Weekend Wrap-Up.

You have to try this muffin recipe! What's easier than a mix that can be prepared by scratch in a blender? Yes, the peanut butter is a little messy, but the results were absolutely delicious! The muffins are sponge-y, tasty and all-around perfect. They're not even that bad for you. Peanut butter, banana, honey, vanilla, baking soda, an egg and chocolate chips. Blend it all together, bake it and you've got absolute perfection.

This is another recipe I tried today from Averie Cooks. I guess you could say I was definitely on a peanut butter kick. No regrets were had. I made my cookies a little too big, so half of a cookie is more than enough for me.  

On Saturday night we got to try out a new sushi place (new to me anyway) in Chandler called ISushi and Teppan! I am so glad we tried it because the food was great! We found a groupon for the restaurant, which had pretty good reviews, so I figured it was a safe bet. Indeed, it was. They even had gluten-free soy sauce which pretty much makes this place a tiny piece of heaven. If you're in the Phoenix area, go check it out! We will definitely be going back.  


To add to this awesome weekend, on Sunday, I went to a farmers market (The Power Road Farmers Market) and got some amazing local honey, spaghetti squash and arrowroot flour. I've driven by the market a lot, but I've never had the chance to stop! I'm glad I could this time. Then, I got to go to WinCo where I picked up some bulk barrel stuff, like coconut flour. It made me a pretty happy camper. After that, I was bolstered back into reality, which meant starting my English essay, but still, I have spaghetti squash now! Eep! So that makes everything okay.

Hope your weekend was just as fantastic as mine was!

Januar picks // February predictions.

December really flew by... It feels like it was months ago; not just less than a month. To be honest, my daily uniform didn't consist of dresses and fur coats, but more like Dickens Caroling garb that really isn't the cutest. But nevertheless, I shall continue! I was definitely a fan of sweaters, jeans and boots over the course of the month.

Yes, that is really how long it's been since I've done a "picks // predictions" post! It has been sitting in my drafts with a list and just got away from me. Now that it's half-way through February (eek!) I figured I should at least post my "January picks // February predictions" while I still can!

Now, without further ado, her are my January picks (well, what I can remember of January) and my February predictions (or what I've already been loving half of the month that is nearly over)!

january picks


1. Black pocket tee. I've been wearing black pocket tees like they're never goin' out of style. They're just so comfy and easy to layer that I can't resist them!

2. The Shine Project bracelets. Yes, I'm an intern for The Shine Project (which you should go check out if you haven't heard of it), but I really do love the Threads bracelets! Especially my lucky elephant, Arizona state bracelet and black onyx pixie. The Shine Project employs at-risk inner-city youth so they can have money to put themselves through college! It's the coolest thing ever and I'm so lucky to be a part of it all.

3. Brown riding boots. Pretty sure I will never let go of these babies. They're so comfy (I mean, I wore them to a concert: standing room only). But alas, it is getting warmer already, so these might have to go away for a while soon. :(

4. American Eagle Jeggings. Yes, yes and yes. These babies are perfection. I used to wear their jeans a while ago and honestly don't know why I stopped! I love these AE jeans!

5. This F21 skater dress. I'm not one for Forever 21 (and yes, this is the disclaimer I give every time I find something oddly worthy there), but this dress was too easy to wear to not get. I kept pairing it with leggings and a sweater, which was even more comfortable than jeans and a tee. I swear.


feb. predictions

1. Black striped dress. Not the dress pictured, but pretty close. I picked this dress up on Valentine's Day at the Dillard's Clearance Center. For $12, I couldn't resist it! I'm actually wearing it today and I'm loving it with a red cardigan.

2. American Eagle jeggings. Still can't get enough of these babies.

3. Prada eyeglasses. I cannot stress how much this investment was worth it. I've never had such a well-made piece in my life. These glasses are getting their share of the world for sure this month. They make me feel a little more sophisticated than the average Dani. The only downer is having to switch between them and my prescription sunglasses.

4. TOMS Burgundy Wedges. I haven't gotten to wear these as much as I'd like to yet because I've been scootering everywhere, but I've really got to start working them into my wardrobe. They're perfect! The last month I've been on a shoe kick (no pun intended) and just wanted every pair of heels and lace up wedges I could get my hands on. So bad! 

5. Jade necklace. This was the best Valentine's Day present from my boyfriend! It's so gorgeous and I love jade, so I can't imagine anything more perfect.

Honorable Mentions:

1. Navy blazer. I've worn this blazer so many times in the past couple of months. I am obsessed with it. I wish it weren't so warm out because I was just starting to figure out some really cute combos with it!

2.  Xootr Mg. I got this baby off of Craigslist and I'm pretty happy with it! It needs some work (cleaning, new bearings, a bit of grease etc.) but so far it's coasting much better than the short-lived Razor A5 Lux I had. I'll have to do a Xootr review once it's all fixed up!

Mom's Feel Good Chicken Soup!

So this week I've been fighting off a pretty bad cold and was looking everywhere for help. From Mucinex to Alka Seltzer Cold and Flu to a Neti Pot... I was desperate. That's where my mom came in. Whenever I talk to her about a problem, she solves it. So, I wonder why I never approach her first. I suppose it's just me being obstinate. Hopefully I grow out of that soon.

I called my mom, while shopping for some OTC meds to stop this craziness. "Why haven't you made soup yet?" she asked me. "Soup," I thought, "Right!" So I pulled my butt right out of the Walmart Neighborhood Market (which I shouldn't have been in anyway because I hate Walmart) and headed to the nearest Sprouts. She had me grab ingredients from there, scaring me because I'm not the best cook. ... Fast-forward to a couple hours later and I just finished the best bowl of soup I've ever had. Not only was it tasty, but it made me feel 100x better. It helped with my sinuses and general well-being. I am not even exaggerating. It was so great! And did I mention it's gluten free? (Disclaimer: Maltrodextrin may contain wheat. You can substitute the bouillon with gluten free broth if you're weary!)

I'd  recommend this soup if you're sick. It's a definitely cold-buster. I'd even recommend it if you were healthy; it's so good! This recipe is picky, healthy boyfriend approved.

This was taken after half of the soup was devoured...


Difficulty: easy
Estimated time:
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours

Ingredients:
     1 Sweet Onion, diced (It might look like a lot of onion, but trust me, it will be fine!)
     A couple tbsp of oil (I used olive oil)
     4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced or diced 
     2 cups carrots, peeled and cut into 2 in. chunks
     4 stalks of celery, remove strings on outside and thinly slice diagonally 
     2 lbs boneless chicken, skin removed (I used tenders because they were on sale at Sprouts!)
     1 tsp of thyme (I omitted because I didn't have any)
     1 cup chopped parsley (I had to use 1 tbsp of dried!.. Because I accidentally grabbed cilantro.)
     2 tsp Saigon cinnamon
     1 1/2 tsp turmeric
     1 tsp. for every 1 cup of water of Better Than Bullion (or safer GF option as directed)
     6-8 c. cold water *
     1/2 tsp cayenne (this was enough for me! I'd say it was medium spice level)
     Kosher Salt (I used sea salt; take it easy on the salt) and freshly ground black pepper 
     8 small red potatoes, washed and quartered (I prefer cutting in 8ths)
     2 cups kale, can omit completely or substitute any other veggie

Directions

Prepare vegetables as directed.

Add a couple tbsp oil to a large pot (dutch oven suggested). Heat over med-high heat. Add chicken and brown lightly. Add onions, garlic, carrots and celery and brown until onions are translucent. Season with salt, pepper and other spices. Again, light on the salt! Add cold water and chicken stock (etc) to cover (6-8 cups)* Bring to boil then reduce heat to a simmer.
Simmer about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Add the potatoes and kale. Cook until fork tender, about 20 minutes (took me 30; had to turn up the heat a little, too). Remove from heat.

Enjoy!

*If I were to go back and make this again, I would have started with a bigger pot and more water! My boyfriend really loved the broth and by the time he was on his second bowl, we were lacking in the broth section. Don't forget that once you add enough water to cover, potatoes and possibly veggies will be going in later! So I would take that into consideration when adding water. 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! I will be coming back to this recipe soon!

Graphic design made easy and a free download!

So PicMonkey that may be my biggest guilty pleasure. PicMonkey is a website where you can edit pictures, create collages and just design stuff! It is so easy to use and can produce the coolest stuff, so give it a try. It's how I've done both of my blog designs, Facebook banners, desktop pictures and others' logos as well! It is seriously awesome.


Today I made this picture to use as a desktop picture and it is SO cute. I thought I'd share it with you guys in case any of you liked the quote or just needed a pre-Valentine's Day pick me up! Anyway, it's my gift to you. 

Have any of you checked out PicMonkey? I recommend playing around with it a little because it is so fun! It is also incredibly user-friendly and most editing options are free, so you can try it out without any commitment! I have the Royale version because I'm so addicted and I love the extras that come with it. So, go and try out PicMonkey!

This is not a sponsored post, I just felt like talking about an awesome company that deserves some exposure!