Beets and Squash Avocado Alfredo

Based on the many horrible foods that we probably shouldn’t be consuming, I have madeFullSizeRender_8 an effort to introduce healthier substitutes for the foods that I do love. One being PASTA! So walking through Wholefoods, I came across beet noodles and squash noodles. I couldn’t make up my mind on which I wanted, so I purchased both. I decided that pasta made from beets and squash would prevent me from eating a bowl full of carbs and would have a positive impact on my health and whoever else would be consuming it. Not to mention, the taste is actually pleasant. Healthy food doesn’t have to be tasteless and boring! Some benefits that I discovered during my exploration for dinner purposes was:

Beets  are high in vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beets also contain the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects which benefit the women who plan on becoming mothers one day.

Squash helps improve the quality of your sight, skin , strengthens  the immune system, prevents cancer, manages symptoms of diabetes, builds strong bones, protects heart health, prevents inflammatory conditions, treats arthritis, eliminate ulcers, eliminates parasites and infections, increase prostate health, also protects against birth defects, boosts respiratory health, and reduces blood pressure. With all those benefits, why wouldn’t anyone want to consume a bowl of this stuff.

Ingredients

2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 green onion shoots, diced small

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 packaged of beet noodles

1 package of squash noodles

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

1 avocado

1/2 cup of cream or milk

Directions

Step 1: Start off my cutting up your avocado and placing it into the blender with a pinch ofFullSizeRender_9  salt and pepper. You then would add your cream or milk and blend them together. Depending on if you like a thicker consistency or not, add less or more milk or cream. In 30 seconds, your Avocado Alfredo sauce is ready to use for later.

Step 2: In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook until softened. This will take approximately 5-7 minutes. Add squash noodles and beet noodles to your skillet. Toss to combine everything together. Cook until warmed through. You don’t want to let the noodles cook too long so they don’t get soggy.

Step 3: Stir in the parsley and the Avocado Alfredo sauce you made in step 1. After about 2 minutes, turn the heat off and start plating. Once you are done plating your portion that you will eat and serve, sprinkle some Parmesan on top with any additional extra garnished you would like and give it a taste.

I accompanied my colorful plate of noodles with some baked chicken. This dish would be great with any meat of your choice. I would even suggest salmon filletAND feel free to add any other spices of your preference to satisfy your palette. 

Enjoy!

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Kyshadows

The brand that many makeup junkies like myself had to try was the trending #KylieCosmetics eyeshadows. Kylie Jenner, little sister to the tv reality stars, the Kardashians, launched Kylie Cosmetics last year after the success of launching her liquid lip sticks and glosses. After revealing the Kylie Lip Kits to the world, her fans of course wanted more and she delivered. She created a platform for herself, sharing her best kept beauty secrets to her fans. I purchased her three eyeshadow palettes because I was curious. The three palettes available are: the bronze palette, the burgundy palette and the royal peach palette. I can honestly say that I like her eyeshadow formula’s and will remain a customer. Out of the three, my favorite one is the bronze palette. Although, I do think her palette’s are a little too pricey, but coming from a family of entrepreneurs, her customers are obviously paying for the brand name. The company that I found most similar that I also use is Colour Pop. I would suggest them as the alternate go to brand because they are more cost effective. Kylie products, like many brands nowadays, are not tested on animals and are talc and paragon free. The eyeshadows have medium buildable coverage and a velvety smooth texture. The pigmentation on a scale of 1-10, would be a 7.5.

The Burgundy Palette

The Burgundy palette was released on October 20th, 2016. It comes with 9 pressed powder eye shadows that can be used together to create your very own customized look. My 3 favorite colors that I often use from this palette are: penny, burgundy, and almond. I am attracted to earth tones and this palette did it for me. It was definitely the palette I overused for the fall. the burgundy shade is the perfect color to create a fall smokey-eye using browns and oranges. For the ladies out there that want to spin on your neutrals, this is the palette for you.

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Naked (satin finish golden sand)

Beach (matte finish light warm brown)

Penny (matte finish red orange)

LA (metallic finish true copper)

Burgundy (matte finish bright red burgundy)

Dubai (metallic finish burgundy)

Brick (matte finish dirty brick)

NY (metallic finish warm bronze)

Almond (matte finish deep red brown)

The Bronze Palette

The Bronze palette was the first palette to be released. This one is my favorite. I can wear all the shades to work without being over the top. It comes with 9 pressed powder eye shadows that can be used to create the perfect neutral eye. It was a smart decision that a black eye shadow was included because it makes it easy to transform my day look into an evening look. My 3 favorite colors from this palette are: hematite, bronze and quartz.When I am not sure what look I am going for, this is the palette I run to. It makes it easy because all the colors are neutral, it doesn’t matter what color I may choose for my lip, I still manage to create a quick put together look without the effort. It ‘s a great travel palette  and I would recommend this to be your first purchase if you consider investing in any Kyshadows.  

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Jasper (matte finish creamy beige)

Quartz (satin finish champagne gold)

Topaz (matte finish true taupe)

Goldstone (satin finish bronze)

Citrine (matte finish bright orange)

Tiger Eye (matte finish light golden brown)

Hematite (matte finish chestnut brown)

Bronzite (matte finish chocolate brown)

Obsidian (matte finish black)

 

The Royal Peach Palette

This palette was released January 2017. I would consider this the super-sized and upgraded version in comparison to the previously released palettes. The Royal Peach palette has 12 eye shadow shades and also includes a brush and a mirror. Unlike the square compacted palettes like before, this one is long and rectangular. There are 11 warm-toned shimmer shades and one bright, royal blue hue. I could have done without it the brush because it doesn’t apply the shadows very well. On the brighter side of things, the shadows are actually quite pigmented.The mattes, which I prefer, were easy to use, blendable, and mostly buildable. Duke, Duchess and Cinnamon are the tones I use the most. Although, this is a very fun palette because of all the shimmer and lets not forget about that gorgeous royal blue, it is not a must have palette. It is a nice to have palette, but there are other options out there that would get more use. I find that I have to use other palette’s to enhance this one. If there were more matte shades vs the metallic, than I could have possibly felt different. A great gift option for someone who already has many make-up products. This palette will only enhance a  makeup junkie’s collection. Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 10.25.44 PM

Sorbet (matte finish light tangerine)

Seashell (metallic finish pink champagne)

Peachy (matte finish bright peach)

Royal (satin finish bright royal blue)

Queen Bee (metallic finish shimmering caramel)

Duke (metallic finish red copper)

Duchess (metallic finish bright cinnamon

Sandy (matte finish medium tan)

Mojito (metallic finish golden green)

North Star (metallic finish soft lilac)

Crush (satin finish peachy pink)

Cinnamon (matte finish burnt orange)

Tatcha

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So I love trying out new products! A new one that I came across that I have been using is by Tatcha ! My first impression was “how the heck is a powder going to get my face clean?” Well folks, I was wrong. This powder turns into a creamy foam that cleanses and makes my face instantly soft and left feeling refreshed. It is a water activated enzyme powder, which is why it is able to cleanse well. Once water comes into contact with the powder, it transforms. My pores are bigger on my cheeks and since using this powder cleanser, the pores on my cheeks have shrunk!  

The Polished Classic Rice Enzyme Powder is a great polish that you can use daily. Lately I have been using it as my morning face wash. It is formulated with nourishing Japanese rice bran blended with papaya extracts. This product is non-sensitizing, non-irritating, cruelty-free, and dermatologist-tested. In addition, there are zero paragons, sulfates and phthalates. It’s ideal for all skin types because the gentle formula does not contain harsh abrasives. Other than shrinking my pores, it is also suppose to help reduce the look of fine lines and addresses uneven skin tone, hyper-pigmentation, and breakouts. The pearl protein extract conditions and balances the skin while natural exfoliants gently polish away dullness and dead skin cells, leaving great looking and really soft skin. 

I thought it was cool that the creator of this product, Victoria Tsai, made certain every product in her line is gentle and safe as it is effective for all, including pregnant women. She had suffered from acute dermatitis during her pregnancy, which lead to her amazing products. 

How to use:Tatcha

1. Begin with wet hands and a wet face. 
2. Pour about half a teaspoon into hands, add water, and rub hands together to create a creamy foam. 
3. Massage gently onto a wet face in circular motions for about 20 seconds.
4. Rinse and reveal softer, smoother skin.
5. Follow up with a moisturizer of your choice. 

Shrimp Rangoon

I love Crab Rangoon! It’s usually apart of my order when I get Chinese take-out. On some menu’s they are called crab puffs and on others cheese wontons. Based on who is eating them, they can be served with soy sauce, plum sauce, duck sauce, sweet and sour sauce, or mustard for dipping. I serve mine with a sweet and spicy sauce. There is nothing wrong with a little twist on tradition.

Basically, they are deep fried dumpling appetizers served in American Chinese and, more recently, Thai restaurants, stuffed with a combination of cream cheese, traditionally crab meat or imitation crab meat, scallions, and/or garlic and onion. These fillings are then wrapped in Chinese wonton wrapper in a triangular or flower shape, then deep fried in vegetable oil. Based on the roots of this scrumptious appetizer, it is known that cream cheese, like other cheese, is essentially nonexistent in Southeast Asian and Chinese cuisine leaving the history of Crab Rangoon to remain a mystery.

Continue reading if you would like to make some Shrimp Rangoon!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb cooked shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of Goya Adobo seasoning
  • 1/3 cup of green onions thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese
  • Wonton wrappers
  • Vegetable oil

Instructions:

  1. Finely chop the shrimp, garlic and green onions. You could use a food processor to make the job easier.FullSizeRender_7
  2. Add soy sauce, parsley, vinegar, green onions, sugar, black pepper, and cream cheese to your chopped ingredients and mix them all together. If using a food processor, you would pulse all the ingredients together until mixed.
  3. Take one tablespoon of the mixture and add them to the middle of a wonton. Using your fingers rub all the edges of the wonton with water, which will act as glue. Fold your wrapper into a triangle by taking any corner you want and matching it to its opposite corner. Get rid of any air bubbles by pressing the edges together to seal it well.
  4. Repeat Step 3 until the desired amount of Rangoon’s have been formed.
  5. In a small heavy pot heat oil to 375 degrees. Gently add a few Rangoon’s and cook until golden brown.
  6. Drain on paper towels for just about 15 seconds. Serve warm.
  7. Feel free to add your own twist and share if you do 🙂

Enjoy!

Dry Rubbed Wings

It’s really easy to cook chicken wings in the oven. I made a spicy dry rub to marinate my wingette and drumette pieces. In my household, spicy food is a must, but you can always leave out the spices that bring heat to satisfy whatever your palette may like. 

Ingredients:

  • 10-20 wingettes & drumettes (will vary depending on how many people you are cooking for)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (more or less for spicy taste)
  • 1  teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley  (fresh cut or dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 
  • 1  teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1  teaspoon Goya Adobo (all purpose seasoning)
  • 1  teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 Sazon packet by Goya
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Instructions:

baked-chicken-wings

 

1. Make sure your wingettes and drumettes are thawed and not frozen.

2.Then use a paper towel to dry any excess liquid on the wings.

3.Place wings in a large bowl and massage olive oil evenly onto each piece.

4.Combine all the dry seasonings in a bowl and mix them, making sure all the seasoning are nicely intertwined.

5.Sprinkle half of the season mix onto the chicken wings and rub in then Flip wings and sprinkle remaining half onto wings and continue to rub in. (you don’t have to use the entire rub, just use enough to where all wingettes and drumettes are nicely and evenly coated on all sides. (If you have excess rub, you can store the remaining amount in a zip lock bag to use for another batch or other recipe).

6.Place seasoned wings into a baking dish of your choice. I used a Pyrex baking dish.

7.Preheat your oven to 400°F

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I served with Mashed Sweet Potatoes

8.When oven is ready, place your wings into the oven for 35-40 minutes. I don’t usually flip my wings but if you wanted to, then flip them after 20 minutes.

9.Turn oven broiler on high and broil for 5-8 minutes depending on your preference.

10.Remove the wingettes and drumettes from the oven and serve alone or with rice, veggies, mac n cheese or mash sweet potatoes. They will compliment any side dish.

 

Enjoy! 

 

Frisco

For my annual birthday trip this year, my husband and I went to San Francisco! I would say this was one of our favorite trips. It was cold, but despite that, we loved it. The views were breath taking, the food was delicious, and the people were friendly. What more could we have asked for? Where most people would say that the Golden Gate Bridge was their highlight, I would say exploring wine country was mine. Our Napa Valley and Sonoma tour was amazing. To ride through the lush scenery was picture perfect. We landed at 3 different wine vineyards and tasted a variety of wines both red and white. I lost count after glass number ten.

Day 2: We woke up and of course had to dive into our breakfast options. We ended up at a cute breakfast place called Plow because they had great reviews. We arrived at 930am and was not seated until 11:42am. The wait was the downfall for me, but the food was so so yummy. We tried dungeness crab scramble, Zoe’s chicken apple sausages, pomegranate mimosas, french toast with caramelized apples, and plow potatoes. The best breakfast food I’ve had in awhile. Later on that evening we had drinks at the Boom Boom Room which was a live funk, jazz & blues venue that top musicians perform at. The music was great and the drinks were cheap. We ended the night with an exquisite array of food at State Bird Provisions, which had a great urban and rustic setting that served small plates dim-sum style.

Day 3 (My Birthday): Our early morning adventure took us to wine country. Who wouldn’t want to spend their birthday drinking wine? The Napa Valley and Sonoma tour was an all day excursion. We were gone from 9am-6pm. The day was so packed and eventful, but we were able to see a lot. Going through the Robin Williams Tunnel and taking pictures at Fort Point was an unexpected stop which made us happy. The Fort Point area was filled with such great history. We even got to see the building where the special effects for star wars is created. After taking a quick cat nap after our wine escapade, we headed back out to have dinner at Tacolicious. It was tasty, but it was not a must have. My husband really wanted to try California made Mexican Food and because it was a bust, we will have to try another location on our next visit to California.

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Day 4: We indulged in some coffee from Philz Coffee Truck first thing in the morning. It was really good coffee, especially if your a coffee drinker like myself. We quickly caught a ride to Pier 33 to take a ferry ride to Alcatraz Island to tour the prison. After 2 hours of exploring and learning the history of Alcatraz, we took the ferry back to the mainland to walked around Fisherman’s Wharf. There we saw the seals and took in the lively atmosphere. We ate lunch at Fog Harbor Fish House located at Pier 39. The seafood was great. Crab clam chowder and Ahi Tuna Poke were my favorites. After stuffing our faces, we headed to the Painted ladies. From there we took a quick uber ride to Union Square where we browsed some of their retail stores (Express, BCBG Max Azria, Saks, etc). Later on that evening, we headed out to ride the Cable Cars from Hyde & Powell. The route had great scenic night views and we saw the famous Lombard Street. We ended the night with dinner at Buena Vista (known for their Irish coffee).

That concludes the recap of my birthday trip to the beautiful city of San Francisco and I will be sure to visit again. I would recommend San Francisco to anyone and while you are there, I would without a doubt suggest taking a trip to Napa Valley. It will take your breath away. I will be sure to share my next trip with you all, but until then, what are some of your favorite vacation spots?

Squash Cauliflower Soup

 

Last night, I was craving comfort food. When I think of comfort food, I often think of soup! Something warm, creamy, that cooks fast but still has a component of fresh veggies and savory meat involved. So I decided to make Squash Cauliflower Soup with Braised Short Rib.

 

Squash Cauliflower Soup
  • Heat olive oil in a soup pot and sauté 1-2 diced cloves of garlic until golden brown.
  • Add diced butternut squash and cauliflower to the pot and cook until vegetables are pre-soupsoft. Cook for about 15-20 minutes. (add a table spoon of brown sugar)
  •  Purée the cauliflower and squash using a hand blender or blender.
  • Add 1/2 cup of cream and 1/4 stick of butter to add more flavor and creamier texture
  • Add a pinch of salt and black pepper (and any other seasonings you prefer)
  • Let puree cook on low heat for another 15-20 minutes.
  • Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle parsley flakes as  your garnish.


Continue to steps below if you are adding meat to your soup…

Braised Short Ribs
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.  
  • Marinate your short ribs to your preference. (salt, pepper, rosemary, crushed red pepper flakes, lime juice, parsley, garlic, etc.,)
  • Add 1 table spoon of olive oil (or oil of your choice) to the panshort-rib
  • Add short ribs into the pan and brown them on all sides until they are golden brown. You can also throw in some diced yellow and green onions to add more flavor.
  • Pour in some sweet and dry wine of your choice to deglaze the pot.
  • Let simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer your pot of goodness into a ceramic baking dish.
  • Cover baking dish with aluminum and let short ribs cook at 400°F for 2 hours
  • After two hours, turn oven down to 300°F and let cook for another 1- 1.5 hours
  •  Transfer short ribs to sit in the center of your soup bowl and drizzle some of the wine garlic sauce in at the bottom of the baking dish on top for more flavor and sprinkle parsley flakes as  your garnish.

Enjoy!