Monday, January 28, 2013

3 Ways To Enjoy Greek Yogurt

I have a love/hate relationship with Greek yogurt. I don't like it plain. And sometimes it's even hard for me to have the flavored ones, even with fruit on the bottom. I mainly consume them for the protein, so I had to think of ways that would make them enjoyable to eat.

The 1st way to make Greek yogurt easy to "get down" is in a smoothie. This is one of many that I have posted on Instagram. it consists of blueberries, bananas, kiwi, strawberries & Chobani Blueberry Greek yogurt. I usually add milk to thin it to a drinkable consistency, but in this particular one I used a V8 Pomegranate Blueberry energy drink. Yummy!

The next way to enjoy Greek yogurt is probably my favorite way. 
1 container Chobani Banana yogurt
1 tbsp PB2
1tbsp Agave Nectar
Mix ingredients directly in Chobani container & sprinkle with cinnamon. Voila! Peanut Butter & Banana yogurt. Guilt free snack!

The last way is a big fav of mine also. 2 tbsp of Hidden Valley Ranch "Original" mixed directly in a container of plain Chobani yogurt. The perfect dip for your favorite chips or crackers!! And you can't even tell that its yogurt. Another guilt free perfect snack!! 

I'm sure there are many more ways to transform this popular yogurt. Please do not hesitate to let me know. I am constantly trying new things, and I love getting suggestions from everyone.
Thanks for reading!!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Zoya Free Nail Polish Promotion

Did you get your free Zoya polish this month?

I chose the polishes above, plus I bought one. Below is how they actually look on my nails.

Blu. Very pale. Can't wait to paint my toes with this one!

Midori. Applied so smooth. Will be trying this one with glitter next!

Kiki. I wish the sparkle factor would show up a little better. It's beautiful.

Aurora. O.M.G. Amazing! So in love with this one!!

BONUS: My President was re-inaugurated last week...on MLK day! Another Epic day for the history books! I wore these nails last Monday..

Thanks for reading!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Natural Hair Transition

I've been a slave to the creamy crack that is a relaxer for far too long!

I have been back and forth about going natural for the last 2 years. 2 years!!! Do you know how much I regret not doing this 2 years ago right now? How healthy and long and beautiful my hair could be? Big regrets. Huge. 
I love the "funkiness" of having both of my sides and the back of my head shaved, so I won't be changing that. So that just leaves all this hair on top. Should be an easy transition right? Hmm...

Well, I finally made up my mind and jumped in head first. or should I say hair first, ha ha! Many videos watched and blog posts read. But where do I start? Not sure. My last relaxer was November 14 2012. This is my beginning. 

I purchased the Shea Moisture Repair & Transition kit from Walgreens for $20. 
The first time I used this kit. I could already "feel" the difference. My hair seemed cleaner after the very first use! The Moisture Retention Shampoo is perfectly named. It definitely left my hair feeling very soft and manageable. And not to mention, it smells wonderful! 

The Restorative Conditioner was a different story. I have very thick, thirsty hair, so I expect big things out of conditioners that claim to restore moisture and also label itself as a "leave in" conditioner. I expected detangling to be effortless, especially after using that heavenly shampoo. Foul. Fail.

As far as the Deep Treatment Masque, I used it to do the braid out below. It left my hair very soft, but not very manageable, if that makes sense. 
The Strengthening Elixir is very silky and slippery. I sprayed it on my hair and my hands slid right off when trying to rub it in. So I tried using it again on my wet hair & it worked a little better. The more I use it, the better I like it. My hair has been so dry for so long that every thing I put in it gets sucked up immediately!

On the flat twists below, I washed with the retention shampoo, then followed with the restorative conditioner, and while my hair was still wet I sprayed it with the strengthening elixir. Then twisted it after it was completely dry. I wore them for 4 days, and sprayed them everyday with water to hydrate them. And if they looked dull, I would use a small spray of the strengthening elixir.
I haven't given up on this kit or this brand yet. I have a long way to go. Once I am completely natural I will be trying the Shea Moisture Organic Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie Kit so that maybe my hair will naturally curl like the straw set I did here.. 
At this point, 9 or 10 weeks post relaxer, my hair is very thick, tangly, dry, and did I say thick? I hate it. It's itchy and sweaty all the time (I'm a gym rat) and I find myself washing it 2 or 3 times a week. My friend Arlisha says that it's "scalp hair" that's causing the dry itchiness, and that we don't realize when we relax our hair that the relaxer is in your skin, pores & cuticles, and it just takes a while to grow completely out. I love her! 

So somebody tell me? Am I off on the wrong foot here? What direction should I be going? Any tips, suggestions, or ideas on products I should try, protective styles etc., please please let me know! Thanks for reading!!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Feta Stuffed Shrimp

Quick & easy lunch or dinner!

Here's what you'll need..
1 pound 13/15 fresh shrimp
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 tbsp roasted red peppers
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp minced garlic
1 egg yolk
3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel shrimp, but leave the tails on. Carefully slice the spine of each shrimp from head to tail, but no all the way thru, as if to butterfly them. Remove the vein if present & rinse the shrimp. Open each shrimp & flatten them on your surface. 
In a small bowl, combine all other ingredients, mixing well. Spoon 1 tbsp of mixture onto each shrimp. Add each shrimp to your baking dish. Bake until pink & firm. 
I used 13/15 shrimp, so they took about 16-18 minutes at 350. The larger the shrimp, the better these stuffed shrimp will be; smaller shrimp won't hold the stuffing as well.

These are sooo good!! I could eat them all!! This recipe was adapted from Paula Deen. Here are the changes I made to fit my needs. 

panko - seasoned bread crumbs
plain feta - garlic & herb feta
parsley - cilantro
7 tbsp butter - 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup white wine - no wine used
As long as shrimp is available, I will be making these. I love them just that much! Let me know if you try them! Thanks for reading!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Dawn Richard Album Release: "GoldenHeart"

Are you as excited as I am for this album release?

From Bad Boy's all girl group "Danity Kane" to her new album, released today GoldenHeart. The world cannot continue to ignore Dawn Richard.
I love it when women build themselves up and make a believer out of everyone! This album is exactly that for Miss Richard.

“It’s a movement we are starting here,” says Richard.  “After all our hard work, we finally are expanding our art into stores.  We wanted to make Goldenhearts available to all [hearts] not just digitally.  The project is too amazing to be limited to one portal of access.  It’s time to get excited.  This is a big deal for us!”

I love it! I already have a favorite track...'86, a 1980's inspired track. It reminds me of Prince & Cyndi know, that era in music history **sigh** good times...

”We believe Dawn is the future of music. Her heart, style and artistry make her a force to be reckoned with and a dream partner,” says Nelson Jacobsen, president of Altavoz Distribution.

I couldn't have said it better my self! Congratulations Dawn! And Good Luck with the success of this new album!!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Homemade Banana Bread...No Nuts!!

I've been wanting some really moist banana bread for sooo long! Some of the recipes out there for it are all over the place...and come out so dry, bleh!
This is my mom's Marvelous Banana Cake recipe, adjusted and baked in a loaf pan. I asked her would it work and would she mind me posting it here...she was excited! I'm saving her some! Here's the recipe...

2 cups bananas mashed
1 cup butter softened
3 cups sugar
4 eggs beaten
1 cup buttermilk
4 cups flour sifted
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp butter flavored extract
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tsp baking soda

In a mixer, cream butter & sugar. Add bananas, stir in eggs, then other ingredients. Pour into 2 greased & floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

For my banana bread, I left out the pecans & the butter flavored extract. I also cut all the ingredient sizes in half so that this would make only one loaf. I also adjusted the baking time to about 50 minutes, since I baked in a loaf pan. This is my mom's exact recipe& it makes a huge 3 layer banana cake! There's only me, don't need that much banana bread. If you want to actually make the cake, it also comes with a scratch made icing too! (see bottom of post for icing recipe).

I think it's the 4 eggs and the buttermilk that make this cake/bread so moist. And believe it or not, it's not very sweet, which is perfect! I will be doing this many many times! I've also sliced some really thick slices to save for making banana bread french toast! woohoo!!

Thanks for reading!!

Banana Nut Frosting
1/2 cup bananas mashed
1 tsp lemon juice
1/3 cup butter softened
1 box powdered sugar (16 oz)
3 tbsp milk
1 cup flaked coconut
2/3 cups chopped pecans
5 drops yellow food coloring 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Quilted Nails

I never knew this technique existed until now! It is amazing!!
This idea originated on the beautiful nails of The Polishaholic and was inspired by a cellphone case. She added bling to each crossroad for detail. I decided that since I wear gloves all day at work, the bling would be a bit much for everyday wear. 

I used Wet n Wild "I Need A Refresh-Mint" and I did not use a topcoat for fear that the "quilting" may disappear. Here is a quick photo of how I used nail striping tape to achieve the effect...
Check out the original tutorial here. Hope you guys try these...let me know if you do!!
Thanks for reading!!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Portabella Mushroom Fajitas

I love mushrooms, especially Portabella Mushrooms! They're so hearty & filling. I had 2 in the fridge, but my mom still has my grill, so what do I do? Why not fajitas? I scoured the kitchen to find ingredients (didn't wanna go to grocery store). Here's what I came up with...

2 Portabella Mushrooms caps
1 yellow bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
1 small onion
garlic cloves 
2 avocados
olive oil
Accent for seasoning (optional)
Remove mushroom stems. Mine were already removed. Slice mushrooms to desired thickness. Slice bell peppers, onion & garlic.

In a saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium to high heat. Add onions & peppers. I decided to use red onion. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until onions are translucent, stirring frequently. Add garlic, then mushrooms. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.
In a separate bowl, slice & mash avocados & stir in your desired amount of salsa. I decided to use Pace Garlic & Lime Verde & Siracha hot sauce. Yummy!
Warm tortillas in microwave for about 20 seconds. Spread avocado mixture over each tortilla, then top with veggie/mushroom mixture. This recipe makes about 4 fajitas...
Don't the mushrooms look just like steak?! I am proud to say that this was a very healthy and tasty lunch/dinner. And I didn't even use salt or cheese, and I loooove cheese! Go me!! Enjoy..

PerfectoThanks for reading!!