Friday, January 30, 2009

Why it is important to buy made in the USA

Not sure who the author is but his point hit home.

John Smith started the day early having set his alarm
clock (MADE IN JAPAN) for 6 am.
While his coffeepot ( MADE IN CHINA )
was perking, he shaved with his
electric razor(MADE IN HONG KONG ).
He put on a dress shirt(MADE IN SRI LANKA ),
designer jeans(MADE IN SINGAPORE )
and tennis shoes(MADE IN KOREA )
After cooking his breakfast in his new
electric skillet(MADE IN INDIA )
he sat down with his calculator
(MADE IN MEXICO )to see how much he could spend today.
After setting his watch(MADE IN TAIWAN )
to the radio(MADE IN INDIA )he got in his car(MADE IN GERMANY )
filled it with GAS(from Saudi Arabia) and continued his search
for a good paying AMERICAN JOB.

At the end of yet another discouraging and fruitless day checking his
computer(Made In Malaysia ), Joe decided to relax for a while.
He put on his sandals (MADE IN BRAZIL ) poured himself a glass of
wine(MADE IN FRANCE )and turned on his TV(MADE IN INDONESIA ),
and then wondered why he can't find a good paying job.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chef Stephanie's January Treat: Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies

This picture speaks for itself! Here is what Personal Chef Stephanie Ito of Nourish has to share about January's best recipe.

Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies

This month I’ll share another sweet item with you – partially because I have been making and consuming a lot of sweets even after the holidays this year (darn sweet tooth) and partially because they were such a hit last night when I took them to a friend’s house for dessert. And who doesn’t love dessert?

Generally speaking, I prefer a fruit-based dessert which some of my friends claim isn’t even dessert. They say that if there is no chocolate in it, then the dish doesn’t properly qualify as dessert. But, I do love a good mint-and-chocolate combination, so these brownies were perfect. Lately I have been really enjoying York peppermint patties and mint M&Ms – so these fit the theme well.

The brownies aren’t too dense, and stay nice and moist and gooey in the middle – just how I like them – but with a chewy corner crust. The cheesecake swirl lends some lovely mint flavor but also a nice creamy texture to the brownies. AND, believe it or not, these come from Cooking Light (one of my very favorite sources for recipes) so they can’t be that bad for you. Though I do admit that I didn’t cut the brownies into the 16 pieces that the recipe says you’ll get – I got nine very generous servings. Bon app├ętit!

Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies

1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. To prepare cheesecake batter, place cheese in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add granulated sugar and peppermint extract; beat well. Add 1 egg and 1 egg white; beat well. Add 1 tablespoon flour; beat mixture just until blended.

3. To prepare brownie batter, weigh or lightly spoon 4.5 ounces (about 1 cup) flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine 4.5 ounces flour, cocoa, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine brown sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla, 2 egg whites, and 1 egg in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium-high speed until well blended. Add flour mixture to brown sugar mixture; beat at low speed just until blended.

4. Reserve 1/2 cup of brownie batter. Pour remaining batter into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Carefully pour cheesecake batter over top; spread evenly to edges. Dot cheesecake batter with reserved brownie batter. Swirl top two layers of batters together using the tip of a knife. Bake at 350° for 26 minutes or until top is set. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

44% off today only

We're super excited, giddy you might say.

So full of hope for the USA,

that we're offering a very special deal today.

44% off all orders TODAY ONLY in celebration of the inauguration of our 44th President Barack Obama.

This one time, on-line steal is good through midnight, January 20th. Enter Barack in the coupon section at check-out.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish. -John Quincy Adams

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A warm place to play (& shop!)

If you are in Chicago and looking for a warm spot to take the kids to play this week, be sure to stop by My Corner Playroom on Friday, January 16th from 9am to noon. Kids can drop in for play and moms can shop Nancy Fullerton's Hand Picked Pumpkin trunk show.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

January Pumpkin of the Month

Here's Dorothy our newest Pumpkin of the Month! Her mom Stacy included this note:
"I love the Hand Picked Pumpkin outfit Dorothy received as a gift! (See how cute she is in her outfit!) Everytime she wears it, I always get lots of compliments. The first being, "Where did you get a girl's outfit that is brown?" I am happy to tell them about your wonderful website. Keep up the great work and I can not wait to design my own outfit for her!"

Congratulations Dorothy and Stacy on receiving a $50 hpp gift certificate.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Inspirational Quote

With greater confidence in yourself and your abilities, you will set bigger goals, make bigger plans, and commit yourself to achieving objectives that today you only dream about. - Brian Tracy

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


"Live as if you were to die tomorrow.
Learn as if you were to live forever."-Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, January 4, 2009

2 for 1

Many thanks to Simple-Finds for this lovely Hand Picked Pumpkin review:

With 3 kids, someone spills something on a daily basis. I don't carry a spot treatment in my bag but Hand Picked Pumpkin has awesome reversible hoodies that come in handy. 2 cute jackets in 1. If you're out and about and you're child has a ketchup accident, just simply reverse the jacket and problem solved. Finally, custom clothing for kids that's practical & they can wear on a daily basis. Did I mention how soft and cozy these jackets are? Be sure to grab one on your way out today & use coupon code Simple-Finds at check out and receive 15% off your purchase!