Author Archives: Michelle

Strawberry Vanilla Cream Trifle

One of my favorite desserts to make is a trifle.   It’s super easy.  My kids love it! It’s not a heavy, rich dessert either. I seem to make this more often in the Spring and Summer months because the fresh fruit is just better then.

You could get all fancy and make your own ingredients but I am usually in a hurry and just grab the ingredients and put it all together.  You can add any fruit of your liking and cake, brownies or cookies too.  I also use pudding and whipped cream but you could add any number of ingredients.  You could also make this dish low calorie, sugar free or even fat free depending on the ingredients you choose to use.  You simply take your ingredients and layer them in a glass trifle bowl.  The layers look so pretty when it’s all finished too.

Strawberry Vanilla Cream Trifle
Strawberry Vanilla Cream Trifle

To make my Strawberry Vanilla Cream Trifle here are the ingredients you need:

1 Angel Food cake or cake of your choosing cut up into cubes

1 container of whipped cream

Pudding (I sometimes use pudding cups because I am often in a time crunch)

Fresh fruit, sliced (I used strawberries but you could certainly use any fruit of your choosing)

Now all you do is layer each ingredient in your trifle dish.  I typically start with the cake, then pudding, fruit and the whipped cream.  Then repeat the layers until your ingredients are gone.  I did add a little chocolate syrup drizzle to this one.  You can add chocolate chips, coconut, chopped nuts, brownies or crushed cookies instead of cake, candy bars, peanut butter and etc.  Get creative! I like to refrigerate mine (covered) before serving but you could certainly serve it as soon as you make it.

If you try this, please let me know what you think! I love hearing feedback from my readers.

Have a happy day!

Michelle

 

 

 

Super Seed Energy Bars

For those of us eating healthy, finding a really tasty, chocolatey, snack that is really healthy and not loaded with unhealthy fat & calories is not always easy. When a friend recently shared a recipe for some bars she makes that are loaded with healthy super seeds, I knew I had to give it a try!

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Seeds are often overlooked when we are eating healthy. Nuts get all the glory! But when you stop and look at the health benefits of seeds, you may just try to work them in your diet.

This recipe is made with all sorts of super seeds. Chia seeds help regulate blood sugar, are anti-inflammatory and high in fiber. Flaxseeds are high in fiber, lignans and Omega-3 fatty acids. Pumpkin seeds promote better sleep, contain vitamins k, etc & b and have anti-microbial properties. Hemp seeds are high in protein, phytonutrients, Omega 3’s and contain all 20 amino acids. Sunflower seeds lower cholesterol, are anti-inflammatory and are a great source of magnesium.

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As if having all of the healthy goodness in the super seeds wasn’t enough, these super seed energy bars also contain other superfood ingredients, like cacao powder which contains high amounts of antioxidants, is rich in magnesium, has anti-aging properties, improves brain function, aids in weight loss, contains essential vitamins & minerals, promotes heart health and so much more. Can you tell I kinda love cacao powder?

You will also find tumeric in these bars which is a natural anti-inflammatory, improves digestion, lowers cholesterol, aids in fat metabolism & weight management and so much more. This is a spice that you should definitely be using! Cinnamon is also amy ingredient in these bars which controls blood sugar, aids in weight loss, can aid in lowering cholesterol and so much more.

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Now that I’ve given some great reasons to make these, how about the recipe? I took the recipe my friend shared and adapted it a little. I do recommend using all natural and organic ingredients if possible. You can of course add or delete ingredients to make it your own as well.

* The original recipe called for 1 c. of honey. I chose to use 1/2 c. of honey with 1/2 c. natural peanut butter. You can certainly omit the peanut or nut butter and make this a nut allergy friendly recipe by increasing your honey to 1 full cup.

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Super Seed Energy Bars 

Ingredients:

1 T. Ginger

1 T. Tumeric

1 T. Cinnamon

3 T. Cacao Powder (or cocoa powder)

1/2 c. Semi- sweet chocolate chips (or carob chips)

1/2 c. Unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 c. Chia seeds

3/4 c. Flax seed meal

1/2 c. Hemp seeds

1 c. Raw pumpkin seeds

1 c. Raw sunflower seeds

1 c. Oatmeal

2 T. Vanilla extract

1/4 c. Coconut oil, melted

1/2 c. Honey, warmed

1/2 c. Peanut Butter (or nut butter)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl, sift together the Ginger, tumeric, cinnamon and cacao powder.

In a large bowl, combine chocolate chips, coconut, Chia seeds, flax meal, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and oatmeal. Add sifted ingredients to the large bowl and combine.

In another small bowl, whisk together the vanilla, coconut oil, honey and peanut butter.

Slowly add the liquid ingredients to the large bowl and mix until evenly incorporated.

Pour the mixture into a 9×13 pan and press down.

Bake for 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature and cut into bars. Cover and continue cooling in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 hours. Store in air tight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

I hope you love these super seed energy bars as much as I do. I love that I can have a sweet treat packed with healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and so much goodness without the guilt.

 

The Best Tasting Healthy Superfood Hot Cocoa

As a healthy foodie & chocolate lover living in Indiana, I have always been on the hunt for a tasty, yet healthy hot cocoa recipe…especially during our cold winter months. I’ve tried so many recipes over the years but they were either lacking in taste or in nutrition. And the packaged cocoa, forget it! It’s loaded with sugar and far too many chemicals!

I’ve finally come up with a recipe that not only tastes good but is SO good for you!!

The Best Healthy Superfood Hot Cocoa

For this recipe, your won’t need cocoa powder. You want organic raw cacao powder. If you’re not familiar with cacao powder, you’re missing out! It’s full of anti-aging antioxidants, magnesium, iron, calcium and potassium. It’s the superfood in this recipe!

Cacao Vs. Cocoa
Cacao Vs. Cocoa

I have also included coconut oil in my recipe which in my opinion is another superfood that should be in your diet every day! My favorite coconut oil is Coco Calla coconut oil. This coconut oil is the best tasting & healthiest I’ve tried. The coconuts are harvested on an organic farm next to the Gulf of Thailand and are packed with a unique blend of beneficial vitamins and minerals. There are many uses for coconut oil but my main use is sneaking it in my diet. It helps boost metabolism and can help with allergies. It’s a fat that is used as energy instead of being stored as fat. It even has anti-inflammatory properties. I sneak a spoonful in my coffee every day.

To add a little extra healthiness to this hot cocoa recipe, I also add cinnamon & tumeric. Cinnamon enhances chocolates flavor. It also has many health benefits including being an antioxidant and an anti- inflammatory. Adding tumeric will not change the taste. I promise you won’t know it’s in there. You will however, reap it’s many benefits which include being an anti-inflammatory as well as a metabolism and weight loss booster.

Tumeric Benefits

To sweeten this recipe, you can use raw honey, stevia, maple syrup or any other healthy sweetener of your choice. I chose to use Chocolate Sweet Drops. It’s a natural liquid Stevia with zero calories.

Healthy superfood ingredients

Now that I’ve given you all of the amazing reasons to make this healthy superfood hot cocoa, are you ready for the recipe?

The Best Healthy Superfood Hot Cocoa

2 c. Milk of your choice

2 – 3 T. Cacao Powder (more or less depending on hour chocolatey you want it)

1 t. Coconut oil

1/2 t. Cinnamon

1/4 t. Tumeric

Sweetener to taste

Start with your warm milk. Add all ingredients & stir until smooth. You can add whipped cream or mini marshmallows. While not the healthiest choice, what is hot cocoa without one or the other? Grab a book & sit back and enjoy this chocolatey goodness!

Let me know what you think of this recipe!!

 

The Best & Easiest Banana Cake Ever

I often have overly ripe bananas. I either peel & freeze them for smoothies & protein shakes or I make banana bread. I love recipes that are quick and easy so most of the time I make my banana bread using a boxed cake mix.

Yesterday, I planned on making banana bread because I had 5 black bananas to use. Yuck! For some reason, I just wasn’t feeling the banana bread and instead thought a banana cake sounded better. I hopped on Pinterest to try and find a quick and easy recipe using a boxed cake mix for banana cake but I couldn’t find one. So, I decided to experiment & it worked!

The best & easiest banana cake ever

I took one yellow cake mix & added 3 ingredients but absolutely no oil. That’s right! No oil!! Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

Yellow Boxed Cake Mix

3 overly ripe bananas, mashed

2 Eggs

1 c. Water

Directions

Add all ingredients & mix according to the cake mix directions. Pour batter into a bundt cake pan that has been greased. Bake at 350 for 33 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Invert onto a plate when cool & frost. I used the cream cheese icing Recipe below.

 

If you try this recipe I’d love to know what you think. I am impressed! I don’t typically make up my own recipes so I’m excited about how well this turned out! The cake is really most & so good!!

Cream Cheese Icing Recipe

8 Oz Cream Cheese

1/2 c. butter

3 c. Pordered Sugar

1 t. Vanilla

Beat all ingredients until smooth. Frost cake when cooled.

The Secret to Amazing Boxed Brownies

One of my “go to” recipes is something that I came up with when looking for a healthier way to make brownies from a box mix.  They are so soft, chewy & delicious [if I do say so myself]. You can use any boxed brownie mix of your choice, however I typically my favorite is Betty Crocker’s milk chocolate mix.

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To make your brownies, simply follow the directions on the box but for my secret recipe, you will be substituting the oil with organic unrefined coconut oil.  That’s it! That’s my secret!!

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I also like my brownies extra chocolatey so I add 1/2 cup of mini semi sweet chocolate morsels to my brownie batter. Bake as directed & enjoy!!

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If you try this, let me know kw what you think.

Ways to Clean Your Makeup Brushes & Sponges

If you wear makeup, then you (hopefully) wash your face every day but if you’re cleansing and moisturizing only to follow up with a sticky, dusty powder brush, you’re painting a week’s (or month’s or year’s) worth of dirt, oil, dead skin, hair product residue and grime right back on your face.  Wash those germ infested brushes regularly to avoid problems like persistent irritation, acne, and sparse eyelashes.  How often you wash your brushes and sponges depends on how often you are using them. Once a week is probably the best option for most of us.  However, you could go monthly or even bi-weekly if you don’t use them often.  If you do keep your brushes on your bathroom vanity or counter, I would recommend washing them weekly for sure as they can get blasted with hair products and possibly even nasty germs from your toilet.

I must confess, until recently I did not clean my brushes & sponges as often as I should. I’m lazy! I admit it. Yuck!! When I realized what dirty brushes and sponges were doing to my skin, I decided to find an easy & simple way to clean them.  I turned to Pinterest & found some great ideas and I thought I’d share them with you.

There are many different ways you can clean your makeup brushes & sponges naturally.  Here are just a few ways I’ve found to clean them…

  • Baby soap or dish soap & olive oil ~ Simply dip your brush into this mixture and lather up. Rinse & repeat if necessary.  I found a great tutorial for this here.
  • Vinegar, water & dish soap ~ Mix 1 c. warm water with 1 T. each of vinegar & dish soap. Work wet brush into this mixture and lather up on the palm of your hand.  Rinse & repeat if necessary.  Here’s a link I found.
  • Come Clean brush & sponge shampoo ~ By for the easiest way to clean brushes! Check out this video to see how it works.

After you’ve cleaned your brushes and sponges you want to let them air dry.  Lay your brushes flat or like pictured below.  You don’t want to let them dry standing up because the water can actually loosen the glue that holds the bristles to the brush handle.

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Keeping your makeup brushes and sponges clean is super important for the health of your skin.  Make sure you are making time to do this once a week.  Sunday is a great day to do this.  It doesn’t take long and it’s a great way to keep your skin looking and feeling healthy.

Have a clean & happy day!

~Michelle

5 Things You Should Look For In a Foundation

When I find something that I love I share it with everyone.  And right now, I cannot say enough good things about my foundation!! I have NEVER liked wearing foundation.  I have never liked the way it felt on my skin…heavy and mask-like.  I also have very oily skin and I could never find one that felt great & also minimized my oiliness.  Many foundations by the end of the day have me shining like crazy!! What I’ve used the for the past 10 years has been a pressed powder foundation and I thought I loved it until I gave this foundation a try.  Now I won’t go a day without this foundation (except to the gym…I don’t waste it for the gym). It controls my shine which means less touch ups throughout the day.  It also covers up my skin imperfections, sun spots, evens out my skin tone and looks amazing all day. 
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So here is what I love most about this foundation:
 
  • It contains only vegetable oils, pure waxes, and FDA approved colors.
  • It does not contain any animal product ingredients, perfume, lanolin, petroleum, or mineral oil.  Animal product ingredients and perfumes can cause allergic reactions on some skins.  Lanolin, petroleum and mineral oil are not absorbed by the skin, causing excess oiliness on the surface.
  • This foundation is healthy for the skin, will never clog pores, and has cured facial acne for many users.
  • Most commercial liquid foundations have a ratio of about 18 to 23 percent of pigment to the liquid. This foundation has at least 50% pigments to waxes and oils so that a very little bit goes a long way.
  • It lasts better throughout a long day than comparable commercial foundations and requires less touch-ups.

If you’ve tried many different foundations and you’ve never found one that you love, I’d love for you to give this one a try and then let me know what you think. I know you will love it as much as I do.

Have a beautiful day!

~Michelle

Confessions of an Amazon Addict

So, I have a confession…I am an Amazon addict! I may actually be keeping them in business.  It’s true! I buy anything and everything on Amazon. And because of Amazon, I can’t stand to purchase something from any other online store because it takes longer than 2 days to arrive at my door.  I want it NOW! It just so happens, that I can order certain items on Amazon and get them delivered that same day and even within 2 hours.  Shut up!! There may have been a time this past winter, when I ordered something on Amazon with same day shipping because I didn’t want to go out in the cold.  Yes! I have a problem and I do not want help with it!

Tips Every Amazon Shopper needs to know.

Because I’m an Amazon addict, I know a few tricks and tips that I thought I’d share with those of you who haven’t hit “addict” status yet.

Did you know?

  • With an Amazon Prime membership ($99/year) you get FREE 2 day shipping, FREE photo storage, FREE Prime Music access, FREE Prime Videos, FREE Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, a FREE Kindle download every month and Exclusive online coupons.
  • You can earn $5 for referring friends to Amazon Prime.
  • You can get a cash refund if the price of any Amazon product drops within 7 days of you purchasing it. CamelCamelCamel lists Amazon’s heavily discounted items of the day and can even alert you when there is a price drop on any time you have purchased.
  • If you “Subscribe & Save” feature when ordering, it gives you a 15% discount on the items you purchase the most & it ships for free at your requested frequency.  You can of course cancel this at any time.
  • There is a Coupon Page that you can use to clip coupons online to save even more. All you do is clip the coupon and it will automatically be applied when you check out. There are even exclusive coupons for Prime Members only!
  • Students can sign up for an Amazon Student Prime account and get a 6 month free trial.  Then after 6 months, they can enroll for only $49 per year…that’s a 50% savings.
  • Amazon Warehouse offers deep discounts on Amazon’s open-boxed and pre-owned products that don’t meet their standards.
  • There are hourly Gold Box Deals that are heavily discounted items similar to the Lightening Deals offered during the holiday shopping season.
  • You can shop everyday essentials like groceries and household products in everyday package sizes (no more bulk buying) using Amazon Prime Pantry.  You can fill a virtual box of items from the Prime Pantry store and have them conveniently delivered to your doorstep for a flat delivery fee of $5.99 per box with your Prime Membership.  Weekly deals and exclusive coupons are available.
  • Amazon Prime NOW offers household items and essentials you need every day plus the best of Amazon, with FREE 2-hour delivery in certain locations. Use PROMO Code 10 PRIMENOW to get $10 off your first Prime NOW order. FREE 1-hour delivery from Amazon Restaurants in Manhattan, Seattle, Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Diego, Austin, Atlanta, Miami, Baltimore, and Portland, OR. Featuring local store delivery in Chicago, Los Angeles, Manhattan, Portland (OR), San Diego, and Seattle.

So many awesome reasons to love Amazon! Do you have your own tips or tricks for shopping on Amazon? I’d love to hear them!! Now, it’s time to wait for the mailman to bring today’s Amazon package.  I told you I was addicted!

Happy Shopping!

~ Michelle

 

 

6 Essential Makeup Tips for Women Over 40

The way you wear your makeup when you are over 40 should not be the same way you wore it in your 20’s.  As we age, our skin is typically not as smooth as it was when we were younger.  We often have fine lines and wrinkles and our features change as well.  Makeup is a great tool to hide what you may not like and accentuate what you do.  You can follow some basic tips to always look your best.

MAKEUP BLOG POST

Here are 6 essential makeup tips for women over 40:

  • Amp up your lashes – As we grow older our eyelashes often become shorter and thinner so use a mascara that adds length and volume.  You might also want to choose a black mascara as this will highlight the whites of your eyes more than a brown mascara will. If you have dark under eye circles, you may want to skip putting mascara on your bottom lashes as this will only accentuate your dark circles and highlight crow’s feet.
  • Use a creamy concealer – Dark under eye circles are common as we age.  Choose a creamy concealer that will not only cover those dark circles but will also not settle into fine lines and wrinkles. If you are wearing a foundation or face powder, choose your color wisely.  A foundation color that is paler than your natural skin tone will exaggerates fine lines.  Go a little bit warmer with your foundation color. Choosing a foundation with light-reflective particles creates the appearance of glowing skin.  And make sure you do not go heavy on the foundation as thick, heavy foundation will settle into those fine lines and wrinkles…aging you even more.
  • Don’t use dark eyeliner – Instead of wearing black eyeliner, choose a brown or grey liner.  These shades will not accentuate wrinkles & will actually make your eyes appear larger.  You may want to avoid using liner on your bottom lashes if you have dark under eye circles as this exaggerates their appearance.
  • Avoid dark lip colors – As we get older, our lips tend to get thinner and wearing dark, bright or metallic lip colors will only make them appear thinner. Choose a neutral rose lip color.  Switching from a lipstick to a sheer, colored lip gloss can make your lips appear fuller too.
  • Don’t forget your eyebrows – Eyebrows that are plucked, trimmed & shaped correctly, can rejuvenate a face. To cover the empty spaces (you guessed it, our eyebrows thin down as we age too), I recommend using a highly pigmented eye shadow with an angled eyeliner brush. Choose an eye shadow shade that is 2 shades darker than your natural hair color. Use a clean mascara wand brush to gently brush your brows and shape them.  Then keep them in place with an eyebrow gel.
  • Use a blush in a natural shade – As we age, our skin tends to have a more reddish color so you may want to stay away from red, brown and pink blushes.  Choose a peach or more natural looking blush color. Adding a bronzer just under your cheekbones is a great way to add a healthy glow & contour at the same time.
Can you see a difference?
Can you see a difference?

Less is more when it comes to make up in my opinion no matter your age.  The photo above is me.  I will be 44 in December.  In the photo on the left my lips appear thinner (dark lip color).  My eyes appear smaller on the left.  I have a healthier glow on the right.  What do you think? Do you see a difference? I like my makeup to be natural looking and accentuate my features while diminishing fine lines, wrinkles and areas that I may not love.  We many not love what age does to our skin and face but I love that we can slow down the aging process with natural anti-aging skincare and use makeup to help minimize areas and accentuate others. We can fake the appearance of youthful skin just a little.

Have a beautiful day!

~Michelle

A 5 Minute Makeup Routine for Busy Baseball Moms

As a busy baseball mom & someone who loves makeup, I’ve come up with a 5 minute makeup routine that is perfect for busy baseball moms.  I know many moms who don’t wear makeup every day but for those of us that do, this post is for you.  Or maybe it is for the moms who don’t wear makeup because they think they don’t have the time or the knowledge.  This is super simple!! It will accentuate your best features and have you looking and feeling amazing.

5 Minute Makeup Routine for Busy BASEBALL Moms

Start with your favorite baseball cap and if you have long hair, throw your hair into a pony tail to stay cooler.  A baseball cap is essential for keeping the sun out of your face.

Next, I’d apply a good moisturizer with sunscreen to your face.  If you use foundation, that’s another great way to block the harmful suns rays.  A good foundation will also withstand sweat and humidity.  I have super oily skin and when I am out in the humid Indiana summer temps, I get oily.  I’ve found a great foundation that helps eliminate this oil and looks great all day.  You can check it out here.

Now you can apply a translucent powder or pressed powder (with or without foundation as this will help even out your skin tone & set your foundation).  Apply a bronzer just under your cheekbones to make those cheekbones pop. By doing this, it will actually make your face appear a bit thinner & it will give you a sunkissed glow as well. You can also apply the bronzer just under your jawline and on either side of your nose.  Apply your blush on your cheekbones…nothing to bright.  Pick a color that looks natural.

Apply a few coats of mascara.  I am super picky about my mascara.  I’m not a fan of lashes that look like spider legs or that are all clumpy.  I want my lashes to be thicker and longer but still look natural.

Your final step, is an SPF lip balm and some lip gloss.  I prefer something with a little bit of color but nothing too bright.  It’s important to choose lip products that don’t contain harmful ingredients as this will be something that is on your lips.  I love these fun lip glosses.  Their ingredients are amazing, they don’t feel sticky like some lip glosses and they are super cute and functional.  There is a mirror on the side of the tube…perfect for reapplying at the baseball field.

I always suggest checking out the ingredients of you skincare and makeup.  You want to use the most natural products you can because it takes less than a minute for chemicals in your skincare and makeup to enter your blood stream.

Now, let’s play ball!!

~ Michelle