Category Archives: holiday topics

Chinese New Year – Year of the Ox

The Lunar Chinese New Year is on Monday, January 26th. This year is the year of the Ox, and so all of you Ox babies – Happy New Year! Its your special year. For those of you who don’t know what your Chinese Zodiac symbol is, you can look it up by your birth year. There are 12 animals on the Chinese Zodiac so every 12 years, your animal comes up and its your special year.

Chinese Zodiac

I found this quick definition on the Ox:   The Ox is the second sign of the Chinese zodiac. Like its predecessor and complement, the Rat, it signifies new beginnings. The main difference is the Ox is associated with building to last and slow but sure action.

Wikipedia has a really in depth explanation on Chinese astrology and the 12 animals:

To celebrate Chinese New Year, take your kids and families to your local Chinatowns to see what festivities are going on. They aren’t always on the exact day of Chinese New Year, so check your local calendar for details. You’ll be able make a day of it. Take in some dim sum, chinese pastries, and lion dances complete with firecrackers.

Chinatown Parade

If your city doesn’t have a Chinatown, have no fear. You can make some of your own Chinese dishes at home to celebrate. Here is a link:

Happy Chinese New Year!

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Dine LA Restaurant Week

Its backkkkk!! Dine LA Restaurant Week is returning for your foodie pleasure.


Dine LA is happening Jan 25 to 30, and then Feb 1 to Feb 6.

Some of my favorite places are featured on this special restaurant week and I hope that I get to try some new ones too. Most restaurants are offering some special tasting menu for this week. You can either book online or call the restaurant to tell them you want to reserve the Dine LA menu. Many of the restaurants are offering $34 menus.

Some area favorites include: Chaya Venice, Campanile, Grace, BLT Steak, Katsuya, Gordon Ramsay, Lawry’s Prime Rib, Asia de Cuba, Ruth Chris, and STK. There are plenty of celeb hopping hot spots on this list.

The list is actually quite extensive. Check it out!

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Puppies and Worms Food Blog Mention!

Hey! We got a mention on the Foodie View for our Gluten Free Chocolate Peppermint Trifle recipe. They posted a round up of a few trifle recipes and ours was picked for gluten free readers.


Check out the link here:

See our recipe in our previous post

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Christmas Prime Rib Roast ~ Newlywed Girl

Happy Holidays everyone! Every Christmas I try to make something a little fancier than my normal menu items for my family. I think they usually wait for me to plan and discuss my menu options and then we pick the star of the show. The last few years I’ve made pot roast, turkey and goose. This year is the fanciest year yet. I am going to attempt my first prime rib roast.

I purchased the prime rib from a local butcher who is famous for their prime rib. They dry age the beef for a couple of weeks so its like steakhouse quality. Lawry’s Prime Rib – eat your heart out!

You can try my recipe too if you’re interested. This feeds 8-10 people.


9-12 lb Prime Rib on the bone – should be about 4 bones

3 Carrots, peel and chopped into large chunks

2 Onions, chopped into chunked pieces

2 cups of water, add more if necessary

Horseradish for dipping

Herb Blend

1 1/2 tsp dried thyme

1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary

2 Tbs fresh ground pepper

2 Tbs salt

5 cloves of garlic, chopped finely

4 Tbs olive oil

2 15 oz cans of beef broth

1 cup red wine, cabernet or pinot noir

2 tsp butter


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Prepare the spice rub in a small bowl to ready for the meat. Trim some of the fat off the prime rib. Rub olive oil on the meat and then take the spice rub and evenly spread around the meat.

Take a large roasting pan with rack. Add vegetables to the bottom of the rack and place the meat on top of the vegetables. Pour the water onto the vegetables.

Cook the meat at 450 degrees for 40 minutes. Turn the heat down to 275 degrees for another 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the internal temperature reaches 130. Check that the pan has enough water for au jus. add more if needed.

When it is ready, remove from the oven and cover and allow to rest before eating. Reserve 2 cups of drippings for au jus. Strain and defat the drippings into a pot and deglaze on the stove with the beef broth and red wine. Add the butter towards the end, and season with salt and pepper.

Carve tableside or onto a platter. Serve with the horseradish. I am also going to roast potatoes to go along with this great meat.

Happy Holidays!!

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Another $25 Shopping Experiment at Marshalls

I know that I just posted about T.J. Maxx in an earlier post, but to be fair, I wanted to do the same $25 buying experiment at Marshalls. Sure, they are pretty much the same company, but sometimes its not the same from one store to another.

Marshalls was super crowded on the same night that we visited the quieter T.J. Maxx. I don’t know if its because Marshalls is in a big plaza with other stores, or if people just have more of an affinity towards Marshalls, but there were probably 10 times more people inside the Marshalls just up the street on Hawthorne Blvd in Torrance.

First of all, Marshalls felt like it had a lot more things for sale and maybe other shoppers knew this as well? It was somewhat chaotic with men and women going about looking for clothes, shoes, furniture pieces, and gifts. There was a lot to look through and it took me a good 30 minutes to make any decisions on what I wanted for my $25. I picked up several different items before I got down to my final selections. I saw everything from kitchen plates, to vases, to ornaments, to cookware, and home decor.

I liked this really neat Italian coffee maker that is used on the stove top, but then I saw yoga mats for $12.99. I was in desperate need of a new yoga mat, and they had some nice ones to offer. I selected a nice blue one with a lotus print. I can’t wait to use this at my next class. My next choice was a glass wine decanter. This decanter looks like any of those fancy schmancy ones out there, works exactly the same, and cost $6.99! The decanter is going to make a terrific gift, and people will think we spent a bundle on it. The lucky gift recipient will not only get a $6.99 decanter, but it will come with a nice bottle of wine that we will gift in the wine box that we found for $2.99.

Here is a picture of our finds.


The upside of Marshalls was the better finds compared to T.J. Maxx. The downside was the long line at checkout. I still had a good time looking for these great bargains at Marshalls. I’d definitely make a trip back soon to find some more goodies.

Thanks Marshalls, you’re alright.

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What do you get for $25 at T.J. Maxx??

My mission…spend no more than $25 at T.J. Maxx. Their slogan… “Economize. Don’t Compromise.” I had the challenge to find the best things that I needed or liked from T.J. Maxx. I felt that with a slogan like that, I was sure to find at least a few things that I could definitely either 1. use on myself or 2. give to someone for Christmas. Last minute shopping the week of Christmas certainly brings its own dimension of fun, with traffic, crowded stores, and NO parking.

This particular T.J. Maxx in Torrance on Hawthorne Blvd. was not super crowded, being that it was three days before the big Santa day. It was a pleasant surprise for us, but I’m sure that the retailers are not happy to hear me say this. It was already about 10pm on a Monday night, so I’m thinking that maybe people started to thin out for the night, and rest up to prepare for another day of shopping tomorrow.

Onward to my purchases. This particular store didn’t have as many things laying around and it didn’t take too long for me to comb about. There was a sale going on for Christmas decor, and I remembered that my sister just bought a huge tree, so I picked up a pack of 30 ornaments for her 7′ fresh tree for our tree trimming party on Wednesday night. Next we found a great USC Trojans t-shirt for our biggest USC fan. The t-shirt was a bargain compared to what you’d normally pay on campus for the same exact thing. This will make a great gift. Finally, with a few bucks to spare we milled about to find something smallish, and saw batteries of all things. Everyone needs batteries! We actually bought some toys that required batteries, so this was a convenient find for the last bit of money.

Here is a picture of what we purchased with our $25

TJ Maxx

Thanks T.J. Maxx, you saved the day. We found things that were economical, and we did not compromise one bit. I’ll be back to your stores again soon.

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Giveaway Iams Home for the Holidays – Animal Planet Pet Training DVD

I received 3 Iam Home for the Holidays sponsored Animal Planet Pet Video Tricks and Training DVDs for your cats and dogs. I will be giving them away to three of our subscribers at random who leave their comments on this post. This is neat DVD that gives you tips on how to train your pets with fun games, and activities.

You can click here to find out more information and to see a clip.

If you don’t want to wait for our giveaway then buy yours today through that website for $2.95 for shipping and handling.

Enter now by posting your comments to this blog post and subscribing to us and we will select our three winners on January 2, 2009. Valid for U.S. residents/addresses only.

How fun would this DVD be for your new year’s resolution to teach your pet some new tricks and training?

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