Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Yogurt Parfait

this parfait is not only refreshing, but it is also like a light dessert. we enjoyed this unexpected treat over the weekend when i happened to have a few extra things in my fridge. i threw this together with some extras that i had on hand from making the fitnessista’s fabulous macaroons!

for one parfait:

1c greek yogurt – i think i’ve mentioned before, but my favorite brand is fage. it’s literally like cream!
1tbs ground almonds
1-2tbs maple syrup
strawberries – you can use any kind of fruit you would like. we actually used fresh blackberries another time…yes, we had these quite a few times over the weekend!

if you try this and like it, please let me know. also, what other fruits and toppings would you use?


yogurt parfait

yogurt parfait



Friday, July 27, 2012

Everyday Minerals

here’s a continuation of my little series on the new all natural products i’m using. 100% pure fruit pigmented tinted moisturizer was the first all natural beauty product i reviewed. it’s a great product and you can check out all the details in the post i wrote on it.

everyday minerals is a company that i really love and i have actually used there products for 3-4 years now. their customer service is stellar and i have gotten quite a few freebies with each order that i’ve placed. it can be difficult buying makeup online and this company lets you choose free samples that come with your order. this has helped me tremendously in determining the proper colors for my skin. this company is organic, vegan and eco-friendly. animal lovers will also like that they do not test on animals – much love to our furry friends! here’s a great introduction to the company.

i started using the base first. i cannot get over how reasonably priced it is (along with everything else that Carina sells)! i wear makeup on average 5-6 days a week. i only have to order it once every 10 months or so. this base gives good coverage and i only use a light dusting. i would definitely say that a little goes a long way. the base comes in a variety of finishes such as matte, semi-matte, intensive, and satin. it’s nice to be able to choose which finish you like as, with changing seasons, your needs may change. i have a light complexion and this summer i have been using the medium beige neutral base intensive. this base is a bit darker than i would normally wear; however, i had the bright idea to switch to a darker base and just omit using bronzer. i’ve done this for the last two months and it’s worked out very well!

thanks to the free samples, i discovered how wonderful the concealer (color is use is: aussie perk me up) and blush are. again, it does not take much to get the look i’m trying to achieve. i guess i should point out that i do not like heavy makeup. i go for a natural, yet polished look. the concealer gives great coverage and there are many shades of the blush that i’ve tried and really like too. for the last year or so i’ve been using the color once and again for blush. to give a little shimmer, i use the come what may on top blush – i just dust this on my cheeks last. this makeup is definitely lightweight on the skin. my skin still feels like it is able to breathe while having this on all day. and yes, it does stay on all day. even on my busiest work days when i am outside in the southeastern heat running after children, i still have makeup on when i get home from work until i remove it during my shower.

everyday minerals offers a full line of makeup with a large variety of colors and finishes. i highly recommend you peruse the site and consider it next time you need makeup.

so tell me, what is your daily makeup routine? i’d love to hear!

*this is a product that i use, love & buy with my own money. i was not compensated for this review & all opinions are 100% honest.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Taco Chicken Lettuce Wraps

this was an idea that just sort of came to me. my momma gave me some beautiful romaine on friday, and i was trying to think of something different to do with it besides the usual salad. i love salads and eat one almost everyday, so i needed to fancy this up a bit! this is what we had for dinner on saturday evening. it was a huge hit with the husband, and i liked it a lot too. like most of my recipes, it was pretty quick to prepare.

here’s what you will need:

7 chicken tenders or 2 chicken breasts
olive oil and butter – 1tbs of each
washed romaine lettuce
taco seasoning – either bought or homemade

after cleaning the chicken, cut the tenders like fajita meat (so, in small strips). heat the olive oil and butter together in a pan over medium heat. then,  cook the chicken strips for about 5-8 minutes. add in 1/4c taco seasoning and 2/3c water, cover and simmer for 12 minutes.

meanwhile, you can prepare your toppings. for this, i sliced tomatoes, avocado,and  lime. we used fage greek yogurt in place of sour cream and pepperjack cheese.

when the chicken is finished simmering, lay out your romaine leaf on a plate, stuff with chicken and toppings, and you’re ready to eat. i originally thought we would eat these wrap style, but soon realized we were eating them boat style, which worked nicely! it’s your choice – we could have easily wrapped them.

taco chicken lettuce wrap


Monday, July 23, 2012


do you want an easy, fun, and delicious breakfast idea? well, i’ve got just that for you today. strap your seatbelts on because this is a 3 in 1 post. that’s right, 3 recipes in one post! here we go…

i’ve been wanting to make crepes for a while and i finally got the chance to do so on saturday morning. it was so much easier than i expected. i really enjoyed them too. i’m not always super hungry in the morning, so pancakes and waffles can be a bit too heavy for me. i really loved how light the crepes were. the most fun part for me was making a topping station. so many different things can go on or in crepes and we just pulled things we had on hand in the kitchen. this would be a fun breakfast to make with children, if you have them!


1c brown rice flour
2/3c almond milk
3tbs sugar
1tsp vanilla
2 eggs

use a mixer to beat all ingredients together. pour 1/4c of batter into in a 5inch nonstick pan over medium fire, cook about one minute on each side.

this makes 7 crepes.


you can play around with this. we used bananas, fresh figs, frozen berries, cooked apples, peanut butter glaze, maple syrup, and a light dusting of powdered sugar

peanut butter glaze:

1tbs peanut butter
1tbs butter
2tbs maple syrup
microwave for about a minute, then stir and pour
add a touch of milk to get to desired consistency

cooked apples:

1 cut apple sautéed in 1tbs butter and 1tbs cinnamon sugar for about 10minutes on top of the stove


we enjoyed these and i hope you do to!


Friday, July 20, 2012

Summer Favs 2

i’m doing a little series of what i’m loving this summer. here’s summer favs 1, if you missed it last week.

this week, there are a few other things besides food making me happy!

fresh picked figs



pink hydrangea 

out of control hibiscus



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Straw Purse

my mom and i took a little ride to the northshore last week to do some consignment store shopping. oh…how i love these places! i’ve been looking for a straw purse since spring. i saw a really nice one at target in the spring, but i’m cheap, and didn’t want to pay $35 for it. i was not expecting to find one this summer and had just accepted that it wasn’t meant to be. we came across a rather large goodwill while consignment shopping and i just had to stop in. this cute little bag caught my eye right off the bat. it was $2.99! broke the bank! it was in good condition on the outside, but the inside was grimy. i was able to flip the inside out and i took a damp rag with gain laundry detergent on it and scrubbed and scrubbed until i was happy with it. i let it sit under a fan to dry overnight. it smells fresh, looks great, and hasn’t left my side since i got it! i’ve actually gotten quite a few compliments on it.

i like the “bamboo look” handles it has, but they do pinch my skin at times, which is a little uncomfy. but for that price and cuteness factor, i’ll get over it.

straw purse

i actually think it’s somewhat similar to this tory burch bag.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Sweet Potato Chips and Tomatillo Salsa

i am definitely a snacker. i get made fun of sometimes when i’m eating a snack thirty minutes before we leave to go out to eat. i’m a petite person and i’m convinced only so much fits in my belly at one time. i do not eat by the clock. i strictly eat when i’m hungry, which is usually every two hours! i know…that’s ridiculous for an adult, but, hey, it works for me. this has been one of my go to snacks recently, and it’s so delicious that i wanted to share.

i love Terra chips and have eaten them for about two years now. i find them to be a somewhat healthy chip alternative and they are tasty too!

during my last trip to whole foods, i picked up this delicious tomatillo salsa. tomatillos are great. this is a very light and mild salsa, which is why i like it right now. it has lots of flavor!

next time you’re due for a snack, i highly recommend you try these two together. i’m enjoying them and i’m also enjoying trying all of the different Terra chips. they come in many different varieties and flavors.

tomatillo salsa

*these are items that i love, eat & buy with my own money. i was not compensated for this review & all opinions are 100% honest.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer Favs 1

there are so many things i love about summer that this may actually become a little series. but for now, here are a few foods that seem to constantly be making an appearance this summer in my kitchen.





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what i love most about these foods is that they are deeply colored and full of rich flavor! what foods are you enjoying most this summer?



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Grilled Chicken and Poblanos

not too far from my house, there is a little mexican restaurant called el gato negro. on the outside, it’s pretty dumpy, but the inside is nice and new and the food is fab! my favorite dish there (actually, my only dish there because I can never seem to try anything new) is an appetizer called chicken poblano. the appetizer portion is just the right amount for my entire meal. i decided to try to replicate it at home, making a few modifications. it did not have the same flavors as the dish at the restaurant, but my version is quite tasty. here’s the recipe. if you try it and make your own version, i’d love to hear what you did.

for two servings:

5 chicken tenders
2 poblanos
one 14oz can of diced tomatoes
one small can green chilies
3tbs goat cheese
1 tbs butter, olive oil, 2tbs chopped onion, 1tbs chopped habanero, 1 tbs chopped garlic, salt, pepper

i prepped the chicken tenders first by coating them with olive oil and salt and pepper. then, i cut the poblanos so that they would lay flat on the grill. this took a little tweaking, so you can play around with it see what works best for you. i started the sauce by sautéing onion, garlic, and habanero in butter and 1tbs olive oil over medium heat. once those were translucent, i added diced tomatoes and green chilies. i let this cook on low for about 30 minutes. it will form a little juice (which is what you want). meanwhile, i got the grill ready. i used indirect heat and cooked the poblanos (along with my side dish) for about 10-15 minutes until soft and lightly charred. i cooked my chicken tenders 2 minutes on each side. i finished making the sauce by adding 3 tbs of goat cheese. this is what makes this dish, in my opinion. the sauce will become very creamy and delicious. i placed my poblano flat on the plate, put my chicken on top of it, and then spooned sauce on top of everything. i served this with grilled yellow squash.

without sauce:

poblano chicken

with sauce:

poblano chicken


Monday, July 9, 2012



we had a rather indulgent weekend for my husband’s birthday. i had a lunch date with some relatives friday afternoon at redemption. then saturday evening my in laws took us to eat at tujaques. i always like to cook something that my husband likes for his birthday, so sunday evening i made scallops. i was scared to cook them, as i’ve heard they turn into rubber quickly. i took my time and proceeded calmly and they came out very well. the recipe i used was straight from my dad. it’s nothing too fancy, but it gets the job done and they were quite good, especially for my first attempt.

i bought frozen scallops from whole foods and just cooked the whole bag. i would really like to try fresh next time. they are just so darn expensive!

here’s the rundown of how i cooked them:

first, i thawed and washed them
i sprinkled them with only salt & pepper
in a pan, i melted a stick of butter, along with 1/4c garden green onions and 1tbs of garlic
i let all of those ingredients cook down for 5 minutes
i placed my scallops in the pan and cooked them for two minutes on each side.
i took them out of the pan and deglazed with 1/2c or 3/4c white wine
i let this cook down for a few minutes, then poured the sauce over the scallops

we enjoyed our scallops and a side salad. this dish was ridiculously easy and now my fear of cooking scallops is completely gone. the only thing i would do differently is cook them for 1.5 minutes per side instead of 2 minutes per side.

have you ever cooked scallops before? do you have any good recipes or ideas for cooking them? i’d love to hear!



Friday, July 6, 2012

Bird of Paradise

i have a very interesting bird of paradise. the actual plant is rather large, but it does not produce many flowers. the last few weeks marked a turning point . usually, i get one bloom a year in september. it never fails. this has been the case for the last 4-5 years. well, to my surprise, i spotted a bloom this weekend when i was doing some work in the garden. this made my heart fluttter! so now, my hope is that it will either continue producing blooms through the summer or, at least, give me another bloom in september. time will tell. i’ll keep ya posted.

my bird of paradise:

bird of paradise  
bird of paradise

bird of paradise photographed from mom & dad’s trip to hawaii a few weeks ago:

hawaii bird of paradise     


i think they’re all beauties!


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Lemonade for the 4th

this is the most refreshing lemonade i have ever had. it’s also beautiful to look at. the color is amazing.

i stole this recipe from my mother. i’m not sure where she got it from, but when i had it at her house, i knew i had to make it! it’s just perfect for a hot summer day! i’m looking forward to having a glass later with some watermelon.

in a blender, combine:
3 lemons, washed & cut into eighths. the entire lemon goes in (rind & all), don’t be shy
1c of water
3/4c sugar *note* i cut the sugar down as the original recipe called for 1.5c of sugar, but i like to use less when i can .

process until everything is coarsely chopped. remove from blender. use a strainer to pour the juice into a container. add water to fill to the top. i like to add lemon slices to make it a bit more potent, but you do not have to. stir well. enjoy a refreshing treat!






Monday, July 2, 2012

A Figgy Salad

in the last few years, i have discovered that i really like figs. a few of my family members & neighbors have fig trees on their property, and i hate to keep asking for figs. this year, i am dead set on planting a fig tree in my backyard. i was really inspired last year by kate’s recipe for fig pizza. unfortunately, i think it was towards the end of the season & i didn’t get to make the pizza in time. i will definitely make it this summer – just you wait!

my dad gave me a few figs from his tree this weekend. they were small, but still quite delicious. i can’t wait to think of what’s to come in the next few months on that tree.

i made a simple salad today as part of my lunch that included the figs.

in the salad:
organic spring mix
three small figs
pumpkin seeds
blue cheese (my love)
juice from half a squeezed lemon
olive oil

fig salad         

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