Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Check Out These Check Out Items

Well, here once again are some favorites and flops.

Recently, I purchased a new shampoo that cost a whopping six dollars. Now, many of you out there spend twelve, fifteen, twenty on salon items: Paul Mitchell, etc. I keep it at about $3.84. But this shampoo came in a cool green bottle and smelled like the most heavenly mint ever, like the mint from an Andes mint. Organix Teatree Mint: how could I not try?

The thing is, it smells great. And that's about all for anyone who doesn't have hair as dry as the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. It kept my hair clean for about four seconds. But oh, heavenly scent - I would pour it liberally into a nice soaking bath. Of course, if I just want the scent, I could spend six dollars on, well, mint bath soak.

Take It Or Leave It? Leave it. If Organix has this scent in bubble bath, it'd be a different story. Or, just sniff the bottle, relax, and then place it back on the shelf.

Today, for the first time, I wore my winter coat. Over, for the first time, a fall sweater. Yes, the season of flip-flops has passed. Which means the season for stocking up on Hershey's Baking Cocoa is here.

You see, our deprived senses have become accustomed to the convenience of tearing open a packet of anemic hot chocolate mix and calling it "cocoa." Cocoa! Ha! I spit on your grave.

And yesterday, I discovered the only chocolate in the house was Hershey's baking cocoa. Which turned out fine, because in addition to baking with it, you can, I don't know, MAKE COCOA. For realsies. There's a fine, easy recipe on the side of the box.

It involves dumping cocoa, sugar, and a pinch of salt in with some warm water in a pan, heating it to boiling, adding milk (or...erm...half and half, I swear it was only half half and half...), warming it thoroughly, then adding, heart of my heart, vanilla.

It'll make you want to push Swiss Miss down an Alpine peak. It's so luxuriously rich, it kicks any chocolate craving in a way that instant cocoa couldn't dream of in its wildest reality tv show dreams.

If you want to put something special in your family's tummies for Christmas, that's low maintenance, yummy, and perfect for Christmas Eve, or Christmas get-something-in-their-bellies-while-wrapping-paper-is-flying-morning, I recommend this.

Of course, you Episcopalians out there may knock a little Bailey's in the side, and nobody would blame you. But Hershey's baking cocoa stands magnificently on its own.

Take It Or Leave It? Take it. Take several. Impress your friends. Ooooh, and whip up a little homemade whipping cream for the top. It's a dessert in itself.
Now, even though gas is down to the bargain-basement price of $2.59 a gallon down the street, I'm still shopping sales at ye olde grocer's. And if you catch this on sale, you'll count yourself lucky: Macaroni Grill has introduced their own version of Hamburger

It's awesome.

I had something dreamy like "Chicken Fettucine Alfredo," and it was sublime: a grown-up's version of Hamburger Helper. There was even a packet of parmesan to sprinkle on the top, so help me, parmesan. And an herb packet, dog gone it. It made my husband look at me wit
h new appreciation, even though I stubbornly persisted in my declaration that the whole thing came from a box and took next to no time.

Part of its...wonderfulness...came from the fact that I was actually intending to get Hamburger Helper, until my eyes caught the unfamiliar, new boxes. Macaroni Grill at the supermarket? That's change I can believe in.

Take It Or Leave It? If it's on sale, take several. If it's not, take it and save it for a rainy day when you
need something a little special. The cheapest place I've seen it is Wal-Mart.

Ladies, sometimes we need Little Luxuries. Especially when times are hard and The Onion creates hilarious headlines like today's "Dollar Bill On Floor Sends Wall Street Into Frenzy." So when I run out of laundry detergent, sometimes - not always - I get My Favorite Kind.

It's Tide
Simple Pleasures: Vanilla & Lavender. Now, it's true, the marketing appealed to me, as did the elegant lavender bottle. But then I smelled it, and it was delightful - and that's significant because I Am An Allergic Person, so sometimes things like that make me cough and hack my way out of the detergent aisle. Not only was it soothing, it's a rare example of a scented laundry detergent that doesn't irritate my skin (see "I Am An Allergic Person). (The Febreze vanilla and lavender air freshener is also lovely.)

The first time I attempted to purchase this detergent, I determined to get a small bottle and use it only on personal garments, which ended up funny, because I soaked them in liquid fabric softener. This came to light when I actually read the label on the bottle. You know, after I'd soaked them overnight.

I know manufacturers say that it's concentrated, so you can use less; but manufacturers know me, and know that I'm not used to using a half a teaspoon, I'm used to pouring in a bountiful capful. So I do have to be careful to use less of this, or it runs out quickly.

But my, oh, my, does it make my clothes, sheets, and towels smell like what I picture southern France smelling like. Or actually, what I imagine southern France smelling like. But if I imagine a scent, I imagine a know what I mean.

Take It Or Leave It? Take it. You can use it sparingly, only on your own clothes, or if you feel the need for a Little Luxury. If you need several pinches of luxury all together, you could curl up with a book, enjoy a Macaroni Grill boxed dinner, a steaming mug of cocoa, and the comforting scents of vanilla and lavender infusing a favorite blanket.


Becky Carter said...

yes, the macaroni grille helpers are awesome! I discovered the same thing when looking at the hamburger helpers...they obviously have great product placement ;-).

Anonymous said...

I have an awesome picture in my mind's eye of a setting like that last paragraph - and the only things that would improve it are a lovely fire in a fireplace and someone (like you) there to cook the food and then retire quietly to your own corner with your own book....
Love, Mom

Carrie said...

You know, you could use the shampoo as shaving gel. Well, except it wouldn't be gel--you know. I am the type of person who buys shampoos solely for the smell. This means that I have a LOT of shaving "gel," some that will even make my leg hairs glisten a rich espresso color and brighten my legs' natural highlights. Seriously, though? That is my absolute favorite use for those tasty smelling cheapo Suave conditioners.

Sorry. Initially I was going to talk about cocoa--not sure how I got off on shimmering leg hairs. Anyway, if you haven't already, you've GOT to try Pioneer Woman's chocolate syrup recipe. Ooh-la-la!

Haven't tried the Macaroni Grill stuff yet, although my curiosity has been piqued every time I grab a box of Cheesy Hashbrowns.