Monday, February 24, 2014

Pizza Soup {Paleo and 21-Day Sugar Detox-friendly}

The 21-Day Sugar Detox shared the recipe for this Paleo Pizza Soup from Paleo Girl's Kitchen on their Facebook page about a week ago and, honestly, I had been dreaming of it ever since.  All of your favorite pizza toppings (sans cheese) in a bowl of warm, comforting soup.  It's Paleo and 21-Day Sugar Detox-friendly.  Comfort food without any guilt.  How could you go wrong?!

Yesterday the hubby and I did our weekly grocery shopping and I was sure to get the ingredients to make this soup.  I couldn't wait to try it, so I whipped it up that very afternoon.  Oh. my. gosh.  Best decision ever!

This is definitely a new favorite and will be in frequent rotation.  It's not the world's quickest soup, there are a few steps involved (and I even simplified the recipe a bit from the original); however, it's totally worth it!  This is just what I needed to get me through the last weeks of winter.  If you are following the 21-Day Sugar Detox and/or a Paleo diet, make sure you're mindful about checking the labels of your ingredients to make sure they're compliant.  I had to do a bit of store hopping to find appropriate Italian sausage and pepperoni (Whole Foods to the rescue).

While incredibly comforting and homey, this soup is also special enough to serve guests!  If you're not following a Paleo diet, you may find that a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a breadstick or slice of focaccia for dipping will take this over the top.  Enjoy it alone or serve it with a side salad.  You really can't go wrong with this one.

Yesterday marked the 21st and last day of my detox.  Check back later this week if you're interested in hearing my thoughts on the program, my experience, and why I plan to make this a part of my daily lifestyle for the foreseeable future.

Paleo Pizza Soup
adapted from Paleo Girl's Kitchen
serves 4-6

2 tablespoons of ghee, divided
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 sprigs of thyme, minced
1 yellow onion, diced & divided
6 oz. can tomato paste
28 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
1/4 cup water (or beef broth)
1 red bell pepper*
1 lb. Italian sausage
14 oz. can beef broth
salt and pepper, to taste

For serving:
5 oz. pepperoni, cut into wedges
2.25 oz. can sliced black olives
red pepper flakes
fresh thyme leaves

In a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of ghee and add the garlic, thyme, and half of the onion.  Sauté for 3-5 minutes or until the onion is translucent.  Add the tomato paste, canned tomatoes, and water (or beef broth).  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Next, puree the tomato base in a blender in two batches until completely smooth.

While the tomato base is simmering, melt the remaining tablespoon of ghee in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Sauté the bell pepper and remaining onion for 5 minutes.  Add the Italian sausage to the onion/pepper mixture and cook through.

Return the blended tomato base to the large pot, then add in the sausage mixture and beef broth.  Simmer on low for 10-15 minutes, or until ready to serve.  Taste and season accordingly (you may not need any salt and pepper as the ingredients will be pretty flavorful on their own).

Serve and top each individual portion with pepperoni slices, black olives, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of fresh thyme.

*The original recipe calls for 1/2 red bell pepper and 6 mushrooms.  I'm not a fan of mushrooms so I omitted them and increased the red bell pepper.

Recipe Notes:
If you aren't following The 21-Day Sugar Detox or a Paleo diet, this recipe is divine regardless.  However, feel free to substitute olive oil for the ghee.  I might also suggest serving the soup with a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a bread stick or slice of focaccia for dipping.  YUM!

Friday, February 21, 2014

21-Day Sugar Detox and Paleo-Friendly Carnitas & Pico de Gallo

I'm nearing the end of my 21-Day Sugar Detox and I wanted to share a couple of recipes that have been long-time favorites that happen to be 21DSD and Paleo-friendly (with a few modifications on my normal serving methods).  While I have made several of the delicious recipes from the 21-Day Sugar Detox book, for most of my meals I sort of do my own thing, simply following the guidelines of approved foods.

I recently made Slow Cooker Carnitas, which have been a favorite among my husband and I (and any company I've served them to) for a few years now.  I also whipped up a batch of my favorite Pico de Gallo which I almost insist on making to enjoy with the carnitas.  Typically I'd serve the carnitas on small flour tortillas, topped with a sprinkle of freshly shredded Monterey Jack cheese in addition to the pico de gallo and guacamole.  In order to make the dish 21-Day Sugar Detox and Paleo-friendly, I omitted the cheese and served mine in romaine cups.  I promise you, the carnitas are so flavorful and hearty and the pico de gallo so bright and fresh, that you won't even miss the cheese and tortillas (however, if you aren't avoiding diary or gluten, feel free to use them).

These carnitas can easily be halved or doubled to feed a crowd.  When serving company, I like to create a full spread for guests to help themselves and fix theirs however they'd like.  Fill up a big bowl with the carnitas, set out plenty of tortillas and romaine cups, bowls of freshly grated cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole, and a few lime wedges.  Everyone will love you and sing your praises, I promise.  Alternately, you can chop up your romaine and serve these as a salad.

When enjoying these on my own, I like to use the Wholly Guacamole Minis which are a perfect size for one; however, when I'm serving company, I prefer to whip up a batch of my favorite Guacamole.

Slow Cooker Carnitas
adapted via All Recipes
serves 10-12

2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 lb. boneless pork shoulder roast
2 bay leaves
2 cups chicken broth (homemade or store-bought - check the label!)

1 fresh lime, cut into wedges for serving (optional)

In a small bowl, mix together the salt, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, coriander and cinnamon.  Rub the pork with the spice mixture, coating the meat evenly.  Place the bay leaves in the bottom of your slow cooker and top with the rubbed pork.  Pour the chicken broth around the pork.

Cover and cook on low until the pork easily shreds with a fork, 8-10 hours.  Once the pork has finished cooking, remove it from the slow cooker and shred it in a large bowl.  Add 1/4-1/2 cup of the cooking liquid into the shredded meat to moisten it, as needed.

You can serve the pork immediately, or pop it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up a bit.  I like to spread some evenly on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil to my liking.  A squirt of fresh lime juice just before serving is optional, but highly recommended.

(Any leftover pork reheats beautifully under the broiler in about 5 minutes.)

Pico de Gallo
adapted via SkinnyTaste
serves 4-6 as an appetizer, or 10-12 for topping your carnitas

4 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup white onion, finely chopped
3 small sweet peppers or 1/2 of a large bell pepper, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.  For best results, allow the mixture to marinate in the fridge for a 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.  If you like your Pico de Gallo to have a kick, feel free to add a finely chopped chile pepper or jalapeño (the recipe as written is mild).

Thursday, February 20, 2014

February 2014 Ipsy Glam Bag

The February Ipsy Glam Bag aimed to create a collection of "beauty goodies so good that you'll fall in love at first sight!"  Inside the hot pink and white makeup bag, I received a wide assort of beauty products and color cosmetics.

I was immediately excited about the selection of products I received as well as the shades.

My February Glam Bag included the following products:

City Color - Be Matte Blush in Fresh Melon ($2.99/8.9 g)
Available in 8 shades, this silky-smooth, highly pigmented matte blush compliments and blends evenly with your skin's natural glow.  Extremely buildable to create a subtle or dramatic look.

Sample size: 8.9 g
Sample value: $2.99

{Swatch of the City Color Be Matte Blush in Fresh Melon}

I've never seen or heard of City Color Cosmetics before receiving this blush.  From what I can tell from their website, the company just launched in 2013, so they're brand new!  I love that this blush is matte and the bright melon shade is gorgeous on my fair skin.  This blush feels incredibly smooth and swatches and blends beautifully.  I'm surprised by how high-end the formula seems considering the incredibly low price point!  I think this will become a spring staple for me.

POP Beauty - Plump Pout Mini in Peony Petal ($16.00/0.3 oz)
This plumping pout perfecter combines the high-shine of a lacquered gloss with the long wear of a stain and is packed with lip-plumping peptides and avocado and jojoba oils.  Lightweight, creamy texture immediately merges with lips & delivers intense glossy color for an extremely long-lasting finish!

Sample size: 0.14 oz
Sample value: $7.47

{Swatch of the POP Beauty Plump Pout in Peony Petal}

This product is a home run for me!  As you may be able to tell from the smudges on the wand, I've already worn this several times and I'm in LOVE.  First of all, the shade is stunning.  It feels really nourishing and comfortable on the lips yet does leave a gorgeous stain and wears for a fairly long time despite it's glossy texture.  I will definitely be purchasing this full-size once I run out of the mini and I'm curious to try some of the other shades (there are four total in the range).

Tini Beauty - Eyetini Eye Cordial Cream Shadow + Base in Ambrosa ($18.00/0.14 oz)
Say goodbye to creasing and fading with Eyetini Eye Cordial Shadow Tint & Base.  Eye Cordial's revoluntionary formula glides on beguiling creamy color and sets to a transfer-resistant finish that doubles as a wear-extending base under powder shadow.

Sample size: 0.14 oz
Sample value: $18.00

{Swatch of the Tini Beauty Eyetini Eye Cordial Cream Shadow + Base in Ambrosia}

Ambrosia is described by Tini Beauty as a "glistening plummy mauve" but I'd definitely say it leans more plummy taupe.  Either way, I think the color is quite lovely and wearable.  The product is nicely pigmented and easy to blend, leaving a wash of shimmering color on the eyes.  I've only worn this product once for about 4 hours, so I can't speak to how well it wears for a full day; however, I have extremely oily eyelids and, while most products begin creasing without a primer within a couple of hours, this Eye Cordial looked perfect after around 4 hours.  I love cream shadows for an all-over-the-lid quick wash of color when I'm in a hurry and this shade is perfect for that application.  It provides depth without being too dark and provides a nice dimension thanks to it's shimmer.

Zoya - Nail Polish in Odette ($9.00/0.5 oz)
This season's Zoya Nail Polish are full of pure pigment, intense color and modern complexity that are a perfect transition into Spring.

Sample size: 0.5 oz
Sampel value: $9.00

{Swatch of the Zoya Nail Polish in Odette}

Odette, a "sultry orchid maroon cream," is a gorgeous shade that I think will be lovely for Spring but would also be appropriate year-round.  Zoya polishes have a great formula and Odette is completely opaque in two coats.  I can't wait to wear this gorgeous shade.

Überliss - RituOil ($19.90/2 oz)
Quench your hair's thirst with the Überliss RituOil!  Engineered with a light blend of Orchid & Argan Oil, RituOil will preserve precious moisture within the hair fiber by sealing the cuticle & will safeguard it from thermal damage.  The end result will be amazingly soft, shiny, and frizz-free hair.

Sample size: 0.34 oz
Sample value: $3.38

I don't believe I've ever seen any products that utilized Orchid oil.  I'm curious to see how this compares to normal Argan Oil.  I haven't tested this out yet (I'm using up the last of a couple oils I already have open), so I can't give any first impression or reviews just yet.

Total bag value: $40.84

This is definitely one of my favorite Glam Bags as of late.  I'm really loving all the products I've tried thus far and, for me, the shades I received this month are a hit!  I have to say, Ipsy definitely delivered on the promise of "beauty goodies so good you'll fall in love at first sight."
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