Things I’m currently obsessed with, 4.0

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It has been a while since I’ve done a post like this, so welcome back! Here’s some things I currently can’t get enough of:

  1. Drake. It’s no secret that Drake dropped his new album, More Life. It is also no secret that I am absolutely, whole-heartedly obsessed with Drake. What made my soul beam from the mountaintops is the fact that Drake literally gave Niagara Falls and Buffalo a quick little shoutout in his song ‘Can’t Have Everything.’ That’s just one gem off this 22 song album, so I suggest you go listen.
  2. The Mindy Project. I realize that I am probably a little behind on this trend, as I usually am when it comes to TV shows. I just recently in the last couple of months signed up for Hulu and was introduced to a whole entire new world of TV and movies that I normally would never give the light of day, The Mindy Project being one of them. This show is absolutely freaking hilarious and is the prefect little pick me up if you need a good laugh on a day when you would just rather a) cry or b) kill someone.
  3. Mediterranean Veggie Burgers. This past weekend, my boyfriend brought up the topic of veggie burgers a handful of times [for God knows what reason], so I decided to try it out. I went to my nearest Wegmans and picked up a pack of Morning Star Mediterranean Chickpea Burgers. They are made with chickpeas, spinach, and roma tomatoes and contain 10g of protein, 7g of fiber, and 70% less fat than ground beef. I paired them with red pepper hummus and a little onion on a whole wheat flatbread. Ahhhhmazing.
  4. Blistex Lip Medex Lip Protectant. This winter has absolutely killed my lips in terms of dryness. I am struggling to even wear any lipsticks out of my way too large collection because my lips get so dry, that they physically hurt. So far, this Blister is the absolute only thing that has worked for me. My lips are moisturized and they look healthy. Plus it is under $2, so everyone wins!

 

Cleanses, good for the soul?!

After a long weekend full of St. Patrick’s day themed adventures, I could not be any happier to be in my bed at 9:26pm on a Monday night.

I mean, how could you not participate in St. Paddy’s activities when your city has been named the #1 place to celebrate by USA Today?

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Since Thursday, it seems as if I haven’t eaten anything that was not classified as fast food or had a drink that didn’t have at least one drop of alcohol in it. Today, it all hit me like a train zooming down the tracks at dance class. I felt disgusting, tired, and fat, and like I never wanted to eat another slice of pizza ever again. [Disclaimer: this will probably never happen].

So, here I am looking up ways to do a much needed detox. So far, here’s what I’ve found:

  1. Chug lemon water. Or if lemon doesn’t float your boat, use cucumber.
  2. Raw foods rock. Even juice cleanses are considered a raw food diet.
  3. Sweat it out. Exercise until you feel like you’re going to vomit.
  4. Meditate to reduce stress and increase body function.
  5. Cut sugar intake.
  6. Drink tea, not coffee.
  7. Go for the foods labeled organic.

If you have any tips on how to detox, or know anything that has worked for you/a friend/a neighbor, hit a girl up. I am ready to learn and ready to eliminate these toxins! xoxo.

 

Slow cookin’ 101.

After some crazy days of job training, studying for SCIP certifications, writing papers, and trying to breathe, I had a second to sit back and unwind a bit from all the madness.

I turned to my trusty CrockPot and made some dinner and a little dessert for my boyfriend and I. Today’s recipe, Slow Cooker Creamy White Chicken Chili. I found this recipe on Pinterest, of course, and could not resist. It just sounded soooo good. Plus, the weather has been quite cool, so what better to eat than a nice, hot bowl of chili?!

I got everything I needed for this recipe (not including the chicken, I already had some of that in the fridge) for $17! You can’t beat it. Check out the recipe below.

I also put together some brownies with Resee’s peanut butter cups. What more could you want out of life, honestly? And then I wonder why I can’t seem to lose any weight as fast as I’d like.

brownies

Slow Cooker Creamy White Chicken Chili

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours, 5 minutes
  • Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 24oz can low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 15oz cans great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 4oz cans diced green chiles
  • 1 15oz can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 tsp talk
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • small handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 4oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup half and half

Toppings

  • Sliced jalapeños
  • Sliced avocados
  • Dollop of sour cream
  • Minced fresh cilantro
  • Tortilla strips
  • Shredded Monterey jack or Mexican cheese

Instructions:

  1. Add chicken breasts to bottom of slow cooker. Top with salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, chili powder, and cayenne pepper.
  2. Top with diced onion, minced garlic, great Northern beans, green chiles, corn, chicken broth, cilantro. Stir.
  3. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours, or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  4. Remove chicken to large mixing bowl, shred, then return to slow cooker.
  5. Add cream cheese and half and half. Stir, then cover and cook on HIGH for 15 minutes, or until chili is creamy and slightly thickened.
  6. Stir well and serve with desired toppings.

Enjoy! xoxo.

 

Wednesday aesthetic.

My weeks cycle in a pretty continuous pattern as they progress from one to the next. On Wednesdays, my days are usually pretty relaxed.

  • Wake up.
  • Chug coffee.
  • Eat breakfast.
  • Chug more coffee.
  • Go to school.
  • Do homework.
  • Grab food.
  • Do more homework.
  • Drive to Buffalo.
  • Hangout with my boyfriend.
  • Pass out.

Having some consistency is pretty good, but sometimes it can seem pretty repetitive or boring. So today to change it up a little bit, I decided to grab lunch at my not-so-usual spot, Bagel Jay’s. I am a huge fan of their food, so I am practically drooling all over again as I write this post.

After looking at their ginormous menu, I had decided on an Albuquerque Turkey sandwich. This sandwich contains roasted turkey, red pepper jalapeño schemer, lettuce, and tomato. I got it on an everything bagel [not toasted], with a side of potato salad. My favorite part of Bagel Jay’s lunch is that their sandwiches come with a crisp, dill pickle. I mean, just look at this thing. I am obsessed.

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If you are from the WNY area and you have not been there, go. If you are from WNY and have not been there in a while, go. If you are from WNY and were just there yesterday, or today for that matter, go again. You won’t be disappointed.

Also, if you want to be a part of my crazy little story time via Twitter, enjoy this little text thread and laugh along with me. xoxo.

**This is not sponsored, I just really love good food.

Celebration for two!

So, back in January, I made it a goal to step outside my comfort zone and try some new recipes/actually cook a decent meal every once in a while.

My boyfriend and I just had a semi-chill Valentine’s celebration yesterday, and today my boyfriend had his yearly review at work, [which he killed, by the way!], so I decided that today would be a good day to do something a little special for dinner tonight.

We had been going back and forth about buying a Crock-Pot for the apartment, but never really came around to it. Well, today, I got a notification that Target had Crock-Pots on sale for 15 bucks [!!!!!], so naturally, I made my little merry way to Target to buy one! Added bonus, look how stinkin’ cute it is!

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I found a recipe for Slow Cooker Orange Chicken and decided to try it out, [I’ll attach the recipe below], and let me tell you that it is so easy to make! You literally only need 4 ingredients to make this dish so bonus, it’s affordable too!

I also decided to throw together some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies because, hey, I was feeling pretty adventurous today. Who would’ve thought!?

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken 

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cup BBQ sauce [I used Sweet Baby Ray’s Original BBQ Sauce]
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup sweet orange marmalade [I used Smuckers]

Instructions:

  • Cut 3-4 thawed chicken breasts into bite-sized chunks, and cook them in your slow cooker on medium heat for about 1.5 hours [for best results, stir halfway through]. There is no need to add anything, the chicken cooks well in its own juices.
  • While the chicken is cooking, mix together 3/4 cup BBQ sauce, 3/4 cup orange marmalade, and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce until well blended.
  • After 1.5 hours, drain the chicken juices from the slow cooker – be sure the juices are drained well, as the sauce will become watery otherwise.
  • Pour your mixture in with the chicken. Be sure that the chicken is well coated and mixed in with the sauce. Cook on medium for an additional 2 hours [you may need to add more time if the chicken is not done]. The sauce may appear runny at first, but it thickens as time goes on/it cools.

Tips:

  • Add red pepper flakes and/or Sriracha sauce to the mixture to turn up the heat – I used red pepper flakes.
  • I added chopped onion and bell peppers at the same time I added the sauce mixture.
  • This chicken is wonderful served with rice.
  • Broccoli and carrots are also a great side for this dish.
  • You may also top the chicken with sesame seeds – I did not.
  • The chicken can be cooked on low, just add more time. Every slow cooker varies, do what is best for you.

Can we also just take a quick second to admire the gorgeous flowers he bought me yesterday for Valentine’s Day, because I can’t stop looking at them throughout everything I’m doing today! xoxo.

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Lil’ balls of heaven!

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Hi guys! My lack of posting yesterday stems from the fact that I worked all morning and then spent the rest of the night with my boyfriend and his family because it’s his birthday weekend! They live in Rochester and we don’t see them often, so the blog was put on the back burner. But, don’t worry! I am back.

As we know from one of my previous blog posts How does the oven work, again?, we all know by now that I literally fail at everything kitchen-related. However, due to the special occasion that is Jon’s birthday, I decided to man up and get my little self in the kitchen and make him some type of dessert to bring over yesterday as part of his birthday gift.

He is suuuuuper picky when it comes to desserts – doesn’t like cake, doesn’t like cupcakes, doesn’t like any cookie other than chocolate chip, kind of likes pie – so I, being the uneducated baker that I am, was stuck on what the heck to make this kid. But Pinterest didn’t let me down! [but really, does it ever??]

I had my brain churning and remembered, oh, he likes Reese’s cups. Reese’s cups….peanut butter….chocolate…hmmm. So, I came across a recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter M&M Balls. And let me tell you, not only are they soooo easy to make, they taste like heaven.

So here you go, peeps. Read it. Make it. Enjoy it. xoxo.

Chocolate Peanut Butter M&M Balls

  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter [I just used Wegmans brand creamy peanut butter]
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • Some chocolate chips [I got the giant bag – you will definitely need it] 
  • Some M&M’s [It called for regular M&M’s, but I used Mini M&M’s instead]  

    In a large bowl, mix butter, peanut butter, M&M’s, and powdered sugar until well blended. [More or less powdered sugar can be used to make mixture more or less dry]. Roll in your hand to make 1 inch balls, place on baking sheet, and freeze for about 20 minutes/until they are firm.

    Microwave chocolate chips for 60 seconds, stopping every 15 seconds to check and stir. [Tip: Adding some vegetable shortening can make the chocolate thinner and easier work with].

    Remove balls from freezer and dip into the chocolate. Place on wax paper, top with M&M’s and allow to harden. Refrigerate if needed. Enjoy!

 

You fancy, huh? 



One of the sad truths that go along with working retail is the business that comes from three-day weekends. I barely had time to breathe yesterday, [hence my lack of blog post yesterday], but I had a nice lil break when my hunny took me out to a nice, fancy dinner date. We’ve made this an annual event – taking one day out the year and treating ourselves to time alone with a nice meal – at a restaurant we wouldn’t normally go to on a semi-frequent basis.

If you haven’t been to Ristorante Lombardo on Hertel Avenue in Buffalo, New York, I suggest you get off your butt and go.

I kind of had no idea what to expect when we walked in, mostly because I don’t normally dress in a pencil skirt and pumps to go out to dinner. The restaurant itself was gorgeous – dim lighting, gold ceilings, paintings on the wall, the staff was more than pleasant, and the food…oh my god. I can honestly say it is the best meal I’ve had in my 24 years of life. Being Italian, I can be somewhat picky when it comes to eating Italian anywhere but my own home, but let me shout from the rooftops that this food compares to nothing I’ve ever eaten in my life. I had Eggplant al Forno and ate the entire thing. No shame.

I’ve probably driven past this restaurant 86,000 times since Jon lives in the neighborhood surrounding Hertel and I could kick myself for never going here before. But I’ll definitely be back again. xoxo.

How does the oven work, again?

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There is nothing I hate more than cooking. Baking, not so much. But overall, yuck.

I, like most girls my age, am sucked into the wonderful world of Pinterest. You would think by the looks of it that I actually knew what I was doing in the kitchen because my top 2 boards with the most pins are EAT and SWEETS & TREATS. [Follow me!].

I am making it my personal goal for this year to keep adding to this list and actually cooking the dishes I think I’ll like. You’ve all heard it here first. It’s gonna happen.

From what I have so far, I’ve narrowed it down to 10 recipes I’d like to try to successfully execute without burning down my house or my boyfriends apartment within the next couple of months. They are outside the box from what I usually eat, so it should be interested.

I’ll have to keep you update on the status of each home, because having them remain standing in one piece is not guaranteed.

  1. Almond Joy Poke Cake
  2. Chocolate Chip Cookies and Milk Cake
  3. Lighter Mini Cheesecakes with Oreo Crust
  4. Chocolate Pecan Coconut Cookies
  5. Peach Crunch Cake
  6. Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad
  7. Slow Cooker Stuffed Pepper Soup
  8. Baked Black Bean and Sweet Potato Flautas
  9. BLT Chicken Salad Stuffed Avocados
  10. Crispy Orange Cauliflower

What are some of your favorite recipes? I’d love to know and try them out! xoxo.