SUPER easy soup! Think about doubling this because your family will devour it.
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup hot chunky salsa
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion

Directions

  1. In an electric food processor or blender, combine beans, broth, salsa, and cumin. Blend until fairly smooth.
  2. Heat the bean mixture in a saucepan over medium heat until thoroughly heated.
  3. Ladle soup into 4 individual bowls, and top each bowl with 1 tablespoon of the sour cream and 1/2 tablespoon green onion.

Superfood Goji Berry

January 17, 2017

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Goji berries have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
Some even claim these berries are natural remedies for diabetes, hypertension, malaria or even fever. Considered both a fruit and an herb, goji berries are typically found in Asian (usually China) and European countries. Some claim this is the "fountain of youth" berry and also helps reduce cancer risk. While these claims are not backed by scientific research, these tiny berries ARE loaded with antioxidants. As a plus, goji berries are low in calories, fat-free and are packed with fiber.

Goji berries have a natural tinge of sweetness with a very slight herb-like aftertaste.
You can eat them raw or soak them in hot water before munching. Others prefer adding goji berries to trail mixes, smoothies or as a garnish on cereals, salads or yogurts. Basically, goji berries can be baked, cooked, steamed, and processed in any way after they are washed.

You can buy the whole berries but I prefer goji berries in powder form, sold in bags at Whole Foods and online at Amazon (less expensive) under the brand name Navitas. It is easy to dissolve the powder in water or add to juice or smoothies. 


Healthy, Glowing Skin?
Similar to the benefits you get from eating other berries, goji berries are loaded with beta-carotene (a pigment found in plants and fruits) which helps promote healthy skin.

Protect Your Health ... All Over Your Body
Goji berries have also been known to help boost the immune system and protect the eyes. And like other berries, goji berries are also an excellent source of vitamin C and can reduce tough cold symptoms.

Packed With Antioxidants
Goji berries are an excellent source of antioxidants because of their oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) value. An ORAC value indicates a food's antioxidant power on a relative scale.

 

Cucumber Margaritas

October 16, 2016

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Have a juicer? If not - get one! They are so great for making healthy fresh juices from leafy greens, cucumbers, lemons and fruit. 

Also - you can make these delicious cucumber margaritas with it.

2 parts white 100% agave tequila

2 parts triple sec

1 part fresh lime juice

Mix these ingredients together in a pitcher.

Garnish glass with pink sugar. Pour tequila mixture over ice and top off with fresh cucumber juice.

At Home Chemical Peels

September 04, 2016

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At home chemical peels can help with a variety of skin conditions. Chemical peels are effective for anti aging skin care (wrinkles, lines, crow's feet, dull skin tones), to improve acne and acne scars, minimize pores, loosen blackheads, improve sun damaged skin, improve the appearance of stretch marks, fade age spots and general hyperpigmentation, to rejuvenate and improve the tone and texture of your skin. Doing your chemical peel at home is convenient and cost effective.

There are different types of peels that range from very light to deep. The deeper peels have longer lasting results and are more intensive. 

My favorite is the TCA peel. Trichloracetic Acid is the primary ingredient in the Obagi Blue Peel. Noticeable peeling will be realized, with some down-time (meaning your skin will be red, then brown, then peeling/flaking - nothing too unsightly) that will vary from person to person, dependent upon your skin type. Within the TCA category there are different percentages ranging from 12.5% to 30%. TCA Home Peels are excellent for softening deeper wrinkling, reducing/removing less severe facial lines, improving sun damage, fading hyperpigmentation (freckles, "age" spots), reducing scars (not keloid scarring, however), reducing acneic conditions with/without scarring, reducing and/or completely removing upper lip lines.  Improved skin coloration/brightness will be seen after peeling, with a fresh, more refined texture to the skin.

***TCA peels typically tighten the skin and provide a lifting effect.

A TCA peel of 12%, 15%, 18% or 21%, performed at a doctor's office, can cost $500 for one treatment. Doing it on your own you can do 20 peels for $50. 

Personally, I would visit the doctor for anything above 21%. I typically do the 15% or 18%. The website I am recommending has 1/2 oz.  samples if you just want to see how well you tolerate the percentage. 

Purchase the peels at this site: Makeup Artists Choice

http://www.makeupartistschoice.com/TCA-At-Home-Chemical-Peels_c_94.html

Here is a link to the instructions and what to expect. Please read this carefully before you begin!

http://www.makeupartistschoice.com/assets/images/Product%20Directions/tcapeel1page.pdf

 

 

Grilled Pesto Chicken and Tomato Kebabs
Servings: 8 
Calories: 147 • Fat: 7.5 g • Carb: 3 g • Fiber: 1 g • Protein: 18 g • Sugar: 0 g
Sodium: 104 mg • Cholest: 2.5 mg

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-1/4 lbs skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 24 cherry tomatoes
  • 16 wooden skewers

Directions:

In a food processor pulse basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil while pulsing. 

Combine the raw chicken with pesto and marinate a few hours in a bowl. Soak wooden skewers in water at least 30 minutes (or use metal ones to avoid this step). Beginning and ending with chicken, thread chicken and tomatoes onto 8 pairs of parallel skewers to make 8 kebabs total.

Heat the outdoor grill or indoor grill pan over medium heat until hot. Be sure the grates are clean and spray lightly with oil. Place the chicken on the hot grill and cook about 3-4 minutes; turn and continue cooking until chicken is cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with rice, pasta or salad and naan bread.

This 90's staple is making a major comeback. Slip dresses cropped up all over the runways for Spring 2016.

Length is key. Too short looks too ready for bed; midi or floor-length looks more modern. Slips lend themselves to layering. Try wearing one under a skirt or another dress, so you can see a bit of lace poking out underneath the hem. 

1. With a turtleneck layered over it. 

Feeling cold this winter? Make like Kate Moss from the 90's and combine the best of two worlds: The cozy turtleneck and the body-clinging slip dress. 

2. With a shirt layered over it. 

Slip dresses are meant to be sexy, and that they are. Want to tone the sexy level of your slip dress down? Turn it into a skirt, layering a T-shirt or a sweater over it, so just a peek of the slip dress is visible. Totally acceptable to wear during the day.

3. With an open cardigan. 

Take your slip dress to dinner, pairing it with a soft open sweater. Don’t be afraid to play with color, but keep your accessories on the minimal side. Add a sexy pair of mules, and you’re good to go.

4. With a motorcycle jacket.

Motorcyle jackets and slip dresses are a match made in style heaven. Wear the outfit with ankle-strap sandals when it’s balmy outside, and transition to boots when the weather turns chilly. This is the quintessential date night outfit.

5. With boyish flats and an oversize blazer.

Temper the dress’ inherent sexiness with menswear staples, like a oversize blazer and not-so-feminine flats.

 

 

Asian Lettuce Wraps

February 08, 2016

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I won't lie and say this is EASY...but it is WORTH it. Better than P.F. Chang's and better than Yard House. You won't have any left overs.

    • 1 c. teriyaki sauce 
    • 1/3 c. sweet chili sauce
    • 1/4 c. soy sauce
    • 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger (finely minced or grated)
    • red pepper flakes, to taste
    • 1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced into small pieces
    • 2 Tbsp oil
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • 2 Tbsp. oil
    • 1/2 c. sliced green onion
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/2 c. chopped water chestnuts
    • 1/2 c. pine nuts (chopped cashews work great too)
    • 1/3 c. chopped mushroom (optional)
    • 1 head butter lettuce
Dipping Sauces:
  • remaining teriyaki mixture (about 3/4 c.)
  • 1/4 tsp. Sriracha sauce (or to taste-- depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter

Instructions

    • Combine teriyaki sauce, chili sauce, soy sauce, ginger, and red pepper flakes in a bowl.
    • Mix well and set aside.
    • In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. When oil is hot, add chicken.
    • Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper. When chicken is white on all sides (doesn't need to be completely cooked through), remove chicken from skillet and set aside on a plate. Discard any extra juices.
    • In the same skillet, heat 2 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, water chestnuts, pinenuts, and mushrooms and saute for about 1-2 minutes.
    • Stir in about 1/2 of the teriyaki mixture and chicken to the skillet. Cook uncovered, for about 7-8 minutes, stirring often until chicken is cooked through. Serve with butter lettuce.
For the dipping sauces:
  • Heat remaining teriyaki sauce in a small sauce pan. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and divide into 2 small bowls (one for spicy teriyaki sauce, one for peanut sauce).
  • In one bowl, add about 1/4 tsp. Sriracha sauce (or more to taste) and mix well.
  • In the other bowl, add 1-2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter (or to taste), mix until creamy and smooth.
This broccoli dish is fantastic! Kids love it too.
Roasted Panko Parmesan Broccoli
 
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 2 lb fresh broccoli florets, cleaned and separated [approximately 2 large bunches]
  • 3 green onion, sliced, whites only
  • 4 clove garlic, minced
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp dry Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic salt [more or less to your taste]
  • light sprinkling black pepper or lemon pepper, to taste
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Spritz a standard baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Separate the broccoli florets into bite size pieces. Place into a mixing bowl, with the sliced green onion and minced garlic.
  3. Pour the olive oil over the broccoli. Toss gently until coated. Add the remaining ingredients. Mix well.
  4. Lay in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  5. Roast for 20-23 minutes or until crisp tender and the crumbs are golden.
  6. Serve immediately.
Hot mozzarella sticks. Say. No. More. These are healthier than what you may be used to. It's important to follow the instructions carefully for freezing the cheese.

Ingredients:
  • 12 sticks part-skim, reduced sodium mozzarella string cheese (Sargento is best)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 5 tbsp Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 5 tbsp panko crumbs
  • 2 tsp parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • olive oil cooking spray 

Directions:

Cut cheese in half to give you 24 pieces. Place cheese in the freezer until cheese is frozen.
In small bowl, whisk the egg. Place the flour in another small dish. In separate bowl, combine bread crumbs, panko, parmesan cheese and dried parsley.
Dip the frozen sticks in flour, shaking off excess, then into the egg, then coat with the crumbs.
Repeat this process with the remaining cheese placing them on a tray with wax paper. Place cheese back into the freezer until ready to bake (this is a must or they will melt before the crumbs get golden).

When ready to bake preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with oil.  Place frozen cheese sticks on baking sheet. Spray the tops of the mozzarella sticks with a little more oil and bake in the bottom third of your oven until crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and bake an additional 4 - 5 minutes watching them closely so they don't melt.
You can make a marinara sauce from scratch or open a jar of spaghetti sauce and heat. Dip in sauce and enjoy!
Makes 24 pieces.

Peanut Butter Balls

December 02, 2015

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These have to be my favorite holiday cookie recipe. They are actually more like truffles since they are not baked. So easy and delicious if you like the combo of chocolate and peanut butter. 

Ingredients:

One 18 oz. jar of crunchy peanut butter

2 cups of powdered sugar

2 cups of graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup of melted butter

1 to 2 bags of semi sweet chocolate chips. I like Ghiradelli

Mix first four ingredients. Shape into small balls (about 2/3 - 3/4 of an inch in size).

Melt chocolate chips (carefully so they don't burn!) in the microwave or over a double boiler. Dip peanut butter balls in chocolate and place on wax paper lined baking sheets.  

Refrigerate to harden chocolate. I like to keep them in the refrigerator.