Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Crispy Chicken Wraps with Sweet Marsala Veggies and Garlic Mayo Spread

  What a long name for just a chicken wrap. I know!

I was at a loss of what could be left out of this name without truly describing how amazing it was. 


 It took me quite some time to prepare it but it was worth it.

 

 The recipe:

For the chicken:

-1 lb Chicken Cutlets, thinned and cut into strips
-1 Cup White Flour
-1/4 Cup Chili Powder
-1/2 Tsp Salt 
-A little Pepper

For the Vegetables:

-10 Portabella Mushrooms, Cleaned and Chopped up- Stems Included.
-1 Large Red Pepper- Sliced into Strips
-1 Large Red Onion, Sliced into Strips
-1 Tsp Fresh Garlic
-2 Tablespoons Kedem Marsala Cooking Wine
-1 Tablespoon Glicks Strawberry Jam
-A little Salt and Pepper

Garlic Mayo Spread:

-3 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
-1 Tablespoon Fresh Garlic
-1 1/2 Tsps Sugar

Others:
-Some Veg. Oil for frying
-1 Package Tortilla Wraps

Prepare the coating mixture for the chicken-  Combine the flour, chili powder, salt and pepper. Put the mixture onto a plate or dish for easing coating. Rinse the chicken strips lightly in filtered water. Take the now damp pieces of chicken and turn them over in the flour mixture coating completely. Heat a non stick frying pan with some vegetable oil  for frying over a low flame till it begins to simmer. Carefully lay out the already coated chicken pieces 5-10 at a time depending how large the frying pan is. Avoid crowding them to get the perfect crisp. Fry the pieces of chicken for about a minute or two on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate or dish already lined with paper towel to soak up any excess oil.

When finished preparing chicken which is basically the most time consuming part, start with the veggies. Start a clean frying pan simmering with a little veg oil over a medium flame. Add in the red peppers, portabella mushrooms, fresh garlic and red onion. Allow them to saute until almost cooked completely. Then add the Marsala cooking wine and strawberry jam. Stir constantly, smoothing out the strawberry jam and allowing the wine to cook out a little. Add the salt and pepper and let it cook a few more minutes or until the sauce is less saucy and the vegetables are a little caramelized. 

Prepare the garlic spread in a small bowl. 

Put the chicken in a baking pan and bake on 450 for 10 minutes to get them really crispy.

Spread the garlic spread over a tortilla wrap. Top it with chicken pieces and Strawberry Marsala veggies. Wrap it up and finally serve warm. I served this french fries on the side.

For a healthier version: instead of frying the chicken and then baking it skip the frying step and breading it  put it in the oven on 450 for 20 minutes. Do the same with the veggies. Roast them in the sauce instead of frying them. You can use whole wheat tortilla wraps and lowfat mayo as well. Just as delicious but healthier!

I've listed the names of the companies for the ingredients but that's just what I had in the house. You can definitely use any company.

Leftovers? This is one of those great "Wrap it up and take it for lunch the next day" meals. :)
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Beef Stir Fry over White Rice


 I love to be creative with my cooking and prepare fancy dishes but I don't always have time for it. So on the days that I don't have loads of extra time to create something super fancy and time consuming, I enjoy cooking a simple meal that is still just as yummy. Another plus with this one is that it's easy on a budget. And like I say about all the other food on this blog it was delicious!  But Seriously it really was!

1 lb Ground Beef
1 Red Pepper, Chopped small
1 Large Onion, Chopped small
10 White Mushrooms, Chopped Small
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Barilla Roasted Garlic Marinara Sauce
Salt, Pepper and Onion Powder to taste
2 Cups White Rice, cooked

Heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan. Put the ground beef, red pepper, onion and mushrooms in. Let the meat and veggies brown a little and cook for about 10 minutes on a low flame. Stir constantly. Add the spices, brown sugar and marinara sauce to the beef and vegetable mixture. Stir to combine cooking for another 10 minutes or so. Once the beef is fully cooked but still nice and soft and the sauce has thickened it is ready to be served. Cook the rice in a pot of water till light and fluffy. Lay it out on a plate and top it with the ground beef stir fry.
If you have time you can cut off the top of a pepper and take out the seeds. Then, Combine the rice with the beef and veggies and stuff the peppers with the mixture. A little nicer looking I'm sure.


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Monday, February 27, 2012

Makeup Tip of The Week: Makeup Brush Must Haves and Their Uses


Hoping everyone had a wonderful weekend and a nice start to the new week! It seems that I completely forgot to post a makeup tip of the week last week. I had so much to post and just didn't even realize it till now. I hope this one can make up for that. I got a request to do a post all about types of brushes that are needed and what they are meant to be used for.
There are hundreds and thousands of brush types of all shapes and sizes from different companies all over the world. You do not need to purchase or have all of them in your every day bag. Just some basic ones will easily do the trick.  So which ones should you buy and what are they used for? Keep in mind that everyone has preferences of what style brushes to use and what to use them for but no matter which ones they are if they are of good quality and apply makeup well then it's just fine. The ones that make the big difference in your makeup application are the ones you want to hold on to, re-purchase and keep handy. There may be company names or numbers on the brushes pictured. I am not telling you which companies to buy it's all about what works for you budget wise etc. It's just for the purpose of showing you the style and what it should be used for.  Here are some brushes that I think are most important to have in your makeup bag:

Face Brushes:
 
1) Foundation Brush- These are two of the most commonly used brush style for applying liquid foundation or tinted moisturizers. One is the flat kind and the other is more rounded. They both apply foundation for a heavier coverage that still looks natural and even. There are many other foundation brushes but I feel like these are the best of them style wise.


The beauty blender and foam diasposable wedges like these are easy to use and can help to create a lighter coverage look that seems natural and airbrushed.

2) A Concealer Brush- You can go for a smaller brush which can be used to conceal small blemishes and discolorations and is easy for getting into smaller areas and conceal. The smaller one can also double as a lip brush. Or you can go with the larger one to conceal and correct general larger areas or under the eyes. Both of these types of brushes can be used to blend concealers and correctors into the skin seemlessly.


3)  a Face Powder Brush- its charecteristics should be- large, fluffy, dome shaped and soft haired. It is used for applying transclucent loose powder or pressed powder to the areas where liquid products like concealer, foundation and tinted moiturizers have been applied to set them and keep them in place for a long period of time.

  
 4) A smaller powder brush- the first of these two brushes can be used to brush blush, bronzer and highlighter onto general areas and can even be used for setting liquid products with transclucent powders if a smaller brush is preffered. The second can be used for contouring and applying blush into more specific areas with more of a precise angled end to be swept into the hollows of the cheeks and over the cheek bones gracefully.


Eye Brushes:

1) A flat shader eyeshadow brush- can be used to lay down color on the lid. A larger style like the one on the left can be used if you have larger lids. A smaller style like the one on the right can be used for smaller lids or for getting a more precise color down. You can also use both when applying shadow to the li using the larger one for laying down the color all over the lid and the smaller one for a second color that would be applied to the crease area. Both brushes can be used to apply the browbone highlight color as well.



2) A Crease shadow brush- for precise eyeshadow placement or for blending color into the crease to accentuate and create depth .

3) A blending brush- for blending all the eyeshadow colors together to finish the perfect eye look.


That's about 7 brushes/tools in total that I think are essential for any makeup kit. Slowly build up a collection of your own. It won't cost you too much and the good quality ones can last you for a really long time if you take good care of them. For some information on taking care of your brushes click HERE.

Here are some brush extras: 
Some Extras


1) A lip brush-  if you already have a smaller concealer brush you can just use that since they are so similar.  A lip brush is used to apply lipstick and can be used for high definition lining of lip shades, correction work and around corners of mouth. It can also be used to blend out lipsticks creating a nicer finish then when applying it straight from the tube.

2) An Eyebrow brush- used to groom and direct brows while applying powder color to fill in sparse areas and create a more defined eyebrow shape.

3) a Brush cup and Holder- great for dirty brushes kept on the side to be cleaned or carrying brushes easily when traveling.

4) the Dry and Shape System by Sigma- I dont have one so I can't really review it but it's supposed to be really cool. Its a drying station for brushes that drys them quick and keeps them in shape while they dry.
5) a Pencil Brush for lining the lower water line with powder products or smudging eyeliner with shadow for a smokey eye effect.
6) Angled eyeliner brush- can be used to apply gel or liquid liner with ease.

I hope this was informative and will help you out when you are shopping for brushes!

 
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Xo! Gigi.



Friday, February 24, 2012

Product Review: My Favorite Lip Glosses- E.L.F. Studio Glitter Glosses


Today I want to talk about an amazing lipgloss that I have been enjoying from e.l.f. (eyeslipsface.com). The funny thing is that I found them by mistake. I made an order a few months ago from their website. When I reciveved my order I saw that they had sent me 3 of their studio glitter lipglosses as an extra to such a large order. So I just put them to the side and never actually used them to begin with. A few weeks later I was in a rush and looking for a lipgloss and ended up using the e.l.f lipgloss and I was wowed. Seriously! And it takes a really great product to wow me. What's even more crazy is that I wear it very often now and I like it much better then half of my more high end lipglosses.

Here's what e.l.f. says about these liglosses: "Dazzle and shine with this intense, show-stopping glitter filled gloss. Infused with light-reflecting micropearls, this non-sticky gloss illuminates lips with sheer brilliance and lots of color. Vitamin E hydrates lips for additional lip-quenching moisture while the precision brush applicator provides the perfect amount of gloss for effortless coverage, everytime."

And here's what I think of them (in no specific order):

1) They aren't sticky! This is very important to me when it comes to lipglosses. I very much dislike sticky glosses that get stuck on hair and clothes etc. But even without being sticky they last on me. After a long day I still have glittery lips. Yes the layer of gloss comes off with my first sip of coffee but the sparkle stays there.

2) No chunky glitters. The glitters are really smooth. You wouldn't even know there's glitter with the way they feel. And as much as I hate sticky glosses I also hate chunky glitter pieces!

3) They have lots of color to them. I think the darker colors have more color to them though. I wear the colors with less color to them over lipstick and the darker colors on their own.

4) They are supposed to have some sort of moisturizing component and I would say they definitely do. I never get dry lips after wearing them. And I feel like they keep my lips moist while I'm wearing them.

5) A pretty good color collection- 11 colors total at this time. Ranging from very light pinks to very dark purples.

6) I think the most awesome thing about these lipglosses and the one thing that cannot be beat is the price- $3.00 for a lipgloss. And just by the way they  can last for months even when using them every day!

There is only one thing that I don't love about these lipglosses but it's more of a generalization for all of elfs products. The packaging is kind of junky. I don't know why but I really like a nice packaging. For the price I can overlook the package though.


   
The three that I own left to right: twinkle pink, dazzling diamond and fuschia fireworks

 
I don't love all of elfs products but they did really well with this one by me. Check out this lipgloss. I'm telling you that you will love them for sure!



Here's some other products I love by E.L.F.
Other Elf Products I love...






Buy Now Studio Flawless Finish Foundation for Professional Makeup...
$6 - eyeslipsface.com

                                    
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Xo! Gigi.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Potato Cheese Gnocchi in Mushroom Cream Sauce


I have a delicious gnocchi recipe for you. It may look a little hard to prepare but trust me it was pretty simple and I had never made gnocchi from scratch before either. It was also yummy. We ate way too much and couldn't walk after because we were so full!  :)

Gnocchi Dough:

1 Large Potato

1/2 of a small container of Ricotta Cheese

1 Egg

A little less then 1 1/2 Cups of Flour

Salt, Pepper and Garlic Powder


Mushroom Cream Sauce Ingredients:

1 Large Carton White Mushrooms with Stems

1 Tsp Fresh Chopped Garlic

Oil for Frying

1/4 Cup Mozzarella Cheese

3 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese

1/2 Cup Milk

1 Tsp Salt, Sugar and Flour

 Microwave the potato for about 4 minutes or until soft and mashable. Combine the rest of the dough ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mash the potato in a separate bowl and add it to the rest of the dough ingredients in the mixing bowl. Mix in a mixer or combine with your hands until it is one perfect ball of dough. If it's a little sticky add some flour. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and then lower the flame a little. Take off pinches of dough and roll into balls. Drop balls of dough into the boiling water about 10 at a time. Allow them to cook for about 3-4 minutes or until they rise to the top of the water in the pot. Take them out with a slotted spoon and put them on a plate to the side. Prepare the sauce: wash and chop the mushrooms up  into medium pieces with their stems included. Put a little oil into a frying pan. Add the mushrooms and the fresh garlic. Saute' till browned and cooked through. Add the mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese. Stirring them in constantly until melted. Add the milk, salt, sugar and flour (the thickening agent) last and right before serving. The mushrooms tend to suck up any liquids and if you leave the sauce to sit the mushrooms will soak it right up. Plate the gnocchi and spoon the mushroom cream sauce over it right before serving so to avoid the gnocchi getting soft and mushy. Enjoy!


How do you pronounce Gnocchi? I say "ni-yo ki" Some say its pronounced how it looks though.

Have an enjoyable day! Go out and soak up some sun!



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What is True Beauty?

This blog is all about beauty (and food :)) I feel like there is so much beauty in this world. All around us. What is true beauty? With all the makeup, fashion and accessories out there it's sometimes hard to find true beauty. Let's take a moment and step away from makeup, trends and all that outer beauty that people can get so caught up in. I hope you can take a little inspiration in this and make this world a better even more beautiful place. And when I say this I am talking to myself as well because no one is perfect and I definitely am not a perfect finished product.

There are so many definitions of true beauty. Here some things that I think are truly beautiful:
                                                                             
Nature:
 

Nature is truly beautiful! It's what makes the earth around us so lovely to live on! It cannot be missed.
 
 
 
            Kindness:

Sharing, caring and giving are what make you a beautiful person inside!


 
 

Giving Charity to the poor, Visiting the elderly and ill or just putting a smile on someone's face who was feeling down are all acts of kindness that will make you more beautiful on the inside and that is true beauty!
 
           Confidence and self respect make you the beautiful person you are:
                          
love


 Loving yourself  and being confident will help you achieve true inner beauty. Regardless of what anyone thinks you have to always know that you are beautiful, smart and amazing! Be yourself and you will be beautiful. Be different. It doesn't matter what color shoes you wear,  how expensive your clothes are or what your skirt size is. Those trivial things do not define you. It is what's inside that matters! Love and respect yourself and others will love and respect you as well. But everything has a limit don't love yourself so much that you overlook other important people in your life and try not to judge others. Everyone is their own individual person just like you are. 
Those are some things that I feel define true beauty but it really is everywhere. You do not have to look hard to find it. Just look outside at the beautiful nature- trees, flowers and birds all really beautiful. There are so many kind people in the world who dedicate their time to helping people and making people feel happy. I strive to be like them as that is true inner beauty. Loving yourself and others is also so important. When it is achieved there is true beauty.

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Thanks for stopping in!
 
XX.
Gigi.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sigma Beauty Brush Giveaway!

To apply makeup  that appears flawless, you need to have some really great brushes. In my opinion, Sigma has some of the best makeup brushes out there. They are soft. They hardly shed. They last! They are pretty well priced in comparison to many other companies with good brushes. But $99.00 for a set of 8 Brushes can still be a little hard to shell out on a budget. Go check out their website to see their brushes and products. I am not reviewing their brushes today. I just wanted to share 2 amazing giveaways with you that are going on now at sigma. Wouldn’t it be awesome to win some of these brushes?!                         SIGMA

The first giveaway is going on at their Facebook fan page In honor of reaching 90,000 followers they are giving away nine of their best-selling brush - the F80. To enter all you need to is  ‘Share’ the post where they discuss the giveaway and comment below it telling them what you’d like to see more of on the Sigma Beauty Facebook page.

The second is going on at their blog. They are giving away one Sigma Beauty Make Me Blush Essential Kit! This professional 12-piece brush kit includes all the brushes you need for daily makeup application. From foundation to powder to eyes, Added bonus - the container turns into two brush cup holders for stylish and easy organization! So go to their blog and follow the easy instructions to enter this awesome giveaway!

Just a little disclaimer: I am not being paid by sigma to tell you about this giveaway. In fact I really have no connection to sigma at all. I just like their brushes and thought it would be cool to give you all an opportunity to enter and perhaps win!

You better believe I have already entered both of these giveaways! Good luck to everyone!

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              Thanks for Stopping By! Xo! Gigi.

Delicious Chicago Style Hot Dog & Missing Summer


This is a recipe that any men will most likely appreciate. I love hot dogs and always have ever since I was a kid! Hot dogs remind me of warm summer Sunday evenings in the backyard with the entire family for bbq get togethers. The men grilling, the kids playing and the women sitting and chatting. I love the winter but I am dreaming of those nice warm summer days already.



Here's the recipe for my latest version of hot dogs- Chicago style!

1 Package Beef Hot Dogs
1 Package Hot Dog Buns

 Toppings:
1 Onion, Circle Sliced ( A little Oil to fry it)
Unger's Crinkle Cut Frozen Fried Potatoes
Garlic Powder, Salt, Pepper and a little olive oil to season potatoes
Unger's Dill Pickles, Sliced Up
Gefen Sweet Relish
Galil Pickled Hot Peppers
1 Large Can Sauerkraut

Sauces:
Heinz Chili Sauce
Hellman's Honey Mustard Sauce

Boil hot dogs in a pot over a medium flame for about 15-20 minutes or until completely cooked. Meanwhile, sauté the onion in a frying pan with a little oil until golden and soft. Season the French fries with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with some olive oil and bake on 450 for about 25 minutes or until crisp. Put a little chili sauce in the hot dog bun. Then add the hot dog. Add all the toppings including the baked French fries and fried onion in whatever order you like. Drizzle with a little honey mustard sauce to top off the entire hot dog.

You can make your own version of this recipe. My husband loves spicy food that's why I added the pickled hot peppers and they were very hot!! So you do not need to add those if you don't like. Also I put down the company names for the ingredients but you do not need to use those specific ones of course you can use other company's and any other toppings you like. 

Hot dogs are always in season wether it's summer or not. They can be grilled on a george foreman, boiled or fried all through the cold winter months.

summer

What do you miss most about summer?

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Weekend Splurge: Homemade Mozzarella Sticks


   I know the weekend is long over. But I want to tell you about this delicious snack we had along with the hot chocolate in my previous post this weekend. This recipe isn't entirely my own. A friend said they were delicious and I just had to try them and I found an amazing recipe thanks to her! I did change it just a teentzy bit. Here's the recipe:

I cut it down a little to suit my purposes. So this recipe yields about 14 pieces.

Soft Cheese Dough Ingredients:

1 (8 oz.) Solid Cream Cheese Stick
 4 oz. of Mozzarella Cheese
1 Package Haolam String Cheese (6)
2 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Cup Flour

Breading:

3 Eggs
Garlic Powder, Salt, Pepper and Basil to taste.
  1/2 Cup Cornflake Crumbs
                                              
Some oil for frying
                                              
Ketchup or Marinara Sauce for Dipping

Combine the cheese dough ingredients. Mix them together till soft and combined completely. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours and then take a little dough and put the string cheese in the center. Encase the string cheese in a nice amount of dough to form a long medium sized rod. One that is done put those pieces into the refrigerator for another hour or so. Prepare the egg mixture. Put the string cheese encased in dough into the corn flake crumbs then the egg and then the corn flake crumbs again. Bring a pan with amount of oil to your liking to a simmer then turn it down to a small-medium flame. Drop the breaded cheese dough into the pan carefully. Fry them on both sides till they are golden brown. Serve with some ketchup or marinara sauce to dip mozzarella sticks into.

I have tried many recipes for mozzarella sticks since they are usually so amazing in most dairy restaurants. None came out they way this did- cheesy and perfectly awesome!

Some tips: You can double or triple this recipe if you are serving it to alot more people.

This recipe is great finger food. Can be served as a snack like I did or as an appetizer or side dish along with a meal. I'm pretty sure this would also make a great dairy party food if they were made a little smaller and wrapped in some sort of paper to avoid getting people dirty at all.

What treats do you enjoy on the weekend?

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Weekend Splurge: Raspberry Hot Chocolate


What's better then a warm hot chocolate on a cold winter night in with the family. I work very hard to be healthy and stay in shape all week long. When the weekend  comes I relax in every way possible. Including calorie counting and exercise. I call it my weekend splurge. It's my time to make deserts and high calorie food that I wouldn't eat during the week. Something special and different. It's a change from the routine and it's great! And if you are thinking that it undoes all my hard work from during the week- it doesn't. I have never found it to give me trouble with staying in shape at all.

This weekend we had some special treats and one of them was this delicious Raspberry Hot Chocolate topped with whipped cream.

Here's what you will need to make this easy treat:

3 Cups Milk
6 Oz Semi Sweet Baking Chocolate
1/2 Bag Frozen Raspberries
Whipped Cream from the can

Start by heating the milk in a saucepan. Allow it to bubble a little but not come to a boil completely. Shut the flame underneath it once it has and leave it to the side for a moment. Break the chocolate into medium sized pieces and put them into a blender with the raspberries. Add 1/2 cup of warm milk from the saucepan and  blend. Add more milk 1/2 cup at a time and keep blending until it is a smooth mixture. Top with a little whipped cream. You can add chocolate shavings and pieces of fresh raspberry to the top if you like as well. 

It was rich and delicious and an amazing weekend splurge! This recipe was adapted from a page in a magazine called Taste of Home that I ripped out a while ago. Enjoy!

Another yummy treat we made this weekend is these amazing homemade mozzarella sticks:


Recipe coming soon...So check back for it!

 The weekend is over. Back to trying to stay in shape. Can't wait to see what next weekend will bring!


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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Special Occasion Makeup: Smokey Eyes


When it comes to my every day makeup routine I usually keep it pretty simple and natural but fresh. Read about some products I chose for an easy every day look HERE .

When I go out in the evening or have a special event to attend, my usual choice is the smokey eye and nude or light pink lip. There are so many different styles and colors to choose from and no matter what eye color you have you can create a smokey eye that suits you. The smokey eye doesn't need to be over dramatic and intense if that's not your style. A beautiful smoked out look can be created with dark browns and neutral toned colors too.






                                                       
                                     
             Creating a smokey eye is really easy- with practice. For the basic smokey eye all you need is a lighter eyeshadow color, a darker eyeshadow color, a dark kohl liner and a very black mascara.



Some more expensive and some others for a tighter budget but just as good for creating that look.


What is your go to look for special occasions? Let me know by commenting below. I love to hear your opinions!

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