Monday, February 5, 2018

Boot Bandit (& A Self-Care Story)



Sometimes I feel like a Goddess, sometimes I feel more like a little girl. Yesterday was one of those "little girl" days. I was just feeling off: anxious, insecure, small. *Spoiler alert: I ended up feeling so much better by the end of the day, when I finally gave myself the stress release that I needed. This is why it is so important to listen to your body! The previous week was one of a lot of hard work and poor sleep. I didn't dedicate enough time to my much loved "self-care" routine. Sometimes I forget how much I really need a lazy day to rejuvenate my body, my mind, and my soul. By 9pm, I had treated myself to some vegan pizza (favorite comfort food btw), and on my drive home I had a good (ugly) cry in my car while listening to one of those "emotional trigger songs" (we all have them, don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about!). I got home, made some tea, had a nice warm soak in the tub, and I felt like a new woman.


Speaking of feeling like a new woman (how about that transition though?), these boots will give you that feeling. What was it that Rachel said on Friends when her world was falling apart? "They're my new "I don't need a job, I don't need my parents, I've got great boots" boots!" ... ok well I need my job and I love my parents, but these boots are ah-mazing. Here's the clincher: they're from TARGET. Aaand they are under $50 bucks. Try and find a good pair of over the knee boots anywhere else for under $50. Right now these babies are on sale so get at themmm! 





Thursday, January 25, 2018

Current Favorite " Cleaner, Greener" Beauty Products


I've been making the switch to green, or at the very least greener, beauty products. I try to put the best foods I possibly can into my body, so it only made sense to make an effort to put the best products I can on it, too. I am skincare obsessed, have been since Junior High... er, although I was not anywhere near as comfortable in that skin back then as I am now. I believe that nourished, healthy skin is the best base, and not some ridiculously expensive foundation. I'm all about, glowing, hydrated, dewy skin. Here are the products I'm loving right now:

W3ll People Bio Tint Multi-Action Tinted Moisturizer - I love this tinted moisturizer! It provides SPF without feeling heavy, and gently blurs imperfections. In other words, your natural glow shines through.

W3ll People Bio Correct Multi-Action Concealer - This is probably the best concealer I have used to date! I never wear a full-face of makeup, but some days call for a little extra coverage here and there (hello dark circles). This concealer goes on like a dream! It's super moisturizing, and helps tired eyes fake being well-rested.

W3ll People Expressionist Mascara - Umm... ok. Where do I start? I've faithfully used the classic Maybelline pink tube mascara for over 10 years, but this mascara has converted me! It makes my lashes really happy and keeps them so soft!

Pixi Skin Treats Overnight Glow Serum - I have to admit, I was scared to try this. I have sensitive skin, and heard that exfoliants can be way too harsh. However, I heard good things about this so I took the plunge. I'm so glad that I did! Applying this serum before moisturizing a few nights a week before bed, and I wake up with even, glowy skin!

Manuka Honey - I've enjoyed honey many times throughout my life, but I had never thought of putting it on my face. With it's antibacterial and skin softening properties, it only makes sense! I love to slather this on my face before I hop in the shower, and let the steam and honey do its job! Best tasting beauty product ever, haha!

Sweet Almond Oil - Discovering this has been a game-changer! Almond oil makes the best in shower moisturizer (I love time-saving multi-taskers!) I like to add a little fragrance oil to the bottle, but it's great unscented too.

Rose Hip Seed Oil - An amazing natural anti-aging treatment! I like to create my own nighttime facial oil by mixing this with almond oil and a little bit of lavender oil.

Rosewater Facial Toner - This is so refreshing! I like to spritz this on a clean face before I apply my moisturizer or facial oil.

CoCo Kind My Matcha and Macabeet Moisturizing Sticks - My Matcha is my favorite of the two, but they are both great! My Matcha is great to use on the lips before bed, and Macabeet is great for a daytime touch of color.

Native Deodorant - Paraben free, aluminum free, gentle, and they smell great! I love the coconut
scent best!



What are some of your favorite clean, green beauty products?

xoxo

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Yellow Cake Baked Oatmeal (Refined Sugar Free & Gluten Free!)



Happy New Year! Long time no post! The end of 2017 was crazy busy, and I'm glad that things have slowed down even just a tiny bit. I took advantage of this bit of extra time by creating a healthier version of a recipe that I have been wanting to try: Chrissy Teigen's famous Yellow Cake Baked Oatmeal. Her recipe is definitely very decadent and includes 2 cups of boxed yellow cake mix. I wanted to challenge myself by creating a version that was not only completely from scratch, but also refined sugar free and gluten free (I am not a fan of white sugar or flour, if you hadn't noticed). I cut the recipe in half, because I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but it was a success on the first try! You can easily double it and should get the same delicious results :]


Yellow Cake Baked Oatmeal (Refined Sugar Free & Gluten Free)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 stick unsalted grass fed butter, melted (I used Vital Farms)
  • 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of pink salt
Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper or use leftover butter to grease the dish. Combine the oats and coconut sugar in a food processor and blend into a flour. In a large bowl, whisk together the oat flour-coconut sugar mixture, coconut flour, almond flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk in the almond milk, then the applesauce, eggs and vanilla. Let stand a few minutes to thicken. Pour into your prepared baking dish, top with fresh fruit like raspberries, strawberries, peaches, etc. Bake about 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Let stand on a cooling rack for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Great warm from the oven, cold from the fridge or warmed up! This dish seems to get sweeter as it sits, and was extra yummy on day two ;]


If you try this recipe, tag me on instagram! @cxupcake

xoxo

Monday, October 30, 2017

Sweet and Salty Banana Chocolate Chunk Cookie Skillet (Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free)



Happy Monday! Super busy day today so far! I'm editing photos, answering emails and doing homework... but I had to stop to make this cookie skillet that has been at the front of my brain all week. Aaaaannd, after it baked up as a success, I had to immediately share it so that y'all can enjoy it too :] It's a little sweet, a little salty, soft, gooey, tastes totally sinful and not "Monday" at all. This cookie skillet is basically a glorified baked oatmeal, so honestly it can pass for breakfast! You can swap the chocolate chips for berries too, if you prefer. On top of that positivity bomb I just dropped on you, it is vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, and can be whipped up in one bowl... by hand! I promise! This is totally a TREAT and not a TRICK (see what I did there?). I know, I know. I'm your hero ;]



Ingredients
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup raw almond butter (can probably sub roasted or any other nut butter)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of pink salt (can sub sea salt)
  • A heap of dark chocolate chopped into chunks

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cast iron skillet with coconut oil non stick spray and set aside. In a large bowl, mash the banana with a fork until it is a pureed consistency with little to no chunks. Whisk in almond butter, maple and vanilla. Add oat flour, almond flour, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine. Transfer the batter to the prepped cast iron skillet and smooth evenly with a spatula. Top with dark chocolate chunks. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until it starts to take on a golden brown color, but keeps a soft center.

xoxo

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Chocolate Almond Butter Banana Brownies (Vegan, Gluten Free and Refined Sugar Free!)



Heyyy! Long time no post! Things have been craaazy in both good and not so good ways (oh life). Anyway, I am currently studying for a Holistic Nutrition certification, which is really exciting for meee :] Because of life events, I am a little behind and I have been busting my buns which hasn't left much time for my blogging passion project. Anywho, I wanted to share this recipe because it turned out soooo good and I couldn't keep it to myself. Now back to the grind! Wish me luck!



Chocolate Almond Butter Brownies

Ingredients
  • 2 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1 cup + 3 tblsp creamy or crunchy raw or natural almond butter ( I used Trader Joe's Raw)
  • ⅓ cup pure maple
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened non dairy milk (I used cashew)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup oat flour 
  • 1/4 cup almond flour 
  • 1/4 cup cocoa or cacao
  • Dark chocolate chunks or chips (I used Trader Joe's 72% dark chocolate bar)
Would you look at that batter?!

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8x8 square baking dish with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, smash the banana until it resembles a puree. Mix in 1 cup almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and almond milk. In a separate bowl, whisk together oat flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, almond flour and cocoa. Add to wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour into your prepared baking dish. Dollop the 3 remaining tablespoons of almond butter over the top and use a knife to swirl into the batter. Top with your chopped chocolate or chips. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out with moist crumbs. Don't overbake! You want these to be dense and moist.

While these are good warm from the oven, I actually prefer them the next day. Somehow the banana flavor becomes more pronounced after these have "rested" and cooled. Enjoy with a nice cup of tea or a big glass of cold almond or cashew milk!

xoxo








Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Vegan Mixed Berry Chia Jam Tarts



I loved Pop Tarts growing up. I was especially fond of the strawberry Pop Tarts... and no, not the frosted ones. Shocked? Well, call me a purist. I can't remember when I last had a pop tart, but the fond memories of carefully eating all of the edges off, before savoring that gooey center are fresh in my mind. Having such a delicious memory on my mind is great and all, but I'd rather have it on my taste buds. Alas, I am much more aware of what I put into my body (damn adult concsious!) so I decided to make my own, wholesome version. Alright, now before you accuse me of some kind of crime against Pop Tarts, I caved and topped them with pink frosting and sprinkles. We good? Cool.

Adapted from Minimalist Baker

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour 
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil (you can also use vegan butter or regular butter if not vegan)
  • 2-4 Tbsp ice cold water
  • 1 heaping cup frozen mixed berries
  • 2 tbsp chia seed
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
Glaze

So, I just sort of whipped up a glaze without any real measurements. Here's what I did:

  • About 1 cup powdered sugar
  • A splash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1-2 tsp Karo Syrup
  • A bit of red food coloring paste


Mix the powdered sugar and the milk together into a smooth paste. Add the Karo syrup and food coloring paste until you get the desired hue. The glaze should be liquid enough to easily drizzle over the top, but thick enough to stay in place and harden when cooled. 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare the mixed berry chia jam filling by placing berries in a small saucepan over low heat with 2 tbsp water. Cook for 5-8 minutes and smash with a fork once the berries are soft. Remove from heat and add chia seed and coconut sugar. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
  3. To prepare crust, mix flour and salt in a large bowl, then process with coconut oil in a food processor.
  4. Using a tablespoon, drizzle cold water over the mixture and pulse until it starts to form a dough. The dough should be moist enough to form into a ball, but not too sticky to roll out. Add more water if needed or more flour if it gets too wet and sticky.
  5. Turn onto a floured surface, shape into a disc, and then use a rolling pin to roll into a large rectangle.I used a sheet of parchment on top to keep my rolling pin from sticking to the dough as I rolled it out.
  6. Cut into equal squares or rectangles and carefully transfer each to the baking sheet. Use your fingers to press the centers down a bit to make a little "bed" for the chia jam. This will help to keep it from seeping out the sides while baking.
  7. Place about 1 Tbsp of filling onto half of the squares, leaving a border to seal the edges. Then use your finger to dot water around the edges to help the squares stick together. Top the squares with their matching halves and then seal lightly with a fork.
  8. Use a fork to poke holes in the top of each sealed tart, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  9. Let cool completely, then top with glaze if desired. 
Happy tarting!

xoxo

Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday Favorites: Coming Up Roses


Happy Friday! I'm currently obsessed with anything and everything rose: Rose colored, rose scented, rose flavored... you get it. Rose is so subtle and pretty, and makes a wonderful addition to beauty products. I also really love discovering new beauty products. I just received my first order from cult favorite Glossier this week and I'm really impressed. I think these products really live up to the hype, and I'm excited to try more of this brand. Although these products aren't made from 100% natural ingredients, I like the message behind the brand. They encourage you to accept your flaws and show off your skin instead of covering it up. I have also been loving these natural anti-aging products from Kiehl's, another long-time cult favorite band wagon I am just now jumping on.  Here's a list of my current favorite obsessions:

Glossier Stretch Concealer $18 - This product appealed to me because it claimed to be like second skin. I have some hereditary darkness under my eyes and have nearly literally tried every concealer on the market. My under eye area also tends to be sort of dry, which is not a great base for concealer. Needless to say, my under eye area is my biggest skin concern. I am happy to say that this product did not disappoint! A lot of reviews I read said that this product was too sheer, but I totally disagree. I think it beautifully smooths imperfections and it is so ridiculously smooth and moisturizing... AND it stays put. You would think something so creamy would slide around, but there was barely a crease to be found hours and hours after application. The best part? This stuff is totally build-able (another claim I read about the product that did not disappoint) without being cakey or heavy. Do you get that I LOVE IT?

Glossier Cloud Paint in Haze $18 - Glossier totally gets me with their simple, pretty and fun packaging. These little paint tubes are filled with skin plumping, build-able color that looks flattering on virtually every skin tone. I really dig a healthy flush, so I chose their deepest berry color to try. It's so pretty! It looked a little intimidating when I squeezed a drop out of the tube, but it goes on very sheer until you build it up. Pretty much goof-proof, which I love because I am no make-up guru. 

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate $46 - I've used some light-weight anti-aging products since I was in my teens (mama is a long time Mary Kay lady), but now that I'm in my thirties, I decided to step it up a bit. I've been blessed with the 'still look like I'm 12' genes, and I'd like to keep it that way. This product is an expert concoction of essential oils and claims to reveal younger looking skin overnight. A little goes a long way, and I add a few drops into my moisturizer at night before hitting the sheets. After just a few days, my skin felt noticeably smoother (like crazy smooth) and my fine lines diminished. Plus, it smells good and is super easy peasy. I'm sold. 

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye $37 - As I mentioned above, my under eye area has been my main skin concern for years. I've tried so many (so, so many) under eye creams over the years, but I have pretty sensitive skin and most have crazy ingredients that cause more harm than good. This eye cream is a dream! It's super supple and not at all heavy. My skin literally sucks this stuff right up! I wake up looking like I've actually slept HOW BOW DAH! 

Evan Healy French Rose Clay Mask $26.50 - I have been using Evan Healy clay masks for years! The green tea clay is my absolute fave, and I just recently discovered this amazing French Rose version. The green tea mask is a little more aggressive and will leave your skin pretty pink for some time after removing it. This mask is pink going on, but is made for sensitive and congested skin types so it leaves no irritation. It also has a bit of grain to it for exfoliation as you rinse it away, leaving you with clean, smooth and happy feeling skin.

Heritage Store Rose Water $9 - I have come back to this product after a few years of not using it. I used to purchase the version with Glycerine, but I found it to be irritating to my skin. I came across the non-glycerine version and I love it. I like to spray it on after using my rose clay mask to help soothe my skin. I also love adding some to my bath for that light rose scent.


What are some of your favorite products?

xoxo