Sunday, December 30, 2012

Why hello there, 2013!

Well, I searched my entire blog and I can't find my post for my 2012 resolutions. I guess that means I didn't make any. I usually do so.... anyway. I wouldn't say it was a bad year. Gary and I started the Paleo diet change mid July and I've lost 52 pounds so far. I had to bring my walking (exercise) to a halt due to girl problems but I plan on picking it up ASAP.
My goals for 2013 are pretty simple.
1. Finish losing the weight I started out to lose. This shouldn't be incredibly hard. It was pretty much falling off when I was walking and my girl problems should be over by mid-February.
2. Be a better pen pal. I've been slacking BIG TIME this year and I'd like to apologize to my pen pals. My goal is to get back on track. I'm going for at least 1 letter, per pen pal, a month. Feel free to nag me if you haven't received yours. :)
3. Be a better blogger. I really do try and keep this updated. I get lazy and that's my only reason. I'm on a mission to find new recipes so hopefully they turn out well and I can share them!
4. I'm going to TRY and read 2 books a month (minimum). I'm a pretty fast reader but I get distracted easily and forget to pick up the kindle or a book. So yeah, I know, I set my goal low but it's a start.

Hopefully, in 52 weeks, I can update the blog again and report that I successfully stuck to my resolutions!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Blackberry Pork Tenderloin

Hey, I bet you'll never guess where I found this recipe! Oh.. punchfork you say? OK FINE... actually my mom found it on punchfork and pointed it out to me. :D
You're not getting a pretty picture this time because 1. the stock image looked gross and 2. my own dish looked even worse! Seriously, if you were going by looks alone you'd never touch it. Purple pork with a purple sauce? LOL
OK, just trust me when I tell you that it's delicious AND it's a crockpot recipe so even better!!

The first thing I did when preparing to make this was go wine shopping. Most of you are cheering at this point, but I'm not a huge fan of wine so I took my wino friend, Melia, with me. :D
I should point out that I do like a nice glass of moscato but I was shopping for a Merlot and I hate red wine.

So let's get started!!
You're going to need:
1 (2lb) pork tenderloin (I used 1 lb)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 Tbs dried rubbed sage
1 Tbs crushed rosemary (I skipped this. We're not a fan)
1 (16oz) jar seedless blackberry jam
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbs dry red wine (I used a Merlot)

For the sauce you'll also need:
1/2 cup of the above red wine
2 Tbs honey
1 cup fresh blackberries
(I would double the sauce if you're making a 2 lb tenderloin)

Start by seasoning the tenderloin. Cover all sides in the salt, pepper, sage and rosemary.
Put the tenderloin in the crockpot.
Pour the blackberry jam, 1/4 cup of honey and 2 Tbs of the red wine over the pork.

Cook on Low until very tender. I did 6 hours but that's because Gary was running late from work. It was probably ready 30 to 45 minutes before. It wasn't dried out though. :)

For the sauce, grab a small saucepan. Pour 1/2 cup of the red wine, 2 Tbs of honey into the pan. Add in the fresh blackberries.
Bring to a boil over medium-low heat and simmer until the sauce reduces a little and the berries begin to burst. It took about 20 minutes for me.

Slice the tenderloin on to plates and spoon the sauce over the slices! :)

If you're a slob like me, I'd suggest using an apron. You're using red wine and making a blackberry sauce... so yeah.. everything stains. I **always** cook with an apron!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Sizzling Shrimp with Garlic

On December 23rd, I went to the grocery store to pick up a few last minute things for Christmas dinner. I didn't wanna go the day before Christmas because I knew it would be a madhouse. I also picked up a few things to make meals right before and right after because again, I don't like madhouses. One of the things that I grabbed was a pound of shrimp. Then I went googling for a new shrimp recipe because I wanted to try cooking something new.
I'm going to post this recipe as I found it then tell you the changes I made along the way.
Gary gave it 5 stars. I, personally, don't eat shrimp. It's nasty. It tastes nasty and has a horrible texture. It did smell good though!

I found this recipe on Punchfork is my new favoritest place to find fun, new recipes. It's where I found the dill, garlic, lemon salmon that I posted yesterday, and this one, and a few more I'll be trying.

While this recipe IS Paleo we did cheat and use some delicious french bread. I ate it with my gluten free pasta/marinara and he used it with the pan juices this dish creates.

You're going to need:

4 to 5 Tbs. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 to 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 Tbs. dry sherry
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Start by heating up the olive oil over medium heat in a saute pan. I didn't have lemons for juice on hand so I used a lemon infused olive oil. Once the oil is warm add in the garlic, red pepper flakes and paprika. Saute for about a minute ... until it's fragrant.

Turn up the heat to high and add in the shrimp, lemon juice and the sherry. Stir well and saute until the shrimps are cooked. They'll turn pink and opaque... it takes 3 to 4 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the parsley.

He liked it so much that instead of saving half for lunch the next (like he normally does), he ate the entire pound of shrimp.

OMG Something Crafty???

I was pretty sure that I posted this last Christmas but I can't find it anywhere.
Every once in a while I get a crafty itch. I can't claim this idea as my own, in fact the image I use for the cover of this project isn't even mine. I have no freaking idea where I found this project. I wasn't on pinterest then so I know it wasn't there... anyway, I'm rambling.

So, if you're like me, you don't like to throw out all of those pretty Christmas cards that people sent you. I found this brilliant idea to package them up together by year.

You're going to need your stack of Christmas cards, a hole punch and some metal rings for binding. You can find them at any craft store.

It's pretty self-explanatory. You'll punch holes in the cover, in each card and use the rings to keep everything together. :)

It should look like this when you're finished.

I didn't make that cover graphic and if you don't want to make your own you can just use this one! It looks and works best if you print in full page format on a sturdy cardstock. :)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Salmon With Garlic, Lemon and Dill

I pulled this recipe (and picture) from Well, I actually found it on but it led me to THAT website and anyway.... like you care, right?

So, I was looking for a new way to cook a piece of salmon that we bought right before Christmas. Our "go-to" way is delicious but I need change. Gary, on the other hand, could eat the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over again for months on end. (Melia is the same way too!)

This one had the prettiest picture ... ok well it was the recipe that called for the least amount of ingredients AND had the prettiest picture. ;)

You're going to need:
1 lb salmon fillet
2 tsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Fresh dill, to taste
Lemon slices

First, preheat the oven to 450 F (232.2 C).

Line a baking sheet with tin foil then coat it with cooking spray. I forgot the cooking spray and thought "Hmmmm there's enough oil/butter on the top - it should ooze under and be ok, right?" WRONG. USE cooking spray, we lost our skin and that's the best part!

Put the fish, skin side down, on the baking sheet. I combined the melted butter, olive oil and garlic in a bowl then used my fingers to spread all over the fish. I put a bunch of salt and pepper on it too.

Then I grabbed my herb scissors and I was really excited to use them because I rarely get to. BE CAREFUL! These bad boys are sharp... I cut myself. :(
I used the scissors to snip a bunch of dill all over the fish.

I sliced a lemon into decent slices and layered them on top of the dill.

NOW, the recipe calls for you to cook for 10 minutes. I don't know if they like it rare or had a thin salmon or what but I had to cook it for almost 18 minutes and that did NOT overcook it. It was perfect. So, in a nutshell... cook at 450 F (232.2 C) until it's cooked the way you like it.

I served it with roasted broccoli and it's Gary approved. Delicious!!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Glossy Box - December

GlossyBox showed up today and I have to admit I'm pretty happy with it. I'm not sure if it was nicer than usual because it was a Christmas box or if it's always this nice. I'll probably end up giving most of the products to Melia. They're nice, but better suited towards her.
~ ECRU - acacia protein oil
~ Pleats Please - perfume sample (smells nice, just not my favorite notes)
~ Bath and Shower oil - madurai jasmine and mogra scented.
~ White Tea epsom salts
~ Oscar Bland - Dry Styling Heat Protect Spray
~ Zoya - "Storm"... beautiful sparkly black
~ A jewelmint sample which was a pretty gold toned necklace with pretty jewels/pearls (fake).

Anyway, that's that!
It's the last day of Gary's Christmas vacation so we went to see The Hobbit. It was FABULOUS! Now, it's time to cook a delicious salmon dinner and I'll post the recipe if it's as good as it looks. ;)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Beauty Boxes Overload!

I'm not going to spend my post bitching about how horrible google is and how they say my google drive is full even though there are maybe 15 spreadsheets/documents in it and that's it. I'm supposed to hear back from them in "1 to 2 business days"... yeah right. Anyway, for the time being, images are being hosted at Photobucket. They haven't ever given me a problem in years.
So, as you can see I've gone red. I don't mean auburn, or strawberry or Nicole Kidman... I MEAN RED... primary red, "you can't buy this in a box at Walgreens" red. I love it. It's fun and funky and well... yeah.

You might have noticed that I have not posted any of my monthly beauty box posts in a while. I've been busy and distracted and well... lazy?

That being said, here are a few of the ones I have received since November.

I'm starting with BeautyBox 5 in November. This box is the reason that I cancelled BeautyBox 5. I'm not even linking to them because it sucked so bad.
Some random crap in a net baggie but what stood out the most was the CETAPHIL lotion.... REALLY???? For the cost of this entire box, I could have gone to Walgreens and bought a giant bottle of this crappy lotion. CUHANCELLED!

Now, here is BeautyBox 5 for December. Yup, you read that right. They sent me another box after I cancelled. I went back and checked and I did indeed cancel, removed my card, hadn't been charged but they sent me another box anyway. This means I can't really complain about this box HOWEVER, had they sent me this box in November I would not have cancelled. You see that little brush there? I've been meaning to buy another one JUST LIKE THAT ONE for months now and I never think about it until I am using it in the morning and then by the time I get around to it, I have forgotten but they sent me one so YAY! A nice brush, a full sized pretty eyeshadow powder and some other random stuff that I will use. Maybe I'll sign back up again. We'll see if they send me another free box in January. :D

Now, here comes Ipsy for December! Y'all know I loooooooooove Ipsy (formally known as MyGlam).

A whole slew of products I'm going to use:
Sweet eyeliner pencil, eyebrow gel, GORGEOUS lip gloss, nail polish and Meet Matt eyeshadow in a great color! I love theBalm products!!!
I was also VERY happy with November's bag but I've used most of the products and the bag they came in is being used in my shiny new purse. :D

Now, here's a new one for the month of December.
It's Beauty Bar - Sample Society. Sounds all hoity-toity and they have that right. The samples they sent me were pretty high end compared to other sample boxes. I'll probably use most of this but Murad, Philosophy and the Vapour Organic lipgloss in a gorgeous color stick out the most!

I also signed up for Glossy Box. They ship out mid-month so I'm still waiting for my December box to get here. I'm guessing it will be Monday and I'll update when I get it. I did some sneak peeking around the website to get a hint of what comes in this month's box. We'll see how pleased when I get it. It seems sorta "meh" but you never know!

This concludes 2 months of beauty boxes crammed into one post.

Friday, November 9, 2012


I know that November is the month that people speak of their gratitude. I've been seeing tons of daily "thanksgivings" on Facebook daily and I think it's awesome.
Thanksgiving is a day that gets shuffled to the back of the line by many, especially retailers, as they prepare for Christmas via shopping, decorating, music etc... I love Christmas as much as anyone does but Thanksgiving is just as important as we thank God for all he has given us.

There are so many things I am thankful for and I will do my very best to hit them all but obviously I'm going to run out of space and time and I'm old so I'll forget things.

~ I am thankful for my children. They have always been VERY special and have grown up to be such unique and sparkling .. adults.. OK *young* adults. I am always proud of them and all that they have and will accomplish in their lives and I am eternally sorry that I missed any of it.

~ I'm thankful for my parents. I always took my family for granted while I was growing up. It wasn't until I was older and saw other people's families that I realized just how lucky I am to have 2 parents who love me and each other very much.

~ I'm thankful for my sisters. This includes the 2 I was born with, the sisters I added when I married Gary and all of the sisters I have "adopted" through the years. Each one is dear to me and holds a special place in my heart.

~ I'm thankful for my brother. He's the only one I have and let me tell you, he's amazing. I'm also happy that I married in to 2 more wonderful brothers.

~ I am thankful for all of my nieces and nephews. This means ALL of them... the ones that my siblings have, the ones I married in to and of course the ones that I have "adopted". Each one is special to me and I love watching them grow up.

~ I'm thankful for each and every last one of my friends. I've met so many special people through out my life. I include the friends from childhood, the ones I met blogging and gaming and well... ALL of them.

~ and... I am thankful for my husband. I truly believe that God gave him to me to provide me with anything that I need. He does just that. As I've said many times before, he may not be perfect but he's perfect for me. He goes above and beyond to make sure that I have what I need. He works his butt off making sure that we have a roof, food and whatever else life requires. He's so smart and I love that. Although it's been more sickness than health, he's cared for me through all of it. He "puts up with me".. he loves me when I'm fabulous and when I haven't showered in a week (ok, it's happened a few times but I had good reasons!). He loves me when I keep bringing more pets home, when I wasn't up to cleaning the house that day, when we had to order pizza because I just couldn't cook, when I'm crying my eyes out for one reason or another because we all know I'm good at that. He is an amazing man and anyone who knows him is better off for it.
He always somehow knows when I need that email or text or phone call to brighten my day.
We have had our "better" and we have had our "worse" and we survived and I KNOW he loves me and for that I am always going to be grateful.

These are some of the things that I am grateful for and I am thankful for them 365 days a year.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Beauty Boxes for October

Let me start by saying I was pretty disappointed with all 3 boxes this month but it was easy to pick a winner.

ipsy (formally known as MyGlam) came first. I'm pretty sure this was my favorite out of the month.
First off, it came in this sassy little makeup bag. I usually give these away but I'm keeping this one!
the Balm - mascara
mirenesse - lip bomb lacquer stain
Couture Colour - pequi oil treatement
be a bombshell - eye liner
Coastal Scents - eye shadows
I'm actually looking forward to trying (almost) everything in this months package, especially the stain!

BirchBox was next and I'm usually happy with them but this month was a frackin joke. Seriously.
A Luna bar (that I ate while looking at everything). I like Luna bars but seriously? How is this a beauty product/sample?
Illume - red cedar candle. This smells heavenly. I might order a larger one.
Jouer - Lip Enhance
Kiehl's - Rosa Arctica Eye brightening eye balm
Supergoop - City Sunscreen Serum

Seriously, the only thing in that package that was worth opening was the Luna Bar. /sadface

Beauty Box 5 was last and was "meh"... I'll use maybe 2 of these products and put the rest in a listia auction.
Margania - pure argan oil
City Lips - lip plumper. I'll try this. I already have "big lips" but I am addicted to plumpers!
ShowStoppers - fashion tape
Goat Haus Dairy - lip balm - again. Addicted to lip products. I'll give this a try!
Furlesse - elevens (relaxes your "11's" aka frown lines in a natural way - whatever that means... I don't have that ... yet)
Lash Card - I guess this keeps you from getting mascara everywhere? How about not being a slob? I don't know, I never really have this problem so... meh

So that's it people. 3 boxes of 'meh'... I'll have to rate ipsy the best box of the month and BirchBox a CLEAR loser. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Crockpot Mexican Soup/Stew

I know that it's been awhile since I've posted a recipe. Now that I look at it, it's been awhile since I've posted anything. Sorry! I've been busy and other than painting my nails, I haven't really been up to anything blog post worthy. I also haven't really been trying new recipes so I haven't had much to post food wise.

That being said, I have a new one to post! Gary is going TDY for 2 weeks to Florida. He's leaving on Saturday so this was our last weekend together for the month. Since today was Columbus Day he didn't have to work so we took advantage of this and went to see "Taken 2". It was fabulous. There were a few obnoxious people in the theater but I took a Klonopin before we left, so I didn't feel all stabby stabby.

I prepared this meal this morning and turned on the crockpot on our way out the door so that dinner was ready a short while after getting home from the movies.

I did take this recipe from Paleomg and her recipe also calls for cilantro lime "rice" (which is made with mashed cauliflower for those not familiar with Paleo). Gary doesn't like paleo "rice" AT ALL and I didn't feel like making it just for me. SO, if you want the ENTIRE recipe, including the "rice"... it's right here. :)

You're going to need:
1 TBS olive oil
1lb chicken breast (I actually used 1.5 because, well I just did)
1/2 of chicken broth (I used an entire cup and next time I"ll probably use 2 cups)
1 (14oz) can diced tomatoes
1 yellow onion slivered
1/2 a jar of roasted red peppers (I used a 12oz jar)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed with a knife (I used .. double. We love garlic!)
1 TBS chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano (oops, I must have forgotten this)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder (I added this on my own)
1 tsp salt
pepper, to taste (oops, forgot this too)

Take all of the above... throw it in your crockpot. BUT be warned, if you throw it and miss and make a mess, I'm not coming over to clean that crap up.
Mix it all up and cook it on high for about 4 hours.
Once it's done shred the chicken up with 2 forks or whatever and serve it.

This is deeeeliiiiiciiiooouuuuusss!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

It's that time of year...

Well, even though Phoenix doesn't officially have a fall, I like to do "fall cleaning" right before I set up my house for autumn decorations and then Christmas decorations a few weeks later.

Gary is going TDY to Florida for 2 weeks (leaving on 10/13) and I thought this would be the PERFECT time for me to get this cleaning done. It will help kill time and all the clutter that has been building up and driving me BONKERS will be gone! I try to do one room a day to keep myself from wearing out (gotta love Fibro) and if I'm feeling good after one room, I just move on to the next room. I actually have a cleaning list that I print out on a monthly basis that has me cleaning one room a day each day of the week but I tend to fall behind on that one thus the need for a fall cleaning!

I know that I've posted these PDFs before but I thought I would share them again.
I have a girlfriend who uses these "lists" to keep her house in immaculate order. They include organization for everything from cleaning to grocery shopping to keeping bills in order. There is even a few blank calendars that you can print out. There is even a vacation and packing planner. They're amazing. When I saw them, I knew I had to have them and she was nice enough to share!

Here are a few examples of what she sent me:

Like I said, these are amazing. If you'd like copies just send me your email address over Facebook or through email and I'll pop them in the (e)mail for you ASAP. If you are already mostly organized or really need to GET organized these are the files for you! 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Meet Toni

So, this is Toni. I was SO excited to order and get this color FINALLY... and it was a real let down. I mean it's a pretty color and all, but WAY more purple than I thought it would be. I don't have a problem with purple, but when I'm expecting a brown and get a purple I get all sad face.
But, I did decide to use it anyway. I chopped my nails off last night and painted them this afternoon, right before a 1.5 hour nap. Yes, I know, I lead a fun filled life. My excuse is that I had knee injections today and I really just wanted to relax this afternoon.

OPI Chip Skip
Julep - Toni
Seche Vite - top coat

ATTENTION FOOD JUNKIES: I haven't stopped posting recipes, I just haven't really tried anything new that I thought was "share worthy". I've been busy lately and sticking to some golden oldies.... well if you wanna call the last 2 months "oldies".. anyway. I'm going to be looking for new stuff over the weekend so be on the lookout!!!

Beauty Boxes for September!

Well, the last box showed up today. While I wasn't blown away by any ONE box, there were products in each one that I'll use or at least pass on to friends who will use them. :)

So, in order of them showing up, we're going to start with MyGlam which is now known as ipsy.
SOHO smudge brush - I'll never use this, I'm pretty set on the brushes that I use.
Jane - sparkle gloss. I will use the hell outta this. If you know me, you know I have a huge lipgloss addiction.
Circus - yet ANOTHER Circus nail polish and this time in a gawd awful purple. The polishes are good and brushes are nice but hello....... some variety would be nice. This is the 4th month in a row!
Mirabella - eye color. I probably won't use this. It's pretty but I use my Beauticontrol eyeshadows and I'm pretty hooked on them.
Carol's Daughter - Split End Sealer. I'll be using THIS the next time I wash and dry my hair. Since I'm growing my hair out, I need all of the help I can get!

Beauty Box 5 showed up next:
H.Wood Beauty - Lip Shine... or bright red lipstick. I have a few that I like but I'm NOT a lipstick person. This will go in Melia's stash. She's the one that can pull it off.
Goat Haus Dairy - bath melts. I'll use this too. I take baths now and then and I'm always looking for good bath products. I'm a lush girl at heart but hey, it's free!
Silk Naturals - eyeshadow... again, nice color but I have my favorites already
Nastassja Skin - Enzyme Facial Peel. I'm going to give this a try this weekend on my beauty night. I heard it's pretty amazing BUT it's pretty pricey so it's nice to be able to try it first. I was happy to see this.
NuMe - Hydro Punch Hydrating Shampoo - They actually gave me enough to be able to wash my hair. Samples are NEVER enough for me. I usually have to pass them on. I don't have one shampoo brand that I like to stick to, in fact I like to rotate them out so that my hair doesn't get build up. I'll use this tonight. PLUS they gave me a $100 off coupon and the shampoo is only $25! I'm going shopping! :D

BirchBox showed up today:

Well, "meh"...
Bvlgari - Mon Jasmin Noir - perfume sample. It kinda smells good and it kinda smells like the Renaissance Festival but not in a sweaty armpit way.
Color Club - custom polish. I'll probably try it because you know ME, I wanna check out the brush and see if I like it, plus it's a nice sheer gold and sometimes that's just what I'm looking for!
Dr Jart+ - Water Fuse Beauty Balm - apparently it's a moisturizer, serum, sunscreen and tint all in one. I use Beauticontrol tinted face lotion though so I'm good. It seems a little dark for me anyway.
Fekkai - Essential Shea Shampoon & Conditioner. OH Fekkai, how I used to love you, then you kinda dumbed down your formula and sold it at Walgreens. It's still pricy, especially for Walgreens, but it's not the same quality it used to be. Their hair gloss is nice though. I do buy that. Regardless, I have way too much hair for the tiny samples they sent. :|
They also included a weird little twistband for you hair... I'll try it when I fast walk tonight.
They also gave me some "brush guards" I guess to slip them over your makeup brushes. Those would be nice for when I travel which is OH SO OFTEN (eye roll).

Well, like I said, none of them blew me away. I didn't hate any of them but Beauty Box 5 had the most samples that I would actually use so THEY WIN for September! :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Paleo Chicken Soup

 This weekend is "cooking weekend". I was in the mood so I'm making Chicken Enchilada Stew, bread for Gary, a new salmon recipe because I have to cook what's in the fridge before it goes bad plus I've been craving chicken noodle soup all freaking week. SO MUCH so, that I broke Paleo law and ate a little bit last night... noodles and all! It, however, did not one little bit curb my craving. I went on a google spree and came up with this site. Jeff's Crazy Idea. I didn't have much time to do any reading, other than the recipe, but I'm assuming his crazy idea was to go Paleo. I should probably read more because our story could be called "Gary mentioned it and Rachel went crazy"... SO, mine is still simmering so I stole his picture and I'm really sorry, I feel horrible about it but right now my camera is crap anyway. :(

I did a few things differently or "Rachel's way" so here goes.

You're going to need:
2 tablespoons of bacon grease
2 garlic cloves
1 large onion chopped
2 cartons (1L each) of chicken stock.
4 cups of chopped celery
4 cups of chopped carrots
2 Tablespoons of Italian Seasoning
4-6 chicken breasts cooked
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper

Let's get started!
Starting with the chicken. Jeff's wife (?) boiled hers which, as I've recently learned, is the healthiest way to prepare chicken. I didn't feel like boiling though so what I did was generously season 4 FULL chicken breasts with sea salt and white pepper. I never add salt and pepper to dishes, mostly because I forget, and this way you don't have bland chicken chunks in your soup.
While my chicken was cooking, I started in on the bacon grease. Now, I guess you COULD use a different fat but when someone (especially in a Paleo recipe) says "use bacon fat" I'M ON THAT LIKE A FAT KID ON CAKE because there HAS to be a great reason, right? I don't have bacon grease on hand and if you don't just take 5 strips, cook it down (on LOW) in the pot that you're going to make this soup in. It's going to take a little bit, but you don't want to risk burning the bacon because then you have to start over or everything in the soup will taste burnt. :(

Ok, so your chicken is done and your bacon grease is ready... let's continue!

Pour your chicken stock CARFULLY over bacon grease in a pot and place over medium heat. When broth starts to get warm, add your onions and garlic into the broth.

Once onions become translucent (about 10 minutes for me), add the celery, carrots, spices and chicken.

Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for one hour. Stir occasionally.

I don't usually post recipes before I've cooked and eaten them to avoid posting GARBAGE but this was smelling SO GOOD that I got a head start. Mine should be done in about 30 minutes and I'm going to GRUB for lunch.
Oh, and if the salmon, that I'm making for dinner, turns out tasty, I'll post it tomorrow! :)

Another 2fer..I'm just cheap this week!

This is from 9/9/12, I've just been too busy to update.
I was waiting on this polish to come in from Julep for a long time and it finally showed up. Not that they're slow, I'm just impatient. I've received a LOT of compliments on this color too. It's the first time I've ever used a green and it matches my engagement ring perfectly. It's a keeper.

OPI Chip Skip
Julep - Hoch
Seche Vite - top coat

Ok, the polish that I removed to put on this polish was Essie. Essie is a BITCH to get off. I swear, it takes me like 6 jumbo cotton balls and some freaking muscles. Maybe I'm a wimp but anyway, I have found myself avoiding Essie because of this. Well, I was googling one day and came across this link.
I'm not going to type out everything that I did when you can just go look but let me tell you, I'll NEVER remove my nail polish the "conventional" way again. This looks kinda goofy but takes 5 minutes and it got ESSIE off with NO STRUGGLES! "5 minutes nail polish removal tutorial"

This is what I did last night. I don't normally photograph the right hand. It has nothing to do with the fact that I have a 4 year old skin graft. It's mostly because it's kinda awkward using my left hand to take a picture. Anyway!!

OPI Chip Skip
Essie - Marathin
Seche Vite - top coat

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Two For One Special!!

I haven't posted much lately and I do have another nail polish post to put up but I thought I'd do a quickie.

We eat a lot of broccoli and asparagus in this household and after I figured out the perfect way to roast them I'll never ever ever ever ever go back to steaming. EVER!

Let's start with the Roasted Broccoli.
1 bunch of raw broccoli
2 TBS of olive oil or coconut oil (I like using lemon or garlic infused olive oil!)
1/2 tsp sea salt

Wash and cut the broccoli into smaller pieces with long stems
Toss the broccoli with the olive oil and salt
Spread it out in a baking dish
Bake at 400F (204C) for 12-15 minutes until tender and slightly browned.

Roasted Asparagus:
1 large bundle of asparagus (20 to 30 spears)
1 TBS coconut oil or olive oil.
Sea salt to taste (pepper and thyme too if you want)

Wash and remove the tough ends of the asparagus
Place in a roasting pan or on a baking sheet
Drizzle the oil over the asparagus and toss it around to make sure it gets evenly coated
Bake for 10 minutes at  400F (204C) THEN reduce the heat to 250F (121C) and bake for another 15 minutes.
Season it up with some salt and pepper!

I'm telling you, this is how we will eat broccoli and asparagus for the rest of our lives... OK GARY? FOREVER!!!!

That is all. :)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Essie Strikes Again!

It's been a very, very, very, very, very, very busy week.
My sis (Melia) started her new job and I volunteered to take the boy child home from school until her training is over. I really don't mind AT ALL but it's made for a busy week.
Anyway, the polish from Julep that I had on last week stayed on VERY well. It didn't even wear out on the tips. That means my theory about my nails just being too long was correct.

I used:
OPI Chip Skip
Essie - Yogaga (beige)
Essie - Boxer Shorts (purple on ring fingers)
Seche Vite top coat as always.

Have a fabulous weekend! It's Labor Day weekend. That means Gary is off for 3 days and I think we're just going to be lazy, catch up on Dexter, maybe catch a movie and I have some swaps for swap-bot to get together!

"Sore Throat" Tea

I found this on pinterest and decided to give it a try. I like to think that I don't get sick that often but I had a horrible chest cold last September and then in mid-November I got a really bad head cold. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to at least try :)

Winter sore throat "tea". In a jar, combine lemon slices, organic honey and sliced ginger. Close jar and put it in the fridge, it will form into a "jelly". To serve: Spoon jelly into mug and pour boiling water over it. Store in fridge 2-3 months. (I leave out the ginger, I HATE ginger.)

UPDATE on 9/2/12: I have since added in fresh, grated ginger to the "jelly" as my sister, Lisa, pointed out that it's probably the most important part. I'm gonna have to "man up" and enjoy ginger. :D

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Butter Poached Salmon with Warm Tomato Relish

Before you start hollering... we did use a cheat last night because I just didn't think I could get the same effect butter gives you with coconut or olive oil. I used grass-fed, happy cow, organic butter. :P

I've never been a fish fan which isn't really fair to Gary that I've waited this long to try. He loves fish and other seafood. Ok, let me rephrase, I'm not a cooked fish fan. I love me some sushi!
He was pretty excited that I chose this recipe to prepare. He didn't have to ask me. I found and planned it without even telling him. I wanted to be a surprise.

Let's begin. First, I prepared enough for 3 meals. 2 servings for Gary (he brings one to work the next day) and 1 for me.

Tomato Relish
1 small red onion, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced *
3 tablespoons capers *
2 tablespoons grass fed butter
Fresh ground pepper to taste
3 filets , skin on
2 tablespoons of butter per filet
Sea salt and black pepper

In a small saute pan melt the butter over medium heat, add the onions and cook until the onions begin to caramelize. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. The recipe says this is enough relish for 5 filets BUT * I didn't use the capers or the olives because Gary doesn't like them. I used an extra tomato.

For the salmon: The amount of butter that you use depends on how many filets you prepare. You will use 2 tablespoons of butter per filet.

Preheat the oven to 350F (176C). Generously season both sides of the filets with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a small oven proof pan (I didn't do this, I just quickly transferred it to another dish before popping it in the oven). Anyway, melt the butter until it's hot enough so that when you put the filets in, skin side down, they sizzle. Let them cook for about 3 minutes then you're going to start basting the filets. I used a spoon and continuously basted non stop for 4 minutes. After this, pop your fish in the preheated oven for about 8 or 9 more minutes. I put all 3 filets in a baking dish and poured the butter from the pan over top of them.
The time in the oven depends on how thick your filets are. Mine were average. I used the tail end of the salmon so they were less fatty and a little thinner.

I served this with an Asparagus and Mushrooms recipe. I cooked the Asparagus first with the tomato relish, put both aside covered with foil to keep hot and then worked on the fish since the fish didn't have to cook for that long and needed constant attention for half the cooking time. :)

Enjoy! I know I sure as heck did. I actually DID LIKE IT! I'll prepare this again anytime.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Julep has not let me down!

As the title says, Julep didn't let me down. The ends did wear off a little fast but my nails were LONG and I'm hard on them between cleaning, cooking, typing and texting. I chopped them off last night and repainted a little while ago.

First thing I noticed was that the old Julep color came off my nails like butter. Sometimes, I really have to struggle, even soaking them in remover, just to get the damn polish off!
Julep comes off the nails really well!

OPI Chip Skip
Julep - Claire
Seche Vite top coat

Julep is still running the .01 first month. Use discount code

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Enchilada Chicken Stew

Move over "Taco Soup" which incidentally sounds disgusting to me, and even though people swear it tastes like heaven, I just can't bring myself to eat it.
This stew is going to knock your socks off. Again.... thanks Juli. I really need to dedicate a post just to her. She has single handedly made Paleo fun... and delicious AND funny, all at the same time.

I've been meaning to cook this (again) for days now, but me and remembering to START crock pot meals in the morning and not 8 hours later when I'm hungry don't get a long. That being said, I REMEMBERED today.. granted I only had 10 minutes to chop everything up and thaw chicken ... well I guess it's not really that much. Anyway.

You're going to need:
2lbs chicken breasts
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 (4oz) can of chopped jalapenos
1 (4oz) can of chopped green chiles
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 (14oz) can of diced tomatoes
1 (7 oz) can tomato sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
bundle of cilantro, to garnish *
avocado, to garnish *

Get the crockpot out. (Yes, stupid spell check, CROCKPOT is a word!)

Add in the chicken breasts

Throw everything else in on top.

Kinda mix it around with a spoon or something.

Put on low for 8-10 hours or if you're like me, and didn't remember at 6am, high for 6-8 hours. ;)

When it's all done, shred the chicken up with a fork or a chicken shredder. Yes, they make meat shredders. My girlfriend, Sandra, has one and I might steal it from her.

Eat it up after you've garnished. Which brings me to *... we both hate cilantro and I forgot an avocado so unless I get my lazy butt to Frys before dinner we AINT HAVIN' IT!

Cherry Jam Crepes

Once again, THANKS JULI!
I did take a picture but it looks like a big pile of goo because I didn't listen to her and wait til the crepes cooled to pile with whipped cream and again, I don't like to take other people's pictures.

You want to plan ahead for this recipe and put an open can of coconut milk in the fridge the night before. CAN not CARTON.

You also can't appreciate the full experience of cooking this without a big fat Walter laying in the middle of the kitchen floor the entire time so you trip and or step over him every time you turn around. Head to your nearest SPCA and grab the fattest cat you can find.

OK, here we go!
For the crepes
3 eggs, whisked
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon honey
For the cherry jam
1 cup cherries, PITS REMOVED
2 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon coconut oil
For the whipped cream
1 cup of coconut whipped cream*
pinch of cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

*For your whipped cream, get that can of coconut milk you left in the fridge last night and scoop out the coconut cream that has hardened in the top of your can of coconut milk. Leave the water behind.  Then place coconut cream in a bowl, add cinnamon and vanilla, and whip! Toss it in the fridge to keep it cold while you cook!

Get a small saucepan and heat over medium. Add your coconut oil and cherries to the pan. Mix together to get the cherries all oily. Cook them down but keep stirring now and then so they don't burn or start to stick.

In the meantime, put a large skillet over medium heat. Add your crepes ingredients to a larger bowl and mix WELL to make sure there are no coconut flour lumps.

Once the skillet is hot, add some coconut oil to coat. Pour a small amount of the batter on the skillet. Just like little pancakes. I kept them little so that I could flip them easy enough. Crepes are super thin so they can break up pretty easily ... of course that didn't happen to me. <.<
Cook for a minute on each side. Do this until the batter is gone. Set them aside to cool a little, unlike me ok?

Hopefully you haven't forgotten about your cherries. Once they are soft, add your honey in there and mix everything all up.

Your crepes should be cool now. Start stacking!
I put whipped cream between every crepe and dumped a pile of my cherry jam on top. I then proceeded to stuff my face and now I'm sitting here, fat as a dumpling and full as a happy pig, typing this up for you.
I'm not sure Gary is going to like this recipe. It's a little coconutty but he likes lemon juice on his pancakes so maybe without all the toppings he'll like it.  If  he doesn't, I'm not going to cry because then I have more for ME!

The only thing that would make this recipe better is if someone came over and cooked and cleaned for me. Oh and a mimosa.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Creamy Chicken Chili

Well, I'm not sure why it's called that because it's not very creamy (or Gary wouldn't eat it) and there are more peppers than chili in it but I guess Chicken Peppers would sound dumb. ANYWAY, I have to credit Juli from for this glorious meal. I've made it twice now and I could have sworn that I had already posted it but nope, I hadn't. I can tell you though that even if you forget to add all the spices in, it's still delicious... but who does that right?

So let's start! You're going to need:

2 lbs chicken, diced into 1 inch cubes
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1-2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
1 clove of garlic, minced *
1.5 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 (4 oz) can green chiles (diced makes life easier :D)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cumin **
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

You're going to want to use a pot (instead of a sauce pan) for this. It's pretty much a soup. Put it over medium heat and add your olive oil and minced garlic.

Once you can start smelling the garlic, add your chicken in. Mix it around a few times to make sure it's cooked on all sides.

Once the chicken is about half way cooked through, add in all the peppers, jalapenos, onions and green chilis.  Mix it up really good and let it cook for 3 minutes.

Add in your chicken broth, coconut milk and all of your spices... YEAH! Don't forget the spices! <.<

Stir it all up... cover and let simmer for about 7 minutes.

Enjoy!! (be careful, it's um... super hot and you might burn your mouth!)

* I used about 4, we love garlic
** I didn't use the cumin. We both hate cumin.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Birchbox & MyGlam and a new one! - August

My MyGlam showed up first this month. Again, I love their reusable packaging and the cute little makeup bags they use. I might actually keep this one because it's bright and SEE THRU which is fantastic when you see what I shove in the one I keep in my purse. I like to be surprised so I never check the website to see what's coming but someone spilled the beans on me. I saw they were sending another Circus color and I was PRAYING it wouldn't be the white again. I know on my last post I said I'd never use the white but I actually did for my Ombre attempt 2 weeks ago.
So... let's go through the contents of the MyGlam August bag!
Demeter - roll on perfume oil - Dragon fruit scent and it actually smells light and fruity.  Me like!
Eclos - Moisture therapy regenerative cream and cellular activator facial serum. Not sure if I'll try these. I really like my current skin care routine.
S.A.L.T.Y. Cosmetics - Glama-ZOID! Eyeshadow. It's kinda pinkish/violet and will make a good highlighter.
Circus by Andrea's Choice -This time I got the "Ringmaster" color and it's a VERY hot pink. I already have a favorite hot pink so this will probably be a gift for someone. Her colors are nice though and I didn't mind the brushes. Again, you still can't buy this until Fall.
They also included a MyGlam brand of a sparkly pink lipgloss.... you KNOW I love that!

And here is BirchBox. It wasn't bad.
It included:
Schick 5 blade Hydro Silk razor - I'll probably never use it. I use the dollarshaveclub razors. Yeah, that's right, I steal Gary's razors!
Jouer - lip gloss. It came in a really hot pink. I prefer mine tinted and it might be tinted but it looks HOT PINK!
Juicy Couture - perfume sample. Viva la Juicy La Fleur. It actually smells really good. I'm not generally a fan of Juicy so yeah.
Oribe - shampoo and conditioner "for colored hair". I'll save this to send someone or toss in my guest bathroom. I'm kinda hooked on my own shampoo, plus samples are never enough for my freaken mass of hair!
whish - shaving cream. THIS looks interesting. It's organic, foam-free and full of lotion. I get really, dry, ashy legs so if this works then it's something I'll buy!

 This was my first month for Beauty Box 5.  They don't really say why "5" but whatever... these boxes are fun!
This was a trial month with me but they did a good job so I'll keep it up.
Let's go through it!
Blum Naturals - make up removal towelettes. I'll use the crap out of these. I am sure my esthetician won't be happy to hear this but sometimes I JUST DON'T WANT TO WASH MY FACE!
H20 Plus - restoring eye cream. I don't really have fine lines but I do have dark circles. I usually use BeautiControl's dark circles pen but I'll give this a try for sure! My dark circles are bad... and hereditary. <.<
Ferro Cosmetics - sheer crystal veil. I'll be honest. I probably won't use this. I don't wear much makeup or play around with it anymore. I have my set "face" and other than changing an eye shadow color I'm not going to mess around with new stuff. Put that in my "send to someone else" pile.
Ellis Faas -  creamy, milky, glazed lips. FULL SIZED! Full sizes always make me happy. Anyway, I like the coffee color HOWEVER it's one of those tubes where you twist the color up and it comes through the brush... ya know? I know I'll like the color but I'm afraid if I don't like the consistency that I've just wasted a perfectly good product for someone else. I'll think about it. :)
Freeman - anti-stress mask. I just love masks. I do one every week and even talk Gary into it. I'm always on the hunt for a new one to try and they practically tossed 2 weeks worth in my lap! Plus, it's anti-stress... I'm always stressed :D

I don't think I can pick a favorite this week. It's a toss up between MyGlam and Beauty Box 5. I wasn't unhappy with any of them though. All in all, it's been a good samples month.

And here was another boring review by little ole' me. :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Paleo Fish Tacos

Ok, lets start by saying that I'm not a huge fan of fish. I'm TRYING to like it slowly, and what I've had I liked and I really liked these A LOT!

We used stone ground whole wheat tortillas which is NOT paleo but I didn't feel like dealing with lettuce so I used a cheat. The recipe calls for putting the fish taco mixture into romaine lettuce or cabbage. I've also used butter lettuce leaves.

You're going to need:
1lb fresh tilapia fillets;
1 tbsp Paleo cooking fat; (I used garlic olive oil)
1 medium onion, chopped;
4 cloves garlic, minced;
1 or 2 jalapeƱo pepper(s), finely chopped;
2 cups tomatoes, diced;
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped;
3 tbsp lime juice;
 Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste;
 1 avocado, sliced; (For garnish)

I'm sure you can use any sort of fish that you'd like, but I used tilapia because of how mild tastes.

In a large skillet over a medium-high heat, combine the cooking fat with the garlic and onions. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent in color.

Add the tilapia fillets to the skillet. Allow the fillets to cook for 3 to 4 minutes on one side prior to flipping. As the fish begins to cook through, use a fork to break it apart into flaky pieces.

Add the jalapeno pepper, tomatoes, cilantro and lime juice to the mix and then season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5 minutes before removing from heat.

Serve the taco filling to your liking and garnish with fresh avocado slices.

Absolutely DELICIOUS!!!!!!!!!!

Julep : Trying a new brand!

I was going to wait a few days and post this after I'd given the polish enough time to see how it holds up but I know I'll forget so I'll just update it later.

Meet Rose. She's obviously not a rose color, but Julep names all of their colors (well, so far) girl's names and this one happens to be rose. It's actually a nice red.

If you know me at all, you know I'm addicted to monthly subscription boxes and most especially if they contain beauty products. When I heard about Julep, I knew this was something that I had to try. I did some googling for you and found some discount codes with really good "it works!" percentages.
color2012 - first month should be .01
penny - first month should be .01
welcomemv5 - first month should be $5 and free shipping!
Obviously, try the first 2 first. ;)

So, I'm going to quote directly from their website.

Becoming a Julep Maven gives you exclusive access to COLOR. Each month we hand-pick trendsetting new nail colors, cult faves and cutting-edge beauty products that are just right for you. Commitment shy? No problem. YOU decide how often to receive your Julep Maven box, and you can cancel at any time.

I received my first box yesterday and this is what was in it! I'm not sure I'm fond of all of the colors and hopefully I can preview what they're sending each month BEFORE I have to skip or not. I wanted to try one though so I could review it and so I chose the red (Rose).
I love it! I love the brushes, I love how it goes on, and I love the color! I used the same OPI Chip Skip that I always use and finished it with the Seche Vite top coat, like always.
I'm still not sure how it's going to hold up and I'll update in a few days to let you know if it's chipping or wearing off too quickly. I'm hard on my hands so I'll know right away. <.<

If you're a nail polish addict like me, I highly suggest giving it a try for at least a month. With the discount codes it's a deal you can't turn down!

Blueberry Honey Coconut Cups

Mine look like garbage so I didn't take a picture and I didn't want to steal someone's picture so we're going without one this time.

THESE THINGS ARE SO FREAKING GOOD!!! If you like blueberries, coconut and honey you have to make these. BUT one of the ingredients you have to special order so plan in advance. :(

You're going to need:
1 cup Coconut Cream Concentrate*
1 cup blueberries
1 cup Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil
1/3 cup raw honey
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup cashews, chopped (or other nut of choice)**

Now place a small saucepan over medium heat.
Add your blueberries and honey. Mix to help break down the blueberries.
Once your blueberries have pretty much turned to mush, add your coconut oil and coconut cream concentrate. They're not going to totally mush, but you'll be able to easily smoosh one against the side of the pan.
Mix thoroughly.
Remove from heat and add your shredded coconut and cashews.
Line your muffin tin with silicone liners or paper muffin liners, pour mixture into each cup to a height that you prefer, then place in freezer for about 30 minutes. Obviously freezers are different. Melia's might freeze them in 30 seconds... I checked mine after about 45.

*I haven't found this ANYWHERE except the website I linked to. They have it in stock now, but sometimes they're out. Spring for the big jar. You'll need it in a lot of Paleo desserts so you might as well spend the extra $8 or so.

**I left the nuts out and doubled the shredded coconut. Gary doesn't like nuts at all and I figured the best way to get him to try it is without. I've also been doing some research and I'm reading that nuts are not good for your complexion at all so I'm avoiding them when possible. I broke out like a mofo but I was also eating 1/2 bag of pistachios a day... whoops?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Paleo Pound Cake

Let me start this by saying it does taste quite a bit like coconut so if you don't like it, you're probably not going to like this. I, however, LOVE coconut so I got to eat it all because Gary doesn't. :D

You're going to need:
6 eggs
1 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla extract (use the real stuff people!)
1 tsp. orange extract *
1 cup coconut flour  **
1/4 tsp baking SODA (not POWDER)
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp sea salt
coconut oil for the pan

Start by preheating your oven to 350F (176C).

Grease your loaf pan very thoroughly. The recipe also says lightly flour, which I didn't do and didn't have any problems but I use the Pampered Chef stoneware loaf pan so I really don't need to. Just use a little coconut flour and you'll be good.

IF you have a food processor I'd recommend using it for this recipe. I use it for all my Paleo breads because it just gets the batter nice and smooth and you don't have to worry about lumps of anything in your bread.

Beat the eggs until they are smooth. Add in the remaining liquid ingredients (coconut milk, honey, vanilla extract and orange extract) and mix it up.

Add in the dry ingredients (coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon, sea salt) and mix until smooth. The recipe says to sift the coconut flour but I didn't and never do in my recipes and it turned out just fine.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. The recipe says 45 minutes but mine took close to an hour. Start checking it about 45 minutes in using the toothpick test.

Try and wait until it's cooled down a bit before diving in, believe it or not it comes out of the oven hot and even someone who's had a skin graft and should be skittish of hot things didn't wait and burnt her tongue.. idiot right?

* I didn't use orange extract. I don't have any on hand and didn't feel like going to the store. 

** The recipe says "or flour of choice" but I wouldn't recommend swapping out flours unless you know the exact conversions. For example, if you're using almond flour you need to use LOTS LOTS LOTS more (I don't know the exact conversions and I'm not going to pretend that I do). Coconut flour to almond flour does not measure equally. Just stick with the coconut flour. It's lighter, fluffier and tastes amazing. :D

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Yes, I painted them again!

I cook a LOT now. More cooking means more dishes and more mess which means more cleaning! I THINK that is why my nails are wearing off at the ends so quickly. They don't chip (thanks to OPI) but the tips wear down and that irritates me! AND, you'd think that it would come off easily with polish remover but nope... it's like trying to take off wallpaper. >.<

Anyhow, I'm not usually a fan of blues/purples/greens and yellows on my nails but I'm trying to get out of my little box. The picture accurately captures the color. It's like a dark lavender... more blue than purple though.

O.P.I. Chip Skip
Essie - Smooth Sailing
Seche Vite top coat

The Essie comes from the Braziliant Collection and is available on Amazon and eBay. I'm not sure about the stores.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

"Delicious" Beef Ribs

I've been really busy. I can't really tell you why, not that it's top secret or anything, I just can't figure out WHY I've been so busy. I think that it might be slowing down soon but in the meantime I'm just hanging in there and trying to cook good food.
I've been meaning to cook these ribs for like 5 days now. The meat has been in my fridge thawed and waiting for me but it's a crockpot recipe and I never remember to put stuff IN it until it's about 3 hours too late. Well, today I remembered!
Juli, at PaleOMG, calls these "Paleo Caribbean Jerk Crockpot Beef Ribs" but I left out a lot of the spices because I just don't like them so I'm going to just call them "Delicious Paleo Ribs". K? Good.

You're going to need:
2-3lbs beef back ribs
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup beef or chicken broth or even water. (I used beef)
1 tablespoon coriander
1 tablespoon ginger
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons salt and pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice

Ok guys, complicated instructions coming up!
First, put the ribs and the onions in the crockpot

Add your broth (or water)
Mix your spices together and put them in the crockpot, coating the ribs.
Crockpot it up for 6-8 hours on low!

While you're eating beef ribs please be very careful to pick out the bones, especially on these crockpot ones because the meat basically falls right off. 

Anyway, that's the recipe as Juli posted it but I crossed out what I left out of my spice mixture. 


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Garlic Chicken Pasta

A few days ago I was wandering Ross with my girlfriend, Teri. While she was trying on some clothes I was in the kitchen aisle. Well, I found a mandolin and I've been wanting to get one for a while. This one also had a grating setting and my favorite of all, a julienne setting! All for under $10! I love Ross so hard. As soon as I saw it, I knew which recipe I was going to try next. I had seen this a few weeks ago but the thought of having to hand julienne veggies made me cringe.
Last night I was thinking of just serving leftovers but I wasn't in the mood for anything we had leftover and the more I thought about it, the hungrier I became. So, I pulled up my newest favorite website - paleOMG and got to cooking.
After dinner I promptly went to Juli's blog and asked her to marry me.
I was actually setting myself up for failure with this recipe. It contains 4 things that Gary really doesn't care for at all: zucchini, squash, tomato sauce and coconut milk. He LOVED IT! So here we go!

You're going to need:
2 lbs chicken, diced
2 zucchini, julienned
2 yellow squash, julienned
1 onion (small to medium), diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon hot sauce *
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 large can diced tomatoes
3 whole heads roasted garlic, cloves removed from peels
salt and pepper, to taste

I would highly suggest doing the first step a while before you're going to start cooking.
Start by heating your oven up to 400F (204C). You're going to roast garlic. Peel away the outer layers of the bulbs, just the outer layers. Cut off the top of the cloves so that you can see the individual cloves of garlic. Now, I use a muffin pan to set each bulb in to keep them from tipping over but you can use a regular pan. Drizzle about 2 teaspoons of olive oil over each head. Make sure that the garlic head is coated in oil. Cover them up with aluminum foil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. The reason I suggest doing this before you're ready to use them is because they come out of the oven HOT obviously and you need to gently squeeze each head to get the cloves to pop out and when they're HOT it's kinda hard. Maybe I'm sensitive since the skin graft but anyway....

Julienne your zucchini and yellow squash.
Add olive oil to a large saucepan and saute the onion over medium-high heat until they're soft.
Then you're going to add in the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, hot sauce, crushed red pepper, Italian seasonings, salt and pepper. Cook it for about a minute then add in the coconut milk. Don't worry, it doesn't make it very creamy at all, just enough to make it perfect.

Take your diced chicken and put it directly into the sauce. Turn the heat down to low and cook it for about 15 minutes. Stir it occasionally.

After 15 minutes, add the garlic cloves you've roasted and the julienned zucchini and squash and stir it up. You didn't miss a step, you're not mincing or dicing the roasted cloves up, just add them directly into the sauce. Cook for another 5 to 8 minutes to let the squash/zucchini soften up then SERVE!

You are not going to be disappointed. This dish is absolutely fantabulous!

* There are 100s of hot sauces out there. We used Texas Pete. It gave it some heat without changing the flavor.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Whimseybox - July

Well, I received my JULY whimseybox today... and today is what? August 4th I believe. Right?
This is the 2nd month I've received from them and the 2nd time they've sent it so late I received it in the following month. After last month's craptacular box, I said I'd give it another month and see what happened. Let me refresh your memory: This company sends you a box chock full of "new and best-selling craft product samples". The box is supposed to inspire you and your crafting ideas.
 I was pretty excited when it finally showed up today. I went to rip the packaging open and well, it wasn't sealed but after inspecting the box, it did arrive in good condition. Packaging, that's about all they're good for. Although, as I inspect my box I see there is something missing off of the outside but anyway, I don't care, I want to get to the goodies!
If you can't tell what it is by the picture, I'll explain .... 2 colors of floss, about 6 inches of chunky fake gold chain and then about 15 inches of "ball chain". Really? I paid $25 a month for this? I could get this garbage at Hobby Lobby for under $5. And then, if that's not enough, they put directions on how to make a "chunky link ball chain friendship bracelet" in the box. This is supposed to be an inspiring box,  not a box of garbage with instructions on how to make more garbage. I'm so freaking disappointed. I'll stick to my beauty sample boxes instead. This girl is cancelling her subscription.

That being said, if anyone wants 2 boxes of crafting crap just drop me an email, I'll send it your way and I'll even cover shipping. <.<

Essie strike again!

The ombre didn't last as long as I wanted to. I guess I was especially hard on the hands this week and the tips were wearing off quickly. O.P.I Chip Skip probably helped keep it on longer than it would have. That is a product you should invest in. It's worth it, and in fact a lot of places give it away if you buy 2 O.P.I. products. Anyway, here's what I used:

O.P.I. Chip Skip
Essie Super Bossa Nova
Seche Vite Top Coat

The Essie color came from the Summer 2011 collection so you can't buy it from Essie anymore (probably not in stores either). I got mine from Amazon or eBay... I forget which one but I just searched and they both have it!

Paleo (gluten free) Bread!

So, now that we can't eat your typical "buy from the grocery store" bread, I've been on the hunt for good bread recipes that I can keep on hand for my bread fiend.
I tried one 2 weeks ago, and while it was good, it was very, very dense/heavy. I had to drown it in honey and one tiny slice had me full for hours. It was HEAVY!
I was doing some hunting a last week for a new one to try and I came across this one and I feel really bad but I don't remember where I found it so I can't give credit. I also made a few changes for lack of ingredients.

You're going to need:
1 3/4 cups almond flour
2 Tbs coconut flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp baking SODA (not POWDER)
5 eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 Tbs honey
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar

The best way to do this is with a food processor. The bread I made last week I hand mixed and it was kinda lumpy. The food processor got this as smooth as pancake batter and I think that made a difference.

Put the almond flour, coconut flour, salt and baking soda in the processor. Pulse it a few times to mix it all up.
Put in the eggs, oil, honey and vinegar and pulse it a few times to get it all nice and smooth.
Pour the batter into a loaf pan (about 7.5 x 3.5). You can grease it if you'd like. I use my Pampered Chef stoneware so I don't need to.
Bake at 350F  (176C) for 30 minutes. A knife should come out clean if you stick it into the bread.

I waited until the morning after to post this so I could know if it tastes as good the day after and it DOES. It doesn't harden up at all. I wouldn't hold on to it more than 2 days, but as tasty as it is, it probably won't last a whole day. ;)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sweet Potato Brownies - Gary Approved

I'm now always on the hunt for new recipes that didn't fall out of a Paleo Cookbook. Don't get me wrong, I like my cookbooks but sometimes I want something REAL... something real live people have tried and not something come up with in some random kitchen somewhere. I found Juli at PaleOMG and I'm in love.
So far we've tried about 6 of her "dinners" and one or two veggie sides and everything has been a hit.
You know what's funny though? As much as I didn't have a sweet tooth before we started Paleo, I find myself DYING to just jump into a pool of Cadbury chocolate.. and I mean the good, straight from the UK, Cadbury chocolate. Fruit is all good for a snack here and there but when I'm wanting sweet foods I WANT SWEET FOODS...

So, I pulled out the handy dandy netbook and started surfing her site. Some of the recipes that I really want to try call for some ingredients I'd have to order online and they happen to be back ordered right now. This recipe happened to need everything that I had on hand so I said "what the heck" and started making a mess.


I HATE spiders.

So, back to the brownies.
You're going to need:
1 sweet potato (I used a white one)
3 eggs, whisked
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup raw honey
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
3 tablespoons coconut flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder (NOT BAKING SODA!)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt

Start by baking the sweet potato. 425F (218C) for about 30 minutes. You could probably nuke it but I find that the microwave turns potatoes all rubbery and I'm not sure it does the same for sweet potatoes. Either way, I cook them in the oven because I love heating the house up when it's 105 outside. Don't you? IT TASTES BETTER!
So, your potato is done cooking. Turn the oven down to 350F (176C). Let the potato cool down a few minutes or use a hot mitt. Pull the skin off and put it in a bowl and mash it. I found it easiest to use the back of a big spoon. It kinda clumps a little and you don't want it all clumped up in your batter or you're going to have huge chunks of sweet potato in your brownies.
Start mixing up your wet ingredients: eggs, coconut oil, honey and vanilla.
Add in the dry ingredients: coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon (which, by the way, I didn't use. I'm not a HUGE fan unless it's on specific things and Gary doesn't like it at all), salt and then fold in the chocolate chips.
Again, make sure it's all mixed up well and pour it into an 8x8 baking dish to bake for 30 to 35 minutes. She didn't say to "grease the pan" but I dropped some olive oil in it and spread it around with a napkin to soak up the extra bit. I hate when brownies stick in the pan, like I literally want to scream. I didn't have a problem getting the brownies out at all.  I also didn't waste anytime trying them and really had to TRY hard to not eat them all.

If you don't like these then you have no soul. Period.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Rosemary Chicken and Roasted Broccoli

My pictures always look like garbage. I can't ever get food pictures to look "good" but maybe that's because I'm using my phone? I really should invest in a good camera. <.<

Anyway, this turned out to be really, really good (and not because I was STARVING by the time dinner rolled around).

You're going to need:
4 chicken breasts
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
zest of lemon
2 Tbs fresh rosemary
3 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Ok, for starters, I didn't have any lemon to zest so I used a lemon infused olive oil from Olive Creations. When it came to the rosemary, I pulled the sprigs off of the stems and kinda roughly chopped it.
Get a big bowl and mix up the garlic, rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss in the chicken breasts and make sure they're completely covered in the marinade. Let it marinade for 30+ minutes. Obviously, the longer the better. I think I let it go for about 4 hours.

Preheat your oven to 400F (205C). Heat up a large pan over medium high heat. You shouldn't need to add any more fat to the pan since you marinated it in so much oil. Once it's very hot, place the chicken breasts in the pan and let them cook for 3 to 5 minutes on either side. DON'T flip them back and forth. Let it cook on one side and when you can turn them with no resistance then it's time to flip to the other side and let it cook on that side for the same amount of time.
Remove the chicken from the pan, and place in a dish to put in the oven that you've pre-heated. Put them in for about 15 minutes so that they can finish cooking (NO pink).

Now, when I was done cooking these I wrapped them up in foil and put to the side so I could roast some broccoli really quick. I did this for the first time last week and I don't think I'll ever steam broccoli again. Roasted broccoli is AMAZING!

All you need to do is turn the oven up to 500F (260C). Toss the broccoli (3 to 4 large crowns) in a large bowl with about 3 Tbs of olive oil and 5 to 6 cloves of minced garlic. Put it in the heated oven for about 10 minutes give or take. When it's done, just put it on your plates, unwrap that chicken and NOM NOM NOM!

I didn't feel like it was missing anything without the lemon zest, in fact I think the lemon would have been overpowering. The lemon olive oil was perfect. I could smell it while it was cooking and had a hint of it while I ate it.