Spinach & Pepper Jack Hummus

I love hummus and I wanted to try making my own so I tried out this recipe. It is very tasty and makes a generous amount. You can always change it up depending on your particular taste.

pepper jack spinach hummus

What You Need

1 can of chickpeas (16 oz.) drained and rinsed

2 Tablespoons of tahini (ground sesame seeds)

2-3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced

lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon

2 cups of fresh, roughly chopped spinach

1/4 cup of shredded pepper jack cheese

2 tablespoons of olive oil

sea salt & pepper to taste

How To Prepare

1. Put chickpeas, garlic, tahini and lemon juice in a food processor. (Don’t forget to drain and rinse the chickpeas first.)

2. Pulse until fully combined and all chickpeas are broken up.

3. Add in spinach, salt, pepper, cheese, and olive oil. Pulse until smooth and creamy.

4. Take a taste test and add more salt, pepper or lemon juice if necessary.

Serve with pita chips and refrigerate any leftover hummus.

I like to eat this with Stacys multigrain pita chips that I purchase at my local grocery store.

recipe adapted from: healthywithheather.com

Word of the Week: Parsimonious

money

The word of the week is  Parsimonious

Pronunciation: [pahr-suh-moh-nee-uhs]

adjective

Definition: characterized by or showing parsimony; frugal or stingy. Unwilling to spend a lot of money; cheap.

I find myself to generally be a parsimonious person.

-picture taken and edited by me.

A Few of My Favorite Things

There are many products that I love and I wanted to share just a few with everyone.

bath and body products

My favorite conditioner, face scrub, hand soap, body wash and razor

1. Lavender Vanilla Hair Conditioner from Bath & Body works
They don’t sell this anymore, unfortunately, but it makes my hair smell so good. I’m pretty sure they still have this scent, but not in conditioner.

2.Apricot and White Tea face scrub from Bath & Body works
This scrub smells so delicious and feels great on my face. I stocked up on these when they went on sale.

3. Lemon Pomegranate Pop hand soap from Bath & Body works
This scent smells so delicious! I think I bought this last summer and shortly afterward they didn’t carry the scent anymore. It is now summer again so I’m hoping they will bring it back.

4. So Sexy hair conditioner from Victoria’s Secret
I love how this conditioner makes my hair smell. They sell shampoo too, but since they are so expensive I just use the conditioner.

5. Pink organic Shea Butter body wash from Victoria’s Secret
I bought this when it was on sale and ended up really liking it. it has a refreshing smell that is nice when you don’t want something so perfumey.

6.Intuition razor by Schick
I have used intuition razors ever since they came out and love them.

beauty products
my favorite perfume, mascara, eyebrow liner, and nail polish

1. DKNY perfume – Be Delicious, green bottle
I LOVE this perfume and sadly my bottle is now empty. One time I was in an elevator and the guy next to me asked what my perfume was called because it smelt so good. I’ve never gotten a compliment on any other perfume before so I’d say it’s pretty good.

2. Essie Nail Polish – color: no more film
I like all different types of nail polish, but this one goes on nicely and looks great. It still chips like most, but it lasts a little bit longer. I have only tried this color so far, but they have other great colors to choose from.

3. Avon Pro Brow Enhancer
I never used to wear brow liner or did anything to my eyebrows (other than pluck/wax them), but I tried this one day and loved it. It is a liquid that you brush through your eyebrows and makes them look great. The liquid actually looks like your real eyebrow hair, sounds weird, but it’s great. The only thing is it doesn’t last very long if you use it often.

4. Maybelline XXL Pro Extensions Mascara
I have tried many different mascaras and so far this is my favorite. It is doubleended, one side is white and the other black. The white you put on first and it adds “extensions” to your lashes, and then you put the black over it. It makes my lashes look longer than any other mascara and never clumps. Most mascara I have used makes my lashes clump together which I hate and this works much better.

sweets

my favorite cookies, muffin mix, and chocolate

1. Peppermint crunch cookies from Archer Farms
These cookies are Target Brand and were sold there during Christmas time. When they went on sale afterward, my mom and I bought a bunch of these after we tried how amazing they were. Unfortunately they were a seasonal item, and will probably not be coming back, but at least we stocked up. They sort of remind me of a much better version of girl scout thin mints.

2. Ghiradhelli double chocolate muffins
I like baking sweets from scratch, but sometimes you don’t feel like doing all that work. So when I’m in the mood for some delicious chocolate muffins, I always go to this Ghiradhelli box mix. I bought them at my local grocery store, but sometimes they are not always available. These really are pretty good though.

3. Hills Bros White Chocolate Caramel cappuccino mix
I love coffee and bought this one day just to try it. It makes a decent instant cappuccino, but what I really like to do is add it to my coffee for extra flavor.

4. Dove chocolate – dark
Sometimes I just want a little dark chocolate and my go-to is Dove. I usually buy a bag of these to keep around in case I need a chocolate fix. I find that these taste much better than Hershey chocolate.

dark chocolateIf you really want to try some amazing chocolate, go get yourself one of these Chocolove bars with dark chocolate, dried cherries and almonds. They used to carry these at Target, but now I have to venture over to Whole Foods or the Fresh Market if I want one now. They are pricey (I think it is $3 and change for one bar), but so worth it! They were recently on sale for $2.50. So delicious!

What are your favorite products?

The Strange Things in Life

Ever ask the question, why would someone do that? There are many things in life I just don’t understand or weird experiences I have had that just didn’t make sense. Here are a few I have witnessed.

1. Men and Their Awkward Driving Positions

I am not sure if anyone can relate to this, but I will be sitting at a stoplight and notice the person in front of me (who is driving alone) has their arm on the passenger seat. It is always a man and is almost always driving a pick-up truck. I see this all the time! And they don’t just do it while sitting at the stoplight, but actually drive with their arm on the chair. That just seems uncomfortable to me. Why do they do that? The only picture I could find for this is of Ryan Gosling from the movie Drive (which I haven’t seen btw). I also notice people (also usually men) driving with their left arm out the window as they drive. I would just feel awkward if I did that. Maybe it is some kind of a masculine thing I just don’t understand. Feel free to fill me in if you are one of the people who does this.

2. Storing food in the microwave

I know this is a common thing, I have seen many people do it before. But to me it just seems weird. We never stored food in our microwave so it is not normal to me. I can understand why people do it, I mean we store things in our oven (pans and bakeware). But I guess it is just one of those things, if you never grew up doing it, you can’t see yourself ever picking it up. The microwave just seems like such a small place for storage and it gets used more than an oven, so you have to keep taking out whatever you are storing each time you use it. Does anyone else find this weird or am I alone on this one?

3. Squirrels and Birds crossing the road

Have you ever been driving and a squirrel comes running across the road? You think by the time you get close enough to hit them they will be done crossing (since they are going pretty fast), but no of course not. By the time you get to them they just stop in the middle of the road and then go right back the way they came instead of crossing. Why don’t they just finish crossing real fast? And birds do similar things. Even though they can fly high in the sky, when they cross the road they decide to fly just low enough for you to hit them. I guess they aren’t very smart. I have hit a bird before, and it is not a very pleasent experience. In a matter of a week or 2 I remember I had hit a bird, my mom hit a bird while I was in the car with her and then again with my friend! I was slightly tramatized. Poor little birds 😦 At least I have never hit a squirrel before.

4. Barking at dogs

I have only noticed guys doing this, but sometimes I will walk my dog  and someone will walk or drive by and bark at us. Really? Did you just bark at me? And then of course my dog starts barking back and gets all worked up. It is so annoying! Why do people do that? Not to mention it is pretty weird. I couldn’t imagine myself barking at someone. It is not just young boys, grown men will do it too. I have yet to witness a girl or woman barking, I’m hoping that will never happen.

Do you have any strange things to add to this list? Maybe you can help clarify why these things happen.

image source: twscritic.com and autos.aol.com

Hookahs: Are They Bad For You?

I have heard people say before that smoke from a hookah is harmless and is nothing like smoke from a cigarette because it is “filtered by water.”  When I first heard this information, I was not only skeptical, but I was not about to take anyone’s word for it without doing research first. Of course I had no intention on smoking from a hookah regardless, but I’m just the type of person that wants to understand these things (especially if my friends are taking part in something without understanding the dangers of it). I found out pretty much what I had suspected initially. Hookahs are not any better than smoking a cigarette, in fact they can be worse. This water filtration system that some people think takes out all the toxins in the tobacco, only filters out less than 5% of nicotine. But it still leaves tar and other cancer-causing chemicals intact. So if you have ever used a hookah or have thought about doing so, just know this first.

  1. A one hour hookah session produces 200 times more smoke than one cigarette and is said to be equivalent to smoking one pack of cigarettes.
  2. There is less nicotine in the smoke from a hookah compared to a cigarette, but since a typical hookah session lasts around 45 minutes, you end up taking in more nicotine (compared to 5 minutes smoking a cigarette).
  3. A hookah session emits 8x the amount of carbon monoxide and 36x the amount of tar than one cigarette.
  4. Since it contains nicotine, it has the potential to become addictive. (physically and mentally)
  5. Since it has all the bad toxins that cigarettes have, you can develop similar conditions that smokers can get including lung, oral and bladder cancer, clogged arteries, and heart disease.
  6. Even if you spend time in a hookah bar and DON’T smoke, you can still breathe in the harmful chemicals from the second hand smoke in the air.

I am in no way an expert and cannot prove that these statements are in fact accurate; I have just read different articles about the issue. But it should be common knowledge that smoking anything isn’t very healthy for you. I share this information so that anyone who believes hookahs are harmless will think twice. If you want to damage your lungs and smoke chemicals you have the right to do so, but don’t encourage others by giving them false information.

And if you take nothing else from this article, at least learn this: Don’t ever make decisions based on someone’s word (especially important decisions like your health) you should always take the time to research things before believing it and then spreading it around.

road quotepicture above: taken and edited by me

information sources: nytimes.com, cnn.com, thehookahlounge.org, mayoclinic.com
photo source: flikr.com

Nature Snapshots

It’s been raining a lot lately and the snails have been out. I’m not sure why, but I have always loved snails. Did you know that garden snails have both male and female reproductive organs? This is not true for all types of snails (I think only garden). I am not sure what type this is, but either way I have always been fascinated by that fact. Here are some pictures of snails and other forms of nature that I captured over the weekend.

And of course I had to throw in my baby, Ted! He likes to observe the nature with me. He especially likes lizards and squirrels.

Word of the Week: Enamor

candle heart enamor

The word of the week is Enamor

Pronunciation: [ih-nam-er]

Definition:verb- to fill or inflame with love (usually used in the passive and followed by of or sometimes with): to be enamored of a certain lady; a brilliant woman with whom he became enamored. To charm or captivate.

note: The photo for this entry was taken and edited by me.

 

A Weekend Visitor

My best friend went away for the weekend so her dog, Anna, stayed over our house for 3 days. Whenever my friend comes over she brings Anna along, so it didn’t take her long to feel at home, although I can tell she missed her mommy! I took some pictures of her and our other dogs to show how they spent the weekend. Anna is a white boxer, Teddy is a tan mini poodle, and Rocky is a black mini schnauzer.

Ash-Ted-Anna
Enjoying a nice walk in the neighborhood.

anna-ted-rocky
It is time for a rest after that long walk.

collageannabed

collagetedanna

dogs-ashley
Group shot!

New Shows Worth Mentioning

I am always excited to get into a new show each year (or should I say, list of shows). Most of the TV networks have released their new series’ that will be coming out soon and I made a list of the ones I think could be entertaining. I have also included trailers for all the ones I could find.

ABC

1. Nashville

Although they picked a stupid name, I think it might be worth a watch.  I am not really into country music, but the cast of this show pulled me in. Connie Britton is the main actress who I first saw in the show American Horror Story, but has been in other shows including 24 and Friday Night Lights. I really liked her and was disappointed to hear that the cast for American Horror Story season 2 would be totally different. But I was happy to see her in a new show. The other well known face is Hayden Panettiere. She is a pretty decent actress and I’m interested to see how she takes on a country girl role.

2. 666 Park Avenue

This show seems very bizarre, but that is what makes it appealing. It is also created by the same people who did Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl, so that is always a plus. I also noticed former Desperate Housewife, Vanessa Williams will be in the show, she seems to still be her glamorous self despite the difference in genre.

The rest of the videos can be seen here on tvguide.com. I didn’t want to put every single one, but you should definitely watch them all to form your own opinions. I did have a few comments for the others. Red Widow and Zero Hour seem like they may have a good concept, but look like they may not be able to hold my interest. The worst one of them all is The Neighbors. I mean, what were they thinking? This show looks so cheesy, it is just begging to be cancelled!

NBC

1. Revolution

This seems like a really cool idea. I always like “end of the world” type of scenarios. It sort of reminded me of the show Flash Forward that got cancelled after only one season. They both dealt with some tragic event that happened that no one understood why except one (or a few) people.

The worst new show from NBC is probably Animal Practice. I love animals and all, and even used to work at a Vet, but a show about it may be a little much. Watch the rest of the trailers on EW.com.

FOX

1. The Following

This show’s main star is Kevin Bacon who is a pretty well known actor. It also stars the actress Maggie Grace who played Kim in the movie Taken, which was an excellent movie by the way (and a sequel is coming out soon!). The Following is a drama about a serial killer escaping from jail and Kevin Bacon trying to track him down. It seems like it could get intense.

The worst show from FOX is the Goodwin Games. Is it trying to be a lame copycat of the Hunger Games with that name? Why would you want to watch a bunch of people play Trivial Pursuit? Seems way too boring for my taste. There is one trailer that wouldn’t play which was the show titled Ben and Kate. So I am not sure if that one will be good or not. Watch the rest of the FOX trailers here on EW.com.

CBS

It seems that no trailers have been released for this network yet, but you can find a listing of their new shows on cbsnew.com and thetwocentscorp.com. It is really hard to comment on whether or not I will like any of these shows without watching a preview first. Something can sound good in writing, but if the acting is horrible and the script is poorly written, well then a good idea can quickly become a horrible show. Hopefully the videos will be released soon. Post a link if you have found one.

CW

The CW has also released their new shows without trailers and you can see the list here hollywoodreporter.com. I have never actually watched the show Sex in the City, but I am willing to give The Carrie Diaries a watch (unless the trailer changes my mind). There are not many details given about the Beauty and the Beast show, but that is my favorite Disney movie so I am expecting it to be something worth watching. They just better impress me with their new line-up because I am still mad at them for cancelling my show, Ringer!

TNT

A bunch of shows are in development and you can read about them all here on hollywoodreporter.com. These are the ones that sound appealing to me:

1. The Last Ship: If a show has to do anything with the end of the world, I’m in.

2. Legends: It doesn’t give much detail, but it comes from Howard Gordon who is associated with the show Homeland. Seems mysterious which I like.

And the worst one of the bunch? American Troubadours. It is a reality show about finding the best bar bands and singer/song writers. Don’t we have enough reality musical shows already? The Voice, American Idol, The X Factor, America’s Got Talent, Duets….do I need to go on? And it says one of the executive producers is McConaughey, do they mean Matthew McConaughey, because that would make it even more of a bad idea.

What shows are you looking forward to and which ones do you think will flop?

5 Things That Make Me Smile

There are so many wonderful things in life to smile about that it would take me years to explain them all. So instead, here are just five samples of the blessings in my life.

nature leaves

I enjoy a cool breeze on a hot summer day, a night sky full of bright stars, and the variety of colors that nature has to offer. These leaves are from an avocado tree in my backyard, aren’t they pretty against that blue sky?

magazines

Yes I know, paper is a thing of the past and everything is now digital, but I still love my good ole paper magazines. I am subscribed to so many I can’t even count. My favorites are Health, Food Network, Entertainment Weekly, Whole Living and Wired. I say those are my favorites, but I love so many others as well.

nails

I love nail polish, but I’m not really that good at painting nails. I also have a bad habit of leaving my nail polish on too long, which doesn’t look too appealing. Nail polish makes your hands look so much nicer, but it doesn’t last long enough (unless you get it professionally done).

jewelry

I absolutely love jewelry and accessories. I don’t wear anything expensive (I might have 3 or 4 pieces that are actual real gold or silver) most of it is costume jewelry. I think I like earrings and necklaces the most since they seem to be the most visible. I am the type of person that would rather buy a bunch of things at a cheaper price than one expensive thing. Plus, I don’t want to worry about losing something very valuable.

teddy my poodle

I saved the best for last. I love my poodle, Teddy! He brings me joy everyday just by looking at me with his cute little face. He may drive me crazy sometimes when he barks at squirrels or dogs from the window, but I love him to pieces.

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