Sunday, November 27, 2016

Easy Pumpkin Bundt Cake

A couple of weeks ago it dawned on me that fall was nearly over and I hadn't made a single autumn-type baked good. Typically I'd have made a batch of apple butter weeks ago,  followed by baking so many muffins and loaves of pumpkin bread to go with it that I'd almost be sick of them by now! 

Last weekend my house was filled with the smell of Slow-Cooker Apple Butter so I decided it was high time I got to using the case of canned pumpkin in my pantry.
This cake is absolutely wonderful and is super easy to whip up thanks to boxed cake mix.  It's also super moist and delicious on it's own - no cream cheese glaze or apple butter necessary!  (Though I always slather a slice with the latter because, well, apple butter is amazing.  And I have 6 jars of it. ) :D

Easy Pumpkin Bundt Cake
1 box yellow cake mix
1/3c granulated sugar
4 eggs
1/3c vegetable oil
1/4c water
1/3c sour cream
1 15oz can pure pumpkin
1T pumpkin pie spice
1 - Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Generously grease and flour a 10-cup Bundt cake pan.
2 - In a large bowl, mix all ingredients with an electric or stand mixer on low speed until moistened, then on medium speed until well combined.  (Or mix by hand 2 minutes or until well combined.)  Pour batter into prepared pan.
3 - Bake 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack.  Cool completely before serving.
Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker

Monday, November 21, 2016

November Allure Beauty Box

My most recent Allure Beauty Box showed up in my mailbox last Friday!  Silly me remembered to post a picture on Instagram but then completely spaced off posting on here! 
Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat has been a manicure must-have of mine for few years now. I'm willing to bet their new Lacquer will be just as great.  They sent me "Refined" which is the perfect red for fall and the upcoming holidays.
I've yet to master liquid liner.  I actually don't even want to talk about how many times I've tried and failed. (Unless it's 10pm and I'm "just practicing"...  Then I nail a cat-eye every single time.)  From what I've heard, Eyeko is the gold standard of liquid liners so I guess I owe it another go!
The box was rounded out with Bvlgari Omnia Crystalline (Man these bottles are beautiful!), a hydrating sheet mask from Bon Vivant that my cold weather dry skin can hardly wait to try, and the indulgent sounding Icelandic Moonflower body lotion by Red Flower.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

What I'm Reading: Eating in the Middle


“In her inspiring New York Times bestselling memoir, It Was Me All Along, Andie Mitchell chronicled her struggles with obesity, losing weight, and finding balance. Now, in her debut cookbook, she gives readers the dishes that helped her reach her goals and maintain her new size.”
The above is Amazon’s description for Andie Mitchell’s Eating in the Middle: A Mostly Wholesome Cookbook.  For the most part I really like this book, although some of the recipes I found to be a bit… blasé.  Take the Kale Chips and Roasted Broccoli recipes for example.  Who hasn’t roasted broccoli or seen the same kale chip recipe over and over?

Many of the recipes however are quite original and I can’t wait to test a few out!   Like the Brown Sugar & Chili-Rubbed Salmon with Avocado Crema pictured below.  (Fingers crossed this one convinces my husband to like salmon!)

Or how about Baked Banana Bread Doughnuts? (Maple-Cinnamon Cream Cheese Glaze optional.) Or Chocolate Raspberry Breakfast Pudding to start your day?

Along with the recipes she shares, Andie also shares stories.  She tells stories about how she gained the weight, “a-ha!” moments she had losing the weight, and lessons she learned along the way. Obviously, to lose the weight in the first place she had to make changes to the way she had been eating.  Just as obviously, she had to keep those changes in place and make them her new normal.  Andie describes this cookbook as, “structured the way I eat and live my life.”  The vast majority of the recipes are healthy and wholesome with good-for-your waist line calorie counts, (she includes nutritional information with every recipe), but there also dessert recipes with real sugar and butter.  No fake or low calorie “desserts” in this book -  just the “sometime” foods that are meant to be indulged in… sometimes.  It’s all about balance.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

November Birchbox

November's Birchbox is titled "The Finishing Touch" and contains the following products that make that extra little bit of difference:

  • Balance Me Tinted Wonder Eye Cream
  • Chella Eyebrow Pencil in "Tantalizing Taupe"
  • Coastal Scents Blush and Highlighter Duo
  • R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo
  • Supergoop! Forever Young Hand Cream with SPF 40
I'm loving this box right off the bat because the Supergoop! hand cream is already a staple of mine and this mini tube will be great for my purse!  Another staple of mine is dry shampoo - I use it on an almost daily basis and haven't tried R+Co's yet so I'm looking forward to it!

I'm really liking the skinny tip of the Chella Eyebrow Pencil.  A skinny pencil makes it's super easy to get natural looking hair-like pencil strokes.  Not sure if the taupe shade will be dark enough for me but we'll see!

I've never used a tinted anti-aging eye cream before so this one by Balance Me will be something of a new experience.  I'm excited to see if it'll replace concealer after nights I didn't get enough sleep!  Hopefully between that and the pretty champagne highlighter and blush shades from Coastal Scents I'll look healthy and refreshed no matter what!  (And with cold and flu season upon us I may need it sooner than later...)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

So Choix November Samples

So here's my November sample picks from So Choix's personal makeup counter! This time around I chose a full face of makeup - foundation, eye shadow, brow gel, and lip gloss.

  • NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint in "Terre Neuve"
  • Tom Ford Cream Color for Eyes in "Burnished Copper" and "Opale"
  • Burberry First Kiss Glossy Lip Balm in "1 Soft Peach"
  • Lancôme Sourcils Waterproof Eyebrow Gel-Cream in "02 Auburn"
If you'd like to learn more about So Choix you can check out their FAQs, and if you’d like to sign-up I’d be much obliged if you did so through my referral link!  Happy sampling!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Fish with Spicy Tomatoes

This is one of the easiest, tastiest, and healthiest recipes I have ever come across!  It's been a busy weeknight go-to of mine for a while now and was in pretty heavy rotation while I was on a low-carb diet. 
Pictured here with flounder! 
I typically serve it over brown rice but also love it with roasted zucchini or a side of broccoli when I'm watching my carbs. 
Please note that the tomatoes have quite a spicy kick!  If spicy isn’t your thing then either substitute another can of diced tomatoes for the tomatoes with chiles, or cut the creole seasoning by half.

Fish with Spicy Tomatoes
4 – 4oz fillets of white fish (flounder, cod, or tilapia)
1T olive oil
½ onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
14.5oz can diced tomatoes, drained
10oz can diced tomatoes with chiles, drained
1T creole seasoning

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.   Sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes.  Add both cans of tomatoes and creole seasoning.  Stir until heated through.

Lay fish fillets over the sauce and cover.  Cook 10-12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Serve over brown rice and/or with a side of roasted vegetables

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

What I'm Reading: Empire of Storms

Empire of Storms is the 5th book in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Mass.  If memory serves me correctly, a friend introduced me to these books after I finished The Mortal Instruments series and didn't know what to do with my life.  The Throne of Glass series is Adult Fantasy complete with assassins, fae, witches, kings, and demons.  It's full of suspense with a little bit of romance and good mix of wit and humor.
As with any long running series where one is waiting a year or more for the next book, I was a few chapters in before I remembered exactly what was going on and with whom.  (There are several prominent characters and their stories all intertwine, so I had more than a few moments where I was staring off into space trying to remember what had happened previously.)
I have a hard time putting this book down ("Sleep?  Oh, do I need that?") and I'm sure I'll be finished within a week.  Then... I can start waiting nearly another year for the 6th book. *sigh*