Tag Archives: ingredients

TJMaxx Skin Care Haul

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TJMaxx Skin Care Haul

Hello!! Last week, I visited TJMaxx strictly to get some more skin care. I was successful in that regard and also wound up leaving with way more than just skin care lol. Funny how that works out! I ended up walking away with some Halloween goodies, Christmas presents for my niece, two adorable sweaters, and all of the following:

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^^^ All of these products are Leaping Bunny certified!

It has been a while since I restocked my cleansers and eye cream so that was the mission I had in mind during my TJs trip. Every morning, I like to wash my face with both a scrub and a cleanser for a deep clean. I was almost completely out of both things and chose a Vitamin C cleanser by Clinical Works and a hyaluronic acid and sugar scrub by SpaScriptions. Each of these products feature two of my favorite ingredients for my skin care as a late twenty something and I can’t wait to try them out!

For my eye cream, I went with a manuka honey cream by Lanoline. And, of course, I had to grab another bottle of the Evoluderm micellar water, which I love. I have only used products with manuka honey in it a handful of times. However, it was a must have ingredient for skin care a year or so ago so I’m more than happy to give it a try in eye cream form. Fingers crossed that it smells as amazing as the Freeman face mask that introduced me to manuka honey. 😀

This Skin Care Haul turned into a major haul in general and it was just what I needed. There’s nothing like a little retail therapy to help soothe the soul!

What ingredients do you look for for your skin care? What are your favorite skin care brands? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

*Super Yummy* Vegetarian Chili Recipe

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*Super Yummy* Vegetarian Chili Recipe

Hello! One of my best girlfriends, Danielle, was kind enough to bring Johnny and I some of her amazing homemade vegetarian chili this past holiday week. She is one of my favorite people in the world and concocted this recipe all by herself. It was SO good that I just had to share it with all of you to get warmed up during those chilly (See what I did there!) winter evenings. Let’s get to it:

Ingredients:

  • 6 to 8 medium sized tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 2 cans of beans (kidney, pinto, or navy)
  • 1 package of vegetarian crumblers
  • 4 to 6 cloves of garlic
  • 3 Tbs chili powder
  • 2 Tbs cumin
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne powder (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 to 5 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 C water

Prep (About 10 minutes):

Dice onion and poblano
“top” and halve the tomatoes
Peel and halve the garlic

Cook (Between 45 and 60 minutes):

Heat oil in a sauce pan (4 Qt or larger) and add onions, garlic, and poblano. Cook 5 minutes
or so, then add water followed by the tomatoes. Cover, reduce heat to just above medium,
and let simmer for 5 minutes. Continue to cook, but at this point the tomato skins can be
easily peeled from the tomatoes, so using a pair of tongs remove the skins and squish the
tomatoes as they cook. (Throw away the skins.)

Continue to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the tomatoes are completely cooked. Using
tongs remove any of the hard cores that might remain. Put the tomato liquid into a blender and add the spices. Blend on low at first, then high until the mixture is a smooth liquid; about 5 minutes.

Return the liquid to the sauce pan, add beans and crumblers. Heat over low heat for 15 to 30
minutes. (This lets the crumblers heat through and allows the spices to really take over.)

Options:

If I want to have some extra heat I’ll dice two or three jalapenos and add them with the
poblano and onions. You can always add more Cayenne pepper too.

Before adding the beans and crumblers the sauce is a good burrito topping. I’ve also used a
cup or two of crumblers to make taco filling.

Of course, you can always add in extra chunky things (onion, peppers, etc) to the sauce if you
like some “crunch.”

* I prefer a can of kidney or pinto and a can of navy beans. I’ve also used chick peas in a
pinch.

** I like Boca crumblers (keeps it vegan) and have used Morningstar Farms and impossible
crumblers all of which work well.

Not only is Danielle one of my A-1s but she is, obviously, a master chef too! I cannot wait to make her recipe and hope that all of you enjoy it as much as I did. ❤

What is your favorite cold weather food? How about warm weather? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Easy Tips For Improved Cooking Skills 

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Easy Tips For Improved Cooking Skills 

Knowing how to cook is a basic, fundamental skill that we all need to have. The pandemic has been tough on everyone, but many people have gone out of their way to get creative. Some have headed outside and created a garden packed with new flowers and veggies. Others have turned their hand to DIY and revamped their entire houses.

Then, there are those who turned to cooking. With the pandemic ending and lock downs lifting, people are choosing to Google ‘bakery course near me’ to improve their cooking skills that they learned while they were unable to go out and see people. Cooking is an amazing skill to have – it’s science and a little bit of magic all rolled together. Learning to bake a beautiful loaf of bread or cook the perfect roast chicken dinner? It’s all part of the fun.

If you want to improve your cooking skills, you can, and we’ve got some tips for you below to continue building your skill set:

Shop Well:

You can’t cook delicious meals without delicious ingredients, right? Ingredients that are fresh and vibrant in taste and color can help you to make transformative foods. Even the most basic dishes can become five star meals when you choose the right ingredients, and that’s the best place to start.

Get Equipped:

Can you cook the perfect fried egg if your pans are scratched to pieces? Of course not. If you want to make cooking a hobby of yours, then you need to equip yourself with the right tools. The right pans, the best knives, new kitchen scales, and the right cutlery can ensure that your cooking becomes something better than you ever thought it could be. The best quality equipment will help you to bring those recipes out properly.

Prepare Beforehand:

Be prepared. You need to get yourself set up by weighing and measuring all of your ingredients before you even get started. Warm up the oven early, and get into the habit of preparing your ingredients before you do anything else. This will make the whole process easier on you when you want to improve the current skills you have.

And, remember, part of the prep work before making anything involves reading the recipe thoroughly! When you are just beginning to take cooking more seriously inspect the recipe carefully no matter how easy it might seem. From pasta sauce to a diet-friendly edibles recipe, you don’t want to realize you don’t have some necessary ingredients halfway through the process!

Have A Tasting Spoon:

When you cook, you need to taste. You’ll see the best chefs tasting as they go and they do this for a good reason. Tasting will help you to tell whether you have seasoned enough and it can help you to avoid plating up a dish that really doesn’t taste great. Of course, you need to keep this spoon separate from the rest of the cooking utensils you use!

Use the tips above to make the next meal you prepare even better. Happy cooking!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Eating For The Season

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Eating For The Season

As summer is starting to come to an end, so is the harvesting of all our summer vegetables. Finding joy in eating seasonally is something that your family can experience – all it takes is a little creativity at dinner time! As fall begins, explore the following in your meals:

Root vegetables:

Root vegetables are coming into the season, which means an abundance of potatoes, carrots, and parsnips. All the good stodgy veggies that are best stewed or cooked into wholesome foods. There are so many lovely recipes out there for the autumn and winter months that allow you to just sink into and enjoy.

We all live a busy life and finding the time to cook those proper homely meals can seem like an inconvenience after a full day at work. So, what’s a better time than to dust off the old slow cooker and put it to good use.

Pumpkins:

Lots of cuisines use pumpkin because of the sweetness so to add a kick of it to your curries why not add pumpkin? A tasty Japanese alternative is pumpkin Kuroki, which is a pumpkin patty covered in panko breadcrumbs and fried. It’s delicious. However, you can just put pumpkin in your stews, it’s a healthy colorful vegetable that can’t be forgotten about. You can pick pumpkins up everywhere in the autumn and for extremely low prices… so when you are pumpkin picking don’t forget to eat the inside before you carve the outside!

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Butternut Squash:

Butternut squash is such an underrated vegetable. It is packed with vitamins and antioxidants and is a great source of nutrients. This funny-looking vegetable is so versatile. It can be used in the same way as a pumpkin but has become much more popular in soups and curries.

Butternut squash and apple soup is one to try this season, the contrasting flavors of the savory and sweet makes the perfect warming meal. Butternut squash can also be used as a lower carb option for spaghetti in pasta dishes as its form stays solid when spiraling it. It can also be added to stews but is equally as good as the main star of a meal.

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Potatoes:

The king of root vegetables, the potato is one of the worlds’ favorite foods due to its versatility. There are hundreds of ways to cook potatoes that are warming and hearty and just make you feel good. Jacket potatoes with beans and cheese or cold fillings are a quick meal. You can cook a jacket potato in the oven or microwave and you can add whatever toppings you like. This is a staple food for the whole family in the autumn.

Have you ever thought about widening your repertoire of cooking potatoes? What about crispy roast potatoes, where you parboil them and then shake the pan to fluff them up before roasting. Or creating dauphinoise potatoes, which can be achieved very quickly. Hasselback potatoes, with lots of cuts on one side with spices and fillings melted into the slots? There are so many ways to use potatoes through the autumn and winter months to create gorgeous additions to your recipes.

Carrots:

The only real way to eat carrots at this time of year is roasted with honey. They are divine and, of course, that is not the only way to eat carrots, but they certainly should become a household staple. Honey glazed carrots with any meal is a sweet addition to offset any savory flavors. The color adds a pop to what can be an otherwise muted plate of food. During the autumn and winter months, if you are eating seasonally, there isn’t usually a lot of colors to foods so carrots are a great way to brighten your plate.

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There are far too many recipes to list in one simple blog post so it is great to research and find some different recipes to spice up your autumn/winter menus for the family. Bon Appetit!

Featured Image By: Pexels

What’s Cookin?

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What’s Cookin?

Hello! I have always enjoyed cooking and have fond memories of making anything and everything together with my mom. Cooking in the kitchen in my apartment is an entirely different story, though, because it’s so small and I don’t know about you guys, but I like having lots of room to spread out when I’m making food. I also don’t know about you guys, but I fell into a bit of a depression during the most extreme parts of the pandemic and that left me never feeling like even attempting to make home cooked meals.

The stress of working throughout the pandemic as well as a job that I wasn’t entirely thrilled with really contributed to my slump and it made it hard to do just about anything when I would return home from work. However, this past month has been a complete one eighty as I accepted a new position that I am in love with. Every day, I have come home so happy and both Johnny and I can’t remember the last time I would get off work in such an amazing mood.

Because of this, my love of cooking has definitely been reignited and I have been making meals several times a week for me and my husband to enjoy. Below are some of the favorite recipes that I have whipped up so far and it has felt great to have delicious meals to serve every night. Check it out:

This past month, I have made mac n’ cheese, veggie enchiladas, quesadillas, and pizza. I also used a super easy recipe for pepperoni bread for my non vegetarian husband that he is crazy about. When I began cooking again, I wanted to find simple recipes with limited ingredients as I only have one small counter space to work on in my kitchen. It has been a huge success and I feel proud of myself the entire time. In fact, I feel so happy that I normally will be singing or humming to myself as I chop veggies. This is a far cry from sitting on the couch in misery waiting for yet another air fried meal to cook!

Cooking dinner is a love language that I have learned from a young age from both my mom and grandma and I love being able to express that again. I really enjoy getting creative with the dinners I make now and while I’ll follow the basic recipes, I always try to doctor them up to make it even better. Our favorite recipe is, easily, the jalapeno popper quesadillas and it makes me feel wonderful when Johnny will request them every other night lol. 🙂

I am looking forward to all of the yummy meals that I plan on making and Johnny is looking forward to eating them. One of the last times I made dinner this past week, I told him that it feels good to feel like me again and I wake up every day now eager to go to work and come home to engage in one of my favorite hobbies again. Here’s to delicious meals for all! ❤

What are some of your favorite recipes? Who is the best cook in your family? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

What To Look For In The Dog Food You Choose

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What To Look For In The Dog Food You Choose

It’s no secret that the food that you give to your dog is incredibly important to their health. Your pet needs a balanced diet, just like you do, to make sure that they are able to maintain a healthy body. There are countless dog food brands on the market, and they all offer something different for your pooch. To help you to make sense of this chaotic market, this article will be exploring some of the most important aspects of dog food to give you an idea of what to choose when you’re looking at the shelves in your local store:

Natural Ingredients:

Many people ignore the ingredients that are on the packs of food they buy for their dogs. While aiming for natural ingredients doesn’t ensure that food is healthy, it is a good way to limit the additives and other harmful ingredients that could be in your dog’s diet. Many companies are moving away from processed foods for their dog food options, giving you the chance to get food for your dog that will be entirely from naturally sourced ingredients.

Grain-Free Recipes:

Grain is often used as a filler ingredient in products like dog food, enabling companies to save money without compromising on tastes that dogs will like. However, grain doesn’t have much in terms of nutrition for your dog, and will only serve to fill them up as they eat. Many dog food companies produce foods that are specifically made without any fillers whatsoever. This can give you a great chance to get your hands on foods that won’t artificially fill your dog.

Get Advice Online:

There are a lot of dog owners around the web who love nothing more than the chance to help other canine lovers. This makes it nice and easy to get advice when you need it, and there are loads of resources that are dedicated to helping owners with their dog’s diet. Websites like dogfoodcare.com have tons of articles and advice pages to consult for your questions.

What The Doctor Ordered:

Many dogs have health issues that directly relate to the food they eat. This can make it extra challenging to find the right diet for your animal, especially when they have a lot of health issues to contend with. You should listen to your vet in this case, ensuring that you are feeding your dog foods that will be good for the health as well as the condition that they are living with. Many vets sell food specifically for this purpose.

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of choosing dog food that works for your dog’s health. This can be hard at first, but you will quickly learn what to look for when you’re scouring the shelves for the next meal your dog will enjoy.

Featured Image By: Unsplash

Stepping Up Your Pampering At Home

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Stepping Up Your Pampering At Home

Howdy! I don’t know about all of you, but I freaking love pampering myself with beauty treatments at home. From face masks to body scrubs and skin care, I have always enjoyed trying new products, scents, and ingredients to enhance my pampering even more. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I am sure that many of us have turned to at home beauty treatments to minimize unnecessary exposure. And, due to the pandemic approaching its one year anniversary, you might be running out of ideas for your at home spa nights!

We all deserve to feel relaxed and pampered and if you are feeling blah with your current treatments, step them up by trying the following:

Make Your Own:

If you have exhausted all of the sheet and clay face masks at your local pharmacy or are sick of your bath and body care scents, why not try making your own beauty products? There are countless how to guides and recipes out there for face masks, hair and nail treatments, and lotion and you might just find your new favorite hobby. You will also be amazed at how many products you could make with ingredients that you already have in your own home like avocado, olive oil, sugar, and eggs. You could even have a Zoom spa night with your friends where you can all make and use a spa treatment together while catching up on the latest.

If you aren’t interested in making your own products but would like to try something new, then try supporting a local or small online business that specializes in beauty care. I love testing out products from local creators and often find that their products are even better than store bought brands!

Tend To Neglected Areas:

I recently just realized that I spend so much time with products for my face that I have lightweight neglected several opportunities for pampering. To emphasize that point, at almost twenty-seven years old I just started using hand lotion before bed regularly a month ago. If this sounds like you, spend some time during your next spa night getting acquainted with neglected areas like overgrown cuticles, dry elbows, and rough heels for a complete pampering experience.

Create A Relaxing Space:

There is absolutely nothing relaxing about sitting in your bathroom waiting for your face mask to dry, lol. Enhance your spa night by creating a relaxing space. You could draw a nice hot bath or you could carve out a little space in your home where you can lounge and read as your treatments settle in. Don’t forget that scented candles, oil burners, or incense as well as nature sounds and soothing music will help make your experience even better!

Lil Red Pro Tip:

I am definitely not perfect when it comes to my skin care and my recent bout with a super huge zit can attest to that! I also just got over a case of the literal worst dandruff ever about a month ago and all I can say if you are dealing with dandruff is: Olive oil. There was no Head & Shoulders at my place and after researching online, I learned that an olive oil treatment is really effective. I soaked my scalp with olive oil for about fifteen minutes, washed my hair twice to get it all out, and was blown away to see no more white flakes. See! Awesome beauty treatments can be found right in your own home. 🙂

Give how you pamper yourself a makeover with the tips above to spruce things up during your next spa night!

How do you pamper yourself at home? What is your favorite beauty treatment? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Smoky Cauliflower Bites Recipe

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Smoky Cauliflower Bites Recipe

Hello! As I get older, I have definitely been trying to eat more healthy. AKA more fruits and veggies and less Taco Bell, lol! But, seriously, sometimes it’s just a hassle to make a healthy meal – especially after a long day at work. Quick and easy recipes are the name of the game in my household and this super simple/speedy recipe for Smoky Cauliflower Bites makes for a delicious and ultra fast appetizer for your fam:

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, broken into florets

Directions:

  1. Combine all of your dry ingredients and mix into the olive oil, then pour over your cauliflower florets. You might want to let it sit for a few hours, shaking every so often to let the flavored oil sink in on all of the areas it might have missed.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 and transfer into a baking pan and roast until tender – about 15 to 20 minutes. This recipe is by Courtney Stultz of Weir, KS and I have no rights to it!

My client’s brother makes these cauliflower bites often and it is my absolute favorite treat. Last week, he so generously bought a head of cauliflower for me and mixed up the dry ingredients into a zip lock bag so all I would have to do is cut the veggies and heat it up at home. It was such a sweet gesture and I was eager to make it because it is so delicious in every sense of the word.

After fifteen minutes of roasting in the oven, my cauliflower was ready to eat and it was just as good as when my client’s brother makes it. I love all of the seasonings that drench the cauliflower because they add quite a bit of heat to it but it was never overpowering. Johnny and I dipped our bold and smoky cauliflower bites in Ranch dressing and enjoyed it as a side dish with our dinner. Ranch or sour cream is a good bet to have handy with you just in case there’s a little too much “oomph” for anyone at the table.

Easy as pie to make and tasty any time of the day, make these Smokey Cauliflower Bites to spice things up at your next family dinner!

What is your favorite veggie recipe? How do you eat healthy at home? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Summer Spaghetti Recipe

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Summer Spaghetti Recipe

Hello! On our last day of staycation in Lexington, Kentucky we had a great big cookout. My sister’s boyfriend, Ramon, was the grill master for all of the guys and I was in charge of the vegetarian dish for the ladies: Spaghetti. At first, I was fine with just heating up some sauce and calling it a day. However, Ramon was creating grill magic and I wasn’t going to be caught dead just serving spaghetti with red sauce!

So, I got to work. And, I must say, thanks to the friendly competition, I think I created a masterpiece that I would definitely serve for myself and Johnny again. My entire family loved it and I think all of you will, too! Check it out:

Ingredients:

  • 1 box spaghetti
  • 7 cloves garlic
  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 1/2 of a large, red onion
  • 2 lemons
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Salt, pepper, parsley, oregano

Directions:

We all know how to make spaghetti so we are going to talk about the saute I made to put on top of it. I wanted the dish to be really light so I didn’t want to go with a heavy sauce. So, I created a dressing in the vegetable saute by doing the following:

  1. In your frying pan, add butter and olive oil and season it with the herbs of your choosing. I kept it light with salt, pepper, parsley, and oregano.
  2. Once your mixture is all melted, add the vegetables. Then, squeeze the juice from one full lemon over top. If the mixture still looks dry like mine did, add more butter and olive oil. To top it off, add five to six splashes of red wine vinegar and continue seasoning to your heart’s content.

By now, your vegetables should be frying away in its own sauce, which is going to make them literally burst with flavor. I kept mine cooking on a medium to high heat until the last five minutes or so when I brought it down to a simmer. I wanted to make sure they were all thoroughly cooked but I also didn’t want them to shrink away into nothing!

3. Once your pasta is cooked, simply add your saute to it and mix it well. Then, you’re going to take the juice from another full lemon to add in as well as any additional seasoning to taste.

The end result? A light, lemony pasta dish that is amazing on its own or, according to the meat eaters in my family, fabulous with chicken over top. I would have snapped some pictures of my creation but, by the time I thought to do it, the pasta was long gone. Lol, WHOOPS. 😀

My entire family agreed that another cookout needs to happen this summer and, this time, Ramon and I agreed that he will make the chicken and I will make the pasta again because it was such a hit. Bon appetit! ❤

How do you like to get creative in the kitchen? Have you had any cooking success or failures lately? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Fine Dining At Home

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Fine Dining At Home

Hi! With Ohio’s stay at home order still in place, Johnny and I have been eating at home nine times out of ten. Don’t get me wrong, we still enjoy the occasional Taco Bell but, for now, it just feels easier and safer to do our cooking at home. For the most part, we’re fine with the basics of grilled cheese, pasta, and oven pizza. Lol, but sometimes people need a little bit more. So, may I present the mac n cheese pizza?

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When Johnny and I first started dating, he created a mac n cheese pizza that was ready for when I arrived home from work. It was basically the sweetest and most delicious thing ever and it has since become one of our favorite “treat yoself” meals. Ready for all the carbs? Just follow this simple recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Oven pizza of your choosing
  • 1 box or packet of mac n cheese of your choosing
  • Shredded mozzarella to sprinkle on top

Directions:

  1. Make the box of mac n cheese. About halfway through, start preheating the oven for your pizza.
  2. Once the mac n cheese is done and the oven is preheated, cover the top of the pizza with a layer of the cheesy goodness. Then, sprinkle the extra mozzarella on top.
  3. Cook your masterpiece and enjoy!

Is the mac n cheese pizza the finest of quarantine delicacies? Probably. And, it always goes down smooth at chez moi. Give it a try and watch your life change for the better.

What is your favorite crazy food creation that you’ve made? What is your favorite pizza topping? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah