Cornbread Waffles with Chili 

Though it’s getting warmer outside, that doesn’t mean you can’t still make your favorite comfort food. 
Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds Ground Beef
  • 1 can Kidney Beans
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes 
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1/2 Packet Chili Seasoning
  • 1/4 cup Onions, diced 
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 box Cornbread Mix + whatever it calls for 

Directions 

  1. Begin by cooking up your ground beef on a medium heat in a skillet. Once that is cooked, drain any grease. 
  2. In a separate pot, combine the diced tomatoes, beans, onions, seasoning, and water. While cooking the beef, let this simmer on a low heat. 
  3. Once the beef is cooked, add it into the chili pot. Stir this and allow it to set on a medium-low heat for 15 minutes.
  4. According to the box mix, make up the cornbread batter. When I made this, I added extra liquid (about 1/3 cup of water or milk) to thin out the batter more. In a greased preheated waffle iron, pour in the batter. Personally, my waffle maker has a timer on it, but if you don’t have one, just check every two minutes.
  5. Remove the chili from the heat, and serve with the cornbread

Cinnamon Rolls

I’ve always been intimidated by making Cinnamon Rolls, and this is because I’m not totally comfortable baking with yeast and proofing the bread. To my surprise, these rolls came out pretty nice. This recipe is very basic and can be altered due to personal preference, such as adding nuts and fruit to the filling.

Ingredients

DOUGH

  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 2 cups Warm Milk
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 pack Active Dry Yeast
  • 5 cups Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Cinnamon

FILLING

  • 3/4 cup Butter, softened
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Cinnamon

FROSTING

  • 4 ounces Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons Butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar

Directions 

  1. In a standing mixer with a bread paddle attachment, mix together melted butter, warm milk, and sugar. Your milk should be warm to the touch, not burning. If it’s too hot, let it cool.
  2. Pour in the yeast evenly over the mixture so that it doesn’t clump up. Let it sit for 3 minutes.
  3. Add in 4 of the 5 cups of flour into the bowl, and mix on a low setting for 2 minutes. To tell if it’s done, the flour should be mixed in and very sticky. Cover this with a towel or plastic wrap, and set aside to proof for an hour.
  4. After this is complete, it should be double its size. Uncover it and add the cup of flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir this until everything is mixed in, and put this on a heavily floured surface. Knead the dough lightly, and roll it out into a large rectangle with a thickness of ½ inches.  
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together the softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon to make the filling. Spread this paste into the dough evenly.
  6. Roll up the dough into a log and pinch the seam closed. Cut this into 14 even pieces.
  7. Grease two 8 inch cake pans, and place the rolls into the pans. Again, cover them, and let them rise for 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 350°F. Put the rolls in the oven and let them bake for 25 minutes or until they are golden on top.
  9. While they are cooking, make the cream cheese frosting. Combine the room temperature cream cheese, butter, milk, and vanilla extract together in a bowl. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, and keep stirring until the sugar is integrated in.
  10. After the rolls are baked, allow them to cool for five minutes and top them off with the frosting.

IMG_3684

History of My Hair

So far in my short life, there have been four distinct eras of my hair. I have dyed, fried, and dried my hair almost to the point where I wanted to shave it all off.
Let’s start at the very beginning. Leading up to fourth grade, my hair more resembled a bush than actual hair. I’ve always had very thick and coarse hair, but it was getting out of control. During that summer, I got the famous wannabe pixie cut.

I admit, it could’ve been worse… like a lot worse. For some reason, I kept cutting my hair like this even in middle school. I thought I could make it look better by wearing headbands and dying my hair really dark, but it only made it worse.
By the end of seventh grade, I knew I’d grown out of the short hair and started growing it out. This is when the next stage of my hair began, and I like to call it the Gene Simmons look.
Now with my hair to my shoulders, I wanted a dramatic change. For me, I thought I wanted to look like a dark, edgy, and rebellious teenager, so what’s more dramatic than dyeing your hair black? About a month later before a Color Guard contest, I wanted to switch it up again. At the same time, home ombre kits were just released, and with my freshman mentality, this was going to upgrade my look. You might think a 14-year-old girl with brown roots, black hair, and blonde split-ends would be the worse that it could get, but then I got a perm.
You may think after the first time after perming my hair I would learn my lesson. Nope. Later, I redid it again and tried to dye my hair blonde. For some odd reason, my box bleaching kit didn’t work and only dyed my roots. So that very same night I bought black hair dye and went full on KISS. When you are as pale as me, having big curly black hair will wash you out.
Entering my junior year, my hair was dry as bone and multiple shades of brown and black. I found a way out through starting to get quarterly keratin treatments. Though I was just adding more chemicals, my hair looked healthy and literally as straight as an arrow. I had to use special shampoo and conditioner that helped keep it this way, but it was terribly hard to rinse it out. The downside of this whole process was the split-ends that I got from straightening it, and it was terribly time consuming and expensive.
Now since I’ve stopped the treatments, I really think my hair has become better than ever. Sure, it’s not as shiny or soft as it once was, but it’s easier to take care of. In the last three months, I’ve switched to a gel based shampoo, and I find that it rinses out really nicely while still getting all the gunk out. Currently, I’m using Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine and L’Oréal Ever Cream shampoo. Though with the L’Oréal, I like to dilute it with water before use. For conditioner, I use the one from the Ever Cream line. Once a week, I do a rinse of lemon juice and vinegar to clear up any build up. As of right now, I get a haircut every few months because I’m trying to keep the same length.

Chicken Vegetable Soup

I really wanted to recreate my favorite soup this week, but I’ve been to four different stores looking for lentils and couldn’t find any. The closest thing I could find was this soup mix by Bob’s Red Mill, which is a combination of split peas, barley, lentils, and alphabet pasta. It seems like a really weird mixture, but it works. I’ve started off by cooking the creamed veggie soup recipe on the back of the package, but as usual, I just made it up as I went. Unless you have a lot of time on your hands, I would recommend making the chicken and stock in advance.

Ingredients

  • 3 Chicken Breast, Skinless & Boneless
  • 2 Bouillon Cubes-Chicken
  • 1 ½ cups of Bob’s Red Mill Vegi Soup Mix
  • 2 Carrots
  • 2 stocks Celery
  • ½ Onion
  • 1 Cup Milk of your choice

Directions

  1. Begin by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Add in the bouillon cubes and chicken breasts. Allow them to boil for 17 minutes, then cut a breast in half to check to see if it’s done. If it’s still pink, put it back in to continue to cook, checking on them every five minutes. Once they are cooked, remove the breasts, and remove the water from heat. Then, put them to the side so they can cool down.
  2. When the water is manageable, remove any of the floating stuff that might still be in the pot. Measure out 4 ½ cups of this liquid. Either save the rest of this juice, or dump it down the drain. Pour the 4 ½ cups back into the pot, and bring it back to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and put in the soup mix. Allow this to simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Thinly slice or grate the carrots, celery, and onions. Put these vegetables into the soup mix, and allow them to soften on a medium heat for 15 minutes.
  4. Chop up the chicken breasts and add them to the soup, and continue to let this simmer for another 15 minutes.
  5. To finish this up, remove from heat. Add the milk to the pot, and stir until it’s combined. At this point, it’s still very hot, so let this sit for at least 10 minutes before consuming.

Kong: Skull Island Is Actually An Anti-War Film

Somehow I was dragged into seeing Kong: Skull Island last weekend, and I’ve got to say it’s pretty good. I was expecting to see a basic explosion-filled action blockbuster, but unlike its predecessor, Kong is actually an anti-war film.

Based off of the end credit scene, it’s confirmed that Kong takes place in the same universe as 2014’s Godzilla. Personally, I didn’t enjoy Godzilla and kind of forgot about it. Both the acting and use of action was bland, and the little plot it did have was just the military chasing down Godzilla.

Kong takes place sometime after Paris Peace Accords were signed in 1973. The US government is leading an expedition to an unknown island called Skull Island, although it’s later revealed to be a government plot to get rid of these ancient monsters.

In order to reach the island, the expedition requires a helicopter squadron to escort them. This is when we first meet Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L Jackson) and the Sky Devils. Before they head out, we get a brief scene that takes place on a military base, where the drafted soldiers are sitting around and chatting about their plans when they return home. This scene is added to humanize the men, as later they are the ones who are out to kill Kong.

Other members of the group are Bill Randa (Tom Hiddleston) and Mason Weaver (Brie Larson). Randa was contracted by the government to guide the group in the uncharted jungle. Weaver is a pacifist photographer whose plan is to expose whatever is on the island; she believes the island is a secret government base.

The anti-war themes start when Packard stops Weaver at the dock before their departure. Packard explains that people like Weaver were why the military didn’t have public support while in Vietnam. She replies that if the military did their job, they wouldn’t have lost the war. He then said,

“We didn’t lose the war. We abandoned it.”

Before landing on the island, they drop explosives on the ground to determine if the island is hollow on the inside. This can represent the Napalm bombs that were dropped on Vietnam and Korea. In the film, they are what draw out Kong and the skull crawler.

Later on, the group meets Hank Marlow (John C. Reilly), a man who crashed on the island during WW2 with a Japanese soldier. The two put aside their differences in order to survive and later become best friends. Marlow asks the group what he missed in the last 20+ years.

Marlow: “Who’s winning the war?”

Conrad: “Which one?”

Marlow: “…That makes sense, I guess.”

Most believed that WW2 was supposed to be the war to end all wars, but little did they know it was just the beginning.

Another scene shows a soldier carrying a Vietnamese gun instead of his military issued one. When asked about it, he states that he believes that the farmer he took it from probably had never seen a gun before the Americans came. This makes you wonder if some enemies don’t really exist until you create them. Some see the Americans entering the war to stop communism, but not the North Vietnamese.

Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts found influence for the film in other Vietnam era based films such as Platoon, Apocalypse Now, and Full Metal Jacket. The film used a warm color pallet for the action scenes, while scenes that displayed calmness switched to a cooler pallet. This is all topped off with a fantastic soundtrack filled with Vietnam era songs from Creedence Clearwater Revival, Black Sabbath, and David Bowie. (I made a playlist below)

 

 

 

My Playlist Jams for Spring 2017

In the past few years, music has become a key player in my daily routine. My playlist is always evolving based on new discoveries and my mood. I enjoy just about anything but country. Not sure why, but I feel like most country music is either about breakups, trucks, or patriotism. 

Rock 

Though I was raised on hard rock from the 80s, I find myself enjoying rock that’s softer from the late 60s and 70s. My staples are Fleetwood Mac/ Stevie Nicks, The Who, Eagles, Chicago, The Clash, Queen, and a dash of David Bowie. I’m really open to anything in the genre of rock, but I completely stay away from heavy metal and punk in general. 
Recommendations

  • Go All The Way- The Raspberries
  • Songbird- Fleetwood Mac
  • Desperado- Eagles
  • Evil Women- Electric Light Orchestra
  • Gateway- Earth, Wind & Fire
  • Since You Been Gone- Rainbow
  • Ohio- Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  • Fox On The Run- Sweet
  • Mr. Brightside- The Killers

International
With the age of the internet, the popularity of non-English music has grown. I’m kind of a Koreaboo when it comes to K-Pop. Some of my favorite groups are Seventeen, Red Velvet, BTS, and BLACK PINK. Through random Spotify accounts and other sources of media, I discover new music all the time. 
Recommendations

  • Siempre Brillarás Acustico- TINI/ Martina Stoessel
  • My First and Last- NCT Dream
  • Le temps de l’amour- Francoise Hardy
  • Chantaje- Shakira
  • BANG BANG BANG- BIGBANG
  • Da Da Da- Trio
  • Friends Forever- Puffy AmiYumi
  • Devil- Super Junior

Non-lyrical 

I can’t sleep without sound playing in the background. Typically, I stream a Spotify playlist called Sleep and play it at a low volume. For when I don’t have the internet, I have a few songs saved on my phone that I can play on a loop.

Recommendations

  • Light of the Seven- Ramin Djawadi
  • Late October- Harold Budd
  • Sugarcane- Ana Olgica
  • Lizard Point- Brian Eno
  • Don’t Go Where I Can’t Find You- Eraldo Bernocchi

Pop

While growing up in the 2000s, I’ve ingested a lot of pop music in my day. Lucky for me, I’ve grown up a bit and gotten a little better taste, but I still know I listen to trash. Go ahead and judge me, but I know every Britney Spears, Spice Girls, and ABBA song by heart. More modern stuff I listen to are Ellie Goulding, Sia, Lady Gaga, X Ambassadors, and DNCE.
Recommendations

  • Hold Me Now- Eden xo
  • Wonderwall- Oasis
  • Tell Me- Johnny Jewel
  • Born to Die- Lana Del Rey
  • Hot Child In The City- Nick Gilder
  • Hypnotic- Zella Day
  • Church On Sunday- Grace
  • Electric Love- BORNS

Oreo Cream Cheese Cookies

One of my best friends just finished a program that will allow her to get her CNA license. Her favorite food of all time is Oreos, especially Double Stuffed Oreos. In celebration, I whipped her up a batch of these easy cookies.

Ingredients

  • 1 package of Oreos
  • 1 White Cake Mix
  • 4 oz of Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
  • 1 Egg
  • 8 tablespoons Butter, Melted
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 cup White Chocolate Chips

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a food processor, take 2/3 of the package of Oreos and pulse until they are crushed. If you don’t have a food processor, do this step in a large plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin instead.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients with the Oreos. Mix this together until the dough forms, and you can stop mixing when the cookies and chips are fully incorporated.
  3. On a greased pan, bake 2 1/2 inch dough balls for 8 minutes or until the top is set.

February Favorites

This month has flown by way too fast. Some of the highlights include finding the perfect prom dress, having a crazy late night adventure with my three best friends, and starting my senior project.

The Bathery Charcoal Infused Exfoliating Gloves

http://www.target.com/p/the-bathery-charcoal-infused-exfoliating-gloves/-/A-51067994


Every year, winter takes its toll on my skin. This is why I picked up these exfoliating gloves at Target. I combine them with St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub for maximum results. I used this on my face, arms, and legs as directed on the packaging.

Think Thin Protein & Fiber Bars

http://shop.thinkproducts.com/thinkThin-Protein-and-Fiber-Bars/c/ThinkProducts@ThinkThinLean


Senioritis is alive and well in my life. I have masterminded a morning schedule that lets me sleep. On the day I have early morning classes, it’s easier for me to just grab something and eat in class. Think Thin bars have replaced Clif bars as my favorite meal replacement bar because they have way less sugar. The Protein & Fiber ones normally have less than 5 grams, and the plain protein ones have 0 grams.
ASSETS High-Waist Mid-Thigh Shaper

http://www.target.com/p/assets-by-sara-blakely-a-spanx-women-s-high-waist-mid-thigh-super-control-shaper/-/A-13785499

After years of use, my old pair of Spanx has fallen apart. I didn’t want to spend $50 on a new Spanx brand pair, so I decided to try a pair by Spanx’s sister company Assets. These go up to the chest and are made of a thin woven fabric. They are kind of tricky to get on, but overall pretty comfortable.

Rumours- Fleetwood Mac on Vinyl
https://www.amazon.com/Rumours-Fleetwood-Mac/dp/B004OKFISQ


I’ve been feeding my vinyl obsession by buying a new record once a month. Rumours by Fleetwood Mac is a masterpiece. Its rhythmic vibes echo the spirit of the 1970s and the broken relationship of the band. I purchased my copy at a vintage shop, but you can buy a new copy on Amazon.

 

A Cure For Wellness 


A Cure for Wellness is a hard movie to watch if you’re not a fan of squirmy animals like me. It follows Dane DeHaan’s character Lockhart as he goes to the Alps to find his boss at a spa. He is forced to stay there for a week and ends up uncovering the spa’s secrets.

Non-Dairy Frozen Hot Cocoa

Last week I ordered a Hamilton Beach 70740 8-Cup Food Processor from Amazon. Food processors are one of the most underrated kitchen equipment items. It’s a blender, mixer, food grater, and puréer all in one. This recipe will conquer a sweet tooth and is dairy free.
Ingredients 

  • 4 cups Ice
  • 1 cup Almond Milk or other milk alternatives
  • 6 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 3 tablespoons Zero Calories Sugar Substitute (about 9 sugar packets)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Directions

  1. Combine ice and milk in the food processor, and blend the two until it resembles soft serve ice cream. If it’s not thick enough, continue to add ice and repeat the process.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients. If your processor has a pulse setting, pulse until it’s all integrated. Otherwise, blend it on its lowest setting.

10 Things To Do Before Buying A Prom Dress

Here in the States, prom season is quickly approaching. That means millions of girls are going to be looking for formal dresses. From experience, I found doing these things before I went shopping is helpful in finding the perfect gown.

1.) Established A Budget

Who is paying for your dress? If your parents are, ask them what their limit is. Keep in mind you might have to pay for shoes, hair & makeup, tickets, dinner, etc. If you are paying, how much can you save until you have to buy a dress? Unless you buy something you can wear to other events, you are only going to wear this once. I’ve bought formal dresses in every price range. From this, I’ve learned you don’t have to buy a “traditional” prom dress. Second hand, vintage, and renting are also options that are budget friendly; it’s almost certain that no one else will have your dress this way.

2.) Find Inspiration

Looking through the prom tag on Pinterest is always a good starting point in finding a dress. Typically these kinds of dresses are crazy expensive, but they can still provide inspiration. Each year I pick up a few prom magazines, such as a Seventeen’s prom issue. They are fun to look at and can show you how to style different kinds of dresses.

3.) Check Your School’s Dress Code

Lucky for me, my school’s dress code doesn’t apply to prom. With schools with stricter codes, it never hurts to ask. Typically, either the counselor or Vice Principal can help you with these questions.

4.) Allow Plenty of Time

You can’t always walk out with your prom dress after you purchase it. I would start looking for dresses at least two months in advance. This is to make sure you have enough time for alterations. In some cases, the dress you try on is just a sample dress, and they have to order it.

5.) Buy Dresses During A Sale

Department stores have sales all the time, usually happening around holidays. Also, buying out of season can get you huge savings as well.

6.) Buy Undergarments

Before you head out looking, wear the appropriate undergarments. This can cause a dress to look completely different on you. Maybe even try a body shaper. My current favorites are the ASSETS by Spanx available at Target and Kohls.

7.) Keep An Open Mind

You might walk into a store thinking you know what you want, but end up leaving with a completely different idea. It’s important to try on every kind of dress, because you really don’t know if you like something until you try it on.

8.) Don’t Go Alone

Honestly, it’s no fun trying on dresses alone, and it’s good to have a second opinion. Bring a parent or a few friends, but don’t bring a huge group.

9.) Don’t Buy The First Dress You Try On

It’s very tempting to just buy the first dress that you try on that fits nice, but you need to keep looking. If you’re worried that someone might buy it before you come back, put it on hold. You never know what the next store might have.

10.) Buy A Dress That Fits You Now

Don’t buy a dress that you have to lose 20 pounds to fit in. Just buy a dress that fits, and you can always have it altered.