Beauty Product Reviews

Well last week was a bust, sickness hit our house HARD!  My poor husband was out of town and had to come home, it was all hands on deck. We called in all reinforcement, even Grandpa Deckrow had to change a diaper! I’m not sure the last time that ever happened…it might have been a first.

Onward and upward, sickness is over, Thanksgiving is coming. All my Christmas decorations are out! The earliest I have ever decorated, I was really in the spirit because Michigan has had some record snow for November…and then it all melted. The day after I decorated it rained, all day.

So here are some things that make me happy, because we all need a little positivity.

My favorite item from all the BirchBox’s I’ve received.


Beauty Protector: Protect and Detangle

I will be totally honest, no matter what shampoo and conditioner I use I will always get dry scalp. Generally speaking I use Head & Shoulders, even salon grade shampoo dries me out. This might be why my kids have ezcema…Anyway, Beauty Protector is wonderful, it makes my hair so smooth and easy to comb. It has a built in protector which is great for those of us who style our hair with some kind of heat. Plus it smells like vanilla, so good.

cuppa cuppa tea mask

I am turning 30 next year and for the last few years I have been trying lots of different skin care products to try and combat my age. I know I’m not old nor do I have many facial woes, but I’d rather be preventative than reactionary. What I loved about Cuppa Cuppa Firming Tea Mask was that it has lots of antioxidants and natural ingredients, and didn’t have a bunch of things I couldn’t pronounce. You put the mask on, it sets and then you use a little water to wash it away. It really is dual action though because when you scrub it off it has micro beads that exfoliate and leave your skin feeling smooth.

laura mercier

I have been using the same mascara for the last three years, not the same bottle you sicko. My absolute favorite is Lashgasm by Too Faced. When I receive mascara samples, which happens with way too much frequency, I’m usually pretty unimpressed. Laura Mercier Full Blown Volume gives my old standby a run for its money. The brush looks pretty traditional, doesn’t have a crazy shape to it, but it really does the job of separating each lash. Two coats and my lashes are long, dark, and not all clumped together. No one wants spider eyes (where you lashes looks like spider legs, its gross).

whish shave cream

And to be clear that I am not simply here to promote BirchBox, I throughly dislike their Shave Cream. Whish Shave Cream will not be getting a link, because you should not buy it. The worst part is that they market it as moisturizing…I was honestly looking forward to a more enjoyable shaving experience. It felt like I used an Irish Spring soap bar to lather my legs, even my hands had that terrible dry feeling immediately after washing the soap off.

That is all I have for now! Happy Thanksgiving week!!


Broccoli Chicken Casserole

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It snowed just a little bit here in Michigan yesterday, and a little more today, and potentially more tomorrow, so in honor of the colder weather I made some comfort food.

Broccoli Chicken Casserole

1 cup Rice (cooked according to the package)

1 lb Chicken cubed (I used organic chicken tenderloins)

3 tbsp Butter

3 tbsp Flour

2 1/2 cups Milk (I used whole)

1/2 tsp Nutmeg

salt & pepper

1 cup White Cheddar (shredded)

1/2 cup Sharp Yellow Cheddar (shredded)

1 head Broccoli chopped

Bread Crumbs: Use store bought or follow my homemade version

3 slices Whole Wheat Bread (use the heel of the bread if you have it)

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1/2 tbsp minced Garlic

Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray.

Cook your rice in a pot large enough to pour all the ingredients into later on (you can combine all the ingredients in a separate bowl, but this will save from another dirty dish). While the rice cooks, brown your cubed chicken in a pan over medium heat. Depending on your pan you can use a little olive oil if you need. Salt and pepper the chicken while it cooks.

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Turn the chicken to low to finish cooking and melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium low heat. Once the butter is melted add the flour one table spoon at a time while you stir.

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Once it is thick allow to cook about 3 minutes, and stir the whole time. Slowly add the milk, while continuing to stir.

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Once all the milk has been combined, add the nutmeg, salt, and pepper to the milk. This will need to simmer over low heat while it thickens, about 5-7 minutes.

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I know it feels like a lot is going on in a bunch of different pans, but if your chicken is done cooking or close just turn it off, it will continue to cook in the oven.

Add your shredded cheese to the milk.

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You are now ready to combine all your ingredients!

To my rice pot I added the chicken, cheese sauce, and broccoli.

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Pour the casserole into your casserole dish.

For the Bread Crumbs. I ripped up three slices of bread and put them in my food processor.

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I added a little olive oil and minced garlic to my now empty chicken pan and heated to medium, once the garlic is fragrant add the bread crumbs.

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You want the heat to be high enough for the bread to toast, while they cook add italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Toast bread crumbs about 4 minutes.

Distribute the bread crumbs across the top of the casserole.

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Bake for 25-30 minutes.

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Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Black Bean Veggie Burgers

1 Zucchini

1/2 Medium Yellow Onion

1 can Black Beans (15.5 oz Drained and Rinsed)

1/2 tsp Cumin, Chili powder, salt, and pepper

1/2 tbl minced Garlic

1 egg

1/2 cup Bread Crumbs (I like whole wheat Panko)

1/4 cup ground Flax Seed

Buns (your preference, I used the sandwich skinnys)

I have a very tiny food processor, I had a large old school one at one point, but it stopped working. I tell you this because I had to food process each veggie separately, but you may be able to do the zucchini, onion, and beans at once, and if you don’t have a good processor a blender will work also.

Chop up the zucchini into large chunks and food process.

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Empty into a bowl, and chop and food process the onion. Then empty the onion and then blend the beans.

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Now all your blended items should be in one bowl.


(as a side note, here is my cute fall spatula)


To your blended items add the spices, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, and flax seed.

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If you don’t have flax seed just add more bread crumbs.

Refridgerate until you are ready to cook, at least 10 minutes.

Heat skillet over medium high heat, once the pan is hot add 1/2 tbl olive oil and cook each burger for about 4 minutes on each side.

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My kids topped theirs with ketchup and pickles. My favorite toppings are hummus, feta cheese, and banana peppers.

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You could also add corn to the patty’s and go with a little mayo-siracha combo. The possibilities are endless.

Turkey Zucchini Lasagna

Turkey Zucchini Lasagna

We had a little ‘Make your own Pizza’ night for Halloween and I had 2 left over jars of sauce, one Garlic Basil and a Vodka sauce, I haven’t made lasagna in about a year so I decided why not? This is the first time I made a lasagna and it wasn’t all soupy and runny, and I have figured out the secret to lasagna…Don’t add so much freaking sauce. Also it helps to mix your meat into the sauce, again making it less saucy.

Turkey Zucchini Lasagna

3 cups of your favorite jar sauce (or in my case 1/2 of each opened jar in your fridge)

1 tbl minced Garlic

1 lb ground Turkey

Salt & Pepper

1/2 medium Yellow Onion

1 Zucchini shredded

15 oz Ricotta Cheese

1 tsp Italian Seasoning

8 oz Fresh Mozzarella

5 oz Parmesan (Freshly shredded)

I’ve made the lasagna before where you use the zucchini as the noodles and it was really good, but incredibly watery even after pre-baking the zucchini to sweat out the water.  I decided to keep this one a little more traditional and shredded the zucchini and added it to the sauce.

First things first, preheat oven to 375, then pour the sauce in sauce pan to simmer with minced garlic.

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Put sauce on low heat and get out a pan to brown the turkey with salt and pepper. Once its brown add the onion and zucchini to the turkey. Cook until the onions are translucent.


Combine turkey pan into your sauce pan.


While these simmer together place the ricotta cheese in a bowl and mix in the Italian seasoning and a little salt & pepper. Slice your mozzarella so its ready also.

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You are now ready to layer! Your first layer will be sauce, then noodle. I buy the oven ready lasagna noodles so I don’t have to cook them first. You can break them to fit your pan size. I used an 10×14 pan.


I buy the oven ready lasagna noodles so I don’t have to cook them first. You can break them to fit your pan size. I used an 10×14 pan.


Now we smear 1/2 the ricotta on top of the noodles, again this works better with noodles that are not cooked.


On top of this layer I add half the sliced mozzarella and half the Parmesan cheese.




Noodle, remaining ricotta, sauce, then top with the second half of the mozzarella and parm cheeses.


You’ll notice the sauce is thick enough its not running down and filling the sides, it’s pretty much staying where I put it. This is ideal. You’re lasagna is going to taste amazing regardless, so don’t be too concerned.

Cover with tin foil and bake for an hour.


Here is the lasagna after an hour when I removed the foil. Now bake for an additional 15 minutes sans foil.

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There she is in all her glory. It was delicious! Lulu said it was the best I ever cooked.

Enjoy! Don’t forget to vote!!

Kind of a Chicken Pot Pie with Parmesan Mashed Potatoes


It’s sort of like a chicken pot pie, but with Parmesan mashed potatoes. Mmmmmmm….

1 lb Chicken (I get our chicken from Doorganics, and the tenderloins are WAY cheaper)

1 tbl Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

4 large Carrots

2 cups Chopped Green Beans

1 tbl Minced Garlic

1/2 tsp Thyme

1/2 tsp Rosemary

4-5 shakes Coriander

3 tbl Butter

1/4 cup Flour (I use whole wheat flour)

2 cups Chicken Broth

3/4 cup Milk (I use whole, but you could use cream)


1/2 lb Potatoes (I used small red potatoes)

1 tbl Butter

2 tsp Montreal Steak Seasoning

1/4 cup Milk

3 tbl Parmesan Cheese

I LOVE cast iron skillets, If you don’t have on I suppose you’ll live, but you should go check out TJMaxx they have them all the time and they are amazing and worth it. Just saying.

Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken. Heat olive oil over medium heat and brown the chicken. While it browns start the water for the potatoes.


Add carrots to the chicken pan and continue to cook.


Once the chicken has cooked through, about 8 minutes, remove from the pan and chop into bite sized pieces, then add back to the pan.

To the carrots and chicken add, green beans, minced garlic, thyme, rosemary, and coriander.


Add 3 tablespoons butter to the chicken pan and melt.


once it has melted add flour, this is how we are going to create the gravy sauce.


The flour will coat everything in the pan. Allow the flour to cook for a few minutes to absorb all the flavors. Then add chicken broth.


Increase the heat to medium high and allow the broth to simmer until it thickens. If it looks really thick its okay, we’re going to add milk to the sauce too. 5-7 minutes simmering should be perfect. Add the milk and simmer 3-4 minutes more.


While the sauce thickens, drain the water from the potatoes and then add all the ingredients into the potato pot.


I like my potatoes skin on and kind of lumpy, but you can mash them to your preference. The Montreal Steak seasoning is my husbands secret ingredient, and it sounds kind of crazy, but its delicious.

Now that your potatoes are done the chicken pot pie part should look like this:


Place a scoop of potatoes in a bowl and top with chicken pot pie