It’s Finally Winter. Bummer.

WP_000254We’ve had such a run unseasonably warm weather here in New York, it’s kind of hard to complain, even now that it’s gotten cold.

But I’m not going to let that stop me.

This week’s Duane Reade Shopping assignment was supposed to be about bundling up for winter.  But all that happens to me when the cold weather blows, is that I want to leave the city, and head somewhere warm.  So though I went into the store thinking I would be scoping out hats, scarves and hand warmers, when I got there, all I could think was escape.

Luckily DR has plenty of travel supplies…so my fantasy of a warm winter getaway was good to go.

First of all, I love the little sample sizes of products.  When I was in middle school, I remember writing away for EVERYthing in the back of Seventeen Magazine.  Well DR has just about everything, too.  Perfectly sized for getting through security fast.

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They also have a pretty impressive array of cosmetic bags – from the cutesy to the sophisticated.  At Duane Reade!  Who knew? I happen to like the polka dotted ones.  But the solids (except not in that green…ugh) are nice, too.

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And then there’s the stuff to put in them.  I’d been looking for a pair of super low peds that wouldn’t show in my ballet flats that I wear all summer long, and I found ‘em here.  Score.

And I’m still not deep enough into my warm weather fantasy life to forget that in the summer, you have no coat to hide your figure flaws.  So I noticed this handy lump smoothing item.

Since my fantasy also includes air travel (first class, of course.  It’s MY fanstasy) I checked out the nifty airplane items – like the blow up neck pillow, the eye shades and the chargers of all kinds.

But once I left the store, and was hit with the reality of the weather , I realized that to really beat the heat, I could only go to one of two places: Fairway or Citarella.  Both conveniently located across the street.  Why there?  Because the only way to really deal with the cold is to make a nice hearty stew. So I did. Here’s the recipe:

Lamb Stew (adapted from Mark Bittman)

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

3.5 lbs. lamb shoulder, trimmed of extra fat and cut into stew-sized cubes

Salt and Pepper

1 cup chopped onion

1 Bay leaf

1 Cinnamon Stick

2 star anise (optional – but good)

1 cup pearl onions (use frozen, it’s easier)

1 6oz can tomato paste

1 cup chopped dried dates

3 Tablespoons raisins

Parsley to garnish

1. Brown the meat in the olive oil over medium high heat, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go.  You may have to do this in batches.  When they are all browned, return everything to the pan, add the chopped onion, and stir until the onions are soft. (Use a pot with a cover, you’ll need it later.)

2. Add  the next 5 ingredients and stir to blend.  Cover the pot and cook about 1hr, until the lamb is almost tender.  Add the figs and raisins, cook 20 minutes more, or until the lamb is super tender.

3. Garnish with the parsley and serve over a hearty noodle, like bow ties, orchiette, or wide egg noodles.  Tip: It’s best to wait and eat the stew the next day – rather than the day you cook it. That gives the flavors time to combine and penetrate the meat while in the rerfrigerator.

Sadly, the stew didn’t do the trick.  And I was left with having to go back to Duane Reade and buy this.

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Bummer.

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for CollectiveBias. #CBias The money spent and the opinions given are my own. #duanereade

You can see more photos from my trip – and check out the goods for yourself by clicking here.

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