Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cheap and Cheerful's 200th Post! Photo Class Pass Giveaway!

Good morning faithful readers of Cheap and Cheerful! This morning marks our 200th post. We are celebrating this milestone with our first giveaway.

You can win a pass to Katrina Kennedy's amazing online photo class -- "Kids, Captured Through the Lens". Click on the button at the top of the blog for more details.

Post a comment here describing your photo taking philosophy. One winner will be chosen by our illustrious judging panel.

Deadline: 5 pm tomorrow, Sunday, October 11th

Class begins on Monday, October 12th

Friday, October 9, 2009

Favorite Things: Elephant Apron from Stonewall Kitchen

This adorable apron is perfect for your pint sized Julia Child or budding Jacques Pepin. And while you're shopping on Stonewall Kitchen, check out their amazing gift baskets. Instead of buying friends holiday gifts that take up space in their homes, fill up their bellies with treats from this website. With everything from gourmet hot fudge sauces to blueberry pancake mixes and savory snacks, you can find something for everyone on your list. You can even purchase today and set up a future delivery date. Brilliant.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Deal of the Day: Garnet Hill Cashmere Sweater

My mom just scooped up two of these cashmere beauties on a buy one, get one half off special. And although that deal is gone, be sure to check out Garnet Hill's other "sale of the day" items. 'Tis the season to start stocking up for those special under the tree items. (PS -- I like the charcoal one. Just kidding.) I guess Oprah loved this sweater too; it is one of her featured favorite things this year!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Deal of the Day: DOD Tracker

I stumbled upon this cool website this morning. It tracks online deals and items offered at steep discounts. It might prove to be too much information for my tastes, as I am often more focused on deals offered at just my favorite stores, but I am going to bookmark it and report back.

Cheap and Cheerful wants to know: Do you have a favorite deal watching website?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cheap and Cheerful Cooking: Cupcakes!

I love cupcakes. But I don't love spending $2 for each treat. Why not make your own?
These cuties caught my eye on Food

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup root beer, flat
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

8 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 pinch fine salt
1 teaspoon banana extract, or more to taste
1 to 2 drops pastel food coloring, optional

Equipment: 12 cup standard muffin tin
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with cupcake liners or spray footed cupcake holders with nonstick spray.
Put the butter, root beer, and cocoa in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on High until the butter melts, about 2 minutes. Whisk to combine.
Meanwhile, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla together in a small bowl.
Whisk the hot cocoa mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir in the sour cream mixture just to combine; take care not to overmix. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups, filling each one about 3/4 of the way full, about 1/4 cup per cupcake. Bake cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes completely in the tin on a rack. Remove from liners and return cakes to a rack.

For Frosting: Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a saucepan that can hold a mixer's bowl above the water. Whisk the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in the bowl by hand. Set the bowl above the boiling water and continue whisking until the mixture is hot to the touch and the sugar dissolves, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat at medium-high speed until eggs beat up into a cool stiff meringue, about 5 minutes. Add a few drops of desired extract and/or food coloring and lightly beat into the meringue.

To decorate: Using a spoon, offset spatula or piping bag, dollop, spread or pipe about 1/2 cup meringue on top of each cupcake to make a ghost or monster of your choice. Decorate with candied eyeballs or other candies. These can be finished 2 to 3hours in advance and held at room temperature.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Favorite Things: Fabulous Items To Support A Great Cause

Breast cancer research is a project that is near and dear to my heart. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and there are a lot of awesome pink products out there. Purchase a pink product and the proceeds go directly to breast cancer research. I think a little Christmas shopping for a good cause is in order. I've got my eye on this adorable, multipurpose bag. You could use it was "wrapping paper" for all those fun treats from Santa. I think that is what this "Santa" plans to do ... But, shhhhh, don't tell!


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