Slow Cooker Tapioca.

Hello! Just a short post today, between working and getting these last final papers turned in I’m all tapped out. I worked an overnight shift last night into this morning and New In Town was on Hulu, if you haven’t seen it and like romantic comedies, you should definitely check it out. Renee Zellweger plays a business woman from Miami sent to help a factory in a small town and encounters Jesus loving, meatloaf cooking, scrapbook making Minnesotans. A running joke throughout the movie is a character’s secret tapioca recipe. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted tapioca more in my life than at three this morning, so I decided to try to make it for the first time tonight! It was so quick and delicious, it’s one of our new favorite treats.

INGREDIENTS: 1/2 cup small pearl tapioca (make sure it’s not instant), 4 cups of whole milk, 2 eggs lightly beaten, 1/3 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, nutmeg

DIRECTIONS:

  • Combine all ingredients (except nutmeg) together in slow cooker.
  • Let cook on High for 3-4 hours stirring every half hour.
  • Once cooked, sprinkle nutmeg on top and serve warm.

Take care,
The Wiesenbears

December Beauty Favorites.

It’s finally December, and our favorite holiday is just around the corner! With each assignment turned in, I’m feeling more and more free for winter break. These were several products I’ve been noticing myself use more lately as the holidays approach!

Gabrielle Chanel Eau De Parfum- I’ve mentioned before that a lot of perfumes give me headaches, but I really wanted to find a perfume to wear on our wedding. My momsy’s favorite perfume is Chanel No. 5 but it smells a little mature on me, so I was hoping to find something by Chanel that smelled more like me, and to me, Gabrielle is the perfect blend of classic and feminine.

I’m Not Really A Waitress by OPI Nail Lacquer – I remember the first time I wore this color after I started dating Sam and he went on and on about how much he loved it on me, so I always feel extra special when I wear it. It’s the most perfect Christmas red with a lovely pearl finish.

Aveda Hand Relief Moisturizing Creme- My mother bought this hand cream a couple years ago, and it’s been a staple of mine ever since. It’s so hydrating, but doesn’t leave my hands feeling tacky. A little goes a long ways so it lasts forever.

Neutrogena Night Calming Makeup Remover Towelettes- I tend to wear a little more makeup during the winter when we go to holiday parties, and these are the only makeup remover wipes I’ve used that aren’t too oily or too dry. I have fairly sensitive skin and certain chemicals will cause a reaction, but these are really gentle. Also it you have a Sam’s Club membership, they frequently have them in bunk for a steal.

Shea Moisture Head to Toe Argon Oil- This was a present from a friend and I’m so in love with it, I use it on my face at night, and will often run it through the ends of my hair to prevent breakage. It’s a dry oil, so leaves my hair and skin hydrated without feeling oily.

L’Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick in Zoe’s Red- This was the first deep red lipstick that I’ve liked with my skin tone. A couple years ago I read somewhere that it was going to be discontinued and I rushed to the store to pick up a couple extras, but lo and behold, it wasn’t discontinued and now I have plenty left when this one runs out.

Milani Keep It Sweet Sugar Lip Scrub- My lips get really dry in the winter, so this is an must-have for me. It’s exfoliating enough to smooth without being overly abrasive. Plus it smells just like sugar cookies!

FarmHouse Fresh Peat Perfection Mask- I hadn’t heard of peat until a couple weeks ago when I was given a sample of this mask. I went home that night and research how it’s used in body products and now I’m completely obsessed. The mask itself is really lovely, I apply it with a brush and let it dry for about 20 minutes before rinsing and my skin looks and feels great.

Slow Cooker Gumbo + Bloody Beer Mary.

cookingToday is our last day of classes for the semester! I still have three final papers due after today, but at least don’t have class now too. I recently discovered a documentary channel on YouTube called Real Stories, and in the last couple of days I’ve watched videos on young nuns, bipolar disorder, unusual marriages, anorexia, transgender kids, and childhood obesity. I feel like I have too much information in my brain and I need to watch some New Girl to cleanse my mind.

We made slow cooker gumbo and a lager version of a Bloody Mary for dinner tonight to celebrate, and it was so good. Traditional gumbo has okra and roux, but our grocery store in Salt Lake doesn’t really carry okra and we’re trying to eat cleaner so we went roux-less, but they’re both delicious in it so if you want to add them, you won’t be disappointed.

SLOW COOKER GUMBO

INGREDIENTS: One pound of chicken breast cut into small pieces, one pound raw shrimp without shells and tails, one pound of andouille smoked sausage, one and one third cup of cooked rice, half of an onion diced, one diced green pepper, one diced jalapeno pepper, three ribs of diced celery, one 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes, two cups of chicken broth, three teaspoon of minced garlic, one tablespoon of Cajun spice, one teaspoon thyme, one teaspoon oregano, french bread (optional)

DIRECTIONS: 

  • In the slow cooker, combine all ingredients except rice and shrimp.
  • Cook on high 4-6 hours.
  • The last hour of cooking, salt shrimp lightly and add to slow cooker. In the last half hour, cooked rice and set aside.
  • Serve gumbo warm over rice with french bread.

BLOODY BEER MARY

INGREDIENTS: Bloody Mary mix, Uinta Lime pilsner, sea salt, Cajun seasoning, pickles, one lemon

DIRECTIONS:

  • Dampen rim of Mason jar and roll across sea salt and Cajun seasoning.
  • Mix one cup Bloody Mary mix with one cup beer (can vary depending on the ratio you like)
  • Top with pickles and lemon slice.

Take care,
The Wiesenbears

A New Kind of Christmas.

annie-spratt-174456Normally we would already have our tree up and apartment fully decorated by now, but we’ve decided to go to Leavenworth, Washington for Christmas this year so we’re packing our little tree and stockings to take with us and set up in the hotel! Last Christmas, we spent the holidays with Sam’s family, and the Christmas before that, he came to Denver to celebrate with me and my family, but this is our first Christmas just the two of us. Even though we’ll be adventuring around Leavenworth for the first couple of days, we decided to implement some of our favorite family traditions into the trip.

On Christmas Eve, Sam’s family prepares a “shepherd’s dinner” where they eat food that shepherd’s would have eaten at the time time of Jesus’ birth, such as lamb, hummus, dolmades, pita, and lentils. My momsy and I usually open presents super early Christmas morning, and make cinnamon rolls, bacon, and hot cocoa. Then we’ll cuddle up on the couch and watch seasonal movies all day. So those are all things we want to make a point of doing on our first Christmas away.

It’s been hard to wrap my head around that this will be the first Christmas I don’t spend with my mother, I’m such a mama’s girl, but I’m always equally thrilled to see her regardless of the time of year. When my parents were newlyweds, my mother’s father told her the best thing a young couple can do for their relationship is go unfamiliar places together. It teaches them rely on each other, and gives them time and space to chose what’s right for them without their families influence. We know the holidays can be a stressful time of year for some, so we hope you’re able to take time to do something you enjoy.

Take care,
The Wiesenbears

Our Money Saving Tips.

coinsBlack Friday has come and gone too soon, but it was fun while it lasted. It’s probably no surprise that this has been a pretty expensive year for us between planning the wedding, paying tuition, and some travel, but we have some tips we use to stay frugal and save a little along the way!

  1. Membership Programs: Some membership-only companies offer discounts to university students, such as Sam’s Club. We got their Collegiate Membership last year and it cost about $45, but definitely paid itself off within a couple months. It’s been great to use towards items we use frequently so we can stock up like toothpaste and paper towels, and most of our kitchenware and electronics are from Sam’s Club as well. Unfortunately it isn’t always the cheapest place to find produce, but their rotisserie chickens, loafs of bread, and snacks are often a lot cheaper than purchasing from a market.
  2. Produce: We usually get most of our grocery’s from Smith’s Marketplace, which sells a lot of value brand products. If you’re enrolled in their free rewards programs, you’ll usually save several dollars each visit. We also like to get snack foods from Trader Joe’s because they’re often cheap and tasty.
  3. Meal Planning: I never really understood meal prepping until this past year. I use to get home early every night and make a different meal with the food we had, but this year has been a busy one, so I’m trying to be better at it. We go grocery shopping weekly, and write out all the ingredients needed and try to stick with it before we go to the store, or I’ll get caught up in the “Oh, that looks good!” and end up spending money on a bunch of food we don’t need, which will then go bad if we don’t eat in time. We try to make a big meal (so we’ll have plenty of left overs) with lots of fresh veggies then when we begin finishing it off, we’ll make a second meal that has mainly canned ingredients, like our vegetarian chili recipe, so nothing goes bad before we finish the first meal.
  4. Coupons: We’ve tried being really diligent about coupons in the past, and to be completely honest, it hasn’t always worked out. I get so overwhelmed with how many coupons are available, but usually don’t go towards what we use. So now I only look for coupons once I’ve meal planned that’ll actually apply to the food we’re going to get. Don’t get me wrong, coupons are great, but don’t feel obligated to get things with coupons you wouldn’t normally use unless you have the space to really stock up.
  5. Beauty:  I’ve found that my favorite beauty reward program is Ultamate Rewards. I like Ulta’s more than others because they offer both drugstore and high end products, so when I want to just grab a drugstore brand mascara, the points I get from purchasing can go towards something more expensive later.
  6. Make Loose Change Count: My mom and I use to pay for trips by saving loose change all year. We were able to pay for our flights and always had some spending money left over just from change. Sam and I don’t use cash all that often, but this year we decided that when we do we would put the change in a mason jar. It’s getting pretty full so we’re going to take it to the bank before the new year to see how much we were able to collect!

Take care,
The Wiesenbears

Black Friday,Yay!

heidi-sandstrom-173946It’s always seemed a little strange to me that the day after Thanksgiving there’s massive sales. Every year I cringe watching the news broadcasts people trampling each other for a $15 DVD player, but I can also see the fun side of Black Friday. I remember going shopping with my mom and grandma the day after Thanksgiving for Christmas presents for the family. Now I do most of my shopping online, so I don’t really feel the need to get a black eye over said $15 DVD player, but still found some deals from the convenience of home and local drugstore. Most of my purchases were beauty related, so I’ll share a couple of the products I’m most excited about!

BS-MALLS Premium 14 Piece Brush Set in Rose Gold- I’ve had the same makeup brushes for about four or five years, and although they’re still in working condition, they look like they’ve taken a beating, and I couldn’t resist these. I found them on Amazon for about $11, and not only are they gorgeous, but they have really great reviews so I’m really excited to try them.

Biore UV Aqua Rich SPF 50- I read an article about Japan being the front runner for sunscreen, they’re methods of determining how well sunscreens work (and feel) are a lot better than ours. This particular sunscreen came up often and until recently, it wasn’t available to buy this side of the pond, but thank goodness for the internet. I snagged it for $9, and shipping was free.

Jergens Shea Butter Body Lotion- I picked this up this morning at a drugstore on my way home from work, it was a couple dollars off so it was pretty cheap. I’ve always loved Jergens, but have never tried this one. I’ve also tried other Shea butter lotions before, but they were all really heavy and thick and I never felt like they absorbed into my skin. Although I’ve only used it twice, it spreads so much easier, and feels so moisturizing.

Giving Thanks + the Great Pumpkin Cheesecake.

Thanksgiving.jpg

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We hope you  had a beautiful day with the ones you love. We had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with Sam’s family, ate pie and played games. Thanksgiving always reminds me how lucky I am, I know that sounds like bragging, but maybe just today showing gratitude for what we have is okay. My life isn’t perfect, it never will be, but when I think back to how lost I felt a few years ago, it makes me realize how grounded and whole I’ve become, and I have to give some credit the boy passed out in a carb coma beside me for that. I’m so filled with love for everyone the universe has brought my way. There’s so much to be thankful for.

Okay enough with the sappy, on to the food! As usual, we completely stuffed ourselves. Me with stuffing, Sam with corn casserole. Now, I have a confession, I don’t like pumpkin pie. As much as I love all things fall, I’ve never been able to actually enjoy one of the staple autumn foods, until Sam made pumpkin cheesecake. I think part of what makes me dislike traditional pumpkin pie is the texture, but with pumpkin cheesecake, it’s the same flavor with a more appealing feel to me. We made some tonight and I loved it just as much this time as I did the last so I’ll post the recipe below. Enjoy! 

INGREDIENTS: For the crust: 30 graham crackers, 5 tablespoons of melted butter,  2 tablespoons of white sugar. For the cheesecake: 16 ounces of softened cream cheese, 1/2 cup of white sugar, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, one 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, 16 ounces of heavy whipping cream

DIRECTIONS: 

  • Crush graham crackers, then stir in melted butter and sugar.
  • Grease a 9 inch springform pan. Press crust mix into the bottom, then refrigerate for half an hour.
  • In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth.
  • Stir in pumpkin puree, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice.
  • Whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
  • Fold into pumpkin cheesecake mixture, spreading evenly into graham cracker crust.
  • Refrigerate until solid, approximately two hours.
  • Top with plenty of whipped cream!

Take care,
The Wiesenbears

End of Semester Blues + Lemon Chicken Spaghetti Squash.

Well, we had about a week of enjoying November when everything went to down the drain. Our save-the-date cards got lost in the mail, a deer sprinted out in front of our car and we almost got into a huge accident, our fishbowl cracked and everything on the desk got soaking wet, so we’ve spent the last three days washing and disinfecting (the fish is okay). We have about 50 deadlines coming up and it gets dark at 5:00 so my sleep schedule is all messed up and I feel tired all the time.

The silver lining is that the weather is fantastic, and we began planning a trip during winter break, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I hope you’re having a great week, or at least a better week than we have had. Lately, we’ve been trying to balance (somewhat) clean eating and our autumn cravings. We both love spaghetti squash so we’re tried several different recipes, so I’ll list one of my favorite we’ve adapted from Buzzfeed below. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS: 1 spaghetti squash, 2 chicken breast cut into pieces, 1 diced medium yellow onion, 4 minced garlic cloves, 3 cups of cherry tomatoes cut in halves, ½ lemon juiced, 1 cup of chicken broth, 8 ounces baby spinach, salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS: 

  •  Preheat oven to 375˚F
  • Using a fork, poke several holes into the spaghetti squash, and microwave on high for 5 minutes.
  • Cut squash in half, remove seeds with a spoon, then drizzle squash with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place squash upside down on baking tray and bake for 40 minutes until soft. Set aside to cool.
  • Coat a skillet with olive oil, and cook the chicken breast on medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes until the chicken is golden brown. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.
  • Sauté onion for a few minutes, then add garlic and cook for a about a minute, then add tomatoes and cook for a couple minutes. Cook until onions are translucent.
  • Add lemon juice and chicken broth, and cook until the liquid partially reduces, approximately 15-20 minutes. Add chicken and cook for several minutes. Add spinach and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Using a fork, shred the inside of the squash, then add sauce.

Take care,
The Wiesenbears

November Beauty Favorites.

The contents of a woman's purse emptied on a white surfaceI went on a little shopping spree for my birthday and have really enjoyed some of the products I purchased so I wanted to share, along with some I’ve just been using more lately. I also realized I need to keep a water bottle with me more often. It’s been so dry here and it makes my skin look dull and I feel blah unless I continually drink water. So make sure to stay hydrated!

L’Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick in Eva’s Nude- This nude is so creamy and smooth, like all L’Oreal lipsticks I’ve tried. It’s a really great natural color that doesn’t make your lips look frosty or dead (maybe that’s just an olive complexion problem). It’s a perfect fit when you want to do dramatic eye makeup with neutral lips.

Buxon Full-On Lip Polish in Sophia- I actually got my first Buxon Lip Polish recently on recommendation and I loved it so much I went back for more. I’ve been wearing this over my Eva’s Nude lipstick and it makes a really beautiful nude pink.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Tweezers- I thought all tweezers were the same until I bought these. I decided to stop paying to getting my eyebrows done this past summer, and necessity became the mother of invention. My eyebrows are not naturally very shapely, so I finally sat down one day and spent half an hour finding an eyebrow shape I could do, liked, and looked natural on me. These tweezers are so sharp and precise with a great grip, so I can get even the tiniest hairs.

tarte Tartiest Pro To Go Palette- I’ve only had this palette about a month, but I’m surprised how much I’ve enjoyed it. It’s very pigmented so you don’t need a whole lot to get full coverage on your lids. Plus, the colors are really beautiful and versatile as well so you can go as dramatic or natural as you’d like.

Chi Onyx Euroshine- I hardly ever straighten my hair, but once in a blue moon the mood will strike me and I’ll have to cancel all my plans for the day to straighten my extremely thick and wavy hair. This is the first straightener I have owned that I actually like because it never catches on my hair or feels like it’s crushing it, it just glides. It also heats up really fast, and gives you a lot of options for temperature settings.

My Current Skincare Routine.

When I told Sam I wanted to do a skincare post, he teased me about possibly sounding like Christian Bale in American Psycho. The scene when he goes on and on about the skin products he uses, then snaps like a twig when Jared Leto has a better business card than he does. Regardless, I’ll try to keep my cool. I’ve always loved skin care, even more than makeup, and I’ve used a lot of products over the years, so I wanted to share what I’m currently enjoying!

 I’ve been using Clinique’s 3 Step Care System since the summer when my friend, with absolutely gorgeous skin, recommended it. My routine is a little different in the morning than it is at night, so I’ll explain what I do for both. I have combination oily skin, which is a blessing and a curse, but luckily Clinique’s program is designed to best suit all skin type, and create balance.

In the morning, I begin by washing my face with Clinique Liquid Face Soap,  if I have the time I’ll apply a brightening mask, like Lancome Pure Empreinte Masque, and leave on for 5-10 minutes before rinsing, then tone with Clinique Clarifying Lotion #3. Next, I use Mario Badescu Facial Spray, and moisturize with with a SPF moisturizer. Utah is really sunny, even during the winter, and I’ve used and loved Aveeno Positively Radiant SPF 30 for several years.

For my evening routine, I take off my makeup with Neutrogena Night Calming Makeup Remover Wipes. Then, I use my Clarisonic Mia with the same cleanser and clarifying lotion as the morning, then I’ll apply Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller. Next I’ll rub a little Shea Moisture’s Argon Oil all over my face, it’s a dry oil so it absorbs quickly. I’ll finish with the same facial spray that I use in the morning, and moisturize with Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel.

About once a week, I’ll use Garnier Pore Purifier Clay Mask to prevent breakouts and really clean my pores. I also like to make a mask of half an avocado with honey, the avocado makes my skin look really supple and honey is a great disinfectant. About twice a week I exfoliate with Olay Regenerist Detoxifying Pore Scrub. Despite having skin that can be oily, I don’t like to over exfoliate because my skin can also be sensitive, so I usually play it by ear.

TIPS:

  • Try to keep towels and pillowcases clean. Pillows tend to get dingy because sweat, dirt, dead skin collect in them over time.
  • Always wash hands before touching your face. Try to take note if you prop up your chin with your hands or have a habit of touching your face without thinking about it.
  • Phone screens collect oil and makeup from our faces when we talk, so next time you make a call make sure it doesn’t need to be cleaned first.
  • Try to keep hair clean and away from your face. When I cut bangs, I had the hardest time keeping my forehead from breaking out, although it may be a lot easier for people with less oily skin.
  • Clean makeup brushes often, not only to prevent product buildup but to keep pores clean. Brush cleaner doesn’t have to be expensive, Ecotools Makeup Brush Shampoo does a great job at keeping brushes clean and is easy on bristles. I bought it for about $6 at the grocery store.
  • The oldest tip in the book, aim to drink at least 8 ounces of water each day. If you’re hydrated on the inside, it’ll show on the outside.