Quick Tip - Freezing Wine for Recipes

Years ago I was stuck in a doctors office for what seemed like an eternity.  I came across an issue of Food and Wine magazine and inside there was a tip so genius I have been using it for years.  As the title states, it is freezing wine.

Have you ever cooked with wine and either didn't finish off the bottle at dinner or just didn't feel like drinking the rest of it for a few days?  I was coming across this predicament quite often and I found myself throwing away quite a bit of decent wine until this. 

All you do is take your good wine and pour the wine into ice cube trays and freeze.  I like to leave them in the freezer for a day.  Once they are set they will look like this: 

The wine cubes will be solid, but slightly soft.  Each cube is the equivalent to two tablespoons of wine and since you will be freezing the cubes, they will be good to use for about two weeks and still taste great!  

Try this tip out and let me know what you think!

Links I Am Loving...

I love reading the endless amounts of cool information on the internet and I am fascinated by what people are reading.  Below are some links I have stumbled upon this week.  Please pass on interesting articles you are reading...

Ten Delicious Ways to Use Rotisserie Chicken: I stumbled on this when looking through my Pinterest boards for some inspiration for dinner one day.  There are some refreshing and relish dinner options provided.

Seventeen Ways to Pimp Your Pumpkin Without Carving It: Having two boys that are ages ten and eleven, I can't wait to try some of these fun techniques.  Not having to carve a pumpkin will also cut down on a lot of mess for me also!

Which Wine Pairs With Your Halloween Candy: Halloween is on Friday and I fully plan to have a glass or two of wine to celebrate - while raiding my boys' candy bags.

How to Detox Every Day: I try to do all things in moderation.  I know myself well enough to realize that a long term detox isn't my thing, but I love these little tricks to help me keep my body as healthy as possible.

10 Snacks That Make You Beautiful: I am a snacker, so any ideas on snacks that are actually good for me is an article I will always want to read.

25 Definitive Style Rules Every Woman Should Follow: While I love a good trend, the classics are always a good reminder.  This article outlines some classic trends that can always be incorporated into your daily wardrobe.

You're Not the Only One: 8 Memoirs To Get Your Through Hard Times:   Life isn't easy all the time or even some of the time.  I love reading memoirs from people who have overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles - anything to keep this life in perspective...

NYX Simply Nude Lip Cream - Swatches and Review

I am obsessed with nude lip shades.  For years I have snatched almost every nude gloss that crossed my path, however with the new matte lip look I am on the hunt for matte nude shades.

Enter the NYX Simply Nude Lip Cream...I was walking around Ulta and found these little gems on an end cap.  There weren't testers so I grabbed three to see how I liked them, knowing that with Ulta's return policy I could return any that I absolutely hated.   There are six nude shades total, but I only got three.  The colors I got were Disrobed, Fairest and Peaches.   See below for swatches:
Sooo, how did these work?  I really, really like them and would recommend them to anyone that is looking for a good, matte, nude lip.  The pros are the shades are stellar - I think they are comparable to department store colors.  The packaging is good and they rotate up so you don't have to worry about sharpening these with a pencil sharpener.  The price also can't be beat (I paid $5.99 each at Ulta) especially when there is a BOGO deal.   When wearing these I would definitely recommend wearing a lip balm as a base to make sure that the formula doesn't feather.   My favorites lip balms to use are the Dior Creme de Rose Lip Balm, the Guerlain Kiss Kiss Lip Lift and Carmex.   All do a great job, although I am partial to Carmex which I have been using since I was a kid.

Give these lip pencils a try and let me know what you think.  Do you have any other good, matte shades you would recommend?

Dry Shampoo Obsession (plus a review of a few different brands)

One of the most life changing products I have started using regularly over the past two to three years would have to be dry shampoo.  Every single day (even on days I wash my hair) I use this magical spray to give my hair a little extra "oomph" or to sop up some of the oil on my head.
I have super thin, unruly hair that will not grow past my shoulders.  I hate it and am so grateful to hair extensions and dry shampoo for giving me the opportunity to not have to wash my thin mane daily.  Not only does this cut down on my get ready time drastically, but it also is better for the overall health of my hair in general.
I have been collecting "empties" (products that are all used up) to discuss whether or not I like them and if I would purchase them again.  As you can see from the image I had quite the collections and here is my take on several of the most popular dry shampoos out there:
1. Pantene Dry Shampoo: This shampoo is pretty good.  There is a pronounced scent which I really like, however if you are sensitive to scents I would pass this one up.  I will definitely repurchase this item due to the price, ease of getting it and most importantly it does a really good job on my hair.  The one con with this is I find that the ends of my hair seem drier with this product than with others.
2. Eva NYC Dry Shampoo: This is my favorite of all dry shampoos shown here.  At $11.99 a bottle, this is a relatively good value and really does a good job of freshening up dirty hair while not weighing it down.
3. Redken Pillow Proof 2-day Extender:  I actually liked this dry shampoo, however I seemed to run out of this stuff sooner than any of the other dry shampoos.  In terms of quality I think it is comparable to the Eva NYC, but I will not repurchase due to how fast this ran out.
4. Batiste for Blonds: I HATED this stuff.  The blond that came out was reminiscent of a lemon - not blond hair.  I would not recommend this one at all.
5. Batiste: Original Formula: I thought this was pretty good although this product did seem to weigh my hair down more than the Eva NYC and the Pantene product.   For that reason I will not repurchase.
6. Victoria's Secret Fresh Body Dry Shampoo: This product has a really strong, girly scent which I loved.  If you are in any way sensitive to fragrance I would not recommend this item.  As for the actual dry shampoo I found this to be just OK.  The bottle didn't last long and it weighed my hair down similarly to the Batiste.  This wasn't cheap and for these reasons I will not be repurchasing.
7. PSSSSST...Dry Shampoo: So this item is not pictured, however I wanted to talk about this item as well.  I found that the smell on this shampoo didn't bother me, however more than any of the other shampoos referenced in this post this one weighed my hair down the most.  Whenever using this I always was forced to wash my hair the following day.  In addition the white cast that PSSSST left was the worst of all these.  In a nutshell, would not repurchase.
Sooooo...do you have any dry shampoos that you like?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

Skillet Apple Pie (a recipe from Trisha Yearwood)

One Saturday morning I was lounging with a cup of coffee, enjoying some cooking shows when Trisha Yearwood's show came on.  I love me some good old comfort food and I love her show because everything she makes looks amazing and all the ingredients she uses are items I almost always have on hand.  Case in point, this Skillet Apple Pie.  She told the guest helping her, "this pie will change your life."  Now, I don't know about you, but if someone claims that your life will be more fulfilling by cooking up an apple pie then by all means I am going to give it a try.
There are two things that really sets this apple pie apart.  First, is that you make it in a skillet and the second is before your lay down your first pie crust you melt butter and brown sugar together to make a caramel glaze that seeps into the crust that makes this pie unreal.  Now...when I mean unreal, it is really, really freaking good.  Like, I would starve myself all day to have a slice of this when I am trying to be good or if I did make this and was left home with it I would either - a) pig out and eat the whole thing or b) throw it in the trash covering it with dish soap because I am that gross - and no, I don't trust myself.
Here are some images of the recipe as I made it:
DSC_0183 DSC_0189 DSC_0192DSC_0194 DSC_0199 DSC_0210 DSC_0219 DSC_0225 DSC_0226 DSC_0228 
Now for the changes I made.  In her recipe Tricia uses canned apple pie filing, however I am not a fan of canned apple pie filling so I sliced a few apples up added some sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch and salt and proceeded with the recipe as written.  Also, I did not use a cast-iron skillet like Trisha, however I used a regular skillet that could be put in an oven.  In the case of my T-fal it could go in an oven up to 350 degrees which worked out perfect. 
Here is a a link to Tricia's recipe and below is my modified version.  Enjoy and let me know if you find this recipe life changing.  Oh and for the record, yes I did find this recipe life changing. :)
Tricia Yearwood's Skillet Apple Pie (adapted from Tricia Yearwood's recipe)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
2 refrigerated rolled pie crusts, such as Trader Joe's or Pillsbury (Trader Joe's makes the best version in my opinion)
3-4 granny smith apples, peeled and sliced into small pieces
1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. granulated cinnamon
1 T. cornstarch
2 t. fresh lemon juice
Cinnamon Whipped Cream:
2 cups whipping cream, chilled
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons sugar
For the skillet apple pie: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a 9-inch cast-iron skillet; set aside 1 tablespoon of the melted butter for the top crust. To the melted butter, add the brown sugar and melt them together on medium heat, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and line the skillet with one of the pie crusts. Add apples, sugar, cinnamon, lemon and corn starch together in a bowl and pour into the pie crust.  Use the second pie crust to cover the filling. I like to cut my pie crust into shapes and cover the filling (I just think it looks prettier.) Brush the top with the reserved melted butter, then sprinkle with a bit more sugar.  Make sure the pie crust has room to vent and bake for 30 minutes. Serve hot, topped with ice cream and a generous dollop of cinnamon whipped cream...or both!
For the cinnamon whipped cream: Chill a large metal mixing bowl and a wire beater attachment in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Pour the cream, cinnamon and sugar into the cold mixing bowl and beat until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes; the mixture should hold its shape when dropped from a spoon. Don't overbeat or you'll have sweetened butter!