Thinking Ahead!

This weekend was perfect!  We didn’t have much to do on Sunday (except grocery shopping and laundry).  With Lance on the couch watching March Madness and Miles sleeping on his lap, I had plenty of time to plan ahead!

  1. I prepared a crock pot recipe for tonight with this easy 5 ingredient White Chicken Chili
  2. I made healthy breakfast muffins for the week with this recipe
  3. I made dinner (spaghetti and meatballs) with extra meatballs to freeze for future dinners with this easy recipe

How do you plan ahead for the week, and what makes your life easier?

 

 

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Kristina’s Favorite Products!

I love a great product!  It doesn’t take much to get me excited about new household items, accessories or make up.  Here are a few things I have tried lately, and really like:

  1. Bona Hard Wood Floor Cleaner –  My floors have never looked so clean!  This cleaner is non-toxic, has no scent, and is good for the environment.
  2. Scrub Daddy scrubbing sponge –  Not only is it adorable, but it gets hard if you use cold water, and soft if you use hot water.  It’s the ultimate scrubbing and washing tool for dishes!
  3. Benefit Super Curling and Lifting Mascara – this stuff really curls and separates each individual lash, making my eyes look huge and my lashes luxurious!
  4. Younique BB Flawless Cream – I love that it’s a light-weight foundation and it feels like I have nothing on but it really evens my skin tone and covers imperfections.  This product actually lasted me 6 months and I used it at least five times a week!  Well worth the money!
  5. BonaVita 8 Cup Coffee Maker – This little guy is reliable, and makes a truly delicious pot of coffee at lightening speed.

BirchBox Review!

After much persuasion and the January theme of Birchbox I decided to give it a try to $10/month including shipping how could I say no!  Rachel was more than thrilled that I finally gave in after using all of her favorite products for years.  This past January they had a special Korean skincare box that you could opt in to.  If you are unfamiliar Korean’s have developed new and exciting makeup and skincare more advanced than any products here in the US.  If you are looking for more information check out Glow Recipe (great online resource with step-by-step, and you can also purchase online).

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The States are finally jumping on the bandwagon and it is becoming a bit more accessible here in the US.  I have seen a few products available on Target’s website and at Sephora.  There were 3 products that I’ve used so far.  This was a great way to try out a few great products before I purchased the full size versions.

RE:P – Bio Fresh Mask with Real Calming Herb

Retail – $41.00repThis was a traditional clay mask it cleansed my pores and exfoliated my skin.  Overall I liked the sample but I don’t think that that I will be ordered it in a full size, it wasn’t that much different than any other clay mask’s I’ve used.  I would give this a 3 out of 5 stars.

Goodal: Yerba Mate Bubble Peeling & Yerba Mate Cleansing Foam Packettes

Retail – $20.00-$40.00

There were different price points for the cleansing foams and the bubble peeling.  I really liked these products the cleansing foam was super creamy and the scent was super fresh and amazing.  It left my skin super moisturized and took off my makeup with no problem.  The bubble masking was super interesting, when you put it on it bubbled on your skin and tingled.  I used both of the products back to back my skin felt amazing afterwards.  This cleanser is something I will definitely be picking up in the future. Overall both of these products get a 5 out of 5 stars!

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I am really excited to try out the rest of the products in my Birchbox!  I would highly recommend a subscription.

Quick, Easy Valentines Day Treat

Ahhh, Valentines Day, one of my favorite holidays as a child! I loved decorating my “mailbox,” receiving Valentines and of course the treats! Chocolate is my favorite thing besides coffee, and you can’t have Valentines Day without cholocate.

This year I volunteered to bring cookies in for the girls’ parties but I didn’t want to send in something store bought but I also didn’t want to send a ton of time baking. That’s when I found the perfect treat!  Valentine Wafer Cookies.

What you’ll need:

-Microwave (I did mine on the stovetop)

-Wax paper

-Vanilla wafer cookies

-Dolci fruit dip

-Sprinkles

Directions:

-melt your Dolci fruit dip and remove from heat; be sure not to over heat. I find that I can control it better if I melt it on the stovetop.

-Dip the wafer cookie in the melted Dolci dip. Place on wax paper.

-Pour on the sprinkles! Allow to cool.

-ENJOY!

Yep, they’re that easy and the kids loved them!

 

 

Turkey Chili Casserole: A Superbowl Fav!

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This recipe was the easiest thing I have ever made and the perfect combination of salty and sweet!  Lance and I have been frequenting Trader Joe’s lately, and we sampled some Turkey Chili Casserole and had to make it.

  1. Four cans Trader Joe’s Turkey Chili (or about 8 cups of chili of any variety).
  2. 12 oz Mexican Blend shredded cheese
  3. Trader Joe’s Cornbread Mix (or any cornbread mix)

For the cornbread mix I needed:

  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Pour 8 cups of chili into the bottom of a 9×11 pan. In a large mixing bowl, put all the ingredients together for the cornbread mix, then pour it on top of the chili.  Sprinkle the entire package of cheese on top of the cornbread mixture.  Put in the oven at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until it appears golden-brown.

My Weekend Wish List

I have been trying to stay in-tune with what I find creates stress for me, lately.  Sometimes, I wake up on a Saturday and get excited about the potential the weekend holds for our family to have fun, and spend quality time together.  After thinking for a few minutes, I realize there’s a lot of things which “have to get done,” and then I quickly get disappointed or stressed about managing our time.

So, this Saturday when I woke up, I decided I wanted to make a list of “to-do” and a “wish list” underneath it.  Often times, I think things have to happen, but they actually don’t really need to.  This is how I overload my weekend and turn fun time into stress.  Lance and I sat down and said everything we had to do this weekend, vs. what we wanted to do.

This was our list:

to do

 

The truth was, when we actually thought about what we ABSOLUTELY HAD TO GET DONE, there really wasn’t much.  We knocked out the grocery shopping and trip to target on Saturday along with nap-time sleep training.  That left Sunday for our wish list.  On Sunday, we chillaxed, I got a much-needed pedicure and Lance played Playstation for a few hours and I had lunch with my best friend.

We even made delicious meals both nights!!  Lemon Orzo Chicken, and Spanish Chickpeas and Rice!

 

While we didn’t get everything I wanted to get done, I realized that my expectations were unrealistic if I wanted any down time.  We had a great time this weekend, and I think our to-do and wish list will be a new weekend tradition which will help us prioritize and be realistic about what we can accomplish.

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Zuchinni Sliders

Finding foods that fit into my dairy-free, soy-free diet has been a challenge, but this recipe keeps us coming back for more.  It’s quick, healthy, and delicious…what else could you ask for?

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 large zucchini, diced
  • 2 T Olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese (I used goats milk cheese for this recipe)
  • Marinara sauce
  • Sandwich rolls
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

  • In a skillet, add olive oil and zucchini. Saute over medium heat until the zucchini is tender and lightly browned.
  • Stir in marinara sauce. Red pepper flakes can also be added for some extra kick.

    If you’re looking for a new marinara sauce, you need to try this one.

  • Simmer on low heat for 2 minutes
  • Spoon mixture onto a sandwich roll and top with some freshly grated  Parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

 

Cheater Cheater, Cheese Sauce!

This week Michael made it to the grocery store on his own while I was away for a pleasant girls weekend in Philadelphia.  I am so grateful for the favor.  This way we did not have to make mystery meals through out the week with whatever it may have been left around in our pantry.

He came home with a cauliflower- and for some reason this is a thing I generally avoid when shopping.   I think its just because I just haven’t mastered making it taste good- unless of course its covered in cheese!  I was also feeling a heavy case of the Mondays… so roasting a vegetable seemed ruthless after a long tired day.   Starting the week with cheese and no workout on the books felt a little like a personal sabotage.

While trying to plan the evening menu I was reminded of a delicious cauliflower soup recipe Ive made in the past, and how there is NO added dairy.  Then my mind tripped over seeing a whole30 IGer who obsesses over cauliflower ‘Alfredo sauce.’

So, I very lazily put together this VERY delicious, easy peasy, and NOT SO bad for you cheese or Alfredo sauce.

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Ingredients :

  • 1 Large Cauliflower
  • 1/4-1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt/ Pepper

Thats it!

My cauliflower was scary in size.   I used about a 1/4 for the sauce, and a 1/4 to steam.

  1. Boil your cauliflower for the sauce- about 30 minutes.  It should be fall apart tender.
  2. Blend your cauliflower ( I used the nutribullet), with remaining ingredients and about a 3/4 cups cooking water from boil.

Pro Tip : more cheese, more yum.  less cheese, less guilt.  Its truly a win-win situation!

That is ladies and gents!

It seriously taste ALL cheesy.  The consistency of a cauliflower matches exactly that of blended cream.  The nuttiness caries along with the nutty parm cheese.  I can’t believe how yummy this mostly veggie blend can taste.

I plan to guise many a veggie sides with this:  zoodles (zucchini noodles), roasted broccoli, the list is easy enough to make long- because what doesn’t taste good with guilt free cheese sauce!?

 

 

Enjoy!

Miles’ Photoshoot!

I have been itching to get Miles’ photos taken.  When I was younger, I saw my sister-in-laws get professional photos of their kids all the time and I never really understood why.  Now that I am a mom, I can see why the DIY photos beyond quick cell phone snaps are less of a reality.

My boss recommended I used her friend and family photographer, Ada DeFanti.  I checked out her site and really liked the way her photos transposed a candidness and true happiness.  They didn’t seem so “posed”.  After I met Ada, I could see why.  She was really sweet and down to earth, and made us feel truly relaxed and happy during our shoot.  Miles even gave her a few smiles!

The end result is I am in love with the photos of my beautiful boy.  The memories are priceless, but Ada’s rates are respectable.

Beautiful Glass Art in Pittsburgh

While I have been working for the Arthritis Foundation, I became friends with a former honoree, and amazingly talented glass artist, Ed Kachurik, and his wife Carol.  His studio is nestled in Westmoreland County, just down the driveway from his cozy home.

I have the opportunity to visit with him at least once a year to see all of the new pieces he has created while I am picking out awards for our Bone Bash Gala.

I highly recommend his work for unique, one-of-a-kind pieces for awards, paper weights, ornaments, light fixtures, cremains, conversational pieces and more.  Ed and Carol are happy to tailor a piece for you!  Here’s their website.

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