Body Shop Body Butter for Eczema and Dry Skin

I am a serious Body Shop fangirl. I just started shopping there about 6  months ago and have already racked up so many “Love Your Body” (their frequent shoppers card) points that I just got 75% off of a huge order. This is the only brand to which I’ve developed such a fast and furious obsession. Here’s how it went down:

I got married this year and had original plans to have my bridal shower and bachelorette party on the same day (for logistical reasons). Due to a series of unfortunate events, and the biggest slacker of a Maid of Honor on the planet, my bridal shower had to be canceled and my bachelorette party barely made the cut, thanks to a rockstar of a bridesmaid (want to find out who your true friends are? Find happiness, fall in love, and get married. Word.). Well one of my bachelorette party attendees, who was also invited to my bridal shower (and is the mother of my flower girl – cutest freaking flower girl EVER), still brought me my bridal shower gift – a gift set of “Love Etc”, one of the lines carried by the Body Shop. Because I am a whore for new scents, I immediately slathered myself in the body butter and drowned myself in the perfume. When I awoke the next day, something amazing happened; a patch of eczema I had been battling on my shin was SIGNIFICANTLY reduced. I was shocked – and immediately ordered a bunch more body butters.

Per the Body Shop description, it contains:

Community Trade cocoa butter, an excellent moisturizer that melts at body temperature, is rich in essential fatty acids and antioxidants. Organic, virgin, cold-pressed Community Trade coconut oil softens and conditions skin.

Here is what I’ve learned to date; not all body butters are created equally. Some are meant for light moisturizing and some for heavier, but lucky for us, the Body Shop has foresight. They are all marked appropriately, depending on the level of moisture you are needing. So far, for my super dry, eczema-prone, skin, I am a fan of: Love Etc (the best so far), mango, and strawberry.

On a side note, I am also a fan of their scented oils for burning. I order them by the dozen and have not found a scent I hate yet. Some are a bit strong, but if diluted a bit, are lovely and light. Here is my little scent center, with a cameo appearance by Dexter the Doberman.

And here is my ADORABLE flower girl:

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Best Quorn Vegetarian Turkey Roast – the juciest recipe I’ve come up with yet!

When I was little and living in New York, a family from Puerto Rico watched me after school until my mom was done with work. I remember that the mother, Rosario, used to make the most amazing food. I used to sit in their living room after school, watching Gilligan’s Island reruns and letting the most amazing aromas fill my little nostrils. While I never knew what she was making, or how she made it, I do remember watching her poke her fingers into slabs of meat and sticking seasonings in the holes she made.

Recently, the hubby and I were brainstorming a new way to prepare the Quorn Turkey Roast for our Christmas dinner and I suddenly flashed back to the way that Rosario prepared her meat. Upon doing some research, I found out that she was preparing a very traditional “Pernil” (Pork). I found some recipes and drew from each of them to come up with the below recipe. What resulted is easily my best turkey recipe to date – my husband said that it tasted the closest to the real thing yet (although much better IMHO). So here it is!

Pernil-style Quorn Vegetarian Turkey Roast

** You should plan on doing the marinade part the night before the cooking at the soonest, but ideally a full day before the cooking of the roast.

1 Quorn Turkey Roast (defrosted)

3 cloves of garlic

2 Tbs white balsamic vinegar

2 Tbs olive oil

1 tsp basil

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp rosemary

1 tsp thyme

1/2 cup of butter or butter alternative

Start by cutting the very end off of both sides of the turkey, so that it is flat on either side. Then cut it in half. From there, make several slits on every side of the turkey, and then stick your pinky finger in there to make the slits bigger (in the picture I am using my pointer finger, but I found that it caused tearing along the edges).

From there, take bits of the garlic paste and push it into the holes

Once you have filled all of the holes (yes, I totally giggled when I typed that – I will always have the humor of a 13 year old boy), take the leftover vinegar/oil and rub it all over the turkey. Then put them in saran wrap or a plastic baggie to sit. Let it sit for at least 8 hours, preferably longer. The longer you let it sit, the better. It will look like this when it is ready to sit:

 

Once you are ready to cook it, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. From there take tin foil and wrap it lengthwise up the sides of each half of the roast. Take your 1/2 cup of butter or butter alternative and slather it all on top of the turkey. It will look like this:

Put it in the oven and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Then crank the oven to “broil” and broil until the edges are brown (about 5-7 minutes). Keep checking to make sure it has not burned. Once done, take out and cut into slices. In the aluminum there will be an amazing, aromatic, butter sauce left in the foil. Pour this over the slices. I have included a picture below. This recipe is the recipe on the left – I will post the recipe for the turkey on the right next 🙂

This pic is TERRIBLE, but it’s the only one I could find. My hands were shaky with excitement for some Quorn delicious-ness.

Raw “Cheezy” Kale Chips

The holidays have been wreaking havoc on my diet. With holiday parties and fun holiday cooking in my kitchen, I have not been eating as well as I’d like! To get back to feeling in a tip-top shape, I am incorporating more raw food meals into my and the hubby’s rotation! Whenever I eat raw, I feel so amazing; more energy and a better mood!

One of my favorite raw snacks is “cheezy” kale chips. These are addicting, but totally good for you!

Raw Cheezy Kale Chips

1 cup cashews, soaked in water for two hours
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast (available in most health food stores)
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink crystal salt
Juice of 1 lemon

2 bunches green kale – either dino or lactino

Put all ingredients except the kale into a food processor or blender and blend until completely smooth.

Tear the spine out of each kale leaf, keeping each half of the leaf as intact as you can (as this will make cutting it into chips much easier).

Stack a bunch of the leafs together, and then cut them into bite sized pieces, using either kitchen shears or a sharp knife.

Dump all of the kale chips into a large bowl, add the sauce, and then mix it well with your hands, gently squeezing and massaging the sauce into the kale chips until all of the chips are well coated.

Lay the chips out in single layers – without the chips touching – on Teflex sheets, or parchment paper, on your dehydrator trays, and dehydrate them at 105 overnight. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can bake them at 325 until crispy (usually 20-40 minutes, check every ten minutes).

Low Cal Vegetarian Buffalo Chicken Pita Sandwiches

My boy loves meat – LOVES it. Being a vegetarian, this is one area where I cannot help. And as much as my hubby is welcome to eat any kind of meat he wants, I have intervened in one way; he has to drastically cut back his consumption of it. Not because I am trying to convert him to my way of eating, but because he is in his 20’s and his cholesterol was so high that the doctors threatened to put him on meds. Anyone who knows me knows two things about me, 1) I am not crazy about most doctors, especially those who want to cure everything with a pill, and 2) I am a firm believer that most, if not all, conditions can be managed through diet (cancer included). Needless to say that, cholesterol pills are not an option for my husband. He just needed to kick his burger-a-day habit (and to his credit, he did, and his cholesterol has shot down). So my husband has chosen to eat a mostly vegetarian lifestyle for his health, and in return I have committed to preparing him meals that will help curb his meat-lust.

My hubby LOVES buffalo wings (or as those of us from New York call them, “wings”). Being of Lebanese decent, he also loves a lot of the Lebanese cuisine that his Tita (“Grandmother” in Lebanese) has prepared for him. He is nuts for food in pita. I came up with this recipe for him to give him a taste of it all.

Low Cal Vegetarian Buffalo Chicken Pita Sandwiches

1/2 bottle of your favorite hot sauce (We like Louisiana or Frank’s)

2 tablespoons of Earth Balance, ghee, or whichever butter alternative you prefer

2-4 Quorn Naked Chick’n Cutlets (these are, IMHO, the best vegetarian chicken option around. I’ve fooled many of my meat-eating friends by sneaking this into recipes)

1 packet of ranch dressing mix (we like Simply Organic brand best)

1 – 2 whole grain pita (I use Trader Joe’s mini pitas – they offer a smaller portion, and since I pack them with lettuce, hubby gets full and doesn’t even seem to notice there is less pita)

Fat free plain yogurt (real or vegan, your choice. Or if you are vegan, you can whip up a great alternative by throwing raw cashews, water, lemon juice, garlic and a little sea salt into a blender. Add lemon juice and salt to taste)

Your favorite lettuce

Throw the hot sauce, ranch mix and butter alternative in large saucepan (I use my dutch oven, but a saucepan is fine), and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often. Once the butter alternative has melted, and everything is blended, throw in the chicken cutlets. Reduce to medium-low heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the chicken cutlets are cooked through. Remember, these are vegetarian so do not take nearly as long to cook as real chicken.

Once that is done, take out the chicken, cut into cubes and fill the pita pocket with lettuce, chicken cubes, and a dollop of the fat free plain yogurt. If you like it real saucy, there is plenty of sauce leftover in the pan to drizzle some on top. Enjoy.

My husband goes CRAZY for this dish! I hope you like it too!

How to Organize Your Fridge So Your Food Doesn’t Spoil Before You Eat it

This may already be a no-brainer for some, but for others, some of the simplest ideas escape them.

I was really tired of my food spoiling so quickly. With just me and DH to eat it, it happened frequently. There are two particular food groups that often spoiled in my fridge:

1. Produce

2. Opened food containers or packages

I found that, for both categories, it occurred because it was out of sight, so out of mind. My produce was often relegated to the two bottom drawers of the fridge that I affectionately refer to as, “The Drawers of Death”. Once my produce was placed in the death drawers, I may as well have tossed them. It was a sure bet that the next time I opened the drawer, I would have rotting food in there.

I also found that partially opened packaged food spoiled because it tended to get pushed aside, or to the back of the fridge, where it met its moldy demise.

So here is my new set-up! I can’t say that it looks as gorgeous as a spread in a home magazine, but hey, this is real life. Not fancy catalogue living life.

So lets start with the produce:

That’s right – top shelf like the best liquor. I could probably get even more fancy with some sort of porcelain bins to keep it all contained, but I’m not that committed. This works for me – but share with me if you do something prettier. It might motivate me to get off my lazy ass and organize more. Either way, I can see all of my produce right away, and remember that it is there and needs to be eaten!

Next, the second shelf:

I took the drawer that hangs under my first shelf out of the track and stuck it on the second shelf where I can easily see it. In there, I placed all of my opened or soon-expiring food in the bin. This keeps it in my line of vision as a reminder to use it before it spoils! If you don’t have that extra drawer in your fridge, you could easily get a small, inexpensive, plastic bin at Big Lots or Target. Next to the bin are all of my beverages.

Next, what to do with the little Drawers of Death?

In these bad boys, I stuck my condiment overflow, as well as food that will keep awhile. I use my condiments everyday, whether I see them or not, so it makes sense that I would stick them in the drawers because I will never forget about them – even if I cannot see them!

And here is the full frontal fridge:

Lemme know what you think!

Quick and Easy Brown Basmati Lemon Rice

I’m posting this more so that I have something to pin on my Pinterest board! I need a good virtual place to keep this recipe.

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked brown Basmati rice (or really, any rice you prefer, but I like the brown Basmati from Trader Joe’s)

2 lemons

4 tablespoons of butter, margarine or olive oil (what you prefer)

1 teaspoon of minced garlic (I cheat and use the store bought stuff)

Salt and Pepper (I am a huge fan of Trader Joe’s Smoked Sea Salt and Flower Pepper)

Precook your rice in a rice cooker, or the old fashioned way if you don’t have a rice cooker (but seriously, spring for a rice cooker. Well worth the money). In a skillet, melt half your butter or oil and sautee your garlic. Add the cooked rice and stir a bit. Add the rest of your butter or oil, salt and pepper, and the juice from your lemons. Stir well. Serve. YUM!

Extreme Bust and DĂ©colletĂ© Makeover – 12/7/11

Here is what I’ve done consistently since my last post in my quest to make over my decollete:

  1. I have started applying Bio-Oil, twice daily
  2. I have started using Peter Thomas Roth’s Glycolic Acid Hydrating Gel (following the instructions on the bottle)
  3. I have started taking Alpha Lipoic Acid supplements

I first learned of the healing properties of Alpha Lipoic Acid craze during the Perricone frenzy that started several years ago. Nicholas Perricone is hottie dermie who came up with a phenomenal skin care line and published a whole series of books on improving your skin through diet and supplements. I have to say, when I followed it, my skin did improve quite a bit (although it did not cure my severe acne for which I decided to forego the natural crap and, instead, totally shoot down my liver by going on Accutane. If you have severe acne that nothing else will cure – do it. Just do it. Yes, it has a shitload of side effects, but if you’re acne is bad enough, you just dont freaking care).

Anyhoo, Mr. Hottie McHotterson Perricone sold me on Alpha Lipoic, and here is quick breakdown of what it does from the Cleveland Clinic website:

“You may have heard of alpha lipoic acid as “the miracle in a jar” for its anti-aging effects. It’s a newer, ultra-potent antioxidant that helps fight future skin damage and helps repair past damage.  Alpha acid has been referred to as a “universal antioxidant” because it’s soluble in both water and oil, which permits its entrance to all parts of the cell. Due to this quality, it is believed that alpha-lipoic acid can provide the greatest protection against damaging free radicals when compared with other antioxidants. Alpha lipoic acid diminishes fine lines, gives skin a healthy glow, and boosts levels of other antioxidants, such as vitamin C.”

So I went to my favorite place for vitamins – Trader Joes. I didn’t ever pay much attention to their vitamins, until I read a tip from funny girl Mindy Kahling (Kelly Kapoor from the Office) that she takes their prenatal vitamins to help her hair grow. She got that tip from her makeup artist. By the way, if you have not read her book, “Is everyone hanging out without me? And other concerns“, it is a must! Hilarious!

Anyways, so I picked up the Alpha Lipoic Acid from Trader Joe’s for under $8 and am now taking it twice a day. Here is a shot below, along with my Peter Thomas Roth glycolic, and a cameo appearance of my Body Shop Eye Makeup Remover – with which I am obsessed. Both with the remover and the Body Shop. I’m a fangirl.