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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Recipe Gurl's Fave Lunch Salads



I eat one of these two salads for lunch almost every work day. They are so simple, healthy, and always filling, I created these by just experimenting to find healthier things to eat for lunch, when I was putting them together I wasn't sure if they would quite come together or not, but the tastes go together so well and it seems like whatever I'm craving for lunch, this always satisfies it.  It takes 10 minutes to throw together the night before work. You can put whatever dressing you want on them (believe it or not low fat ranch goes really well with the first one) or make this simple salad dressing that I've been using for a while and love, I've listed that below as well. This dressing goes well with any salad and I like that it's made from scratch, I feel like salad dressings have so many mystery ingredients that aren't good for you, at least when you make this dressing you know exactly what's going into it. I like using hard boiled egg as my protein for these salads but I think adding rotisserie chicken or even left over boneless pork chops would be good too. If you do like the idea of using hard boiled egg, just boil 5 of them on a Sunday and keep them in your fridge to throw on the salad the night before when you're preparing your lunch. Hard boiled eggs stay good in your fridge for 7 days. Sometimes I add bacon crumbles if I have it on a hand and I want a little more salt taste. There are no directions because you basically just add as little or as much of each ingredient as you want. I definitely use more spinach for the health factor and try to balance the toppings, you really don't need a lot of toppings because each one has a distinct taste. Definitely take it easy with the feta and craisins because their tastes are so strong and tart. I hope these salads become a staple for you as much as they have for me!


Staple Lunch Salad #1
Spinach
Craisins
Chopped walnuts
Hard boiled egg
Feta cheese


Staple Lunch Salad #2
Spinach
Chopped walnuts
Canned mandarin oranges (don't get the kind that comes in a sugary syrup, get the kind that comes in it's own natural juice)
Hard boiled egg
Feta Cheese


Homemade Salad Dressing:
Base:
1 tsp Dijon
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper



Start with 1 tsp of dijon and slowly whisk all of the other ingredients in. You can just use the base or add the additions; it depends on your taste.


I usually add one or all of these additions:
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp fresh/dried parsley or dill
1 pressed garlic glove
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp parmigiana
 cheese
Taste and you can always adjust based on your taste, if you want it more sour add more vinegar, want milder add more olive oil, want creamier add mustard or cheese, want spicier add more mustard.


You can find this salad dressing recipe here

Monday, February 21, 2011

Much Coveted Nexxus Pro-Mend Review

So anyone who reads magazines would know that the new Nexxus line "Pro-Mend" is all the rage.  I seldomly give in to the hype, but since my hair more often than not resembles a fried cotton ball, I happily jumped at the chance to try out anything that claims to literally mend split ends.  Thankfully, Nexxus delivered on that very promise.  I'm about a month and a half overdue on my much needed trims but after using both the Pro-Mend Shampoo and Conditioner last night-no joke, three people at work today asked me if I just got a haircut or did something different to my hair.  My hair is noticeably softer, shinier and lacking of my disgusting split ends - this after ONE use.  At $14 a pop - how can anyone resist?
There is one thing...if you have super fine hair like me - you may need a different shampoo for the roots - because the Pro-Mend Shampoo is so incredibly moisturizing, it did weigh down my hair just a tad - but not in a super heavy way, just a incredibly silky way - if that makes sense.  May I recommend purchasing the line at Ulta.com so you can accumulate Ulta Reward points in order to score more fabulous finds.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wedding Dresses by Anthropologie - BHLDN

So I can't mention Wedding Gowns by Vera Wang/David's Bridal without mentioning the new Bridal Collection by Anthropologie for BHLDN.  After all, Anthropologie is my first true love.  Just like Anthro, this new line is for the truly unique, one of a kind girl who wants to "reflect her own unique perspective".  I was a little worried about the pricing on these gowns as Anthro can get quite pricey with specialty items - but these gowns range anywhere from $600 to $4000!  Below is my absolute fave, and only retails for $2400.
And let's not forget about our fabulous bridesmaids...BHLDN has the most adorable dresses to satisfy even the pickiest of your girlfriends.  What's even better is more than half of the bridesmaid collection can be worn again...and again....and again...I can't get enough of this one which retails for only $260:


And at long last this line offers shoes, accessories and jewelry that don't scream cheesy.  How adorable is this necklace?  And at $75 a pop, this can make the most perfect bridesmaid gift. 

All in all, I have decided to get married just so I can take advantage of these beautiful, one of a kind pieces and go down in history as the most fashionable bride...ever.

Make sure to check out the entire website at http://www.bhldn.com/index.cfm

I promise it will not disappoint.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Look for Less: West Elm vs. Target

Last week I FINALLY got around to buying the essentials for my abandoned Guest Room.  I had seen the below photo on my all time fave website: http://www.decorpad.com/, fell in love and decided that my guest room must look like this. 
decorpad.com
On my never-ending hunt for a good quality white duvet - I stumbled across this one at West Elm:


westelm.com

West Elm was just having a sale so I purchased the duvet cover and two standard shams - totally about $120.  Because it is just a duvet cover - I went to Target to get a down comforter to put in the cover.  Imagine my excitement when I stumbled across the below duvet SET which includes the comforter, bedskirt and shams for wait for it...wait...$90!!  So I bought the set from Target, brought both of them home for inspection.  The one from Target is softer, fuller and seems like such a better quality than the one from West Elm.  So I'm keeping the one from Targ and am working on making the room look like the one from decorpad.com.  I will post my final result when I'm finished.  Below is just a generic pic of the Targ duvet set:


target.com


Recipe Gurl's No Fail Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos



So I am always on the lookout for good slow cooker recipes. Not the kind where you pour 5 different kinds of fatty creamy soups in there and let it sit, but different and healthy recipes. I found one for slow cooker chicken tacos and changed it around a bit, now it has turned into a staple at my house and a dish I know will always turn out moist and delicious. On top of all of that, it's soo easy, you take 5 minutes to put a few things in the slow cooker and have an amazing meal in a few hours. Try it and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Ingredients:

1 packet low sodium taco seasoning
15 oz low sodium chicken broth
1 14.5oz no salt added can diced tomatoes and liquid
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Hard taco shells or soft tortillas

Suggested Toppings:
Chopped yellow onion
2 % shredded cheddar cheese
Non-fat sour cream

Directions:

In a big bowl mix together the chicken broth and the taco seasoning. Place the chicken breasts in the slow cooker, pour the diced tomatoes and liquid on top, then pour the broth and seasoning packet mixture on top. Cook on low for 6 hours. With a slotted spoon remove the chicken and place in a large bowl, with two forks shred the chicken. Spoon out all of the diced tomatoes out of the slow cooker and add to the chicken. Next, use a ladle to spoon as much of the juice that you would like out of the crockpot and onto the chicken to make the chicken as moist or as dry as you like. Mix it all together, place the chicken in a taco or tortilla and top with your favorite toppings!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

5% Off at Target - Every Day!


Okay, so usually when I hear a cashier ask "Would you like to save 5% today by applying...." Stop.  Stop right there.  I do NOT want another credit card and please stop asking me every single time I come in here...okay, no I don't say that - but I'm thinking it.  Well, the other day at Target the friendly cashier asked me that and for some reason I actually let her finish before interrupting her with my usual polite, yet firm 'no thanks'.  She proceeded to tell me that Target not only is offering a credit card that saves you 5% off every purchase - but a DEBIT card that links directly to your Checking Account.  Um excuse me?  Ridden with credit card debt, I only use my debit card anyways - so now Targ is telling me that I will save 5% off every purchase, every single day?  Say no more.  I just got my glossy red card in the mail and can  not wait to go shopping.
Learn more about this fabulous card here.

Vegetarian Chickpea Burger Recipe and Review


So, in an attempt to get me and my meat loving boyfriend to eat healthier I was looking for a replacement for the Hardeee’s burgers that he thinks are the most amazing things on the planet (I think Hardee’s is probably one of the top five contributors to why America keeps getting fatter and fatter. Every time I see one of their commercials it’s all about their “bigger” burger, like must you throw on ANOTHER beef pattie?!? Anywho, that’s neither here nor there…..). SO, I decided to try this recipe by Rachel Ray.  Rach suggests serving them on a bun with cheese and other toppings, but I think an easy way to cut calories is to nix the bun but have at least one topping, so I’ll also provide my recipe for homemade tzatziki sauce that I put on top of this bunless burger.

These turned out really good, the crisp golden outside was really easy to achieve, I was so excited because I usually burn everything. The tzatziki was a perfect compliment and worked really well with the flavors of cumin and garlic. I was skeptical as to whether this recipe would be guy friendly, but he ate the whole thing and half of another. So for a healthy and delicious alternative to a fatty burger I would definitely recommend this! They were simple and even really good leftover, and as far as I’m concerned, throw tzatziki on anything and it’s automatically tasty. You could also serve this along with a simple salad with lettuce, onion, cuke, tomato, and feta, just add a little olive and splash of lemon juice for the dressing and you’re golden!

Recipe can also be found here.


Ingredients:
  • One 19-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • One 4-ounce can diced green chiles
  • 2/3 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
**I added 1 tsp of cumin, ½ tsp of garlic powder, and ½ tsp onion powder to give it a little more flavor

Directions:

1.      In a food processor, pulse the chickpeas, green chiles and parsley until finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the bread crumbs and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the egg and form the mixture into 4 patties, each about 2/3 inch thick.
2.      In a large skillet or grill pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Cook the burgers for 4 minutes, then flip and cook for 3 minutes more. You’ll want the patties to have a nice crispy gold look.

Katina’s Homemade Tzatziki Sauce

1 or 1 ½ cups 0% fat greek yogurt (Fage brand works the best)
1 small cuke
1-2 garlic gloves depending on how garlicky you like things
Dried dill weed

Place the yogurt in a medium sized bowl. Cute the cucumber in half, grate half of it into the yogurt, finely chop the other half and mix this into the yogurt. Next, grate the garlic cloves into the yogurt and mix in. Next, add as much dill weed as you like to taste. I love dill weed so I probably add about a tbsp or maybe even a little more. Let this mixture marinate in the fridge for about 30 minutes.



Another way to eat chickpeas:

Have a can of chickpeas in your pantry and have no idea what to do with them?? All you have to do to make a quick healthy meal is drizzle some olive oil on top, a splash of lemon juice, and sprinkle on some feta. Eat them as is or put on top of a bed of lettuce or spinach for a healthy salad topping!

Recipe Gurl's Winning SKINNY Buffalo Chicken Dip



Yes folks, there is a way to think fat and eat healthy. Buffalo chicken dip is probably one of the fattest things you can eat, I don't even want to know the amount of calories in it. So here is my skinny version of the dip, you really can't taste any difference, except for the fact that your mouth doesn't have that greasy thick coating on it when you're done eating. We had a healthy recipe contest at my work where the winning recipes got put into a company wide cookbook. The recipes that were submitted had to be cooked and tested and this dip won, so I'm going to go ahead and assume it's a great substitute for the fatty, mayonaisey version.

Ingredients:

1 rotisserie chicken
2-3 cups non-fat greek yogut (if you want a thicker dip use 2-2 1/2 cups, for a thinner drip use 3)
1 hidden valley ranch packet (get the low sodium kind)
Frank's red hot sauce
1/4 cup of 2% natural shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat your oven broiler. Get as much meat as you can from the rotisserie chicken and shred it, place in a large bowl. Next, shake on as much red hot sauce on the chicken as you like to taste and miz together. In another bowl, mix the yogurt with the ranch packet, once this is well mixed together, pour into the bowl with the chicken mixture and combine the two mixtures. Oce it is all mixed together, place the dip into a baking dish. Sprinkle the shredded cheddar on top of the dip. Place the dip in the oven and broil until the cheese is melted and the dip is warmed through. Serve with celery sticks and/or tortilla chips.


Other uses for this dip that make great appetizers:
-Put in between two tortillas and grill in a pan for quesadillas. Serve alongside reduced fat blue cheese or ranch dressing
-Fold into reduced fat Pillsbury crescent rolls and bake for a bite sized appetizer.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Revlon's Perplex - Best New Shade!

Anyone who knows me, knows I am sooooo not a nail-polish person.  I've been wearing the same two colors for as long as I can remember - which by the way, are OPI's 'Linkin Park After Dark' and 'You Don't Know Jacque'.  Linkin Park After Dark is a super dark purple and You Don't Know Jacque is a beigy-gray.  I almost never deviate from these colors, but at one of my recent CVS raids, I stumbled upon Revlon's new color called 'Perplex'.  I heard it's a knock-off of the best selling Chanel Paradoxal.  I was a little skeptical because for some reason nail polishes always look different (for the worse) once they are on my nails.  But I have to say, that this is going to be added to my Top Three Fave Nailpolish list now.  It is a beigy-grayish purple but with just the right amount of purple so it doesn't look childish. 
Not to mention, it's like $4 at your local drugstore.  Definitely worth trying.


Vera Wang for David's Bridal

So this is my very first post and even though I'm not getting married anytime soon, I do know a fabulous deal when I see one.  David's Bridal recently released the White Collection by Vera Wang - yes, Vera Wang is in the same sentence as David's Bridal! What's even more amazing is how high-fashion these gowns are for the price!  Bride-to-be or not, this collection debuted last week and is totally worth checking out! My fave is the one-shoulder above.  Check out the collection at http://www.davidsbridal.com/.