Crockpot Tuesday: Beef Stoganoff

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Hi!!

  I hope you had a fantastic weekend! It was a very nice weekend here in New England. Super hot on Saturday, but a beautiful fall Sunday. We didn't do much of anything, just took care of somethings around the house. A typical weekend for us. Sunday Football was semi good to us. Our Giants lost (boo), but I won my one fantasy football league. I'm 0-2 in my other :( But it's still early in the season and I have some time to make a come back. :)

   It's Crockpot Tuesday and I'm making Beef Stroganoff. I found this recipe about 2 years ago on Pinterest and it has been my go to ever since. It's from The Crockstar. Her recipe calls for double of everything, but I cut this in half (literally) and it feeds all four of us with left overs for one (most of the time). There wont be a follow up tomorrow on this because this is a staple in my house and I can tell you right now that it is amazing. You will not regret eating this! And if my two little picky eaters will eat this than you know its good. :)


Here's what you need:

  • 1 pound cubed stew meat (I just buy a package and use the whole thing, so sometimes its just under a pound and half)
  • 1 can Condensed Golden Mushroom Soup (this will be located by the cream of mushroom soup- I had a hard time finding it at first)
  • 1/2 largish onion diced
  • 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Garlic Salt ( I don't have any, so its garlic powder and salt for me)
  • couple dashes of Hot Paprika (I have never been able to find this, so I just had a couple shacks of regular paprika)
  •  4 oz of cream cheese (Sometimes I use the whole 8oz block, just depends on the mood I'm in)
  • bag of egg noodles 


 Now, add everything to the crockpot EXCEPT the meat and the cream cheese. Stir it all up, add the meat, and stir again. Cook this on low for about 6-8 hours. I usually go for about 6 hours so the meat doesn't get to dry. Before serving cut of the cream cheese into cubes and mix it in until its all melted. If you need too you can put the lid back on the crockpot to let the cream cheese melt some more. Once it's all combined put it on top of your egg noodles and you are ready to eat. :)



   One thing, I've had my cream cheese melt seamlessly into the liquid and other times it's kind of chunked up. I'm not sure why the cream cheese does that or how to fix it. I've tried cranking up the heat and seeing if it will melt. But it has always tasted exactly the same now matter how the the cream cheese has melted in. If you know how to make it so the cream cheese doesn't chunk up, please let me know. Although it tastes the same, I'd prefer not to have the chunks.

Mix everything without the meat first than add it. It smells SO good already!!


   I hope you try out this meal, I'm positive you will love it! If you do let me know what you think. It's honestly such an easy and tasty meal to make. It's also a nice change from everything chicken. Don't forget to send me some of your favorite crockpot recieps, I'm always looking for new dinner ideas. :)

   Thanks for taking a timeout! I'll talk to you next time!


 Xo,
  Nikki 

Friday Favorites: BP. Double Stud Crossbody Bag

Friday, September 18, 2015

Hi!

 Happy Friday!!! I hope your week was fantastic! It was super busy for this family, but a great week none the less. Lilly finished and survived her first full week of Kindergarten. Well, we still need to make it through today. But she's loving it so far and can't wait to go back on Monday. I think she's ready to just relax this weekend though. She's not use to this constant go-go-go. I'm getting in the groove of having just one kid at home and figuring out a schedule. Thankfully Zoe still takes a nap so I'm able to get so much more done around the house than I'm use to being able to do. I actually get to have a full on Mommy Timeout. ;)

   Since its Friday I wanted to do a 'Friday Favorite'. I'm sharing one thing today that I have been looking for, for what feels like years to find. A Crossbody Bag. I know, I know, " Nikki, really a purse?!"  Yes really. And you will thank me later for this. :) 
                         
   Since having kids the funds to support my Coach, Michale Kors, and Kate Spade purse love has virtually disappeared. I just don't have the extra money nor can I justify a purchase like that when I know we have more important things to buy. So when I found this purse I was so beyond thrilled. I'm talking about the BP. Double Stud Crossbody Bag.





   Now, it's not your typical "Mom Purse". Clearly it is not huge and honestly can not hold a great deal of things, but it can most certainly hold what I need. And it has helped me keep the junk out of my bag that normally builds up and turns a normal purse into a 50lb weight. It's also amazingly light and not bulky that it gets in the way when I'm holding Zoe.

That cup fit in my bag too. :)

 I have been wanting a crossbody bag for the longest time. I mean, probably about a year and a half. I've been over the bulky bag and diaper bag thing since before Zoe was even born. I want convenience, practicality, and something easy. And now with Zoe being 2, I honestly don't need a big bulky bag for a trip to the store.

   When I came across this BP. crossbody bag on the Nordstrom website I KNEW I had to check it out. It reminds me a lot of a Rebecca Minkoff, but literally a fraction of the price.  When I got to the store and saw it in person I knew I had to have it. The quality is so much better than I expected. The faux-leather looks a lot like real leather and it isn't stiff at all. The Cognac color and the gold chains are right up there in the style I've been wanting. It goes with everything and is so perfect for fall and winter. I love the zip pocket on the outside (perfect for my iPhone). There is a zipper on the inside and two pockets for your phone and pens or lipgloss. And there is still plenty of room in the actual bag even with those extras. And the price point is AMAZING! It's only $32!!!! Oh yes my friends, you read that right. I was just as surprised at that price as you are. I love this so much that I'm contemplating buying it in black. This one really has gone with everything I've worn, but it's always good to have a go to black bag.

   So, what am I able to fit in this 'small' crossbody bag you ask? So much more than you would even think! Now I can not fit my normal wallet. If I had an envelop wallet I'm sure I could, but I don't. So I use my LV card hold for my id's and credit cards. And I carry around my check book (yes I still use checks, I'm sort of old fashioned in that I still like to write out checks upon occasion), keys, lipstick and lipgloss, my too faced translucent powder compact, tissues, a pen, and a couple of granola bars for when my girls start whining that they are hungry in the middle of the store. 

This is what's currently in my bag

   Now I can't fit a diaper and wipes with all that. I mean, I can shove it in there, but I'm not looking to break this bag. But I'm to the point with Zoe that I'm not out long enough to need to carry those things on hand. I actually keep extra diapers and wipes in a bag in my car. If we go to a zoo or something than I bust out the trusty diaper bag. But I don't need all those extra things right on hand anymore. Maybe wipes though, I never realized how handy wipes really are until I had kids. 

   I really can not say any more good things about this bag. If you have been on the hunt for a great quality crossbody, I highly recommend this bag. It's on trend, great price point (for maybe $5-$10 more than what you'd pay for a bag at target), and it really has more room than you might think. 

   If you don't have a Nordstrom near you, click the link up top to look at the bag online. Shipping is free and returns are free if you're not happy with it. Can't bet that kind of customer service! Let me know if you decided to pick this crossbody up! I'd love to hear what you think. 

Thanks for taking a timeout with me and I hope you have a fantastic weekend!! Talk you soon!!

Xo,
  Nikki 

my Mom and I at a zoo. This bag is so great!
    P.S. This is not sponsored in any way. I bought this bag with my own money :)

   

The vedict for Crockpot Tuesday is...

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Hi!
   So I know you have been dying to know how dinner was last night! Okay, I'm sure it wasn't a top priority for you, but I'm going to pretend it was in your top 10 things you had to know when you woke up.  ;)

   Well, here was the final product.




   I put the zucchini and chicken over rice (about a 1/2 cup of cooked rice) and topped it off with some shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese. The girls didn't get to try any of this. Hubby was home and just made them something else when we got home. He didn't know my plan of wanting to give them a little. But thats okay. We have left overs so they will get some tonight. Hubby didn't complain but he didn't rave about the dinner. But since he didn't rave about it, I'm pretty sure he thought it was just so-so. I personally thought it was good, nothing very exciting, but good.

   I feel like it ended up with more of a chili taste than Italian. Hubby kept saying it too. I'm not entirely sure what caused that flavor. I really don't think it was the one Jalapeno I added. It wasn't a bad flavor, but not what I had anticipated. After a few hours of cooking I took a taste test and I did have to add more salt. I know salt is personal preference, but I would recommend adding maybe 1/2 a teaspoon of salt and not just a pinch or two. 

   All and all, it was a good meal. I don't think this will be a constant meal on rotation though. But I have so much zucchini that it will be a good meal to add in every once and a while to mix things up. It also made some left overs. So I put a severing in the fridge and froze another serving. Id say it made about 4 servings all together.

   Let me know if you plan to try this meal out. It was good, but it didn't wow me to the point of feeling like I have to make it again next week. Know what I mean? Not a complete lose in the cooking department, so I'll call this a win. :)

   Next week is the family favorite, Beef Stroganoff! I can't wait to share it. 

  Thanks for taking a timeout with me! Talk to you soon!!

XO,
  Nikki

Crockpot Tuesday: Zucchini Chicken Parmesan

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Hi!

   Fall's here (well kinda, just need these temps to stay below 75) and with Fall comes my many nights of crockpot cooking. I'm designating Tuesdays to be Crockpot Tuesday here on my Timeout. I'm going to share with you what I'm making for dinner Tuesday nights on Tuesdays. I hope thats not too confusing. I have a few crockpot meals that are on constant rotation during the fall and winter every year. So some meals I'll be able to tell you exactly how much my family and I like it. And others (like today's meal) will get a follow up the next day if its a brand new meal to us. I just want to put this out there,  I'm not a natural born cooker so all of my meals are Pinterest finds. I will ALWAYS link up to the original recipe and give credit were credit is due. After all, I wouldn't be making any of these if it wasn't for these awesome cooking bloggers. You can also check out my Pinterest boards Recipe Keepers and Recipes to Try.

   Tuesdays are going to become extremely busy in my house. Well extremely busy around dinner time, so it will always be a crockpot day.  The Hubby will cook upon occasion (he's an amazing cook so no complaints here), but for the most part there shouldn't be any reason for me not to get the crockpot started in the morning or early afternoon.

   So to start of my Crockpot Tuesday the meal is Zucchini Chicken Parmesan. I found this recipe on Pinterest and its from Smile Sandwich. The recipe is simple and looks pretty darn tasty.
IMG_4254
Picture from Smile Sandwich
   Our garden produced an absurd amount of zucchini this year. Although I have frozen a lot, we still have some fresh. So I'm looking up all sorts of different meals to use up our zucchini in. We also grew jalapenos so I'm going to add a few of those even though the recipe doesn't call for it. Hubby likes spice and since I've had to endure yeas of him adding spice to just about everything I've come to enjoy it myself. I'm not adding too much though because I want to see if I can get the girls to eat this. I'm on a mission to get them to eat the same meal's we are. They eat a lot of what we do, but not as much as I would like. 

Here is a list of what I used in my recipe (again the original recipe can be found here):

  • 2 large chicken breast, cut into cubes
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped (I used only half of mine because it's about 4 large ones put together. No lie, check out the picture below) 
  • 1 green pepper, diced (I used 1/2 a one)
  • 1 jalapano, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (from a jar or fresh- I used jar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (I used two pinches-to taste as they say)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1.5 cups of pasta sauce
  • 1 cup low fat shredded cheese.
  • 1 cup rice (quinoa or pasta or nothing, its totally up to you)  
  • Parmesan to taste (fresh, shredded, or grated)
How to prepare:
  1.  Spray your crockpot with nonstick cooking spray (or use one of those bags- best invention EVER!) and add all ingredients but the shredded cheese. 
  2.  Cook on low for 6-8 or high for 3-4. *I don't know about you, but every crockpot I've ever owned (only 2) has always cooked fast. So I always cook on low and do it for about an hour or two less than recommended for that setting. This has also helped to not over cook my meat. So for me I'm cooking this for a max of 6 hours.* 30 minutes before serving add cheese and let it melt. 
  3. Serve over rice (or whatever you choose to use). Add Parmesan if desired. 
I told you it was huge! Our garden went nuts with the zucchini

Green pepper, onion, jalapeno, and zucchini all cut up

All the ingredients and spices

add 1.5 cups of tomato sauce

Mix it all up
   I currently have this cooking and I'm going with low for about 5 hours. I'm planning on making rice to go with it. Hubby will be home so he can start the rice while I'm out and hopefully it will all be done and ready by the time I get back home with the girls. I'll update you tomorrow on how it was and if I'll be keeping this in our dinner rotation. :)

   Let me know if you try this out or if you have your own version of this meal. I love dinner ideas so please share away! Thanks for taking a timeout with me! I'll talk you tomorrow!!

Xo, 
Nikki

Review: Morphe 35O Palette

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Hi!
  This week feels like it has flown by, yet it has taken forever. No what I mean? We had an extremely busy Tuesday. Got to meet Lilly's teacher, she had her first gymnastics class, and than Zoe took a nasty fall in our garage and now has a nice bruise on her forehead (insert sad emoji face here). Hubby was out of town on Tuesday too, so I didn't catch a break till about 11pm. It was a very. Long. Day. Then Wednesday evening my phone dropped out of my hands and shattered (insert a million crying emojis). Zoe has tossed my phone from the top of our stairs and nothing has happened. It slipped out of my hands and land face down, no bouncing around and completely shattered. WHHHYYYY!!!??? So I spent all day Thursday at the mall, not being able to shop, with two kids waiting on Apple to fix it (and spending a small fortune). It was kind of like torture. Friday was extremely uneventful and quite. Mostly due to the nasty weather we had, but it made the temps drop a bit. Starting to finally feel a little more like Fall (YAY!). I have some new sweaters and booties that I can not wait to wear. And don't forget the darker, warmer makeup tones.

   Speaking of warmer makeup tones, a perfect pallet for the Fall (and for every day use if you are a warm, neutral tones kind of person) is the Morphe 35O palette.



   I saw this palette on Snapchat from Jaclyn Hill and knew I had to have it. This palette has every color that I normal wear and some. I try to branch out in my colors, but I always come back to my tried and trues. To be honest, I'm just not comfortable with wearing bright colors and I don't go out enough to do an over the top smokey eye. My biggest outings anymore are heading to the 'big' mall. A little sad, but this is my Mom life right now.

   Anyways, this palette is going to get so much love from me. And the best part, there are about 3 MAC dupes that I use constantly and one semi Urban Decay dupe. So I wont need to repurchase those colors anytime soon. The dupes are as follows:


   The one color, third row from the top and second to last shade in the row, is a dupe for MAC's All That Glitters. They are super similar in color but not in formulation. The one in the Morphe pallet seemed very dry and almost like a foil. I would recommend wetting your brush before using. It appears to look the same in the swatch, but I did try to wear it and I just didn't like the application.

 The second shade, first row and forth shadow in, is an exact dupe for MAC's Amber Lights. Same creamy formulation.  I don't wear Amber Lights all that much, but it is a great bronzy gold to have in any collection and now I have two.



 And now, possibly the best dupe of all. The one color is in the first row and fifth shadow in. The second is in the second row fourth shadow in. The are both almost perfect dupes for MAC's Soft Brown. The top row shadow is a much closer match, but still, you can't deny what you see. I use Soft Brown pretty much every day. So now that I have a dupe (or two) I will probably never need to repurchase Soft Brown for as long as I live.



      And lastly, it is not really a dupe but a good option if you don't own Urban Decay's Sin. Sin is clearly more pink in tone then the Morphe shade (by the way, it's in the first row and third shadow in). When you look at them in each of their own palettes they look almost identical, but clearly they aren't.

   So those are all the dupes I was able to find. I would look at the colors and look at what I already owned and swear I had more dupes, but I didn't. Which really is a good thing considering I don't want to spend the money on something when I already own it. No what I mean?

   My over all impression of the Morphe 35O palette is I love it. The majority of the shadows are right up there in quality with the higher end brands. They are very pigmented and wear great. If I have to make a complaint, it would be about the packaging. It's just so big that it's hard to travel with and I'm always afraid that the shadows will break because it's not the thickest plastic. But, I think it's totally worth the money. I spent a total of $28 on the palette. That was with using Jaclyn's code, shipping and tax. Not to bad considering MAC refile pans (which is what I have) are $10 a pop. I don't have a code with Morphe so you will have to find one from a YouTuber. I used Jaclyn Hill's but if you have a favorite Beauty YouTuber than chances are they have a code. I was just on the website and it is currently sold out, but Morphe did put out a statement saying it is a permanent palette and will be back. Follow them on Instagram to keep up to date on the palette situation. But I highly recommend checking out their other palettes too. They have some good ones.

   If you've been on the fence about this palette, I hope my review helped you out. If you love warm neutral tones you can not go wrong with this palette.  Let me know if you buy this and what your thoughts are on it. :)

     Thanks for taking a timeout with me and I hope you have an amazing weekend!

XO,
  Nikki

  
                          

September Mommy Mailbox Unboxing

Monday, September 7, 2015

Hi All!
   I hope your Labor Day weekend has been amazing! Saturday was eventful in our house. Lilly lost her front tooth!! This is her third tooth but let's just say a fishing line and an accidental step on the string made the tooth fall out. Eek! It was a good laugh and something none of us will ever forget.

   I got my September Mommy Mailbox and I'm so excited to share it with you! This is officially my last box though. I cancelled my subscription about a week ago, but this wont be it for forever. I truley love this subscription services. I'm going to watch to see who the curator is and probably purchase a box as a gift during the months I want too. This way I don't have to constantly email the awesome staff at Mommy Mailbox every month to cancel. They will also let you know when they have some left over boxes and they mark them down a little so I'm going to keep an eye out for that as well. Okay, enough chit chat, lets dive into this September Box.

   Pictured below is everything that came. As always, my youtube video is linked below so you can see my initial reactions on everything. :)

 



  In number order:
  1.    Umbra Prisma Photo Display
  2.    Boom Boom Prints Mystery Gift Card
  3.    Well-Kept Screen Cleansing Towelette
  4.    Damn Good Face Wash
  5.    Love Obsessed Straight and Narrow Bracelet
  6.    Seven Sundays Minne Muesli Original Toasted Muesli (can be found at Target too)

   I really do love everything I received this month. The curator for this month is Bridget Hunt from Tales of Me and the Husband. She's a beautiful Mommy of 6 and currently her family is vacationing in Italy (she's from the Boston area). And the theme is 'Streamline'. I think everything that was picked can help 'streamline' everyday life perfectly.

   The picture frame is gorgeous, and although it looks expensive (I actually thought it might have been the most expensive item in the box) it's only $10. It's made very well, so in my honest opinion it's a steal for the price.

   My Boom Boom Prints gift card was $10. I've never heard of the website before but it has some very beautiful prints by different artist. Think Etsy and Shutterfly combined for artist designs.

   Well-Kept Screen Cleansing Towelettes are just a good idea to have on hand and this pretty packaging just makes you want to carry them around more. You can buy these in a few different package designs. I think they could be a great idea for that extra gift for anyone.

   I've heard of Damn Good Face Wash but I've never had the opportunity to use it, until now. I still haven't tried it out yet but I will in the next week or so. I did just run out of my First Aid Beauty face wash so this came at a perfect time.

   The Love Obsessed Straight and Narrow Bracelet is beautiful. It seems a little fragile though. When you watch my video you'll see that I bent it a little too easily. But it is very pretty and it's going to be a great and different piece to add to any outfit.

   There are a few things that I love about the Seven Sundays Meusli. It's all natural, no gmos, the health benefits are great, and it's made here in America (Minnesota to be exact). I did eat this and I had to add some maple sugar to make it not taste so bland. There were fruits in it, I can't remember what now, but that did help change up the texture and flavor. I have a coupon and if I see them on sale at Target I might buy them to try the other kinds.



                  




   So that's everything that came in my September Mommy Mailbox. I'm actually really sad to not be getting one next month, but I have to take a break. I mentioned one of my goals for September was a No-Buy. So that means cutting the extras. But this isn't it and I'm keeping an eye on them. They keep saying they have some really awesome stuff coming and I can't wait to see what it is.

   Let me know if you signed up and received a September box and what you think about everything. Thanks for taking a timeout with me and I'll talk you soon!

Xo,
  Nikki 

Hello September!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Hi All!
  Happy September!! I hope the end of August treated you well! The last week has been a pretty obvious lack of blogging and YouTubing, but I was busy enjoying some time with my family. If you follow me on instagram you saw all the pictures. I did mean to have a post up, but I didn't get around to it and I was just enjoying every minute with my girls and my family. I just feel like doing a little chit chat today. I don't have anything extraordinary to share. Just want to talk to my friends :) 

   I went back to New York with just my girls last Sunday (Hubby had to work and couldn't get off). We had my niece's first birthday, went to a park, went to a zoo, swam in my Mom's pool and had ice cream with friends that I wish we lived closer too, and went to my high school best friend's daughters third birthday party.

At the zoo feeding the birdies

Swim time!!

   We took a walk to the local Lighthouse in my home town.  It's also right next to the Station that my husband was first stationed at and where I meet him. It was pretty nostalgic and kind of emotional going back there with our girls. I wish Hubby could have been there too. It was just so surreal to have all those memories come flooding back and than looking at my little girls. If you would have asked me 12 years ago where I'd be today, I'm pretty sure where I'm at right now would not have been my answer. Not that I didn't want this life for myself 12 years ago, but I'm pretty sure my answer would have been slightly different. Funny how life works sometimes. 

On our walk to the Lighthouse

My most favorite picture in the entire world <3


   The girls and I came back that Friday evening and just relaxed waiting for the chaos of September to begin. Any other Mom's feel like September is the start of craziness? We have so much going on between, starting kindergarten, gymnastics, birthdays, weddings. It's insanity! But I am very excited for Fall!

   September is kind of like a new start, like a new school year. So I'm setting some monthly goals for myself. I want to share them so I can stay accountable (I tend to do better when I put my goals out in the open). My first goal: don't cry on the first day of kindergarten. LOL! Pretty sure I'm going to be a hot mess. I cry at everything. My other (more realistic) goals: Blog more- put 2 blog posts up a week; Make more YouTube Videos- trying to post 2 a week also; Workout at least 5 days a week (and layoff the PSL's!!)- I prefer weights, but I also do T25; Go on a September no-buy- This might be tough but it has to happen. I need to get things out of my house not bring more in. So those are the three goals I'm putting up for now. Let's see how well I do. :) Also, I have been listing things on my Poshmark (search for Nikki0614) closet. I have a bunch of great clothes and I'm planning on adding some more makeup and nail polish that I haven't used. Time to purge!!!

   I hope your September is starting off on the right foot. I love this time of year and can not wait to start sharing picture of all the fall activities I do with my family and the fall fashion- of course. I also hope that the first day of school was great for all of your littles'. I'm starting to freak out a little, if you have any advice please share! :) Thanks for stopping by my timeout! I'll talk to you soon!

Xo,
  Nikki

PS: I got to have PSL early last week!! :)



  
 
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