Archive | July, 2015

Gluten Free Blueberry Upside Down Cake

28 Jul

This cake is SO easy to make. Seriously – it’s like one of those cakes that your grandmother makes when she has 20 minutes to whip something up before you get there and then you’re impressed by her magic ability to always have amazing dessert. My great grandma always used to have amazing desserts but she took like 5 hours to make them before we got there (OMG you should see her recipe book… it calls for like 10 eggs per cake… no joke, crazy!)

If you want the non gluten free version, click here for Linda’s recipe!

Gluten Free Blueberry Upside Down Cake

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups of fresh blueberries
1 box of gluten free yellow cake mix (plus ingredients)
-Mine called for eggs, butter, vanilla extract, and water
1 tsp of almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a round 9″ cake pan or 9×13 square pan, coat the bottom of the dish with 1/4 cup melted butter. Sprinkle brown sugar and blueberries around and even out on top of the butter (this will create the topping and the blueberries will bubble in the oven and caramelize). Mix cake mix per package instructions and mix in almond extract to finish. Spread the batter evenly over the blueberries. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let it rest for 20 minutes and then flip the pan over in a cake stand or serving platter. Serve warm or cold or with ice cream and enjoy. YUM!


Chicken Tinga Tacos

27 Jul

Eating during the week doesn’t have to be the boring same old. I love mixing up my weekly rotation by making flavor packed fun meals. Who doesn’t love a taco night? I love tacos because they’re so versatile. You can do fish tacos, chicken, beef, veggie, the options are endless. I do have a go-to recipe for my own and its super easy. Check it out.

Chicken Tinga Tacos

Ingredients for Tacos
1 cooked rotisserie chicken, pulled apart in shredded pieces
1 package of McCormick’s Chicken Tinga de Pollo mix – needed ingredients include: 8 oz can of tomato sauce,
1 onion, sliced long, 2/3 cup of water
flour tortillas
Topping sides below + optional others: sliced red and green peppers, sriracha sauce, sour cream, pepper jack shredded cheese, Mexican blend shredded cheese

Chunky Guacamole
2 ripe avocados, crushed and left chunky
sea salt, for seasoning
1 tbsp lime juice or juice of half a lime

Quick Salsa
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 an onion, diced
1-2 tbsp fresh cilantro
sea salt, for seasoning
1 tbsp lime juice or juice of half a lime

Yellow Rice
1 box of Yellow Rice, cooked per package instructions

Shred chicken ahead of time. Cook rice per package instructions (will take about 20 minutes). Slice 1 onion and heat in a large skillet until softened. Add McCormick’s seasoning to the skillet with the 8oz jar of tomato sauce and 2/3 cup of water and slowly mix in shredded chicken. Allow to heat through on low heat, covering the pan with foil (5-10 mins) and remove from heat. Meanwhile, make the toppings above by mixing listed ingredients in small bowls. Serve with toppings, chicken, and flour tortillas and everyone will assemble their own taco! Enjoy!


My Favorite Beauty Products and My Beauty Regimen

21 Jul

I haven’t had much luck when it comes to my skin. I’ve always been prone to break outs and was even on Accutane as a teenager. Through the years, I learned a few things about applying makeup and dealing with problematic skin. *Disclaimer – I’m not a doctor. Please see a physician for advice with medical questions*

First, always moisturize (even for those of you with oily skin like me). The skin does interesting things when its too dry. It over produces oils and hence the oil confusion. So your “oily” skin is actually too dry. Sometimes the right moisturizer can fix everything. Use an oil free moisturizer on clean skin as a makeup base. I use the Neutrogena Oil-Free Sensitive Skin Moisturizer. You can find it in any drug store. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get good products.

For pimples, I always had success with a simple spot treatment like Differin gel. See your dermatologist for a prescription. Although as you know, most pimples just need to run their course until ready to be popped. For popping fun, I use this little guy to prevent scarring since this is a hands free and semi-sterile way of popping a pimple.

My Everyday Beauty Regimen

1. A good moisturizer. Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture – as a base on clean skin – see above. Use a quarter size amount and spread across face and neck.

2. SO crucial, a primer – Sephora Perfecting Ultra-Smoothing Primer – I use a dime size and use it the same as I use the moisturizer, applying all over face/neck. It feels slightly oily but it holds makeup SO well. If you skip this step, you will find that makeup ends up sometimes wearing off earlier than you’d like. I think this is the most important item when setting a base.

3. A long wear wet foundation – Lorac Natural Performance Foundation – I use this in porcelain and I use this brush to apply. I start by using my fingers with a little bit of foundation on them to cover just my under eye circles and then use the brush to cover the rest of my redness/blemishes on my cheeks/forehead. I’m a fan of using a brush vs. sponge or contour sponge for foundation application because brushes really get into the skin better than any other product. It creates a flawless finish.

4. Foundation powder to set – bareMinerals Matte Foundation Powder – I like the matte formula because it comes out better on my oily skin than the original. I get this in golden fair in the summer and fairly light in the winter. I put this right on top of my foundation using this brush in dabbing and circular motions to cover the face. Before applying, make sure your liquid foundation has “set” for a few minutes before applying this directly on wet foundation. Sometimes if you apply powder on top of wet foundation you look cakey. (nobody has time for that!)

5. To add color to fair skin – Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Bronzer – I’ve been using this bronzer for years. It makes such a great addition to my everyday routine because its not too harsh or dark and you really have control over how you want to look. Feeling more jersey shore than usual? keep applying.. want to just create a solid base look for everyday like I do? lightly brush this all over your face. I don’t use a bronzer brush because I find it can be too harsh and make lines which is a no-no. I use this one to apply all over lightly.

6. To contour and look alive! – Sephora Collection MicroSmooth Baked Blush Duo – I love this blush. Its really mild and comes out so great. I use this in Tea Rose Tickle. This in combination with my bronzer makes me look like I have a sun-kissed look when applied properly. I use a blush brush for this and apply along my cheek bones.

7. Setting powder to finish it off – Makeup Forever HD Microfinish Powder – I use any brush to dab this along my whole face to set everything. Particularly in the creases of my nose, under my lower lip/chin, and forehead where I get most oily.

That’s it for my “face” before eyes. For eyes, I’m really simple for everyday. Otherwise I use eyeshadow. I don’t have a ton of eyeshadow and don’t use it unless for special occasions, so for the purpose of this post I will omit.

1. A good eyeliner – Lancome Le Stylo Waterproof Eyeliner – A lot of friends ask me how I get my eyeliner line so straight when applying everyday. I can do this literally in my sleep already (no joke!) and this pencil makes it so easy. It has a pencil side and a smudger side. I start by creating a fine line along the lash line and then use the smudger side to spread it across the eye to straighten out. It’s fool proof! I get this in Noir.

2. A mascara that lengthens and separates – bareMinerals Flawless Definition Mascara – I have really long eye lashes naturally but this mascara helps me really get in there and separate and lengthen without compromising volume. It’s also not waterproof so its easily removable with water/soap so it doesn’t damage lashes. I don’t know why so many women use waterproof mascara everyday unless you cry everyday! Again, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on these products. Skip the Burberry or Doir and go for this.

Few side notes, I also sometimes use the smudger side of the eyeliner pencil to create a light line underneath my bottom lashes. I also use this eyebrow brush to shape my brows. I don’t typically wear anything but chapstick on my lips. Simple as that!

A few other favorites:
This red lipstick by Hourglass. I got it as a sample and fell in love. It applies shiny and then matte-ifies to be perfect.
This mask. I really like how my skin feels after using this. Its really mild and works wonders to make me glow.

So that’s my routine. Maybe one of these days I will post a video of the whole process. What works for you guys? What are your favorite products?


Churro Cheesecake

18 Jul

Yes, I said it… churro. freaking. cheesecake. Who doesn’t love a good churro? I came across these on pinterest and knew I had to try and make these bars. You don’t need that many ingredients and these are so decadent and delicious. What a happy cheesy cinnamony treat!

Cheesecake Churros
As adapted from oh bite it

2 cans (8 oz each) of Pillsbury crescent dinner rolls
2 packages (8 oz) of Philadelphia cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup of sugar, divided
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
Honey, amount to your liking

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Unroll one can of the Crescent dough and press it onto the bottom of a greased 13×9″ baking pan forming a bottom crust. Firmly press seams together sealing the dough to form one flat connected piece. Beat the cream cheese, vanilla, egg and 1/2 cup of the sugar on medium speed until blended. Spread it evenly across the crust in the pan. Unroll the other roll of dough and place directly on top of the cheesecake mixture, sealing seams together as well. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes until the crust rises slightly and is golden brown. Drizzle honey on top of the crust to create a sticky base for the cinnamon sugar. Sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon sugar on top of the honey and cut into bar sized pieces to enjoy. Delish!


Buffalo Chicken Cutlet Quesadillas

13 Jul

Buffalo Chicken Cutlet Quesadillas

A few words about this flavor bomb of a quesadilla. My dear husband is an avid lover of buffalo chicken. When in doubt, it’s his go-to meal when it’s on any menu at a restaurant. My intuition told me to create a quesadilla, but instead of just using plain old seasoned grilled chicken, using a breaded moist buffalo cutlet. The result? Glorious delicious flavor and a restaurant quality meal in under 30 minutes. How great is that? Give it a try for yourself and you’ll fall in love!

4 thinly sliced boneless skinless chicken cutlets
2 eggs, beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper
1 ½ cups of plain breadcrumbs
Mikes Red Hot Buffalo Sauce
Whole Grain Flour Tortillas (or regular, to your liking)
1 Package of Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese
Optional Sides: Guacamole, Pico de Gallo, Celery, Blue Cheese/Ranch Dressing.


To start, we want to fry the chicken cutlets. To prep, dip each cutlet with egg, then breadcrumbs. Set aside. In a large oiled skillet, fry the cutlets until browned and crispy. Coat each cutlet with a light amount of hot sauce on each side. Slice into one-inch pieces, and then again down the middle to create small Lego sized pieces. In a preheated grill pan on medium-low heat, place one tortilla down on the pan. Coat with cheese first, chicken, and then again cheese on top. Top with another tortilla and allow to melt for a few minutes. When ready, flip carefully to continue the melting process. Remove from heat and slice into triangles. Serve with blue cheese or ranch, a side of guacamole and chips, and celery for dipping.

This recipe will be featured on the ranting chefs page in a few weeks. I will need your votes! Information to follow.