The laws of cooking

Roast Beef with Treviso-Pear Salad & Horseradish Sour Cream and Chopped Chicken & Brussels Sprout Salad with Blue Cheese, Currants, and Crispy Shallots

This break felt both long and short for me. Long, because a lot happened and I got a lot accomplished during it; short, because it wasn’t enough time for me to complete everything that I needed to do. Related to this column two things happened: first, I ordered the book Hungry Students, a cookbook that focuses on college students, working within the typical college student budget… low… and the typical college student timeframe to cook dinner… almost non-existent…and delivers some great fast and easy recipes; second, and this goes hand-in-hand with our subscription box review column Battle of the Boxes, I decided to start subscribing to some of the food subscription boxes that send you fresh ingredients already portioned out along with the recipe card and you just go to town cooking the meal.

So, this month I bring you the latter, two recipes from Blue Apron, the first of the three companies I plan to try. Next month I will bring you two recipes from Hello Fresh, and the following month two from Plated. This way, you get a review and recipes and you can decide for yourselves which you like best.

The great thing about these subscriptions is that they send you recipes with the actual proportions that you would need to recreate the meal again in the future as opposed to just sending you the properly portioned ingredients and claiming trade secrets or proprietary information!

Specifically with Blue Apron, you choose between their Omnivore and Vegetarian option. If you choose their Omnivore option, they will send you three meals (for two people each) that include a mix of meat and seafood and occasionally, a vegetarian one. They provide you with the recipes for the week in advance so that you can skip it, if you wish, and the cost is low, starting at $8.74 per plate for their family plan (four meals for four people; a total of $139.84) or $9.99 per plate for their two person plan (three meals a week; a total of $59.94). The second option is the one that I have; although I’m one person, their portion sizes are such that I have found that I not only end up having an extra serving for lunch the next day, sometimes I get a third or a fourth serving out of it too!

This month, I made Blue Apron’s Roast Beef with Treviso-Pear Salad & Horseradish Sour Cream as well as their Chopped Chicken & Brussels Sprout Salad with Blue Cheese, Currants, and Crispy Shallots. The roast beef was fantastic and I expected to not like the horseradish sour cream as I don’t like spicy foods and horseradish tends to make the list of dislikes, but I absolutely loved their portions and found that it gave the sour cream just the perfect amount of tang and bite. Unfortunately, I did not like the treviso of the Treviso-Pear Salad— it was too bitter, although the pear sweetened it up a bit, combined with the vinaigrette, it was just too far- leaning toward the bitter spectrum for me. I found myself eating the pears and shallot vinaigrette and leaving the treviso.

The Brussels sprout salad was incredible. I would not change one thing. I was surprised that the Brussels sprouts were completely raw, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the recipe.

All in all, I’d say the recipes were wins, although in the future, I would definitely substitute the treviso for a different type of lettuce. I hope you enjoy as much as I did. Bon Appetit!

Roast Beef with Treviso-Pear Salad & Horseradish Sour Cream

Makes 3 servings
Roughly 560 calories per serving

Ingredients

• 1 eye round roast, tied • 1 Anjou pear
• 1 head treviso
• 1 bunch tarragon

• 1 shallot
• 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

• 1⁄4 cup sour cream • 1⁄4 cup walnuts

Method

Prepare the ingredients:

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Remove the beef from the refrigerator to bring to room temperature. Core and thinly slice the pear. Halve the treviso lengthwise, leaving the core intact. Pick the tarragon leaves off the stems; discard the stems and roughly chop the leaves. Roughly chop the walnuts. Peel and mince the shallot to get 2 tablespoons of minced shallot (you may have extra shallot); place in a bowl with the vinegar.

Roast the beef:

Place the beef on a sheet pan; drizzle with olive oil and thoroughly season on all sides with salt and pepper. Roast 22 to 24 minutes, or until the beef has reached your desired degree of doneness. (An instant-read thermometer should register 130°F for medium.) Transfer to a cutting board and loosely cover with aluminum foil. Rest for at least 10 minutes.

Make the vinaigrette & horseradish sour cream:

Chopped Chicken & Brussels Sprout Salad with Blue Cheese, Currants, and Crispy Shallots

Makes 2 Servings (actually made a lot more for me)

About 575 calories per serving

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 ounces Brussels sprouts
  • 1⁄2 head escarole
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 3 tablespoons dried currants
  • 3 tablespoons pecans
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1⁄2 cup crumbled blue cheese

 

1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour

Method

Prepare the Ingredients:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Halve and thinly slice the Brussels sprouts. Chop the escarole into bite-sized pieces. Place the currants in a bowl of warm water. Roughly chop the pecans. Peel the shallots. Mince 1 shallot; place in a heat- proof bowl with the vinegar. Thinly slice the remaining shallot; place in a medium bowl and toss with the flour, separating the sliced shallot into rings. Pick the parsley leaves off the stems; discard the stems.

Toast the pecans:

Heat a medium, dry pan (nonstick, if you have one) on medium-high until hot. Add the pecans and toast, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Transfer to a bowl. Wipe out the pan.

Cook the chicken:

Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. In the same pan used to toast the pecans, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the seasoned chicken breasts; cook 4 to 6 minutes per side or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a plate, leaving any drippings in the pan. When cool enough to handle, chop the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.

Deglaze the pan:

Add 2 tablespoons of water to the pan of reserved drippings. Cook on medium, stirring occasionally to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until slightly reduced in volume. Transfer to the bowl of shallot and vinegar; stir to combine and set aside. Wipe out the pan.

Cook the shallots:

In the same pan, heat a thin layer of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the coated shallots (shaking off any excess flour); cook 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until lightly browned. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and immediately season with salt.

A finished version of the salad.
A finished version of the salad.

Finish & plate your dish:

Season the shallot-vinegar-drippings mixture with salt and pepper to taste; slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until well combined. In a large bowl, combine the chopped chicken, escarole, blue cheese, Brussels sprouts, toasted pecans, parsley and currants (draining before adding). Season with salt and pepper. Add enough of the dressing to coat the greens (you may have extra dressing); toss to thoroughly coat. Divide the salad between 2 dishes. Garnish with the crispy shallots.

While the beef roasts, season the shallot-vinegar mixture with salt and pepper to taste; slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until well combined. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and horseradish; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Toast the walnuts:

While the beef continues to roast, heat a large, dry pan on medium-high until hot. Add the chopped walnuts and toast, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly browned. Transfer to a small bowl. Wipe out the pan.

Cook the treviso & warm the pear:

While the beef rests, drizzle the treviso with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. In the same pan used to toast the walnuts, heat 2 teaspoons of oil on high until hot, but not smoking. Add the treviso halves, cut side down; cook 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until browned. Transfer to a large bowl. Remove the pan from heat. Off the heat (but while the pan is still hot), add a drizzle of olive oil and the pear; season with salt and pepper. Toss the pear to coat it in the oil, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until warmed through and slightly softened. Transfer to a plate.

Finish & plate your dish:

The finished dish.
The finished dish.

To the bowl of cooked treviso, add the toasted walnuts, warmed pear, half the tarragon and as much of the vinaigrette as you’d like (you may have extra vinaigrette). Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Once the beef has rested, cut off and discard the string. Find the lines of muscle (or grain) of the beef; thinly slice the beef crosswise against the grain. Divide the sliced beef and treviso-pear salad between plates. Garnish with the remaining tarragon and serve with the horseradish sour cream on the side.

All photos courtesy of Jessica Greenstein

February 2015 Issue

Welcome back! We hope you all enjoyed your winter break! Now that school is in session, it is our duty to let you know what’s been happening around campus, in sports, arts and entertainment.

Check out our February 2015 issue below. This is issue is on stands now. Pick up your copy!

UB Post: February 2015 Issue

 

LitMore, growing Literary Arts Center, moves to Hampden

Calling itself “Baltimore’s Center for the Literary Arts,” LitMore is host to a range of events and activities, from daylong writing retreats to writing workshops. At the start of January, LitMore moved from Mt. Washington to Hampden.

LitMore moved from its previous home in Mt. Washington to the Schwing Building in Hampden.
LitMore moved from its previous home in Mt. Washington to the Schwing Building in Hampden.

They moved to the Schwing building, an old car dealership on the 3300 block of Keswick Ave. Make Studio, an organization that provides arts programming to individuals with disabilities, will be using a much of the building. The entire ground floor will be a gallery space for students’ artwork, and the second-floor rooms at the front of the building will be studios.

Julie Fisher, LitMore’s founder, was completely positive about the prospect of sharing the space.

“It’s pretty perfect for us,” Fisher said. “They are here nine to five, and we use the space primarily on evenings and weekends.”

Make Studio, a community arts organization, occupies the ground floor of the Schwing Building.
Make Studio, a community arts organization, occupies the ground floor of the Schwing Building.

The Schwing building was, until last month, beautifully conspicuous and empty. It’s designed to grab attention: two stories, huge display windows around the whole first f loor, and round Art Deco corners. And, located just half a block south of the lights of 34th Street, it’s close to the Avenue but not too close. It’s accessible to the rest of the city, with ample parking 11 months of the year.

In the summer of 2013, her son’s school was getting ready to move into St John’s Church in Mt Washington. When she saw the rectory, an old Victorian house just next to the church, she asked what their plans for it were. The church said they had none; that they had planned on possibly leasing it out.

That’s when she combined forces with Doug Mowbray and Christophe Casamassima, founders of Poetry in Community, and wrote up a proposal for a “center for the literary arts.” When she talked about the proposal part of LitMore’s story, Fisher shook her head and laughed.

Christophe Casamassima, the co-creator of the Community Poetry Library housed in LitMore, with his bookshelf-building buddies.
Christophe Casamassima, the co-creator of the Community Poetry Library housed in LitMore, with his bookshelf-building buddies.

“Talk about putting the cart before the horse,” Fisher said, “The way it happened, we had the space before we even had an organization.”

Still, they had been thinking of such a thing for a while: somewhere writers could come together; somewhere to affordably host readings and book releases; somewhere that non-profits and writers of all sorts could connect with one another.

There are many ways that LitMore connects writers. LitMore’s most basic function is as a space to write. By paying $10 ($5 if you are a member), a writer can spend the day with other writers, writing and drinking the coffee and tea provided. This might sound strange to readers who aren’t writers. However, sitting in a room full of productive writing can inspire many writers to press through dejection. The spaces—of which there are two larger multi-purpose rooms—can also be rented out for writing workshops or other group events. In the future, Fisher hopes to rent the gallery space below for larger events.

Beyond this, LitMore also has groups and organizations that regularly use their space. Dew More Baltimore, which will be leasing a small office space, organizes poetry education in city schools and also runs the youth poetry slam team, which travels all over the country to compete. Baltimore Writing Hour, which happens every Saturday from 11-4, is an open write-in where anyone can come to spend the day writing.

The last room that Fisher showed me is the Community Poetry Library. Doug Mowbray and Christophe Casamassima started this collection back in 2004. The new library will house a growing collection of over three thousand titles, in all sorts of forms (from books, to broadsides, to hand-made items). Eventually, Fisher explained, they hope to begin a collection of Baltimore focused poets, to create a history of Baltimore’s poetry scene.

A little over a year after their founding, as they settle into their new space, Fisher’s hopes do not seem to have lessened. It’s not surprising that, given that the organization is becoming comfortably established in the literary community, financial stability is the largest immediate goal.

“Our biggest hope is to be solvent,” Fisher said. This means continuing to grow a member base, and spreading the word about the venue as an option for literary and non-literary groups alike. Still, though money is clearly vital to run LitMore, Fisher continued to speak about bigger things: about connections that have yet to occur and about visions for further down the road.

“Our overall vision is still centrality,” she explained. She went on to emphasize the importance of a physical space to make centrality a reality, and how important it is in building a well-connected community. It’s so clear, by the way she gazed around the rooms of deconstructed furniture with so much hope and energy, that she really believes LitMore could become one of the hearts of the Baltimore literary arts community.

By the time I left, I was completely on board. I paid my twenty dollars to become a member, and walked the four blocks home, barely feeling the cold. Interested in becoming a member

or seeing upcoming events? Visit www.litmore.org.

 

All photos courtesy of Julie Fisher

Library Insider

Food for thought

Are you hungry for knowledge or just plain hungry?

Do you want to meet new people or chat with friends from last semester? Check out the Library Cupcake Party Jan. 27 from 3 p.m.to 4 p.m. Stay awhile and get to know the librarians. Wander around. Check out some books.

Take a look at The Cupcake Diaries, the true tale of two women starting a cupcake bakery in Georgetown. The book includes recipes, which could come in handy when the library runs out of cupcakes.

Luckily, the library won’t run out of books anytime soon.

Did you miss the Library Cupcake Party? The Cupcake Diaries can be checked out year round.

Are you still in the mood for dessert? Do you want to learn about the local flavor? Are you an entrepreneur eager for inspiration? Maybe you’re all three. “Ace of Cakes” explores the inside story of Baltimore-based business Charm City Cakes.

 Reference and instruction Librarian Peter Ramsey checks out books on food.

Reference and instruction Librarian Peter Ramsey checks out books on food.

Are health and the environment more your cup of green tea? Check out the The Third Plate, a recent addition to the library’s collection. Just published in 2014, the book discusses sustainability and food.

Could urban farming be in your future? Flip through Carrot City. Or check out Breaking through Concrete. Both books explore urban agricultural endeavors.

For fast facts, The Encyclopedia of Junk Food and Fast Food will fill you in.

Learn where your meat may be coming from in Animal Factory and The Chain.

For fast-food-for-thought, check out the library’s DVD collection. Super Size Me and Food Inc. can both be borrowed for free. Other free DVD rentals include Tapped, which explores issues surrounding the bottled water industry and Forks over Knives, which discusses recent research on health and diet. Watch In Organic We Trust and find out what’s behind food labelling and marketing.

Do you like lunchtime conversations? Attend the library’s Lunch and Learn series. Speakers from the Merrick School of Business, the School of Criminal Justice, and the Klein Family School of Communications Design will be leading discussions at the library. The library is planning one session each month.

For more information on the Lunch and Learn series, please contact Mike Kiel at skiel@ubalt.edu.

For more books and DVDs on food issues, check out this link: https://ubalt.worldcat.org/profiles/LangsdaleLibrary/lists/ coversonly/3513839.

Photo Credit: Laura Melemad

Battle of the Boxes

We’re still searching for my male counterpart and at this point, figured it best to start hunting for my female replacement for next year too. Are you someone, male or female (we need one of both), who likes trying out new stuff, isn’t afraid to voice their opinions, and can string a couple sentences together? If so, apply at editor@ubpost.org. Our male voice will start writing as soon as possible; our female voice will start writing their first review for September’s issue.

I’m giving you two boxes again this month—one for college students and the other is for the ladies (you know, if we had a male reviewer, it would be a lot easier to review male boxes, just sayin’)

Pijon (pronounced Pigeon, yes, like the bird)

First box from Pijon
First box from Pijon

Pijon is a “monthly curated care package” box. It’s perfect for students that want to subscribe on their own (c’mon we can send ourselves care packages, right?) or parents that want to send their college students something special every month. Subscribers can choose between a male, female, or neutral box. They then curate the box with healthy snacks or energy generators, health and beauty supplies, household goods perfect for a dorm or one’s first apartment, and other fun surprises for a value ranging from $30 to $60.

Full disclosure: Pijon sent us this box for review. They’re so awesome that they’re actually going to be giving us some boxes to give away at our new issue table events (for those of you that don’t know, these happen usually the last Tuesday of each month, which is the same day new issues of the UB Post are on stands). This month I have some goodies to give away and we’ll be doing a drawing to do so make sure you stop by our table in the Student Center, ground floor, Tuesday, Jan. 27, to score some awesome UB Post swag and to enter to win. Pijon has also been so kind as to give our students (and their parents) an exclusive 20% discount on all orders (this can be used in conjunction with their volume discounts for subscribing to a full semester or for multiple semesters).

Because of the nature of the box, they ship by semester, which means that this spring they’ll ship in February, March, April, and May; fall’s semester ships in September, October, November, and December. Each box ships on the 10th of each month, with the exception of the last box of each semester, which ships the last week of November or May, respectively. Also, I love that currently in the works is the ability for the gifter to send personalize video, photo, and email messages to the receiver. In the meantime, according to their FAQs page, they do send the subscriber an email the day the package ships and follows up with the received three days later to let them know who sent it to them and when they can expect it. I did find this time lag a little off considering some packages may actually have arrived already, since they offer the options of USPS Priority or UPS Ground. For those gifters that want to surprise the receiver, they have the ability to turn off messaging and the receiver won’t be notified at all.

Onto the good stuff: The box comes with a fantastic info card depicting what’s inside the box. I found it incredibly information, but the one thing I felt was missing was the value or estimated value of the products. First, it makes it incredibly easy for review purposes; second, with subscription boxes, we all want to feel like we are getting a good deal for our dollar.

They sent me a women’s December box and I found it well curated for a care package with energy boosting snacks and shots to power through finals. The first thing I noticed was the Dollar Shots Club energy shots (www.dollarshotsclub.com). There were three 1.9 fl. oz. shots in their mixed-berry flavor. These taste great and have absolute zeroes all over the nutrition facts where it counts (calories, sugar, fat, cholesterol, sodium, etc.) and also pack high levels of vitamins B6, B12, and Niacin. So aptly named dollar shots because each shot is only $1.00; $3.00 total value.)

Next, I noticed the two full-sized exclusive mix bags of Naturebox Snacks (www.naturebox.com) in Lone Star Snack Mix (a blend of mixed barbeque flavored nuts and multiseed chips) and Cinnamon Swirl Kettle Kernels (cinnamon roasted corn kernels). These were hard to put down after just one handful and definitely would come in handy while studying as I love to have snacks nearby, especially healthy ones when I don’t always have time to get to the gym because of a heavy work and school schedule. Naturebox itself is a snack delivery subscription company so I was both surprised and delighted to see this partnership with Pijon. Each snack bag is $4.00 each; total value $8.00.

Also in my box was an organizer from Zen Cosmetics by Quirky (www.quirky.com). If you know anything about Quirky, you know it’s an amazing concept. Have an idea, but not sure how to make it come to fruition or you know how but don’t want to deal with the laborious patent and marketing process?

First box from Quirky.com
First box from Quirky.com

Pitch it to Quirky; if enough people are interested, they’ll make it, patent it, market it, and you get a portion of every product sold, which is why this product is that much awesome to me. I know that a guy named Edwin from the Netherlands who designs interfaces for a living has made over $16,000 just for sharing his idea; I love capitalism when it works properly! Anyway, this makeup organizer is just the coolest—silicone grips that f lex to accommodate different sized beauty items to help you keep yourself organized and your bathroom vanity free of clutter. For those of you that live in The Varsity, I know the limited space you have in your bathrooms and this is the perfect size to fit behind your sinks or inside a medicine cabinet. I’ll be raffling off this little guy. Although I love it and the color is absolutely perfect for my apartment, it’s unfortunately just not big enough for me since I subscribe to so many beauty subscriptions and have a lot of makeup to contend with. The retail value is $13.00.

The last items in the box were from Della Handmade Accessories (www.dellala.com). I cannot tell you how much I love that these products support communities in Ghana using local resources and locally sourced talent. The sale of their products provide for “a week of fair income, job training, education, and more” which makes us, the consumer, responsible global citizens. I received two items from Della. The first, a beautiful blue, white, and black headband that I absolutely love and wore a lot on my recent vacation, is beautifully handcrafted with refined stitching making it high quality and durable. The second, a beautiful red, black, and a yellowish gold color change purse, which was also excellently crafted. I visited Della’s website to get a value and although I couldn’t find the exact version of my items, I found comparable ones that retailed for $12.00 each; total retail value $24.00.

I thought this box was excellently curated. I love that they are helping me be a responsible global citizen with the products from Ghana and that I’m also contributing to the free market with the product from Quirky. Also, the much needed energy shots and snacks help sustain me through my long days, not to mention the fact that this box has a retail value of $48.00!

Allure Sample Society

January's Allure box
January’s Allure box

I’ve been reading Allure Magazine for years now and over the summer discovered the Allure Sample Society subscription box. It’s a monthly subscription box curated by Allure and BeautyBar.com and typically includes high end brands and deluxe sample sized beauty products with the occasional full sized product as well. The cost is $15.00/per month and a new Maryland law has made them charge sales tax, so the total prize is $15.90 with free shipping. In your box is usually 4-5 items plus you receive $10.00 off any BeautyBar.com $50.00 purchase each month.

Each box comes with an information card detailing each item, how to use it, why it was selected, and how much the full retail value is.

This month the theme was “New Year, New You.” Seems a bit cliché, does it not? But, I have to admit, as always, it’s a well-curated box which fits the chosen theme perfectly.

Inside my box, the first item was a  full size bottle of Zoya Lacquers nail polish in the color Rayne a beautiful metallic baby blue color. These polishes are five free, the newest in the nail polish rage is being free of the five worst chemicals that nail polish has historically consisted of. All of the five colors that subscribers could have received were pastels, which ordinarily one would think was odd for a January box, but they defended their choice well. Unfortunately, they describe the color I received as “striking against dark skin” and I’m extremely fair complected, so this is a perfect example of where a beauty profile would come in handy. Since it’s a full size product, it’s worth its full retail value of $9.00 each.

The next item inside my box was Philip B’s Light-weight Deep Conditioning Crème Rinse. This conditioner that’s best for fine and/ or color-treated hair (both of which I have) promises to make hair shiny and easy to detangle and is made of Shea butter and botanical oils that make it smell out-of-this-world (like cinnamon)! If you’re not big into scented products, don’t worry— the product promises that the scent disappears by the time your hair dries. The sample size was .5 oz.; full size is 6 oz. making the sample worth $2.16, as the full size product retails for $26.00.

Next, is an absolute favorite product of mine from the Philosophy brand: Renewed Hope in a Jar. This incredible anti-aging facial moisturizer is perfect for all skin types—it’s lightweight, cooling, smells fresh and clean, and leaves your skin glowing. Also, the glycolic acid helps make fine lines and sun spots less noticeable after about two months. Unfortunately, the sample size will not last you long enough to see those results. This sample size was .25 oz.; full size is 2 oz. making the sample worth $5.87, as the full size product retails for $47.00.

Erno Laszlo Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar was the next item I pulled out of my box. This brand was new to me, but I’ve used sea mud bars before and absolutely love them. This adorable little sample size bar is a little smaller than a Fig Newton, but works well all the same. This soap is a mix of charcoal and mud, good for all skin types, but really shines for those with oily or breakout prone skin! Unlike some soaps, this one leaves you clean, but not dried out, which is especially important in these winter months. The info card boasts that “this soap came out 75 years ago and has been a favorite of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Greta Garbo, Madonna, and Uma Thurman.” It also states that the charcoal and mud powder pulls dirt out of pores like a magnet. This sample is .5 oz.; full size is 5.3 oz. making the sample worth $4.25, as the full size product retails for $45.00.

Revlon’s PhotoReady Eye Art Lid + Line + Lash in Cobalt Crystal followed as the next item in my box. They come in a spill-proof want and are two eye shadows in a similar color; one is cream, the other glitter. I don’t typically wear blue eye shadow, so this is a miss for me, even though they promise an easy chic look. This is a full size product that retails for $8.99.

The last item in the box was not listed on the info card, but a welcome surprise all the same. The StriVectin brand is not one that is new to me, in fact, it’s another brand that I love, but this specific product is new. StriVectin’s Intensive Illuminating Serum is a new product on the market and we got it as a pre-release. Now available on StriVectin’s website, it promises to be a lightweight skin brightening treatment over time will work to reduce dark spots, age spots, and discoloration, as well as provide a youthful glow. This sample is .25 oz.; full size is 1 oz. making the sample worth a staggering $22.25, as the full size product retails for $89.00.

I could not be more pleased with this box! Although I will not use the nail polish or eye shadow (I’ll swap or gift them), I will use everything else. Plus, I only paid $15.00 + tax for the box and the total value of the box is $52.52 (probably one of the highest value boxes from Sample Society that I’ve ever received)!

Ravens fall to Patriots in AFC Divisional Round

A season that started in controversy for the Baltimore Ravens came to a disappointing end against a bitter playoff rival.

The Ravens twice gave up a two- touchdown lead and fell to the New England Patriots 35-31 in the AFC Divisional Round when Joe Flacco’s Hail Mary pass on the final play of the game was batted down. The Patriots went on to defeat the Colts in the AFC Championship game and will face the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1.

The Ravens got to Foxborough by beating the archrival Steelers 30-17 in Pittsburgh on Jan. 3. Baltimore forced three turnovers to overcome 334 passing yards from Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown’s 117 yards receiving. Baltimore sacked Roethlisberger five times, and linebacker Terrell Suggs caught one of the Ravens’ two interceptions between his legs. On Baltimore’s next play, Flacco connected with tight end Crockett Gilmore for a 21- yard touchdown pass where Gilmore ran into the end zone untouched to give the Ravens a 30-15 lead. Torrey Smith also caught a touchdown, and Steve Smith, Sr. had 101 yards receiving.

Against the Patriots, the Ravens easily drove down the field and scored touchdowns on their first two possessions. Joe Flacco hit Kamar Aiken and Smith, Sr. for touchdown passes on those two drives. New England responded with two unanswered touchdowns of their own on a four-yard run by Tom Brady, and then a 15-yard scoring pass from Brady to Danny Amendola. However, after Brady through an interception to Daryl Smith, Flacco made the Patriots pay. He capped a six-play, 57-yard drive by connecting with tight end Owen Daniels on an 11-yard touchdown pass to give the Ravens a 21-14 lead at halftime.

The Ravens built on that momentum when Justin Forsett caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from Flacco for a 28-14 lead just over three and a half minutes into the third quarter. However, the Patriots once again rallied back. With the ball on the Baltimore 24, Patriots running back Shane Vereen reported to the referee that he was lining up as an ineligible receiver. The referee informed the Ravens that Vereen was ineligible. The Ravens were confused by the formation, and Patriots tight end Michael Hoomanawanui caught a 14-yard pass. Ravens coach John Harbaugh ran out onto the field to get the officials’ attention, and was called for unsportsmanlike conduct. After the game, Harbaugh said he took the penalty because he felt the officials didn’t understand what was happening. On the next play, Rob Gronkowski caught a five-yard touchdown pass to cut the Ravens’ lead to 28-21. After Baltimore went three-and-out, New England got the ball out close to midfield. Wide receiver Julian Edelman went in motion to the left, caught a lateral from Brady, and then hit Amendola in stride for a 51-yard touchdown that stunned the Ravens and tied the game at 28.

In the fourth quarter, Justin Tucker hit a 25-yard field goal to put the Ravens back on top, 31-28. On New England’s next drive, Vereen was hit by Darian Smith, who knocked the ball out and recovered it. However, the fumble ruling was overturned, and New England kept possession. Six plays later, Brady connected with Brandon LaFell for a 23-yard touchdown pass to give New England its first lead, 35-31 with 5:13 left. The touchdown pass broke Joe Montana’s record of 45 career postseason touchdown passes. On Baltimore’s next possession, Flacco was intercepted in the end zone by Patriots safety Duron Harmon. New England wasn’t able to run out the clock, and Jacoby Jones returned the punt to Baltimore’s 48 with four second left. That’s when Flacco’s heave into the end zone was knocked down to end the Ravens’ season. Flacco’s two interceptions ended his streak of five straight playoff games without throwing an interception. Forsett ran for 129 yards, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Brady’s 367 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception, along with a touchdown run.

In other Ravens’ news, two days before the game, former FBI Director Robert Mueller submitted his report to the NFL about how the league handled the Ray Rice case. The report found that the Ravens should have submitted the evidence they had without the league having to ask, and that no one in the league office had seen the in-elevator tape prior to its public release in September. However, Mueller concluded in his report that the league could’ve done more to investigate the charges properly. The report says the league never tried to get in touch with the Atlantic City Police officers who investigated the case, or tried to get the in-elevator video from the Revel Casino, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, or Rice’s lawyers. The report also found that the league never tried to follow up with the Ravens to find out if they had any additional information.