Wednesday, May 30, 2012

“Skinny” Strawberry Cheesecake Shake

Muhaha!


This is exactly what I was thinking as Eric and I sat in silent for like 10 minutes slurping down these *skinny* strawberry cheesecake milkshakes.

No I take that back. I was laughing hysterically on the inside.

A.) Because these are *skinny* food and Eric hates when I give him *skinny* anything (except he secretly is obsessed with MY Skinny Cow Mmmmocha Truffle Ice Cream Bars and totally tries to “sneak” them)

AND

2.) He hates almond milk and cottage cheese. (Oh yeah. Those are the “secret” ingredients in this *skinny* milkshake).

I’ll be honest I was a bit skeptical too. I mean seriously? Drinking cottage cheese? But it totally works. The cottage cheese gives this just enough tang, richness and thickness that you think there is real cheesecake in there.

I mean heck, if Eric was fooled (heeheehee) then I am sure anyone will be! (BTW Eric still doesn't know those secret ingredients to that magical shake, I guess until now!)

One Year Ago: Peach Pie Fruit Salad and In Season: Strawberries
Two Years Ago: Chocolate Ribbon Pie
Three Years Ago: Cake Mix Bread


“Skinny” Strawberry Cheesecake Shake
Printable Version
Prep Time: 10 minutes Serves: 2

3/4 cup vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
½ tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups frozen strawberries, sliced
Place the milk, cottage cheese, honey and extract in blender and blend until completely smooth and all lumps are gone.

Add in frozen strawberries, a few at a time, blending in-between each addition until all are added and shake is smooth.

Nutritional Information (calculated on Spark Recipes): Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 145.6 Fat: 1.7g Carb: 25.6g Sodium 288.9mg Fiber: 3.5g Protein: 8g Sugar: 16.9g Weight Watchers Point Plus: 4 points

adapted from Spark Recipes

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Slow Cooker Asian Peanut Butter Pork

I decided today should be deemed “Throwback Tuesday!”

You know since today is the Tuesday after a long holiday weekend. Making it like a Monday only even worse because it is the first day of the work week after not just two days off but three.
But on the bright side it is Tuesday which means only four days until the weekend!

One of the questions I get asked the most is if I have a favorite recipe and if I ever make the same thing twice. The answer is yes and yes.


I actually have quite a few favorite recipes that I make over and over again. These are tried and true favorites that we all love and request often. They are easy and inexpensive to make (perfect for a Tuesday after a long weekend), earning mega tried and true points, and of course yummy in our tummies.

Some of our top faves and the recipes I make several times a month when I am tired and exhausted, don’t feel like tying anything new, and recipes I always have the ingredients on hand are: Lemon Peppered Chicken, Sausage and Pepper Arrabbiata, Lentil Bean Soup, Chili Lime Tilapia with Roasted Corn, Texas Style Chili, burgers and pizza.

This recipe for Asian Peanut Butter Pork is another one of those recipes. Eric asks for this meal all. The. Time. So like the good girl I am, every time I can get a pork loin at a good price this goes on the menu. Twice.

This is “Flashback Tuesday” because this is a recipe I originally made in my first few months of blogging (read the original recipe has a horrible almost unrecognizable photo since I knew nothing about food photography then, and heck I don’t know much more now). So I thought it deserved to be made beautiful and shared again.

The recipe below is my tweaked and toned version of the original. It is one of our faves.

One Year Ago: Peach Pie Fruit Salad and In Season: Strawberries
Two Years Ago: Chocolate Ribbon Pie
Three Years Ago: Cake Mix Bread

Slow Cooker Asian Peanut Butter Pork
Printable Version
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 8 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high Serves: 6

2 pound pork tenderloin
1 onion, diced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
3 garlic cloves, minced
¼-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
Peanuts, optional for serving
Green onion, diced, optional for serving
Hot cooked rice, optional for serving

Place pork loin in slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over the pork loin. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.

Once cooked, shred pork and mix with sauce. Serve over rice, garnished with chopped peanuts and green onions.

inspired from here and A Year of Slow Cooking

Friday, May 25, 2012

How-to Build a Successful Summer Salad

I think I shared some succulent and drool worthy summer salads with you this week (*cough* excuse me while I toot my own horn). Some making for the perfect side dish while others making a great main dish.

But in case you are still looking for tips and inspiration to make your own satisfying summer salad, check out the article below that I wrote for meal planning site Food on the Table. And be sure and check out the ten salad recipes at the bottom of this article!





Warm weather often means lighter, fresher eating. Salads are perfectly light, yet satisfying, and are a great way to incorporate all the beautiful fresh, seasonal summer fruits and vegetables taking over the grocery store produce department.

Below are few simple salad suggestions, to make that humble bowl of lettuce a refreshing summer meal.

The Greens: Start your salad with a strong foundation of hearty greens. Iceberg, romaine, or green leaf lettuce are all a great start. But to add extra flavor, texture and nutrients mix in some spinach, arugula, bibb lettuce, radicchio, escarole or endive. To prepare salad greens, wash them under cool running water and dry on paper towels or using a salad spinner. After drying, chop or tear lettuce into bite size pieces.

Pile on the produce: Don’t be afraid to load your salad with the freshest summer produce. Fruits and vegetables are low in fat and calories and will add exceptional flavor. Topping a salad with raw produce is common, but grilled or roasted fruits and veggies add extra flavor and texture.

Add protein: Take a light salad to a satisfying and filling meal by adding some protein. Grilled steak, chicken, shrimp and fish are all obvious salad proteins. Other flavorful protein options include, ham, bacon, sausage, canned tuna, deli meats, or hard boiled eggs. To keep your salad vegetarian/vegan, add protein with cubed tofu, quinoa, chick peas, black beans, edamame or other legumes.

Top it off: A well-built salad combines slightly soft yet crunchy ingredients to make texturally pleasing fare. Croutons, French-fried onions, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, olives, crushed chips, rice, couscous, pasta, or cheese, can make a classic salad an over the top sensation.

Dress it lightly: While vinaigrettes and salad dressings can add and enhance the flavors of a salad, a little goes a long way. Over pouring the dressing can take an otherwise nutritious salad to an unhealthy mess. Also keep in mind, that vinaigrettes should be added right before serving as the oil will cause the lettuce to become limp.

Take these succulent salad tips, and keep your summer salads a simple concoction or dress them up and make them your own!


Below are ten amazing salad recipes from around the web to try this summer!

Southwestern Cobb Salad (Kitchen Concoctions)
Tuna Fish and Tomato Salad with Sunflower Seeds (Kalyn's Kitchen)
Creamy Fruit Salad (Kitchen Concoctions)
Asian Beef Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette (The Hungry Housewife)
Strawberry Spinach Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette (Kitchen Concoctions)
Caribbean Salad with Sweet Orange Vinaigrette (Our Best Bites)
Festive Fall Salad with Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing (Kitchen Concoctions)
Creamy Pesto Salad Dressing (Real Mom Kitchen)
Southwestern Corn and Black Couscous Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette (Kitchen Concoctions)
Arugula with Pomegranates, Blue Cheese and Pistachios (My Favorite Recipes)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tomato Basil Orzo Salad with Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette

Eric pokes fun at me a lot, because of the little things in life that get me excited.


Little things like going to get an ice cold sno-cone (it must be Hawaiian shaved ice).

Picking up a new cookbook.

Even rolling around in mud (yes I was completely giddy about doing my first mud race).


I even get excited and a little rush from cooking. Like a good bread kneading, great for when you need some stress release. Or whisking. I love taking a good ‘ole whisk to a big bowl of heavy cream (homemade whip cream, *drool*) or a homemade vinaigrette. Nothing like trying to force oil and water to mix together.

This simple salad also makes my heart sputter. I love the texture and cuteness of orzo pasta. And the flavors of this salad, tomatoes, basil, capers, lemon and garlic; complement each other nicely and makes my taste buds happy.

One Year Ago: Peach Pie Fruit Salad and In Season: Strawberries
Two Years Ago: Lemon Cream Squares
Three Years Ago: Cake Mix Bread


Tomato Basil Orzo Salad with Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette
By Heather of Kitchen Concoctions: www.kitchen-concoctions.com
Printable Version
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Serves: 4

1 cup orzo pasta
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
3 cups fresh spinach, chiffonade
3 tablespoons capers, minced
Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette, as needed (recipe below)

Cook orzo according to package directions and cool. Place all ingredients in large mixing bowl. Add dressing as desired and toss to coat.

Can be served warm, at room temperature or chilled.

Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette
By Heather of Kitchen Concoctions: www.kitchen-concoctions.com

1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste

Whisk all ingredients together and serve.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Website Wednesday: Spinach and Pear Salad with Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette

I don’t do diets.

It’s just not my thing.

I believe everything in moderation, portion control, and living an active lifestyle.


With that said, I know there are many people out there who do diet for whatever reason. For health reasons, to lose weight for bikini season, or because they have allergies. If you are one of these dietin’ folks, for whatever reason, you probably scrutinize food labels, and carefully count points. Which can be good but sometimes I would rather not know this information, to enjoy an occasional splurge guilt free.

And while I am not dieting, I had heard rave reviews of the “healthy eating recipe site” Spark Recipes. Out of curiosity and because everyone could always eat just a little bit healthier, I decided to feature this site as the website of the month.

Initially I found the site useful and appreciated the fact that one of its prized features is the nutritional data found on each recipe and the fact that you could plug in your own recipe ingredients and get the nutritional data. But for every recipe I have done this for the information seems WAY off (a huge pet peeve of mine).


I understand that this type of data can differentiate depending on the brand you use, but when I am only adding one extra ingredient or just substituting one tablespoon of something it shouldn’t be almost double the original nutritional data.

Even though I have not believed that the nutritional data represented on this site is 100% accurate I have still shared it on these recipes since this is a key feature of this site (but this is not something I will be doing on all recipes, because of my reasons above). So this is my disclaimer, the nutritional data listed below is calculated on Spark Recipes, using their software program. But what do I know, I am not a nutritionist, I don’t count calories, I just make good food! So take that as you will.

But in the meantime take this: This simple salad is another one to add to your salad collection. The dressing uses simple pantry ingredients and while the salad itself is pretty basic it is perfect to accompany a more heavy meal like steak and potatoes, or could be eaten by itself for a light lunch or dinner.

One Year Ago: Creamy Fruit Salad
Two Years Ago: Lemon Cream Squares
Three Years Ago: Tomato Bruschetta Chicken



Spinach and Pear Salad with Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette
Printable Version
Prep Time: 15 minutes Serves: 4

1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pears, cored and sliced lengthwise
1 (10 ounce) bag fresh spinach
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup pecans

In a small bowl, whisk together the water, vinegar, olive oil, honey, Dijon mustard, and black pepper.
In large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients to form salad. Add the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information (calculated on Spark Recipes): Serving size: 1 ½ cups Calories: 308.2 Fat: 18.4g Carb: 37.8g Sodium 147mg Fiber: 6.4g Protein: 3.8g Sugar: 15.5g Weight Watchers Point Plus: 9 points

Adapted from Spark Recipes

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Avocado Salad with Sweet Italian Sausage

Rabbit food.

Salads often get a bad rap. They are often called ‘rabbit food’ and stigmatized as not filling and satisfying. These general assumptions usually come from hungry men (aka Eric) who can polish off two burgers (yes you read that right, TWO) in one sitting.

But I love salads! And I have been on a major salad obsession kick lately. This obsession is either meet with a warm welcome from Eric (that boy loves him some taco salad) or meet with major complaints (salad again?!?).


So finding salads that will curve my weekly daily cravings AND keep Eric full for longer than 2.5 seconds have been a struggle. But thankfully I have found two salads (besides Eric’s covenanted taco salad) that Eric loves, keeps him full for at least an hour, and that satisfies my cravings.

This is one of those salads. Sausage in a salad may seem a little strange, but this sausage is cooked to perfection and works wonderfully with the other ingredients of this salad. Eric and I both loved this. I served this with some simple tomato bruschetta and had a meal that Eric has asked for every week since.

I call that salad success!
One Year Ago: Creamy Fruit Salad
Two Years Ago: Lemon Cream Squares
Three Years Ago: Tomato Bruschetta Chicken

Avocado Salad with Sweet Italian Sausage
Printable Version
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Serves: 4

1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 avocados, halved and sliced
1 (8-ounce) package salad greens

Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook sausages, turning over once, until well browned, about 8 minutes total.

Add 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, water and herbs de Provence. Cover, cook, stirring occasionally, until sausages are fully cooked, about 5-8 minutes. When cooked thoroughly, remove from pan and cool slightly and slice.

Mix thoroughly the remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sugar, and salt and pepper to form dressing.

Gently toss the avocado, salad greens, tomatoes, sausage and dressing. Serve immediately.

adapted from here and here

Monday, May 21, 2012

Marinated Tomato Salad

I am so excited about this week (I think I say that at the start of every theme week!), as I am bringing you yet another theme week! This week's theme is summer salads!


I have been planning this summer salad week for, well, weeks now and couldn't wait to share with you some incredibly tasty and satisfying salad recipes. I had planned on hosting salad week last week but had some other things I *had* to post last week and I have been feverishly working on a TON of recipes and exciting blog posts that I have planned for this summer, as well as some much needed blog design changes that I hope to go into effect soon. So I am really *EXCITED* about all that to come!

But with all my planning and preparation, I did have to laugh a little at the start of last week because Laura (Real Mom Kitchen) hosted a salad week last week too! I guess great minds think alike! And while Laura shared a lot of various wonderful homemade salad ingredients (dressing, croutons, etc.), my week of salad recipes will focus some fabulous salads that are perfect and light for summer dinners and get togethers!

First is a simple marinated tomato salad. Growing up I loathed tomatoes, and in certain things I still do. But what made me start to, dare I say LOVE tomatoes, is eating them fresh and in season in the summer. Nothing beats a bold and bright red tomato in it's peak in the summer. The fresh flavor, juicy yet plump texture is simply perfect and the way tomatoes should be!

This salad keeps the summer tomatoes the star of the show with a few simple ingredients to inhance the flavor. A light a perfect side dish to pair with some grilled chicken or steak kabobs, or a summer grilled vegetable platter.

One Year Ago: Mom’s Lemon Peppered Chicken
Two Years Ago: Hoppin' John Salad
Three Years Ago: Tomato Bruschetta Chicken


Marinated Tomato Salad
by Heather of Kitchen Concoctions: www.kitchen-concoctions.com
Printable Version
Prep Time: 10 minutes Wait Time: 30 minutes to 2 hours Serves: 6-8

4 green onions, chopped
¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped
8-10 Plum Tomatoes, ripened cut into 1/2 inch chunks
3-4 fresh basil leaves, torn or 1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
¼ cup sugar
½ cup olive oil

In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, green onions, and parsley.
In a small bowl whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour dressing ingredients over tomato mixture and toss to coat.

Cover and marinate refrigerated for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Website Wednesday: Slow Cooked Sirloin Steak

Last week, (during spa week) I talked “man food” and “chick food.”


Since it was spa week, in honor of Mother’s Day, last week was all about the girls.

Today’s recipe is a “man’s recipe” (argh, argh, argh (say just like Tim Allen in Home Improvement))!

Nothin’ says ‘man food’ like steak and potatoes.

Steak and potatoes slow cooked to tender perfection, (just look at that mouthwatering photo below), with mushrooms and a *meaty* sauce.

Man food, chick food, I don’t care what you call it, this is good food.

Comfort food.

One Year Ago: Mom's Sugar Cookies with Butter Cream Frosting
Two Years Ago: Lemon Truffle Pie
Three Years Ago: Fireman’s Special: BBQ Chicken Sandwiches


Slow Cooked Sirloin Steak
Printable Version
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 3-4 hours on high or 6-7 hours on low Serves: 6

2 pounds sirloin steak
1 small onion, diced
1 ½ cup low-sodium beef broth
3 tablespoons low-sodium Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 large baking potatoes, halved then quartered
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

Place steak in slow cooker. Mix together remaining ingredients (except potatoes and mushrooms) and pour over beef. Add potatoes to slow cooker.

Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours or until beef is tender and cooked through. During the last 45-60 minutes stir in mushrooms and continue cooking as directed.

Nutritional Information (calculated on Spark Recipes): Serves: 6 Calories: 363.3 Fat: 6.4g Carb: 35.7g Sodium 326.3mg Fiber: 4.5g Protein: 39.6g Sugar: 3.3g Weight Watchers Point Plus: 9 points

Inspired by Spark Recipes

Monday, May 14, 2012

Giveaway: Skinny Cow Prize Pack- CLOSED

UPDATE 5/24/12: This giveaway is now closed. The winner, chosen by random.org, is comment number 40, Kimberly. Congrats Kimberly! Please email me with your contact information within 72 hours of this posting to claim your prize. If winner has not claimed prize within 72 hours then their prize is forfeited and a new winner will be notified.

Happy Monday Y'all!

Today I am happy to share that I have another giveaway for y'all for a product I love, Skinny Cow® products. I have been enjoying Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwiches, for like, forever, but did you know Skinny Cow offers a whole variety of frozen treats?

Eric and I recently tried the new Mmmmocha Truffle Ice Cream Bars and all I kept hearing from Eric was that he couldn't believe that these were considered *skinny* and for real only had 100 calories!
They are so creamy and dreamy! There is defiantly a mocha flavor but it is not overwhelming. I wish I could shove my hand right through the computer screen to share one with you right now!


Here is some additional information about the new Skinny Cow Brand products:

Skinny Cow offers a great portfolio of low-fat frozen snacks and has recently introduced NEW! SLIMITED EDITIONS SHAKE-STIRS and three NEW! Ice Cream flavors as the perfect afternoon snack, just in time for summer.  Below is some information about the delicious new treats:
SKINNY COW™ SLIMITED EDITIONS™ SHAKE-STIRS™:
  • White Mint Cookie includes white mint low fat ice cream swirled together with crushed chocolate cookies.  This flavor has 220 calories, 2.5 grams of fat and 5 grams of fiber (when using skim milk).
  • Double Chocolate Crumble includes chocolate low fat ice cream with crumbled chocolate cookie bits. This chocolaty flavor has 230 calories, 2.5 grams of fat and 6 grams of fiber (when using skim milk).
Additional SKINNY COW™ SLIMITED EDITIONS™ novelties:
  • Oh Fudge Nuts! Low Fat Ice Cream Cone is a spin-off of the classic ice cream sundae. This delectable cone has 150 calories, 3 grams of fat and 3 grams of fiber.
  • Mmmmocha Truffle Ice Cream Bars contain low-fat chocolate and coffee ice cream laced together and then topped with chocolaty ribbons. These bars have 100 calories, 2.5 grams of fat and 3 grams of fiber.
  • Best of Both Swirleds Low Fat Ice Cream Sandwich mixes two favorites together from top to bottom – with vanilla and chocolate low fat ice cream swirled between chocolate and vanilla wafers. These sandwiches have 150 calories, 2 grams of fat and 3 grams of fiber.
Now for the giveaway:
The Skinny Cow Prize Pack will include the following:
  • One Skinny Cow thermal bag
  • Two full value coupons for ANY Skinny Cow product
HOW TO ENTER GIVEAWAY:

You have SIX separate ways to enter the Skinny Cow Prize Pack giveaway! (NOTE: Please leave a SEPARATE comment for each response below):

1. Leave a comment stating which new Skinny Cow product listed above you are most excited to try.

2. Become a follower of Kitchen Concoctions through Google Friend Connect.
3. Tell someone about this giveaway, whether it be on a blog, Facebook or Twitter and leave a new comment letting me know and sharing the link.

4. For a fourth entry to this giveaway, head over to Kitchen Concoction’s Facebook page and click ”Like”. Then come back here and leave a separate comment letting me know you did.

5. For a fifth entry follow Kitchen Concoctions on Twitter. Then come back here and leave a separate comment letting me know you did.

6. And last but not least I finally broke down and joined the Pinterest craze! For a sixth entry head over and follow me on Pinterest and leave a comment letting me know!

This give-away closes Monday, May 21, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST. Winner will be chosen at random (by random.org) and will be announced sometime shortly after the give-away ends. Winner must contact Kitchen Concoctions within 72 hours at kitchen_concoctions at hotmail dot com to claim prize. If winner has not claimed prize within 72 hours then a new winner will be notified. Giveaway for US residents only.

NOTE: Please check back shortly after giveaway closing to see if you are a winner. As much as I would like to run all over the Internet world looking for you, I do not have the time. So you as the winner MUST contact me with your information.

"Disclosure: The coupons and information have been provided by the Skinny Cow® brand."

Friday, May 11, 2012

Avocado Banana Hair Mask

My Mom has beautiful hair. It is thick and full of volume and has a natural shine.

I remember being a kid and watching my Mom carefully care for her hair. Washing it every night. Rolling it hair curlers. Appling hair treatments.

It was mesmerizing to watch her.


I seriously thought she was a hair model because her hair was so long and thick and look like every commercial and magazine ad for Suave, Vo5, or L’Oreal.

Fortunately this is a trait that I inherited from her. I always loved when I was a kid, teenager, and heck even now, and people compliment me on my lovely locks. (I do/did not love when complete strangers think that they can touch my hair, just because it is so thick. Ugh. Eww.) These compliments always make me think of my Mom because without her I wouldn’t have the hair that I do! ; )


My Mom’s hard work to keep her beautiful mane looking top notch always inspired me. Granted I fry my hair on a regular biases with a flat iron, I still try and keep it conditioned and nourished.

Today’s recipe is for an avocado hair mask. It may look good but sound gross at the same time. Here are the facts: avocado is known for its ability to moisturize hair, add shine and body. Bananas repair damage and soothe hair. Eggs add essential protein to strengthen hair and the oil conditions and shines. The vinegar strips residue, leaving hair light and clean.

With that, I slathered this on my hair, spent some time alone (because no one is very attractive in a shower cap) and let these super foods do their thang! And what I noticed was that after all was said and done my hair was soft and smooth and full of bounce and body and actually felt clean!

One Year Ago: Strawberry Spinach Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette and In Season: Spinach
Two Years Ago: Chicken Caesar Salad Pizza Pitas
Three Years Ago: Lemon Peppered Chicken


Avocado Banana Hair Mask
Printable Version
Prep Time: 10 minutes Wait Time: 20 minutes Makes 2 masks

1/2 avocado
½ banana
1 egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup vinegar
1 cup water

Combine water and vinegar and set aside.

Combine avocado, banana, egg, and oil in blender or food processor. Puree until no clumps are present.

Massage prepared mask into scalp and comb through hair with fingers or a wide-toothed comb. Cover hair with shower cap and leave in for 20 minutes. Rinse hair with cool water and wash with shampoo.

After shampooing rinse hair and then pour vinegar/water mixture over hair. Let vinegar sit on hair for 1-2 minutes then rinse and condition as normal.

Adapted from The Amazing Avocado

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Vanilla Spice Body Scrub

Everyone needs today’s recipe. Mother, aunt, sister, daughter. Whoever you are make this.

Make extra and give to your Mother, aunt, sister, daughter.

This homemade scrub smells great and leaves your skin smelling vanilla-ie and cinnamon-ie and sweet.

Like a cookie!

And it leaves your skin soft and smooth.


This body scrub is a great all-purpose scrub to use from your neck down to your feet. But the way I have enjoyed using it is on my hands. Since I am cooking food all day I am also washing my hands all day. And therefore my hands tend to be rather chapped and dry. This scrub helps exfoliate as well as moisten. Making my hands feel soft and smooth afterwards.

The recipe below makes a good solid cup of scrub which filled my jar nicely. However I think you could easily double or triple the recipe to giveaway. Easy and inexpensive! Love it! This would be a great gift for all the lovely ladies in your life, your kid’s teachers, Christmas presents, or baby/bridal shower party gifts.

To gift this I simply placed the scrub in a cute jar from the Dollar Store and tied on a pretty ribbon. Or you could recycle baby food jars or some sort of other glass jar. Or use a mason jar topped with a piece of pretty fabric.

After I took the pictures I decided I needed a pretty tag so I created this one. And guess what you can use it too, just click here.


Or make your own using scrapbook tags, gift tags, or printer labels.

Have fun! Get creative!

Vanilla Spice Body Scrub
By Heather of Kitchen Concoctions: www.kitchen-concoctions.com
Printable Version
Prep Time: 5 minutes Makes: about 1 cup

½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup olive oil

Directions: Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl until well blended. Stir in vanilla and oil. Scrub should have a paste-like texture. If too dry, add more oil a little at a time. Keep stored in tightly sealed jars in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

For use: Gently apply to wet skin in a circular motion. Let scrub sit on skin for 1-2 minutes and then rinse off with warm water. Can be used on entire body or just hands and feet. Can be used once every day.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Website Wednesday: Sassy Spa Water

Chick food vs Man food


I hate comparing food and classifying it as “macho” or “feminine.”

There are plenty of foods that are typically classified as “man food” that I love and eat on a regular biases. Wings. Scratch that Buffalo flavored anything. Pizza. Cheeseburgers. Steak. Ribs.

But then I get huge cravings for things like salads. Quiche. Angel food cake.


So what’s the big deal?

If Eric loved every salad I put in front of him this week. And even asked for more.

But there are certainly foods that are and aren’t typically served at certain events. I mean you would never find sangria at a bachelor party or hot dogs at a bridal shower.

But there is one thing that I always see at things like baby showers, bridal showers, and oh say spas.

Fancy water.


Most commonly lemon or cucumber water.

Eric’s Mom Ioves cucumber water and Eric just doesn’t get it. He is like “why can’t you just drink the water just as it should be, straight from the tap?”

Gesh! He just doesn’t get it! Sometimes you just need something, well fancy!

For some cucumber water is an acquired taste. I find it refreshing. I love the kicked up version below with added flavor from mint and limes. This is almost like a mojito, you know minus the rum.

One Year Ago: Greek Pasta Salad and Tips For Throwing a Mother's Day Brunch
Two Years Ago: Cheesesteak Subs
Three Years Ago: Oven Roasted Broccoli With Garlic


Sassy Spa Water
Printable Version
Prep Time: 5 minutes Serves: 8

8 cups water
1 medium cucumber peeled, thinly sliced
1 lime, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon grated ginger root
1 sprig mint leaves

Mix together and chill for 1-2 hours or overnight for flavors to blend. Will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Adapted from Spark Recipes

Nutritional Information (calculated on Spark Recipes): Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 4.7 Fat: 0.1g Carb: 1.8g Sodium 5.6mg Fiber: 0.7g Protein: 0.3g Sugar: 0.2g Weight Watchers Point Plus: 0 points

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Chocolate Martini Face Mask

I have to be honest I have never been to a real spa.


Of course I have had my nails done, but I am a late bloomer at that considering my first professional manicure was not until I was going to Senior prom and my first professional pedicure was not until a few years ago. I have had a professional message in my own home from Eric’s sister (she is a registered massage therapist) but never at a spa.

I have always dreamt of going to a real live spa. Being pampered and doted on and a day with no distractions just relaxing. You know, the feeling when you get your nails done just 10x better!


One spa treatment I would totally do is the mud bath. There is just something that sounds so appealing about that to me! Soaking in a big tub of mud! I am so down!

Today’s spa recipe for Mother’s Day is for a face mask. Not just any face mask but a Chocolate Martini Mask! Now doesn’t that just sound yummy!


As I made this and slapped it on my face I couldn’t help but image soaking in a mud bath. This is what I thought about when I sat and had my 20 minutes of peace and quiet the day I made this mask.

That and how wrong would it be if I ate the reaming mask with a spoon.

You wouldn’t tell?

Would you?


You may think slathering food on your face is silly, but it actually has a lot of benefits. Cocoa powder is rich in antioxidants, improves blood flow, and helps tighten skin. Oatmeal has cleansing and exfoliating properties which aide in soothing dry skin. It will absorb dirt, cleanse pores and gently exfoliate. Honey has been used for thousands of years to moisturize, protect, heal and rejuvenate skin.Not to mention this uses ingredients found right in your pantry, so is uber cheap and easy!

My skin did feel tight and smooth and actually clean afterwards; and smelt like I dipped my head in chocolate pudding! If all beauty regiments were this tasty I could totally live in a spa!

One Year Ago: Greek Pasta Salad and Tips For Throwing a Mother's Day Brunch
Two Years Ago: Cheesesteak Subs
Three Years Ago: Eric’s Famous Mashed Potatoes


Chocolate Martini Face Mask
Printable Version
Prep Time: 5 minutes Wait Time: 20 minutes Makes approximately ½ cup

1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup oatmeal
2 tablespoons almond milk

Grind oats in blender or food processor to form a powder.

Stir together oatmeal powder, cocoa powder honey and milk.

Apply to a clean face, leave on for 20 minutes, then wipe with a warm towel.

Place any remaining mask in a storage container and keep refrigerated for up to one week.

Note: Do a patch test if you have sensitive skin.

Adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray

Monday, May 7, 2012

Green Monster Smoothie

I know it’s Monday and most of you are still recovering from the Cinco de Mayo celebrations, but did you all remember that this Sunday is Mother’s Day?

Yes, I said THIS Sunday!

But don’t worry. I’ve got you covered.

Yes with another theme week!


This week is spa week here on Kitchen Concoctions in honor of Mother’s Day! Each day this week I’ll bring you some great homemade recipes to create a spa experience in your own home. Some of these can be packaged up in cute packaging to give to the Mothers in your life; your Mom, sister, friend, neighbor, Mother-in-Law, co-worker, or yourself!

Other things I will be sharing are easy DIY pampering treatments that you can do for yourself at home, just in case all you *get* for Mother’s Day is 30 minutes to yourself. A good book or gossip magazine, a foot soak and a face mask will certainly bring at least a moments peace.

First up is my version of a green/green monster smoothie. Green smoothies have taken over the web lately, and are basically a traditional smoothie made using white/light colored fruit (banana, pineapple, peach, mango, etc.) with spinach added, which then makes the most beautiful green color, not to mention is loaded with fiber and nutrients.


Below is my favorite version and the one I usually make for my post workout “snack”. Maybe because I drink smothies after my workouts I think they should be associated with some excerise spa or something. Or maybe because as I drink them I get to have 5 peacful momments.

I use frozen fruit, whether fresh that I have frozen or store bought frozen fruit, to eliminate the need for ice (no watered down smoothies here!), just make sure your fruit is diced up to blend more easily and quickly.

One Year Ago: Greek Pasta Salad and Tips for Hosting a Brunch on a Budget
Two Years Ago: Lime Cheesecake Dessert Squares
Three Years Ago: Eric’s Famous Mashed Potatoes


Green Monster Smoothie
By Heather of Kitchen Concoctions: www.kitchen-concoctions.com
Printable Version
Prep Time: 10 minutes Serves: 2

1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1 cup frozen diced pineapple
1 frozen banana, sliced
1 cup frozen sliced peaches, diced
2 large handfuls fresh baby spinach
1-2 tablespoons almond milk

Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into glass and serve immediately.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Giveaway: Cheerios Prize Pack- CLOSED

UPDATE (5/14/12): This giveaway is now closed! The winner chosen by random.org is comment number 20, Geraldine Sandoval! Congrats Geraldine! Geraldine please contact Kitchen Concoctions within 72 hours to claim prize. If winner has not claimed prize within 72 hours then their prize is forfeited and a new winner will be notified.
Hey friends! I have another giveaway for you today!

But first if your name is Julie and you were comment number 18 on the Green Giant Giveaway then you are the winner and need to contact me ASAP!

For everyone else, today's giveaway is for some Cheerios! I am a huge fan of Cheerios (I mean how can you not be?). I eat them for breakfast topped with fresh banana slices or blueberries (or sometimes if I am all crazy I top it with both). I also get buck wild and make crazy things like S'mores Snack Mix or Chocolate Chex Mix with Cheerios. Because Cheerios are awesome like that!

For more information about today's giveaway keep reading:


As a savvy Club member, you can recognize the value of buying Cheerios® cereal at your local Costco, Sam´s Club or BJ´s. While buying Cheerios at Club is already easy and affordable, new 2 box Cheerios packaging format makes Cheerios an even better purchase! You can cheer on the value by purchasing the new 2 box Cheerios packages in Club!

What´s so exciting?

•New 2 box Cheerios contains two individual boxes, making them easier to store and easier to pour! Not to mention...
•By reducing the amount of air in each individual bag, these enhanced containers fit 10% more cereal than before and use less packaging

•While each box contains more cereal, packaging material has been reduced by over 200,000 lbs, saving 1,000 trees and taking 130 Cheerios trucks of the road, decreasing CO2 emissions.

Check out all the benefits of new 2 box Cheerios packaging!

New and improved 2 box Cheerios are now available on the shelves of Costco, Sam´s Club and BJ´s nationwide.


Your Cheerios prize pack will contain:

•(2) new 2 box Cheerios packaging (four boxes)

HOW TO ENTER GIVEAWAY:

You have SIX separate ways to enter the Cheerios giveaway! (NOTE: Please leave a SEPARATE comment for each response below):
1. Leave a comment stating when is your favorite time to enjoy a big bowl of Cheerios. Is it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, an afternoon snack, a midnight snack, a pre workout fuel?

2. Become a follower of Kitchen Concoctions through Google Friend Connect.

3. Tell someone about this giveaway, whether it be on a blog, Facebook or Twitter and leave a new comment letting me know and sharing the link.

4. For a fourth entry to this giveaway, head over to Kitchen Concoction’s Facebook page and click ”Like”. Then come back here and leave a separate comment letting me know you did.

5. For a fifth entry follow Kitchen Concoctions on Twitter. Then come back here and leave a separate comment letting me know you did.

6. And last but not least I finally broke down and joined the Pinterest craze! For a sixth entry head over and follow me on Pinterest and leave a comment letting me know!

This give-away closes Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST. Winner will be chosen at random (by random.org) and will be announced sometime shortly after the give-away ends. Winner must contact Kitchen Concoctions within 72 hours at kitchen_concoctions at hotmail dot com to claim prize. If winner has not claimed prize within 72 hours then a new winner will be notified. Giveaway for US residents only.

NOTE: Please check back shortly after giveaway closing to see if you are a winner. As much as I would like to run all over the Internet world looking for you, I do not have the time. So you as the winner MUST contact me with your information.

Disclosure: Cheerios® cereal, information, and giveaway have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Week of: Cinco de Mayo (25 Mexican themed recipes)

Happy Cinco de Mayo!


I hope you have enjoyed sharing some Mexican theme food, traditions and history this week week with me! As I have stated all week we do Mexican food a lot at my house and whether it is Cinco de Mayo or Taco Tuesday these recipes are to die for any time of year.

This week I featured 4 recipes and 1 useful article all about popular ingredients found in Mexican cusinie. Those recipes are pictured below (incase you missed them) and I also have 20 other mouthwatering recipes from around the web listed at the bottom of this post!

Enjoy!






Here are a *few* more Cinco de Mayo or Taco Tuesday recipes!

Heather's Huevos (Kitchen Concoctions)
Fresh Strawberry Margaritas (How Sweet It Is)
Chicken Enchilada Pasta (Kitchen Concoctions)
Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream (Elana's Pantry)
Mexican Chicken Salad and Tortilla Crisps (Kitchen Concoctions)
Spicy Avocado Chicken Enchiladas (The Novice Chef)                                   
Why-the-Chicken-Crossed-the-Road Santa Fe Tortilla Soup (Kitchen Concoctions)
Skillet Taco Pie (Mel's Kitchen Cafe)
Dulce de Leche Tres Leches Cake (Kitchen Concoctions)
Virgin Frozen Margaritas (Taste and Tell)
Beef 'n' Bean Burrito Burgers (Kitchen Concoctions)
Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna (Annie's Eats)                                    
Turkey Guacamole Burgers (Kitchen Concoctions)
Barbacoa Beef (Skinny Taste)
Chili Lime Tilapia with Roasted Corn (Kitchen Concoctions)
Flour Tortillas (Our Best Bites)
Black Bean Hummus (Kitchen Concoctions)
Fruit Tacos with Chocolate Tortillas (Muchin with Munchkin)
Breakfast Tacos (Kitchen Concoctions)
Mexican Corn Dip (Eat Your Self Skinny)
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