Lighten Up With Antipasti

Today I wanted something easy, light, and filling. One of our go to meals is a fresh antipasti. Have you ever watched one of those cheesy romcoms where the couple is all googley eyed in the grocery store? Well that is me and P. Except we get googley eyed over olives and cheese. My favorite place to pick up ingredients is whole foods. Their olive bar is enough to make me giddy! Most grocery stores sell marinated olives, peppers, and cheeses in the deli section. Today I out used a few ingredients, but they all had a very strong flavor.
What you need:
Marinated olives and/or peppers 
Mixture of cheeses (I used Romano and mozerella) 
Romain lettuce chopped
Asparagus quickly sautéed in olive oil
Dried salami 
Layer everything the way you like on a plate and season with salt and pepper. 
For the dressing:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar 
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp Dijon mustard 
Salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper to taste
Whisk everything together and drizzle over your salad. Serve with your favorite bread!

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Chocolate Cheesecake Donuts

I honestly cannot think of anything better than a hot fresh donut. Our favorite donut shop is only open a few hours in the early morning and you have to get there first to ensure the best pick of their selection. I have never had a bad pastry from them, but some are definitely better than others. Their signature yeast donuts filled with peanut butter, dipped in chocolate, and topped with fresh bananas inspire me to get creative with my pastries. I actually started this recipe with something completely different in mind, but once I started I realized we were out of heavy cream. I was planning on making a cheesecake filling topped with chocolate ganache, but I ended up making a chocolate cheese cake topping. You could add more cream cheese and make it a filling, but I liked it as a topping even better. 

What you need

For the donut dough- My favorite yeast donut recipe is from Chow.com. 

My adapted version:
2 1/2 cups of bread flour (I use king aurther and I can definitely tell the difference)
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp fine salt
1 packet of active yeast
1 cup of warm milk ( I used 2%)
3 heaping tbsps of sugar
1/2 stick of room temp unsalted butter
3 egg yolks

For the topping:
1/2 cup chocolate (milk and dark)
1/2 cup milk
8 ounces low fat cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar

Use the bread paddle on your mixer and mix the flour, salt, sugar and yeast while warming your milk. I toss the milk in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add in your milk, vanilla, eggs and butter and mix until the dough forms a sticky ball. If you have a bread machine you can dump all the ingredients in the bowl and put on the dough setting. Let rise for at least one hour. 

One the dough rises flour your surface and rolling pin and roll to about 1/2 thick. I use scotch glasses to cut my circles out. Put all your dough circles on a pan and cover. Let rise while the oil heats up. I have a fryer with canola oil and I set mine to 350 degrees. Once the oil is hot add your dough and cook for about 2 minutes before flipping. The donuts should be a nice golden color, but beware because they will burn very quickly after they reach that point. 

When you make the topping the easiest way for me is to put the cream cheese and milk in a microwave safe bowl and heat for about a minute. Add the chocolate chunks and stir until melted. You can use a mixture to speed up the process. Add in the sugar.

I like dipping the donuts while the topping is still warm. Sprinkle as desired. Enjoy!




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Summer Date Nights

Summer is always filled with fun late night outings. You can finally wear bright tank tops and show off the mediocre tan you achieved from an afternoon in the sun. Summer nights also give me the chance to wear five kinds of bronzer and no one will be the wiser! 

Tonight we went to see Southpaw (oh my gosh Jake Gyllenhaal was phenomenal) I wanted to bronze up my face and do a smokey eye, but I didn’t want black eyeshadow melting down my face. I used a combo of really warm eye shadows and bronzers. I decided to skip the winged liner and just make it all about the lashes. Get ready with me on my channel!

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Glowing Summer Makeup

Are you seeing a trend? I cannot escape these glowing products. The makeup industry keeps on releasing these incredible products that allow us to be creative, but still embrace our skin. 

Last night I uploaded a get ready with me featuring my favorite summer glow products. 
You can watch it here 
The BALM is known for their highlighting and bronzing powders. The formulas are so creamy. I used both the maryloumanizer and bettyloumanizer.
Maybelline just released the bronzing BB cream. I have mine in the lightest shade. It blends so quickly. It would be hard to use too much. 
Buxom has always been one of my favorite makeup lines. All of their products seem to magically bring out my best features. Their blushes come in bold bright colors that deposit sheer washes onto the cheek. This makes them crazy easy to blend and I do not know another brand that can make bright orange look natural. 
Products used: 
Rimmel 25 hour with comfort serum 
Urban decay naked skin concealer light
The BALM maryloumanizer and bettyloumanizer 
Milani baked bronzer
Rimmel stay matte powder translucent 
Maybelline BB bronzing cream 
Buxom blush seduction 
Cover girl mascara bloom in black 
Rimmel liquid liner in black 
Ulta lip liner in nude 
NARs lip pencil in Bahama 
What are your favorites ???
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Restaurant Dishes For Less (Calories)

Ever crave your favorite comfort meal from your favorite restaurant? Of course you do, who doesn’t? My personal go to meal is the butter milk fried chicken from Bahama Breeze. Crispy salty fried chicken layered with cheese, lemon butter, and creamy mashed potatoes. It is probably not one of the best things I can put into my body. I decided to take my comfort into my own hands and try and recreate this dish with less calories. (This is NOT what I would classify as a healthy dish, just less calories than the original)

What you need: 
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups of Flour
1 egg
1 cup milk (for chicken)
1/2 cup milk (for potatoes)
Pepper, salt, garlic powder, paprika, red pepper
1/2 stick of butter
2 lemons
Black beans 
Diced tomato
2 large russet potatoes peeled and chopped
Extra sharp cheddar 
Directions:
I use freezer bags to make my fried chicken. It is quick and easy to clean up. Fill one bag with the milk and egg. Add chicken and set to the side. In the other bag add the flour and spices. The amount is totally up to you. I used 3 tbsp of paprika and 1 tbsp of all the other spices. Paprika gives the chicken that really nice red crust. I use a deep fryer with canola oil set to 350 to make my chicken. Add marinated chicken to the flour bag and coat thoroughly. Add to fryer and cook for 15 minutes or until chicken is at 165 degrees. (I use a meat thermometer to check) 
While chicken is frying, add potatoes to a pot of boiling water and cook until fork tender. Drain the water and add milk. Smash with a fork until creamy. Season with salt and pepper. 
In a sauce pan over medium heat add butter and lemon. Whisk until sauce slightly thickens. 
Heat black beans and tomatoes over low heat. This is more of a garnish so I only used about a cup of each. 
Time to put it together. Start with potatoes and shred a little cheddar on top. Add some beans and tomatoes. Spoon the lemon butter over everything. Top with a chicken breast. 
This is such a wonderful satisfying meal. Creamy potatoes with the tang from the cheddar and lemon. Crispy fried chicken. Sooooo good. Enjoy!
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2015 Summer Essentials

Summer is one of my favorite times of year to try new products. New collections and bright colors always seem to be popping up. Habitual self tanning is accepted by my coworkers. Grilling out every night becomes the norm. I also get to bust out a lot of favorites that get tucked away every fall. 

1. The romper
My boyfriend hates when I wear “onsies” I love them. So easy and casual. My new favorite is from aeopostale. (Right? Who knew they were still around)
Get the one I am wearing here – https://m.aeropostale.com/product/index.jsp?productId=59954336
2. The Perfect Bathing Suit
I usually get my bathing suits from target, old navy, or Victoria’s Secret. The vs semi annual sale is currently going on so you get score a nice one without spending a ton of money. My new one is a colorful tribal print. 
https://www.victoriassecret.com/swimwear/shop-by-size-mobile
3. Sunglasses
I never spend a lot on sunglasses because I always drop them or lose them. My two favorite brands are New York and company and Nordstrom. 
I have had this $12 pair from Nordstrom for over 3 years. Such a classic pair.

http://www.nyandcompany.com/nyco/prod/accessories/sunglasses/chain-link-sunglasses/A-prod450086/#N-102577
http://m.shop.nordstrom.com/s/bp-nikki-60mm-sunglasses/3893131?origin=keywordsearch
4. Deep waver 
I used a deep waver from bedhead to get the look above. So easy! It’s my go to because it looks better the next day! 
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B003FBI9LS/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1436822477&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SY200_QL40&keywords=bedhead+deep+waver&dpPl=1&dpID=414JzLoWHiL&ref=plSrch

5. Texturizing spray 
I love a good salt spray for summer time.my hair is naturally curly so I would be a frizz ball if I used it alone, but paired with my deep waver it is amazing. My current favorite is the Not Your Mothers sea salt spray 
http://www.ulta.com/ulta/browse/productDetail.jsp?productId=xlsImpprod3120617
6. Accessories
I love fun colorful statement pieces for summer. I do not love spending a fortune on a trendy piece. I usually search in boutiques for items. There is a new boutique that popped up near me that sells clutters of beaded bracelets for only $1!
http://www.nyandcompany.com/nyco/prod/accessories/jewelry/earrings/feather-fringe-drop-earring-/A-prod4080027/
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Redneck Nachos

 

Sometimes you just really need a cheat day. I tracked my diet and excersize using the fitness pal app this week. It was a really easy way to count my calories and monitor my fat/protein/carb intake. To reward my hard work throughout the week I decided to do a cheat meal tonight. I did make a few changes to the original recipe to slightly lighten it up, but my no means is this a healthy dinner.

If you need to satify that need for fat steak fries, hot gooey cheeses, tangy pulled pork and spicy jalepeno overload then look no further!

 

Redneck Nachos
( inspired by Atlanta’s Pig & Chick Restaurants )
What you need :
Steak cut fries (homemade or frozen)
Shredded cheese (I used cheddar and monterey jack)*
Pulled pork**
Your favorite BBQ sauce
Pickled jalapeños
Sour cream ***
Preheat oven to 400.
Bake or fry your steak fries until they are crispy on the outside, but still tender on the inside. Drain on paper towel and lightly season with salt and pepper. Fill your pan with the fries. I used my cuisinart 5 1/2 quart sautée pan. This is my all time favorite oven safe pan!
Cover the fries with the shredded cheeses, pork, bbq sauce and jalapeños.
Heat in the oven until all the cheese has melted and starts to bubble.
Serve with sour cream, hot sauce and extra BBQ sauce!
* feel free to substitute with 2% cheeses
** I will link my favorite pulled pork recipe. I prefer to use a loin to cut out all the extra fat usually found in pork shoulder
http://lexiscleankitchen.com/2013/06/12/slow-cooker-pulled-pork/
*** fat free sour cream works here!

 

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Rimmel London Lasting Finish Foundation Review

Rimmel recently released their lasting finish foundation in a new formula. This is one of my new favorites! So light and easy to wear. The price is fantastic. Check out my video for a more detailed review! 

My youtube channel- My Review On Youtube

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Work Appropriate Glow

 It has been insanely hot here in Georgia this month. Plus with all the rain we have had it has been extra humid. Today I decided to work with the weather and created a – I just got back from vacation – look that will actually work with the heat. 

I started with the buxom illuminator that has a cooling tingle built in so when you sweat the product starts cooling you down. I applied this with my hands over my moisturizer. 
Then I went in with a foundation. Today I used the maybelline fit me because it is very light. 
Next I take the bronze bb cream with my stippling brush and blend into the points of my face that I would normally contour. (Cheek bones, forehead, sides of my nose)
You can use a highlighter or shimmery eye shadow to touch the tops of the cheeks and inner corner of your eyes an extra glow. 
I use the baked bronzer with a huge powder brush and just warm up my cheeks and neck. I took a blending brush and added just a little to my crease as well. 
I set everything with translucent powder and added the buxom gloss in White Russian. Again the gloss has that cooling sensation that really helps beat the heat. 
For my hair I used the bed head waver and the not your mothers sea salt spray. 
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Cutting calories

 I decided in order to jump start my weight loss and get back on track that I would need to cut calories. This may not be the best for everyone, but I love food. I love cooking and baking, eating out, trying new things … I love food. The only way I will be able to kick start this program is if I use portion control and calorie counting. I am starting off with 1200 calories based on my current height/ weight and where I want my weight to be. I downloaded my fitness pal to help me track the calories. I have a feeling the measure cup will be my best friend this month. 

 Today I started out with a piece of cinnamon toast and an egg. Equaling 150 calories. This is actually very light for breakfast. I might add in a banana. Before work I am going to do 15 minutes of squats and abs. 
 Happy Monday motivation! I hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend!
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