Sunday, January 23, 2011

Diva On A Budget: Lane Bryant Deals!

Saturday was a beautiful, sunny day!  It was pretty low-key for Mr. Diva and I, but I really wanted to head to Lane Bryant to use the 30% off coupon I got from their Facebook profile.

I love the girls at my local LB. They are so sweet and helpful.  I was looking for some black, straight-leg jeans to go with a sequin tunic top I got from Torrid.

Unfortunately, they didn't have exactly what I wanted.  I tried on a lot of pants.  But with the help of one of the wonderful employees, I finally found some super comfy straight leg blue jeans I ended up getting.  Because the 30% off coupon was so awesome, I also got a cotton demi bra and ponte knit animal print pencil skirt.

I really like this skirt.  It is knit, so it is really comfortable and stretchy.  I love the animal print too.  I think this skirt will be very versatile as it can be worn in any season.  

I was so excited about all my savings!  Along with the 30% off coupon, I used my $25 Rewards check.  The skirt was originally $49.50.  It was marked down to $34.99 on clearance.  After the extra 50% off for it being a clearance item, it was $17.50.  The 30% and $25 were applied, so I only paid $7.73 for it!!
The jeans were originally $49.50.  After reductions, the jeans were only $21.89.  The bra is normally $30, but was on sale for $20.  I ended paying $11 for it.

Gotta love a good deal!!  If you missed the 30% off this time around, follow Lane Bryant on Facebook so you don't miss it next time!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Diva In The Kitchen: Chicken and Beef

Happy 2011 everyone!
I hope y'all are having a fabulous new year so far.  I rang in the new year at home with Mr. Diva and our fur children, watching NKOTBSB.  It was very nice!

Now that all the stress of the holidays is over, I have had a renewed interest in trying new recipes.  I wanted to share a couple new ones with you.

First up is a quick Blue Cheese and Cress Beef Wellington from Rachael Ray.  I saw this recipe on one of the 30-Minute Meal shows one morning and just had to try it.  Mr. Diva and I have wanted to try Beef Wellington for some time now.

I really enjoyed this recipe.  My puff pastry dough was a bit undercooked on bottom, but the meat and blue cheese had such a great flavor.  I substituted fresh baby spinach instead of watercress and was very happy with the result.

I served the Wellington with Sunny Anderson's Garlic Hasselback Potatoes with Herbed Sour Cream and roasted Brussels sprouts.  I liked the potatoes okay, but they didn't get as crispy as I would have liked and the insides, overall, lacked flavor for me.  I would much rather prefer to take the extra time to make The Pioneer Woman's Crash Hot Potatoes instead.  Those are ALWAYS divine!
With the Brussels sprouts, I simply cut them all in half and toss them with some melted butter and olive oil.  I season them with salt and pepper and my favorite go-to seasoning, Mrs. Dash Chicken Seasoning.  The various Mrs. Dash seasoning flavors are all salt-free which makes it much easier for me.  When I use my salty Cajun seasoning, I find things get too salty tasting...but I digress.  After you toss the sprouts with the butter, oil, and seasonings, drizzle them liberally with honey or agave, spread them out on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about half an hour.  They are ready when you see they are starting to caramelize.  YUM!

Now let's talk about the next recipe.  I just made it tonight and it was TASTY!
I started with Sunny Anderson's Grilled Chicken with White Wine Mushroom Sauce.  I served it with Rachael Ray's Parsley Dill Potatoes, and my own recipe for green beans.

This chicken is GOOD.  I loved it!  I can't wait to make this recipe again and I still have leftovers in the fridge. lol  I did mine a little bit different from the recipe, so I will tell you what I did and you can use that as reference too.

I got started cooking a little bit later than I intended and forgot about the whole brining process, so I did not brine.  I had two chicken breasts and four chicken thighs in the fridge, so I used all of those.  All of the meat I used was skinless but I still wanted to incorporate the sage flavors that Sunny used, so I made a sage brown butter first (4 tablespoons of butter in a hot pan, add fresh sage leaves and let them fry in the butter.  The butter will turn a golden color.  Remove it from the heat.).  I poured the sage brown butter in a bowl and let it sit while I dried off the meat, smeared it with a little bit of liquid smoke, salt, pepper, and Mrs. Dash Chicken seasoned it.  I put the browned butter back in the skillet and placed the chicken in the pan to sear it on both sides in the browned butter.

When I was satisfied with the sear, I placed all the pieces of chicken on a baking sheet and topped all of them with several leaves of fresh sage.  I cooked the chicken for about 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven. ( I didn't do anything different to the White Wine Mushroom sauce.  It was VERY good.  I used a Moscato by Sutter Home as my wine because when I am cooking with wine, I like to drink it as I cook with it.  It was the first time trying the Sutter Home Moscato.  It was very good.  It was sweeter than Rieslings for all my wine novices.)

The potatoes were very good and fresh tasting. I LOVE cooking with fresh herbs.  It makes the entire meal taste so much better.  If you are new to fresh herbs, I really recommend tasting and smelling them fresh so you know what the flavors are.  The only thing I did differently to the potatoes was add a ton of pepper, some cayenne, and some of my trusty Mrs. Dash.  I probably used more dill and parsley than the recipe called for too..but I love fresh herbs.

With the green beans, I used a bag of frozen green beans.  I thawed them in the microwave and drained them.  I made some more sage brown butter (probably about 4 tablespoons or so).  When the butter was ready, I added about 4 tablespoons of minced garlic (I also LOVE garlic) to the butter, along with half of a thinly sliced sweet onion. Sauteed those for a few minutes (added a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce), then added the green beans.  Toss everything together, then season.  I used salt, pepper, cayenne, and Mrs. Dash. Cook until it is heated through and serve.

I hope you enjoy making and eating this meal!  It is pretty simple and not overly complicated or tedious, which we all love.  As always, let me know if you make it, what you think of it, and if you added your own spin to anything.

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