Lush Bath Bomb Product Review

I am a sucker for a bath. A big sucker. I’m going to pull out a Meredith agree quote:

Meredith: “I… have one opinion. And that is that I just want a tub deep enough that covers my…”

Derek: “Knees and boobs at the same time.”

Seriously. I’m short but I’m stout and I just want a tub I can sink into. So when BL and I FINALLY MOVED OUT one of the greatest draws to the new house was the extra large bath tub that had recently been installed in the house. I had been ogling over the bath bombs at Lush forever and I decided to treat myself, in light of the new tub and all:

 

I was pretty excited to see this little guy in action. At $4.95 it was by far the cheapest bath bomb in the store, so I figured it was a good starting point from me. Not to mention I was petrified it would stain my landlord’s brand new bathtub, so I stayed away from anything too pigmented or sparkly.

Lush describes this particular bomb as:

“Vanilla bath time confection with saucy undertone Inspired by the delightful Audrey Hepburn, Pink is sophisticated, sexy, elegant, and witty. Fragranced with edgy tonka bean, neroli, and the sweetness of vanilla absolute, it turns baths into candy-scented fantasies with a fragrance that lingers on your skin long after you’re out of the bath. It’s sweet, but not overbearingly so, with a subtle bite of something cheeky. Spoil yourself; instead of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, have an indulgent bath with Pink.”

According to the Lush Website, ingredients are as follows: 

Featured Ingredient:

Tonka Absolute (Dipteryx odorata)

Ingredients:

Sodium Bicarbonate , Citric Acid , Fragrance , Lavender Oil (Lavandula augustifolia) , Tonka Absolute (Dipteryx odorata) , Vanilla Absolute (Vanilla planifolia) , Neroli Oil (Citrus Aurantium amara) , *Limonene , *Linalool , *Coumarin , Pink Heart Confetti , Propylene Glycol , Red 27 , Red 33 , Red 4 , Candy Flowers (Sucrose, Corn Starch, Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6) .*Occurs naturally in essential oil

LushOPedia, a treasure trove of information about everything used in Lush products, explains the various uses for Tonka Absolute, the featured ingredient in the Pink Bath Bomb:

” Tonka absolute is obtained from the seeds of the fruit of the Dipteryx odorata tree. This tall tree belongs to the legume (Fabaceae) plant family. It can grow up to 120 feet tall and has black fruits. The trees can be found in Costa Rica, Brazil and Peru.

Once the fruit is ripe, the seeds are removed and soaked in alcohol. They swell up, after which they are removed and dried out. As they dry, a white frost appears on the surface. This was first identified in 1820 as coumarin.

At room temperature, the absolute is solid, brown and has a sweet, vanilla-like aroma.

Tonka absolute is a valued perfumery material and we use it in our Vanillary solid perfume.

Aromatherapists use tonka as antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory. It is also thought to treat joint problems.”

Ok, so now I’ve told you ALL about everything these little bombs contain, what do they actually do? Well, if a picture is worth 1000 words, is a video worth 100,000?  Let’s see shall we:  

 
And next step is to slide right in 

  
Ok, so the perks. Your bath is pink. Right there is enough to convince this girl to buy another one. My tubby smelled amazing and I was very nice and relaxing. I think I did it wrong because I think you’re supposed to be IN the tub when you drop the bomb. 

And for anyone wondering, thank god, my bath wasn’t stained. The only thing I can think of that I didn’t care for were the tiny hearts. They didn’t seen to dissolve in the water, but they did slip easily down the drain so I guess no real complaints. We will have to see if an emergency call to the plumber is needed to unclog the drain due to paper hearts. 

I can’t say that the bomb did anything more than perfume and color my bath, because I didn’t notice any real difference in my skin. The smell did seem to linger, and the bathroom did smell great. 

All in all, for $4.95 I would hands down buy from Lush again. 

A New Year…

And hopefully, a new you!  Not that I am advocating doing a complete upheaval of your life and undergoing a drastic transformation, but I think that we can all agree that there are some things in our life that we can afford to tweak.  I said tweak, not twerk, twerking was so 2015.  So instead of making all of these unrealistic goals, I have decided to set a few for myself.  Nothing too crazy, and all verrrrrrrrry vague, and I encourage all of you to do the same!

 

My 2016 Tweak List:

  • QUIT SMOKING- ok so this one may not be so vague, but it is a hard reality.  I need to quit.  I started smoking casually at the age of 15 and by time I was a freshman in college, I was a full fledged pack a day smoker.  I’ve made a few “serious” attempts to quit before, but none have been too fruitful.
  • GET IN SHAPE- again, not too vague, but I’m not setting a “goal weight” or giving myself any crazy restrictions.  Not just yet anyway, but I do plan on doing a Whole30 in the near future, because I think it would help with other issues aside from my weight.
  • GET MY SHIT TOGETHER- I mean, I’m not saying I’m a disaster, however this year I turn 30, in just 8 short months.  I have a good job, but I could be doing more.  Get my debt and frivolous spending down!  Save those dollar dollar bills ya’ll!  Not to mention that I would REALLY love for BL and I to get an apartment, which isn’t going to happen when we’re eating out constantly and not monitoring our spending.
  • YOGA YOGA MORE YOGA- I was on a pretty good yoga binge for awhile, and then as all things usually do with my life, I got lazy and pushed it to the side.  Yoga is an amazing form of exercise that will not only get my fat butt in shape, but also my mind and spirit, which I admit have been a little on the chubby side too.  A few months ago, I went to the doctor and talked to her about my anxiety.  She ran through a few recommendations, one of which was a prescription.  I toyed with the idea, but I decided to give yoga and meditation a try first.  I noticed as I slipped back into my lazy and depressed mood that my anxiety has been at an all time high, and I would really love to be able to get that under control.
  • BACK TO SCHOOL- back to school, back to school, to prove to dad that I’m not a fool.  Just kidding, my dad doesn’t think I’m a fool, but when I was 19 and decided I was going to major in Psych and then take over the world after law school, I wasn’t thinking clearly.  I’m glad I didn’t pursue a law degree, but now I’m left with a very expensive piece of paper, that qualifies me to do basically nothing.  So I’m going to start taking classes, I’m not sure which ones yet, but it has been almost 8 years since I took a class, and it would be a good starting off point.
  • READ MORE- I love to read, and to be honest, I haven’t really been doing a great job at that either.  I printed off a few book challenges for 2016 which I will be posting about, so please feel free to play along!
  • WRITE SOMETHING EVERYDAY- so this one is pretty set in stone, but I hope one day I get to publish a book.  That isn’t going to happen if I’m not writing, which I’m not.  So self, get on that.

So there it is, my Vague Tweak List 2016.  I’m sure there are plenty of other things I can work on, and one of them will be this blog.

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So Happy New Year’s everyone!

Furf

A Reading Challenge! 41=Days To Election Day. 43=Presidents Of the United States. 9.55=Days Allotted to Each President.

In watching the news, I can’t help but notice that there is an upswing in the political intensity of broadcasts.  When I was in high school and college, I was very politically minded.  I was up on current events, I loved nothing more than going toe to toe in my World Politics college class with the straight laced Republicans, and could almost hold my own in a heated confrontation with my grandfather.  Since I’ve been out of college, I must admit that I have become less politically minded and more concerned with the social issues that plagued the nation.  I vote based on the candidate and their stances on the social issues first and the financial issues second.

But this isn’t a political post.

The most recent story of Kim Davis, the super conservative elected official refusing to do the job she was elected to do, really intrigued me.  People were throwing around federal law verses state law, religion in politics and sprinkling in some marijuana law jargon.  The comments made me realize that the American people know so little about their own government, and very little about the history of how this country was built.

I really promise, this isn’t political!  (Only maybe a little).

Then, in a realization that stunned me, I realized how little I knew/remembered about history.  At one point, I was a history major.  I took classics classes in college, including an entire semester class on Sparta.  But I remembered so little about every thing I learned.  So I issued myself a challenge, and I invite you to join me!

There are 411 days until election day.  There have been 43 Presidents Of the United States Of America.  That give me 9.55 days to read a biography on each president.  Anyone want to play?

The first book I’m reading is Washington: A Life, by Ron Cherow.  I picked a very intimidating first book at 817 pages.  Which means that I need to read 85 pages a day on this first one.  Oops.  Luckily, Cherow is an amazing writer, so the book is flowing nicely with little redundancy.  I’m at page 55 right now, and with my 9.55 day limit, technically I need to read 79.79 pages a day.  That is SO MUCH BETTER than 85.

No, this isn’t an assignment, it should be fun.  You don’t need to pick a monster book.  There are hundreds of books on George Washington.  Pick one, and learn a little something about our founding father.  I’ll be posting my review of mine ASAP, and I invite you to do the same.

Also, any other history nerds have any suggestions on Presidential Biographies that I absolutely must read?

July 2015 Ipsy Glam Bag Review

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The Glam Bag!  Although I started with Birchbox, I have to admit, the GlamBag has quickly become what I look forward to most in the mail.  And that’s saying a lot because I order a lot of things online.  Not to mention I love the tiny bags that my stuff comes in, because who can’t have enough tiny bags.
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Vasanti BrightenUp!:

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One of my favorites, and something I never mind getting, even if it is a double.  I’ve received this sample a few times from both Ipsy and Birchbox and I am always excited.  This gentle cleanser is light enough to use every day, and it’s mild exfoliating properties leave you face fresh and smooth.  My skin always feels like it is glowing.

Be a Bombshell Tinted LipBalm

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Now this is what I’m talking about.  A lightly tinted lip balm, that left a light pink sheen over my lips.  Sadly, I can’t give you a selfie because this lip balm, like so many others before it, has been eaten by my purse.  One day, I will play a game of What’s in Furf’s Bag? and show you just how easy it is for one tiny chap stick to get eaten.  When it resurrects itself sometime in the near future, I will update with a selfie, I promise.

City Color HD Powder:

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I’m not going to say too much about this powder.  It’s pretty and simmery and I’m too lazy to log on to Ipsy to read the directions, so I apply it over my eyeshadow if I put too much on.

LaPlaya Sea Salt Spray:

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I love I love I love!!  I can’t say enough about this hairspray.  I apply it to my damp hair, put it in a braid and let it air dry or sleep on it.  When I take it out in the morning, my hair has a soft, beach like feel.  I also like to use it to set my curls, in addition to the RUSK re-styling cream.  The sample is a decent size, so as soon as it runs out, I will buy for sure!

and the best for last…

Essie: Fashion Playground:

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I love nail polish, however I am incapable of painting my own nails.  Unless it is instant dry, I don’t buy it, because I can never sit still long enough to let it dry.  This was was nice, the color is a very pale blue, almost white.  It is a little too light for me to wear on my nails, but it looks adorable on my toes, especially when my feet are tan.

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evidence: I cannot paint my nails

July 2015 Birchbox Review

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I’m baaaaack, and back dating!  I’ve been sitting on these reviews for awhile.  Sometimes, it takes me awhile to try my products, mostly because I’m hoarding them.  Or because I’m hiding them from BL and then I forget where I hid them.

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I was so excited with this box!  With the exception of the Supergoop, these were all new products to me, which was a pleasant surprise, considering Birchbox has been pretty good at sending me doubles lately.

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Jam packed with a variety of products, I couldn’t wait to dive right in.  The lip gloss was very intimidating, and I wasn’t sure what to do with the oil, but I’ll get to all that:

Juliet Has a Gun: Not a Perfume:

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Perfume, perfume, perfume!!  I’m always pumped to get perfume, because I’m not one of those people who can settle on one fragrance.  There are apparently some people, like my mother, who wear one scent.  My mother has been wearing her’s for over 30 years.  Her stuff smells like it even after she has washed it.  This perfume is the exact opposite of her pungent Clinique Aromatics Elixir.  It is light and airy, with a distinct yet familiar scent.  It is neutral enough to wear during the day at the office, but interesting enough to wear out in the evening.  At $90.oo for a 50ml bottle on the Birchbox website, it’s too rich for my taste; however, I am saving up my points and waiting for a good coupon.

RUSK Heatshift Re-Styling Cream:

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This stuff is a miracle in a bottle!  I am someone who frequently goes days without washing their hair, I’m always looking for a new way to help hold style, not to mention spruce up a day old look.  Recently, one of my tricks has been to divide my hair into two pony tails and curl the ends.  Cut the rubber bands, and BOOM! instant adorable curls.  Now, add in a little of this re-styling cream, and a little of my new favorite hairspray (which you’ll learn about in another review I promise), your curls are going to last all day.  Not to mention that with a little dab of your new next day best friend, and your curls will not only stay, but they’ll be smooth and airy.  Listed on Birchbox for $18.00 for 3.4oz, this will soon be finding it’s way into my bathroom.  As soon as my sample runs out that is.

Jouer Daily Clarifying Treatment Oil:

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I’ll admit, even with the hot pink lip gloss included in this box, I was still the most confused by this “face oil”, but I decided to give it a try.  My skin is very combination, however I try to avoid any additional oil, as my skin can lean toward being oily.  So I gave it a quick wash, dried it, and spread a few drops along my brow and nose and cheeks, and rubbed it in.  There was a slight tingling sensation all over my face, and I was left with a light, dewy glow.  It was the perfect mositroizer to go under my CC cream.  And this tiny little bottle has lasted me forever.  Priced at $48.00, it is a little expensive, but if it lasts as long as the sample, it will be well worth it.

Supergoop! Anti-Aging City Sunscreen Serum SPF 50:

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I’m not someone who typically wears sunscreen, so I can’t really tell you if this worked or not.  My face didn’t get burnt on my recent trip to the beach, where I was all too excited to whip out my purse sized sunscreen, until my friend pulled out her Costco sized bottle of SPF 70 and began to slather herself in it.  So I applied the Supergoop! to my face, and the SPF 70 over the rest of my body, because she came to the beach 3 times a week, and I hadn’t been since last year and had no base tan.  I didn’t get sunburned, and the sunscreen didn’t run in my eyes, so all in all, a win.  Would I spend $18.00 on a full sized one?  No way.  Not when I can get double that anywhere else.

and last but not least…

stila look at me liquid lipstick trio: 

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My initial thoughts on this sample was, holy shit that is a lot of pink.  Very very pink.  And so I tried it on.  And to my astonishment, it didn’t rub off on anything!  But it was really fucking pink.  Like, Pink’s hair pink.  So while this lip gloss, lipstick hybrid has amazing non rub power, I’m not sure I will ever be brave enough to wear it anywhere.  Maybe on Halloween.

I’ll end this review by giving you a treat.  I worked myself up to taking a selfie in the really pink stuff.  For your viewing pleasure:

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P.S.- one of the reasons I don’t wear lip gloss or lipstick or anything really other than a tinted lip balm is because I cannot properly apply it.

Sunday Fun Day Round Up

Something I would like to start doing on Sunday is giving a rundown of all the great things from this week.  So to start you out, here are some products I am currently obsessing over:

1.) Pink Grapefruit Make-Up Removing Wipes

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I purchased these at Marshalls, and for the love of god like everything else I find there, I CANNOT find it in the real world.  But anyway, these are great for lazy people like me who cannot be bothered to take off their makeup at night.  Just whip one out and wipe me down.  There are a butt ton of these floating around out there, so find one that fits your budget (some of them are expensive!) and that smells good, and buy them.  Keep them in your bathroom next to your toothbrush.  After you brush your teeth, wipe off your makeup.  Seriously, it takes 45 seconds.

2.) Lolli Tint by Benefit

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So this little lovely came in a set that i impulse purchased from HSN when I was feeling the need for some extra glam.  You can find it here or at any Sephora or such, although I have to say the price on the package is good considering it runs around $30 by itself.  So basically, it looks like a nail polish, with a similar consistency, if not a little runnier.  You paint it on your face in 3 lines, and then quickly rub and blend it in to your foundation, leaving your cheeks with a hint of pinkish glow.  WARNING: If you don’t rub it in fast enough, you will basically be walking around with faint pink warrior stripes on your face.  BONUS: It can also be used as a lip tint, and pairs AMAZING with the LolliBalm, which I received in my Glam Bag but refuse to purchase because $18 for chap stick, ahem, sorry, lip balm is insane.

3.) submissive Eyebase by Be A Bombshell Cosmetics

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There are many, many reasons why I love this base.  It came to me in an Ipsy bag, and it has lasted FOREVER.  Not only does a little go a long way, but when I’m in a hurry (aka I have 5 minutes to put my makeup on and get out the door) it doubles as an eye shadow.  You can buy it here, and live it up!

In other news, I quit smoking.  I have like 57 puffs, but I have settled on the iTaste vv, which was given to me.  I’m currently puffing on Fantasia Flavored E-Liquid: Guava Infusion 12mg nicotine.  I’m feeling ok, but I’ve been puffing like my life depends on it.  I am afraid, that when I am tested, I’ll run back to those burning little sticks.

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I also went for a run 2 days in a row.  It’s the same mile run that I’ve been doing, and today I did it a whole lot faster than I did it yesterday

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Yesterday’s run is on the left, today’s is on the right.  I felt great today, and I wasn’t dying when I finished.

And finally, I took a stand against the hoard of recipes that I have stashed, and organized my ones from the Seneca Lake Wine Trail into a handy composition book.

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It’s about 100 pages of recipes and wine pairings from the various wineries surrounding the lake.  Each year, they publish their pairings, and I somehow downloaded all of them and they were sitting in a stack on my end stand.  Now, they’re in my collection of cookbooks, complete with plenty of room for notations.

All and all, a great weekend.  Now, to unwind, and get ready for the long week ahead.

Book Review: The Ladies’ Room by Carolyn Brown

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So this book came to me via recommendation from my mother, who will read just about anything.  On the plus side, it was free on Kindle Prime, which I was demoing on BL’s new Kindle Fire.  The book begins with poor Trudy, mourning the loss of her Aunt, and trapped in the bathroom where she overhear’s her cousins spill bits and bobs about her life that were news to her.  It didn’t end there.  The last bit of news that no one knew was the Aunt Gert had left Trudy her house.

Trudy quite literally pulls her head from the sand, and begins to renovate Gert’s old house with the help of her neighbor and new friend Billy Lee Tucker.  In what proves to be a hilarious turn of events, Trudy gets revenge on her cheating ex husband, her bitchy daughter and her uppity cousins, all in one swoop.  Billy Lee turns out to have some hidden talents of his own, and provides a very unlikely but at the same time all too likely hero for our dumpy heroine.

This really turned out to be a very quick and witty read, that I was able to finish in just under a day.  I laughed quite a bit and by the end of the book I really came to like Trudy.  She was funny and practical character, who keeps her readers pulling for her the whole way.  It all end ties up into a nice little bow, and they all live happily ever after, which I really need my characters to do these days, seeing how I’m currently in it for the laughs.

I would recommend this book for beach reading, lounging by the pool or curled up in a warm chair, any of which would be preferable to my couch that is currently splitting in 2.

Chocolate Chickpea Cake

So I’ve been a chocolate freak for as long as I can remember.  In fact, I’m sure that if I ate as much chocolate as I wanted, I would be double my weight.  So while stumbling around Pinterest, I found a gluten free chocolate cake recipe that I just HAD to try.  So I present to you, my version of Chocolate Chickpea Cake.  This recipe is basically sugar free as well, since I used Stevia instead of sugar.  I didn’t substitute anything for the powdered sugar on top, however it was just a dusting, so I have put this in the category of “healthy eats”.  Yes, yes, it has chocolate chips, but we ALL need some chocolate from time to time.  So, here we go!IMG_5040

What you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 10-18 packets of Stevia.  I used 10, because I didn’t want the cake to be too sweet.  Next time I’ll probably use 12-14, just to see.
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

To begin, preheat your oven to 350.

Step 1: Start by melting down your chips in a double boiler if you have one.  If you don’t have one (I don’t) two small pots, one slightly larger than the other, will do.  Add 1-2 inches to the larger of the 2 pots, and bring it to a slow, rolling boil.  Add the 1 1/2 cup of chips to the smaller of the 2 pots, and allow the chips to melt, stirring every so often, until the mixture is smooth.

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Step Two(ish)- While you’re waiting, for your water to boil, add your chickpeas and eggs to a large blender.  Add your sugar/Stevia as well, and blend together.

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Step Three:  By this time, the chocolate should be melted.  Spoon the mixture together, making sure to add your baking powder and vanilla to the mix.  Blend again!

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Step Three and a Half:  I had leftover chocolate chips, so I threw those in the mix too!

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Step Four:  Grease a 9 inch round baking pan.  I forgot to tell you to set your oven to 350.  You should go back in time and do that.  I’ll go back now and add it to the beginning.  Ok done.  Pour the mixture into the round baking pan, tapping the edges until evenly distributed through the pan.

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Step Five:  Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  I added a second round pan with water to the bottom racks, in hopes that it would help prevent my cake from cracking.

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Step Six:  Remove the cake from the oven, running a butter knife along the edges to help pop it out later.  FYI, I just leave mine in the pan, because it ALWAYS cracks.  Dust with powdered sugar when cooled.  Slice, and serve!

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As a side note, my cake still cracked.  I’m working on figuring out how to prevent that.  Until then, happy snacking!

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Steps Without The Pictures

Step 1: Start by melting down your chips in a double boiler if you have one.  If you don’t have one (I don’t) two small pots, one slightly larger than the other, will do.  Add 1-2 inches to the larger of the 2 pots, and bring it to a slow, rolling boil.  Add the 1 1/2 cup of chips to the smaller of the 2 pots, and allow the chips to melt, stirring every so often, until the mixture is smooth.

Step Two(ish)- While you’re waiting, for your water to boil, add your chickpeas and eggs to a large blender.  Add your sugar/Stevia as well, and blend together.

Step Three:  By this time, the chocolate should be melted.  Spoon the mixture together, making sure to add your baking powder and vanilla to the mix.  Blend again!

Step Three and a Half:  I had leftover chocolate chips, so I threw those in the mix too!

Step Four:  Grease a 9 inch round baking pan.  I forgot to tell you to set your oven to 350.  You should go back in time and do that.  I’ll go back now and add it to the beginning.  Ok done.  Pour the mixture into the round baking pan, tapping the edges until evenly distributed through the pan.

Step Five:  Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  I added a second round pan with water to the bottom racks, in hopes that it would help prevent my cake from cracking.

Step Six:  Remove the cake from the oven, running a butter knife along the edges to help pop it out later.  FYI, I just leave mine in the pan, because it ALWAYS cracks.  Dust with powdered sugar when cooled.  Slice, and serve!

As a side note, my cake still cracked.  I’m working on figuring out how to prevent that.  Until then, happy snacking!

Spaghetti Squash With Tomato and Basil Turkey Balls, Stuffed With Fresh Mozzarella

So BL and I are trying to embark on healthy eating.  To date, the diets I’ve tried include (but are not limited to):

  • Weight Watchers…It works for me, but god it’s a pain in the ass
  • South Beach Diet…NO THANK YOU
  • Whole30…Lasted 5 days before I almost killed someone
  • Cabbage Soup…Nope Nope Nope
  • Atkins…Gotta love that bacon

And there are probably more that I’m forgetting.  BL refuses to give up cheese and I’m hell-bent on keeping my chocolate (and I’m partial to the cheese as well) so we have just been trying to keep in clean, simple and healthy.  So I bring you tonight’s meal:

*forewarning, this is not an easy, 1 step recipe.  It took me time to craft and create, so if you’re looking for a quickie, this may not be right for you.  I tend to make large batches of the vodka sauce, and freeze it for later use.

Spaghetti Squash With Tomato and Basil Turkey Balls, Stuffed With Fresh Mozzarella

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What You’ll Need:

For the “spaghetti”

  • 1-2 Large Spaghetti Squash
  • Olive Oil

For the Balls (Make 8 Balls)

  • 1lb Ground Turkey
  • 1/2 cup crushed saltine crackers
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup finely diced fresh tomatoes
  • Fresh Basil, diced to taste
  • Fresh Mozzarella, cubed into eight 1 inch pieces
  • 2 Cloves fresh garlic
  • Salt & Pepper

For The Sauce

  • 3-5 Shallots
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup Vodka
  • 1 cube chicken bouillon mixed with hot water and fresh basil
  • 1 32oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 pint light cream
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1 sprig scallions
  • Fresh Parsley

So now that you’ve assembled all of your ingredients, let’s get started.  Begin by setting your oven to 400 degrees.  Slice the squash in half long way, and scrape and clean the seeds.  Generously brush the squash with the olive oil, and place cut side down on a covered cooking sheet.  I prefer my Silpat Silicone Baking Mat but you can also use tin foil to cover the cooking sheet.  Set in oven and set timer for 20 minutes.

Now let’s work on the sauce.  I prefer a chunkier sauce, so I have a tendency to slice in thick chunks.  By all means, if you want a less chunk sauce, tiny dicing!  First, add a few turns of olive oil to a large pot.  Add diced shallots and crushed garlic and cook over medium-high heat until shallots are tender.  Turn heat to high and add vodka, turning slowly around the pan.  Continue to cook at high heat for 45-60 seconds, then turn back to medium, keeping pan at a simmer.  Next, slowly add mixture of basil leaves, warm water and chicken bullion.  Keeping the mixture at a medium simmer, cook for 5 minutes.  Next, add your can of tomatoes.  *Of note, you can play around with the tomatoes that you prefer.  I have come to like a can of crushed tomatoes, because I feel it gives the sauce a velvet quality. 

Salt and pepper your sauce mixture, add fresh basil, parsley and scallions and turn heat to low and simmer.  Set your sauce to the back burner and let’s get to the cream sauce part.  I will tell you, you can skip this step if you don’t want to make a roux.  Personally, I find that the roux accentuates the creamy flavor, in addition to ensuring that the sauce isn’t runny.  But if you’re not comfortable making a roux, or you’re crunched for time, simply add the light cream to the sauce mixture and skip the next paragraph.

To make your roux, add 2 tablespoons of butter to a medium sized sauce pan and turn to low-medium heat.  Slowly sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour into the mixture and whisk together for 5 minutes, until golden brown.  Don’t let it burn, and ta da! you have a roux!  If you’re looking for more instruction than that, check out this video, which I think provides good instruction.  Turn your heat up to medium, and slowly whisk in the light cream.  Continue to heat the cream/roux while whisking, until it becomes thick.  Don’t overcook, or the mixture will start to break.  Whisk the mixture into the completed sauce, and simmer on low.

By this time, your squash should be ready to flip!  Flip the squash to cut side up, and put it back into the oven for another 20 minutes.

Now, on to the Balls.  In a large mixing bowl, combine ground turkey, 1 egg, saltine crackers, garlic, basil and tomatoes.  You can use a spoon, but it you grew up in my mom’s kitchen, you take off your rings, wash your hands, and start smooshing.  Knead until well mixed.  Taking a small amount of the mixture, roll into a ball, using your thumb to make an indent in the center.  Ball should be no more than 2 inches in diameter, and you should use about 1/2 the mixture to make the first batch.  Add a cheese cube to the center of each ball, and cover it with the remaining turkey mixture, ensuring cheese is well encased, and forming a round ball.

The ball process is time consuming, so by now, your squash should be done, so pull it out, testing to make sure that it is cooked through.  Set it aside to cool, and place your TurkBalls on the sheet pan, and into the oven at 375 degrees for 10-14 minutes.

Now that you can breathe, give your sauce a stir, making sure it isn’t too thick.  If it is shut it off until the balls are done.  Once your squash cools, take a fork and rake it back and forth across the flesh, creating long strands.  Throw them in a bowl, and toss in a few scoops of sauce.  If you want to get crafty, you can toss the “spaghetti” into the scooped squash, but I wasn’t feeling that fancy tonight.

Your balls should be just about done, so pull them out, and combine your dish to your choosing, sprinkle some parm, and you’re done!  Enjoy your healthy amazing dinner!

February 2014 Birch Box Review

febbbrevSo this month, I have to say my Birch Box was one of my favorites.  I can say that I really enjoyed each and every product in this box, and I plan on purchasing most of them.  So let’s dive right in:

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner:

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I am a disaster with liquid eyeliner.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  I am so jealous of the girls who can do an awesome Cat-Eye because I end up poking myself in the eye and It gets all over my face and I have to redo all my makeup.  But, there is something magic about this liquid liner.  First of all, I use it every day, and it doesn’t seem to run out.  Also, the pointed tip helps go from a skinny line on the inside of the eye, to a calligraphic point on the end, which helps embellish the whole Cat-Eye look.  So while I can’t do any of the fancy super cute looks yet, but I’m working on it.

Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet:

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So this is billed as a “moisture rich” face lotion.  Somehow, there is wine in it.  I’m not sure why the wine belongs on my face and not in my mouth, but it is a really nice moisturizer.  The only problem is the price point.  I have a hard time spending $40 on face lotion, but this seems to be well worth it.  It smells amazing and I’m pretty sure it would be well worth my precious BB points.

Evologie Intensive Blemish Serum:

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Oh this little baby.  When they say a little goes a long way, they really mean it with this one.  This sample has lasted me quite awhile, and is my little secret weapon when it comes to unsightly blemishes.  At $35 a bottle, it’s a little steep, but well worth it.  You can use it all over your face, but I like to dap a little bit on a the effected area for 1-2 days, and even after the first day I can see an improvement.  Within a few applications, the blemish in question is barely noticeable.  Once my sample runs out, I will be purchasing for sure.

amika: Nourishing Mask:

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I like all of the amika products, especially their blow out spray and dry shampoo, but this was my first foray into their conditioning products.  The sample was small for my hair amount (a lot), so I only got one use from it.  I used it with the No. 4 volume shampoo, and it left my hair pretty silky and smooth.  It smelled nice, but the price point was kind of expensive, and I have a few other masks that I like better, but I was happy to try it and loved they way it made my hair feel, so I guess you get what you pay for.

Juicy Couture Hollywood Royal:

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This is the first time I tried a Juicy product, let alone a perfume, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  It was a nice, light and fragrant perfume, my only criticism was that it didn’t seem to last.  Barely an hour after application, I couldn’t notice it anymore, but maybe other people could?  I really liked the perfume, so I would be willing to give it another try in hopes that it would last longer.

All in all, I very much enjoyed everything in this box.  The products were expensive and nice, everything I have come to expect in the Birch Box products.

**product images were taken from the Birch Box App and Website**