Egg Muffins

Hey all! Long time no see, I know. I apologize for the lack of content; life has gotten in the way, and I needed to step back and take care of myself these past couple of months. I promise that your patience will be greatly rewarded with plenty of new content soon to make up for it. ūüôā Thanks for hanging in there and I appreciate your continued support!

As someone who wakes up early each weekday morning to make it to work at 7am, fitting in a good, adequate breakfast can sometimes be a struggle (especially as a frequent offender of the Snooze Button). Because I wake up so early, I take something with me to eat at work after I take care of my morning tasks. To facilitate this process, I keep a lot of foods on hand that are easy to pack-and-go and, at most, require a toaster oven or microwave since we have those at work.

However, since my workout routine now has a lifting focus, I’m concerned too about getting sufficient protein in my diet, especially on days that I do lift. That’s why, when I came across egg muffins, I knew they would be perfect for my breakfasts requirements.

Egg muffins are exactly what they sound like: “muffins” made of eggs. I absolutely¬†love¬†eggs, so these were an easy choice for me, plus they’re extremely easy to make.

One dozen eggs makes about a dozen of these muffins, so that’s the consistent ingredient across the board for all the recipes out there. My recipe will include what I chose to add for my first batch.

Egg Muffins
Makes: 12 servings

1 package baby portabella mushrooms
1 dozen eggs
1 cup baby spinach
1/2 tablespoon of chives
1/2 tablespoon basil
1/4 tablespoon garlic powder
Shredded Mexican cheese to sprinkle on top

All your happy little ingredients.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook your portabella mushrooms in a pan with a little bit of the oil of your choosing. In my case, I used extra virgin olive oil. The mushrooms will be done when they’re browned and are less firm.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together all your eggs. Once they’re well whisked, mix in your spinach (pro tip: would definitely recommend chopping the spinach leaves into smaller pieces, because I didn’t), chives, basil and garlic powder. When the mushrooms are finished cooking, mix those in as well.

I promise this will turn out more delicious than it looks right now.

In a well-greased muffin tin, pour a 1/3 cup mixture into each well, or just enough that you can still see a bit of the side of the well. Sprinkle some shredded cheese on top of each, and then place in the oven. Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until you can insert a knife in a muffin and it comes out clean.

Happy little muffins!

And that’s it! See, told you it was simple. Another great thing about these little guys? You can freeze them! If you’re a meal planner and love making things ahead of time, these would fit very well into your routine. All you have to do, whether you freeze them or not, is pop them in the microwave to heat them back up.

As I mentioned, this was my personal recipe based on what I had on hand. I didn’t include any meat or poultry this time around–since I talked about protein–so that I can still eat these on Fridays during Lent. I will definitely be adding something¬†next time I make them. All that being said, feel free to customize these to your liking! And feel free to come back and share what you come up with ūüôā

Until next time, stay well, stay beautiful xx

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes

Time to share another dessert I made for my work’s soup club! I chose yesterday for my date since I knew my plans for Valentine’s Day would be minimal (little did I know I would wind up with no valentine at all… more on that later) and I’d have plenty of time for baking over the weekend. Even so, these¬†were super simple to make!

I found this recipe on The original can be found here.

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes

Yield: 12 mini cheesecakes

– 2 (250g) packages of cream cheese
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 2 eggs
– 12 Oreo cookies
– 3 (1 ounce) squares Baker’s Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate
– 1 cup thawed Cool Whip topping*

* I did not use the Cool Whip topping for my mini cheesecakes.

A special baking recommendation I would like to make, especially if you found yourself alone during Valentine’s Day like I did, is to pour yourself a drink to serve as your baking companion. Even if that’s not the case, pour yourself a drink anyway. You deserve it for whipping up these tasty treats!

Both the wine (Sutter Home Moscato) and the glass were part of a care package one of my roommates threw together for me. They served me well.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and sugar until well blended. Add the eggs into this mixture one at a time, beating on low speed until well blended.

Post-mixture-scooping results. Can anyone tell me what kind of beaters these are? They were the only ones I could find and worked really well with the cream cheese, but I would genuinely like to know what for what kind of mixing is their intended purpose.

Place baking cups¬†in the wells of your muffin pan and fill each with an Oreo cookie. You can obviously use whatever kind of Oreo (or other similar sandwich cookie) you like. For the occasion of Valentine’s Day, I chose to use the new Red Velvet Oreos.

Also because they’re fucking delicious.

Once you’ve placed a cookie in each¬†baking cup, fill each cup with your cheesecake batter. Don’t be afraid to fill each to the top with batter as you should have plenty of it and the cups won’t overflow while things are baking.

Witness my great filling skills.

Bake your mini cheesecakes for 20 minutes or until the centers are almost set. They’re be a bit puffed up when they come out of the oven but will deflate as they cool down. Once they’ve cooled, refrigerate them for 3 hours. After refrigeration, melt the Baker’s chocolate as directed on the package and drizzle over the cheesecakes. Add additional Cool Whip topping when ready to serve (as stated above, I omitted this step).

Tada! My little masterpieces.

See? Really easy to make. The biggest commitment is refrigerating them for the three hours but this is obviously a vital step. If you’re a fan of thick and creamy cheesecake, this is the perfect recipe for you. The only thing I would change would be the addition of a bit of vanilla to the recipe because there wasn’t much flavor beyond a general creamy cream cheese taste to it, and I’d like something to kick it up a notch. Also, in my experience, the Oreo cookie more or less retained its consistency, in other words it did not soften much after baking. If you’re looking for a softer “crust” to your mini cheesecake, I would recommend perhaps soaking the Oreo in something like milk or butter prior to baking, or crushing up Oreos to create your own crust, though both options do take away from the ease of this recipe. This is certainly a recipe I’ll come back to as it was a hit with my coworkers and wasn’t much of a hassle at all!

Have you tried this recipe, or a similar recipe? Any tips? Do you plan to try this if you haven’t yet? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time, stay well, stay beautiful xx

Restaurant Week!

With my boyfriend out in San Francisco indefinitely, our opportunity for weekend visits (we’ve been long distance our entire relationship, but 140 miles pales in comparison to over 2,000) is currently non-existent and I haven’t had much motivation to make recipes when I’m dining alone. Leftovers are great to take to work for lunch the next day, but there’s just something depressing about it. So lately, my cooking has consisted primarily of bits and pieces of things thrown together from my pantry and fridge.

And then there are the days I say fuck everything and order/dine out.

Life motto, yo. (Source: Tumblr)

Last week, however, I had the perfect excuse to treat myself: a friend’s birthday and Madison Restaurant Week.

During Restaurant Week–which began on Sunday, January 18th and lasted through Friday, January 23rd–50 restaurants offered lunch and/or dinner specials that included variations of some of their top choices menu items. All specials were three course meals, with the lunch specials being $15 and the dinner specials either $25, $30 or $35 depending on the restaurant.

My friend had picked Ruth’s Chris Steak House, a restaurant we had both fallen in love with two years ago on our spring break trip to Florida. My then-not-but-now-boyfriend’s father let our travel group of four treat ourselves to a nice dinner, and we easily racked up a $300+ bill. Fortunately for us this time around, we would be able to enjoy a meal for $30. This of course is not including the charge for the bottle of wine we split because duh. It¬†was Martini & Rossi Prosecco Sparkling Wine, and it was very good.

Lobster Bisque

Our appetizer choices were the Steak House Salad, Caesar Salad, and their Soup of the Day, which fortunately turned out to be my favorite, Lobster Bisque. Now this was a smaller portion than the one I had in Florida, but every bite was just as wonderful as I remembered. The bisque was so perfectly smooth and creamy, with the perfect lobster flavor without the seafood taste being too overwhelming.

Petite Filet accommodated with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

While the Stuffed Chicken Breast and Almond-Crusted Tilapia were both extremely good options for the entr√©e, let’s be real, we were all at a steak house to eat a good steak, and every single one of us chose the Petite Filet. They describe it as “the most tender cut of corn-fed Midwestern beef, broiled expertly to melt in your mouth” and damn if that isn’t correct. We also had a choice of accommodation between their mashed potatoes, creamed spinach or saut√©ed mushrooms. They add roasted garlic to their mashed potatoes so I couldn’t resist.

Chocolate Mousse in Edible Godiva Chocolate Cup

Our last course was a dessert choice between Bread Pudding, Chocolate Mousse Cup and Fresh Seasonal Berries with Sweet Cream Sauce. We had an even mix of all three around the table, and I personally chose the mousse, which can in an edible Godiva chocolate cup and was just perfect. These again were all smaller portions than what they usually feature but were the perfect end to our meal and there were no complaints at the table. The bread pudding was actually rather adorable; it looked like a bread pudding muffin drizzled in their whiskey sauce. I sampled a friend’s and it was very well done in my opinion, and I’m a stickler about good bread pudding.

The meal was definitely a nice reunion on a budget with one of my favorite steak houses. I highly recommend it for a date night that you’re able to splurge on.

It was hard not to just let my dollars fly and eat out every night last week. We have plenty of great restaurants to boast about here in Madison! Definitely one of the things I love about this city.

Be sure to check on Restaurant Weeks happening in your area! It’s the perfect excuse to take your significant other or your friends into the city for a fine dining experience. If it’s just you, that’s wonderful too! Remember, TREAT. YO. SELF.

Until next time, stay well, stay beautiful! xx

Processed with Moldiv

December Favorites

Happy 2015 y’all! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday (including those that celebrated Orthodox Christmas last night!) and have enjoyed the new year so far. It’s business as usual for me, and with a new year I’d like to start a new tradition on the blog: sharing my monthly favorites! I know, right, so original, no other blogger has done this before…

December is the perfect month to begin with because I did¬†a lot of product purchasing Black Friday onward, as you saw well in my haul post. I’m still getting through all of those products but that means plenty for me to cover for at least a few months! Without further ado, here are my favorite products from the month of December:

Tartelette Palette: When it doubt for a look, this has been my go-to palette to start if not complete an entire look with. I’ve loved it since I got it. I have no trouble complementing my other palettes with this one, and I love using it in combination as well as all on its own! If you haven’t seen my review yet, click here.

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream: It took a while for winter to truly rear its ugly head but eventually it did here in Wisconsin and my skin has been in turmoil ever since. This lotion is my saving grace and I don’t know what I would do without it. It’s a nice, thick cream that dries to a matte finish in relatively little time. I use it during the day underneath my moisturizer with sunscreen, and certainly before bed either on its own or under a thin later of Vaseline when I feel that my skin is particularly dehydrated. I personally get the 16oz tub which will last you forever but it also comes in a 12oz pump version if you’re worried about keeping it sanitary.

IT Brushes for Ulta: Remember how I mentioned that I skipped out on Sigma’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale? These were the reason why. It started simple, with their Airbrush Blending Crease Brush #105, and that’s all it took to get me hooked. In total I now own the You’re Easy On The Eyes Dual-Ended Eye Shadow Brush set, the Live Beauty Fully All Over Powder Brush #211, the¬†Velvet Luxe Soft Focus Sculpting Brush #315, the¬†Velvet Luxe Buffing Foundation Brush #301¬†and the¬†Velvet Luxe Plush Powder Brush #313. I’m planning on making a separate post about these soon but I just have to say that all these brushes are just so incredibly soft. I mean, the Velvet Luxe part of the line is just¬†divine. I encourage each and every one of you to go to Ulta and just feel these up, I mean it.

theBalm Overshadow in No Money, No Honey. Swatched over bare skin.

theBalm Overshadow in No Money, No Honey: I received this as a “glam” prize on r/RandomActsofMakeup and it really lives up to the hype. It’s a beautiful shimmering gold color that I love using as an inner corner highlight as well as a face highlight. It’s my first product from theBalm and I’m already itching for more!

Swatch of NARS Audacious Lipstick in Audrey.

NARS Audacious Lipstick in Audrey: I had to have this color as soon as I saw it because a) it’s named Audrey, like Audrey Hepburn, so duh, and b) the color is gorgeous and unlike any red I had yet in collection. The shade is described as¬†“red currant”, and is a muted red-plum color that I just fell in love with. It was an easy choice for my Christmas lip color pick. I’ll also be doing another post on this one later, along with the NARS Audacious Lipstick in Grace.

As far as food favorites, I gotta give some shoutouts to…

Seroogy’s Chocolates: Straight out of De Pere, WI, these are some of my favorite chocolates, and they hold a special place in my heart because they too are from Wisconsin but also because one of my fundraisers in elementary school was selling their chocolate bars. At the time, my family lived in an apartment building where my parents worked as maintenance managers, and I made serious bank selling these candy bars to all the elderly people in the building. My boyfriend got me a whole box of assorted truffles for Christmas as well as a package of their¬†chocolate dipped potato chips. I just… he knows me so well, you guys. They’re giving my comfort while he’s all the way out in San Francisco for the next couple of months.

Anything packed with protein: I slacked a lot on my diet over the holidays (shocking, I mean who does that?!) but have thankfully kept up with my new weight lifting regimen. At the end of November, I started the program from The New Rules of Lifting for Women¬†and just recently started Stage 2. After having done so much cardio for so long, it is¬†so¬†nice to fall in love with lifting, and I’m slowly seeing results! The biggest thing that’s going to help, along with maintaining a clean diet, is packing my diet with protein. Whey protein, things like Quest bars, chicken and eggs are some of my besties right now, and peanut butter is my one and only, forever and ever. I’m sure I will slowly gather plenty of protein-enriched recipes that will make their way here to the blog. If you have any to share, please do!

What are some of your favorites from the month? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

Until next time, stay well, stay beautiful xx

Quest Protein Chips Review

One of my biggest challenges with leading a healthier lifestyle is snacking. I¬†love me some crunchy, salty snacks (especially when I’ve been drinking… shhh). When I saw that Quest Nutrition–the makers of my beloved Quest Bars–had come out with a line of protein chips, I knew this was a product I needed to try.

The Quest Protein Chips come in five different flavors: BBQ, Sea Salt, Cheddar & Sour Cream, Salt & Vinegar, and Sour Cream & Onion. I chose the Sour Cream & Onion flavor as my pick for the taste test.


Each bag is 120 calories and packed with a whopping 21 grams of protein thanks to that protein blend. I won’t comment too much on the rest of the ingredients but everything seems pretty straight forward.

Like most pre-packaged chips, the bag was half air, half actual product, but you still got a decent number of chips. As you can see, they look very similar to how most baked chips or other snacks look these days. With everything looking normal, I took my first bite…

…and that’s when the regret began.

The initial taste of these is fine: you’ve got that nice potato chip crunch with sour cream and onion seasoning hitting your tongue. It’s once the chip itself gets chewed and dissolved that it gets weird. It’s difficult to describe but… You know how a lot of people say that rice cakes and stuff like that taste like cardboard? Well, once you popped this chip in your mouth and let your saliva do its work, it literally felt like I had a very thin¬†piece¬†of paper or cardboard sitting on my tongue. That is the best way I can describe the consistency of it. And it ruined the experience for me. As I’m not a person to waste food, I grudgingly finished the bag, resenting the texture of these chips more and more as I went on.

I then followed this experience with two truffles from the assorted box of chocolate truffles my boyfriend got me for Christmas. Desperate times, y’all.

I really, really wanted to like these chips. They would’ve been a very welcome addition to my diet. Sadly, I cannot get past that ending texture. That’s the gamble you take with enhanced protein products. While I love Quest Bars (and plenty of people cannot get past the texture of those), another miss from the company for me is their Cravings Peanut Butter Cups. To say I’m a fan of peanut butter is an understatement, and when you combine it with chocolate my life only gets better, so naturally I was drawn to these. I could barely finish one of them; the peanut butter inside is so dry and hard to get through without coupling it with so much water just to swallow it. I will stick with my Reese’s Cups and accept all dietary consequences that come with them.

I’ve got one more food item to test from Quest Nutrition from their pasta line that I’ll also post a review for but I’m incredibly skeptical about it at this point. For now, I shall hold tightly to my boxes of Bars and let them make things better.

What about y’all, have you tried any Quest products? Any that you like? Have you tried these chips, and if so, do you like them? What are some of your favorite alternative, healthy snacks? I’m also looking for more options!

Until next time, stay well, stay beautiful! xx

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Haul

It’s that time of year again! No, I’m not referring to Christmastime exactly. More specifically, I’m referring to the several weeks where your inbox is bombarded with the endless onslaught of emails advertising this BOGO or X% off or free shipping or whatever sale companies have concocted up for the holiday season. Black Friday alone I had upwards of 100 emails, and that was just on Friday.

Doesn’t mean I didn’t still take advantage of a few of them. ūüėõ

As I’ve pointed out in the past in my post “A Frugal Beauty’s Guide to Not Making Your Wallet Cry”, sales, unlike Santa, don’t only come once a year. This is something I definitely had to remind myself of when I was in “BUY¬†ALL¬†THE THINGS!!!” mode. I didn’t even take advantage of all the sales I had initially looked at going into Friday (this includes Sigma, which you’ll see soon in an upcoming post why I chose to skip that one), and plenty of those were brands that were having great sales but on products that I didn’t need quite right this second. However, this is a great time of year for sales on particular brands that typically don’t offer as great of deals at any other point in the year, and taking that into account as well helped me pare down where¬†it was best to put my money.

Without further adieu, here’s my haul!

*This is solely the products I got from the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend. As many of you know, Sephora also had their sale shortly after where Beauty Insiders, VIB and Rouges got a certain dollar amount off a $50 purchase. Those I’m saving for future posts.

Target РRise by Beyoncé

I would like to welcome you into my bedroom. That is indeed a stuffed animal Golden Retriever in the background. His name is Doug, like the dog from Up! He says hello.

I fell in love with this scent as soon as I smelled it in the Target display over a month ago. What I wasn’t in love with? The price tag. $30 for 1oz. Luckily I waited on it. Target was taking 40% off their celebrity fragrances, and that was all I needed to snag this immediately. From the description: “Top notes: Italian bergamot, golden apricot, ice basil sorbet. Heart notes: gold symphony orchid, freesia blossom, natural jasmine sambac. Bottom notes: autumn woods accord, cashmere musk, vetiver extract.” It’s a really great all-day scent but is really perfect for a night out. And the bottle is awesome.

How this perfume makes me feel:

Urban Decay – Electric Palette and 24/7 Liner

I could not resist this. I had gone back and forth so long on this palette because it is truly beautiful but the price point kept me from picking it up right away. Even with 20% off at Ulta or Sephora, it was still $40, and at the time of those sales I didn’t see myself using it until spring or summer so I couldn’t justify the purchase. Then UD put it at $35 and I said f*** it, it’s now or never. Then, thanks to Nouveau Cheap’s Instagram, I saw the code for an extra 20% off, putting this baby at just under $30! Now that I could justify, plus having this little liner on hand will be great for doing some smokey eye looks in the future. I’m excited! It’s¬†so pretty and I’m happy to finally call it mine.

Black Velvet swatch

Ulta – LORAC Champagne Dreams palette and NYX Wicked Lippies

I had already settled on getting the palette when Ulta sent an email saying their Cyber Monday deals were live and that they were giving 3X points on purchases. That only sweetened the deal! I love my LORAC Pro and this little baby was calling my name as colors in the champagne range suit me very well.

I can’t say that I was totally wowed by the pigmentation of these on bare skin without any base but I went into this knowing that this would be a good palette for creating neutral looks for myself so I’m not in the least disappointed, and as well as they perform over a base as well as their Pro big sisters, I’m content. Plus it was only $15, so no regrets here.

Wrath, Sinful, Power

The NYX Wicked Lippies were a welcome addition to my order to round it out to $25 for the free shipping. I’ve fawned over this collection for a good long while and am so ecstatic to play around with these three babies!

Wrath, Sinful, Power

Coastal Scents – 252 Ultimate Palette and Pro Blending Fluff Brush

Technically I placed this order on Tuesday when Coastal Scents extended their sale for one more day but I’m still including it here.

I had gone back and forth on the 252 Ultimate Palette for months as a way to add color to my collection¬†after seeing so many rave reviews about it. It has been on sale for 50% off a couple times during my deliberation but¬†I bit the bullet and have happily not looked back. It may seem silly considering I also bought the Electric palette yet this gives me even more variety on top of that for a bargain price. It was also a better way to see what colors I actually like on myself without overspending on single shadows that I never get to try until I have them in my hands, which is kind of what I was doing before and certainly wasn’t effective.

The pots are small, which I know is one of the complaints about the collection, however you’re getting 252 of them–and in my case I got them all for about $13 before shipping–and many only differ slightly in shade that if you run out of one, you’ll no doubt find something close nearby. I love the simple black packaging with the three different palettes, and while it certainly isn’t the most travel friendly collection, that’s not what I’m looking to do with it, and I can always build my own palette in the future once I see what I like from here. That is my only complaint is that there’s no key or names to the shadows for if I do find something I like, as Coastal Scents does sell their individual “hot pots” or making it easier to be led to a dupe in another brand. Oh well, I think I can manage.

I also picked up the Pro Blending Fluff Brush which has been touted as a cheap alternative to the Mac 217. It was a little over $2 with the discount so it really didn’t hurt to add this guy on. I’ll see how it holds up to the Mac 217 but for now it’s a nice soft brush that will be welcome amongst my blending eye brushes. You really can’t have too many of those in my opinion!

Lastly, CS sent along a four shadow sample of their Revealed palette with a $5 off coupon code on the back. I’m pretty impressed with the swatches from this little sampler, and while I passed on both the Revealed palettes for now I may have to reconsider in the future!

Quest Nutrition – Bars, Chips and Pasta

This is also a food blog after all, and even among my beauty goodies I could not wait for this Cyber Monday sale most of all!! I have had a lack of Quest Protein Bars in my life and this was the perfect time to restock. Seriously, I love these. They’re my favorite protein bar. If you’ve never understood the saying¬†“Cheat Clean”, try one of these and you will. Quest Nutrition was giving 25% off orders between $39.99 and $250.00. With a box of my faves costing $25, it was easy to meet the minimum. Ugh, babies,¬†I’ve missed youuuu.

Quest has also expanded their line to include Protein Chips and Quest Pasta. I’m intrigued. And a little scared. Thus why I only bought a bag of each to start. I plan to taste and review these, so be on the lookout!

Whew, that’s it for the big sale weekend haul! I’m really excited to get around to playing with all my goodies after the holidays when life slows done a bit. I hope you all got some great deals as well! Please feel free to share your Black Friday/Cyber Monday experiences in the comments below ūüôā

Until next time, stay well, stay beautiful, Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!  xx

Egg Nog Bars

Something miraculous has happened–I finally have a recipe to share for the first time in a long while! A lot of the cooking I’ve done lately, if I’ve done any, has been very hodge-podge meals made from stuff I have on hand and not any true recipes, so I’m very excited to finally have something to share.

Every Monday from about the end of September to the middle of December, then once again starting in January and going to the middle/end of March, we hold Soup Club at work. Each week, four people make soups and one person makes dessert. I signed up to do dessert this week, and since I was already making cookies for our Christmas cookie exchange, I decided to make another recipe that fit the season.

These Egg Nog Bars are absolutely simple to make and so delicious. I’m not quite satisfied with how mine turned out, but with how well they were received I will certainly be making them again and can hopefully perfect them to my liking!

The recipe is taken from Jen’s Favorite Cookies and can be found here.

Egg Nog Bars

– 2 cups gingerbread crumbs
– 1/2 cup butter

Egg Nog Filling:
– 8 oz softened cream cheese
-1/2 cup egg nog (not homemade)
– 1 T. floor
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
– 1 tsp. rum extract
– 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Combine gingerbread crumbs with butter, and mix until all crumbs are moist. Press your crumb-butter mix into the bottom of a 9×13 pan and bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes.

While the crust is baking, combine the cream cheese, egg nog, flour and sugar. Add egg and egg yolk and mix well. Add extract and nutmeg, mix.

Once the crust is ready, pour egg nog mixture over baked crust and return to oven. Bake an additional 25 minutes, or until the center is set and not loose when jiggled. Allow to cool before serving.

For my version, because I lack a food processor (and lacked the energy to crush up enough cookies), I bought Betty Crocker gingerbread mix and mixed that with the butter instead and it turned out just fine. This will obviously result in a slightly different, more cookie-like crust than one made with crumbs from already-baked cookies, and if you want to go for a more authentic cheesecake feel to these bars–as they are technically egg nog¬†cheesecake bars–you may want to go the crumb & butter route. My filling consistency was also a little off sadly; I could have incorporated the cream cheese better but could not for the life of me find the electric hand mixer so I had to do it the old fashioned manual way. I did the best I could this time around. Considering these were still a hit with my co-workers, there’s no where to go but up next time I make them!

I’d love to share what I made for the cookie exchange with you but I had intended to get a finished product shot this morning after they settled and my alarm decided it wasn’t going to go off this morning so I had to hurriedly pack them before dashing out of the house ūüė¶ Perhaps I can make more after the holidays to show them off!

Let me know if you make these bars yourselves and how they turn out for you ūüôā

Until next time, stay well, stay beautiful! xx

Crockpot Ranch Chicken Tacos

If you have a crockpot that you’ve ignored or have yet to touch, I’m guaranteeing that you’re missing out. I’m guilty of this myself. My Pinterest is currently loaded with plenty of crockpot/slow cooker recipes that I really need to take advantage of. Crockpot recipes are great when you’re working long days and just don’t want to spend time cooking dinner at the end of it, even if you’re only feeding yourself.

Now, I¬†loooooove Mexican food. Growing up Milwaukee, there’s plenty of places to find some good authentic Mexican food. And, as a good ol’ Midwestern girl, I¬†loooooove¬†ranch. It is wonderful on a multitude of things. Now, when I found this recipe that combined the two? I knew I had to try it.

Recipe originally found here.

Crockpot Ranch Chicken Tacos
– 3-4 chicken breasts
– 1 packet taco seasoning
– 1 packet ranch seasoning mix
– 2 cups chicken broth
– All the taco fixings you want
– Your preferred tortillas

Combine the two cups chicken broth, packet of taco seasoning (I used a mild seasoning for this recipe) and packet of ranch seasoning mix into the crockpot. Place your thawed chicken breasts into the mix. Turn your crockpot to low and let everything cook for 4-6 hours. I chose to leave it for 6 hours for maximum tenderness.

After you’ve let it cook for your preferred amount of time, shred the chicken in the crockpot. The chicken came apart so easily, it barely took me any effort to shred it apart. I then let the chicken cook for an additional 15-20 min so that the newly shredded chicken could soak up more of the juices.


After that, serve it up! There will be plenty of juiciness so be prepared, but the taco-ranch seasoning brothy mix is so good. I personally prefer corn tortillas to flour, and these are super susceptible to falling apart. Pro-tip for corn tortillas: Please lettuce on top of the tortilla before placing the filling. I prefer spinach to lettuce, so that’s what I use.

This is definitely one of my new favorite recipes. The first time I made it was Labor Day Weekend, which was busy because it was the weekend my boyfriend and I were celebrating our first dating anniversary, I had work and I had family coming into town. Come Monday, the last day my boyfriend was in town, I wanted to spend my time with him and not stuck in the kitchen cooking. I threw this all together around 11, it was ready shortly after five, and we both loved it. How can I tell? My boyfriend made up his tacos first, and in the time it took to make mine then run upstairs and get my camera for photos (in total less than 5 minutes) he had already eaten his first two tacos. If that’s not a sign of approval, I don’t know what is.

What are some of your favorite crockpot recipes? I’m on the hunt for more so please leave them in the comments below!

Until next time, stay well, stay beautiful xx

Sugar Sugar: Peanut Butter Cookies and a lip scrub!

A couple weeks ago I was tasked with dessert-duty for a small grill-out at work with some co-workers. I was running a bit low on baking ingredients but I wanted to bake something from scratch and not from a mix. Now, I love peanut butter. I can’t even begin to describe how much I love peanut butter. Case in point, I’m currently having some special time with a bowl of Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Fudge Core ice cream as we speak (if you haven’t tried any of their Core ice creams yet, you’re seriously missing out). Having this love of peanut butter means having the knowledge of an extremely simple recipe for peanut butter cookies.

Behold… Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies!

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

The ingredients list I have for this recipe is the result of a combination of a couple recipes I found on and (they can be found here, here and here). The essence of this recipe is the peanut butter, granulated sugar and egg. I doubt the baking soda added much as a leavening agent but the vanilla I added because, well, I love vanilla too.

Ingredients with bonus Grandma Bunny cookie jar in the background. She’s either drunk or going for the Miley Cyrus look.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease your cookie sheets.

In a bowl, mix the peanut butter, sugar, egg, baking soda and vanilla together in a bowl. Because I used your regular store-brand peanut butter, I cut the sugar in half, so I only used half a cup. This is because my peanut butter already has sugar added in and I don’t want to lessen the peanut butter taste with so much sugar. Remember, I love peanut butter. If you’re using a sugar-free/natural peanut butter, you may choose to use the whole cup.

At this point, I just wanted to stop and eat the dough.

When all the ingredients are well-combined, begin spooning out the dough. Two of the recipes said teaspoon-sized spoonfuls and the third said tablespoon-sized. I did probably somewhere in between and ended up with around 24 cookies out of this recipe. Roll the dough you’ve spooned out into balls and place them about an inch apart on your cookie sheets. With a fork, use the tines to make the crosshatch pattern on the cookies by lightly pressing in to the dough. I dipped the fork in some extra sugar each time to coat the tines before pressing down.

Om nom nom. Seriously, we don’t need to bake them. They’re still tasty this way.

Bake your cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until they start getting some puff to them and are a nice golden pale color. Because these cookies are a little lighter, you’ll want to give them at least two minutes to cool before you transfer them off the cookie sheet or they’ll have trouble staying together during the move.

Now I had some downtime while I was waiting for each round of cookies to bake. Since I already had my sugar out I thought I’d grab my honey and take care of my lips.

Shamless Wisconsin plug.

This is a homemade lip scrub I found a while ago online and it has worked well for me when my lips could some exfoliation. All you have to do is mix equal parts sugar to equal parts honey. For this, I used a teaspoon of each, which is honestly more than you’ll need. I don’t know why I chose a shot glass to mix these guys in but it was a small enough vessel to use. Feel free to use whatever you’d like.

Sweet, sweet lip scrub.

Then all you gotta do is slather it on your lips. Due to the size of the sugar granules, this can be a bit of a heavy-duty scrub so be careful. You don’t need to rub this too harshly on your lips, the sugar will do most of the work for you. Best part is the scrub is edible! Though you’ll probably still want to wash your face because, you know, honey sticky goodness.

Once you’ve done a slight scrub and cleaned up, I suggest putting on your favorite lip balm/moisturizer. One of my favorites at the moment is Vaseline’s Lip Therapy. They come in what are basically mini Vaseline tubs and they’re super adorable on top of being super effective.

I’m a much bigger fan of the Cocoa Butter version from this line but that one, after surviving a tumble through the washer and dryer, decided to runaway. Be free, friend.

I’ve also seen a version where coconut oil was used in place of honey along with sugar. If you want something a little milder and less sticky, that could be a good option. Be sure to patch test the coconut oil before use as it can be highly comedogenic for some people.

If you try out either of my recipes seen here, let me know and tell me what you think! If you made any additions, alterations, etc., please sure to let me know as well!

As always, stay well, stay beautiful!