Friday, July 27, 2012

Birchbox {July 2012}

The month is almost over and I just realized that I never published my Birchbox post for this month. My oh my! Where is the time going?
Yesterday I did publish a post on myglam bag for July. Both are really great options, but Birchbox is still my favorite! Both are $10 a month and you get some really great product. But every month in my box I receive at least one full sized item which makes me so happy :)
This month my full-size product is Blinc Mascara. OKAY WHOA!
The mascara is awesome!

First off the mascara comes packaged in a tube. I was wondering why in the world it comes in a tube...but then I read about it and then I tried and it makes total sense. The mascara creates a "tube" over your eyelashes. This way it doesn't melt off, smear, smudge or anything! It comes off by just washing your face with warm water and some soap. It is amazing.
I never use mascara on my lower lashes because they always smear onto my under eye, making it look like I have dark circles. But this stops that. I am officially a Blinc mascara user now!

July's Birchbox was teamed up with Glamour magazine and I am super happy with the choice of products I received.
  • Stila In the Light eye shadow pallet
  • blinc mascara
  • dirt. Luxe Salt Scrub Lemon Leaf
  • Larabar Uber Bananas Foster
  • Harvey Prince Eau Flirt Lavender Pumpkin Perfume
  • Earbuds
Okay, how cool is it that they sent out earbuds? I totally needed some for my phone to carry around with me, and this is perfect! 
The mascara I already raved about...
The salt scrub from dirt. is awesome! I used it on those little bumpies on the back of my upper arms and they are nice and smooth now.
Lavender Pumpkin kind of scared me at first. They just don't sound like they belong together. But once again, Birchbox knows what's up with my beauty profile and I totally love it!
Stila's eye shadow pallet is spectacular. It has a little guide on the top to show you how to properly apply the colors to get the best effect from it.
And the Bananas Foster uber bar...whoa. It was delicious. They are expensive to purchase...but I want to. It satisfied my sweet tooth and my need for a snack.
Once again Birchbox July's box made me happy. I can't wait for next month, as always
And remember you get free shipping and earn reward points whenever you make a full-size product purchase from their website.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

myglam {July 2012}

Since subscribing to Birchbox and posting my monthly goodies I have had many inquiries if I knew of any other beauty sample clubs.
I set out on a mission to find them, subscribe to them and show off the goods I receive, the pros and the cons of each club so everyone can make the right decision for themselves.
I did find a nail polish club, Julep Maven. I skipped July's shipment because we were on vacation and I didn't care for the colors selected for me.
But I did start a new subscription to myglam.
Like Birchbox, it is a $10 membership fee every month.
That includes the deluxe samples and free shipping
To get started you fill out a beauty quiz, submit your billing info and wait for the middle of the month to arrive until it comes.

Unlike Birchbox, I don't believe that there are several different bags that go out to the customers. It looks like everyone gets the same thing, with a few items that may vary in the bag. It says "this or this" is included,
True to the name, myglam bag includes all the goodies in a bag of some sort. This month it is a little make-up bag.

In my July 2012 myglam bag I received:

  • make-up bag
  • Buxom Big & Healthy Lip Polish in Sugar
  • Circus Nail Color in Somersault (seriously love the packaging of their nail color)
  • Yes To Cucumbers 10 moist facial towelettes
  • Juice Beauty SPF 15 Moisturizer Green Apple
  • Nume HydroPunch Hydrating Conditioner
All the products I received I absolutely am in love with!
With myglam you will receive special discount codes and free product codes to use directly on the product's website for future orders.
I will stay subscribed.
Between Birchbox and myglam I am receiving a seriously great amount of beauty product picked for me without having to leave my home.

Blueberry Crumb Muffins

Who doesn't love a good muffin?
I must admit, I haven't made a lot of muffins in my day...cupcakes, yes, lots of cupcakes.
So when my daughter insisted on buying a package of blueberries "because I just love eating blueberries" and then she didn't like them as she thought she did, I needed to do something with them so they wouldn't go to waste. 
I was thinking of doing the typical blueberry pancake thing, but decided a nice muffin would be a better idea so my hubs could pack some up for his breakfast to take along to work.
The recipe I found at A Cup Of Jo and has inspired me to keep baking muffins as a quick breakfast item to have on hand.
This muffin will inspire you, also. I'm sure of it! You will have 12 glorious muffins with this recipe.

Blueberry Muffins
2 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk 
1/2 cup  packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup blueberries

3/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 400°
Prepare 12 muffin cups with a paper liner or grease liberally.
Combine the ingredients for the crumb mixture; set aside.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda in a bowl; set side.
Beat eggs; whisk in buttermilk.
Add the sugars to the egg mixture.
Stir in vanilla.
Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture in 2 portions, mixing well after each addition.
Fold in blueberries
Scoop 1/4 cup of the batter into each prepared muffin cup.
Crumble 1 tablespoon of the crumb mixture on top of each blueberry muffin batter cup.
Bake for 15 minutes; or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Remove from muffin tin and cool on wire rack.
Store in airtight container.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Bites

Oh my goodness! I can't believe it has been so long since I've posted to my blog. The summer heat is making me delirious I do believe. 

I don't want to turn on the oven.
I just want to drink lemonade.
I'm reading "50 Shades" trilogy...again.
We got two new puppies (what was I thinking?)
I chopped off my hair.
I got a new tattoo (of a dandelion)
Our poor central air can't keep up with the heat. :( 

It is true. The past few weeks in Iowa has seen nothing but upper 90° to 105° (seriously) weather!
Any who, I was craving something easy, and I had leftover shredded chicken so I whipped this up quickly...and devoured them just as quickly as I prepared them I think.
I didn't take exact measurements because I was just randomly tossing stuff together and it came out okay. 
So good luck if you make it.
Hopefully it isn't as hot and miserable out as it is for me.

Buffalo Chicken Bites
1 can refrigerated crescent roll dough
1 1/2 cups shredded chicken
1/4 cup hot sauce (I like Frank's)
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese (I'm not a bleu cheese fan, replace if you are)

Preheat oven to 375°
Combine chicken, hot sauce and cheese together in a mixing bowl.
Roll out crescent roll dough into two rectangles. (four of the triangles kept together)
Seal the seams as best you can.
Spoon chicken mixture along the length of the dough.
Wrap dough over the chicken and seal the opening.
Using a sharp knife, slice the tube of dough with chicken mixture in it into bite size pieces.
Place on lightly greased baking sheet.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until rolls are golden brown.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Beef & Broccoli

I was making this for dinner last night, and when my husband walked in the door from work he yelled out "It smells like my mom's house in here! I love it!"

I'm trying hard to learn how to cook "Asian food". My husband is Khmer, and it is going to take me a long time to get those dishes in the meantime I'm practicing with everyday dishes like Beef and Broccoli. This is simple and we typically have all the ingredients on hand, except for the broccoli. I should have that on hand more now that I think about it...

Beef & Broccoli
{printable recipe}

1-1 1/2 lbs beef sirloin, sliced into thin strips against the grain
2-3 cups broccoli florets
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp cornstarch
4 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tbsp sesame oil
3/4 cup water
1 tsp MSG (sub with salt if you don't use MSG or omit altogether)
1 tsp sugar

In  a small bowl combine cornstarch, oyster sauce, sesame oil, water, MSG and sugar until well combined and cornstarch is dissolved.

In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil until hot.
Add the garlic and red pepper flakes.
Stir fry for about a minute; then add beef.
Cook beef until no longer pink and until desired crispness.
Pour the oyster sauce mixture over the beef; coat beef well.
Add the broccoli to beef.
Continue cooking until sauce coats all the beef and broccoli.
Serve over rice.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Jalapeno Cheddar Potatoes

I made a big meal the other night. It was so great. Oven Fried Chicken, Iowa sweet corn (the best corn-on-the-cob ever) and I was going to make mashed potatoes. But then I got to looking through my crisper and found some jalapenos I picked up the other day and decided to spice things up a bit! I came up with great tasting scalloped potato dish. I added a jalapeno pepper and it added a great zing of spice to every bite.
This is a side dish I will definitely be making again. Super tasty, and I usually have everything on hand. It beats having mashed potatoes every time.

To boil the potatoes you could do it a couple different ways. Either boil a full potato, let it cool, then peel and slice. Pop them in the microwave (holes poked in it of course) and do the same. Let it cool, peel and then slice. But since I was originally going to make mashed potatoes, I had already peeled and sliced my potatoes and brought them to a boil on the stove. This worked out well. I just drained them as usual, then I ran cold water over the spuds and drained. I repeated this a few times to help cool the potatoes quickly before adding them to the sour cream. Do whatever way you prefer!

Jalapeno Cheddar Potatoes
5-6 russet potatoes
3 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 cup cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350°

Cook potatoes and cut into the slices (see above for cooking)
In a mixing bowl, whisk the milk and flour.
Combine the sour cream to the milk and mix well.
Fold in the chopped jalapeno pepper and potato slices.
Pour potato mixture into a 8x8 baking dish or a pie dish.
Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
Cook for 30-40 minutes, until cheese bubbles and starts to brown.
Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Cherry Bliss Brownies

These are like "Shut the Front Door" type of brownies. 
Brownies, cream cheese and cherries?! shut the front door!! :)
This recipe I came across in a magazine and ripped out the page knowing one day I would have to make them. Well, the paper got shoved away into my hundreds of pages of recipes I rip out and I finally found it. Then yep, I had to make them right away.
The recipe is from Lucky Leaf (the pie filling makers) and they know how to use their pie filling, that's for sure.
Since I love cherries, my daughter loves chocolate and the hubs loves cheesecake it is a total win at my house!
I should have waited a little bit longer to cut into them, hence the dropping cream cheese in the picture, but seriously, they taste so good. Very rich. Very delicious. Very wonderful!

Cherry Bliss Brownies
1 box of brownie mix for 9x13 pan size
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1/4 cup water
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
5 Tbsp butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 21oz can cherry pie filling

Preheat oven to 350°
In a large mixing bowl combine brownie mix, oil, 3 eggs, and water. 
Mix until well combined.
Pour into greased 9x13 baking dish.
In another mixing bowl; cream together the cream cheese and butter. 
Mix in sugar, 2 eggs, flour, and vanilla.
Drop by spoonfuls over the brownie batter.
Use a knife to make a marble pattern in the batter
Drop cherry pie filling by spoonfuls over the top over the batter.
Bake for one hour.
Cool completely :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chocolate Lava Cake {slow cooker}

We recently went on vacation to Washington state to visit my husband's family and to attend a wedding.
While we were there I realized how totally spoiled we were at the moment...60 degree weather in Tacoma/Seattle versus 98-100 degrees at home in Iowa.
It was magnificent! (Soon I will posting our trip in the new "Travel" section of my blog) yay!
Anyways, we were eating wonderful Asian food (Dim Sum anyone?) and my lack of baking sweets was starting to make me crave everything chocolate under the sun!
So when we got home, and I learned my sister and brother were coming to visit (they expect a sweet treat when they come to my house) I knew I had to satisfy my sweet tooth and theirs without making my house a million degrees in the heat.
That's when I remembered one of my very first pins over on Pinterest. Chocolate Lava Cake...wait for the slow cooker.
I made it and it was a-maz-ing!
The only change that I would make in the future, and I changed in the recipe, is I would reduce the amount of boiling water because I ended up with mostly lava and not enough cake :( But it was so good with vanilla ice cream. Warm chocolate-y goodness!!

Chocolate Lava Cake {slow cooker}
{printable recipe}

2 cups brown sugar
2 cups flour
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
4 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/4 cup boiling water

Combine the ingredients for the cake together (I did this right in the crock of the slow cooker)
Then combine the brown sugar and cocoa powder for the fudge sauce in a small bowl.
Sprinkle over the cake batter in the crock.
Pour the boiling water over everything.
Cover, set on high, let cook for 2 hours.
Turn off, let rest for 30 minutes or so, serve with ice cream!

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