Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cookies & Cream Cookies

Ah, cookies. Simple in concept, extraordinarily delicious when done correctly.

My apologies to cookie addicts everywhere, and people still rolling with your healthy New Year's resolutions. Look away! Run away! Hide under a table if you have to!

I've been cooking and/or baking healthy crap fare since New Year's, as well as keeping a food journal. Sugary baking has been kept to a minimum. That all changed today. I'll let you know, straight up, this is by no means a healthy recipe. However, the husband was clamoring for cookies so I felt obliged to oblige.

These monsters will really knock you off your diet. These smelled so good while they were baking that I was unable to resist a taste test after they came out of the oven. Now I'm sitting here, cookie in my tummy, a dopey grin on my face, realizing this cookie was totally worth it.

Sure, I had to knock chips and salsa off my "To-Eat" list today, but I think I can survive one day without em'. So grab a glass of milk, and settle down for a splurge :)

Ingredients (makes 18 cookies):

1/2 cup unsalted butter
6 tbsp granulated sugar
6 tbsp brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
10-12 Oreo's, crushed


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray, and set aside.
2. In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar, until pale and creamy (2-3 minutes). Add egg, mix well. Add vanilla mix well.
3. In a separate large bowl, combine flour through salt. Whisk together. Add dry ingredients to the wet, mix until combined.
4. Fold in crushed Oreo's.
5. Drop 2 tbsp of dough at a time on the cookie sheet, placing about 2 inches apart or 6 cookies to a cookie sheet.
6. Bake in preheated oven 8-10 minutes, or just until edges are golden brown. Let cool on cookie sheet 5 minutes. Remove cookies to a cooling rack, cool completely before storage.

Recipe source: Erica's Sweet Tooth

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

House, Week 12: Decor

The hubby and I have been in the house for 12 weeks now! I can't believe how time has flown. It really does seem like we moved in just yesterday. I'm still so thankful every morning when I wake up here. It was a long journey that at times seemed like it would never end, but it was well worth the wait.

We are mostly unpacked, and have started to concentrate on decorating the house. Man alive, is decor expensive! I honestly had no idea. None. We've been picking up things here and there, waiting for sales, making lists, and doing tons of budgeting. Here's a few things we've worked on so far:

I finally have a place to put my perfume collection, which hasn't been out of the box since we lived in Portland!

Master bath.

I heart flowers.

One of many ideas stolen from Pinterest.

Master bath counter.

Master bedroom dresser. Like my perfume, the mirror hasn't been on the dresser since Portland :)

Picture wall, master bedroom.

Bed side table, master bedroom.

Main bath

Main bath art.

Bookshelf in the entryway.

Living room decor.

Dining nook.

Dining room table centerpiece.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Product Review: L'Oreal True Match Lumi Foundation and More

Time for some more product reviews! The makeup sales haven't been incredibely stellar lately, so I feel like I haven't been picking up as much stuff to try. Which sucks. But have no fear! We are getting close to that time of year when the cosmetics sales are good, and the coupons released for said-cosmetics are better. In the meantime, I do have a couple of new products that I've tested out :)

1. L'Oreal True Match Lumi Foundation

Drugstore foundation is a tricky, not to mention touchy, subject. Not only are you usually dealing with inferior formulas (as compared to the high end products), you're also trying to pick out the correct shade without trying it on. I've tested many, many drugstore foundations and hated 95% of them. I go back to Revlon Colorstay every time. Every. Time. Much to my surprise, I like this foundation. It was inferred from the word "luminous" on the front of the bottle that this was not a matte foundation. I bought it with the intention of using it as a highlighter. Some people like the dewy look, but I'm not one of them. To me, my face just looks shiny. So I bought this product a shade lighter than my normal color. I've been using it under my eyes, down the bridge of my nose, and in the center of my forehead and chin. The dispenser is a pump bottle, which perfectly dispenses the small amount I use. For a luminous foundation (which is drugstore lingo for "shimmer"), there's actually not a hideous amount of shimmer. The texture is very creamy, and seems to melt right into my skin. I use a slightly darker foundation on my cheeks, sides of nose, and around the outer edge of my face, and I've had no problem blending this product with my normal foundation. I like the highlighting effect that this gives me, and I've had no problem with the durability of the product. It can really hold on till the end of the day. The verdict? I would definitely buy this again. I think this one bottle is going to last me quite a long time, but I wouldn't be adverse to picking up more in the future.

2. CoverGirl Outlast Nail Polish in Smokey Taupe, 215

I'm in love with taupe nail polish at the moment. I just can't get enough! A couple of weeks ago, I picked this up for super-cheap during one of couponing excursions. My eye was drawn immediately to this shade. I scooped it up pretty quickly. I'm not huge on CoverGirl products, there are very few of their products that I like. But I like this polish. The brush is a good size, comparable to Maybelline's Color Show Nail Polish brushes. The formula goes on smoothly, with even coverage. 2 thin coats were sufficient to achieve a uniform appearance. I've been very pleased with the ability of this polish to resist chipping. I painted my toes with this color 2 weeks ago, and just today got my first chip. I'm actually thinking about painting my toes this color again, which if you know me, is highly unusual. I change my colors a lot. A lot, a lot, a lot (except for a phase in college where I did a French manicure on my toes for 2 years-straight). This is a perfect neutral in my mind, the color goes with just about everything. You'd be hard-pressed to find something to not match with this. The best part? It's a completely affordable nail polish. The verdict? Yes, please! I'll probably try more shades in the line as well. After I get this taupe out of my system, of course :)

3. L'Oreal Eversleek Humidity Defying Leave-In Creme

Leave-in conditioner is an absolute must for me. I've got what most people would call "horse hair". It's dry, prone to frizz, and feels rough to the touch. In all fairness, I do abuse my hair. Dry it, straighten it, curl it, etc. All on a daily basis. Not only do I use a leave-in conditioner after every shampooing, I also use a conditioning mask about twice a week. I'm actually almost to the bottom of this bottle, and I'm kind-of sad. I've had a good run with this product, but I've got countless new kinds of products to try out. The creme itself is fairly thick, but evens out nicely when you rub it between your hands for a few minutes before distributing throughout your hair. I've been using this product throughout the winter, so I can't comment on the humidity control, but it is a great winter product. It always leaves my hair a little bit softer. I wouldn't call this a miracle product, I've used many other brands that seem to work better, but it's a decent and affordable choice. The verdict? This creme wasn't outstanding enough for me to seek it out to buy again. I'd probably pick up some more if I got it for free, though.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

More Motivation

Just in case anyone else is experiencing an end-of-winter slump, here's some more motivation and inspiration for/to getting healthy!

Source: Shrinking Jeans

Source: Back on Pointe

Source: Back on Pointe

Source: Back on Pointe

Source: CelebrityDB

Healthy recipes to try:

Source: Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts

Source: Biggest Loser Recipes

Source: The Garden Grazer

Source: Fashion Mommy in Training

There's always room for a healthier dessert!

Source: Biggest Loser Recipes

Source: Southern In-Law

Source: Heaven to 350

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Workout Playlist #8

Ah, again, it's mid-February. I seem to be suffering from the wintertime lackluster-ly's. It's too far from swimsuit season to see the finish line, and it's that time of year when motivation is fading. Fast.

But this girl must forge on. I will not give up. Maybe it's because I'm a year older (yes, I realize that's silly), but my body seems to be responding slower than I'm used to with getting in shape. I do realize it's a slow process, so I must give it time and move my arse. Easier said than done.

As always, music is my go-to motivator, so I've been feverishly creating playlists. Maybe one of them will light the spark again. Anywho, this is a great playlist for moving fast during your cardio. I'm not tired of Phillip Phillips' "Home" or Fun's "Some Nights" yet. I also threw in some older favorites as well as Eric Church simply because, well, I love him. Eye candy. Yum.

Keeping it movin' till next time :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Is It Spring Yet??

So, it's mid February. That time of year when it's still winter, but you are so close to spring you can't stand it. Clothing stores are bringing out their spring collections, with light fabrics and fun colors. Heavy winter clothes in muted colors, ski hats, and scarf's have become unbelievably tiresome. You can't wait to hurl them into the back of your closet until next year.

That's where I'm at. I'm ready for capri pants and t-shirts. Sandals and shorts. Self-tanner on my ghostly white skin. Warm weather. Due to my serious online shopping addiction, I'm coveting waaaay too many spring-y items. Here's what I'm really into for Spring:

1. Boho Bracelets-

How I love Boho. I find it so easy to pull off Boho in the Spring and Summer, and much more difficult in the winter. Bracelets are one of my go-to accessories, so I am considering just going ahead and ordering these. I'm having a hard time fathoming not having them. I'm also picturing all the outfits I could pull together with them. Argh.

2. Chambray Shirts-

Chambray is a huge trend right now, everybody's doing it :) I love this look. My favorite look of the moment is a chambray shirt with white shorts, and statement sandals. I'm also picturing a chambray shirt with capri pants, leggings, cowboy boots... The possibilities are endless. I like this long version from the Gap because, well, I like long shirts. I just do. Period.

3. Flat Sandals-

I love, love, LOVE the black sandals in the middle. I'm not huge into animal prints, but this shoe has just the right amount (minimal!). As a girl who used to exclusively wear heels, I've embraced the flat trend with open arms. Perhaps a bit too much, because my heels don't really get much use anymore... Flats are just soooo much more comfortable. I can already picture this sandal with the aforementioned chambray shirt and white shorts. That's hot. What? People don't say that anymore? Whatev's.

4. A Fun Handbag-

I'm still loving the stud trend. I think the black bag is super cute. I'm also loving fringe right now. I don't usually go with a lot of prints on my clothes, so sometimes a cute studded purse or something fringe-y can really punch up an outfit. I know I'm stuck in this chambray rut-moment, but once again, I can picture the fringe purse with the chambray shirt and white shorts. Maybe not with the animal print sandals, though. Perhaps with a cute pair of wedges or espadrilles? Yes.

5. Long T-Shirts-

Long shirts? Yes, please. Make it a graphic tee as well? Double yes please! There's nothing I love more than a cute t-shirt, but make it long and a little loose? You've got my go-to look for summer. I wear a lot of shorts in the summer, and I'm one of those girls that prescribes to the theory of only highlighting one part of the body, that part usually being some leg à la Angelina Jolie. I'm not going to be prancing around in short shorts with a tight, cropped camisole. It's just not going to happen people.

So, it Spring yet? It's still not time? Drat.

Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Shredded Beef Entomatadas

I've been on the quest to recreate a dish from my childhood for quite some time now. Unfortunately, it's not a dish my mom made, so straight-up asking her for the recipe is out. Another unfortunate circumstance is that I regularly ate this dish at a restaurant that packed up and shipped out of my hometown, so going to the restaurant and trying to figure out the recipe is also out. And finally, the last unfortunate circumstance is that I cannot find a recipe on the Internet that sounds right. Maybe I'm googling the wrong things? Sigh.

All is not lost though, because I've had some delicious missteps along the way. Last night was yet another delectable try. I made more of a traditional entomatada, which is similiar to an enchiliada. Instead of a chile sauce though, these have a tomato sauce. The tortillas take a bath in the tomato sauce before filling and wrapping the tortillas. So good.

As I was sinking my teeth into these beauties last night, I took note that the sauce is still more tomato-ey than the sauce I ate as a child. It just occurred to me as I am sitting here writing this that maybe I should be googling "mexican brown sauce" instead of an "entomatada sauce". Next time kids, next time. In the meantime, this recipe is more of an authentic entomatadas recipe.


Shredded Beef-
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 lb beef shoulder
1 tbsp each garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, oregano, coriander, and cumin
1 tsp salt
2 (10 oz) can of Rotel (or canned tomatoes with chile's)
1 tbsp lime juice

1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 small can of tomato sauce
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt

shredded cheese
chopped cilantro
sour cream
shredded lettuce


1. To make shredded beef filling, combine onion through Rotel in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-7 hours, or until beef is tender and can easily be shredded with 2 forks. Stir lime juice in, and set cooker to "Warm".
2. To make sauce, warm olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Add garlic to pan, saute 1 minute or until toasted. Add tomatoes through salt to pan. Bring to a simmer, let sauce simmer for 30 minutes. Take an emulsion blender to the sauce, blend until smooth (this step could also be completed in the food processor).
3. Take a burrito sized tortilla and using tongs, immerse tortilla in tomato sauce until well covered. Place tortilla on a plate, and spoon 1/2 cup shredded beef into the tortilla. Wrap tortilla up, spoon 1/4 cup more sauce over the filled tortilla, and top with desired toppings. Devour!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sesame Chicken and Noodles with Shiitakes and Baby Bok Choy

I've had this dish on my list of dishes-to-try since August.

The main reasons I hadn't made it yet were:

1. I didn't have my own kitchen in which to experiment with new recipes and,
2. It calls for ingredients which are hard to find where I live i.e. shiitakes and baby bok choy.

I've never cooked with baby bok choy (or even regular bok choy for that matter) so as always with a new ingredient, I was hesitant to pull the trigger. There's nothing that makes me more mad than messing up a dinner, having to trash it, and then ordering a pizza. Let me just say that if you are thinking about trying bok choy for the first time, do it! It's simple to prepare, has a lovely crunch, and quite frankly, is delicious. The grocery store finally had some good lookin' bok choy, so I decided this was the week to make that leap.

The recipe I adapted this dish from calls for fresh shiitakes. However, the hubby and I bought a huge container of dried shiitakes at Costco last month, so I subbed those. The dried shiitakes are chewier than fresh shiitakes, but overall, we are liking the dried shiitakes. Plus the water you reconstitute the mushrooms in becomes a flavorful broth after soaking them.

The recipe is a bit labor intensive, so I would recommend to the average working girl (or guy) to try this one on a night where you have a bit of time, perhaps a weekend night. The hubby and I loved this dish, as it provided us with flavors I don't usually cook with. Like a Japanese vacation for the taste buds. It also presents beautifully. The hubby wants to make this for company, which is a huge compliment coming from that hard-to-impress man :)

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 cup dried shiitakes
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 cup water
4 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp fish sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp chile oil
8 ounces chow mein noodles
1 tsp sesame oil
cooking spray
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin slices
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds
4 baby bok choy, halved lengthwise
1 red pepper, sliced

1. Combine shiitakes through chile oil in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover and remove from heat. Allow broth mixture to sit for 1 hour. Remove mushrooms from pan with a slotted spoon, place in a bowl, and set aside. Run broth through a sieve into a large (4-cup) liquid measuring cup. Set broth aside. Discard solids.
2. Cook chow mein noodles according to direction in a separate saucepan. Drain noodles, then place back in sauce pan. Toss with sesame oil, and set aside.
3. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with black pepper. Dredge chicken slices in sesame seeds, then place in pan. Cook 3 minutes on each side, or until slices are browned and cooked through. Remove from pan, and set aside.
4. Add baby bok choy to pan. Cook 3 minutes on each side, or until browned. Remove from pan, and set aside.
5. Add red pepper slices to the pan. Cook 2-3 minutes, or until slightly tender. Add reserved shiitakes to the pan, saute 1 minute or until mushrooms are heated through. Add reserved broth to the pan, allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes.
6. To plate, add 1/2 cup of noodles to a bowl. Place 1/4 cup vegetables, 4 ounces of chicken, and 1 baby bok choy on top of noodles. Spoon 1/4 cup of broth into bowls and serve.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Lentil Soup with Spicy Sausage and Kale

Pinterest strikes again!

I'm soooo loving this hearty soup I found. It was just what the doctor ordered on a freakin' cold, windy winter day. One where the high was 37 degrees, and the sun didn't peek out once. Not even once.

Truly a one-pot meal, this soup has everything and the kitchen sink in it. Lentils, sausage, and kale (uh, duh). Carrots, onions, celery, tomatoes, garlic, parsley, and Parmesan cheese. Protein, fiber, and 175% of your daily value of Vitamin A. Served piping hot, and filling your house with a savory aroma as it simmers. But to take it really over the top? Warm, crusty french bread served on the side.

Yes, please! Sign me up. An added bonus: the leftovers are even more out-of-this-world amazing :)


3 links hot Italian sausage
1 medium onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves minced
1 (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
1 cup brown lentils
1-2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 bay leaves
3-4 cups kale, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, minced
Parmesan Reggiano cheese, shredded (for topping)


1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Remove casings from sausage, and when the pot is hot add sausage to pot. Brown sausages on each side, about 2 minutes each. Stir to crumble. Cook until all sausage is browned.
2. Add onions through garlic to the pot. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Add tomatoes through bay leaves to the pot. Add more salt and pepper if needed, to taste. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for 40 minutes, or until lentils are tender.
4. Add kale to the pot. Simmer for 8 more minutes, or until kale is tender. Turn off heat, and stir in parsley.
5. Ladle soup into bowls, and top with the shredded Parmesan Reggiano.

*Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen*

Friday, February 8, 2013

2/8/13: A Day In The Life

Time: 10:02 am

Weather outside: 39 degrees and cloudy. We are not getting a blizzard like the rest of the East Coast though, so I am thankful.

On my desk: A new issue of Self Magazine, Cooking Light's Everyday Baking cookbook, and a rough draft menu plan for next week, complete with a mass of cross-outs and numbers scritch-scratched all over it.

On my nightstand: My iPhone. I like to catch up on my blog reading before I go to bed. It helps me fall asleep. Hmm. It doesn't sound like much a compliment that reading everyone else's blogs put me to sleep. 

On my DVR: The American's, Justified (yum!), The Soup, Rachael and Guy's Celebrity Cook-Off (go Hines!), and... Supermassive Black Holes. Umm, yeah. That's not mine. And that's astronomy related, get your minds out of the gutter peeps! :)

In my ears: Live with Kelly and Michael, and the wind howling outside.

In my garden: Nothing yet. Please plant the basil, cilantro, and parsley, hubby. Mmm k?

In the oven: I haven't decided. I'm seriously considering making these Snicker's Brownie Bites though.

In my tummy: Kashi's Go Lean Cinnamon Crisp cereal with banana slices and almond milk. My favorite breakfast.

In my future: Working out. Not looking forward to that today. And maybe baking. Looking forward to that!

On tap for dinner: Lentil Soup with Sausage and Kale, and a French baguette.

Latest obsession: Raspberry Banana Oat Muffins, and Middle Sister's Red Table Wine.

On my mind: Dreading working out. How much longer it takes to clean a 1800-square foot house vs. a 600-square foot house. How annoying it is that Kroger's ad for next week is not out yet. Where am I going to find a rustic wooden planter box to put in my living room? Needless to say, there's a lot on my mind :)

Happy Friday everyone! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

2/3/13: Coupon Haul

Cottonelle Toilet Paper, Palmolive Dish Soap, Scott Toilet Paper, Kleenex, Sally Hansen Gel Polish Strips, Mr Clean Magic Erasers, RevitaLens Contact Solution, Rapid Sleep PM, Clear Shampoo and Conditioner, Lady Speedstick Deodorant.
This may look like a small haul, but the retail value of it is surprisingly high. I really hit it hard with the coupons this week, and my hard work paid off. I had a coupon for almost every item in this picture (except the sleep aid, which was free at CVS). I couldn't believe, after crunching numbers on my receipts, that the retail on this haul would have been $107.68! The contact solution is normally ~$11, the Cottonelle is normally $13, and the gel-color nail strips are normally $15. You'll have to finish reading this post to see how much I paid out of pocket :) Here's the breakdown:


*Note: The Cottonelle, Scott, Kleenex, Palmolive, and Magic Eraser's were part of CVS's promotion of "Spend $30 on Select Products, Get $10 Back"*

Cottonelle, $10
-used a $0.25 off Cottonelle coupon
Scott Toilet Paper, $7.49
-used a $1 off Scott Toilet Paper coupon
Kleenex, $0.99
-used (2) $0.50 off 3 boxes of Kleenex manufacturer coupon, and a $1.50 off a $5 Kleenex purchase CVS store coupon
Palmolive, $0.99
-used (4) $0.25 off Palmolive coupons
Lady Speedstick Deodorant, $1.99
-used (2) $0.50 off Speedstick manufacturer coupon, and a $2 off any 2 deodorants CVS store coupon
Sally Hansen Gel-Color strips, $14.99 (Buy $10 in Sally Hansen products, Get $3 in ECB's)
-used a $5 off Sally Hansen gel strips coupon, and a $3 off a $10 Sally Hansen purchase CVS store coupon
Rapid Sleep PM, $1.99 (Buy 1, Get $1.99 in ECB's)

*Used a $10 off a $50 purchase CVS store coupon, and (2) $4 off a $20 purchase CVS store coupons

-Used $12 in ECB's from last week, paid $5.59 out of pocket, and made $15.99 in ECB's for next week.

Rite Aid-

RevitaLens Contact Solution, $8.49 (Buy 1, Get $1 in UP's back)
-used (2) $4 off RevitaLens contact solution coupons
Clear Shampoo and Conditioner, $4.99 (Buy 1, Get $2 in UP's back)
-used a Buy 1, Get 1 Free Clear Shampoo and Conditioner coupon

-used $8 in UP's from last week, paid $5.97 out of pocket, and made $6 in UP's for next week.

-Total Spent- $11.56 on $107.68 worth of product. Savings of 89%. Yowza!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Raspberry-Banana Oat Muffins

In my quest to get healthy in 2013, I've been seeking a healthy breakfast muffin that would provide enough energy for a good workout. This recipe is adapted from a Healthy magazine recipe, and still tastes delicious! I just made sure that I pulled the muffins from the oven as soon as the toothpick came out clean to keep them from being too dry. I find healthy muffins really lack taste and texture if they are over-baked. Bonus: The muffins are only 213 calories each!

Ingredients (makes 16 muffins):

2 cups flour
1 cup oats
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
2 mashed bananas
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tbsp non-fat milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups raspberries


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a muffin pan with liners.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour through salt.
3. In a separate bowl, mix egg through vanilla extract until well combined. Add flour mixture to egg mixture, stir until just combined. Fold in raspberries. Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full.
4. Bake muffins in preheated oven 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let muffins cool in tin 10 minutes, remove to a cooling rack until completely cool.

Recipe adapted from Healthy magazine.