Pumpkin Crisp

Pumpkin pie is a Thanksgiving tradition – problem is, I am not a fan. I enjoy the flavor of pumpkin but I find pumpkin pie to be too dense in pure pumpkin.  I am a heavy carb kind of a girl – a real white flour and butter kind of a gal, if you catch my drift.  So I need to share this recipe for Pumpkin Crisp that is pure heaven.

As a child my mom being the traditionalist that she was always served pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner so growing up I just passed on turkey day dessert.  All this changed several years ago when a dear neighbor told me about this Pumpkin Crisp that she makes.  A buttery crust houses a delicious pumpkin filling and a buttery, sugary crust tops that.  The crumb crust gets crisp, yummy and melts deliciously into the decadent pumpkin filling.  I love the dish and so does everyone that tries it.

I should also add, that it is simple.  No crust to roll out and nothing fancy. I hope you try it and like it as much as my family does.

Pumpkin Crisp
Ingredients
1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 egg
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup white sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
Ice Cream or Fresh Whipped Cream (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Set aside 1 cup cake mix for the topping. Combine remaining cake mix, 1 egg, and melted butter or margarine. Pat into a 9×13 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, mix pumpkin, 2 eggs, spices, 1/2 cup sugar, and milk. Pour pumpkin mixture over the cake mix crust.

In a small bowl, combine 1 cup cake mix and 3/4 cup sugar. Cut in 1/2 cup softened butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle mixture on top of pumpkin mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 55 minutes.

I like to cut this into 12 servings, but you could make the squares smaller or larger depening on how “stuffed” you are after Thanksgiving dinner. 🙂

Gaga for Goji Berries & Their Many Health Benefits

I have gone completely gaga for goji berries & their many health benefits!  These dried gems are my new  favorite snack to munch on and to include in my favorite recipes.  From granola, yogurt and salads, these versatile berries offer a plethora of health benefits in a tiny, delicious bite.

So, what makes goji berries so great?  Not only are they loaded with anti-oxidants, these little treats have helped me feel more calm, energetic and find myself sleeping better.  After turning 40 I have tried to  incorporate superfoods in my diet more and more and goji berries are one of those superfoods.

I purchase my goji berries dried from the bulk food section at Whole Foods.  I find that they are the most cost effective way to purchase them, although in a pinch you can also find them on Amazon.

I can’ wait to share an absolutely delicious, healthy fudge recipe that incorporates goji berries as well as a few other superfoods.  Stay tuned…

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Beauty Blender Dupe

I have a love affair with my Beauty Blender.  I am always switching up my beauty products, however I rarely stray from my beloved Beauty Blender for long.  I have tried numerous imposters, but nothing has come close to this magical sponge, until now.  Beauty Blender Dupe, I have found you…

The dupe is the new H&M Precision Makeup Sponge that retails for $3.99.  The cost of a Beauty Blender is $20, making the H&M version 80% less, a HUGE savings!

The H&M Precision Makeup Sponge is identical in size to the Beauty Blender, however when dampened the H&M sponge is about 15% larger.  The actual dampened size doesn’t make a difference in the end makeup result, however I thought I would mention it.

In checking what each of the sponges was made of, the Beauty Blender states that it is made of non-latex foam while the H&M sponge is made of 100% polyurethane, which does not contain latex as well.

All in all, I would definitely give the H&M Precision Makeup Sponge a try.  Even if you hate it you are only out $4 (there is a $5.95 shipping fee, but shipping is free on H&M if you spend $50+).  I definitely think it is worth a try.  I would love to hear how you like it.

Super Simple, Fast, Budget Friendly Spaghetti Bolognese

Have you ever slaved over a meal to only have your family either not eat it or simply give you that indifferent look while they force it down?  If you haven’t you’re lucky, however unfortunately I have had this scenario happen to me more than once.  So, I can’t begin to explain my shock when I made this Super Simple, Fast, Budget Friendly Spaghetti Bolognese that my crew loved.  In fact they claimed this was the best bolognese I have ever made.   Uh, ok…noted, I will never slave over my more complex bolognese sauces in the future.

So let me explain how this easy recipe came to be.  I became discombobulated and dizzy on Monday.  I thought I was just experiencing a bad headache, however when I continued to feel like I was on a moving boat on Wednesday I decided to go to the doctor.  I can’t tell you how relieved to find out I had vertigo.  All I can say is I was sooooooo relieved to be diagnosed with a medical condition and know that this was not all in my head.

Since I wasn’t able to get to the grocery store for some fresh ingredients (and because my family had not had a home cooked meal in days) I decided to throw together a spaghetti bolognese.  Ingredients are simple pantry staples with the exception of some basil, garlic and parmesan I had on hand.  There is no lengthy simmering of sauce and because I used 93% lean ground turkey the meal was low fat as well.

So here is my recipe for Super Simple, Fast, Budget Friendly Spaghetti Bolognese.  I hope you enjoy

Super Simple, Fast, Budget Friendly Spaghetti Bolognese
(serves 4-6 people depending on how hungry your crew is)

Ingredients
1-2 T. olive oil
1.25 lb. lean ground turkey
1 – 28 oz. can tomato sauce
1-4 garlic cloves minced (I use 4 and it is super garlicky so you may want to start with 1 to be safe)
1 beef flavoring packet from Top Ramen (remove beef flavor packet and either discard the noodles or save noodles for later)
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 – 1 tsp. crushed red pepper, to taste
salt and pepper to taste
basil to chiffonade
parmesan
1 lb. spaghetti*, cooked according to package directions (reserve about a cup of the cooking water)
*I use gluten free, but use whatever you have on hand

cooking bolognese sauce
cooking bolognese sauce

Directions
Heat large saucepan over medium-high heat with olive oil.  Brown ground turkey (after it cooked, because the meat is so lean I do not drain the fat out, but you certainly could if you’d like).

Add tomato sauce, garlic, beef flavoring packet, onion powder, and red pepper flakes.  Simmer on medium low heat about 10 minutes and taste with salt and pepper.   If sauce reduces too much or is too thick to your liking, add a bit of the reserved pasta water.

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to coat.  Place in pasta bowls or plates and sprinkle with basil and parmesan cheese.

spaghetti bolognese closeup

Make Up Brush Cleaning

Let’s talk makeup brush cleaning.  I have to that admit that until recently mine have been pretty gross.  An example of my short term solution has been to brush them on the back of my hand so that old shades of shadow or blush wouldn’t transfer onto whatever color combination I would apply next.  I know, disgusting.  However, I decided to make a change to this heinous habit and wanted to share my three tips to my new, hygienic brushes.

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The first step is nothing news worthy, but it is simply to cleanse them with a mild cleanser.  There are numerous brands out there and Sephora offers many different high end brands which may work well, but my fave is good ole Johnson’s Baby Shampoo.  It is gentle and definitely gives my brushes a good cleanse.  Nothing fancy, nothing expensive, but definitely effective.

The second step is to soak the brushes in warm, soapy water a for several minutes.  After soaking give them a good rinse with cold water until there is no more color in the water you are rinsing the brush in.

Finally the third step is to dry them and this is where I have found the real magic.  You see I have always hated washing my brushes (aside from being lazy) is because they never held their shape or felt the same way once I washed them, until now.  Enter KLOUD City White Cosmetic Pen Sheath Make Up Bresh Netting, oh and the best part is that you get 40 for only $8.95 on Amazon.  All you do is slide these babies over your damp makeup brushes and they not only dry perfectly but the brushes hold their shape.  Voila – clean make up brushes that work like new. Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 7.18.40 PM Not only is makeup brush cleaning important in keeping blemishes away, it is also waayyyyy more sanitary.  Do you wash your makeup brushes regularly and if so what is your favorite way to wash them?  I would love to know.