Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Radical Review Wednesday: Goody QuikStyle Brush

Goody QuikStyle brush. photo by ivillage

I don't think I have ever coveted a brush until I saw the Goody QuikStyle brush. Being the mom of a 21 month old, I don't have the time to do a blow dry every day (or even most days!). Some mornings, I barely have time to shower! So to find a brush that removes 30% of water from wet hair to help speed my drying time? Yes please! That it is from Goody just makes it more desirable!

Goody QuikStyle brush closeup. photo frombeautezine

This brush works great! My hair is long and very thick, and it takes forever to dry. The Goody QuikStyle does help it to dry faster. If I want it even more dry, I flip my hair over to make sure that the underneath gets dry as well. I feel so much better about going outside with wet hair because it is not as wet as it used to be! You can also use it to brush your wet hair, then continue using it as you dry and style your hair.

Goody QuikStyle in action!

The only downside is cleaning it. Because it is so absorbent, it didn't dry very quickly, so it was still wet when I went to use it the next day. However, it did dry again, and works just fine!

For more information, check out the Goody website:  or the QuikStyle Product Page:

*I received this product complimentary to test through Influenster’s VoxBox program*

Monday, January 28, 2013

Menu Plan Monday Week of 1/28/13

Happy last week of January! One month closer to spring :D We are getting out of our 20s and below temps and into warmer weather - supposed to be 53 one day this week!

Monday: Jeff's turn at the dentist! Today will be taco pasta from the freezer (LO will have plain pasta)

Tuesday:  Crockpot Beef Stroganoff (will change this recipe to reflect what I have)

Wednesday: Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken

Thursday:  leftovers

Friday:  Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Braid

Saturday: Dinner will be at a baby shower

Sunday: SUPERBOWL!!! It starts so late, though, hard to fit apps, main course and dessert in! So dinner will be "hot apps" aka pretzel dogs (Jeff's request! I'll use this recipe and wrap it around the dogs). We'll have "cold apps" during the game - chips, cheese, dip, etc. and pizza for halftime.

Dessert of the Week:  Not sure!! I will make something for the Superbowl, but nothing has struck my fancy yet! Any suggestions???

Find more menus at Org Junkie

Sunday, January 27, 2013

January Daring Bakers' Challenge: Gevulde Speculaas

Guevlde Speculaas almond paste between spiced dough

Francijn of Koken in de Brouwerij was our January 2013 Daring Bakers’ Hostess and she challenged us to make the traditional Dutch pastry, Gevulde Speculaas from scratch! That includes making our own spice mix, almond paste and dough! Delicious!

This was a fun and easy challenge. I had never made almond paste from scratch, but I would again. Mine did not taste too almond-y, but it was probably the quality of my almonds.

nekkid almonds and their skins

The paste was jut almonds, sugar, an egg and lemon zest in the food processor. Really simple, and it did not take too long to make.

homemade almond paste
The dough was also easy to make. The first step was to mix the speculaas spices. According to Francijn, "Speculaaskruiden contain at least cinnamon, cloves, mace and ginger, and these spices to taste: pepper, cardamom, coriander, anise seeds and nutmeg." Unfortunately, I did not have mace. The mix of spices I used is in the picture below.

speculaas spices
The dough consists of flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, spices and butter that you mix together by hand in a bowl, then roll in a ball. The dough and almond paste should be refrigerated from a few hours or a few days. I left mine in the fridge for a day to help the flavors meld.

The dough then gets divided in half and  rolled out. I had some issues with that and ended up just pressing the dough into the bottom of my pan, then pressing in the almond paste and then the rest of the dough - it totally crumbled. The top is supposed to be smooth but oh well! you also brush on egg in between each layer and on the top.

Crumbly speculaas
Add some almonds on top, bake and EAT!!! The speculaas was crumbly and light. Jeff said the psice tasted like gingerbread, but to me it was cinnamon with a hint of other spices. so good. It was the best on the day one, but today is day 3, and the spices have really come together. It is much more flavorful today.

Gevulde speculaas before and after

This was a great challenge! Thanks Francijn!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Quaker Real Medleys Oatmeal+ Review

Quaker Real Medleys Oatmeal+ Peach Almond
 I am an oatmeal fiend! I love it in every way possible. I eat it several times a week and E. does too. I was excited to see Quaker Real Medleys Oatneal+ in my VoxBox.

Quaker Real Medleys Oatmeal+ - chunks of fruit and nuts

I loved this oatmeal. The peaches were plentiful and big AND they tasted just like peaches. No freeze dried bits that taste like nothing. Lots of almonds too, plenty of taste. The portion size was just right, and it filled me up. This would be great for traveling or just when you are on vacation and need a quick and filling breakfast.

Quaker Real Medleys Oatmeal+ Peach Almond - delicious!
My only issue is that 45 seconds was not long enough to cook it in the microwave. It was still really runny, even after I stirred it (and waited). I had to cook it for 45 seconds more, and it was perfect.

For more information, visit the Quaker Web Site.

*I received this product complimentary from Influenster*

Monday, January 21, 2013

Influenster Holiday VoxBox Unveiling Video

In December, I received my very first VoxBox from Influenster! I was so excited, and seriously, every product looks great, and I can't wait to try them all!

I posted a video for the unveiling of the box. Check it out on Youtube.

Menu Plan Monday - Week of 1/21/13

This week I do not feel like making a meal plan! I should, as we are all stocked up on meat and other items, except veggies, so there is a lot to choose from. But not feeling it. I haven't even updated my blog all week! So I decided this week would be leftovers from the freezer mixed in with some easy meals.

Monday: Skillet Mac and Cheese

Tuesday:  Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday:  Ham and Cheese Pockets

Friday:  leftovers

Saturday we are going out to eat with the in-laws and Sunday will be leftovers!

Dessert of the Week:  Finishing the gingerbread cookies I made from a mix (shh don't tell ;) ). I need to make this month's daring baker dish as well.

Find more menus at Org Junkie

Monday, January 14, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - Week of 1/14/13

Monday:   whatever you can grab... Dentist for me :(

Tuesday:  Omaha Steaks Hot Dogs and Taco Potatoes

Wednesday:  Scooter's Spaghetti

Thursday:  Pepperoni Cheese Stick Rollups

Friday:  leftovers

I try not to cook on the weekends, so Saturday and Sunday are leftovers or frozen meals!

Dessert of the WeekYogurt Chocolate Chip Cookies They won't last the week, though, so I am not sure what else I will make!

Find more menus at Org Junkie

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Yogurt Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yogurt Chocolate Chip Cookies... gooey chocolate chips!

The other day I received a belated Christmas gift from my mom - a cookie dough scoop! I knew she was sending it, but had forgotten, so when I saw it in the midst of gifts for E, I knew I had to make cookies ASAP. Only having one egg yet having way too much yogurt, I knew exactly what kind of cookies to make! These are super soft, and the chips stay gooey. The only change I would make next time was to add a little cinnamon - they are a tiny bit bland.

little circles of yumminess!

Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cookies 
based on the recipe by Shannon's Kitchen Creations

  • 1 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  •  3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt (Greek or regular)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Makes 36 small cookies


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets (or use parchment or silpat.)
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Stir in yogurt and vanilla. Stir the flour mixture into the creamed mixture until incorporated, then mix in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoons, 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges begin to brown. Cool for a minute on the cookie tray before removing.
round dough! love my cookie dough scoop!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ibotta - Earn Easy Cash while Grocery Shopping

Seriously, do you want to make an easy $5 while you are shopping for groceries you already buy? The Ibotta app is crazy easy to use. The basics: Choose what products to buy, do a few small tasks that are worth at least .25 (like taking a poll or answering a trivia question), choose where to shop (they have tons of stores), buy the products, upload a picture of your receipt and boom! The money you have earned gets transferred into your Paypal account.

And until Friday, if you sign up under me (just click this link) you get an additional $5 the first time you upload a receipt! So far, I have done two shopping trips, bought 3 products from the app and gotten back $2.50... real cash, so easy.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - Week of 1/7/13

Yesterday, we went to my in law's for Jeff's grandma's birthday. It was a lot of fun, but getting home so late just makes me want to relax instead of meal planning!! So today's menu is a little late!

Monday:   whatever you can grab... J is working late.

Tuesday:  Taco Pasta (didn't get to make it last week!)

Wednesday: Skillet Pork Chops with Potatoes and Onion

Thursday:  leftovers

Friday:  Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

I try not to cook on the weekends, so Saturday and Sunday are leftovers!

Dessert of the Week: I made Cinnamon Caramel Swirl Bars for the party, but they weren't cool enough to bring, so we have plenty! .. .stay tuned for my blog post about it!!

For more information or to join the hop, go to I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

peanut butter banana muffins

Last week, we bought bananas as BJs like we usually do. E. is insane for bananas. I think that is all he would eat if I let him!! However, these bananas went bad fairly quickly. We didn't do anything differently, so I am not sure what happened. But I DO know that it gave me the perfect excuse to bake! I made banana bread, then wanted something a little different, so I found Gina's recipe for low fat peanut butter banana muffins (peanut butter being E's second favorite food!). I only had regular peanut butter so these are not low fat - but they are really good!

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins
from Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes

  • 3 ripe medium bananas *I used 2*
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 10 tbsp Better'n peanut butter (divided into 8 tablespoons and 2 tablespoons) *I used regular creamy*


Preheat oven to 325°. Line a muffin tin with 12 liners.
Mash bananas in a bowl, set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt with a wire whisk. Set aside.

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add egg whites, bananas, apple sauce, vanilla, and 8 tablespoons peanut butter, and beat at medium speed until thick. Scrape down sides of the bowl.

Add flour mixture, then blend at low speed until combined. Do not over mix.

Pour batter into muffin tin halfway, then add 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining  peanut butter into each muffin well. Top off each muffin with remaining batter,making sure to blend the batter already in the cup with the after you jut put in.* Bake on the center rack for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

* I just topped the muffins with the extra batter, and it was like they were topped with the extra batter NOT like they were  a muffin with peanut butter inside*

this is what happens when you try to photograph a todder's breakfast...


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Recipe Roundup and Index!

While I am not (and will never be!) a food blogger, I do like to post recipes - if only to help me remember what recipes we liked to eat! And if you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know that I usually have some sort of issues with what I make (one reason why I will never be a food blogger!) and usually end up substituting ingredients, so if you are looking for a real person with real opinions on what she makes, this is the page to go to! Plus, most of these recipes are really easy to make.

Appetizers and Side Dishes:

Homemade Crackers
Oven Fries


Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Muffins

Main Dishes:

 Baked Chicken Culets
Cheezy Ritzy Chicken
Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore
Easy Cheeseburger Pasta
Easy Lasagne Skillet
Ground Turkey with Potatoes and Peas
Skillet Mac and Cheese
Three Cheese Spaghetti Bake


Butterscotch Blondies
Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies
Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies
Double Chocolate Toffee Cookies
Eggless Peanut Butter Cookies with White Chocolate Chips
Lemon Coolers
Oreo Caramel Brownies 
Oreo Cheesecake
Oreo Truffles
Peanut Butter Smores Bars
Pumpkin Chip Cream Pie
Red White and Blue Cupcakes
Rice Krispies Cookies
Quick and Easy Candy

(this roundup was inspired by Org Junkie! This post has tons more recipe indexes!
and eventually I will pretty up this page and add pics!)
(OK I figured out how to make this a page, so while this post won't get updated, the link at the top of my blog will!)