Monday, February 29, 2016

Influenster Cheers To You VoxBox Reviews!

What's Influenster?
Influenster is a community of trendsetters, social media aficionados and educated consumers who like to give their honest opinions of products and experiences. 
For more info - go here!

What's a VoxBox?
VoxBoxes are boxes filled with complimentary goodies from your favorite brands!
Again, for more info - go here!

And more importantly how do YOU get one?!?
Select Infuenster users receive FREE themed products based on information provided, social media activity, demographics, badge activity, and sometimes just plain ol' luck.
Once again, for more info - go here!

Keep reading and see what I got to review in my most recent VOXBOX!!!

Suave Professionals Coconut Oil Shampoo and Conditioner

When I saw Coconut Milk I was sold immediately!
I'm pretty much a fan of ANYTHING with coconut in it,
so I was quite excited to give this shampoo and condition a try.
And not surprisingly, I ended up really liking it!

Dr. Teal's Lavender Epson Salt

These definitely helped my sore muscles,
but I think my favorite part was the scent!
The lavender made it so easy to just soak and relax.
Check back in March for a detailed review post on these!

Hormel Chicken Taco Meat

I'm really picky about the quality of meat I eat,
especially when it comes to precooked meat,
but I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed this!
For a more detailed review, check out this post

Simply Sprouted Way Better Snacks 
Sweet Chili Tortilla Chips

To be honest, I didn't have high hopes for these chips.
But I was pleasantly surprised when I took the first bite,
because man oh man were they DELICIOUS!!!!
They reminded me of a healthy version of a Cool Ranch Dorito. 

I hope you enjoyed reading my reviews!

As a reminder, I was given everything free to try, 
but every opinion is 100% my own.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Hormel Chicken Taco Salad

This is an Influenster sponsored review.
I was given the Hormel Chicken Taco Meat free to try, but every opinion is 100% my own.

When I received my most recent VoxBox from Influenster,
I think I was most excited to try out the Hormel Chicken Taco Meat.
I instantly knew that I wasn't going to make typical tacos,
but instead was going to use the meat for a giant taco salad!

I posted this picture on Instagram the night I made the salad.
And now I crave the salad anytime I see this picture!

Now that I've told you how amazing it is,
let me show you how simple it was to make!

The Goods:
Monterey Jack Cheese
Pickled Jalapenos
Black Beans
Sour Cream
Ranch Dressing

*I used the Rice, Cilantro and Limes to make an easy,
knockoff version of Chipotle's Cilantro Lime Rice.

Once you have all your ingredients prepped, 
you're pretty much already done with the hard stuff.
Just throw everything in a bowl and toss to combine.

And because I like my food to not only taste good, but look good too,
I put my salad into a nicer bowl and topped it with a little more cheese.

Even though this salad has quite a few ingredients,
it was one of the easiest salads I've ever made!
Hormel made it super simple for you,
because the chicken is already cooked and seasoned perfectly!

I'm really picky about the quality of meat I eat,
especially when it comes to precooked meat,
but I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed this!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Favorite Kitchen Tools!

Happy Friday you guys!!!
I'm back today for another Friday Link Up!
This week, I'm linking up with THREE different groups.
Make sure to check them all out at the bottom of this post!

Since the majority of what I post about is food,
and I've been cooking for quite a few years now,
I figured today I'd share with you guys my

Wusthof Knives

 While I don't have a full set of these babies,
I have pieced together a nice collection over time.
My collection includes the following:
17-Slot Block, Chef's Knife, Santoku Knife
Paring Knife, Pull- Apart Shears and a Honing Steel 

Hamilton Beach Programmable Crock Pot

I've used a crock pot for well over a decade,
but this one is a HUGE step up from my original.
Not only is it much bigger, it's programmable,
but the best part is that you can brown the meat in it!!!
I don't know about you, but that was a game changer for me.

Kitchen Gurus Food Scale

My brother got the for me for my brithday a few years ago.
And while it's not something I'd probably have bought myself,
I really do love having it around now.
I find myself using it more and more these days
because it makes certain tasks so much faster and easier!

KitchenAid Stand Mixer
I've had my stand mixer for almost ten years now.
When I first got it, I thought I'd make baking easier.
But I've learned to use it for other things too.
It makes certain cooking tasks easier,
and I haven't had to kneed dough by hand in years!!!

Cast Iron Double Burner Reversivle Grill/Griddle
This is one of my most used kitchen tools by far.
It's so versitle and I'm always finding new things to make on it.
It makes making tons of pancakes super easy,
is a great way to grill meats indoors,
and make an amazing grilld cheese sandwich too!!!
Don't forget, many places online offer cast back through Ebates!
I ALWAYS check Ebates before placeing an order online.
And really - who doesn't like free money???
It's not always much, but it's some money back!

Now for more Friday Link Up Fun, check out the blogs below!

Andrea and Erika's blogs from Friday Favorites.

April and Christina's blogs from 5 on Friday.

Karli and Amy's blogs from oh hey friday!


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Things I'm Lovin' Tuesday: Converse Shoreline Sneakers

This is a non-sponsored review and I purchased or received as a gift my own shoes.

A few months ago I started another monthly blog series called
If you missed the first few, you can find them:
hereherehereherehere, here and here;
and make sure to check back every last Tuesday of the month!

Now onto what I'm lovin' this month...

I've been a fan of Converse Chuck Taylors for many years.
Always the low top verson for me peronally.
I've had many colors over time too -
black, red, gray and now white.

But not just the regural low top white.
Nope, I decide to swith it up a lil.
Last Fall I was doing a lil shopping and ordered

And man, oh man, oh man...

I LOVED these shoes from first time I tried them on.
They were like the regural Chuck Taylors
 They slip on and are a lil more feminine.

Now if you doubt  my love for these shoes,
here's are a few photos of me wearing them!!!

They are super cute with jeans - cuffed and uncuffed,
but I can't wait to wear them with shorts this Spring and Summer!
And for those of you wondering if I wear them without socks,
no I do not - I wear super tiny almost non-exsistant nude socks.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Bubble Bath Review: Deep Steep Bubble Bath

This is a non-sponsored review and I purchased my own Bubble Bath.

Hello Wednesday!
So excited that the week is half over,
but also about the bubble bath I'm sharing today!

I'm usually one to shop with my eyes
and get drawn to things by the way they look.
And that's exactly what happened when I saw this bubble bath!

The packaging was simple, but pretty neat,
and I was excited about the Passion Fruit Guava scent,
so of course it made it into my cart to review!

You better believe I've have something to drink and something to read.
It's not a bubble bath for me without both of those things!

Just like most bubble bath, 
simply squeeze under running water.

And this one produced a TON of bubbles!

Not only did the amount of bubbles impress me,
but the passion fruit guava sent was amazing.
I will 100% be buying this bubble bath again,
and if you're a bubble bath fan you should too!!!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

White Chocolate Pretzel Blondies

A few months ago I ran across this recipe while doing some blog reading.
My mouth immediately started watering and I knew I had to make them.
I've made blondies before and couldn't wait to make this version.

I keep a pretty stocked pantry and I actually had everything I needed already!
I think that was the Universe's way of telling me to make them right away.
And man oh man, I'm glad I didn't wait too long because they are SO good!

Enough talking outta me, let me show you how they're made.

The Goods:
All-Purpose Flour
Sea Salt
Baking Soda
Brown Sugar
Vanilla Extract
White Chocolate Chips
Mini Pretzel Twists

Measure out and prepare all your goods.

Mix melted butter and both sugars and beat until combined.
Add your two eggs and mix again until incorporated.
Add your flour mixture and beat once again.
Lastly mix in your white chocolate and chopped pretzels.

Spread mixture out evenly in a greased 9 X 13 baking dish.

Arrange whole pretzels on top, pressing down just slightly.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, 
until blondie are golden brown.

Cool in pan completely and then cut into squares,
with one mini pretzel in each individual blondie.

White Chocolate and Pretzel Blondies
(Insipired by The Pioneer Woman)

2 1/8 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
12 Tablespoons Butter, Melted and Cooled
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 Cup White Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Chopped Pretzels
30 to 35 Mini Pretzel Twists 
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together your flour, salt and baking soda, then set aside.
  2. In stand mixer of large mixing bowl, mix melted butter and both sugars and beat until combined.
  3. Add your two eggs and mix again until incorporated.
  4. Add your flour mixture and beat once again.
  5. Lastly mix in your white chocolate and chopped pretzels.
  6. Spread mixture out evenly in a greased 9 X 13 baking dish.
  7. Arrange whole pretzels on top, pressing down just slightly.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, until blondies are golden brown.
  9. Cool in pan completely and then cut into squares, with one mini pretzel in each individual blondie.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

DIY: Valentine's Heart Banner

If you've read my blog for awhile, 
you're probably already aware I love to decorate.
(Proof can be found here, here and here!)
And if I can DIY the decoration, that's even better!

While I have quite a bit of Valentine's Day decor already,
I wanted something new and different this year,
and I'm a fan of DIY banners so that's what I set out to make!

After a little research online and very little thought,
I decided on a super simple heart banner in two different red patterns.
Take a look below to see how I made it! 

The Goods:
Scrapbook Paper*
Heart Stencil
Craft Rope or Twine
Slim Utility Knife

*I used two different red patterns, but use whatever you'd like!

Depending on the length of your banner,
trace as many hearts as you'll need.

I used five of one patterns and four of another,
and actually originally traced and cut out eight of each.
It was WAY more than I needed because of the size of my stencil.

On the reverse side of the patterned paper, 
draw little lines where you'll make cuts for your rope. 

Using your slim utility knife,
cut slits over the lines you just drew.

Slide the rope through one slit and then the other,
alternating between the two red patterns.

Lastly, hang your banner for all to see! 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Homemade Soft Pretzels for Super Bowl!!!

Happy Super Bowl Sunday Guys!!!
Today is not only about football,
but also about all the yummy food!

I am going to be making a few things,
one of which is my Homemade Soft Pretzels,
which were requesed by a close friend.

The below post was published in 2013,
but since I am making them again today,
I figured why not repost and share their deliciousness?

While visiting my brother and his family in Kansas City, I met an amazing woman named Heather. She is a foodie like me and we clicked almost instantly! I soon found out about her Soft Pretzel Bites and KNEW I would be making them when I got back to California. 

After telling a friend about them, I couldn't wait any longer and made them last night. I made the whole batch, and was able to freeze more than half. I got a craving for one today while editing these photos and I can tell you they are just as amazing microwaved right out of the freezer. I will be making these again soon, even if it's just to stock my freezer with these tasty little treats!

Take a look at how I made some of the best soft pretzels I've ever had! Oh and you should also make them yourself - you WON'T be sorry!!!

The Goods:
Vegetable Oil
Baking Soda
Kosher Salt
Sea Salt
Egg Yolk
Active Dry Yeast

Combine the warm water, kosher salt and sugar.

Add the yeast and let it do it's thing.

Using the dough hook attachment, mix in the flour and butter.

Kneed on medium speed for 4 to 5 minutes - 
until the dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl.

Oil bowl/dough, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour.

Until it looks like this!

Roll it out onto a lightly oiled surface.

Divide into eight equal portions and roll our until 24 inches long.

Form pretzels or cut into bite sized pieces. 

Place all pieces on lightly oiled, parchment lined baking sheets.

Bring water and baking soda to a rolling boil.

Boil each pretzel individually for 30 seconds and return to baking sheets.
(Or 10 bite sized pieces at a time) 

Bake for about 10 minutes.

Remove from baking sheet and brush a little extra butter on top.

And serve with some jalapeno cheese - my fave!

Thanks Heather. I already cannot wait to make more!!!