September 30, 2010

Daffodil Boutique Necklace Giveaway at Fantabulously Frugal

A big thank you to the lovely Liz at Fantabulously Frugal for featuring Daffodil Boutique!   Head over to her style-savvy blog for a great scoop on how to get Aly's celebrity look on the new hit CW tv series, Hellcats.  

Liz has parsed together some great fashion steals to come up with a look that is spot-on Aly but also very you and me too. I have a real weakness for fashionable, comfortable and washable (I am a pratical girl at heart) clothing, and this ensemble certainly fits the bill.

Now this look needs a finishing touch. Our fearless heroine has something sparkly around her neckline.  What would complete her style?

Nothing other than the much acclaimed Large Wishbone Necklace in Gold  or Sterling Silver.

Both versions are for sale now at Daffodil Boutique, and one lucky winner will nab one for FREE!  Just go to the post at Fantabulously Frugal and comment, tweet and/or mention on Facebook for your chance to win.  The contest ends Wednesday, October 7 at 12:00 noon ET. You can enter once per day, so return and repeat, repeat, repeat to up your chances.

A special welcome to the Giveaway Scout visitors too!  Giveaway Scout is a free site that lists thousands blog giveaways, contests and sweepstakes in one place. They scan a large number of giveaway blogs and update every hour on their site and through email.  

Thank you again for the spotlight at Fantabulously Frugal and good luck to all the participants!

September 26, 2010

FREE Ice Cream at Cold Stone Creamery on Sept 30th

I love a deal that helps support an amazing charity and throws in a lil ice cream too!  Mark your calendars on September 30, 2010, because just such an event is happening at Cold Stone Creamery locations around the nation. 

All through the month of September, Cold Stone Creamery has been  partnering with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant wishes for sick kiddos.   This is a cause that I love and I support with part of the proceeds from my own Medium Gold Wishbone Necklace.  It's a demure matte gold wishbone just under an inch long and made from luxury, durable materials. 

But back to the FREE ice cream!

Now in its charitable efforts, the Make-A-Wish Foundation granted a wish that has very tasty derivatives for all.  Kate is an 11 year old girl whose wish was to be an official Cold Stone Creamery TasteMaster for a day.  (Nice wish, Kate!)

From 5 pm - 8 pm on September 30th, the fruits of her labors, titled Kate's Creation, will be served in 3 oz portions to each Cold Stone Creamery patron for FREE

And just what is in Kate's Creation? It's a mouth-watering combination of Caramel Apple Ice Cream, chocolate shavings, Graham Cracker pie crust, and apple pie filling. Get a look at this dessert. 

Kate, you shouldn't have! 

And the sweetest part?  85% of the donations acquired during the ice cream giveaway will be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  So while it is free, be charitable and contribute a buck or two or more if you can. Well done Kate, Cold Stone Creamery, and Make-A-Wish Foundation!  Can't wait to participate. 

And don't forget to check out the Daffodil Boutique for a second look at that Medium Gold Wishbone Necklace and many other sparkling niceties too.

September 20, 2010

Wishbone Necklace Giveaway: Winner Announced!

The response to the Daffodil Boutique Wishbone Necklace Giveaway at Fantabulously Frugal was waaaay beyond expectation!  With over 70 entries, it was quite an exciting contest and entries continued to come in right until the last hour.  The comments posted were so kind and inspiring.  Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who entered and for making it so fun.
And without further ado...

The winner of the Gold or Silver Large Wishbone Necklace is entry 41, Nancy Houston!

Nancy please contact me at sales {at} daffodilboutique {dot} com to confirm your prize and shipping information.  I hope you're 100% delighted with your new necklace.  It will be a delight to make it for you!

And as a special thank you to everyone for viewing, commenting and participating, I'll be offering a 25% discount on all Daffodil Boutique jewelry good through September 27, 2010.   Just convo me through Etsy with the piece(s) you'd like, mention the code EverythingDaffodils, and I'll create a custom listing just for you.

Thank you again to everyone who entered.  Let's do this again soon!  In fact - take a look at the Daffodil Boutique collection and comment below about the piece that you'd like to see featured in the next giveaway.

September 17, 2010

Mint Biscotti Dipped in Bittersweet Chocolate

Biscotti is too often pigeonholed into two dull categories: almond or chocolate.  But this is too limiting for the elegant biscotti. I searched the interwebs for a recipe that was equal parts minty and chocolatey, but nothing turned up.  So I created this one for Mint Biscotti Dipped in Bittersweet Chocolate.  Yes, the recipe title is a tad wordy, but I wanted to be clear that this is not a run-of-the-mill, bland biscotti with a dunking in mint chocolate (though that wouldn't be too terrible), rather it's biscotti - infused with cool mint - and then coated in rich, dark chocolate.  It's the perfect way to anticipate the winter months when Mint and Chocolate traditionally come together in peppermint mochas, mint chocolate brownies, and the like.  Now biscotti gets in on the fun too.

This recipe skips the phony flavorings and cleverly gets its brisk mint taste from a couple of tea bags.  Just break them open and pour in! Add more or less to get your desired level of mint flavor.

Mint Biscotti Dipped in Bittersweet Chocolate
makes 24 biscotti

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons of dried mint leaves (from about 2 mint tea bags)
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate

Preheat oven to 325 Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or a piece of parchment paper to prevent sticking.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, mint tea leaves, baking powder and salt.

In a mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Scrape down and beat in the egg and egg yolk. Beat in the lemon juice.

Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter.  Mix until all ingredients come together into a moderately stiff dough. 

The dough will be somewhat crumbly
Divide the dough in two mounds on the baking sheet. Shape each half of dough into a 8-inch by 3-inch log.  Bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the cookie sheet for even baking and bake for 20-25 more minutes until golden and firm to the touch.

Remove from the oven and let the biscotti cool until able to handle. Using a sharp knife, cut logs into 3/4-inch wide diagonal slices.  Try to cut each biscotti slice in one smooth motion.  This will give your biscotti nice clean sides without the edges snagging on the knife.

Place biscotti cut side down on baking sheet and bake again until pale golden, about 10- 20 minutes.  Check every 5 minutes to ensure that they're not getting overly browned. Let the biscotti cool to room temperature. They will crisp up as they cool.

In a double boiler or microwave, melt the baking chocolate and dip each biscotti in.  I like to dip the bottom side of the biscotti so that you get a little chocolate in each bite.  

Place the dipped biscotti on a parchment lined surface out of direct sunlight to allow the chocolate to harden.  Brew a fresh pot of coffee or cup of tea and enjoy.

September 15, 2010

New Design: Secret Garden Key Necklace

Remember the scene where Mary Lennox finds the key in the novel, The Secret Garden?  This is what I imagine it looked like.

I liked the size and weight of this solid sterling silver key when I found it.  And it looks just right on the patterned sterling silver chain.  At 18 inches in length, this necklace rest just right on the neckline and looks every bit as polished as much more expensive versions. You'll be able to find it on Etsy soon.

All images are property of Daffodil Boutique.

September 14, 2010

Rebate Sites for Canadian Shoppers

Purchasing online from our friends to the North pays its dividends too!  Here's a comparison of two well known Canadian cash back sites.

  • A great selection of over 2000 participating online sites to choose from.
  • Coupons for your shopping destination site are easy to find on the site. The terms and conditions for those coupons are displayed too.
  • Mr.Rebates promises not to offer your email address to third parties.
  • Cash is paid out every month. 
  • Can elect for your cash back payment through cheque (your address must be on file) or PayPal.
  • Must earn 10 CAD in cash back before you qualify for a cash back payment.
  • Gift card purchases are not eligible for cash back.
  • Earn 20% cash back on each of the Mr. Rebates purchases that your friends make when you refer them.  
  • Earn 2.50 CAD just for signing up!
  • Accepted by 300 Canadian merchants
  • Earn 10% cash back on your friends' purchases when they credit you as their referrer
  • You must turn off 'Ad blockers' before clicking on their links
  • Can't use coupon codes from other websites when making your purchase
  • Cash is paid every 2 months
  • Must earn 3 CAD in cash back before you qualify for a PayPal cash back payment and 20 CAD for a cheque payment. Referral or Signup Bonuses do not count towards the minimums.
  • Can elect for your cash back payment through cheque (your address must be on file) or PayPal.  
  • This site promises not sell or give away member information to third parties.
  • Earn a free toonie (that's a Canadian 2 dollar coin for the non-Canadians out there) just for registering!

    September 10, 2010

    Happy Mega Swagbucks Friday!

    Remember Fridays are mega-Swagbucks days!  The normal searches you do on the internet can earn you even more dividends today.

    Not using Swagbucks yet? Sign up because,
    • It's Free
    • It's Easy
    • It pays you for something you already do - perform internet searches

    September 7, 2010

    Daffodil Boutique Jewelry at FantabulouslyFrugal

    It's always hard to come back after a three day weekend, but this time it was a tad bit easier.  OK, it was a A LOT easier!  

    This morning I got an email from guest blogger Megan that Daffodil Boutique jewelry is being featured on Fantabulously Frugal today!  What a treat and an honor!

    I'm just thrilled with the response and the kind words from each commenter - Each of you is honestly making my day. A few of the readers' favorite pieces mentioned are the Modern Key Necklace,the Gold Branch Necklace, and my personal fave the Ethical Diamond in the Rough Necklace.

    As part of the spotlight, there will be a FREE necklace offered to one reader. The lucky winner will have the choice of a gold or silver Wishbone Necklace

    This is one of the most raved about Daffodil Boutique pieces, and it could be yours!  Go to the blog post on Fantabulously Frugal and comment/tweet as described here to win.

    Comment about what your favorite piece is in Daffodil Boutique’s collection. Also, tweet about this giveaway for an additional chance to win. Don’t forget to leave a separate comment that you tweeted! You can comment and tweet once per day. Oh, and the contest ends Sunday, September 12 at 12:00 noon EST.
    As an aside, Megan from Everyday Nonsense from a Nonsensical Gal offers some great reads with heart-to-heart sentiments on life as a newly wed, more giveaways, and some pretty darn cute sewing projects.  I highly recommend you check her out.

    Thanks again to Fantabulously Frugal and Megan from Everyday Nonsense from a Nonsensical Gal. Everything about this experience has been superb!

    A special welcome to the Giveaway Scout visitors too!  Giveaway Scout is a free site that lists thousands blog giveaways, contests and sweepstakes in one place. They scan a large number of giveaway blogs and update every hour on their site and through email.

    September 3, 2010

    It's Mega Swagbucks Friday!

    I just used a $5 gift certificate to Amazon that I earned from Swagbucks!
    And I'm looking forward to earning more today because Fridays are mega-Swagbucks days!  The normal searches you do on the internet can earn you even more dividends today.

    Not using Swagbucks yet? Sign up because,
    • It's Free
    • It's Easy
    • It pays you for something you already do - perform internet searches

    September 2, 2010

    Up to 15% off at

    If you're looking for an alternative to the other online drugstores, consider Soap.  This is the new offshoot of Diapers and they have some great perks.  For one, they have fast shipping - like just a couple days to most locations fast.  They have a great selection of items and, as I like best of all, they offer coupon codes.  In fact here's tiered set of them that are good right now.

    $5 off $50 - use coupon Laborday5
    $10 off $75 - use coupon Laborday10
    $15 off $100 - use coupon Laborday15
    And if this is your first order, use code KLXR8877, for 15% off your entire order regardless of amount. 

    Plus get an additional 7% off your order when you visit the Soap site through Mr.Rebates

    Special Bonus: Orders of $25 or greater qualify for Free 2 Day Shipping.

    September 1, 2010

    Homemade Ranch Seasoning Mix

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    Hmmm, ranch seasoning.  Tangy, versatile, and goes with everything. I could eat cardboard if you slathered it in enough ranch. 

    So the other day I tootled into my kitchen to make my version of Baked Ranch Crackers, the perfect snack for anyone wanting a handful of something savory, and I happened to flip over the packet of ranch seasoning mix and took a peek at the ingredients list.  Let's see here....Sodium, sodium, and whoa that's a lot of sodium...Monosodium Gluta-what? Is that MSG?  The dreaded MSG?! Do I want to read on? Hydroxypropyl - Ok I know I cleaned our bathroom counters with that yesterday...Oh, oh - parsley, finally something I recognize!

    Add on the cost of that tiny packet of ranch at more than $2 per ounce (gold is probably trading for less) and it's clear we need an alternative.  

    Thankfully making your own ranch seasoning is not just an experiment for chemists.  You probably have all the ingredients in your pantry right now.  Well maybe all except for this one.

    Check the spice section at your grocery store.
    But even dry buttermilk is easy to find.  A quick trip to the supermarket and you can make ranch seasoning for pennies on the dollar.  Here we go.

    All the ingredients ready for a quick mix

    1/3 cup dry buttermilk
    1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
    1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1 teaspoon dried dill
    1 teaspoon onion powder
    1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
    Directions:  Place all ingredients in your food processor and whirl for a minute just to blend and crumble those parsley and onion flakes.  Store in an airtight container.  Mason jars work great.

    Light, garden-y and so easy
    Now I warn you, the finished seasoning won't be the knock-your-socks-off salt bomb that most commercial ranch powders are.  But you can tweak the salt if you want that. This is a subtler, fresher, more garden-y and less chemical-y seasoning. Use it to season chicken breasts as a rub or as part of a marinade, add it to your own baked cracker recipe like I did, or mix it with mayo and milk for a fresh, sugar-free and gluten-free salad dressing. You're sure to enjoy it.