Friday, January 31, 2014

High Five for Friday!

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Boy am I glad to see this week's Friday. It's been a long week. I'm going to blame it on the -30 degree temps that seemed to drag the days out.

There were of course some highlights to the week that I'd love to share! 

1// I finally put the finishing touches on this vanity that's hanging out in our guest bedroom. This was my mom's vanity as a child. I love the history behind this piece and am so glad we have it in our home. The knobs are the perfect fit in my opinion.  Thank you, Pier 1.
Ignore my basket of hair tools, it's the most convenient, temporary spot at the moment. 


2// With the stupid-cold temperatures this week, the little monkey and I got in some serious snuggle time. Just to be clear, we absolutely weren't watching Wheel of Fortune.


3// We went to a local hockey game with my sister and her beau this past weekend. It was a great game {we won!} and we had an absolute blast spending time together. We'll definitely be spending more time at the hockey rink, attending games.


4// I shared a recipe perfect for this weekend's Super Bowl. I also {overshared} about my love of Tabasco sauce and what necessary steps I had to take when I over indulged in my fair share of the sauce. Let's just say it wasn't my most proud moment. 

http://www.thisbeautifullifeblog.com/2014/01/game-day-nachos.html

5// My hubby made a batch of chocolate chip cookies from scratch, all.by.himself. He earned many, many, many, many, many brownie cookie points in my book. Love that guy.


this week's previous posts:
wednesday: game day nachos


linking up with Lauren Elizabeth



Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Game Day Nachos

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I've been on something I call the hot sauce crazy train as of late. I'm craving foods that can be enhanced with the liquid gold that is hot sauce. I don't know how it happened, but I've just discovered how much I love the red, peppery liquid. I've put it on just about every meal I've made and every snack I've snacked.

It's become such a big part of my life that my sister decided to out me to the public via twitter. Although it was quite hilarious, it brought me to the realization that I might need to cut back on the hot sauce intake. 

For lunch today I made Game Day Nachos. Just a fancy name for the easiest-most-delicious-nachos-around-town. I of course doused my entire nacho plate with good ole fashioned Tabasco sauce. I legitimately got carried away. I think it has to do with how slow the sauce drips out of that cute little glass bottle. It doesn't seem like enough is coming out. I guess I need to learn the phrase "a little goes a long way".

My.lips.were.on.fire.

The kind of fire that required me to let my lips rest in my glass of chocolate milk for sweet relief. It was ridiculous. Thankfully, at the time I was all alone. My husband and the plumber were scoping out the scenario for our future master suite remodel. That's another story for another day though. 
I guess what I'm trying to say is make these nachos, they are delicious and quick. Just be careful how much hot sauce you dribble on top. You just might have to look like a fool soaking your lips in a glass of milk! 
Game Day Nachos

1 lb ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
2/3 cup water
tortilla chips {the scoops work best}

Toppings:
shredded cheese {I used mild cheddar & monterey jack}
sliced black olives
black beans, drained and rinsed
sour cream
salsa
Tabasco sauce
Other topping ideas: diced tomato, shredded lettuce, banana peppers
Cook beef and drain. Add taco seasoning and 2/3 cup water. Simmer for 5 minutes. 
Dish up the meat and toppings into separate bowls and serve buffet style so everyone can make their own just they way they like it. Pop each plate into the microwave for 30-45 seconds to melt the cheese.
Enjoy!  
 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

#beautifullymade

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This morning I was thinking of all the beautiful pictures I see of fellow bloggers, or people I follow on twitter. As a society, we've become obsessed with showing the whole world our outfit that day or a selfie shot. While I don't think there is anything wrong with that, it simply got my wheels turning. 

As I was getting ready (read: spraying my grease ball head with dry shampoo) I decided to do something different than usual; I decided not to put any makeup on. So, with a braid thrown in my hair I decided that would be the extent of today's getting ready. No makeup, no nothin'.

Almost immediately I found myself wanting to share my no-makeup-look with the world. I wanted to encourage women that makeup doesn't make you beautiful. You were beautifully made by your Creator. 

So, as a spontaneous sort of challenge I posted this on twitter
 

Then I did something that took a lot of courage for me, personally. I posted a picture of myself without any makeup and without using a filter to enhance the way I look. Nothing to hide, just me in my own skin #beautifullymade. 


I would really love it if you would join me by making a statement today. Post a picture of yourself on twitter and use hashtag #beautifully made. You really are beautiful, just the way you are.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Super Bowl Party Food {a link up}

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 My sweet friend, Kaitlyn and I thought it would be fun to highlight some of our favorite party food recipes that we've shared on our blogs in the past. We thought it would be even more fun to get you involved by making this a link up opportunity. That way we can visit your blogs and get some new recipes, just in time for the big game day. 

Whether you're hosting a Super Bowl party or planning on attending one with game day snacks in tow, this is the perfect opportunity to find recipes that have been tested and blogger approved!

Here's how it works: 
Put together a post of some of your favorite, previously posted recipes. 
Link up your post below. 
 Visit some of the link ups to find new recipes and meet other bloggers!


Super Bowl Party Food Recipes

Homemade Caramel Corn
recipe originally posted here

This is the perfect recipe for a Super Bowl party. It makes a large amount, which is good; it'll go quick. Everyone will love munching on something delicious during the game. 

Buffalo Chicken Bites
recipe originally posted here
These Buffalo Chicken Bites are a crowd pleaser. It's one of our very favorite recipes to make and serve during a game. Pairs perfectly with some celery sticks and ranch dressing. 
recipe originally posted here
This is a great make-ahead recipe and is easy peasy. Serve with tortillas, shredded cheese, sour cream, and salsa on the side. Guests can make their own and keep coming back for more! 

recipe originally posted here
What's a party without a great chocolate chip cookie? This recipe has perfected the traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe by using browned butter, sea salt adds the perfect salty touch. 

Now it's your turn!
Share a post with some of your favorite game day recipes below!


original photo source

Monday, January 20, 2014

Saltine Cracker Candy

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Have you ever heard of saltine cracker candy? It's a delicious toffee like treat that my sister first introduced me to, years ago. It's been called crack because once you take a bit you won't be able to stop till it's gone; it's so addicting. 

Last night we went over to a friend's house for eggplant parmesan panini sammies for dinner. It was our first time having eggplant and I have to say, it was delicious! I decided to bring over the ingredients for saltine cracker candy to make for dessert. It's incredibly simple, only requires 5 ingredients, and it's a big hit.

This would be a great treat to add to the Superbowl party food spread. 


Saltine Cracker Candy

35 to 40 saltine crackers
2 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 12 ounce bag semisweet chocolate chips
heath pieces 
sea salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

Line a large jelly roll pan with foil, spray with non-stick cooking spray. 

Arrange the saltine crackers salt side down, in a single layer. 

In a saucepan melt the butter and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and allow the mixture to turn a caramel color, it will take a few minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately pour over the crackers. Use a rubber spatula to make sure the crackers are covered evenly. 

Put the pan into the oven for 3 minutes, or just until it starts to bubble. Watch it closely the entire time. 

Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle on chocolate chips. As soon as the chips start to melt, spread with a butter knife until the chocolate is evenly distributed. 

Generously sprinkle on heath pieces, then add a few sprinkles of sea salt for a sweet and salty twist. 

Transfer the pan to the freezer for 20 minutes. Break into pieces. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

Enjoy! 


recipe adapted from Food Network

Friday, January 17, 2014

Crockpot Veggie-tarian Chili

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This recipe is one of our new favorites. It's from a friend of mine that came up with the recipe while on the Daniel Fast. Fast or no fast, this recipe will be frequenting our kitchen all winter long.

Although I made this in a crockpot, it does require a little prep work. No biggie though. It's worth it.


Crockpot Veggie-tarian Chili

1 red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 gloves garlic, finely chopped
olive oil
1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon organic vegetable base (I used Better Than Bouillon)
3 cans whole tomatoes
2 cans tomato sauce
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can chili beans (do not drain)
1 cup frozen corn
2 generous tablespoons chili powder
salt, pepper, and onion powder to taste

Saute peppers, onion, and garlic in olive oil until tender. Add to crockpot. 

Dissolve 1 teaspoon vegetable base in cup of boiling water. Add to crockpot. 

Pour all 3 cans of whole tomatoes into crockpot. Crush the whole tomatoes into smaller pieces.  

Careful, those little buggers tend to spray you in the face as you crush them. Sometimes, they take their hate to a whole new level and spray your beautiful, new tile backslash. Naughty tomatoes.  

Add tomato sauce, kidney beans, black beans, chili beans, and corn. 

Add chili powder, salt, pepper, and onion powder. Stir well. 

Allow the chili to warm through. 

Enjoy!

Note: this recipe makes a gigantic vat of chili. You'll definitely want to share some and even freeze the leftovers to enjoy a different day. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Violet Vox Box

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Montagne Jeunesse Clay Spa Mask in Red Earth: I loved the packaging and the pomegranate scent, however, I'm not a huge fan of masks in general so this didn't wow me.

Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo: I've become dry shampoo's biggest fan, thanks to a friend who recommended it to me. Before trying this brand I had been using Dove's brand. Ok folks, let me tell you, Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Dry Shampoo is by far the better buy. Not only is it dirt cheap at your local Target store, it's also a better product. Give it a try! It smells fresh and clean too. Win-win.

Sally Hansen Triple Shine Nail Polish: I am a lover of all things glitter. Mix that with my nail polish obsession (Hello, 57 bottles of nail polish!) and you've got a winner, winner chicken dinner in my book. My only complaint about this nail polish and all the other glitter ones on the market: it's impossible to take off.

SOYJOY snack bar: Here's my honest to goodness opinion: It tastes like every other health bar out there. It's just not delicious. Sorry SOYJOY, I'm not a fan of this one.

Goody Athletique Headband: Great headband option. It's cute, comfortable, and a nice headband to wear to the gym. If you're into that sort of thing. Thumbs up for Goody!

Product Grades:
{1= not for me + 10 = this is right up my alley}

Montagne Jeunesse Clay Spa Mask: 2 out of 10
Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Dry Shampoo: 7.5 out of 10
Sally Hansen Nail Polish: 4 out of 10
SOYJOY snack bar: 1 out of 10
Goody Athletique Headband: 7 out of 10


I received these products complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A New Year

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I think we can all agree there is something spectacular about a new year. It's a time for starting over; a chance to "re-do". For many, a new year translates to New Year's resolutions, whether for healthier eating habits, starting an exercise routine, or setting personal goals. 

I don't personally set a list of resolutions for myself, maybe for fear of never following through them. I do however, sit down at least once a year with the Mr. and we set a list of goals for our selves, for both now and in the future. It's always encouraging to look back at the tasks we were able to cross off. 

This year is a little bit different. This new year has us embarking on more of a spiritual list than anything else. While we are still making the list of things we want to accomplish we are also setting a list of spiritual goals for ourselves. 

The best way we are able to accomplish this is through a fast. We're joining our church for a corporate Daniel Fast for the month of January. On Sunday our Pastor's wife was explaining the spiritual benefits to fasting and prayer. She made a comment that has stuck with me ever since. She said, "fasting together with prayer is like hitting the spiritual reset button on our lives". There's really not a better time for us to do that than right now, at the start of a new year. 

If you've never read any material about the Daniel Fast, I highly recommend visiting their website to get more information. We enjoy that it's a biblical fast that allows us to eat food as God intended them. No preservatives, no added sugars, just the good stuff. 

Don't get me wrong, at times it's already been difficult not having caffeine or something a little sweet after dinner, but the benefits will far outweigh any of those silly temptations anyway.
  
The fast requires meal planning and finding recipes that are suitable to eat. I'm going to post recipes that have worked for us as a means to journal what we've done for future fasts. I also want to be able to help others discover recipes that work while on the Daniel Fast


Have you heard of the Daniel Fast or done it before? I'd love to hear from you!


Disclosure: the Daniel Fast has no idea who I am or that I'm writing about it.
 I simply wanted to let you know what we're up to in case you'd be interested to try it for yourself. 

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