Sunday, October 25, 2015

Easy Roast Chicken and Butternut Squash

When I think of fall I think of squash and cinnamon, so this recipe was a no brainer for me. It's so simple to put together but I love that the flavors are a little different than what I'm used to which is more of an Italian flavor base. This recipe has cinnamon in it which it such a great addition and really warms the meal up. The best part is it's a one pan recipe, and the ingredients list is simple.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Maple Holistics Giveaway Winner!

Thank you so much to everyone who entered the giveaway! I wish I could choose everyone to give these products to, but I went ahead and used trusty old to pick one winner:

Congratulations to Lauren Sakai! Please email me at:

Send me your name and mailing address, and I'll be sure the products are sent out to you soon!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Fall Decor and Mini DIY

We bought our house last year, and moved in right before Thanksgiving. I didn't decorate at all. The most I did was pull out the tiny fake Christmas tree we had and I slapped on some ornaments, nothing fancy. This year I'm definitely having so much fun decorating the house! I kept meaning to post this sooner, but I kept buying more stuff to decorate with. Now that's it's been at least a week since I've changed the decor, I figured it's time to share what I've done. Warning! Lots of pictures to follow!  I won't write a whole lot about everything, it's all pretty self explanatory. My biggest source of fall decor was Michael's craft store and reusing items I've had for years. Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Giveaway Ends Tomorrow!

Hi guys! Don't forget to enter the giveaway to win a vitamin C serum and a Dead Sea mud mask! All of the giveaway details and my review can be found here. Giveaway ends Thursday October 22 at 11 pm PST. Good luck!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Kallax Unit for Hidden Storage

I have the Ikea Ektorp sectional in my living room, and end tables would be great except my toddler loves to climb. She loves to climb so much I can't leave the room for long or I'm afraid I'll hear a big thud. She's only 1-1/2, so she's still learning about boundaries. And gravity.

But I digress, the point of this post is to show you how we've turned our sofa table into functional storage. Because the Ektorp is fairly tall, a standard size sofa table would have been pretty short. My husband and I wanted a table that would come up as high as the back of the sectional, and fit the length as well. Looking at furniture on Ikea's website, with the sectionals measurements in mind, I realized the Kallax (formerly Expedit, which we have three of) are nice and tall but also thin. It would be the perfect "table" for behind our couch, the only downside was the 8-unit Kallax wasn't long enough. But if we took the 8-unit piece and combined it with the 4-unit Kallax the length fit the couch perfectly. We did this months ago, and it's worked great since. I don't know why it took me a few months to realize that we had 12 cubbies of storage, completely empty, sitting behind the couch. We have hardwood floor, and the bottom of the Kallax units have felt pads which makes them easy to slide in and out from behind the couch.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Maple Holistics Review and a Giveaway!

I was contacted recently by Maple Holistics, who I hadn't really heard of before, so I did a quick Internet search to see what they were about. I checked out their website and noticed they also sold their products on Amazon, which is a total win in my book because we have prime and I love when things come to my front door. To give you a quick overview of what they sell, it's all beauty products for your hair, body, and skin. I appreciate anything that's natural nowadays, especially when it comes to what I'm putting on my skin. Turning 30 means aging skin and I have really gotten into skin care lately since I still suffer from occasional acne and I have acne scarring on my cheeks. I also make sure I use natural cleaning products around the house, we absorb so much through our skin! So I like to make sure my family isn't walking around absorbing chemicals through their skin or putting chemicals on their skin and into their bodies by using skincare products with bad ingredients. Maple Holistics is currently sponsored for giveaways thanks to EduMuch!

Maple Holistics uses high quality ingredients in their products, and I especially like the use of essential oils which on their own can be rather pricey. I tried out two products, a vitamin c facial serum and a mud mask. Just to give you an idea of my skin type it's normal, with the occasional monthly breakout, and I have acne scarring on my cheeks. I'm starting to get more and more lines as I get older. I definitely notice little crows feet, smile lines, and a line between my eyes probably from being a stressed out mom!

I could go on and on about the mud mask. It's the Dead Sea Mud Mask, and it sounded great and reading about it got me excited to try it. The first time I put it on I seriously felt like I was at a spa or something. Actually I've never been to a spa, haha, but I would think that's what it's like. It looks cool going on because it's dark greenish-gray, you look a little scary and will totally freak out your kids. The essential oils smell amazing, it's just a very relaxing treatment. When you go to wash it off after it's dried, which takes about 10 minutes, it's mildly abrasive so you get an exfoliating treatment in too. I've noticed each time I use it my makeup goes on better.

I'm so exhausted at the end of the day that I usually wash my face right before bed and go to sleep. Since I'm home with my daughter most days, I try to do a beauty treatment in the mornings after breakfast. Whenever I use this mask my skin feels softer and smoother. I don't find it to be irritating at all. When I got it in the mail I used it that night, the next morning, and the next night. Seriously three times in 24 hours. My skin didn't react negatively, and I didn't notice any burning or stinging. I don't have particularly sensitive skin though, and I'm not sensitive to essential oils. So that's something to consider if you have sensitive skin or don't like the smell of lavender. This is actually a product I plan on purchasing the mask once my tub runs out. I've used it a lot and I haven't made much of a dent. It's not a high price point (under $14) and you need a very small amount each time you use it. The price for the products was another reason I wanted to give them a try. There's nothing worse than trying out a product you could never actually afford to purchase yourself. That was always a bummer with beauty subscription boxes. I would find products I love, then find out they were super pricey. This is an affordable line of products.

What's in it:
  • German chamomile to reduce inflammation in the skin, also stress reducing
  • lavender essential oil, relaxing and also helps the skin absorb more of the minerals from the mud
  • green myrtle, helps reduce oiliness in the skin
  • Clary sage to help you relax
  • mud from the Dead Sea in Israel, contains salts and minerals that are supposedly good for the skin and body

This is how much product I have left after multiple uses.

The second product I tried was the Vitamin C Serum for Face with Superior Anti-Aging Benefits. This was a nice serum to apply. I have another vitamin C serum and it's watery, the Maple Holistics serum feels thicker more like a serum mixed with an oil. I don't love the smell, but it only lasts as long as the serum is wet then dissipates. I can't say I noticed anything different in my skin while using this, but I never really notice much of a difference with other serums either. I will say it makes your skin feel more hydrated, especially after using the mud mask my skin feels a little tight and this serum puts the moisture back in. The way I use it is on it's own in the morning, followed by a BB cream. At night I apply the serum, then I apply a moisturizer over it. My skin hasn't broken out from using it, and it doesn't sting or burn my skin in any way. I definitely think this is a gentle serum, versus some I've used that can sting around the nose or where your skin might be extra dry. I'm not sure if I will purchase this serum, but I do know it costs half of what the one I've purchased multiple times costs. Since I'm not sure I notice much of a difference with either, I would rather spend less money. I'll have to see how I feel when I finish the bottle, so far I've used about half of the 1-ounce bottle.

Facts about vitamin C:
  • it's anti-aging
  • provides light protection from the sun
  • reverses sun damage by reducing free radicals 
  • good for fine lines and age spots

Now here is the best part . . . I am giving away both of these products! That's right, both the serum and the mud mask can be yours! I'm going to include all of the details below for entering the giveaway. Unfortunately this giveaway is only open to US residents.

How to Enter:
  • You must be a follower either on Bloglovin, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (all of my social media links are in the upper left side bar on my blog). I will be checking if you're actually a follower, if you aren't I will choose a different winner
  • Leave a comment below on this post to enter and please say how you're following me. For example "I would love to win! I'm following on Facebook" or something along those lines
  • US residents only please
How to Get a Bonus Entry:
  • For an additional chance to win please share this post on social media, then leave a separate comment below saying that you shared it
  • If you're sharing it on Facebook and your Facebook is private, be sure you set that particular post to public so I can verify that you've shared it. It's tough to see posts when users are private, so please keep that in mind
  • You can leave a comment for each social media platform that you share this giveaway on. So you can share it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for a chance to get three bonus entries
There you have it, a chance to enter this giveaway four times! All you need to do is copy and paste either a link to this post or a link to my blog to share the giveaway and get a bonus entry! Please be sure to leave a comment on this post to be entered. 

The giveaway will be open for one week, starting today Thursday October 15 and ending 11 pm PST on Thursday October 22. 

If you would like another opportunity to get free stuff you can check out the link below for more information. Maple Holistics is offering free products in exchange for an honest review on Amazon:

Thanks for entering, and good luck!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Roast Chicken with Sage Brown Butter Sweet Potatoes

It's still in the 80's and 90's here in Southern California, so the other day I decided to really force fall upon us. We had the AC on so the house wasn't too hot, a pumpkin apple candle was burning, and fall decor was everywhere. It really did feel like fall, unless you ventured outside. The best part of the day was dinner, it was so incredibly delicious and satisfying. I roasted a couple of chicken breasts for us, steamed some frozen veggies, and the star of the show was these sage brown butter sweet potatoes. I used my spiralizer to make them into noodles. It was an enormous waste of time in the end. I was flipping them very gently while they cooked but I still ended up with more of a sweet potato hash, still tasty though. I would recommend a small dice if you make these. Unless you want a killer arm workout from turning sweet potatoes into noodles! 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Gluten Free Chocolate Lava Cakes

I really wasn't sure about sharing the recipe for these because they are so decadent and indulgent, but I had a request for the recipe on Instagram so I decided to go ahead and share it with everyone. I try to keep my recipes around 400 calories or less per serving because I really find it easier to fit delicious food into your daily diet when it isn't taking up half of the calories you should be eating. These lava cakes are extremely high calorie, but I will say I shared one with my daughter and my husband ate the other one. It was incredibly chocolaty and satisfying, and if we had ordered it in a restaurant my husband and I would have shared one with coffee for dessert. I apologize for the poor lighting, the sun is setting early here so unless I make dessert at lunchtime I lose the natural light. 

I love these lava cakes because they only require a handful of basic ingredients, you don't need to whip egg whites, make a water bath while baking them, or fuss with sifting flour and cocoa powder. I topped mine with extra powdered sugar for presentation. These would be absolutely lovely with fresh raspberries, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate, in the microwave!

With the salted caramel sauce I had in the fridge and a craving for chocolate, I decided to make a little mug of hot chocolate for me and my baby girl to share. I gave her some in a bottle mixed with milk, and she chugged that sucker down. Probably a bad idea but she's a great taste tester! This is easy to put together if you're in the mood for something better than the powdered packets, but you don't want to make a whole pot on the stove.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Salted Caramel Apple Tartlets

These are easy peasy to make but pretty impressive to look at. Definitely an indulgent treat, but perfect for this time of year. If you aren't making your own caramel sauce you're missing out! Especially since it's so easy to make. In case you missed it, here's my recipe for homemade salted caramel sauce.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

This is the easiest recipe to follow and it doesn't require heavy cream or corn syrup. This caramel sauce is great for dipping, stirred into coffee, in pies, on top of ice cream, eaten with a spoon right out of the bowl, or you can even bathe in it. I'm not here to judge. It's delicious and versatile. You can cut the salt in half and it will just be regular old caramel sauce. This is seriously good; buttery and rich, sweet and slightly salty. It's easy and can be doubled, tripled, etc. I love how many ways you can use this. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sweet Potato Pumpkin Soup

It's decorative gourd season, and you know what that means . . . soup! At the store the other day I picked up sweet potatoes, a couple cans of pumpkin puree, carrots, onion, and some other staples. All of those earthy veggies make the best soup, and the whole meal comes together fast. Hope you enjoy!