November 28, 2014

Small Business Saturday

Here at Clever Girl, we think everyday is a Small Business Day.  However, today
marks the "OFFICIAL"


As you have probably heard, "Small Business Saturday" is now marked yearly on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  While I certainly applaud the acknowledgement of that day, shopping locally is really done 365 days a year--not just one!  
Here, in Western Springs, we are fortunate to have many independent businesses that offer goods and services to the community. I am also encouraged thought the year by the many, many comments we hear from customers expressing their gratitude that we are here.  So many of you do truly try and "look local first".  It is no coincidence that communities that are thriving have actual downtown shopping areas--it's just a natural part of small town living.  The convenience of avoiding a lengthy trip to the mall, or a pilgrimage to a big-box store is a huge asset.  So, this weekend, and over the next busy weeks of the season, and in all the years ahead, we look forward to seeing you and serving you locally.  It's what it's all about...

Please join us for cider & donuts this Small Business Saturday! 

November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Wishes...


My wish for all of you on this lovely day is the gift of being together, much laughter, happy reflection, and thankfulness as we look ahead...

November 18, 2014

Ina has done it Again...

It's here!  The latest wonderful cookbook by Ina Garten has hit the shelves here at Clever Girl, and it does NOT disappoint.  We always admire her straight forward, un-fussy approach to entertaining, and this book is packed with hints and tips to ease the job of the hostess.  The focus in Ina's latest book is on preparing dishes ahead of time so that you can be freed up to enjoy your own party.  Certainly her recipes work just as well for informal and family gatherings as well. 

It's not too soon to begin thinking about your Christmas list, and this will be a most welcome gift under the tree, or as a treat to yourself, as you begin to plan your holiday menus and entertaining...
I was at a recent party for a friend; and dessert was served in mini-skillets, which was rustic in it's presentation, but special to receive your own individual little serving.  As I looked through the cookbook, this brownie recipe struck a chord...  If you try it, I'd love to hear what you think!

Skillet Brownies (Serves 4)

  • ¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces plus ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 1½ ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee powder, such as Nescafe
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream, such as Haagen-Dazs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the butter, 4 ounces of the chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate together in a medium bowl set over simmering water just until the chocolate melts. Remove the bowl from the heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee powder, vanilla and sugar. Stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and set aside to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together ¼ cup of the flour, the baking powder, and salt and stir it into the chocolate mixture. Toss the remaining ½ cup of chocolate chips and one tablespoon of flour together in a medium bowl and add them to the chocolate mixture. Spoon the mixture into four individual cast iron skillets (the skillets I use measure 5 inches on the top, 3½ inches on the bottom) and place them on a sheet pan. Bake for 22 minutes exactly. Don’t overbake! A toothpick inserted in the center will not come out clean. Cool slightly and serve warm with a scoop of ice cream.

***Don't Forget!  This cookbook, and oh-so many other goodies are available on our website.  Click here

**Save the date!  Thursday, December 11th is the Clever Girl Christmas Open House--plan to visit and have a bit of Christmas Cheer!

November 5, 2014

Magic Mittens...

Just in case you've forgotten what "winter" can entail around here, feast your eyes upon this...
With the truly chilly winter weather looming ahead, we feel duty bound to share a magical secret with our fellow Clever Girls.  In case you two don't know each other yet, allow us to introduce you to the Magic Mitten...
While we have no way of knowing what kind of winter we'll be having here in Chicago,  it's a pretty safe bet that at some point it will be cold, and there's going to be some snow, and you are going to need a pair of these mittens.  From the inside out, here's a break-down on the magic part:
  • Fully lined in micro-fleece for extreme softness and warmth
  • Inside has divided fingers (like a glove)
  • Suede outside for secure grip (yes, you can drive in them)
  • Adjustable toggle at the wrist means you can keep the wind out
And then we get to the fun part.  The colors.  There are lots to choose from beyond the serviceable Black and Brown.  The Cherry Red is my favorite this season.  So, if you'd like to experience a little magic, head on over and check these out...  And if you're thinking about your Christmas list, these make a truly wonderful gift!

P.S. A side note to our blog readers, the Elves are working overtime, and Christmas will be on display Monday 11-10-14.  Ho ho ho, and here we go!

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