Caviar, Anyone?

October 28, 2011

Fairly recently I was drawn back to eyeliner. I was a huge devotee in the seventh grade, somehow thinking that big black liner worked. And I stuck with it for a while. But somewhere along the line between college and entering the real world, I left the liner for special occasions only. And then it was all about lining the lower lash line.

A few years ago, a talented makeup artist at Bergdorf’s from Laura Mercier taught me to take powdered liner on a slanted brush and push it right into the lash line on the upper lid. If you do it correctly, it’s hardly perceptible to someone that you’re wearing makeup (which is good because I hate looking like I’m wearing a lot of makeup) and it really opens up the eye. Which is all the more helpful as you get, ahem, older. It draws the eye up.

So imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when I was down in Soho at Space NK (a good spot for finding new makeup — I trust their recommendations) and the rep from Laura Mercier said they had a new product that I had to try: Caviar Stick Eye Color. The only way to describe it is it’s eye liner, only better. It’s almost like a combination of a powder and a stick. it’s easy to apply, and you can still do the same push into the lash line to get the same effect. My only quibble with it is it’s a little thick, making a thin line a bit difficult.

I have brown eyes and she swore to me that I would love the plum color, and she was right. It’s somehow more fresh and bright. I like to put it on and then smudge it a bit with my finger — it really gives you the best smudged look ever, and to me the smudge is perfect. Too done up looks old lady! If you like a smoky eye, this stick’s for you.

It’s long lasting and at $24, I think worth the money. Available at better department stores, or Sephora.

Single of the Week

I feel like it has been a while…take it away, Ken:

The dexterous guitar noodling and jarring time changes of progressive rock are pushing outside of their inner circle of guitar store employees and haircut-averse retail workers. As governor of Utah, the clean-cut John Huntsman declared Dream Theater Day in his Mormon mecca. Rush is buddy-buddy with Jason Segel and Paul Rudd. And Hammers of Misfortune? Well, they’re not dueting with Tony Bennett anytime soon, but it’s very possible that their new album, 17th Street, is a concept album in tribute to West Elm, which is located near our apartment on 17th Street. (“Hell black skies. Bodies wrapped in cable. $199 for the Parsons End Table.”)

Here’s the title track. Suck it, Barry Manilow.

Click here to take a listen.

Etc.

It has been a rough week, no? I am happy the weekend is just about here. I broke down and started wearing socks today, which means that the cold weather is really here.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

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Cookie on the Brain

October 25, 2011

Thanks to all of you who entered our contest sponsored by Tate’s Bake shop. Even my son wrote up a cookie recipe to enter, but I told him he was ineligible!

The winner is (drumroll please)…Tori from Brooklyn!! Congratulations Tori! Tori’s recipe that she sent in is below. She gives full credit for it to her pal Martha. (Stewart, that is.) Check your mailbox Tori, because some delicious cookies from Tate’s are coming your way, as well as a signed copy of Kathleen King’s cookbook. Enjoy!

Double Chocolate Cookies

Oversized and just a little underbaked, these cookies totally rule, especially if you add a little extra coarse salt than is called for.

Makes about 3 dozen.

Ingredients

1c flour

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon coarse salt (I usually add a little more b/c I like them on the salty side)

½ pound milk chocolate chips, 4 oz of which should be coarsely chopped

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Other supplies

parchment paper

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  2. Melt 4 oz chopped chips with butter in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water; let cool slightly.
  3. Put chocolate mixture, sugar, eggs and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium seed until combined. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Using a 1½-inch ice cream scoop (or just wing it, as I usually do), drop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.
  5. Bake until cookies are flat and surface cracks, about 15 minutes (cooking should be soft.
  6. Let cool on parchment on wire racks.

Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in airtight containers at room temp. up to 3 days.

Speaking of Baking

We were in Dumbo this weekend, and we checked out Almondine, a bakery that the former pastry chef from Le Bernardin (Herve Poussot) opened on Water Street. It is worth heading to Dumbo just to try some of the breads. The almond croissants are supposed to be amazing, but they were sold out so we went with the pain au chocolat. Delish! The multigrain bread was also tasty, and the oversized chocolate plop cookie was…you guessed it! Yum. (The pools of chocolate were too large to be classified as mere “chips.”) I have already told my Brooklynite co-workers that they must go, and they must bring me an almond croissant if they have them in stock. Hey Herve, any chance you want to open up in Chelsea??!!

Etc.

Something is wrong with our DVR and it is screwing up the little TV watching I do. That’s the thing about technology — it’s very easy to get screwed up, and it really messes with the system!

Wish me luck tomorrow — my husband had to go away for the night so I have to get everyone up, fed, dressed, make everyone’s special request lunches, and get myself ready and to my son’s school for family morning, all with an injured knee! Hoping for the best…

If you caught our previous post, you know that our friends at Tate’s Bakery are sponsoring a contest here at Family Favs.  WELL, TODAY IS THE DAY TO MAKE YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE!!

Send us your favorite cookie recipe, and you could win 3 bags of Tate’s delicious Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Chip cookies, as well as a signed copy of master baker’s Kathleen’s cookbook. Plus we’ll put your recipe on Family Favs to share with all of our readers. Just email us at familyfavs@yahoo.com by MIDNIGHT TONIGHT, Tuesday, October 18th, and don’t forget to include your name and address so Tate’s can ship you your prize if you win. Open to U.S. residents only (sorry international friends!)…we’ll take all of the entries, mix ‘em up and pull out one lucky winner.

Come on, you know you want some tasty cookies!!

We definitely try and do our part when it comes to conserving and being environmentally conscious. We use reusable bags at Whole Foods and recycle as much as we can. But I was feeling guilty lately about how many freakin’ small plastic bags we go though: sandwich bags, snack bags, quart sized, freezer bags…I am sure I have already put the CEO of Ziploc’s kid through college.

I was at MoMA a couple of weeks ago to see the DeKooning exhibit (which by the way I totally recommend), and I came across these adorable, reusable sandwich and snack pouches by Lunch Skins. They’re made from cloth and have an easily cleanable inside and are safe to throw in the wash if need be. They close with strong velcro to make anything stay put. The colorful designs make them fun for kids to carry — I’m partial to the red apples and the stripes.

I found them online at Amazon here, which has the sandwich version for $11.50. If you use it every day you’ll make it up on the money you’re saving on plastic bags in no time flat. Plus the landfill will definitely thank you. I got each of my kids a sandwich sized one and a snack size, and so far it has been working out well. (There’s also a sub size if you need to transport larger sandwiches.) And forget about the kids — if you bring your lunch to work, these designs are sophisticated enough to end up in your lunchbox, too!

Did Someone Say Free Cookies?

If you caught our post last Thursday night, you know that our friends at Tate’s Bakery are sponsoring a contest here at Family Favs.   Send us your favorite cookie recipe, and you could win 3 bags of Tate’s delicious Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Chip cookies, as well as a signed copy of Kathleen’s cookbook. Plus we’ll put your recipe on Family Favs to share with all of our readers. Just email us at familyfavs@yahoo.com by Tuesday, October 18th, and don’t forget to include your name and address so Tate’s can ship you your prize if you win. Open to U.S. residents only (sorry international friends!)…we’ll take all of the entries, mix ‘em up and pull out one lucky winner. Come on, you know you want some tasty cookies!!

Etc.

Isn’t it fascinating how so many people were touched by Steve Jobs’ passing? I really find it interesting. I think it’s sad that he was gone so soon, if you think about how much his brilliant mind could have given us in the next 10 or 20 years. RIP Steve Jobs, and thanks for everything.

Did you hear the tapes of a doped up Michael Jackson? They played them on one of the morning shows last week and I still can’t get it out of my head. It made me sad for how out of it the guy was. Another one taken too soon.

This weather has been phenomenal. Enjoy!

 

When we heard from our friends at Tate’s Bake Shop last month that they’d like Family Favs to do a tasting of their Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies, we jumped at the chance. Who in her right mind with 2 kids and a hungry husband would say no to that?! October is National Cookie Month, after all. (No, I didn’t know that until they told me!) And apparently Tate’s Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies won a Gold in the Cookie category at the 2011 sofi™ Awards, presented at the Fancy Food Show (known as the Oscars® of the specialty food industry) in Washington, DC. Sounded good to me!

Kathleen King, who created these cookies, has been baking since she was 11 years old, selling chocolate chip cookies at her family’s farm stand. Those chocolate chip cookies have since been voted America’s Favorite Chocolate Chip cookie by Rachel Ray, and Tate’s Bake Shop now offers many more cookie flavors, as well as a variety of Kathleen’s signature traditional American desserts such as cakes, pies, crumbles and more. She has now put it all together in a cookbook, The Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook, which includes a forward by Ina Garten. The cookbook has been a huge hit as the recipes are delicious and simple to bake. According to Kathleen, each recipe is designed to “take less time to make than it would to go to a store to buy a commercially prepared baked good.” I am definitely down with that.

So, on to the cookies: how are they? Quite tasty, I must say. I should state up front that I have built in preference for soft cookies (that just out of the oven smell and taste can’t be beat) but given that I almost never have time to bake, especially during the week, these are a terrific substitute to have in the cabinet. The chocolate chunks are my favorite part — it tastes like high quality chocolate, which isn’t always the case with store-bought cookies. And there is a very generous chocolate: cookie distribution, so you get some chunks in every bite. Also a huge plus. And the fact that they’re whole wheat (but don’t taste it at all), well, that gives any mom a little extra satisfaction about giving them to their kids. Thumbs up I say!

Now, here’s the good part. From now through October 12th, Family Favs readers can take 15% off their order at Tate’s Bake Shop online by using the code cookie2011 at checkout.

And, we’ve got an exclusive contest. Send Family Favs your favorite cookie recipe, and you could win 3 bags of Tate’s delicious Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Chip cookies, as well as a signed copy of Kathleen’s cookbook. Plus we’ll put your recipe on Family Favs to share with all of our readers. Just email us at familyfavs@yahoo.com by Tuesday, October 18th, and don’t forget to include your name and address so Tate’s can ship you your prize if you win. Open to U.S. residents only (sorry international friends!)…we’ll take all of the entries, mix ’em up and pull out one lucky winner. Come on, you know you want some tasty cookies!!

If you’d like, you can check Tate’s out on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @TatesBakeShop.

Powerless

October 4, 2011

I can’t believe it’s only Monday and I am already exhausted! Oy! Luckily our guest blogger Denielle is here with some lessons to be learned from the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. I for one have learned first hand how important power is to our daily life. I actually just bought everyone in my house flashlights (Mag Lights!) this past weekend, just in case the power goes. And don’t forget batteries! Take it away, Den…

While it may seem like old news by now, the Hurricane-turned-tropical-storm-Irene, which ignored everyone on her intended path and packed a punch in unexpected places, left us in Summit, NJ without power for 6 days 9 hours and 22 minutes.

Thanks to a generous neighbor with a gas powered generator and some jet-lagged children, we were able to use an extension chord to get our sump pump running (for you apartment dwellers, be glad you don’t know what a sump is!) at 3:30am when the power went out. The functioning of said pump saved us a basement flood.

By morning my next door neighbor had five long extension chords running like squid tentacles to all the surrounding houses, helping power sump pumps, shop vacs (for those who had to suck out the water that got in) or powering cell phones and refrigerators.

I think I must have been a pioneer woman in a previous life: my freezer was so full of ice bags that my frozen goods (minus the popsicles) survived a few days. And I had cooked a variety of things in advance so we ate cooked leftovers and got through the weekend.

Then came Monday. And we still had no power. My other neighbor started scouting the area for NJ Central Power and Light Trucks and offered all sorts of bribes to get them to come our way. But a giant tree had fallen on a major line and apparently they save the big jobs for last.

So what does one do with 3 kids and no power for almost 7 days?

We went out. A lot. The tree and downed lines only blocked one exit from our neighborhood, so we could escape and go to the library or the playground (note: the gym and town pool suffered from the hurricane and remained closed). The zoo proved to be a fun escape on day 6.

We ate early, bathed by candlelight, read by flashlight and went to bed early. The din of gas powered generators at every 3rd house proved to be a sleep enhancer for my kids who are normally super-early risers.

We got our news from neighbors on the street. We bonded. Misery loves company, after all. Granted, we only talked about what was happening with power on our street and whose basement flood was covered by insurance, but it was fun. We were all in it together.

We didn’t do laundry for six days – we all have more than 6 pairs of underwear so we were ok.  And I didn’t miss the chore!

And when the power came back, my kids watched a lot of TV.

We all had lots of warning for this storm, but you really don’t know when problems will arise.  Make sure your emergency kits are packed. The government has lots of recs, but I say batteries, flashlights and water are your basics. http://www.ready.gov/america/getakit/index.html

Good luck and may you all stay POWERFUL the next time mother nature gets angry!