Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Spinach, Ricotta, and Mushroom Calzones

I'm not really a calzone girl. I prefer pizza. But I like trying new pizza recipes because the extent I usually go with my pizza is mozzarella cheese, red sauce, and sometimes pineapple. Most people don't like pineapple pizza, but living in a dorm I discovered while almost any other pizza you order would get stolen-people would never ever take your pineapple pizza. Back in those days I was a Papa John's girl, now all these years later I do the whole homemade thing. Tastes much better and saves money!

So anyway, I decided to try a calzone recipe from the Budget Byte's blog. Looked simple enough. I started with my favorite pizza dough recipe from Food Network. I love it so much I can't bring myself to even try another pizza dough recipe. And it's super easy, just mix and knead until it springs back, then let it rise in a warm place for about an hour. And done!- (while it's great for pizza I might try something more suited to calzones next time).

It's easy to buy pizza dough if you aren't into making it yourself. Just the whole dough making is kind of therapeutic for me. IDK.

Then I just cooked the mushrooms in a bit of olive oil with salt and pepper. Mixed the basil into the ricotta cheese- I had no idea it was so easy to flavor ricotta. The I rolled out the dough and layered the mushrooms, spinach, mozzarella cheese, and ricotta. I didn't use any pepperoni because it wasn't in the ingredient list and I missed it. 

I made a couple so that way I had lunch taken care of for a couple days. 

The first day it was ok. Nothing I would make again.

2nd day, they were getting better. Maybe it wasn't as blah as I thought.

3rd- They actually started getting really, really good. I think the flavors just started really melding together. 

So I didn't like them too much at first, but they got better and better. And I did end up liking them

I probably should have made them bigger and did some sort of wash so it could get some color. Next time.

Still prefer just regular old pizza- I think it's the pizza sauce. But this was a nice change. 

George Duke No Rhyme No Reason

On my extremely short drive home, maybe three minutes, as I was getting out the car Montell Jordan's This Is How We Do It came on. The man was on the radio was talking about  it's Wednesday, halfway to Friday so that's why we playing it. Major eye roll. But that's my song so I turned it up and showed out anyway. 

Lately, I've been listening to a lot of blues. But today I'm just going to post a smooth song to help get through the week. I don't know much about George Duke, I just know I love this song.


And the record.  Because the sound wasn't really popping on the live version and you can hear the instruments better on this version anyway.

Love it-now that's good Wednesday music!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Smashbox Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder Review

My first step into more high end powders. Previously I had only used drugstore ones, and I haven't been very impressed. Almost forgot I did have a Bare Minerals powder foundation,but that was definitely foundation and I figured I would use this more for setting purposes.

Smashbox claims:
Get a luminous, lit-from-within glow with Smashbox's best-selling perfecting powder that can be used as a foundation or finishing powder.

Why you'll love it:

It's the first anti-aging powder with the science of skin care built in! This advanced formulation of pure gold, 48 minerals, 11 amino acids and a powerful peptide delives dynamic anti-aging benefits, while the patented hydration system continuously revitalizes skin for a brighter, more radiant complexion all day.

Just the facts:
  • After 10 minutes there is a 33% decrease in the appearance of wrinkles around the eyes.
  • After 6 weeks of use, there is a 67% decrease in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles overall.

Formulated without parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, phthalates, oil, fragrance & talc.

Why oh why would foundation have sodium laurel sulfate in it? Sometimes they label the dumbest things. SLS is the stuff in shampoo or most commercial stuff that lathers.

This stuff is not cheap. I just checked and the price is pushing $50. I think I paid around $40 for it. It makes big claims. Basically the way they write about it, it sounds like some sort of powder miracle.  

So I'll start off with packaging. It's nice and sleek. And it has a grinder, which is part of why I really wanted to try it. I don't think "fresh ground powder" is that amazing. But it does cut down in the mess that other loose powders make. I remember when I used the bare minerals powder foundation it seemed to get everywhere. I haven't had that problem with this. It does come with a mirror- which is pretty useless in my opinion, just because the loose powder messes it up. They should have made a separate compartment and placed the mirror there. But I have tons of other mirrors that it doesn't bother me that much.

The first time I really tested this powder out was when I still had the Smashbox foundation- Studio Skin. This and that foundation were magic. I could go out for hours and come in and my skin still had a luminous, yet matte look to it. I just had to make sure to use very little because it can emphasize pores if you go too heavy. 

So if you are using it with the right products I think the power works very well. Now it doesn't do everything it claims, like get rid of wrinkles around the eyes, they look the same to me. And I've definitely been using it for over 6 weeks. Luckily I don't really have many wrinkles to give this the best test, but I kind of thought those claims were bogus when I bought the product. So I wasn't expecting anything in terms of skincare.

Where this product kind of falls short for me is as a foundation. It's so light it doesn't really cover much, and if you try to build it up, it seems to emphasize texture on the skin. So I usually use concealer before I put a little of this on. It doesn't have the best lasting powder (unless you are using it with a long lasting product- like the Smashbox Studio Skin was). I lose most coverage at the end off my 8.5 hour days, and almost all by the end of the day on the spots I was trying to cover in the first place, mostly on my chin. The rest of my face seems fine- but they aren't problem spots for me anyway. 

It does claim to be hydrating, but I don't find that to be true. In fact, I feel I have to extra careful to make sure it doesn't look to dry on my skin.

Almost forgot to mention- mine is in Dark. I bought this awhile ago and just never got around to using it regularly enough to review. Whoops. The shade match isn't perfect- it's a bit olive/green tinged, not too noticeable. I can get away with it, but the shade match could be better. 

Speaking of color match, I don't find Smashbox to have a very diverse color range, which is very disappointing. When I bought this there were two brown girl shades. Now there is only one. The other SIX shades are pretty much various shades of pale. 

The compact itself comes with .5 ounces. In comparison, Bare Minerals regular foundations are .28 ounces. So the good thing is, you are getting a decent amount for the money.

So overall, I find it best as a setting powder. I think it's a waste of time as a foundation. And although I like it, I probably would not fork over the money again. And I'm really disappointed that instead of expanding the color range for brown skin, they have taken away one of only two shades.

So after this powder is finished, it will be on to the next. 

Wearing the foundation over a little concealor. No sure what's with that face!


Monday, April 24, 2017

Banana "Ice Cream" with Sweet and Salty Roasted Almonds

Mmmm Ice-cream. My favorite. I've wanted to make ice-cream forever. Real ice-cream. But I keep coming across these "banana ice-cream recipes". And each time I've made it, it's come out good. But this recipe is miles above any of those recipes. This is like next level banana ice-cream and would stand in for real ice-cream in a pinch.

I think it's the addition of the milk. And the sweet and salty nuts. And the little bit of extra sweetness from the maple syrup. You can make it in a food processor, I just whipped out my Vitamix, because I don't have a food processor, and I like the way it turns out in the Vitamix anyway. 

I made the almond milk in the same blender before I blended the bananas, so I had extra fresh almond milk and was able to avoid some of the weird additives in most commercial almond milks. 

After making the Almond milk I chopped up my almonds, mixed in the salt and maple syrup and had something ultra salty. But strangely buttery. You don't notice the salt so much once it's mixed in the ice-cream.
Chop up the nanas more, mine broke my Vitamix...but they sent me a new container. Yay! That warranty is the truth.

This is the BEST recipe for banana ice-cream I have ever tried. I even made it for my sister- but used homemade cashew milk and pecans in place of the almonds and it still came out amazing.

Can't reccomend this recipe enough and I will make it again and again. I'm already planning on making it again this Sunday since I have a bottle of maple syrup just waiting to be turned into this deliciousness. I do still need to get some more bananas, I only have three, and need four.  
 Spongebob photo-bombed and wouldn't let me take a pic without him. Smh. But look how yummy!

Maybe I'll try walnut milk this time.

Click here to check the recipe for yourself. I got it from a Self magazine I had a couple years back. 


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Dr. Bronners Lavender Hand Sanitizer Review

The more I try of the Dr. Bronner's brand, the more I like it. Their castille soap's are great, their lotions are pretty nice too. And as far as I know their products are all natural. They are also scented with essential oils. And the scents really come through. Sometimes with essential oil stuff, the scent is weak, which is kind of weird because the oils themselves are pretty powerful. Anyway, I really wanted a natural hand sanitizer I could carry around with me. First I tried making one with Tea Tree oil, but it didn't seem to be working out for me, so then I just would spritz rubbing alcohol on, but that's not really great for your skin and it's very drying. So when I saw this, I picked it right up.

Dr. Bronner's claims:
Our Organic Hand Sanitizer kills germs with a simple formula: organic ethyl alcohol, water, organic lavender oil, and organic glycerin—that’s it! None of the nasty chemicals you find in conventional sanitizers, but just as effective. Our Organic Hand Sanitizer is perfect for using on the go, on your little ones’ sticky hands and faces, even as an air freshener or deodorant. Sanitize with a clean conscience. All-One!

Spray our Organic Hand Sanitizer onto hands to quickly kill bacteria when no soap and water are available! Or use as deodorizer: spray twice or more into the air to enjoy a wonderful lavender aroma. Spray on children’s hands and faces to clean up sticky messes—wipe clean! OK!

I bought this at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. The pice is around $4. But with coupons I ended up paying around $2 for it. Yay, coupons!

So the ingredients are super simple, just alcohol, water, lavender oil, and glycerin. All organic and all fair trade. That's one of the best things about Dr. Bronners brand, they are a very responsible, ethical, company.

I just spritz about three sprays and rub it in, and all clean. I keep it in my bag and use it whenever it's not convenient to wash my hands...usually at work before I eat lunch...or before a snack or just whenever you would need to use a hand sanitizer.

The smell is great! A nice true, and decently strong lavender. They are serious about it being an air freshener. it really freshens the air and all you smell is Lavender for a couple minutes after you spray it.

I wouldn't call it moisturizing, but it's also not too drying. 

And it's been lasting decently long. I've had this bottle for quite awhile and still have some left.

It's my favorite hand sanitizer. I plan on getting a couple more and stockpiling them since I have another Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupon. 

And one day I plan to try the EO brand which is very similar to this, but I think it's a little better priced. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Best Ever Beer Cheese Soup

If it wasn't for my rotation of recipes, there are some things I would never ever try. Like this recipe. I have never heard of beer cheese soup. Apparently it's pretty popular in some parts of the midwest. I've never been to the midwest so that might explain it.  

 Since I'm not a fan of beer it's not something I would ever make on my own. But when I read that pretzels are a great thing to serve with it, I was a little more interested in trying it out. 

It's definitely not diet soup, not with all that cheese and half and half. But it does have some veggies in it- carrots and red bell pepper. 

It was easier to make than I thought. And it was pretty good. Not amazing. Not something I ever have to have again. But interesting. And even though I don't like beer, I could taste it in this and it had a pretty nice bight flavor. 

The soup called for goat cheese and fresh thyme for garnish. I didn't do that. The soup has enough flavor. Kind of cheesy, a little mustard-y. I added a little less than it called for because a couple reviewers said the mustard flavor was a little overpowering and I would tend to agree. I also did not puree it. I like the idea of little bits of carrots and pepper. 

I made the soup. And my sister made homemade super cute mini pretzel bites. Nothing beats fresh homemade pretzels. And they tasted pretty good dipped in the soup. I like my pretzels with mustard usually so I thought the mustard flavor was good with the pretzels. 

I got the recipe from Food Network. Click here to check it out for yourself.