Sunday, September 28, 2014

Beginner Vegetarian?


Vegetarian Quick & Easy - Under 15 Minutes Ebook


As a vegetarian, sometimes it's really hard to find recipes I can use. I'm totally in to veggie recipe books. You can find some cool things! I was given this recipe e-book (is that how that should be worded?) to try out and review. I have to say, if you're a just starting out being a veggie, this will be good for you. It basically goes over a bunch of simple recipes that maybe you wouldn't have thought of. I know it's really tough starting off as a veggie on your own. I struggled to think of things that I could eat without meat, yet still get the nutrients I needed.
I do have to warn that some measurements are missing from the ebook. I'm not sure how the editor missed that, but... So, for instance, the recipe will say: eggs, beaten. Well, how many eggs? Of course, I'm sure you can come to a reasonable amount, but it's still inconvenient. I didn't look through every single recipe, but I saw a couple of measurements missing.
So really, I'm 50/50 on this recipe book. Half of me thinks this could be pretty useful for beginners, the other half of me thinks it should have been edited better. Obviously. But, for ideas (and the cheap price) I guess, whatever.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Birchbox Review - September 2014

Hoooray!

I think I've mentioned this before, but I love when my BirchBox comes! It's like a little present every month. To myself. (: That's ok with me. I absolutely love the new option to choose one of the items in your box. I'm glad we can kind of customize it! Plus, this month's box is adorable!
If you are unaware, Birchbox is a monthly makeup subscription. It's great if you're into discovering new, high-end products, without just jumping off the deep end and buying it. I've found so many new brands and products that I love. The subscription is $10/month in the US, shipping included.

Here's what I received this month:

Acure Organics Day Cream Gotu Kola Stem Cell + 1% CGF ($18.99 for 1.75 oz.)
Sample Size: 1 fl. oz.
Value: $10.85
This was my favorite product out of the box! Although this day cream is a little thick, I love it. It makes me so happy to find vegan products that I love. When I used this, it absorbed into the skin, and it didn't leave me oily throughout the day, like I'm used to. However, it is a good idea to set your face with a matte powder after applying this and your foundation!

TEMPTU S/B Highlighter ($27.50 for 1 oz.)
Sample Size: 0.1 fl. oz.
Value: $2.75
I have fairly pale skin. Typically, I make it a little more pale than it is, but I just love the vintage porcelain skin. This only comes in champagne, which is alright if you aren't really pale or you're wearing blush. I actually really like it when I'm wearing blush, because it blends in really nicely. But if I'm not wearing blush,  you can just see a little patch of shimmery peach on my cheekbone, and I'm not a fan of that. Plus, it's almost like glitter when it's in the sun. I think I'm just being picky, though.

Davines OI / Shampoo ($27 for 280 ml)
Sample Size: 12 ml
Value: $1.16
My hair has been on a strict sulfate-free, cleansing conditioner diet. But, I gave it up for a couple days to try this out! Surprisingly, it didn't lather, which is something associated with typical, sulfate shampoos. It did a great job of cleaning my hair, and, when used with the conditioner, my hair was so silky soft. However, I wasn't able to go more than a day without washing it, which is why I've moved away from sulfate shampoos!

Davines OI / Conditioner ($32 for 250 ml)
Sample Size: 75 ml
Value: $9.60
I was super pleased with the sample size of this product! I'll also probably be able to reuse the container after, but that's besides the point. As mentioned with the shampoo, this left my hair really silky. I didn't have to fuss with any products to detangle my hair after my shower, either, which is always good. However, as my hair has been on a sulfate-free diet, I wasn't able to go longer than a day without washing it!

Sample Size: 15 ml
Value: $0.93
So, when I think of a liquid loofah and exfoliation, I'm thinking that there must be some kind of bead or, I don't know, sugar or salt in the product. Something to give it a little grit to exfoliate. Nope. It's pure liquid. I really like to exfoliate with my loofah, but this product is saying I don't need one? False. You still need one. All in all, this was just not for me.

Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel ($48.00 for 1.7 fl. oz.)
Sample Size: 0.17 fl. oz.
Value: $4.80
If you're expecting a product that dries to your face and you can peel it off or wipe it off, like a mask, I would not recommend. I was so confused after using it and reading the "peel" part. It dried to my skin pretty quickly, so the circular massage for 2-3 minutes didn't happen. I'd just be rubbing my skin?

Davines OI / Oil Absolute Beautifying Potion ($41 for 4 oz.)
Sample Size: Missing!
Value: N/A
This was missing out of my box!

Total Box Value: $30.09
This box was great! I literally always find at least one product out of my BirchBox that makes it all worth it! I'm really interested in trying more products from Acure Organics!

What was your favorite product this month!? Or do you have another subscription you can't live without? (:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Favorites

Sicky Edition

1. Boyfriend

Boyfriend covered me up in 3 blankets while he ran out to get me tissues, soup, and hot chocolate. He's wonderful.

2. Vicks + Lotion Puffs

IDK if it's weird to have a favorite tissue, but I basically stock pile these in the fall/winter.

3. Fall TV

I think all my favorite shows come on in the fall, and I'm so excited!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What's Cookin' Wednesday

Tomato Basil Soup


Somehow, overnight, my body decided to be sick. I literally could not tell you the last time I was sick. So, of course, I act like I'm dying. Because I don't get sick, and boyfriend will now bend to my will. (; That's a joke... kinda. This wasn't my planned post, but I had forced myself to the gym and just wanted a shower and to lay down. Anything that needed me to be involved was just not happening. And what does anyone crave when they're sick? Soup!
Either way, winter is coming (someone please get that). I may try to live off of soup throughout the fall and winter! It's just so warm and cozy...

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
4 Roma tomatoes
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
3/4 c. half & half or heavy cream
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
3/4 c. veggie broth
1 oz. fresh basil (mine was packaged)
2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
Salt & pepper to taste

How to:

Heat the oil in a large stock pot. Sauté the garlic, bay leaf, and crushed red pepper until the garlic is slightly browned. While that's going, toss your Roma tomatoes and basil in a blender and pulse. Ours was a little chunky. If you don't like that, blend away! Once the garlic has browned, dump the tomato/basil mixture in. Also dump in the can of crushed tomatoes. Bring that to a low boil, and add in the cream and brown sugar. I was about to omit this because I though it was weird, but don't. I promise. Mix all this together and let simmer for about 8-10 minutes. You could totally stick an immersion blender in now, if you have one and you want it creamy. I don't have one. *hint hint mom!* Add in the broth, salt & pepper, and seasoning. Continue to heat for another 3-5 minutes, until warm throughout.
Serve hot and steamy with some grilled cheese on the side!

I totally suggest tasting it throughout the process! I used a couple of recipes and kinda just made my own. When I walked away, boyfriend added in the Italian seasoning, and it was just right. He also made the grilled cheese while I whined about being sick. (: I have to give him that! If you're wondering, we use an Italian seasoning from Penzey's! That place is like a tiny spice heaven.



What is your favorite soup to make when you're sick? (:

Monday, September 22, 2014

Motivation Monday / Review


Water Enhancers


Anyone that knows me, knows that I don't like soda. For that matter, I don't like anything carbonated. Wine coolers, soda, smirnoff, none of it. When people ask me why, I have to explain that it's like fireworks going off in my mouth, and I just hate it. While I'm not complaining (soda is just awful for you), it also really limits what I drink. So like, water. Juice is great every once in a while, but it's loaded with sugar most of the time! So, I've turned to water enhancers. If you're into trying them, make sure you check the sugar content!

Many of the water enhancers I've seen are loaded down with sugar. Vacay is free of calories and sugar! I'm trying the Island Lemonade, and it's so delicious! This little packet has 10 servings in it! It adds a little flavor to my water, while helping me drink the amount of water I need! It's sweetened with stevia, so it's not awful for you! (:

How do you make sure you're drinking enough water? Do you have any secrets!? I'd love to hear down below!


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday (whoops!) Favorites!

1. Bachelorette Party

We had a blast this weekend. There were dance majors everywhere!

2. Nerd Cups!

These glasses came in a little set of Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, and Green Lantern!!

3. Old Favorites and Fall Comfort

Tommy has given me some more old favorites of his to change over! Here's a little sneak peek at what might be up on Wednesday!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What's Cookin' Wednesday


Taco Pizzadillas


Sometimes, ideas start like this:

Tori: What do you want for dinner this week?
Boyfriend: Pizzadillas sound good!
Tori: Oh my god, I want taco pizza. OOOH! What about taco pizzadillas!?

In case you don't know, a pizzadilla is a quesadilla stuffed with pizza stuff. Ours are typically green peppers, black olives, and red onions with pizza cheese. Then you dip it in pizza sauce! We love that hear. He loves pizza, and I like to make it healthier! So why not switch it up!? This is definitely a meal that vegetarians and carnivores can enjoy, alike! You can substitute the crumbles for ground beef, if you aren't a fan! (: Either way, it's freaking delicious, and we loved it.

Ingredients:
8 tortilla shells (I used whole wheat)
Butter to grease tortillas
1 can refried beans
1/2 lb. Morningstar crumbles
3/8 c. water
1/2 taco seasoning packet
1 small can sliced black olives
1 1/2 c. Mexican cheese
1/2 c. salsa
Shredded lettuce
How to:
In a small pan, start "browning" the crumbles. Once this is heated through, add the 3/8 cup of water and the taco seasoning. Let this heat for a bit to absorb the flavors and thicken. Set this aside. Butter one side of all of the tortillas. Place one in a large skillet and slather on as much refried beans as your little heart desires. Top that with some of the crumbles. I used about 1/4 cup, spread evenly. Then, add the sliced black olives and Mexican cheese. I'm not giving you any measurements, because I believe in you. Also, you and I have different taste buds. Alright, now top that with another tortilla, butter side up. Turn the heat on! Approximately a medium heat. Cook until golden brown, then flip. Cook that side until golden brown, too. Place it onto a plate and top with salsa and shredded lettuce!!

If you asked boyfriend, he would tell you that every meal I make starts with garlic. It's probably really close to the truth. Garlic is my absolute favorite, but one thing I hate about using garlic is having to peel it to press it. Although I love the smell of garlic, it's not cute when that's what my hands smell like every day. I've recently received this garlic press, and it's absolutely amazing! Two reasons. 1. You don't have to peel the garlic. 2. You get more minced garlic out of each clove! Definitely check it out if you love being in the kitchen, but you don't want to smell like what you cook after! (:

Anyway, these were so good!! I just can't.
On a side note, I think I should rename my blog "How to Eat Mexican Food Every Meal."
I promise next week won't be a Mexican dish! But who's going to try this!? What other ingredients do you love on taco pizza!?


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Motivation Monday


Matcha!

I have officially transitioned to my 5 am workouts. It definitely helps when you work in an office setting. If I don't work out in the morning, it's just sit, sit, sit. Sit and put my makeup on, sit and drive to work, sit in front of a computer for 8 hours. Guess what? That means I'm ridiculously tired throughout the day. Like, nodding off tired. While coffee is grand and I love it, remember I'm trying to stay away from the sugary-ness of it.
While working at Starbucks, I fell in love with green tea lattes. So much goodness, but still a ton of sugar! Plus, it's pricey. So why not make your own at home!? It's pretty simple.

Ingredients:
1 cup milk of choice
1 tsp. matcha powder
Honey, agave, or other sweetener to taste.

How to:
Combine ingredients in a cup and whisk! Add ice if desired. If you're on the go, you can also put the ingredients in a bottle and just shake it up. So easy, and so much better for you than Starbucks!

I'm using this matcha powder. It's so, so good. It's got a strong smell, but that's only due to how fresh the product is. I'm able to drink this with the tiniest bit of honey. It's got an amazing flavor, and since you only need 1/2-1 tsp, it'll last you a good while! Kiss Me Organics has done a great job with this product and I strongly recommend it! :)

So, what is matcha?

Matcha powder is pulverized green tea leaves. So, ya know how everyone raves about how good green tea is for you? Since you're taking in the whole tea leaf, matcha is even better for you. Up to 10 times better, according to my research.

Some of the benefits include:
Tons of antioxidants
Boosts metabolism & burns calories
Great for a detox
Calms & relaxes
Enhances mood
Provides calcium, selenium, zinc, and magnesium
Helps fight viruses and bacteria
Rich in fiber
Lowers cholesterol

With all that, what's to lose? I've been drinking this after a good workout! It can also be used for baking! Yuuum, matcha macarons.
What's your favorite way to use matcha powder? I'd love to hear in the comments below!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Favorites

1. Bridal Showers!

My friend's bridal shower was this past weekend! Look at that little tutu!

2. Renpure Cleansing Conditioner

I've been using this stuff for almost 2 weeks now! I can go about 3 days without washing my hair & my hair feels wonderful!

3. Batiste Dry Shampoo

This is the first dry shampoo I've tried that really did the job. I'm kind of in love with it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Perfectly Posh

Please allow me to introduce you to a line that I've fallen in love with. I wish you could all hear the obnoxious, high-pitched "eeeeeeeee" of happiness! Use your imagination.
I'm sure most of you have heard of LUSH. I know I've used many products from them. But they are expensive. Like, $30 for the body wash and shampoo and conditioner I like. Yeah, no. But who doesn't like the natural, cruelty-free products? There is a solution to this dilemma!

Perfectly Posh

Seriously, guys. Here's the perks:
Naturally based
USA made
Sustainable Ingredients
Sulfate, Paraben, Lanolin, and Phthalates Free
Loaded with essential oils
Cruelty-Free

All of their products are under $25, and when you buy 5 items, you get the 6th free. Pretty cool! I had the absolute pleasure of testing 5 samples, and let me just tell you. I am sold. Boyfriend is sold. Kitty is sold. (She's unaware). I'll share with you what I received and what I thought of it.
Let's start with my favorite:


Excuse me a moment, while I sigh in happiness. I was not expecting the wonderful feels I got from this product. You know that awesome feel you get from Vicks vapor rub when you put it on your chest? When I used this in the shower, the first thing I got hit with was the amazing peppermint smells. Nasal congestion? What's that? It was literally amazing. Then I washed it off, and my skin got this icy hot feel, and it was just, ugh. I literally let out a sigh of happiness. So awkward, but so good. Boyfriend-approved, as well.

Um, excuse me? I get to mix my own masks? Pretty damn cool. There a several different recipes you can choose from, or you can make up your own. Let's think about this. Instead of buying several different masks that focus on one thing, you can use this one mix, using different ingredients, and cover a whole range of stuff! Want to brighten your skin? Combine 1 Tbsp. mix with 1/2 plain yogurt. Want to fight aging? Combine 1 Tbsp. mix with a smashed avocado. Pretty awesome way to get the most for your money.

Go ahead and try to use this without singing. This is an awesome exfoliator. I used this after I had washed my face for the night. It doesn't have too much of a scent, just a clean smell to me. It's packed full of essential oils, so while it's rubbing away the dead skin, it's also leaving your skin moisturized. I, personally, have an oily face, and the oils in this didn't make it worse at all. I'm typically worried about that. It did, however, leave my skin super soft. Awesome stuff.

The name of this is just right up my ally. I'm not really sure what dragons smell like, but I imagine it would be something spicy like this. I could definitely smell the wasabi and ginger in this product! I promise that's not a weird thing either. Along with those, it has caffeine, cocoa, shea, and glycerin to tighten, moisturize, calm inflammation, and bring an anti-oxidant to the skin. It absorbs into the skin fairly quickly and leaves silky smooth hands! No oily residue is always a plus!

I have an awful problem with having rough, dry elbows. It's kinda gross. This thing is designed specifically for any areas on your body that are rough and dry. Seriously. It's loaded with shea butter, leaving behind a nice amount of moisture and a light shea scent. I personally love the smell of shea butter. While this bar is way too abrasive for normal skin, if you have any bothersome rough spots, I highly recommend. This will do the job.

Check them out here!

Have you guys tried this line?! What were your thoughts? I'd love to hear from you! <3>

What's Cookin' Wednesday

Black Bean Tacos

Don't mind the huge camera shadow.
Well, good afternoon! Can I tell you all that my week, thus far, has been sooo busy? I started my new job at the state, and it's just.... The building is a maze straight out of J.K. Rowling's brain. It might just be that everything looks the exact same, but still. With a new job came new hours! I now start at 7:45am! Woo! So that means I can either get my ass up at 5am to go work out, or I can work out after work and not get home until like, 7pm. Yeah, no thanks. Boyfriend can't fend for himself, and there's no way I'd want to cook. Remember when I said I'd rather get up early to workout? I got my wish.

Anyway, I think in every food post, I talk about how I love Mexican food. Whatever, it's delicious. A lot of people don't like the meat crumble substitute. That's fine, I get it. The texture is a bit different than ground beef. Boyfriend and I personally don't mind it, but sometimes I wanna switch it up! As mentioned several times, boyfriend loves black beans. I love refried beans. So, I made a healthy combination of the two! I used this in place of my taco meat, and it was soooo good! It makes a pretty good amount, which I'm ok with. I like using the leftovers in my egg wraps in the morning. Protein on protein.

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can rotel (diced tomatoes and green chilis)
2 cans black beans
2 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Sprinkle of cayenne (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste




How to:
In a large skillet, heat up the olive oil and toss the onion and garlic in. Sauté until fragrant and slightly brown. Pour in the rotel and simmer for about 5-6 minutes. Mix in the black beans and allow them to heat up for about 3 minutes. Using a potato masher, begin to smash the mixture up. As the mixture heats through, it will become easier to mash. Mash until the bean mixture is at a consistency you like. I like to leave it a little chunky. Add in the seasonings and stir to combine. Let that simmer to reduce the amount of liquids.
Done! Now pile the bean mixture on some tortillas (I used soft, whole wheat), add some corn, lettuce, cheese, and greek yogurt! Or, ya know, whatever you like on your tacos. (:

Om nom nom nom.

How do you switch up your Mexican dishes!? I'd love to know in the comments below!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Motivation Monday


Sweets!

I have an awful sweet tooth. Awful!! And how fun can life be if you just chop all the fun things out? Yeah, the answer is none. I'm not even willing to try. There is, however, a way to make sweets that are a liiiiiittle better for you!

I got these on Amazon! They're wonderfully versatile. I can use them to make yummy healthy sweets, or I can use them for portion control in my lunch for work! Both are things I need. These nifty little things have lids that seal really well, so you don't need to worry about them opening on your way to work. But yesterday, I used them to make a healthy treat. 

 Look how messy my little kitchen is! :O

Berry Matcha Popsicles

Ingredients:
2 tsp. match powder (I'm using this)
1 1/2 c. milk of choice (I'm using coconut almond milk)
1 tsp. honey
2 handfuls of assorted frozen berries
Pop Molds!


How To:
In a bowl, whisk 1 cup milk, matcha powder, and honey. You should taste it at this point. If it isn't sweet enough for you, add a bit more honey! Using something with a lip to avoid spilling everywhere like I did, fill your molds halfway with the matcha mixture. As you can see above, to keep my molds upright, I used a cooling rack! Sometimes I'm a little clever. 
Anyway, in a blender, toss in the berries and the remainder of the milk. Blend until you have a nice frozen puree. Fill the remainder of the molds with this mixture. At that point, I put the lids on them and gave them a good shake. Not a drop was spilled. Now toss those in the freezer for a couple of hours, and enjoy!!


What is your favorite healthy sweet!? I'd love to hear!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday Favorites!

1. Blonde Hair

I've officially been every natural(ish) hair color. I'll stick with blonde.

2. Last Day

I totally have mixed emotions. I wanted to have a party and cry.

3. Skyrim

I definitely got sucked back in. And Kitty was all cuddles.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What's Cookin' Wednesday

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers


Think a veggie can't grill out with burgers and stuff? Wrong!! And, I hate to break it to you, but our burgers are better. (Total opinion, but... whatever.) 
Boyfriend will eat anything and everything with black beans in it. He'd probably eat them every day if I'd let him. He's obsessed with trying black bean burgers at restaurants. Because they're just so damn good. I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but we're giant Mexican fans. I, personally, would eat Mexican all the time. I think being born on the border (San Diego), and my first meal being Mexican really had an effect on my little taste buds. I'm perfectly ok with it. So, these burgers definitely have a bit of a Mexican flare!

Ingredients:
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. quinoa
1 can black beans
1 egg
1/2 c. panko crumbs
3/4 c. corn
1/8 tsp. hot sauce (I use Tapatio)
2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Sprinkle of cayenne if you like it spicy.

How to:
Bring water and quinoa to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the water is all absorbed. While that's going on, rinse beans and dump into a large bowl. Use a potato masher and mash the beans! I like to leave the beans a little chunky. Smash in the egg, using a spoon to combine well. Stir in the panko, corn, hot sauce, and spices. Once the quinoa is cooked, fold that into your bean mixture. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes, then form into patties. I usually get 5 patties out of this recipe. 
For the grill: Cover grate with foil and poke holes throughout it. Cook the patties for about 10 minutes on each side.
For the oven: Preheat oven to 350. Grease a baking sheet well. Bake patties for 20 minutes, flipping them over half way through.
For the stove top: Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet. Fry the patties until crispy on each side, approximately 5 minutes each side. I usually pat the oil off when they're done.
Serve immediately with your choice of toppings!



We paired ours with some grilled cauliflower!!! So amazingly good. I would totally skip the burger and only eat cauliflower.
One side has pesto and a sprinkle of parmesan. The other side just has olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Amazing.

Have you tried black bean burgers!? Or do you have another favorite veggie burger? Let me know in the comments below! (: