Monday, July 1, 2013

Peanut Butter Cup Stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes

My hubby, yes you heard that right, hubby (YAY!) loves Reeces Peanut Butter Cups, probably more than anything else.  We even had a peanut butter cup cupcake served at our wedding. He never did get to enjoy one that day though.  I pin more recipes than anything else, so I had this one in my back pocket for quite a while before we indulged. This recipe originated from Crazy Little Projects website.  The method seemed easy enough and it includes a box cake mix.  Surely, I could not mess that up! And thankfully, I did not.  This is a chocolate cupcake, with a peanut butter cup in the center, peanut butter icing and yet ANOTHER peanut butter cup on top. What!!? Yep.

 The cake recipe calls for:

1 Devil’s Food Cake Mix
1 box (5.9 oz) chocolate pudding
1 C sour cream
1 C oil
4 eggs
1/2 C water
2 teaspoons vanilla

The icing recipe calls for: 

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
4 cups powdered sugar
5 teaspoons milk 

Here are the ingredients I used:



I was already excited about these cupcakes looking at the ingredients!

The cake mixture is going to come out quite a bit thicker than your average mix.  Almost brownie-like, but not quite. This is what mine looked like at first:


Don't worry though. it works!

Once your mixture is combined, you start assembling the cupcakes.  Basically you put some of the cake mix in your cupcake paper, then push a miniature PB cup into the center.   I dare you to not sample the PB cups during this process!


The recipe is very specific with baking time: 350 for 18 minutes. I followed that exactly, let them cool. While they were cooling, I made the peanut butter icing.

This is the final product (I'm not the best at icing):


 These were SUCH a hit. So sinful and so easy! You can get the full instructions here.

Pin Tested, Dana Approved!


Friday, August 10, 2012

Perfect Polish Every Time

Who doesn't love a great mani/pedi?  I would get one once a week, if I could.  For some reason when you do it  yourself, it just never looks as perfect as it does when a pro does it for you. Of course, I found solution on pinterest.  This pin originated from Madtownmacs blogspot. Here, the method is used on toe's.  I personally have more of an issue with my fingernails.  I'm right handed, so when I apply polish to my right hand with my left hand, it almost always turns out to be a hot mess. Usually, I take a Q-tip soaked in acetone and go around the skin that got polished. The problem with that is it usually takes some of the polish off of my nails as well. 

The idea is pretty simple.  Use greasy lotion on the skin around your nails (finger or toes) being careful not to get the lotion on the actual nail bed. This way, if you get polish on your skin it's actually not sticking to you, it's just coating the lotion.  You then go around the portion of your skin that was polished with a disposable cuticle stick.  According to this method, you need to use:

1. Q-Tip
2. Lotion
3. Cuticle Stick
4. Nail Polish

Here is exactly what I used:


It was difficult to get the lotion around the nail, but not on the nail.  The Q-Tip helped, but I did have to wipe off the excess lotion that seeped onto my nails before applying polish:



The hot mess after polishing:



The result after removing the excess with a cuticle stick:




You can see the original post and how it worked for a pedicure here.

The downside to this was the amount of time it took me.  It took me over an hour to complete the manicure.  I think if I were to get method down to where I don't get any lotion on my nails, it would be faster.

The outcome: Yes it did work. This method is really good, if you have the time and patience to do it.  Personally, I think after all this time, it was not a poor nail polish application method that made my at home manicure sub par, it was just me. I'm just no good at manicures and will most likely have naked nails until I get another shellac. For all of you beauty wiz's out there, this should be a cinch. 

Pin Tested, Dana Approved!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Losing 5 Pounds of Bloat - Jillian Michael's Recipe for Losing 5 Pounds in 7 Days

I've said it before and I'll say it again: if it looks healthy and it promises a weight loss, I try it :)  I pinned this Jillian Michael's 7 day bloat loss detox about a month ago and I just finished my 7 days.  I liked this idea because it didn't really require you to change your meal habits or anything.  It just simply says to add this 60 ounces of tea to your daily routine every day for 7 days.  This recipe calls for:

60 oz of purified water
2 tablespoon's lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar free cranberry juice
1 dandelion root tea bag

When I went shopping for the tea bags and cranberry juice, I encountered a problem. I could not find sugar free cranberry juice anywhere! I saw lots of no sugar added, but nothing sugar free.  I finally ended up talking to a juice guru at my local natural foods market.  The guru explained that cranberry juice will never truly be sugar free, being that cranberries contain natural sugars. Needless to say, I felt so dumb, but the recipe does call for SUGAR FREE. I got the lowest in sugar I could find - organic, pure cranberry juice.

Here is exactly what I used:





Here is what my tea looked like:



The taste is quite bitter, but I didn't mind it. I drink unsweetened tea all the time and this didn't taste much different, to me.  The website that my pin originated from is no longer there, but here is a you tube video of Jillian explaining this process.  Also, here is a thread from myfitnesspal.com regarding other people's experiences.

I really liked this "detox" process. It was not difficult to follow, didn't taste bad and I got results.  I didn't lose 5 pounds, I lost just slightly under 4 pounds.  For me, that's great!  I know that since it's water weight it will most likely come back, but I do feel good about this cleanse.

While researching and reading through other people's results, one thing I noticed people talking about was the additional water they drank during this process. Most of the people who did this and got great results said they drank the tea in addition to their average daily water intake. I really drank very little other than the tea. Needless to say drinking the 60 oz of tea per day had me running to the little girl's room an awful lot.  I'm sure if I drank the usual 8 glasses of water per day along with the 60 oz of tea, my results may have been better.  Either way, I am pleased with my results.  I plan  to use up the remaining tea bags and cranberry juice to make this mixture until their gone! 

Pin Tested, Dana Approved!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Starbucks Worthy Light Frappucino - Only 4 Ingredients, 95 Calories and 2 Weight Watchers Points Plus

Who doesn't love a yummy frozen coffee beverage? Especially the famed Starbucks Frappucino and especially during the summer months.  If I had zero self control (fyi on a scale of 0-10 I score low, but not 0) I could drink one everyday. Anything coffee, creamy or sweet is right down my alley.  Unfortunately, I am not a naturally thin person who can eat or drink whatever I want, whenever I want. That being said, it does not make me want the totally delish and totally bad for you stuff any less.  Whenever I see a recipe that promises to turn a mouth watering but high calorie/sugar/fat recipe into a figure friendly version, immediately I'm on the bandwagon.  Alas, more often than not, it's a huge disappointment.  

This brings me to a pin I tested last night. About a week ago, I repinned a Starbucks worthy, light version of a frappucino that calls for only 4 ingredients. I'd been wanting to try it but thought it would be to good to be true. Finally I'd had enough of my fiance chowing down on Ben and Jerry's while I have a bowl of mixed fruit (which is also yummy, but no ice cream!).  Snack time was approaching so before the ice cream could be broken out, I decided to bite the bullet - I opened up my pin for the frappucino recipe that originated laaloosh.com and got to work (it was actually very little work :))

The best part about this recipe is that it's fool proof.  Honestly, anyone can make this and not mess it up. 

The recipe listed on website is:

Ingredients:

2 tbsp instant coffee granules (regular or decaf)
2 tbsp fat free vanilla flavored coffee creamer, powdered
1/2 cup fat free milk
8-10 ice cubes

Instructions:

Blend all ingredients together in a blender and process until smooth. If desired, sweeten with Splenda. 

I couldn't find the fat free version of vanilla powdered coffee creamer, so I opted for a sugar free version instead.  I also used regular, not decaf, instant coffee. By substituting sugar free creamer for fat free creamer added 8 calories to my drink for a total of 103 calories, but still 2 weight watchers points plus.


Here is exactly what I used:

I literally dumped the ingredients into the blender and let it do it's thing for 2 minutes:

It was fabulous! Not a disappointment at all.  I will be making these regularly for those nights when my ice cream jealousy rears it's ugly head. 

PS - my fiance, Ryan, loved this as well! He even opted for one over his usual nightly treat! Ice cream was averted altogether.  


I will totally be trying out more recipes from laaloosh!

 

Pin Tested, Dana Approved!





Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How to Remove a Grease Stain with Items You Probably Already Have in Your Kitchen

Last nights dinner, taco night, was delish!  Unfortunately, my favorite Nike drifit shirt fell victim to grease while I was cooking. *I shall never wear white while cooking with splattering grease again!* I immediately changed, put some shout on the stain, continued on with whipping up the awesome taco's and completely forgot about my shirt...until I opened the laundry closet this morning. Ugh, taco grease, still there after hours of  pre treating in shout :(

Here is what the stain looked like after about 14 hours with shout on it:


There are two dots there, an orange-ish color. 
I knew I had pinned something that was a quick fix for grease stains a while ago, so I opened up pinterest and found my pin.  The remedy was chalk.  Perfect, sounds easy! Except, I didn't have any chalk and couldn't run out for it at that moment. I was prisoner in my home this morning due to the fact that cable providers were scheduled to come sometime within a 6 hour span (side note: they came late, of course). So I searched through some other pins and found one - How to remove grease stains which originated from How To Clean Stuff.net. This method calls for a mixture of Ajax or other dish detergent (I used Dawn) and baking soda (again!).

Here are the instructions listed:

  1. Begin by blotting with a clean cloth to remove as much of the grease as possible. It’s very important to BLOT throughout this entire process DO NOT SCRUB. Working from the outside of the stain towards the center will keep the stain from spreading.
  2. Mix the dishwashing liquid with the baking soda to make a paste. The paste should be the consistency of toothpaste.
  3. Spread the paste onto the stain.
  4. Lightly scrub the stain on BOTH sides of the garment with the toothbrush to work the paste into the stain.
  5. Let the stain set with the paste for about 5-10 minutes.
  6. Rinse the stain with water.
  7. If the stain is stubborn and still remains, add some spot remover such as Shout to the solution and reapply.
  8. Scrub again with the toothbrush on both sides of the garment.
  9. Let the paste set on the stain an addition 5-10 minutes.
  10. When the stain is removed, wash the clothing in cold water following detergent recommendations on the care tag.
You can see the full article with additional tips here



Here is exactly what I used:


This is what the paste turned out looking like:


I applied it to the front and back of the stain and scrubbed with the toothbrush, as directed. It kind of made the stain look worse:





I followed the directions and left it on for 10 minutes then rinsed it off and voila! Clean shirt! Here is the shirt afterwards, as well as close up of where the stain was:





I'm happy my shirt didn't get ruined, but I'm not sure if this method would have worked so well without the shirt being pre treated for an eternity with shout beforehand.  But it did work for me, so...

Pin Tested, Dana Approved!







Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Easy at Home Teeth Whitening for any Budget

If your like me, you have spent countless hours and dollars on drug store teeth whitening products, that work! For a while.  Usually, I fall off the wagon on keeping up with it because A. I forget to pick it back up on my weekly Target trip or B. I don't want to spend money on it again.  I felt like my smile could use a pick me up so instead of heading out the door to pick up some whitening strips, I clicked my way to pinterest, of course!  After searching the boards, I repinned a teeth whitening solution recipe for which I had all the ingredients. Bonus!

This pin originated from The Budget Diet website. The pin I used had slightly different instructions listed on the pin description in comparison to the website instructions. Both methods use toothpaste, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and water.  The website method instructs you to use the peroxide as mouth wash prior to brushing your teeth with a baking soda and toothpaste mixture.  Click here to see the full method.  I used the Instructions from the pin description:

"Put a tiny bit of toothpaste into a small cup, mix in one teaspoon baking soda plus one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide, and half a teaspoon water. Thoroughly mix then brush your teeth for two minutes. Remember to do it once a week until you have reached the results you want. Once your teeth are good and white, limit yourself to using the whitening treatment once every month or two. - And to think I almost shelled out $40 at the store for some whitening strips!"

Here is exactly what I used:


The amount of toothpaste is not specified, so I used a pea sized amount:




When I added all the ingredients and thoroughly combined them, I got a paste:


I brushed for 2 minutes. It does taste pretty nasty, but it's tolerable.  I noticed a difference after just one use, but have been following the directions, from the pin, using it once a week.  This is my second week, and again, I am pleased with my results!  


 Pin Tested, Dana Approved!


PS - Another great use for the baking soda - facial exfoliator! Since baking soda is so inexpensive, I searched for other ways to use it in my beauty regimen. I found this article on thebeautybrains.com saying that a baking soda and facial cleanser mixture acts as a gentle facial exfoliant.  Guess what?  It worked great!  I don't think I'll be purchasing another high dollar value exfoliant again. 


 


Friday, July 20, 2012

Eat Your Heart Out, Lose 10 Pounds in 7 Days AKA Satan Diet

Since I'm getting hitched very soon, I've been pinning all kinds of healthy stuff, fat burning stuff and quick cleanses etc.  I repinned one that promised 10 pounds in 7 days and I have seen it all over pinterest.  The version I pinned originated from the Justin and Ashely Refresh blog.  I must admit, I was scared.  For Pete's sake is referred to as the Satan diet!

This cleanse is definitely B-O-R-I-N-G.  It gives you a 7 day eating plan where you can eat only what  is prescribed for that day. For example, fruit only, veggies only, lean meat only.  Here is the exact eating plan:

Day 1 Fruit Day: Fruit only, but no bananas

Day 2 Veggie Day: Veggies only, but nothing starchy like corn or peas BUT you do get a baked potato (I had a sweet potato)

Day 3 Fruit and Veggies: day 1 and 2 combined but no potato

Day 4 Bananas and Yogurt: As many as 8 bananas and 8 glasses of skim milk or weight watchers yogurt - THIS was difficult, I could only choke 3 bananas down.

Day 5 Fowl and Tomatoes: Chicken and/or turkey and 6 tomatoes (I used Roma)

Day 6 Fowl and Veggies: Chicken and/or turkey and veggies, but no potato

Days 7 Miracle Soup:  Cabbage soup recipe containing cabbage, onions, green peppers, tomatoes, Lipton beef broth and water.

With this plan it is suggested  you drink lots of water every day.  It also says that you can go through with your normal workout routine.  For me, the workouts made me seriously weak on day 1, 2 and 3.  I was fine to go full force at the gym on Day 4, 5 and 6 though.  Get full instructions on this cleanse here

Although it seriously lacks variety and was really difficult to (almost) follow through with, I did like it and got good results.  I must admit, I did not do day 7. Here is the reason - I've tried other versions of cabbage soup diets before and I just can not stomach it, so I knew that for me, making it would be a huge waste.

In 6 days, I lost 7 pounds.  I'm sure with the cabbage soup day, it could have been more.  I would totally do this again!  The next one I'm going to try is a Jillian Michael's recipe that promises you will lose 5 or more pounds of bloat in 7 days.  I have gathered all the ingredients and I will start soon.  Of course, I'll share my results!


Pin tested, Dana approved!