Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lunchtime Links for January 31st, 2012

Shake Shack - Mud Pie Custard

I recently tried out the Shake Shack Mud Pie custard, which is a Wednesday custard flavor during January.  I tried to find a detailed description of it online - Serious Eats blogged about it before, and you can find the post here

This custard was super chocolatey with the welcome addition of crispy chocolate wafer pieces on top.  The only difference from the Serious Eats post is that mine were chocolate wafers and not Oreos, sadly.  The chocolate custard was really rich and tasted slightly different from their regular chocolate custard.  

If you're a choco-holic, make your way to a Shake Shack on Wednesday soon! 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Lunchtime Links for January 30th, 2012

CVS Deals - Week of 01/29/2012

This week at CVS, there's lots of great Extra Bucks deals.

First, some "freebies":

- Hershey's milk chocolate bunny, Cadbury egg, Reese's single egg (1.2oz), or Cadbury mini eggs (1.5oz): One for $0.87, $0.87 Extra Bucks back.

- 3 Hallmark cards: Buy 3, get $3 Extra Bucks back.  If you buy the $0.99 Hallmark cards, you get them for free!

There's also a great deal on some health items if you have the coupons from Sunday's paper:

- Advil liquid-gel 40-count: $4.49 on sale, $1 manufacturer's coupon.
- Centrum Adult vitamins 100-count: $6.99 on sale (I picked up a bonus pack with a 100-count bottle and a free 30-count bottle), $1 manufacturer's coupon.
- Dimetapp: $6.99 on sale, $1 manufacturer's coupon.

With this deal, you get $4 Extra Bucks when you buy two items, and a $10 mail-in rebate for buying three products - the form is located in Sunday's coupon booklet.

Finally, another Extra Bucks deal for a few more health items:

- Colgate Sensitive toothpaste: $2.74 on sale, $1 manufacturer's coupon.
- 2 Colgate Total Advanced toothpastes: $2.74 each on sale, $1/2 manufacturer's coupon, $1.50/2 CVS coupon.
- 2 Softsoap pomegranate hand soaps: $3 each on sale, $1/2 manufacturer's coupon.

With this deal, you get $6 Extra Bucks when you buy $12 worth of selected items.

Happy shopping everyone!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Lunchtime Links for January 27th, 2012

Foodbuzz Review - Kikkoman Kara-Age Soy-Ginger Seasoned Coating Mix

I recently received a complimentary box of Kikkoman's Kara-Age Soy-Ginger seasoned coating mix to try out as part of a Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Kikkoman.  I was pretty excited to get it because Japanese chicken kara-age has always been one of my favorite dishes.

For those of you that don't know much about kara-age, here's some background information courtesy of Foodbuzz:

"Kara-Age is a classic Japanese frying technique that involves marinating chicken in soy sauce with ginger, and dusting it in starch or flour before deep-frying.  It achieves a crispy, crunchy texture similar to western fried chicken".

I decided to go with a classic preparation using cut up chicken thighs.  I poured one package of the mix into a plastic bag (there are two packages in each box).  Then I moistened the cut up chicken with some water, then added the chicken pieces to the same bag.  Shake, shake, shake (WITH THE BAG CLOSED, haha) to coat all of the pieces evenly.  Then I pan-fried the coated chicken in a frying pan with vegetable oil until browned and cooked evenly.

And here we have the finished kara-age chicken with a side of steamed broccoli and cauliflower.  The kara-age mix had a very strong ginger and soy sauce smell, which I liked a lot.  It's nice to know that the label description holds true to its word.  The chicken itself was moist with a nice breading on it.  However, maybe due to pan-frying it, I didn't achieve that really crispy coating that is normal with chicken kara-age.  Maybe next time I'll try deep-frying the chicken with this coating and see how it goes.  Thanks Foodbuzz and Kikkoman for letting me try out this kara-age coating mix!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lunchtime Links for January 26th, 2012

Georgetown Cupcake - Toasted Marshmallow Fudge Cupcake

So, this is more of a "new but not really all that new" cupcake from Georgetown Cupcake, haha.  The Toasted Marshmallow Fudge cupcake is a new flavor, technically, and available only in January.  It's a "Valrhona chocolate cake filled with fudge and topped with marshmallow buttercream frosting, a fudge star, and a toasted marshmallow".

The reason I say it's "new but not really all that new" is because it is VERY similar to their S'mores/Campfire cupcake, haha.  The only difference I am aware of is the graham cracker crumbs on the S'mores/Campfire version.

Having said that, I enjoyed this Toasted Marshmallow Fudge cupcake, but I did feel like it was missing that little something extra - aka the graham cracker crumbs, haha.   It's a great cupcake for anyone that is a fan of marshmallow and chocolate - the fudge core adds that extra bite of rich chocolate flavor in the cake portion.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Lunchtime Links for January 25th, 2012

Sprinkles - S'more Cupcake


On my last visit to Georgetown, I picked up a January S'more cupcake from Sprinkles thanks to a free cupcake coupon via Facebook, woo!

The S'more cupcake is "officially" the S'more by Blake Lively, aka Busty McMiniskirt on Gossip Girl.  The S'more is a graham cracker-lined Belgian dark chocolate cake filled with bittersweet chocolate ganache and topped with toasted marshmallow frosting, and is available through February 2nd.

This cupcake is a really delicious rendition of a s'more and I'm really glad I tried it.  The marshmallow frosting was a little messy but totally worth it.  And the graham cracker lining with the really rich dark chocolate cake was a fantastic combination.  Any fans of s'mores will love this cupcake!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lunchtime Links for January 24th, 2012

New Kicks


Even though I very rarely run outside, I decided it was time for some new running shoes because my gym shoes felt like they were getting worn down.  I got this fun pair of Adidas sneakers at DSW for an awesome price:

$70 shoes +
30% off clearance +
$20 rewards certificate +
 $20 rewards certificate =

$9 total, plus 500 extra rewards points thanks to an athletic shoe promotion

Now if that wasn't enough motivation to get new shoes and use them at the gym, I don't know what is!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Lunchtime Links for January 23rd, 2012

CVS Deals - Week of 01/22/2012

This week CVS has the "Spend $30 get a $10 CVSCash card" deal again.

Remember, these are valid for pre-coupon prices, so try to get as many of the items that have coupons available!

Also, please note that I am not buying every item that is included in this offer; rather, I am buying items that I have coupons for and that I want/need.  I wanted to bring this up because this week I happened to buy a lot of the same item, haha.

- 8 assorted Hershey's Drops, Pieces, and Minis bags: 2/$6 on sale, four $1/2 manufacturer's coupons. 
- 2 M&Ms large bags: 2/$6 on sale, one $1.50/2 manufacturer's coupon.

I like these candies for football game snacks and for baking!  They are all small enough to be added into cookies, cakes, and brownies.

There is also a good Extra Bucks deal on Garnier hair and skin products, where you get $5 Extra Bucks back for spending $15.

I got:

- Garnier skin renew cream: $10 on sale, $1 manufacturer's coupon, $2 CVS coupon.
- Fructis Sleek and Shine serum: $5 on sale, $1 manufacturer's coupon.

Happy shopping everyone!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Lunchtime Links for January 20th, 2012

Bon Chon Chicken

Back in December my friend M and I met up so that I could have my first taste of Bon Chon chicken, woo!!  I've heard SO MUCH about Korean fried chicken before and I was like reallllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllly excited to try it out!

To start, we split an order of fried dumplings with their soy garlic sauce on them - this was crispy and delicious, a great precursor to how the chicken taste would be, haha.

Here's my order, which consisted of 1/2 soy garlic chicken and 1/2 spicy soy garlic chicken.  In the middle is a little cup of pickled daikon, which I also love.

THIS CHICKEN IS SO FRIGGIN GOOD.  Really super crispy without feeling greasy, and the sauce is fantastic.  The spicy version has a nice kick to it which I really enjoyed, but it's a toss-up as to which version I liked better. 


I'm torn between going back to have more or deliberately staying away because I know I'd eat SO much because it's so good, haha! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh it's so good!

Have any of you tried Korean fried chicken before?  Is there a difference between the brands or do they all generally taste the same?

Bon Chon - Fairfax
3242 Old Pickett Rd
Fairfax, VA 22031
703) 865-5688 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lunchtime Links for January 19th, 2012

Sprinkles Cupcakes - Salty Caramel Cupcake

This yummy cupcake is a Sprinkles Salty Caramel cupcake, which was available at the end of last year.  I snagged one by being in the Georgetown area at the time that the day's free flavor was announced, woo!

The cupcake is a caramel cake with a buttery caramel cream cheese frosting topped with fleur de sel.  The fleur de sel flakes added so much flavor and really enhanced the sweetness and the caramel flavors of the frosting.  I did find the frosting to be a little overwhelming after the first bite, but I'm personally more of a fan of lighter/whipped frostings in general.  If you're a fan of salty sweets and/or caramel, I'd definitely recommend trying this cupcake!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lunchtime Links for January 18th, 2012

Georgetown Cupcake - New 2012 Flavors

Well, it seems that Georgetown Cupcake updated the monthly flavors for 2012, and there are some exciting new cupcakes coming up!!!!!!!!!!!

- Chocolate Salted Caramel: Valrhona chocolate cake with a dulce-de-leche core, topped with salted caramel buttercream frosting and a dulce-de-leche star.  This one has been available as an "off-the-menu" free one for a while, but it's the first time on the menu.

- Toasted Marshmallow Fudge: Valrhona chocolate cake filled with fudge and topped with marshmallow buttercream frosting, a fudge star, and a toasted marshmallow.  Very similar to the Campfire/S'mores "off-the-menu" free one.

- Chocolate Mint Crunch: Valrhona chocolate cupcake baked with mint cookie pieces, topped with mint-infused whipped Callebaut chocolate frosting and mint cookie crumble.  Basically the Thin Mint Crunch that was a special Girl Scouts-affiliated cupcake last year.

- Boston Creme: Classic Madagascar Bourbon vanilla cupcake filled with Boston creme pudding, topped with a thin layer of chocolate ganache and a fondant shamrock.

- Lavender Earl Grey Teacake: Classic Madagascar Bourbon vanilla cupcake infused with lavender and earl grey tea, topped with a lavender infused buttercream frosting, a fondant flower, and a sprinkle of lavender sugar.  This one is from Katherine's bridal shower and was offered as an "off-the-menu" free one a few times last year.

-  Marble Fudge Brownie: A Valrhona chocolate and cream cheese marble brownie cupcake topped with a dark fudge frosting and a fondant flower.

- Bananas Foster: Rum-infused caramel cupcake baked with carmelized bananas, topped with a caramel buttercream frosting, a caramel drizzle, and a fondant flower.

- Maple Walnut Crunch: Maple-infused cupcake baked with fresh walnuts, topped with a maple cream cheese frosting, crushed walnuts and a fondant maple leaf.

- Butterscotch Pudding: Butterscotch cupcake filled with butterscotch pudding and topped with a butterscotch-infused buttercream frosting, a butterscotch star, and a fondant holly leaf.

- English Christmas: Georgetown Cupcake’s version of the traditional English Christmas spice cake, baked with fresh cranberries and orange zest and topped with classic vanilla cream cheese frosting and a fondant holly leaf.

SO many new ones to look forward to!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lunchtime Links for January 17th, 2012

Taylor Gourmet - Pattison Avenue Hoagie


Sorry for the somewhat dark photo- the sun wasn't really cooperating that day, haha.

Here we have the Pattison Avenue hoagie from Taylor Gourmet: Roasted pork, broccoli rabe, and sharp provolone.  This is the first pork (hot) hoagie I've tried, and I liked this one a lot.  I was definitely appreciative that they chop the broccoli rabe into smaller pieces - sometimes places will leave long stems of broccoli rabe whole which is fine for plated dinners, but not so much a hoagie that you're trying to take bites out of haha.  It did start to feel a little one-note after a few bites though, but that may be because I'm used to their cold hoagies with all the fixings.  The roasted pork was delicious and flavorful, if you're a fan of pork (and don't like "fussy" hoagies), then try this one out!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Lunchtime Links for January 16th, 2012

CVS Deals - Week of 1/15/2012

This week CVS has the "Spend $30 get a $10 CVSCash card" deal again.

Remember, these are valid for pre-coupon prices, so try to get as many of the items that have coupons available!

This week I got:

- Scott 8-pk mega roll paper towels: $5 on sale, $1 manufacturer's coupon.
- 6 Kleenex Cool Touch tissues: 2/$3 on sale, $1/4 manufacturer's coupon, $1/2 manufacturer's coupon.
- 2 Cottonelle wipes: $2 each on sale, $1/2 manufacturer's coupon.
- 2 Wheat Thins, 1 Ritz crackers: 2/$5 on sale, $2/3 manufacturer's coupon.
- Kettle potato chips: 2/$5 on sale, $1 manufacturer's coupon.
- Hershey's valentine chocolate: 2/$6 on sale.

There are also some great Extra Bucks deals this week:

- 3 Hallmark cards: Buy 3 of the $0.99 cards, get $3 Extra Bucks back. 
- Colgate Total toothpaste: $2.77 on sale, $1 manufacturer's coupon, $1 Extra Bucks back.
- Brita pitcher: $14.99 on sale, $4 manufacturer's coupon, $5 Extra Bucks back.

Happy shopping everyone!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Lunchtime Links for January 13th, 2012

Georgetown Cupcake - Coconut Lava Fudge Cupcake

If you've read this blog at any point before today, you'll probably know where this Georgetown Cupcake review is going...

Did I really want to go get this free off-the-menu COCONUT Lava Fudge cupcake? Heck no.  Did I do it anyway so I could blog about a new flavor? Sighhhhhhhhhhhhhh.


So, basically a Coconut cupcake with a gooey lava fudge center, as shown in the photo above.  It's a great concept for anyone that is a coconut fan, that's for sure.  And... I'll leave it at that, haha.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lunchtime Links for January 12th, 2012

Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips

Lace patterned nails without any hassle? Woohoo!


A while back I tried out the Sally Hansen Salon Effects strips, and I really liked the look of this lace pattern.  There's a bunch of different sizes in the package, which is good for me because I have pretty small nails.  The package also contains a two-sided nail file, plus an orange stick.  First, you peel off the strip from the backing, stick it onto your nails (lined up with your nail beds), push down the sides with the orange sticks, and file off the excess strips from the tips of your nails.  

You do have to be careful to make sure the strips are lined up with your nail beds, but overall I found this to be a really easy and quick process.  I really liked the way this pattern looked on short nails, and I've already purchased another box of gold glitter strips to try out!

By the way, CVS has recently been doing BOGO 1/2 price on Sally Hansen items, if anyone is interested!  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lunchtime Links for January 11th, 2012

Shake Shack - January Custard Calendar

New month, new custard calendar from Shake Shack!!

  • Monday: Cinnamon Cream Cheese
  • Tuesday: Chocolate Hazelnut
  • Wednesday: Mud Pie
  • Thursday: Honey Roasted Peanut
  • Friday: Red Velvet
  • Saturday: Salted Caramel
  • Sunday: Thin Mint

I'll be honest - with the exception of Sunday, I WANT ALL OF THE CUSTARDS.  Nice work, Shake Shack, you've won me over yet again, haha.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Lunchtime Links for January 10th, 2012

USPS Stamp Increase - January 22nd, 2012

 This may not affect that many of you, but if you're a fan of sending out cards like I am, make sure to stock up on Forever stamps now!

 There's going to be a 1-cent increase on regular stamps (currently 44-cents) starting January 22nd, 2012.  A 1-cent increase isn't much on its own, but if you send out a lot of cards, it definitely adds up!  Also, if you buy the Forever stamps you theoretically (it's the plan, anyway) won't have to worry about stamp increases anytime in the future as well, since Forever stamps work, well, forever, haha.

If you don't feel like going to the post office to buy stamps- I got a bunch of fun stamps from the USPS website - it's only $1 for shipping no matter how many you get, so it's a great way to stock up.  They have cute birthday/celebration stamps, hobby-related stamps, and my personal favorite, Pixar stamps!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Lunchtime Links for January 9th, 2012

CVS Deals - Week of 1/8/2012

This week CVS has the "Spend $30 get a $10 CVSCash card" deal again. 

Remember, these are valid for pre-coupon prices, so try to get as many of the items that have coupons available!

This week I got:

- All Small and Mighty laundry detergent: 2/$8 on sale, $1 manufacturer's coupon.
- 2 Lysol wipes:  2/$5 on sale, $1/2 manufacturer's coupon.
- Clean and Clear face wash: $4.99 on sale, $2 manufacturer's coupon.
- Carmex healing lotion: $3.99 on sale, $1 manufacturer's coupon. 
- Dove chocolate bag: 2/$6 on sale, $1 manufacturer's coupon.
- 2 Listerine Pocketpaks: $2.99 each on sale.
- 2 CVS brand travel makeup remover wipes: $1.49 each.

There's also some great Extra Bucks deals this week, essentially making these items free:

- M&Ms single bag: $0.75, $0.75 Extra Bucks back.

- CVS brand vitamin D 400iu 100-count: $3.49, $3.49 Extra Bucks back.

Happy shopping everyone!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Lunchtime Links for January 6th, 2012

Take Time to Unplug

In thinking about some changes that I'd like to implement this year - so, resolutions without actually being yearly resolutions - I thought of something that I would like to try out for myself.

I've found that my daily routine is pretty, well, routine - usually some variation of dinner (in or out), working out if I'm not out, watching tv, playing around on my iPad, laundry every week or so.  The addition of my new iPhone to the mix has only added as an extra distraction to my daily downtime, haha.

So, I've decided to try out an hour of "unplugging" every day to see how it goes.  "Unplugging" for me will include not using my phone, iPad, laptop, or tv for an hour.  I know it sounds unnecessary but seriously, I even check my phone or iPad while I'm eating dinner.  So, hopefully this change will also help me to actually step away from technology for a little bit, maybe even read the piles of books that I have around, haha.

Have you taken a moment to unplug today?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Lunchtime Links for January 5th, 2012

Georgetown Cupcake - Holiday Lava Fudge, Christmas Caramel, Rudolph Red Velvet

Yup, still on a holiday kick, haha.  Here we have four lovely cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake in December.

On the top we have the Holiday Lava Fudge and Rudolph Red Velvet cupcakes; on the bottom we have that day's free Chocolate Salted Caramel and Christmas Caramel cupcakes!

The holiday cupcakes are the same as the regular Lava Fudge, Red Velvet, and Salted Caramel cupcakes.  The free Chocolate Salted Caramel cupcake is one of January's special flavors! 

I'm glad I did this post because I just noticed that I have never done a post about the Red Velvet cupcake before!!!!  So here we have the cupcake in holiday form, with Rudolph the (GIANT) red-nosed reindeer on top.  The Red Velvet cupcake is the first cupcake I tried from Georgetown Cupcake, and still remains one of my favorites.  It is "Georgetown Cupcake's signature cupcake — classic red velvet cupcake with a vanilla cream cheese frosting topped with a red fondant heart".  SO good!!!

And with that, I have now blogged about all of the holiday offerings from Georgetown Cupcake.  Tough work, for sure, hah!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lunchtime Links for January 4th, 2012

Holiday Candy

For the holidays I thought I'd do something cute and little, to give to friends that I'd be seeing before the holidays.  I went to Michael's and got a box of wedding favors shaped like champagne glasses, a couple bags of holiday M&Ms (thanks to the CVS weekly deals), and a sheet of labels.   Super easy and a cute way to celebrate the holidays!


On a recent trip to Wegmans an employee was handing out what I thought were Lindt chocolate samples.   It was a nice surprise to find out she was handing out these chocolate holiday bears!  These are super cute and I like them much better than their regular holiday reindeer, haha.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lunchtime Links for January 3rd, 2012

CVS Deals - Week of 1/1/2012

Happy New Year everyone!  CVS has some great deals for this week to start off 2012 on a thrifty note:

Similar to the "Spend $30 get a $10 gift card" deal before, there's a "Spend $30 get a $10 CVSCash card" deal starting this week.  Remember, these are valid for pre-coupon prices, so get items on the list that have coupons!

This week I got:

- 3 Pantene products: 3/$9.99 on sale, $3/2 manufacturer's coupon.
- Scope 750ml mouthwash: $3.74 on sale, $1 manufacturer's coupon.
- DayQuil 48-count: $9.99 on sale, $1 manufacturer's coupon.
- CVS cotton rounds: $3.59
- Scotch mailing supplies: Buy one get one 50% off on sale, the ones I got were $2.87 and $1.43 each. 

There's also some great Extra Bucks deals this week:

- Oral-B Cross Action power toothbrush: $5.99 on sale, $3 manufacturer's coupon, $2 Extra Bucks back.

- 3 Kellogg's Special K cereals: 3/$10 on sale, $1/3 manufacturer's coupon, $4 Extra Bucks back.

Also, keep an eye out for CVS email coupon offers!  This time I had a $6 Extra Bucks and $5 off $25 purchase coupons that came via email, which I had loaded onto my CVS card.  Don't forget to load these to your card or print them out when you get the emails!

Happy shopping everyone! 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Lunchtime Links for January 2nd, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you all!  I hope 2012 is treating you well so far... as in, one full day, haha. 

Here's to lots of good times and good food in the new year for us all!

Anyone have New Year's Resolutions lined up?  I'm thinking more along the lines of lifestyle changes, so it's a little more permanent than a yearly thing.  I'm likely going to stick with my "no French fries" thing, as well as reading more (as in actual books, not magazines or blogs online, haha), things like that.