza.



Now we're headed 'downtown'.
We pass the Flat Iron building...


...and continue down Broadway.
This was surreal as the streets narrowed.
This was the New York I wanted to see. Historical. More grit.


The wiring made me wonder what would happen if I plugged in my hairdryer.


Coming into the Cast Iron District.
The facades of the building were cast iron and very ornate. It was a cheaper way to fabricate the buildings as parts assembled like Legos. This was the original garment district where the typical sweat shops were located.






Look out! Whew. That was a low one!



The Woolworth Building.
Still on Broadway.






Now we've made it to Battery Park and the pier to catch the Circle Line for an hour tour of the harbor.

Bargains seemed to be everywhere on the street.
Everybody who's anybody wears a scarf in NY, or so it seemed.
I saw them everywhere. Street vendors were selling them for $5 - $10.
People even wore them with shorts.
Glad I brought mine to fit in.
I think NY needs more pink, don't you?
I was proud to contribute!


I got a great deal on this bridge too!


Mr. P.M.'s paternal grandparents came from Norway to Ellis Island.
I think he had a moment.


And no first-time NY trip would be complete without seeing this lady.



...and we're walking... from the pier to Petra or at least this was my first impression of the NY Stock Exchange. We were on these tiny narrow streets where the sunlight could barely penetrate and we came around a corner and then... WOW!


Did you know...

That the street signs on Manhattan can tell you some very interesting things? If you look hard you can see that the street sign below is black. You will only find these in lower Manhattan as this means these streets were here before the American Revolution and since Manhattan was populated from this area up you will only find black street signs in this area of the island.

The key to other street signs are:

Green - Permanent
Blue - Temporary, usually to honor someone. No time limit.
Reddish brown - Historical

From where I took this photo, to the right, is where George Washington took his oath of office. There is a large statue of him there.

Looking straight ahead is the Trinity Church.

... and we're walking...


The organist was playing. I lit a candle and gave thanks.


The rebuilding of the WTC is coming along. They are on the 40th story.
Our nephew works in the building to the right. They had an office bet going to see who picked the correct date of when the new building would block the view to the Brooklyn Bridge.


Directly across the street from Ground Zero is St. Paul's Chapel. The British built it and all the wood work and flooring is original. The paint colors are also authentic to the original colors. This is the chapel Washington came to pray for 2 hours before taking his oath of office for his presidency.

This is also where all rescue crews set up base for rest and food during the 9/11 days. It is a miracle not one pane of glass was broken on 9/11. Given the historical significance of this building and what it has seen, New York considers this the heart of the city and is a symbol of the strength of its people.

The pews remain dismantled. There are memorials and mementos set up around wall's parameters. It's a small chapel but like a jewel box.


... and we're walking... from the Financial District over to Little Italy and Mulberry Street.
We ate a wonderful lunch on the sidewalk at S.P.Q. R.
I kept thinking shouldn't there be grocery vendors on the street like in the God Father?


However, I did see a man strutting around like he owned the place which made me think of Billy Joel's "Big Man On Mulberry Street."

Making it from the lower east side one morning from Katz's Delicatessen, Orchard Street and the Tenement Museum (get tickets online) we had no idea where we were headed but found ourselves in a rough neighborhood on Bowery which I found out later was the old Five Points area (think Gangs of New York). I had enough of it so I saw a tree lined street off to the side and said, "We're taking it." It was Prince Street and took us over to charming SoHo.

One thing we learned about the city, one block in either direction on a street can have a huge impact to the tone of the neighborhood. Prince Street proved to be royal indeed. I'm so happy we stumbled upon it. Tony shops and little holes-in-the-wall.
We took it over to Broadway.


This little market was so charming and had the most beautiful flowers.


We also walked up to Washington Square where I learned this was once a hanging ground and there are 15,000 bodies buried in and around the square. The interesting facts just never stopped on this tour. They also found a former slave burial ground on Broadway as they were excavating for a building. I think this city has unimaginable stories yet to tell.

I'm already getting my list ready for next time but I need time to recoup.

I hope you enjoyed the tour! It was a pleasure having you come along.

This trip was brought to you by 3 boxes of Band-Aid Advanced Healing Blister Cushions.

"Don't leave home without it."

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