Thursday, March 28, 2013

Happy Birthday and Blogiversary To Me!

It's that time again! Today is my 25th birthday and this week also marks my 2nd Blogiversary. For the 3rd year in a row I am posting all of the great birthday deals that I try to take advantage of each year.  I'll be hitting up the Green Room this afternoon for my free champagne and who knows where the evening will take us.

Arby's– Free 12oz. milkshake with any purchase. Valid one week before your birthday through one week after.
Auntie Anne’s Pretzels– Get a coupon for a BOGO pretzel.  Valid one week before your birthday through one week after.
Baskin Robbins– Free 2.5 oz scoop of ice cream or a swirl of soft serve when you sign up for their birthday club
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s – They’ll send you a coupon for a free appetizer when you sign up, plus free dessert with purchase of any entrée for your birthday, valid the week before your birthday through the week after
Buffalo Wild Wings – Free dessert (you don’t have to sign up, just go in)
Chili’s– Get a free order of chips and queso when you sign up, plus a free brownie Sunday for your birthday. (offer valid with purchase of one or more entrées, valid week before your birthday through the week after)
Firehouse Subs – Get free chips and medium fountain drink with purchase of any sub when you sign up, plus a free sub on your birthday when you show your ID
Great American Cookies– Get a coupon for a BOGO cookie when you sign up, plus a free cookie cake slice with purchase of a soda valid the week before your birthday through the week after.
Hooters– 10 free wings on your birthday or up to a week after. Hooters girls not included.
Jack in the Box– Free dessert- your choice of Chocolate Overload Cake, New York Cheesecake, or 5 Piece Mini Churros.  Offer valid only on your birthday and bring your ID
Marble Slab Creamery– BOGO coupon when you sign up plus free cone and $3 off any ice cream cake on your birthday (bring your ID- offer only valid on your birthday)
McAlister’s Deli– $5 gift certificate towards your next meal
Moe’s Southwest Grill– Sign up for their newsletter and get a coupon for a free cup of queso and on your birthday week get a coupon for a free entrée (excluding fajitas)
On The Border– Free bowl of queso or sopapillas when you sign up, plus receive a coupon for a free Dip Trio or Brownie Sundae valid one week before your birthday through the week after.
Schlotzsky’s –Free bag of chips and fountain drink with purchase of a sandwich when you sign up, plus receive a free small sandwich on your birthday (must bring ID with your coupon)
Smoothie King – BOGO coupon for a free 20 oz. smoothie.
Sonic – Print a coupon for your choice of free regular cream slush, free medium tater tots, or a free medium drink.
Starbucks – If you have a gift card to their store, register it and receive a free coffee on your birthday.  It may even be worth it to buy yourself a gift card to register just so you can get a free drink!
Sticky Fingers – Free half slab of ribs (or any other menu item up to $13.99) May need to check ID for verification of your birthday too
TCBY – Free small cup of frozen yogurt and $3 off a cake or pie.
Waffle House – Join their Regulars Club and get a free waffle when you sign up, plus a free one on your birthday.
Zaxby’s – Join their Z-Mail club and you’ll get a coupon for a free meal, plus a coupon for a free nibbler on your birthday. Both of these are postcards via snail mail, so make sure you sign up in time to get it on your birthday!

Local Places:

The Green Room- Complimentary champagne toast
Sassafras- double fudge brownie w/ scoop of ice cream and raspberry drizzle
Pomegranate- Complimentary chocolate cake
Larkin’s on the River- Dessert of your choice
Rick Erwin’s West End Grill- Complimentary dessert of your choice
Nantucket Seafood Grille- Complimentary dessert of your choice
Smoke on the Water- Complimentary dessert of your choice
High Cotton- Free dessert of your choice, and if you’re old enough a champagne toast too!
Tsunami- Free fried cheesecake- I’ve had it and its soo good
The Chocolate Moose- Sign up for their birthday club and receive a coupon for a free regular sized cupcake of your choice
Zoes Kitchen – BOGO coupon for one free entree when you join Zoe-Mail

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Perfect Brownie

I've done it. I've mastered the perfect brownie.  Cakey and chewey at the same time. If you've made brownies before, you know that this is a serious accomplishment.

The Perfect Brownies 
1/2 C. unsalted butter
1 C. white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 C. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 C. Heath Toffee Bits

3 T butter, softened
3 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T Agave Nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 C. confectioners' sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8x8 square glass dish.
  2. In a saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. {here's where you have to pay attention to what you are doing} Beat until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated, and then about 5 seconds more. NO MORE.  If you over beat the mixture the brownies will be come cakey because the egg starts to froth.
  3.  Spread batter into prepared pan.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
  5. To make frosting beat 3 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons cocoa, 1 tablespoon agave nectar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 cup confectioners' sugar. Frost brownies while they are still warm.
  6. Top with toffee bits and let cool completely before cutting. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dreaming for Spring

Even though it may not feel like it outside, yesterday marked the first day of spring.  I could not be more ready for warm weather, flowers blooming, and spring shopping!  This year for lent I gave up shopping.  It's been really difficult, but I'm in the home stretch now.  I've got just over a week left!  Although I can't buy anything yet, I have been dreaming of the things I will buy once Easter comes.  Here are some of my warm weather must haves for 2013.

Spring 2013 Wishlist

1. Mint Jeans- Yes, maybe a little overdone, but I still want them
2.Gold Strappy Sandals- I get a new pair every spring and wear them out by beginning of fall
3.  Tart High Low Convertible Infinity Dress- Comfortable jersey fabric, and you can wear it in multiple ways
4. Fedora- The perfect stylish way to hide my not-so-sexy beach hair
5. Bathing Suit- I love these new styles of bathing suit tops,  flattering and comfortable to boot
6. Summer Scarf- The one thing I'll miss about winter weather is accessorizing with scarves, I'm going to try to carry this trend into the springtime by buying a few light weight brightly colored scarves

What are you dreaming of for spring?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lavender Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Last week I suddenly got the urge to bake again, but I really didn't feel like going to the grocery store. I usually keep some basic baking ingredients around the house, so I rummaged through the pantry to see what I had to work with. I came up with flour, brown sugar, some chocolate chips, and quick cooking oats. But there was nothing that really stood out to me; I wanted to add a fun ingredient in there too. Bacon crossed my mind, but that was too out there. Then I remembered that my sister recently gave me some dried lavender. So this is what I came up with.  

Lavender Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp dried lavender

-Preheat to 325 degrees F.

-In a large bowl cream butter, brown sugar, and white sugar, just until fully incorporated. Beat in eggs, then stir in vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in the quick oats, chocolate chips, and lavender.

-Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes

-Drop heaping spoonfuls on ungreased baking sheets, or use a 1 oz. scoop for perfectly portioned cookies.

-Bake for 12 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet then transfer to wire racks to continue cooling. 

These cookies turned out great.  I baked them on my Silpat, which I think helped them bake evenly and not stick to the pan.  They were really chewy but still held their shape. And the hint of lavender was so tasty!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Bless me bloggers, for I have sinned.  It has been 6 days since my last post. 

Work and life have been crazy!  I'm working an abbreviated week because Friday Mr. T and I are leaving for NYC!

I'm counting down the days...

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Saturday Faking

This weekend I had a little extra time on my hands, which never happens.  One of the things that I miss most about having a part time job is that I had time to bake.  Now that I'm full time there's no time for such a thing.

I've been craving these cookies that we used to have when I was a child, and found the recipe on Pinterest a few weeks ago.  They were just as good as I remembered!

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 Cup Butter
2 Cups Sugar
1/2 Cup Whole Milk
4 Tbsp Cocoa
1/2 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
3 Cups Quick Cooking Oats
2 tsp. Vanilla

Add first 4 ingredients in a saucepan over medium high heat.  Bring to a rolling boil, and boil for 1 minute.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Drop on to wax paper or a Silpat and let cool.  I used a small scoop for mine so they were more spherical than cookie shaped.  Keep in an air-tight container. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Rick's Deli & Market

One of the things that I love most about Greenville is that there is always a new restaurant to try.  Our city is growing at such a rapid pace that it seems we eat at a new place every week.  Last week I tried Rick's Deli and Market for the first time, and I was very impressed.   I think it's just what downtown Greenville needed.

Similar to a Dean & DeLuca, Rick's Deli & Market has sandwiches and salads, cold cuts by the pound, yummy baked goods, wine, and some specialty grocery items as well.  I love a quick lunch place that uses real silverware, glasses, and plates, too.  That's usually something you sacrifice when you go to a deli. 

I started with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.  They offer a few wines by the glass each day for lunch.  At $9 a glass, the price was pretty steep, but well worth the mid-afternoon buzz.  They have several community tables, and a counter that overlooks Camperdown Way.  They've done a great job with providing a lot of seating for such a small space.  

Sandwiches are served on paper-lined half sheet pans, which is genius. Indestructible, stackable, dishwasher safe, and they have a really neat industrial look.  I tried The Cuban with fries, which was very tasty.  It probably had a pound of freshly sliced pork on it and the house-made pickles were amazing.

Rick's Deli & Market on Urbanspoon
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