26 December 2011

Dave's Gourmet Pasta Sauce

Continuing with the theme of "holiday laziness," I also went grocery shopping last minute (like 8pm on Christmas Eve "shit-we-need-milk" last minute). Not to mention, several ingredients from last week's recipes were gone so I had to scrap the list, shop blindly, and hope for the best. Fortunately, I forced convinced my husband to come with me and he absolutely SHINES at spontaneous grocery shopping.  We  managed to find brats... in California (it's near impossible)... on Christmas Eve... with an hour left to shop... after searching for three months!  There they were, like the Star that led the Wise Men to Baby Jesus, so we were led by the yellow sales signs to the meat section-- and it didn't require 3 weeks of camel travel through the desert!

We also came across Dave's Gourmet Butternut Squash Sauce and decided it would be amazing with gnocchi and kale. It was a good decision.  The results equalled this epic Christmas feast:

This was the first time I'd seen Dave's Gourmet and I have to say... I'm SOLD!  It's an all-natural, gluten free sauce made with All-American ingredients.  Pretty sweet.  

The ingredients are as follows: butternut squash, water, tomato paste, red bell pepper, evaporated cane juice, butter, celery, onion, garlic, sea salt, citric acid, and black pepper.  No MSG, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils... basically no unpronounceable ingredients over 9 letters or odd abbreviations with numbers. In fact, I might try whipping up my own version of this delectable sauce, but I'm happy these jars are available when I'm in a pinch or have a recipe that requires jarred sauce (I always cringe a little when I read that).

The sauce itself has a thick consistency with a sweet flavor (you can taste the red bell pepper) but no one flavor is overly potent-- it's about balance, baby.  With the (potato) gnocchi it ended up being super rich, so I think next time I'll try it with a tortellini or ravioli; however, the kale was a great accent. Kale with Butternut Squash is the new Peanut Butter and Jelly. 

Overall, I love Dave's Gourmet, can't wait to try more of their products, and think you should visit their website... NOW. 

Photo courtesy of DG site-- thanks!

23 December 2011

Plus Size Fashion

This is debuting a week late as we had another blackout last Friday.  Life is never boring around here.

What are you wearing this winter?  As I spend a ton of time at home, I mainly sport pj pants, sweatshirts, and tanks, but when I go out I'm all about scarves/jeans/button downs/ and layers.  Here are a few pieces for the plus size crowd I just love (and wish Santa would drop down my chimney).

Big shades, chunkified accessories, statement earrings, and white.  Pink and black love.

Jeans in boots, faux fur, turtle necks AND this awesome casual weekend outfit.  I need flats again ASAP.

Sexy red dress + Sexy black dress = Happy ME!

Neutrals, layers, and a trench. How hot are those bags?!

I hope plus size fashion becomes its own bigger and better industry.  Those of us with curves need clothing designed for our bodies, not larger versions of "skinny wear." Emphasize the boobs, the booty, the hips, and make more 3/4 sleeved shirts damn it!  That's a flattering length on most women. Take it easy on the tummy hugging and for the love of Pete let's see more plus size boots!  And ladies remember, loose clothing makes you look BIGGER not smaller, so look for pieces that "love" the best parts of your body and don't be scared to go sleeveless-- it actually thins you out.  

19 December 2011

Workout Tunes

Because I love lists, I'm going to give you my Top 10 Current Workout Playlist (with added commentary because it's what I do). I say "current" because fun songs come out all the time so this list will eventually change.

1. "Shake It Out" by Florence + the Machine
Great beat, lyrics, and voice, not to mention inspiring in any part of your life that needs a little boost.

2. "I Won't Back Down" by Eminem featuring Pink
Though not my favorite genre, Rap, with its fast lyrics and heavy beats, is fantastic when sweating like a pig on the elliptical. Plus the whole 'not backing down' thing is perfect when 300lbs and facing off against workout equipment.

3. "Till I Collapse" by Eminem & Nate Dogg
This song is all about working hard "till I collapse." Though I'd prefer not passing out on a treadmill, it certainly pushes you back to the gym.

4. "Power" by Kanye West
A take charge kind of tune.

5. "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera. 
If you've listened to KissFM, been in a club, trendy bar, or Forever 21 in that last few months you're no stranger to the melodic (and slightly annoying) whistling of this tune.  I know it's overly pop-ish with a dash of ridiculous, Adam Levine needs to be reminded that he is not actually Mick Jagger, and it's an overall strange song... but damn it's catchy and fun to exercise to.

6. "Mercy" by Duffy
I love British Pop. Listen to this song and you'll know why.

7. "99 Problems" by Hugo
One of the best covers EVER and an altogether ass-kicking song.

8. Anything by Ke$ha
Her songs are awesome for working out. I know she has a $ in her name, but if you take the time to listen to her lyrics, you'll realize most of her music is either satyrical or meant to be shallow.

9. "Nothing But the Beat"(album) by David Guetta
It's club music. Nuff said.

10. "Mariella," "We Get On," and "Merry Happy/Little Red" by Kate Nash
Kate Nash is the shit. The end.

Honorable Mention:
"I Fucking Hate You" by Godsmack
"Gold Digger" by Kanye West featuring Jaime Foxx
"Set Fire to the Rain" by Adele
"Mamma Knows Best" by Jessie J
"All These Things That I've Done" by The Killers

15 December 2011

How to Make Loose Leaf Tea

Sit back with a cuppa and let's chat about TEA.

Drink Loose Leaf Tea. Trust me. Tea bags, while sufficient and cheap, are the leftovers from REAL tea (aka loose leaf). Kind of like eating the core from an apple and expecting all the nutrients from the skin.

Types of tea I know about-- thanks to Teavana-- are Mate (MAH-tay), Herbal, Rooibos (ROY-bus), White, Green, Oolong, Black.  I've heard about pure jasmine tea, rose petal tea... but I know nothing about these.  While rooibos, herbal, and mate have certain health properties, Teavana refers to these teas as "flavorings" because they do not contain actual tea leaves (and they're cheap so Teavana sales people are always talking up the more expensive types).

I want to highly recommend regularly drinking tea like you drink wine water.  All teas offer overall amazing health benefits while specific types concentrate on helping certain areas of the body.  You'll see.  I lost 15 pounds drinking Monkey Picked Oolong from Teavana (and I'm not the only one).  And if you're stronger than me and can transition your caffeine addiction to tea only... that would be amazing.

IF you don't like tea, then you haven't had it made properly.  Although I'm not a fan of Teavana's sales process, go sample their teas. I triple dog dare you.  Go straight for the iced tea-- mow over the crazy sales associate if you need to-- it'll change your life.  When making tea, always follow the steeping directions. Going over the recommended temp will burn it.  If you want a stronger tasting tea, add more tea leaves, do not steep over the allotted time; and if you want black tea or green tea or oolong at night without the caffeine, just add the water to the tea maker, steep for 30 seconds & drain then steep accordingly.  I know there are all these rules but if a goober like me can get the hang of it, so can you.

Caffeine: 1% of a cup of coffee (less than an M&M and a cup of decaf coffee which has 3%)
Steeps at 175 degrees at 2 minutes plus you can re-steep leaves about 5 to 6 times (get your money's worth baby!)
Health properties: Hydration, Detoxification, and great for your skin
Teavana faves: Silver Needle, Silver Yin Zen Pearls, Strawberry Paraiso (I like picking out the candied papaya pieces) and Precious White Peach

Caffeine: 5-10%
Steeps at 175 degrees for 2 minutes. Pure green teas can be re-steeped a few times but not flavored ones.
Health Properties: Regulates blood sugar, boosts immune system, and contains lots of antioxidants
Teavana Faves: Gyokuro Imperial, Moroccan Mint, Fruita Bomba, and Blackberry Mojito

Caffeine: 10-15%
Steeps at 195 degrees for 3 minutes. Great for re-steeping
Health Properties: Boosts metabolism (weight loss), promotes healthy skin & teeth, and aids in digestion (I love sipping it after a meal).
Teavana Faves: Monkey Picked Oolong, Anjou Pear-adise, and Kamiya Papaya Oolong

Caffeine: 20%
Steeps at 195 degrees for 3 minutes
Health Properties: promotes heart health, boosts energy, and maintains cardiovascular and circulatory systems (think blood :)
Teavana Faves: Nine Dragon Golden Needle, Black Dragon Pearls, and Cacao Mint Black

Caffeine: 100% (wee!)
Steeps at 208 degrees for 6-8 minutes (the longer the better, up to 15 minutes). Not recommended for re-steeping
Health Properties: Curbs appetite, energy (duh), and contains lots of vitamins & minerals
Teavana Faves: Raspberry Riot Lemon, MateVana, and JavaVana (but they have a couple new fruity ones that sound delish)

Caffeine: 0
Steeps at 208 degrees for 6-8 minutes (the longer the better up to 15 minutes). Not recommended for re-steeping
Health Properties: great for colds & allergies (no seriously, love this stuff)
Teavana Faves: Rooibos Tropica, Blueberry Bliss, Cocoa Praline Tart, and Tiramisu Treviso

Caffeine: 0
Steeps at 208 degrees for 6-8 minutes (the longer the better up to 15 minutes). Not recommended for re-steeping
Health Properties: Although Teavana tells their employees that herbals are simply "flavorings," their website lists

  • Delicious source of antioxidants and vitamins
  • Herbal infusions blend well with other teas for added flavor and benefits

Teavana Faves: Wild Orange Blossom, Peach Tranquility (when you smell it, try not to eat it. It's that good.), Azteca Fire, and Sweet Fruit Garden

Finally, the best thing about loose leaf teas is that you can blend flavors (like cocktails!), add rock sugar-- think rock candy, and toss in a bit of cream to make delicious drinks.  Here are a few "Jamie Approved Combos" that I sweeten with a teaspoon of German Rock Sugar...

Silver Needle / Raspberry Riot Lemon Mate (skin and energy)
Rooibos Tropica / Peach Tranquility (my allergy cure)
Monkey Picked Oolong / Silver Yin Zen Pearls (skin and weight loss)
Monkey Picked Oolong / Rooibos Tropica / Peach Tranquility (allergies and digestion)
MateVana / Cocoa Praline Tart / Tiramisu Treviso with a Tbsp of cream (tastes like Heaven)
JavaVana sweetened with cream (coffee cure)
Silver Yin Zen Pearls / Blackberry Mojito sans rum of course (skin and antioxidants)
Nine Dragon Golden Needle / Wild Orange Blossom (my FAVE!)
Cacao Mint Black / JavaVana Mate (mint and coffee yumminess)
Black Dragon Pearls / Raspberry Riot Lemon Mate (kick start your day)
Kamiya Papaya Oolong / Fruita Bomba / Queen of Babylon White
Strawberry Paraiso / Peach Tranquility (tastes like a popsicle)
Earl Grey White, unsweetened and iced. So good.
Youthberry White / Gyokuro (but add the Gyo 20 seconds before the YB is done steeping)

This makes me miss experimenting with tea on Teavana's dime.

And every tea drinker needs awesome accessories.  This is what I use:

Rock Sugar-- brings out the flavor of your tea without changing it. Made from beets so it's all natural and easier for your body to process.  Can use in coffee, baking, anything

Zojirushi Water Heater-- heats water to 140/175/195/208, holds 4L, has a safety lock on the dispenser, can set an alarm for tea in the morning. You can also use this to make anything instant that requires hot water (jello, pudding, bread, ramen)

Perfect Tea Maker-- makes one 16oz mug of tea (there's a larger one as well),  Add the tea, sugar and water, let steep, then place on top of a cup/thermos/mug/glass to release the liquid.

Cherry Bark Tea Canister
(Confession: I don't own this but I want to. All my tea is kept in air tight/light tight Teavana canisters though, to prevent it from getting stale-- it lasts up to a year. If you're going to invest money into tea then you should invest money into keeping it FRESH.  It is a food, after all.

If this is confusing, overwhelming, MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE, I recommend going to your nearest tea shop or Teavana and asking for the grand tour.  Collect the info and make educated decisions-- most places will make you a beverage of your choice to try. 

Note: One thing Teavana employees don't like is making tea drinks.  Apparently Teavana Corporate treats beverages as a negative on sales associates' numbers (which is RIDICULOUS), so don't be surprised if an employee is reluctant about making one, overly pushy to get you to just buy the loose leaf tea, or gives you attitude.  They get a lot of pressure from the GM's.

Do you drink tea?  What do you like?  Any questions??  See you tomorrow for Fashionable Friday.

14 December 2011

Sanity Savers

Along with attaining physical wellness, I would like to improve emotional, mental, and spiritual health as well.  

Work, family, frenemies, unemployment, pets, finances-- so many things can drive us to the brink of CRAZY TOWN. Hence why God invented "Hobbies."  It's important to do stuff that takes our minds off the crap of reality and onto our dreams/talents/fun. Maybe you love to write or draw or build Lego towers only to terrorize them later with a plastic Godzilla; perhaps you enjoying singing or playing instruments or doing 6 shots in an hour.  All of these things help refresh our spirits (maybe not the shots) and increase our enjoyment of life.  And isn't that the point of it all... to savor the little things on this journey?

So here are 10 of my Sanity Savers :

1. Blogging (that's kind of a "duh" but I truly love this)

2. Cooking/ trying new recipes-- spice things up!

3. Sipping coffee at Starbucks while people watching (I like to observe the dos and don'ts of fashion).

4. Pinterest. So much fun and so much inspiration.

5. Bad Movies and TV. They require little to no thought. Disclaimer: Some stuff will destroy brain cells and lower your IQ.

6. Video Games. This one is tricky because video games can get frustrating to the point of wanting to throw the controller into the TV while bashing the console with a hammer.  So I suggest puzzle games like Peggle & Plants vs Zombies (or anything made by PopCap).

7. Visiting new places.  There's nothing quite like an adventure-- I get flippin' GIDDY (think "puppy") when I'm let out of the house to explore.

8. Singing. It brings me joy.

9. Hypothetical Conversations. Such as "if you could have any super power, what would it be?" and "which cartoon character would you date?" My answers: Telepathy and him:

Kocoum from "Pocahontas")
If you want to see the rest of the Disney Animated Male (model) Leads, click here. Amazing.

10. Board Games/ Puzzles. I love to concentrate, strategize, think.  Plus they're nostalgic.

So what are YOUR sanity savers??  Let's talk about it over drinks on Thirsty Thursday...

13 December 2011

Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos

The path to good health requires good-for-you food (obvi) but I've always found the idea of "healthy" food somewhat scary and depressing.  Can food that's good for you really taste yummy?  Can it be simple and inexpensive to prepare? What if I don't like it?! 

Thanks to my obsession with Pinterest & cookbooks, coupled with a love of trying new food, I'm here to test recipes, "healthify" (new word!) recipes, review recipes, and even add my two cents about healthy restaurants in the greater LA area (and a few faves from Chicago). Plus you'll be able to find cooking & shopping tips as well! 

Disclaimer: I am not a Professional (just professionally awesome!), but I am REAL so I promise to be honest about my entire process... especially if I need you to tell me where I went wrong.


After catching a glimpse of this sexy pic on Pinterest and pinning it under my "Foodage" board (follow me at pinterest.com/germangoddess), I knew I had to make it.  That and it's a slow cooker recipe.  What?! you ask.  Sexy Slow Cooker Food?!  Hell yes.

You'll find the recipe here.  The chicken is delish by itself, which is probably the healthiest way to eat it. However, hubby and I were craving Del Taco so I figured the best way to fight against wanting fast food chicken tacos would be to make homemade chicken tacos-- clever, I know.

Here's what I did. I made the recipe as is (including jalapenos) but I DID NOT ADD THE CILANTRO UNTIL THE END. It gets soggy and soggy cilantro is sad cilantro.  As I was also on a time crunch (no I did not oversleep...), I set my crockpot to High and cooked the chicken for 3 hours.  The 5 steroid charged chicken breasts were perfect, juicy, and easy to shred (and by shred I mean "cut into cubes because shredding takes too much effort").  See photo.

You'll also have tons of runny salsa juice so be sure to mix it in with the chicken.  And in case you're wondering how to store cilantro to use in other recipes (like ALL of them because it's so damn good), cut the ends off at an angle and stick it in a small glass with water.  Mine has lasted a few weeks like this:

Grab some flour tortillas and toast them up on the stove.  Just start the flame and lay the tortilla over the burner until it browns on both sides. DO NOT LEAVE THE TORTILLA AT ALL. It will catch fire.

Sprinkle on some cheddar cheese and there you have it. 
P.S. This would be AMAZEballs with homemade salsa.

Let me know if you try this!

Tune in tomorrow for Well-being Wednesday...

07 December 2011

Eye Makeup: White shadow

My newest obsession is Pinterest.  It's freakin' ADDICTING!!  Since I'm such a visual person, making virtual bulletin boards with an endless supply of pictures and topics screams "JAMIE!!!!"  Not only is it a fun hobby, but you also get tons of inspiration and ideas of how to do nails, hair, makeup, crafts, holiday decorations, food to cook, etc etc... Love.

Last week (when my addiction began), I spotted this little beauty:

Natural eye makeup: light brown shadow in the crease, white shadow on the lid, and some black eyeliner.  

Simple. I thought "Holy crap! I can actually do this and make it look good!."  That may have been an overambitious thought.

A few things you should know:
  • I am VERY new to makeup.
  • Unlike this lovely eye model, I have spotted skin covered in moles/freckles. My husband affectionately calls them "chocolate sprinkles." I call them annoying.
  • My eyelashes are lacking in volume, I wouldn't know what to do with fake ones, plus eyelash curlers scare me. I am determined to get over this.
  • I don't have any liquid liner and that might have been helpful for the thinness of the line.
These factors occurred to me, but as I have no idea what to do with my white Lancome shadow, I had to give this a try.Unfortunately, excluding the white, I don't have any matte shadows-- a problem I must remedy-- so the only browns were darker and shimmery. Still, I found one that worked. 

Subtle and easy. The other tiny issue... I'm super PALE. So the white shadow kind of faded, but for the most part I really liked the way it looked. I highly recommend giving it a try since it's a classy way to wear white shadow. If you'll also notice the professional photo, the model has white eyeliner on the bottom lid (or at least more white shadow), as well as the brown shadow underneath the bottom eyelashes. I did the same thing and it definitely helps.

Cooper helped:

If you're not on Pinterest but love to navigate the Internet for ideas, shopping, or just fun, I HIGHLY recommend.

I was a Guest Blogger

I know I've talked about my friend Lori's amazing blog A Little Slice of Special but once again, I must say how great her fashion/beauty/lifestyle blog truly is... it's GREAT!  She's added a special guest post called "Why I Blog Wednesday" and today is my contribution. So if you'd like to know why I blog or really want to see a cool fashionista doing her thing on the Internet, hop on over to Lori's and give it a read.