Archive for January, 2013

January Favorites

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Happy January everyone!

I’ve decided to post some favorite things after each month. The categories may vary – it will just be a selection of items that I’ve liked or used a lot.

Let’s get started!


My absolute favorite beauty product this month was this Living Proof Prime Style Extender. It is a little pricy (I got it for Christmas) so it’s a good idea to ask for a free sample from Sephora first to make sure you like it. That’s what I did, and I was able to use the product at least five times before the sample ran out.

This product works wonderful (and smells really good). I just put it in my hair while it’s still damp, then dry and either curl or straighten my hair. It helps the style hold and I especially like how it protects against humidity and rain. I’m a big fan! (Note: the directions say to use liberally all over your hair, but I found it was best to avoid my roots.)


This album has been on absolute constant replay in my car. I LOVE IT. Sherry Muchira is the worship pastor at my church, and so it was fun to attend her CD release concert in January, and I’ve been loving this album ever since.

You can check out Sherry’s music on iTunes and Facebook.



I’m sure you all know about the Wizard of Oz, but did you know that there are a total of 14 Oz books in the series? I really loved this series when I was younger. This month I happened to read the first Oz book to one of the children I nanny, and he was hanging on every word. I was only too happy to move on to the others (they start to get especially good after the first two) and we have been flying through them, with him on the edge of his seat, completely wide-eyed the whole time. It’s so fun! The book above is one of my favorites, The Road to Oz.


I’ve been going through a candle phase lately, and I’ve been burning “Winter” and “Fresh Balsam” from Bath and Body Works all month. I doubt these are still in the store, but if you happen to remember next year, I definitely recommend these two! “Fresh Balsam” smells just like a Christmas tree.


This is at least the third time I’ve mentioned avocado egg salad on this blog, but I have to talk about it one more time. I had this for lunch more than anything else in January.

Now, I need to warn you: you are working with hard boiled eggs. The people around you may give you dirty looks and sniff the air pointedly. If they aren’t aware of what you’re doing, they may even start earnestly searching the carpet to check if the dog had an accident (this really happened). Don’t let it bother you, and don’t let it deter you from trying this! It is so worth the stinkiness!!

You can find the actual recipe over at Green Cilantro. You can proportion the ingredients however you want. I usually just throw two eggs, half an avocado, a lot of mustard, a tiny bit of mayonnaise, and some salt and pepper in a bowl and just mash it up. It’s wonderful.

Well that is all for January! You may remember that I created a video of my 2012 favorites, and tagged some blogger friends at the end. Several of those girls did the tag, then tagged other bloggers, who tagged other bloggers. I followed the trails and linked up everyone I could find who did the tag, so feel free to browse below and discover some new blogs! Thanks to my friends who did the tag! (And if I missed anyone just let me know in the comments below.)

Chelsea from Boots in the Burrow

Gaby from Two Readers Writing

Katrina from The Demure Muse

Erica of Sweets and Hearts

Belen of Belen

Aubree of Macarons and Stilettos

Kimmie of Blue Paper Lanterns


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Pecan Cranberry Brie Dip

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

This past weekend my family celebrated my grandparents’ 60th Anniversary. It was a special day, and really fun to see everyone.

My aunt Karen brought this brie dip, and it was an instantaneous hit.

She brought the ingredients with her and heated up the topping while we watched, and then doused the cheese with it. We were digging in within about 30 seconds, and let me tell you….it was even better than I was expecting it to be.

I asked Karen if she would be kind enough to share the recipe for this blog, and she gladly gave it to me. She originally received it from a friend of hers.

As you can see from the top image, I tried this out myself today. This dip is hard to photograph because it looks a bit like a big blob, but that is the beauty of it…it is a big blob of perfect deliciousness. And it’s so easy to make!

The recipe below is for an 8-inch brie. I just picked up a small wedge from Trader Joe’s. When Karen made this, it was for a large group so she quadrupled the ingredients. It’s up to you – you can really eyeball how much you need depending on the cheese you bought. Another note – this dip tastes best the first time (reheating just isn’t the same) so I would proportion accordingly.

Pecan Cranberry Brie Dip

8-inch brie
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp milk
1/4 cup pecans (chopped and toasted)
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Peel the rind off the brie and let it come to room temperature.

In a small saucepan, heat brown sugar, butter and milk. Stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in pecans and dried cranberries.

Pour mixture over cheese, and serve with crackers.

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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

I’ve been going through a soup phase lately. This is actually a bit unusual for me, but there are two very good reasons for my behavior: the cold weather, and trying this butternut squash soup at a friend’s house.

We’ve been blessed with some sun over the last few days, but it is very much a January sun. It’s so odd how the winter sun is somewhat low in the sky even in the early afternoon – I’ve never noticed how it does that before this year.

The light is beautiful but distant and this makes for frigid days! It is definitely the right weather for warm food.

A couple weeks ago I tried butternut squash soup at my friend’s house, and I fell in love immediately. I was surprised to discover that this soup contained nothing more than butternut squash, apples, onions, salt and curry powder. For such a healthy meal, it was really bursting with flavor. I decided I had to give it a try.

I purchased pre-cut squash at Costco (the 2 lb package) which made the whole process so simple.

A couple notes on this soup:

There are a couple of Ina Garten versions floating around out there. I used this one, which includes chicken stock. The Ina recipe my friend used didn’t even call for chicken stock (but still tasted excellent) so that is a healthier option.

If you do use chicken stock, start light with the salt. You can always add more!

As mentioned previously, I used the 2 lb package of pre-cut squash, and mixed it with 2 apples and 2 onions. The proportions worked out well.

I roasted the vegetables until they were soft, then added a few ladles of chicken stock and used an immersion blender. This method worked great for me.

For condiments, I chose cashews and toasted coconut. You could also mix in a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt for a healthier option.

Enjoy!! It is hard to go wrong with this exceptional recipe. Ina does it again!

The recipe I used can be viewed at this link:

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Healthy Recipe Ideas

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Hi everyone! I hope your January is going well.

Mine has been wonderful despite a definitive lack in desserts. Like many of you, I usually cut back a bit on sugar after the holidays, especially in the month of January.

Now that we’re a couple weeks into the new year, you may be searching for inspiration in order to continue to make good choices. In case you are, I thought I would post a roundup of the (few) healthy recipes I’ve posted on this blog over the past year or so.

To start things off, last January I posted 7 Healthy Recipes. One year later I am still loving avocado egg salad. It’s been my favorite lunch this month.

This Spinach Blackberry Goat Cheese Salad remains my favorite salad to make at home.

This Berry Parfait with Homemade Granola would make a balanced breakfast or a satisfying dessert substitute.

Karen’s Green Smoothie is packed with flavor and vitamins.

If you’re trying to cut back on meat/calories/burgers etc, these Peanut Butter and Pickle Sandwiches are an intriguing and filling substitute.

If you’re simply cutting out sweets, you can still give these Rosemary Kalamata Olive Rolls and Cheddar Jalapeno Buttermilk Biscuits a try. Actually, I recommend that you give those both a try no matter what – they are two of my favorites out of all the recipes I’ve made for this blog.

I will be back with a new recipe post later this week, and am already scheming some brownie ideas for later. Until then – happy healthy eating!

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Jessie's Kitchen Chronicles