Monday, November 20, 2017

QVC's Authentic Gourmet Butter Croissants Review


Croissants from France


Shipped in a Styrofoam Box with Dry Ice


This is a review of croissants offered by QVC from a company called Authentic Gourmet. They are made in France and shipped to your doorstep. I have been buying them for several years. They have had many different types over the years including whole wheat, lemon filled, raspberry filled and chocolate filled. They offer three sizes mini, classic and large. Currently they are only offering the regular and chocolate filled. Here's your choices of the regular croissant:
  1. 20 Large for $39.00, M56345 or A/D M57119, 2.64 lbs., $1.95 each 
  2. 25 Large for $49.00, M51595, 3.3 lbs., $1.96 each 
  3. 30 Classic for $39.84, M55864, 2.76 lbs., $1.38 each 
  4. 40 Large for $59.00, M56367, 5.28 lbs., $1.47 each
  5. 48 Large for $66.00, M54348, 6.3 lbs., $1.37 each
  6. 50 Large for $64.00, M51596, 6.6 lbs., $1.28 each
  7. 60 Large for $79.00, M56369, 7.92 lbs., $1.31 each
  8. 65 Classic for $65.34, M54578, 5.73 lbs., $1.00 each
The pricing and sizes can be confusing, just look at all the choices! Note that shipping is free. I have calculated the number of croissants versus the weight to figure out which ones are the largest to help you out. Also, I calculated the price per croissant. Number three and number eight on the list are the medium sized croissants called classic. The rest are the largest size which are good for making sandwiches. When I first ordered them they were all large enough to make into sandwiches. Then they started sending smaller ones that weren't big enough to make into sandwiches, but not small enough to be mini. The ones I purchased that are shown in the above photo are number one on the list, considered to be the largest size. I do not recommend ordering them when your weather is warm or hot. Stick to the cool and cold months of the year to have them shipped. If you have them shipped during the warm or hot months of the year they will arrive with the dry ice melted and the croissants will be partially defrosted and stuck together in one huge clump. QVC will refund your money, but no one wants to be disappointed and it's such a waste. As soon as they arrive I recommend that you remove them from the bag and place them neatly stacked in a freezer ziplock bag. Then place them in the freezer as quickly as possible. The plastic bag they ship them in isn't very sturdy and too large.

To cook them simply preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the croissants on a baking sheet with either parchment paper or foil. Rub the side of a stick of butter on the foil and then place the frozen croissant on top. Note above what the top side of the frozen croissant looks like. The bottom side has the end piece of the dough, you'll want to make sure that is resting on the baking sheet to ensure that the croissant puffs up to it's full potential. Once the oven is preheated, place it in the oven and cook for 25-27 minutes. Do not open the door during the cooking process. I use a KitchenAid Countertop Convection Oven that was a QVC TSV and preheat it for three minutes. There's no need to use a regular sized oven unless you are cooking a lot of them at once. You'll want to make only as many as you plan to eat right away since they are best served warm. I recommend adding just a bit of KerryGold Irish Butter and some French preserves from Bonne Maman. They can both be found at Costco. If you are going to make it into a sandwich, you'll want to let it cool a bit before cutting it in half. Be sure to use a bread knife so that the croissant doesn't fall apart when cutting it. If you try to cut it prior to it cooling it will lose it's puffiness and it's more likely to fall apart. Don't think only lunch sandwiches with deli meat, remember egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches are also a delight. 

If you have been as fortunate as myself and have had the joy of eating a croissant in France, you'll know what I mean when I say the French make them taste so much better. You'll also know that their chocolate croissants are much less sweet than the American version and that they use less chocolate. For those of you who have only had American chocolate croissants, don't expect that super sweet candy like flavor. These have more of a hint of chocolate that is light on the sugar. 

I highly recommend you give these delightfully scrumptious croissants a try soon! There is nothing like a freshly baked croissant right out of the oven made by the French! I'm sure you'll be be telling me "merci beaucoup" for the recommendation after giving these a taste. Bon Appétit! 

Bargain Alert: 

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Glass Maltese Ornament from Macy's Holiday Lane


Macy's Maltese Dog Ornament - Christmas 2017


I interrupt your day to put a smile on your face by presenting some extreme cuteness and adorableness to you, see above! Oh my, doesn't he or she just melt your heart?! I'm always on the hunt for anything Maltese, so when I did a search on Macys.com I found this little cutie and he immediately went into my cart and I proceeded to check out and purchase him. I'll call him male since out of the six Maltese dogs I've had in my life, only one was a female, so I tend to think of dogs as male. Look at that smile on his face and those adorable eyes looking off to the side. I love that when my dogs look at me from the side, it shows the outline of their adorable eyes. My Leo does that a lot and he looks at me with so much love and he smiles at me a lot. I call him my sunshine bear. I digress, back to this precious ornament. He's larger than I would have imagined. He's about double the size of an average ornament. The website says he's 5 1/4 inches. You don't even have to put him on the tree, he stands on his own and looks so wonderful on my coffee table. That's where he went as soon as I took him out of the shipping box. Macy's packed him perfectly, so no damage. Some of the sequins fell off, but that's to be expected. None of the sequins have fallen off since he arrived. He has some wonderfully reflective glitter and a metallic finish. The white is a bit pearlized. In dim light he shines the most. I'm in love with him. Today he is selling for only $8.49 with the "score" coupon. I purchased him for $4 more, so when his price went down I called customer service and they gave me a $4 credit. His web number is 4803239. He's part of the Holiday Pet Collection. The other offerings are a English Bulldog, a French Bulldog, a Poodle, a Dachshund, a Beagle, a yellow Lab and the famous Grumpy Cat.

What's your favorite breed? My favorite is Maltese. What breeds have you had the pleasure of being part of your family? I have had two West Highland White Terriers, one Scottish Terrier, two Shih-Tzus and six Maltese. I currently reside with two elderly Shih-Tzus, Isabella and Harvey, who are fourteen. Our Maltese Teddy died a year ago of a deadly autoimmune blood disease. Leo, a Maltese, is my baby, he's nine. We recently added Jack, a Maltese, to our family. Maltese dogs are like potato chips, you can't have just one. The four of them keep me quite busy since they are all demanding and I do the grooming. Hubby helps with the bathing. 

I sure am hoping you have a Merry Christmas. If you haven't already, check out my Pinterest Make Me Happy Board. This is a board I look at to cheer me up and this little Maltese ornament will be added there. What cheers you up or makes you smile when you are down? Don't forget to enter my latest giveaway and follow and like my Facebook page before you go.

Bargain Alert:

Macy's - "score" for 20% off, add any beauty item to get free shipping, recommend $3 TonyMoly Mask.
Mr. Rebates - 5% cash back from Macy's

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Friday, November 17, 2017

21st Plated Meal Kit Delivery Review


Sausage Stuffed Portobellos with Ricotta


Ingredients


Swedish Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes & Dill Cucumber Salad


Ingredients


Waldorf Chicken Salad with Cornbread Croutons


Ingredients


This is a review of our 21st delivery from Plated which is a weekly meal kit subscription box. This box of recipes and ingredients costs $71.70 including shipping and handling. It breaks down to $11.95 a serving. This week we gave two recipes five out of five stars and one recipe four stars. It was an absolutely scrumptious set of three recipes! This is what I've come to expect from Plated, but lately they haven't been as good, so I'm thrilled they stepped up their game again and impressed up once again. Just thinking about these recipes is making me hungry. Calories ranged from 630 to 850 and preparation time indicated on the recipe cards is forty to forty-five minutes. Actual preparation was forty-five minutes to over an hour.

Sausage Stuffed Portobellos with Ricotta

We gave this recipe five out of five stars. Oh my, it was so fabulously delicious. Look at the ingredients in the photo above, the mushrooms are huge! Even the side argula salad was yummy. The filling for the mushroom is made with sausage, white wine, ricotta, cream cheese, parmesan and parsley with parmesan sprinkled on top & balsamic glaze drizzled on top. So very yummy! The side salad is made with arugula, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. It was very tasty also. The dressing was a lovely addition. This one took forty-five minutes to prepare and the recipe says it will take forty-five minutes, a rare time that the recipe card was correct in it's estimate. This one has only 630 calories and it's a healthy and filling recipe.

Swedish Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes & Dill Cucumber Salad

Since I have Swedish heritage and I love Swedish Meatballs, I just had to order this recipe, in fact it's what made me order this week. I guess I'm a bit picky, cause this recipe wasn't the best. There was too much onion in the meatballs and the sauce. The gravy was tasty, but the meatballs needed some spice, some nutmeg would have helped. The red skinned mashed potatoes were very tasty. The side cucumber salad was a bit tart and seemed out of place like it should have been sitting next to a Greek dish not a Swedish one. I gave it four out of five stars, but it's leaning a bit to the three stars side. This one took over an hour to prepare while the recipe card states only forty minutes. It has 840 calories.

Waldorf Chicken Salad with Cornbread Croutons

I love a really good salad when I have the time to eat it and this one looked really tasty. We gave this recipe five out of five stars, it was delightful. I'm not a fan of hard croutons. I always pick them off my salad, so I was intrigued by one that uses soft cornbread instead. It was really tasty and a lovely addition to the salad. The combination of romaine lettuce, apple, cornbread, red grapes, celery, tarragon, chives, walnuts and chicken was wonderful. The dressing made with mayonnaise, dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, chives, salt and pepper was tasty and so much better than store bought dressing that usually has some horrible ingredients in it that aren't healthy. It was a good sized salad that was filling and this one comes in at 850 calories. Preparation time was over an hour while the recipe states up to forty minutes. Mind you we take our time cleaning produce.

It was a wonderful week of recipes that were scrumptious. I would order more often from them if they weren't one of the most expensive meal kits. We are expecting a meal kit from Green Chef next, so stay tuned for that review. Be sure to check out the rest of the recipes I reviewed via my Pinterest Plated Subscription Box Board. Who do you order meal kits from the most? If you haven't tried one yet, why?

Bargain Alert: 

Hello Fresh - $40 off
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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Ipsy Subscription Box Review - November 2017


Ipsy - November 2017


Recently I noticed that Ipsy has stepped up their game giving subscribers more high end brands, so I decided to subscribe again after a four year break. I looked it up and I was shocked it had been that long, but as I age I've noticed that time goes by so much faster. After signing up, I changed my profile in hopes of not receiving items that I don't want. I really like to receive eye shadow, blush and lipstick. I prefer not to receive hair care products or nail polish because I'm particularly picky and I'm very loyal to my favorite brands, Wen, Julep & OPI. I definitely do not want bronzers or self tanners since they don't look natural on my fair skin. My profile changes seemed to help since I managed to receive blush, eye shadow and lip gloss, so I'm happy. What I'm not happy about is that the teaser email they sent me to lure me into resubscribing showed five products I would enjoy receiving yet I only received one of them, the Tarte blush. Only two of the five products I received are brands that I like and recognize. Ipsy has a habit of sending products from new brands that can only be purchased online. As shown above, included in my November bag were the following products:
  1. Tarte - Deluxe Amazonian Clay Twelve Hour Blush in Quirky, made in China, .05 oz., $7.25 retail value
  2. Naked Cosmetics - Mother Nature #06, .05 oz., $14.99 retail value
  3. The White CompanyWhite Lavender Body Lotion, 1.7 oz, $4.00 retail value
  4. Manna Kadar - Lip Locked Gloss Stain in the color All of Me, .052 fl. oz., $7.34 retail value
  5. It Cosmetics - Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream in Fair, made in Korea, .135 oz, $4.75 retail value
The approximate retail value of all five samples is $38.33 not including the cosmetic bag. Since I only paid $10 including shipping it's a pretty good value, but not as high as I've seen other customers receive lately. They send out several different bags of samples based on customers' profiles, so values vary each month. 

I've purchased Tarte blush before and while they offer pretty colors, I find I have to be careful to dab very lightly with my brush or I'll have way too much blush on my brush. It's a bit unforgiving since it goes on heavy, so I find it's too fussy for me. I prefer to add more color rather than take away or be so light in my application. While I like it, I tend to grab a different brand from my drawer when I'm in a rush. The eye shadow from Naked Cosmetics is a loose powder. It has a brownish red appearance with fine green glitter. It looks like a duo chrome since it's changing color as you move. When I blend it out it has more of a reddish brown color with some green glitter. I like it better unblended, so I'm going to try applying it wet for a more bold look. Compared to Bare Essentials loose powder eyeshadows, it's more chunky and not as finely milled. That's why I'm more comfortable applying it wet to reduce fall out. The White Company body lotion smells really good. It has scents of lavender, neroli, lemon, basil and vetiver. I smell lemon first followed by the lavender and then basil. I've never heard of this brand before yet it's pricey. It's based in the United Kingdom with only one store in the US which is located in New Jersey. I've also never heard of the brand Manna Kadar. Their lip stain in the color All of Me is a lovely opaque pink color. It feels quite moisturizing on the lips. It wasn't much of a stain on my lips since it came off when I ate. I've purchased It Cosmetics' foundation in a QVC Today's Special Value previously. While I like it and it gives pretty good coverage, it's not my favorite. For me it takes longer to blend in evenly than other brands. Also, it doesn't feel as natural on my skin as other brands. My current favorite is Josie Maran's latest foundation offered on QVC in a recent TSV.

While my November bag has some pretty good offerings, I'm guessing I won't remain a subscriber very long. I'll know better after I receive my December bag. Wish me luck! My biggest issue is the brands I don't recognize which aren't available for purchase in stores. If you received a bag from Ipsy this month, how many samples were you happy with? If you haven't subscribed, what's keeping you from giving it a try?

Bargain Alert:

It Cosmetics - 25% off, code "ITFRIEND17" ends 11/18
Julep - 12 Free Nail Polishes
Manna Kadar - 20% off, code "IPSY2017" 
Mr. Rebates - cash back for online purchases 
Naked Cosmetics - 30% off, code "IPSY30"

Check out my Subscription Box Pinterest Board to see what other boxes I've subscribed to over the years. I just started a Facebook page for this blog.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

QVC's TSVs for December 2017


Preorder Numbers for Today's Special Values


1st - Cuddl Duds Fleece Wear Stretch Novelty Pajama Set, Regular A303721 or Petite A303723$26.98 available in 2 payments and 3 patterns, petite not available for preorder yet
2nd - Philosophy Illuminate with Grace Four Piece Fragrance Layering Kit, A306785 or A/D A306831, $78.00 available in 6 payments and 5 scents, A/D not available for preorder yet
3rd - Top Tech
4th - Vionic Orthotic Adjustable Strap Slippers, A303720, $49.98 available in 4 payments, choice of 3 colors and 2 patterns
5th - Smart Home
6th - Le Creuset Heritage 5.4 Quart Cast Iron Chef's Oven with Trivet, K46771, $199.98 available in 6 payments and 4 colors
7th - Berkshire Blankets Set of Two 60" x 70" Super Soft Fluffy Throws, H214404, $25.98 available in 3 payments, choice of 8 different sets of colors, not available for preorder yet
8th - Nest Fragrances Fragrance Rollerball & Lotion Ten Piece Luxury Set
9th - Electronic Gifts
10th - Keurig K55 Coffee Maker with My K-Cup, 43 K-Cups & Water Filters, K46642, $69.96 available in 5 payments and only 3 colors
11th - My Pillow Supremium Set of Two Pillows with 2" Gussett
12th - Dennis Basso 
13th - Gift Guide
14th - Lamo Water & Stain Resistant Suede Boots Juniper, A303730, $49.98 available in 4 payments and 6 colors, not available for preorder yet
15th- Calista Perfector Pro Grip Heated Round Brush
16th - Barefoot Dreams Cozychic Lite Island Wrap, A301874, $69.98 available in 5 payments, comes in 5 colors
17th - Today's Top Tech
18th - Emoji
19th - Electronic Gifts
20th - Northern Nights 800 TC Wrinkle Defense Cotton Sheet Set, H213111, not available for preorder yet and price yet to be determined
21st - Hairdo Wig
22nd - Judith Ripka
23rd - Dyson Cleaning
24th - Joan Rivers Signature Ankle Pants with Front Seam Detail, Regular A304977 or Petite A304979, $39.96 available in 3 payments and 5 colors
25th - Merry Christmas, no TSV
26th - back on air at 8 am, no TSV
27th - Denim & Co Long Sleeve Zip Front High Low Hem Knit Jacket, A303731, $29.76 available in 3 payments and 6 colors, not available for preorder yet
28th - Skechers Relaxed Fit Suede Slip On Shoes, A305225, $46.38 available in 4 payments and 6 colors 
29th - Simple Home Solutions
30th - Perricone MD The Best of Perricone Three Piece Collection
31st - Fitnation Flex Bike Ultra

Note that several of the TSVs listed above aren't available for preorder yet. Keep checking back, lately QVC has been slow to add them to the website. It may take them a few more days. I will update this list as more TSV information is released. Remember that the prices and the number of easy pays could change on the date the TSVs air. If you preorder and the price goes down, be sure to call or email customer service for a refund of the difference. Sometimes they even cancel a TSV, so buy now if you want it. They may also rearrange the schedule, so if you are waiting until the TSVs airs to purchase it, keep an eye on this list in case the air date changes. The preorder item numbers are usually different from the item numbers on the date they air therefore preorder links may not work on the air date. Please refer to QVC's website for order information on the day they air. Sometimes preorder quantities sell out, but rest assured they will have more on the air date. Be sure to keep an eye on Mr. Rebates' cash back offers, lately they have been offering a higher percentage of cash back. Also, keep an eye on QVC's website for 6 easy pays or free shipping on everything or specific departments. They have been offering it lately either for the day or for just a few hours. They will not be on air selling products live between 4 pm Christmas Eve and 8 am the 26th. In the past, they have shown behind the scenes footage, host interviews and video of hosts baking at home or in the studio with their children.

So which TSVs are tempting you this December? I'm tempted by the Nest TSV though I'm not a fan of rollerballs, I prefer sprays. Nest is owned by Harry Slatkin's wife and I love the scents she's come up with. My favorite is Dahlia & Vines. I may be tempted by the Smart Home & Dennis Basso TSVs, but I need more information. I'm surprised the Keurig TSV isn't airing until December 10th. Normally they air it so it can be shipped in time for Thanksgiving. I'm also surprised it's only available in three colors and that one of the colors isn't the popular cinnamon color which is what I've ordered in the past. It's at a great price though, I think it's the lowest price they have ever offered for the full sized Keurig. I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving & Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah. I, for one, can't wait to watch Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. It's my favorite part of the holiday season. I'm grateful to you for supporting my blog, thank you my friend.

You are welcome to share a link to this blog post, but please be kind & respectful and do not copy my post and post it elsewhere. Don't forget to enter my current giveaway for a Blue Apron meal kit. I just started a Facebook page for this blog, please follow.

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QVC's TSVs for December 2017 Sneak Peek


I now have a Facebook Page for my blog. I have posted a sneak peek of the Today's Special Values for December there until I have enough information to post here. So check it out and please help out by liking the page. I put off having a Facebook page because I don't have the funds to advertise. Since subscribers have been asking for one I decided to do it for them. After clicking "like" make sure you click on "following" and turn on notifications. Facebook has a tendency to not show pages' updates on timelines unless the page owner spends money, so you'll need to make sure you set it up to be notified. That's the main reason I didn't want a Facebook page and they have already been spamming me to spend money on advertising just as I suspected. Three times in just the first couple of hours!

Other places you can get Blue Skies for Me Please blog updates from are:


As soon as QVC releases the monthly TSV preorder information, I will post it on this blog, so stay tuned. Unfortunately, they haven't been releasing the information on time lately. In the meantime, you can check out some of the recent QVC products I have reviewed:


What's your favorite recent purchase from QVC? Bargain Alert: Mr. Rebates is currently offering 4% cash back for QVC online purchases today! So if there is a big ticket item you have been eyeing, this is the time to order. I recommend Today's Special Value, the Philips Sonicare Toothbrush. I have been using one since I was a teenager. It definitely cuts down on brushing time and cavities. My teeth don't feel clean without it. I've always purchased the less expensive model, but this one is 55% off, so I purchased it. They last a long time and you can purchase replacement toothbrush heads at Costco. 

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

23rd Blue Apron Meal Kit Review



Korean Beef Steam Buns with Sweet Potato Tempura & Spicy Mayonnaise


Ingredients


Barramundi & Herbed Couscous with Honeynut Squash & Spiced Labneh


Ingredients


Tuscan Style Pork Chops with Roasted Potato & Salsa Verde


Ingredients


This is a review of our 23rd delivery from a weekly food subscription box called Blue Apron. This week we gave one recipe five out of five stars, one recipe three stars and one recipe two stars. Calories ranged from 510 to 720 and preparation times ranged from twenty-five to fifty-five minutes as indicated on the recipe cards. Actual preparation time ranged from to fifty-six minutes to over an hour.

Korean Beef Steam Buns with Sweet Potato Tempura & Spicy Mayonnaise

This one looks the most appetizing of the three recipes. We had a similar recipe from Blue Apron before and it's was truly scrumptious. Unfortunately, this one included sliced beef and it was very tough and chewy, so I landed up giving this one only two out of five stars. Gouchuiang is red, but when mixed with mayo it turns orange, quite surprising. One would think it would turn pink, so it much have some yellow in it. The spicy mayo was very tasty and simply made with gouchuiang and mayo. The sweet potato needed more panko. This recipe has 720 calories and it was a healthy portion. It took fifty-eight minutes to prepare, only a couple minutes more than the recipe indicated. 

Barramundi & Herbed Couscous with Honeynut Squash & Spiced Labneh

I gave this recipe five out five stars and Hubby gave it four stars. The barramundi is very tasty especially with the sauce made with labneh cheese, dukkah spice blend, lemon juice and garlic paste. The addition of spinach, golden raisins, parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper to the couscous was scrumptious! The golden raisins were a sweet treat. There was a lot of couscous, so it was a large portion and very filling. The squash on my plate shown above only represents half my portion, the rest wouldn't fit on the plate. It was deliciously sweet and filling. This one has 690 calories and it took fifty-six minutes to prepare, but the recipe said only up to forty minutes.

Tuscan Style Pork Chops with Roasted Potato & Salsa Verde

Hubby gave this recipe three out of five stars and I gave it two stars. It was not very memorable. The side of kale mixed with vinegar, garlic paste and red pepper flakes was very tart. I disliked it so much so that I didn't eat it all. The pork chops were dry and the Tuscan spice blend wasn't strong enough perhaps it was stale or we weren't supplied enough of it. The way they suggested to cook the potato made it very dry. The red wine vinegar wasn't a good addition to the salsa verde also made with capers, parsley, garlic paste and olive oil. This recipe only has 510 calories and it took over an hour to prepare. The recipe card says it will take only up to thirty-five minutes.

Except for the Barramundi recipe, it was a disappointing week of recipes. My next meal kit review will be our 21st Plated delivery, so stay tuned. Don't forget to enter my current giveaway and check out my Pinterest Subscription Box Board and Pinterest Blue Apron Board.

Bargain Alert: 

Hello Fresh - $40 off
Home Chef - $30 Off
Sun Basket - $35 Off

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