Friday, June 29, 2007

Pineapple Pistachio Cake Recipe - Great for 4th of July Parties

I have been making this cake for years and it is definitely a family favorite. It's cool and moist, so it's really great for warm weather parties or even just as an everyday treat. Even though the cake is green, it is still a hit on the 4th of July. Enjoy!

Pineapple Pistachio Cake



  • 1 box Yellow Cake Mix without pudding

  • 1 cup water

  • 1/2 cup oil

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 box instant pistachio pudding

  • 20 can crushed pineapple with juice


  • 1 package of Dream Whip (1 - 2.6 oz pkg, both envelopes)

  • 1 box instant pistachio pudding

  • 1-1/2 cups milk


Preheat oven to 350 degree (F) oven.

Mix and then beat for 2 minutes the cake mix, water, oil, eggs, and 1 box of pudding. Pour into a greased and floured 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until cthe cake springs back when touched in the center.

After removing cake from the oven, poke the cake all over the top with tines of a dinner fork. Pour the pineapple with juice over the top of the cake. Cool for 1 hour.

Beat the topping ingredients until stiff. Frost the cake. Refrigerate after frosting.

Cool and delicious!

Home Office Furniture Site Review - Saxen Business Furniture

Sponsored Review

We’ve been looking for some new furniture for our home office and have found it a more difficult task than expected. Finally we found some online sites we thought looked promising, so we thought we would share some of our findings with you.

For those living in the UK, Saxen Business Furniture offers an excellent selection of
Home Office Furniture. They offer everything from office desks, chairs, and cabinets to bistro furniture, screens & partitions, and even children’s desks and chairs. They even offer free delivery within the UK! Another rather neat item Saxen offers is what they call interior landscaping. This is a really great selection of artificial plants and trees ready to dress up your office or home. Some of their styles include topiaries, ferns, palms, and even birch trees. This is a super offering you don’t often find in online furniture stores.

Materials for the office furniture range from steel to wood to glass. They have a very attractive selection of all types of office furniture at quite reasonable prices. The Saxen website is easy to navigate and all policies are clearly stated on the site. Customer service is readily available via e-mail, telephone, or live chat. The site is really quite user friendly. I would certainly recommend making this site your first stop if you are looking for a great source to build your office, whether at home or in a traditional office setting.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

How to Dispose of Trash Without Using Plastic Bags

Here is a great post on better ways to eliminate your trash at home. It outlines some great alternatives to consider instead of adding more plastic encased trash to the landfills.

read more | digg story

Friday, June 22, 2007

Spinach, Lemon, & Ricotta Pasta

Here is a delicious, fresh pasta recipe that is wonderful anytime of year.

Spinach, Lemon, & Ricotta Pasta


  • 16 ounces rigatoni, farfalle, or other favorite pasta shape

  • 2 T. olive oil

  • ¼ c. finely grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1/3 c. chopped (chiffonade*) basil leaves or 1 T. dried basil

  • Salt & Pepper to taste

  • One 6 ounce bag or 6 cups of fresh baby spinach

  • 8 ounces (1 cup) ricotta cheese


Cook pasta in large pot of boiling, salted water according to package directions. Drain and return to pot.

Combine oil, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, basil, salt & pepper in a bowl. Add to pasta along with spinach. Toss well to coat.

Divide pasta into 4 bowls or plates and top each with a dollop of ricotta cheese.

Some great add-ins would be chicken breast sautéed in garlic and olive oil, kalamata or black olives, and/or cherry tomatoes.

*An easy way to slice basil is to stack the leaves and roll it up. Then slice across the roll forming thin ribbons. This technique is called chiffonade.

Here is a terrific pasta pot from Calphalon with a pasta / strainer insert to make removal and draining of pasta much easier. I find the Calphalon cookware to be very well made. It is heavy enough to generate even heating and very durable.

Calphalon 6.5-qt. One Infused Anodized Stockpot with Pasta Insert

This 6.5-qt. stockpot is ideal for boiling pasta, making chicken noodle soup or preparing a pot of jambalaya. It's from Calphalon One, the cookware with the new surface that lets you brown and deglaze like the professionals yet is easy to clean with its specially advanced polymer cooking surface, similar to nonstick. It comes with its own insert for boiling pasta. Infused anodized cookware is an exclusive breakthrough anodization process that infuses an advanced released polymer (similar to nonstick) into the aluminum surface penetrating and filling the metal pores and creating a hybrid surface of metal and nonstick that is stick- and stain-resistant, durable and versatile. It’s the perfect surface for classic cooking techniques with easy cleanup. It's safe with metal utensils, is oven- and broiler-safe, carries a lifetime guarantee and is made in the USA.

Calphalon 6.5-qt. One Infused Anodized Stockpot with Pasta Insert

Be Green and Save Paper by the Ton

Great ideas on how to save loads of paper we typically throw away or even recycle. This story gives some unique ideas to reuse the paper instead.

read more | digg story

Monday, June 18, 2007

What is Identity Theft and How to Prevent It

We thought we would talk a bit about identity theft because it is becoming such a significant problem, not only on the internet but even via mail theft, stolen credit card numbers at the store, etc. This is an issue that everyone needs to be aware of and proactive about regarding prevention. We are presenting information on the LifeLock service because we use it and feel it is a valuable tool in the fight to maintain identity security. Over time, we will be writing more posts on how you can help secure your identity on a daily basis with simple actions you can take at home and at work. Be smart and take steps now to safeguard your identity and your financial security.

Identity theft occurs when someone gains access to your personal information such as name and address, date of birth, social security number, credit card numbers, and/or mother’s maiden name. Once the thief has any combination of these items, he may attempt to open credit accounts in your name (this can include your business name) or to use currently open accounts to make purchases or withdrawals. This can lead to overdrawn accounts, excess applications on your credit record, not to mention an extreme amount of debt that you may become responsible for. Once identity theft has occurred, repairing the damage to your credit can be a long and difficult process.

There are ways you can help prevent identity theft and we are going to outline a few of the ways here:

  • Don’t carry your social security card or number with you.

  • Don’t throw out bank statements, credit card statements or bills in the regular trash or recycling. Make sure these items are shredded first.

  • Don’t carry extra credit or debit cards. Only carry the cards you know you will need.

  • Don’t give out personal information over the phone or online unless you have initiated the call or transaction.

  • Do put all outgoing mail into an official postal receptacle (mail box or directly at the post office). Don’t put mail into an unsecured mailbox.

  • Do keep all personal and financial information in a safe and secure place, even at home. You want to keep information away from prying eyes of roommates or outside workers who come into your home. Investing in a safe deposit box or home safe is an excellent idea.

  • Do monitor your credit report on a regular basis.

  • Do use a service such as LifeLock to secure your credit and personal information. Relative to the hundreds of hours and many thousands of dollars lost when identity theft occurs, this service is a real bargain.

  • Do safeguard your children’s identity and your business identity the same way you would your personal identity.

If you have been a victim of identity theft, don’t panic but act quickly to repair the damage and prevent further spending by the thief. If you have a service such as LifeLock, all you need to do is contact them and they will quickly go to work for you to repair credit problems, remove unauthorized charges and accounts and inform the authorities. Using a service such as this, however, will usually prevent the identity theft from occurring in the first place. In our opinion, this service is well worth the small investment.

If you don’t have an identity theft prevention service and you are a victim of id theft, contact the FTC at and follow the steps recommended to try to restore your credit. Be sure you contact all 3 credit reporting agencies to put a fraud alert on your credit report to prevent further attempts by the thief to open new lines of credit.

We recommend using a service such as LifeLock. They can prevent identity theft from ever occurring in the first place and that should be your goal. Here are a few of the services that come with your LifeLock account:

  1. They Guarantee what they do.

  2. They block your credit so that only you can use it.

  3. They stop pre-approved credit offers (this is a huge time saver and stress reliever on it’s own!).

  4. They drastically reduce the amount of junk mail you get (who wouldn’t like that?!).

  5. They ensure that things go smoothly when you apply for credit.

  6. They fix any problems that do occur.

  7. LifeLock is the ONLY PROACTIVE Identity Theft Prevention Solution backed by a One-Million Dollar Guarantee. Click here to get a 10% discount.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Custom Outdoor Cushions

Sponsored Review

We have been working on fixing up our backyard for some time now and one sticking point has always been finding new chair cushions in the right sizes and in colors that we actually like. FINALLY, we have found a great source for actual custom outdoor cushions. Custom Cushions is a website that offers customized outdoor chair cushions, chaise lounge cushions, seat cushions, and even outdoor pillows. Yes, these folks actually make the cushions to the dimensions that you need. Imagine that! You can actually get cushions to fit your chairs and not have to settle for the oversized or undersized cushion types regularly carried at your local store

Custom Cushions has a neat “Cushion Designer” that allows you to input the shape of your desired cushion along with the sizes of the various edges and the thickness of the cushion. You then choose the fabric and the edge detail and you’re done! They also allow you to pick from various shapes and sizes for seat cushions and specialized chairs, etc. Check out the different pages on the “Cushions” page to view the type of cushion or pillow you are looking for.

The site also offers coordinating patio or market umbrellas. All fabrics are quality Sunbrella® fabrics so you know you will be getting a durable, UV resistant fabric.

Custom Cushions site is easy to navigate and offers a wide range of choices in custom outdoor cushions, bringing a great solution to an often difficult to find product.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Spiced Port Reduction Recipe

Here is another spectacular pork tenderloin recipe. This one is courtesy of ironchef at the Discuss Cooking forum. If you are looking for something unique but not difficult, give this recipe a try. It is delicious!

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with a Fennel and Green Apple Salad and Spiced Port Reduction

Yield: 6 Servings

For the pork:4 lbs. Pork Tenderloin
4 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme, chopped
3 Tbsp. Italian Parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary, chopped
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper

For the salad:
2 cups Granny Smith Apples, cut into 1/2" dice
1 cup Baby Fennel, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Chives, cut into 1" pieces
4 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper to taste

For the Port Reduction:
1 1/2 cups Ruby Port
1/2 cup Red Wine
1/4 cup Raspberry Vinegar
1/2 cup Sugar
6 ea. Cloves
1 ea. Cinnamon Stick
10 ea. Fennel Seeds
10 ea. Coriander Seeds
2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
Kosher Salt to taste


For the pork:
Combine all of the ingredients except for the salt and pepper in a ziplock bag or marinating dish. Let the tenderloin marinate for at least 2 hours to overnight.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat 3-4 Tbsp. of fresh olive oil in a large skillet until smoking. Liberally season the tenderloin with kosher salt and pepper. Sear the pork on all sides until golden brown (be sure to NOT move the pork for at least 1-2 minutes per side after it is given contact with the pan or else you won't get any browning). Transfer the pork to a roasting pan or baking sheet and cook until the internal temp. is 150 degrees. Remove from oven and let rest for a few minutes before slicing.

For the salad:
In a large mixing bowl, combine the apples, fennel, chives, olive oil, and lemon. Toss until mixed well. Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper.

For the port reduction:
In a saucepan, combine all of the ingredients except for the butter and salt (you can bundle the spices up in cheesecloth if you wish as it makes it easier to remove). Bring to a boil and then gently reduce by 2/3 to 3/4. The sauce should be fairly thick and easily coat the back of a spoon. Remove the spices, and off the heat, whisk in the butter. Season to taste with salt and keep warm.

Spoon the port reduction over the slice pork and serve along with the salad.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Architectural Classics - Review of Site Offering Antique & Reproduction Hardware & Lighting Fixtures

Sponsored Review

We came across a really interesting site this weekend called Architectural Classics. This site offers a huge range of both antique and reproduction lighting fixtures and door hardware. They have some absolutely beautiful items like this French Vintage Cast Brass Door Knob

And this lovely 2 Arm Rose Crystal Wall Light which is available in a variety of finishes. The site itself is easy to navigate and the photographs of the items are very well done. All can be enlarged to show quite a bit of detail for each fixture. The item descriptions offer useful measurement and color information. The site is organized into sections including Door Furniture Reproductions, Door Furniture Originals, Lighting Reproductions, Lighting Originals, and Miscellaneous Items. This makes it much easier to tell if you are getting a true antique or original fixture versus a reproduction. This is an important distinction as not all websites are great about letting you know when you are buying a reproduction item.


  • Architetural Classics has a great selection of reproduction and original lighting and door/cabinet hardware.
  • Site is easy to navigate.
  • Good distinction on the site between original and reproduction items.
  • Great photography of each item giving you more confidence that you are buying an item you truly like.


  • Shipping charges are not visible until you register for an account.

Overall Opinion:

Architectural Classics would be a great site to visit if you are looking to restore an old home or historic building or if you just want to add some period charm to any home. I really liked the selection of items available in both the antique and reproduction fixtures. An excellent resource to bookmark as you proceed with any period restoration.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Monday Madness

We thought we would take part in some Monday Madness this week. Join in on the fun! While you are here be sure to check out the recipe for Pork Tenderloin Cubano we just posted. It's delicious!

1. When is the last time you planned for a party/social gathering at your house?
One week ago.

2. What type of event was it?
It was a small family gathering on the Memorial Day holiday. We cooked out hamburgers and hot dogs and all the fixin's and went swimming and played some games. It was a lot of fun.

3. Do you enjoy hosting parties at your house, or do you find the preparation stressful?
We do enjoy having parties at our house when we have enough time to prepare without getting exhausted. If time is short and the house is in need of some serious cleaning (which of course is never the case ;-) then it can be a bit stressful.

4. Do you tend to have a lot more food than needed for these events, or are you pretty good about estimating how much to serve?
Usually we have extras but that is because I like to have leftovers to skip cooking for the next day (or two) and I like to send goodies home with my guests.

5. Some people have gatherings at their homes on a regular basis because it forces them to really CLEAN. How do you feel about this?
I do a good cleaning when I have company coming, but I would never have a party just to force myself to clean. Yuck!

Have a great week everyone!

Pork Tenderloin Cubano Recipe

Here's a delicious recipe from my friend cjs at the Discuss Cooking forum. Give it a try for a delicious new taste with pork tenderloin.

Here’s a tasty idea - you can either roast in oven or grill the pork.

Serving Size: 4

1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 T. fresh lime juice
2 T. dark rum
1/2 medium onion -- thinly sliced
3 each garlic clove -- minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1 each bay leaf -- crumbled
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 12 oz. each pork tenderloin
Orange slices
Fresh cilantro sprigs

Mix first 10 ingredients (o.j. --> black pepper) in lg. resealable plastic bag.

Add pork to marinade, turn, and close bag.
Refrigerate overnight, turning pork once.
Preheat oven to 400° F. Transfer pork to baking pan; discard marinade.
Roast till ~150 degrees - about 25 min.

Let pork stand 5 min; cut crosswise into 1/2" thick slices.
Arrange on platter. Garnish w/orange slices and cilantro springs.

Thanks cjs!

Be sure to check out one of our favorite cookware stores if you are in need of a new baking pan or any other cookware and you will receive $10 off $75 shipments! Use coupon code C94832

Here are a couple of our favorite new pieces of cookware and right now they are available at unbelievably low prices for Le Creuset. You really need to check out these deals!

Le Creuset 14-in. Oval Baking Dish, Citrus

Le Creuset 14-in. Oval Baking Dish, Citrus

This non-porous, 14" oval enameled Casserole features high-fired stoneware that efficiently absorbs, holds and transfers heat. Excellent for baking, it can be brought to the table for serving as well. Freezer-, oven-, microwave- and dishwasher-safe. Made in France.

Le Creuset 10.75x8.5-in. Rectangular Deep Dish Baker, Cobalt Blue

Le Creuset 10.75x8.5-in. Rectangular Deep Dish Baker, Cobalt Blue

In response to consumer requests, Le Creuset is introducing the new Deep Dish Bakers: baking pieces with greater capacity! Made of stoneware, the non-porous enameled pieces can be used in the oven, microwave, refrigerator and freezer allowing you to prepare, bake, serve and store in the same piece. Our new feature, the easy grip rim on all sides of the piece allows you to comfortably lift and carry the piece from the oven to the table.

Bon Appetit! Be sure to share any of your favorite recipes. We'd love to try them.J