Great box this month! Talk about pay it forward. I gave away a beauty blender last month, and bam! One shows up in the mail. Fate definitely wanted me to try this. And I love it!

birchbox_feb

Gilchrist & Soames Spa Therapy Body Wash I’m not much of a body wash person. I’ve been using these great soaps for a while now, but the spa-like scent of this one was a nice little vacation from my usual.
Beauty Blender with cleanser LOVING this. After being so-so for year on foundation brushes, beauty blender is the one. I’m sold! It applies my foundation in a lighter, more natural way, but I still get the coverage I want. And I love the little solid cleanser it came with, easy to use and keeps it in good shape.
theBalm Read My Lips Lip Gloss in Rose Pink Great scent. Great texture. The particular shade wa a little soft for my taste, but I’m betting the scarlet red or fuchsia will be perfection.
BeeKind Conditioner I really like the BeeKind products. I have the body lotion and it smells delicious, and this has the same great smell! It’s pretty light in texture, great for lighter weight hair, but I think I prefer something a little thicker most days.
Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Cleanser Juice is another great beauty brand. It’s organic, and incredibly effective. The cleanser has a bright fruity smell, with the slight under-tone of vinegar. It left my skin super clean and feeling great. Perfect for my slightly oily t-zone and occasionally breakout prone skin. I would definitely use it again.

Want to try BirchBox? Sign up here.

Veggie packed, gluten-free (or gluten light, dending on your enchilada sauce), rich, cheesy, spicy magic! The satisying texture of a lasagna with a southwestern bite. This is my kind of comfort food!

mexican inspired casserole

Mexican Inspired Casserole with Roasted Corn & Peppers
via a pinch of yum

2 red bell peppers
2 green bell peppers
1 jalapeno or 2 chipotle peppers (optional – just for more kick)
½ red onion
2 cups frozen corn
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoon cumin
salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon)
2 cups shredded cheese (I used a cheddar & pepperjack blend)
10 medium corn tortillas
1 can refried beans
2 cups red enchilada sauce
cilantro, guacamole, or sour cream for topping

Dice the peppers and mince the onions. Heat a large nonstick skillet with a little bit of oil over high heat. Add the onion and peppers, sprinkle with chili and cumin, and stir, rest, stir, rest until you get a nice browning on the outside of the peppers. Remove and set aside. Repeat the roasting process with the corn, sprinkling with chili and cumin, removing from the heat when browned and roasted on the outside. Sprinkle the roasted veggies with a little bit of salt and toss to coat.
Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the tortillas into thin strips. Put the refried beans in a bowl and mix with a little bit of water to make them easier to spread. Spread a little bit of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Layer in order: half of the tortilla strips, all the beans, half of the veggies, half of the sauce, half of the cheese. Cover with the other half of the tortilla strips, veggies, sauce, and cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted (I broiled mine for the last 3 minutes to get the top nice and bubbly). Serve with guacamole, fresh cilantro and sour cream!

Happy Friday! I hope your week was lovely. We went to the gorgeous wedding of a friend last weekend, it was so lovely! A beautiful venue overlooking the water here in Seattle. Lots of friends and dancing (and laughs!).

wedding_photobooth

Here’s a little link love for the weekend:

Love all the color in these rooms!
A little allergy tip for parents.
Drooling over this gorgeous necklace.
Great response from sharp young woman.
This super cute planter in my favorite color. Might be the perfect gift for spring.
Four fab tips on maximizing productivity.
Loving this Palm Print. I think I’m ready for warmer weather.

Have a lovely weekend! xoxo.

Sometimes I just don’t have it in me. Sometimes I’m craving something but I want it now and it’s time for a few shortcuts. Wonton soup is one of those things I crave all the time, but with order minimums, there’s only so many times I can order take out and be left with a bunch of other stuff in the fridge (although the husband never minds). I was having another one of those cravings this weekend, grabbed a bag of pre-made wontons, and tossed a few things I had in the fridge and freezer in. Voila! If I did a little more shopping before hand, I might pack this with some more veggies, like bok choy, carrots, broccoli, maybe a bit of cilantro. This is a great base for so many options. Easily made vegetarian or vegan too, subbing out the fish sauce, chicken broth and opting for meatless wontons. Endless possibilities!

5 minute won ton soup

Five Minute Wonton Soup
inspired by the view from great island

4 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 package wontons (I used Trader Joe’s frozen chicken cilantro mini’s)
1/3 cup very thinly sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions

Bring your stock and water to a low boil, stir in the fish sauce, soy sauce and rice vinegar. Toss in the wontons and let cook for about a minute. Add the mushroom and cook for an additional minute, until the wontons are just done. Remove from heat and stir in in the scallions. Serve hot!

I know that title is soooo long, but I felt like each ingredient really deserved to be highlighted because wow are they great together. And I’m usually a little meh on chickpeas and just sorta like sweet potatoes mostly — together with this lovely browned chicken and bright delicious sauce though, it was such a lovely tasty surprise!

braised chicken thighs in tomato honey ginger with sweet potatoes and chickenpeas

Chicken in Tomato Honey Ginger sauce with Sweet Potatoes & Chickpeas
via food52

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 medium chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on), about 2 pounds
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 shallots
2 garlic cloves
1 (1-inch) piece peeled ginger
1 medium sweet potato
15 oz can chickpeas
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons orange juice
Torn mint leaves for garnish, optional (I subbed parsley and it was great!)

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to skillet. Brown chicken in hot oil, skin-side down, about 7 minutes. Set chicken aside. (Reserve skillet and fat in pan.) While chicken browns, finely chop shallot, garlic and ginger. Thinly slice sweet potatoes and set aside. Raise heat on reserved skillet to medium-high. Add chopped shallot, garlic, ginger, turmeric, paprika and cinnamon and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add honey and tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth and add chicken to pan, covered with sweet potato slices and chickpeas. Cover and simmer chicken until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Before serving, stir in orange juice and scatter mint over servings.

Life lately has been a lot of indoorsy stuff. The weather’s been turning and I’ve been dreaming of spring … outfits! It all started with a skirt:

the honorary citizen

image via tumblr, skirt from the honorary citizen

Here’s a little more link love for the weekend:

One simple question to make your shopping life a little easier.
Do you eat at restaurants alone? I happen to love it.
Sneak peek at the fashion of the Mad Men finale!
A great round-up of natural beauty options.
Pre-owned wedding dresses are such a wonderful idea! I’m sharing the love here.
Loving this cozy winter party, for those of us that are still battling the cold.
A little peek into Louboutin. Squee!
Fantastic round up of how-to’s from a Cup of Jo (I love how to find affordable art, eat a jar of nutella & say goodbye at a party!)
This is the best story. I laugh and laugh every time.

And we have a winner!
…to be contacted shortly :) thanks to everyone who entered and shared!