Monday, January 26, 2015

Mint Cookies & Cream Hot Chocolate & Raspberry White Hot Chocolate Recipes + Video


We are being promised a very serious blizzard-like snowstorm within the next 24 hours and aside from the typical necessities like water, bread, eggs and milk, I made certain to stock up on several ingredients for most essential hot chocolate. No pun intended here. Because what is better after a few hours of hard shoveling work then a nice warm chocolaty beverage, am I right? And now I feel well prepared to get stuck inside for the next few days, if need be. The grand news for all of you is I have not one, but two spectacular hot chocolate recipes today to keep you nice and cozy this winter. On top of that, this weeks Youtube video installment walks you through the raspberry white chocolate version in perfect detail. Feel free to watch that here if you'd like or read till the end of the post where it will be inserted as usual. 

And now for my recipes. 


Mint Cookies & Cream Hot Chocolate:
Yields: About 5 Adult Sized Drinks

Ingredients:

4 Cups Whole Milk
1 Cup Ghiradeli Milk Chocolate Baking Chips
1 Splash of Peppermint Extract
2 Scoops of Haagen Daaz Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
10 Oreo Sandwich Cookies + 1 More Oreo Crushed one for Garnish

Method:

1. Heat the milk and milk chocolate chips in a medium sized pot over medium-high heat on the stove top for 5 minutes, stirring constantly as the chocolate melts down. Once the milk has come to a boil, reduce the heat to low. 

2. Grind 10 oreos up very finely, using a food processor or by hand. Then add the ground up oreos to the warm milk and chocolate mixture in the pot. Allow that to cook up and come together for one more minute. Then add the splash of peppermint extract and stir it in before removing the pot from the heat. 

3. Pour the hot chocolate into mugs and add 2 scoops of vanilla flavored ice cream. Crush up 1 more oreo and sprinkle the pieces over the top. Serve immediately.


How adorable are these chalkboard stickers? I discovered them in the dollar bins at CVS a couple of weeks ago and have been finding loads of awesome uses for them ever since! It's such an easy way to to turn a plain container, mug or really any old thing into something exciting and new. 


Raspberry White Hot Chocolate
Yields: About 3 Adult Sized Drinks

Ingredients:

2 Cups Milk
1/2 Cup Ghiradelli White Baking Chocolate Chips
12 Oz. Defrosted Dole Frozen Raspberries
Whipped Cream for Garnish
6 Fresh Raspberries for Garnish

Method:

1. Place the two cups of milk, baking chips and defrosted raspberries in a pot and stir over medium-high heat on the stove top for about 10 minutes or until the chocolate has melted down and the raspberries have broken up and fallen apart. Stir constantly as it cooks. 

2. Once it has all come together, put the entire mixture through a blender and blend for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is completely smoothed out. 

3. Reheat the hot chocolate mixture if it has cooled off at all during the time it was transferred to the blender and blended. Pour it into your cups and top each one with a generous amount of whipped cream and some fresh raspberries as well. Shave some white chocolate over it all if you'd like as well. 


Both of these drinks will certainly be prepared in my home several times before this long winter finally leaves us. Try them for yourself, they are sure to become staples for you as well! If you do give them an attempt, please do share your pictures and feedback on my facebook page or by tagging me on instagram, I truly do love getting to see them! Look out for more cold weather appropriate recipes coming very soon as well, I've been incredibly busy in the kitchen lately.  


If you liked this video please let me know by giving it a "thumbs up",  you can also subscribe to my YouTube Channel here


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XX. 
Gigi. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My January 2015 Wishlist


I know we are well into the month of January already but a good old wishlist is still in order here! It's an awesome one this month too, I've found a whole bunch of items I really feel I must have. Wishlist writing is so beneficial for me because it creates a filing system for me where all of the "wants" can go until a time I can actually obtain some of them. It also really helps me remember specific items, models and colors etc. It has proven to be a great system as well from cookbooks to eye shadow palettes and even the fun baking tools I've ended up with over the year. All straight from these wishlists. I know you all love seeing some pretty things as well and I hope this gives some of you ideas of what to add to wishlists of your own this month. 

This month has been all about organization for me, from little diy projects, to major closet clean outs around the house. Perhaps a little very early Spring bug has bitten but I think it's the start of a new calendar year that has me so motivated to get things done! That certainly reflects with some of the things above. What have you been coveting lately? I'd love to hear what some of the items on your January wishlist are in the comments form below! 

Here is what I've been thinking about lately:

1. Martha Stewart 5.9 Ounce Glass Etch Cream with Brush- this item got added along with #7 because of a blog post by Modern Parents Messy Kids where she showed how she created a beautiful and functional open shelf storage along with a diy project for etching labels onto storage containers! I really love the unique idea and think it would add so much flair to my boring pantry. 

2. In the next few months I will be purchasing a brand new laptop because, well, mine is just done. I am seriously leaning towards an Apple one but that would mean less memory then a HP or Dell. The Lacie Rugged Hard Disk Portable Hard Drive comes highly recommended by many bloggers and youtubers so it'll be just the thing. 

3. How adorable is this ASOS Skinny Belt Felt Floppy Hat in this gorgeous burgundy shade? I believe it would be the perfect winter accessory to any outfit. 

4. Cuisinart Smart Stick 2 Speed Hand BlenderI was watching a video by Dini Delivers on youtube  and she used one of these little handheld immersion blender things to blend her soup in the pot. I realized how much easier that would make my life this winter what with all the soup cooking I'm doing. And this one is pink!!

5. This Canon 50 mm lens is most likely going to be my the one I upgrade to next. I've done a whole lot of research and it seems like it will fit the bill for all my photographing and video making needs. 

6. Adobe Photoshop Elements 13- I currently do not edit any of my blog photos besides for adding some text or making photo collages on picmonkey.com so I think it's time I invest in some photo editing software and teach myself a little something new. I do try to make this blog a better place one day at at time. 

7. I talked about these Cook N Home Glass Cannisters back there regarding a little pantry makeover diy I'm considering. I think these will be the ones. 

8. I used to read so many books and now it seems I rarely have time to crack one open. I've decided to try and challenge myself to reading one each month this year- do the math that's just 12 books. eleanor & park is the book selection for February by the gals over at the A Beautiful Mess blog and it sounds like such an inspiring read! 

9. The Morphe eye shadows looked like they were incredible in both texture and color before Jaclyn Hill went and collaborated on this beautiful palette with them. Now, they are just simply irresistible to me and as soon as they are back in stock, one will be in my cart!

10.  I rarely wear a watch. Having something around my lower wrist just seems to bother me and no matter how many watches I buy, I can't seem to ever wear them. This one though... it's a Kate Spade masterpiece and the glitter is just calling to me!! It's so different then any watch I've ever seen. And so it has made the list. 

Thanks so much for stopping in!

Stay updated.

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XX. 
Gigi. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pineapple Teriyaki Salmon Recipe


My recipe developing days are far from over. For a little while there it may have seemed like I would never share one again. I assure you, that is far from the truth. Not being able to spend more time in my favorite room in the house has been brutal for us all. A food bloggers worst nightmare is couscous from a bag that gets boiled in less then 3 minutes and then spooned onto a plate next to a main dish a small child could think up. No complaints, although I will admit at how thrilled I am to be feeling much better and obviously most eager to resume my cooking adventures once again!

Those pieces of salmon staring at you are actually the main attraction of a dish I accidentally stumbled upon sometime last year and have been perfecting ever since. It's even become a staple shabbos dish each week in my home which is why it would be a sin for me not to share it. I love the fact that it's one of those dishes that comes together in minutes and tastes like something from a luxurious Manhattan restaurant once finished. The other really exceptional detail is that if baked instead of fried, this becomes one remarkably healthy meal. I've played around with this recipe for a long time before sharing it, so get creative with it as well if you'd like. The options are endless! 


Pineapple Teriyaki Salmon 

Yields: 4-6 Servings Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time:10 Minutes

Ingredients:

2-6 Pieces of Baby Salmon Fillet
1/2 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
2-3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pineapple Teriyaki Sauce:
1 Can Pineapple Tidbits, Liquid Strained besides for 2 Tablespoons Reserved
1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 Teaspoons Spice World Roasted Chopped Garlic (or one fresh clove garlic, chopped)
1 Cube Dorot Frozen Cubed Ginger
2 Teaspoons Dried Mint Spice 
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 Sprig Fresh Cilantro or Mint for garnish

Method:

1. Completely coat each piece of salmon in panko, making sure to get the sides of the salmon as well. It's unnecessary to put any panko on the skin side. Place the 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a non stick frying pan and heat over medium heat. ( If you'd like to do this in the oven just place the pieces of salmon skin side down with the olive oil in a 9x13 pan and bake for 20 minutes on 350). Once the oil is sizzling, add the pieces of salmon skin side up and cook on each side for approximately 2-4 minutes or until the panko has crusted over nicely and the inside of the salmon is cooked through. Then, remove to a plate to cool. 

2. In a sauce pan, place pineapple tidbits along with 2 tablespoons reserved juice from the can. Then add soy sauce, brown sugar, chopped garlic, ginger cube, mint spice and vegetable oil. Heat the sauce on the stove top over medium heat and stir as it comes together for 2-3 minutes. It should thicken slightly. Put the sauce to the side until you are ready to serve.

3. When you are ready to serve, place a piece of salmon on a plate and spoon 3-4 tablespoons of the pineapple teriyaki sauce over it. Garnish it with a sprig of fresh cilantro or mint and serve cold or warm. 

Thanks so much for stopping in!

 I really hope you will try this recipe! Don't forget to leave me a comment below letting me know what it was like if you do! And feel free to tag me on instagram or post your photo on my facebook page as well. 

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XX.
Gigi.

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Winter Fashion Haul


Hello everyone! Hope you all had a really lovely weekend. Today I'm here with another haul! The last one was all about beauty with lots of great goodies from Sephora. This one is all about what I've purchased recently, clothing and accessories wise for the winter time. I got all of these items in a span of a few weeks, and to me that means I was extremely successful since shopping isn't actually one of my favorite activities to partake in. Some of these items came from an order made online at DSW and I also stopped in Nordstrom Rack, Target, Forever 21 and even came across something totally unexpected at Michaels Crafts Store while doing some scrapbook shopping. This post comes along with a video where I talk about and show each of these items in detail, so go watch that here if you'd like or read till the end of the post where I will insert it as usual. 

Here is what I picked up:

  

If you liked this video please let me know by giving it a "thumbs up", you can also subscribe to my YouTube Channel here

What winter style staples have you purchased recently?

Please share your thoughts in the comments, I love hearing from you!

Thanks so much for stopping in!

Stay updated.

Don't forget to follow me with Bloglovin' 

You can also follow me with:
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XX. 
Gigi. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Smashbox Liquid Halo HD Foundation Review



It's hard to believe it's 2015. Every time I write the date down somewhere, it shocks me! Regardless, it's a new year and with it comes fresh opportunities and a bucket load of goals to accomplish. On the top of my list somewhere is MORE product reviews. This should be pretty simple for me to accomplish too since, as you may have noticed I've been doing an excessive amount of beauty product shopping lately! To kick it off, I'm opening with this latest foundation find, called Smashbox Liquid Halo. 

Here's what Smashbox has to say about it: "Bring on the flawless! The first ever foundation with 100% liquid light technology completely evens out the skin for a totally natural, luminous finish. Created in our studios, this HD formula was developed to keep up with advancing photo technology by giving you flawless coverage that's undetectable to the naked eye." 

Due to my strong affection for their Camera Ready BB Cream, which I am still tremendously fond of and will never tire of talking about, I had high expectations for this one. Here is what I think of it:  


Coverage: Medium to full. With just one even layer, I can usually cover any redness in my cheeks and around my nose, but I do still have to go in with a bit more concealer if a blemish is ultra red.

Finish: Matte. It's interesting that this is marketed with the word "luminous" since I don't notice that glow factor at all. Regardless, the finish is beautiful and doesn't even need to be set with a finishing powder for my normal/combination skin. At the same time, it doesn't have that flat look to it that matte face products often can, big plus! 

Consistency: A bit thick. I find that this foundation is on that thicker side to the point where it's slightly hard to blend out. I have therefore found a quick fix and mix it in with a pump of my Jergens Daily Moisturizer to create more of a tinted moisturizer/ bb cream consistency. This works wonders and has it blending into the skin flawlessly. 

Lasting Power: 8-10 hours. I have noticed that this foundation lasts me throughout the work day and then some. It doesn't melt into the skin or patch off in certain areas either, so there's no need for any touch ups throughout the day.  


Color Variations: This foundation is offered in 10 different shades on the Smashbox website varying from very light pale colors into those really rich deep shades. As always, I would certainly recommend testing it in stores before purchasing, as the shade I chose is definitely slightly off and even a bit orange for my skin tone. When I mix it with my moisturizer, I am achieving a second purpose here because it helps even out that shade difference for me. If you can't find a shade that suits you, you'd definitely be able to mix two to get your perfect match with the pretty decent color selection available. 

Packaging: Sturdy. The product comes in a beautifully squared off glass bottle with an excellent pump attachment that gives you a perfect amount of product at a time and therefore isn't wastely. It's sleek, substantial, pleasant to the eye and also lightweight and travel friendly. 


Scent: I haven't noticed any specific scents at all with regards to this product. 


Amount of Product: I think a little more product then 1 oz could have been squeezed in for the price paid on this one, but it is nice that just 1-2 pumps gets it done for each application. 


Price: It is certainly up there with the other luxury brands like Laura Mercier and Makeup Forever. I think this product performs well enough that the price is worth it though. Can you find something fairly similar at the drugstore? Probably. 

Photographs well? Beautifully! If Smashbox knows one thing, it is the photography aspect. I love how this product looks ultra natural both in person and in pictures as well. 

Recommended Skin Type: I would say this foundation would be best for normal, combination, or oily skin types. I believe dry skinned individuals may have some trouble blending this out and having it settle into their dry patches. Regardless, a primer is definitely a must beneath this product for any skin type and I've found it works best paired with their Photo Finish Foundation Primer. 


Overall:

I'm really thrilled with the coverage, finish and lasting power when wearing this foundation, but I've found that the consistency is somewhat difficult to work with and needs to be layered over a primer and mixed in with a moisturizer to fix that for me personally. The amount of shades available are fairly decent and would probably suit most skin tones and the same goes for skin types excluding dry skinned individuals who may have trouble blending the product without mixing it into a moisturizer. I absolutely love how natural it looks on my combination skin both in person and in photos. Quality wise you will definitely get what you pay for with this one. All in all, this isn't my favorite foundation of the year and if I had to choose between the two, the bb cream would certainly win. At the same time, I will continue to wear this until I finish it off as it performs well for me for daily wear. 


 Have you tried this foundation? If you have, what did you think of it. If you haven't do you want to? 

I would be happy to demo this in a future video, so let me know if you'd be interested in that at all.

Let me know in the comments form, along with any other opinions you may have, I love hearing from readers!

Thanks so much for stopping by! 

Stay updated:

Don't forget to follow me with Bloglovin' 

You can also follow me with:
Google Friend Connect (left side bar)/Email/InstagramFacebook/TwitterPinterest / YouTube

XX. 
Gigi. 
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