Monday, January 23, 2012

Update on my favorite beauty products...

So the past couple years I have posted my favorite products using a preset list.  I decided not to complete the whole list this year and instead name the products that I cannot replace!

Avalon Organics Vitamin C Refreshing Cleansing Gel.  I have posted about this facewash over and over.  I have been using it for over two years and usually I purchase it from Target.  I this it is the best facewash I've ever used - it smells like orange juice and doesn't leave my skin tight or dry.  It gently removes my makeup and doesn't burn my eyes.

Smashbox Concealer.  I'm really surprised by how much I like this.  It was an impulse buy at Sephora and I've already had to repurchase this product twice.  I love the brightening effect when I use it under the eyes.  I have used it on blemishes and it works well to counteract redness too.
 CoverGirl Lash Blast Fushion in Black.  This is great mascara - I think I just bought my 6th tube.  I cheated on this mascara once in the past year and I promptly went back to it.  It thickens my lashes and holds curl well.  The brush perfectly seperates lashes  - no clumping, and no weird spidery lashes.

Makeup For Ever Mat Velvet.  I just purchased my second bottle in Ivory.  This oil free formula doesn't clog my pores and it covers all my redness and imperfections.  When I use this I feel like my skin is as perfect as it can get.  Also I can dial up the coverage by using a brush or get a more natural finish with a sponge or my fingers.

 Kenra Platinum Silkening Drops.  This is a great product for shine and frizz control.  I use 3-4 pumps after I blow dry and before I use a curling iron or flat iron to help smooth out my hair.  I am on my third bottle and I usually buy it from Ulta.  Over the past 2-3 years I've noticed a lot of my hair stylists using this product and I understand why it is a favorite of the professionals.
Ole Henrickson Truth Serum Collagen Booster.  I'm not quite into anti-aging skin care yet but I use the 3 little miracles set from Ole Henrickson.  I'm on my third bottle of this product which I only use in the mornings after I wash my skin before I moisturize it.  This is a "try it" product.  I can't even explain how much better my skin looks when I use it,  more even, moisturized, and bright.  I haven't had a single  dry skin day this winter because of this product.  I've been using this product consistently for a year but I have used it before after getting a sample at Sephora.  It is my best "little miracle".

Sunday, January 22, 2012

In the Kitchen: Black Beans and Rice Bake

Hello blog friends!!!!

I have yet another recipe for everyone adapted from Cooking Light.  I have had a lot of success with their recipes and I've been using them (along with circulars and coupons!) to get the best nutritional bang for our $$$.  I already had a bag of dried beans so I soaked them over night and cooked them for an hour for this recipe. 

1 package yellow rice mix (I used Zatarans)
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups cubed cooked chicken (We grilled a chicken breast on the George Forman and it made about 1.5 cups)
1 can of black beans, drained
1 can of diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained (I used Rotel)
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese (I didn't have this available so I used Mozzerella)
PAM spray

Preheat oven to 350*F.  Prepare rice to package directions.
Saute onion until tender (original recipe also included 1/2 cup bell pepper and carrot chopped but I omitted them) .  Combine cooked rice, onion, cooked chicken, beans, diced tomatoes and chilies in a lightly greased baking dish.  Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 30  minutes covered.  Uncover and bake for 10 minutes.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

In The Kitchen: Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

Tonight's dinner was amazing!  Another Cooking Light recipe that I altered slightly to reflect items I already had in my refrigerator.

 2 cups Egg Noodles (I used No Yolks)
1/4 cup AP flour
2 cups fat free milk
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
3/4 cup shredded Mozzerella cheese
2 laughing cow light swiss wedges
2 skinless boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup sliced lean deli ham
salt and pepper to taste

Cook noodles according to package directions.  Pan sear chicken breasts in PAM spray with salt and pepper until cooked.  Dice cooked chicken and deli ham.  In a skillet, heat oil and add garlic until soft at medium  temperature.  Whisk in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes until smooth.  Take skillet off direct heat and whisk in milk, replace on low heat until sauce thickens; whisk in dijon mustard.  Add 2 cheese wedges and shredded cheese, stir until smooth.  Add peas, chicken, ham, and pepper to sauce.  Pour sauce over noodles and stir to combine.

Just wanted to share my favorite sweet treat.  I love packing one of these in my lunch box for a lunchtime dessert.  Nature Valley Granola Thins with a dark chocolate coating on the bottom - YUM!  R and I have been trying to shop sales and use coupons as part of a 2012 resolution and we lucked up on this item!

In the Kitchen: Lightened Turkey Reuben

I wanted to share this super yummy, lightened version of a reuben.  I have had this recipe from Cooking Light bookmarked for a long time and last night we went to get all the missing ingredients.  I couldn't wait to have this for lunch today!

2 slices rye bread
1 tablespoon thousand island dressing
2 tablespoons of sauerkraut, drained
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 slice swiss cheese
2 slices smoked turkey, I used Sara Lee brand
PAM cooking spray

Spread Dijon mustard on 2 slices of rye bread.  Spoon sauerkraut on one slice of bread and drizzle with thousand island dressing.  Top with slice of cheese and arrange turkey slices on the cheese; top off with the other slice of bread.  Spray PAM in a medium pan and set on medium heat.  Place the sandwich in the pan until the bread is toasted and the contents are warmed through.  You can also use a sandwich press or George Foreman to "cook" the sandwich.  I served mine alongside about 1 ounce Cape Cod salt and vinegar 40% fat free chips.

 Picture from Cooking Light
My less photogenic version

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy 2012

Happy New Year Everyone!!!!

R and I ushered in the new year at home, we decided to stay in and save some money last night.  We made a very special trip to Fresh Market yesterday to purchase all the necessities for a fantastic dinner...scallops in fettuccine and alfredo sauce, garlic toast and chocolate dipped strawberries for dessert.  He splurged on a nice bottle of champage (and I realized I'd never actually had real champagne before).  He surprised me with a nice set of napkin rings from pier one that I LOVED!  We rounded out the evening by alternating between Dick Clark's New Year's Eve Special and Coldplay's New Year Eve Live from Austin.  I felt so blessed to start 2012 in such a romantic way!

Today the Christmas decorations came down and R and I did a very thorough spring cleaning.  All the business stuff is over so we went to the movies tonight and we have plans for relaxing at home tomorrow.

So my goals for 2012....
  • Back to regular workouts, since BFF's wedding in mid November, I lost my motivation to make time for it. 
  • Save money of course.  I say this every year but R and I are going to set our budget tomorrow.
  • I need to blog more regularly.  I've noticed that I blog in spurts....several in a row and then nothing for a couple of weeks.
  • Attend regular church service.  R and I found a church we both love but we have spent several weekends traveling and missed out.  I can't wait to get back in the swing of going.