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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Recipe Gurl's Easy Pantry Salad

So after a week of vacation and consuming nothing but Corona beer, crab legs dipped in raw butter, and hush puppies, I was in the mood for a healthy and light dinner to start my vacation detox. I was totally not inspired at the grocery store, so all I picked up was lettuce, cukes, tomatoes, an onion, and some chicken tenders for the grill. So when I got home I knew I was going to make a salad but what I purchased at the store was only the makings for a boring salad. So thanks to the ingredients I already had in my pantry and my fridge I created this unique salad.  Who would have ever thought capers would even be good in a salad? So try this one night when you're in the mood for something light but not boring. I would say it's kind of my twist on a plain old caesar salad.
chicken tenders
light sun dried tomato dressing
romaine lettuce
tomatoes (diced)
red onion (finely chopped)
cucumber (diced)
eggs (hard boiled then chopped)
bacon bits (I use the Hormel 50% less fat real bacon bits)
light creamy caesar dressing
low fat or whole wheat seasoned croutons
Place chicken tenders in a ziploc bag, cover them liberally in sun dried tomato dressing and marinate in the fridge for a couple hours. Grill the chicken on a grill or cook in a pan. While the chicken is cooking assemble your salad with the ingredients above and use as much or little of the ingredients as you like to your taste. Place the grilled chicken on top of the salad, drizzle light creamy caesar dressing on top, and enjoy!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Girl with Taste's Guilt-Free Gaucamole

I love my cute napkins (gift from Katina)

I've never actually been a huge gauc lover, but when I received two gorgeous avocados from a co-worker last week, I decided it was time to make my first batch of guacamole.  I did not, however; want to make a super fattening dish that I would no doubt consume the entire thing and then feel guilty for making it in the first place. So I googled 'low fat gaucamole' and found this recipe which I'm sure is great but I added a couple of ingredients  to give it a little 'umph' (not to mention I despise both tomato and cilantro).  I thought adding frozen peas would ruin the flavor but it actually turned out really good!  So here's my oh so delicious low-fat gauc recipe for you to try:

  • 2 Ripe Avocados
  • 10 ounce bag frozen peas (thawed)
  • 1/2 to 1 whole red onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite salsa
  • Dash of your favorite hot sauce
  • Seasonings to taste (I used garlic salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • Squeeze of 1/2 lime

So I of course took the lazy way out and put everything in my food processor and just pulsed it until I got the consistency I wanted.  Don't fret if you don't have a food processor, you can just mash all the ingredients with a fork or even use a blender.  

The peas added almost a hint of sweetness to the mixture while my salsa, red pepper flakes and hot sauce added some heat.  The end result was so delicious and something I didn't have to feel guilty about eating.  

Serve with baked tortilla chips and enjoy (without the guilt of course)!

If you have any healthy (healthier) recipes - please send them my way! 


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

I know, I know, today is supposed to be "Wedding Wednesday" but since my best-friend-bride is on vaca and I have taken the day off to start what I thought would be a one-day project but now has turned into a huge mess...I have decided to post on my biggest Makeover Challenge to date.  Don't worry, we'll be back next Wednesday with another "Wedding Wednesday" post.

Okay, so many moons ago, in one of my very first posts, I mentioned how I was making over my mother's China Cabinet.  I know it's hard to believe, but I am just NOW starting this project.  I had no idea until now how big of a project this was going to be.    This cabinet has been in my family since I was born, and the items in it (such as my great-grandmother's China) have been passed down for generations; so this project is very special to me.  I really want this piece to showcase things that are dear to me and my boyf; things that have been handed down to us from our grandparents and great-grandparents.  I have redone many furniture items throughout the years, but this beast of a china cabinet was definitely NOT meant to be taken apart.  There are so many intricate details; glass that isn't removable; drawers that aren't removable; lighting in the top part that is impossible to remove...I just don't know how I am going to do this!!  Last night I started having second thoughts and almost scrapped the project completely, but since my mom has agreed to help me this weekend, it has given me new hope.

Here is the China Cabinet BEFORE:

Beautiful to begin with...not sure why I decided to paint it in the first place!!

Now here's the mess I have made of it:

My great-grandmother's China 
The boyf's beautiful Grandmother

The mess I have created - TONS of China and family heirlooms

Lower half of China Cabinet

Upper half of Cabinet -even Gizmo wants to know what's going on!

So my idea is to paint the entire outside a glossy white and the back inner part of the cabinet a jade HERE GOES!  I will keep you guys posted throughout this makeover journey!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Bridesmaid Edition

I feel as if Katina and I go back and forth more about what accessories her bridesmaids will wear than what she, the bride, will actually wear!  We have truly scoured the internet looking for the perfect jewels and accessories to fit her/our styles.  I'm so sick of seeing the same cheap, crystal dangly earrings and matching necklaces that are purchased from the national chain wedding stores.  I just don't understand why accessorizing the bridesmaids is such an after-thought with so many brides.  Please keep in mind that you shouldn't ask your best girls to wear anything you wouldn't wear.  Have fun with it and allow your bridesmaids to help in your quest that way everyone can be happy.  Here are some of our pics for fab jewels and accessories:

First and foremost, my new fave fashion Bloggers (I am Stylish and Red Soles and Red Wine) have started their own Jewelry Line called t + j designs.  This is not a Wedding Line by any means, but hey, it's okay to think outside of the box and NOT get your jewelry from a Wedding Store. 

Here are my pics from their collection that would top off any chic bridesmaid dress:

Delicate Luxe Rhinestone Necklace
Delicate Luxe Rhinestone Necklace

Crystal Encrusted Grey Earrings
Crystal Encrusted Grey Earrings
Silver Sparkly Knuckle Ring
Silver Sparkly Knuckle Ring

Now check out Katina's pics for her vintage-glam wedding:





Any of these items would make great Bridesmaid gifts as well!

Again - my biggest piece of advice to my clients is to HAVE FUN with the planning process and allow your big day to really showcase your personal style.

Amanda and Katina

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Look for Less: Colored Skinny Jeans

8.15.11 UPDATE:  Just found these colored jeans on Forever 21 for only $24.90!  I'm still waiting on my Asos jeans to arrive - but I can not pass up a deal like this so I will definitely be ordering my other color choices from here!


Colored denim is HUGE for fall.  Lines like Rag and Bone seem to have the monopoly on amazing colored skinny jeans but they come with a hefty pricetag of $165.  Seeing how this is surely a passing trend, I refuse to pay that much for something that will be out of fashion in a couple months.  So I have searched high and low for this trend on a budget. My personal fave is the Cobalt Blue as seen below on my fave fashion blogger (I am Stylish):


Hers are Rag and Bone:
Rag and Bone Skinny Jeans in Cobalt
Now here are the jeans I excitedly just ordered from my fave online store Asos:

ASOS Cobalt Blue Skinny Jeans

The jeans from ASOS look exactly the same and retail for only $60!  What's even better is ASOS has FREE Shipping on all items.  If Cobalt Blue isn't your thing, check out ASOS's wide variety of colors.  My second faves are the mustard and the purple.

I would definitely scoop these up before this trend is gone!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wedding Wednesday - Recipe Gurl Gets Hitched

Seeing how I'm a Special Event/Wedding Planner and my best friend is getting married next year, we decided to create a new series called "Wedding Wednesdays'.  Every Wednesday we will post our ideas and tips on all things having to do with planning your own very chic, yet affordable Wedding. 

xoxo- Amanda


So for all of you brides out there on a budget, be prepared to follow me on my journey of nickel and diming my way through this ridiculously expensive tradition…

My first tip…make your own invitations. Find super cute templates here.  This website allows you to customize colors and fonts to fit your style all for only $25!!! You can print save the dates, invitations, rsvp cards, envelopes, programs, and more. All you are responsible for is printing them out, which you can do on your own printer at home! There are also video tutorials for how to do it all. Amazing….here is the invitation I picked out, after I customize it I plan to start the printing project in early November. All you need is some bottles of wine, good music, a good friend to help, and you have all of your wedding invitations for $25?! Um, yes please, sounds like a fun weekend to me! I’ll keep you posted on how the project goes and other ways to cheat your way through these money robbing nuptials.   Check out the template I'm currently in love with:

xoxo - Katina

Monday, August 8, 2011

Look for Less: Nail Polish

If you stay up to date with current nail polish trends, you will see that metallics are hitting the fall 2011 Runways hard.  Metallics in any color are big, but metallics in metal colors like gold, bronze and  graphite are huge.  I absolutely love this trend but refuse to spend my paycheck for these 'designer' nail polishes.  It's no secret that I have a new fond appreciation for Revlon polish - but when I saw their three new metallic polishes today, it was true love.  For just $3.99 a pop you can have the Runway look but at the Revlon price:

Silver Dollar, Gold Coin & Copper Penny
Now look - you can barely tell the difference between the Revlon shades and the Chanel Metallics below.  The only difference, Chanel polish retails for $25 a pop.  I mean, really?? 

Quartz, Peridot and Graphite

You can buy all three of the Revlon polishes and still not even come close to what one Chanel polish cost.  Thank you Revlon, I am now forever devoted.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Recipe Gurl's Non-Recipe Top 5

So I decided to branch out of my comfort zone and write about my top 5 favorite beauty products. They are five things I can’t live without so I just had to share them with everybody.  Enjoy!


Benefit Powderflage

I don’t know if anyone else has this problem, but I have tried a zillion different under eye concealers and they all seem to cake under my eye and never look smooth. So I have discovered this amazing product. No matter what eye concealer you use, you just brush a little bit of this powderflage over it and it smoothes your concealer out and brightens up your under eye area.


Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

This stuff is amazing. Whenever I get a manicure in a salon I always bring it with me and put it on top right before I leave, because even the stuff they use in the salon isn’t even as good as this stuff. By the time you’re finished putting it on all 10 of your fingers they will be dry, seriously. I want to be a Seche Vite sales rep and sell this product to all of the nail salons in my area, I would make a killing.


Meaningful Beauty Products

So I’m going out on a limb with this one just a bit. So I used to use Proactiv to keep my acne at bay, but now that I’m pushing 30 I feel like it’s time to switch over from the adult acne control products and move on to the preventative aging products. I just started using these products a week ago, but so far, most of the claims they have made on their infomercial (yes, I found saw this on an infomercial, but that’s how Proactiv started, and anyone who has ever has acne and tried it, knows it works!) and their website are true. My skin really does feel tighter and it just has an all over glow to it. I said I was going out on a little bit of a limb just because I’ve only been using it for a week, buuut so far so good, I might do a Meaningful Beauty update in a couple months…


Too Faced Leopard Love Complexion Perfection

I was skeptical of this product when I first bought it just because it seemed like everything was so shimmery, and I don’t really like the shimmery makeup look, I like the more natural makeup look. I was pleasantly surprised that it does really perfect your complexion and gives you a natural look, the key is to not have a heavy hand with any of the colors. Plus, I love Too Faced products because they always give you directions with pictures, and diagrams to spell out for you exactly where to put each shade. And not to mention the compact is really cute, and lasts a while. I bought this in the beginning of April and still don’t need a new one.


Big Sexy Hair Volumizing Dry Shampoo

This is my number one, absolute, can’t live without, favorite beauty product. If I was stuck on a stranded island or was unable to shower for days, this would be the one product I would have to have. One spritz on your roots takes away any grease and gives your hair volume. For those of you who are fans of not washing your hair everyday, this is the product for you. I would also recommend carrying around a bottle in your purse for long nights out when you need to freshen up. This stuff makes you feel fresh and look like you have just washed you hair, even if you haven’t done a thing to it in days.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cheap and Easy Weeknight Dinner


So I’m always in search of healthy, quick, and cheap dinners to make on the weeknights. I was wandering aimlessly in Target’s grocery aisles yesterday with no cooking inspiration what so ever. I was on the verge of just leaving and picking up Chinese or Mexican, or some other sodium loaded, bloat-filled meal on my way home instead of cooking…then, all of a sudden I happened upon these lovely gems Rotel Diced Tomatoes with Lime Juice and Cilantro and picked up two cans. Then I proceeded to get a can of black beans, and some frozen corn. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it all, but I knew I could figure something out. So when I got home and searched through my pantry I pulled out some brown rice and whipped up a hodgepodge one pot dish that actually turned out really good. The fiancé even commented several times about how good it was, which is surprising considering it’s super healthy (brown rice + black beans = tons of fiber) and meatless. So anytime you’re looking for something super quick and easy, this is your dish.  I popped it in the oven, went on a run, and when I came back dinner was ready, what more could a girl ask for?  Enjoy!

Recipe Gurl’s Delish Rotel Creation:


2 cups brown rice
2 cans of Rotel Diced Tomatoes with Lime Juice and Cilantro
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
Frozen Corn (use the empty Rotel can to measure out a can and a half of corn)
1 ½ cups water

Optional (but Recipe Gurl recommended) toppings:

Light sour cream
Reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped avocado sprinkled with lime juice


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Please all ingredients in a 13x9 casserole dish and mix together.

Place casserole dish in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes stir the dish up, see if the dish looks dry or not (if it does add a touch more of water so that the rice can finish cooking). Set the cooking time for another 20-25 minutes. If rice still needs more cooking time, leave it in for a little longer. Keep testing the rice to see whether or not it seems to be cooking and gauge oven temp and amount of water in the dish.

Top the dish with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Tip: If you wanted to add more protein to the dish you could always incorporate shredded pieces from a rotisserie chicken and just mix it in the dish before baking.