It’s Skillet Time

maryhadalittleblog.com-15Whenever it is my night to cook I always look for simple recipes, because well I’m not the worlds best cook! My husband grew up at a restaurant and in a kitchen, learning from his father a 5 star chef. So as you can suspect he is normally the one in the kitchen preparing and cooking the food. However once in while he needs a break, because who doesn’t!? So today I will tell you how to cook this delicious and healthy chicken, broccoli, pasta skillet.

When at the store you will need to grab 2 medium sized boneless chicken breasts. Pasta 16oz, I used bow ties but you can use whatever you like. 12oz of broccoli, if you aren’t a fan of it you could substitute for any veggies really. Half a cup of shredded cheese, I used a Mexican blend. And lastly 1 can of cream of chicken condensed soup.

Ready for the instructions? Here goes..

Step 1. In a large skillet, place your chicken breast. I cut mine up into bite sized squares so they cooked faster. Though you can cook the chicken first, then cut it up. While cooking your chicken you will want to season it however you like your chicken, I just used salt and pepper. If you choose to cook the chicken breast first then cut it up, you will want to place the diced chicken back in the skillet when finished.

Step 2. In a large pot, boil whatever pasta you choose. Once tender, drain as normal and place into the skillet with the chicken.

Step 3. In the same pot you boiled your pasta, you will want to cook the broccoli or whatever veggies you choose until soft. Once ready, place into the skillet with chicken, and pasta.

Step 4. Mix in the cream of chicken soup, making sure to stir and combine everything together. You can then add some extra salt and pepper for taste.

Step 5. Place the shredded cheese on top until it has melted.

Now you are all ready to enjoy this delicious and healthy meal! Easy peasy, no stress or worry about not having a good meal for yourself or your family. I hope you enjoy!!

pureSOL Konjac Facial Sponge

www.maryhadalittleblog.comWho uses a special sponge just for their face? I know there is the loofahs for the bodies, and wash clothes for the face, but a sponge…on your face, I’m not sure if I’m sheltered or what but I hadn’t heard of such a thing before now! I knew I had tried one, and I am now officially hooked and in love. I always just used a typical washcloth or just my hands. If you haven’t tried one you are missing out, and must pick one up!

The pureSOL Konjac Facial Sponge  with activated charcoal is the facial sponge that I tried. When I first felt it I didn’t think I was going to like it at all. It was very hard, and scratchy almost rock like, and alls I could think was this was going to tear up my skin and make it worse.

Man was I wrong and I am so glad that I was! After a few seconds of being in water this sponge transforms, it puffs up to became soft. I use it with my cleanser mostly, but sometimes I add a nice coffee scrub to the mix rubbing in a circular motion around my whole face. I have noticed that my blackheads have since dissipated, and my face is smoother and softer with less acne. The bamboo charcoal that this sponge contains has activated carbon and minerals which is what will help clean and absorb the excess oils, and dirt that you do not want on your face. I use this sponge every morning while in the shower, and sometimes in the evening to help take off my makeup. It doesn’t over exfoliate, so it is perfectly safe to use everyday. It is the perfect size for the palm of your hand and it moves easily all around your face.

Strung through the sponge is a string, this is because it comes with a suction cup so that you can hang it, and let it dry when you’re finished. This is very convenient so you’re not just setting it down somewhere letting it absorb any dirt.

Curious about cleaning this product? You can actually boil it, or even just pop it in the microwave for a few minutes to sterilize it. I prefer the boiling method, and then I just let it hang to dry as if I had just used it.

Disclosure: I received this product for free or at a discounted rate in exchange for my honest opinion. In no way did this discount influence my opinion of the product.

Argan Oil Hair Mask

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So, I don’t think I am the only women who thinks they have no bounce or life in their hair. Have you tried looking for a product that can bring it back to life? I may have just the answer for you, Argan Oil! You may have heard your stylist talk about it, I know I sure have. Argan Oil has many different benefits for your hair, and scalp.

The first benefit would be cleaning away all of the buildup on your scalp. We all think that the shampoo, and conditioners that we use are cleaning all of the dirt and gunk off of us. While they do help take care of all the dirt and gunk, we never fully rinse all of them off of our heads. This leads to buildup, and irritation on our scalps. The Argan Oil contains botanical ingredients, which help soothe the scalp and decrease buildup.

Another benefit is that it helps repair damaged hair, and leaves it soft, and silky. I know when something, or someone tells me a product is going to repair my hair and leave it soft I am a bit intrigued. I have very thick, heavy, frizzy, wavy hair. Even right out of the shower it starts getting knotted, and unmanageable. Let me just say, I was blown away by the results of this product.

I used the mask just as directed on just cleaned, towel dried hair. I left it inhttp___maryhadalittleblog.com-2 for 10 minutes, then rinsed it all out. My gosh, I was overwhelmed by the way my hair felt. It was weightless, and incredibly soft. Even the day after (when this photo was taken) it was incredibly manageable for my finger to run through it. It was still very soft, and not greasy feeling like I get when I use silk drops from my salon. As you can see it isn’t super frizzy, and it has a little bounce in it even!

I would strongly recommend this product to anyone and everyone! I have even texted my two best friends telling them about it. Not to mention the company has a money back guarantee, so you really can’t go wrong trying it out.

If you interested in purchasing this Argan Oil, you can check it out here on Amazon.

Disclosure: This product was received at a free or discounted price in exchange for my honest review. Receiving the discount did not influence my review.

HEALTHY ICE CREAM

Yep. That’s right. Healthy ice cream. This “ice cream” is better in my opinion than regular ice cream, and you can make it with just one thing…bananas!  Yep its just bananas! This is typically called nice cream in the vegan world and I’m about to show you how to make it! Now it does require some prep time because you need to work with frozen bananas.  So, I usually peel my bananas (you want them to be very ripe and spotted) and break them in half and put them in a tupperware container and throw them in the freezer overnight. The next morning you will have your frozen bananas you’re ready to start!!!

 

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So you’re going to take your frozen bananas ( I used 2 bananas) and put them in a blender and let them sit there for about 10 minutes just to thaw out a bit.  Then you’re going to take about 1/4 cup water and have that out ready to add as you blend. (DONT ADD IT ALL AT ONCE  I usually only add a tiny bit of water at a time and add as I need.)  You will know to keep adding water because it won’t be blending.  Once you have your ice cream like consistency and its blended all up you’re done! That’s it!!! Now as you’ll see below I decided once my nice cream was done I wanted to add a handful of strawberries to make it strawberry nice cream. The possibilities are endless to what you could add, but plain old banana is super yummy too. :) I usually have it for breakfast and add some frozen blueberries and homemade granola on top.  SO GOOD!!!

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EATING VEGAN

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So today I decided to do a blog post about the way I eat.  I eat a plant based vegan diet. Even though I haven’t been vegan very long I get tons of questions asked by either friends, family, or just a curious bystander (this has actually happened). Also, I’ve seen some people poking fun at being vegan so I figured it was a good time to post this :) To start this off, I’ve been vegan for about 4 months, and before that I was a vegetarian for a while, and before that I was not eating any red meat or pork. So overall this has been about a 5 year transition to eating fully vegan. So now to the questions!

What does being vegan mean?

It means I eat a plant based diet, and I don’t eat anything that comes from an animal in any way. This includes dairy, honey, fish, eggs, and anything that may contain those ingredients. It’s amazing how many things you wouldn’t think of like bread, candy, chips, even beer and wine can contain some sort of animal byproduct.

Why did you become vegan?

The same reason I originally went vegetarian…I’m a bleeding heart animal lover. I’m a lover of all things furry, so when I started to educate myself on the meat industry and the dairy industry and false claims like “cage free” eggs, I knew I couldn’t contribute to any of the horrible things that go on behind closed doors. You don’t need meat or dairy to survive, and I don’t think its worth all of the pain and suffering these poor helpless animals go through just for my convenience or because I like the taste of meat or dairy. Watch documentaries. They’ll stay with you forever.

This cake I’m eating says its vegan, so that means it’s healthy right?

Definitely not! Sugar can be vegan! Fried foods can be made vegan! There are plenty of things that are vegan that are not even close to being healthy such as Oreos, some pre-packaged frostings, you can even go to taco bell and get no cheese and no meat and be in vegan junk heaven! ( I do not know this from experience…) So for the most part I try to stick to a plant based healthy diet that isn’t full of fried foods,artificial ingredients,or things I can’t pronounce.

If you don’t eat meat, then how do you get protein?

Nuts, seeds,beans,grains and so many other plant based foods all offer plenty of protein.

Don’t you feel restricted?

Actually it’s quite the opposite! Now that I eat a plant based diet I don’t count calories anymore, or worry I ate too much for the day. I eat when I’m hungry, and stop when I’m full. I make healthy desserts and eat them for breakfast or as a late night snack. So if anything I feel free from those stupid calorie counting apps and the myth that carbs make you fat. My diet is made up mostly of carbs! For dinner last night I had pasta and garlic bread, and for breakfast I had banana ice-cream (made just of frozen bananas) with tons of granola. I don’t feel restricted AT ALL.

Is it hard to eat at normal restaurants?

This one is tricky because I get asked this a lot. It depends what you consider normal. Is McDonald’s or Burger King a normal restaurant? Then yes, it would be hard for me. As far as regular sit-down restaurants, I normally don’t have an issue. If everyone wants pizza, I can just get a pizza with no cheese and extra veggies! If we’re going to a Mexican restaurant, I would just get a bean burrito with no cheese. And almost any chain restaurant has some sort of vegetable side, so worse case scenario I order a bunch of different sides such as potatoes, beans, vegetables, or even pasta. It really isn’t too difficult eating out. Also veganism is becoming very wide spread, and many restaurants are offering a vegan section on their menu or at least one vegan option!

Don’t you miss eating meat?

No. Not even in the slightest. It’s to the point now where I see meat and I wonder how I ever actually ate it. Also, there’s vegan EVERYTHING these days. If you have a favorite meat dish, I guarantee there’s a veganized one out there that will taste almost exactly the same…if not way better.

Do you feel bad if I eat meat in front of you?

No! This has come up so many times and so many people apologize to me. “Hey, sorry, but I’m going to get an order of bacon.” Just because I chose to live this way doesn’t mean I’m judging you for not making the same choices as me! Im not offended! If you’re going to apologize to anyone maybe the little piggy you’re about to munch on…but as for me, no apologies neccesary!

Is your husband vegan?

My husband is not vegan, he’s vegetarian, even though his favorite restaurant is a vegan restaurant. ( Ethos in Orlando for all my Florida friends! ) My husband has been vegetarian now for almost 2 months. (And no I did not force him to stop eating meat.)

Isn’t eating vegan super expensive?

If you want to get into all the fancy veganized food all the time then it could get a little bit pricey, but our grocery bill has gone down a considerate amount! Most of the recipes we make consist of fruits, vegetables, rice, and pasta, all of which are not expensive at all…especially when compared to fresh meat and dairy products.

Those are the questions I get asked the most. If you have a question, feel free to ask in the comments section. Being vegan has made me excited about cooking and baking healthy yummy things! (Which is probably why you see a lot of pictures posted of my creations :) ) I love the fact that I feel so much healthier, and I’m not contributing to the sad and disturbing things happening to all the animals in the food industry. If being vegan seems too extreme to jump right into, vegetarianism is a nice transition into it. To quote one of my favorite vegetarians, Paul McCartney, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.”

Meatball Sub Bake

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Are you looking for a diner with a fast prep time, and cooking? I know my family is always on the move, and I’m sure yours is too, so faster meals are always a great option for us. This meal was extremely easy to prep, my four year old even did most of it! There is a total of four steps.

Things you will need to make this dish – Pillsbury grand rolls, frozen meatballs (or ingredients to make your own), pasta sauce, and mozzarella cheese.

maryhadalittleblog.com-10First you will  pre heat the oven to 375. Next, take the grand rolls and cut them into 8 pieces each roll. Once cut you will spread it in a non stick baking dish or make sure to spray your dish prior. Pour the sauce you chose onto the pieces of biscuit evenly, stir to mix up if needed.

Next you will place the meatballs however far apart you desire.maryhadalittleblog.com-12 We make six rows, with four in each roll. I do recommend seasoning it however you would usually season meat. We just used salt and pepper.  Spread the cheese evenly onto the dish. That is all the prep, how easy is that! A total of about five minutes, who can’t handle that?!

My oven is a standard gas conventional oven. This dish cooked for 32 minutes and was ready to eat. This totals the meal prep, and cooking time to under 40 minutes!

Taken – IPhone 6 Leather Case Review

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Do you ever get sick of carrying your phone, a wallet, and other object in your pockets/purse? I was getting pretty sick of always having to take a big purse with me everywhere I went because I had so much to carry. That is why I’m so glad I found this phone case, it eliminated the need for me to carry a wallet!

I was looking for a case with a closure, and this one fits my phone perfectly. The closure is magnetic so you don’t need to worry about a button of any sort, and it holds it together nicely.maryhadalittleblog.com-6

On the back side of the case there is an outside card slot. I use this for easy access to my license. When you open the case there are three more spots to place items as well. Two of these slots are again card slots so it is perfect for debit/credit cards. The last slot is great to slid a few bucks in. As you can see in my last photo there is no need to worry about the cards scratching your phone either because there is a generous gap between them.

maryhadalittleblog.com-8The material is very soft, and seems like it will last for a while. Which is nice because no one wants to have to buy a new case every few months due to it falling apart.It is a slim, lightweight case, and fits very nicely right in the back pocket of my jeans. This is a big plus that I can just grab my phone now without having to bring a purse or anything else when I leave the house. This case holds everything I need, excluding my keys.

The only thing I can say I would change is when you close the case it would make your phone sleep so the battery isn’t used up fast. So before you close the case make sure you hit the side button on your phone to turn off the screen.

If you interested in purchasing this Taken case, you can check it out here on Amazon. This case is also available in a dark brown.

 

~This product was received at a free or discounted price in exchange for my review.

Zoya ~ Naked Manicure Kit Review

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Okay, so I love having my nails done either at a salon or just putting it on myself. I am in no way an expert at doing my nails, but it always looks better then nothing at all (on my hands, some people can totally rock the bare nails)!

maryhadalittleblog.com-2I received this Zoya nail kit for Christmas, and the first time I used it I instantly fell in love. I have very dry nails, that tend to break at the corners, and in layers. I have found a few nail polishes I liked to help cover this problem up but it would never last more then a few days, if I was lucky. Both of these pictures (don’t mind my wedding rings on my pinky, in my last pregnancy my fingers swelled and have never gone down) show how lackluster my nails are, and how dry and brittle they are as well.

Before I start with any polish, I always make sure to shape my nails how I want them. I then go over them with a nail polish remover to make sure all the oil is off of them.

I started with the nails in the above photos, and look at what even just step one (base coat) helped changed. My nails instantly transform into a shiny, stronger state. Just as Zoya states as one of the five instant cosmetic benefits, they are a more “refined nail plate surface”. I do believe this is a result from the nail polish, and I have noticed that it lasts even after the polish is removed.maryhadalittleblog.com-3

  • Zoya Naked Manicure (not sure if their regular polishes have the same) has many benefits for both during, and after the use of their product. They state to have ” Vitamins, Proteins & Botanicals.” these help
    with “B5/Panthenol to improve flexibility and decrease brittleness. E to support cellular renewal. Red Algae to improve micro circulation. Gingko to increase oxygen exchange. Sulfur Amino Acid/Protein Complex to fill in pitting and cracking.”

Step two was the more pinkish natural but still somewhat clear coat. You can apply these rather fast, as the step before each drys fairly fast pending you aren’t caking it on. Next is the tips, I am like I said no way a nail polish master. So if you look close enough you will see uneven lines, but I don’t mind because people don’t normally stare too closely at my hands. As you can imagine this step is the longest as you don’t want to make a complete mess of your line. I would say (I didn’t time it) it probably took me about 5 minutes each hand just to apply the white tips. I let them dry for about 3 minutes before apply the top coat just to make sure they weren’t going to get stringy or mess up.maryhadalittleblog.com

All in all I would strongly recommend this brand for anyone who is looking for a nice kit to do themselves. You can find this product at the Zoya website. I can also testify that I did have a broken neck on the top coat bottle. I have to say that the customer service Zoya provides is by fast the greatest that I have ever had to deal with! I was on the phone for a total of 3 minutes, that includes being on hold while waiting for a representative. During these three minutes she was able to resolve the problem right away and send a replacement with expedited shipping so it was here in no time.

I do plan on purchasing more from this brand, and I hope I have the same results.

Don’t forget to follow @ZoyaNailPolish on Twitter.

 

December (and my very first) Ipsy bag!

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So because I live in Germany currently, I receive my Ipsy bag a little later than everyone else.  But I’d say this one was worth the wait. I immediately had to dump out my bag and try all the products…and was pleasantly surprised with most of them!! Here are some pictures and what I thought of each one.

 

I can honestly say this was a very big disappointment for me…and the only disappointment in this bag! I was actually surprised when I took it out of the packaging to see it was a kohl eyeliner…I was expecting (and hoping for) a liquid liner! But nope…and it was a pretty sorry kohl eyeliner to be honest. The first swatch is one swipe…there is almost NO pigmentation! The second swatch is me going over it like 4 times…and STILL it looks grey! Im sorry to say but the eyeliner was a flop…and I usually love The Balm Cosmetics.untitled-5-2IMG_0485

 

 

Now this is what surprised me in a good way actually!! I’ve seen the brand Pacifica at Target and never knew much about it.  But the big vegan sticker on the side got my attention today!  And what do you know…I now have a new lipstick brand that is good quality AND vegan!  This color was right up my alley to!  I’d describe it as a rosey mauve…yet still light enough to be in the nude family.  Definitely going to be using this in the near future!

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Now I have used this Tarte powder before so it wasn’t a new product to me. As a finishing powder it does pretty good! My go to is the Makeup Forever finishing powder…but if I had to pick a second favorite Tarte would be in the running! So even though I’ve tried this before, its always nice to have smaller sized products to bring along when traveling!IMG_0489 

 

 

This mask was something I wouldn’t normally pick out, as I have quite oily skin.  But, being that I had to give a review on it I figured I’d try it! Now, I’ve never used a moisturizing mask before so I really have nothing to compare it to, but this wasn’t too thick, and definitely felt moisturizing!! So all my dry skinned ladies out there, you may want to give this honey mask a try!

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Now this I was VERY excited for this. I LOVE lip scrubs, especially during these cold winter months!! I usually use a lip scrub from LUSH but ran out a while ago and haven’t picked up a new one so I was so happy to see this guy show up in my bag! My first thought when I opened it was that it smells SOOOOO good. I can’t even describe it to you…its basically just sweet and delicious smelling! Now, Im used to the LUSH lip scrub being very gritty and very exfoliating. This one was neither of those things.  Its more of a vaseline consistency and when you scrub it on your lips you feel more of the jelly feeling, than of the gritty feeling…which isn’t what I look for in a scrub.  My lips felt maybe a tad more moisturized after, just not as tingly and exfoliated as when I use my LUSH one.  I wouldn’t say it was terrible…just not that great either.  I wouldn’t recommend this one if you’re in the market for a lip scrub, however I will probably end up using it just because I don’t want to waste it.

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So overall I’d say I am very pleased with this bag!  I was subscribed to Birchbox years ago, and after about 4 months ended up canceling my subscription because I just never found anything I really cared for.  But Ipsy seems very promising! I can’t wait to see what is in my next bag…and of course you guys will be the first to see it when it arrives :)