Monday, November 20, 2017

Easy Paleo Sunday Meatballs




Spaghetti and Meatballs are the Hallmark of a proper Italian Sunday. When the weather gets cooler, a bowl of pasta is like a big hug and comforting in all of the best ways. Meatballs just taste better on Sundays. I posted a quick picture of these meatballs on my Instagram stories last night and got tons of comments asking for the recipe- so here you go! This is probably the most un-appetizing picture I've ever posted, but hope to update it next time I whip these up, which will likely be very soon since this a menu staple in our house.

This is my base meatball recipe and what I always go by. Turkey, pork, sausage, beef- it all works! I keep the ratio of meat to seasonings the same and tweak as I need depending on what I am making. One thing that always makes a big difference is browning the meatballs on the stove for a bit, and then finishing them in the oven. If you have time to babysit the meatballs for a few minutes on the stove, don't skip this step!

I LOVE meatballs mixed with breadcrumbs and parmesan, but I promise you won't even miss it with this recipe. The flavor is amazing, especially if you have fresh basil on hand. We had these with a simple marinara over spaghetti squash for a healthier Italian Sunday.

Enjoy!

Easy Paleo Sunday Meatballs
1.5 lbs. ground beef (I like 80/20 for these)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
handful fresh basil, chopped
1.5 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix with your hands until combined. (be careful not to over-mix!) Roll into ping pong sized balls and place on your prepped baking sheet. 

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Place meatballs in skillet and brown for 10 minutes, rotating every 2-3 minutes. You may have to do these in batches. Once they are browned, transfer back to the baking sheet. Bake for another 10 minutes or so. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Get That Glow: My Skincare Routine



With winter approaching, I always take extra care with my skin. I'm a product junkie and and always love reading these types of posts- so here you are! I'm also passionate about healthy skincare in general, as it's taken me a long time to feel like I am in a good place with my face. I struggled with acne and breakouts as a pre-teen and teenager and it was a sore subject for many, many years. After lots of trial and error, medicated face washes and even some prescription medicine, I didn't see much difference in my skin until I started paying more attention to what I was putting into my body. My daily diet is nowhere near perfect, but as a rule of thumb, I try to limit dairy, gluten and sugar. These three things in excess sends my skin into a downward spiral and the more I read, the more this is not surprising to me. 

A little over a year ago, I slowly started switching most of my skincare to Beautycounter. I love the company's mission and anything that's better for my skin!? Well, sign me up! I've always been so passionate about what I put IN my body, that I wasn't always paying attention to what I was putting ON it. I was a ride or die Neutrogena girl for years, but my skin hasn't been happier since making the switch! I love the Beautycounter products so much that I decided to sign up as a consultant. I won't focus on that too much here, but if you would like more information, or would like to be added to my Beautycounter Facebook group, send me an email!



Here's my daily routine. It's nothing crazy or intricate, but it really works for me. I love all of these products!

Morning:




1. Beautycounter Charcoal Bar- This is what I cleanse with in the shower. I LOVE this facial bar. It cleanses and purifies and has done wonders for my face. 



2. Neutrogena Toner- I still cannot part with this. It's the most basic toner and has been a part of my skincare routine for years. 



3. Beautycounter Nourishing Eye cream- because once you turn 30 "they" say you need it.



4. Beautycounter Rejuvinating Radiance Serum- Well, I'm not getting any younger and have added a few anti-aging products to my routine, this being one of them. We'll call this...taking preventative measures. In all honesty, this serum makes my skin so soft and my complexion more even. 



5. Countermatch Adaptive Moisture Lotion- easily one of my favorite skincare products, I love this moisturizer! I apply this right before I put on my makeup for the day.


Night:




1. Nourishing Cream Cleanser/Exfoliating Cleanser- I switch these out every other night and always cleanse at night using my Clarisonic brush. I love that thing and have been using it for almost 7 years. It has been one of my best beauty purchases to date. 



2. Beautycounter Nourishing Eye Cream


2. Beautycounter Rejuvinating Radiance Serum


3. Beautycounter Brightening Oil or Rosehip Oil- Oil is all the skincare rage these days and now I see why. I've been using it for over a year and love how soft my face feels when I wake up. It's especially necessary in the winter when the cold weather dries you out. Rosehip Oil does wonders for your skin. It's packed with vitamins and antioxidants that help improve the skin's tone, texture and pigmentation. The Brightening Oil from Beautycounter is a new addition and after almost a month of use, I'm noticing more evenness in my skin tone.



4. Nourishing Night Cream- this is also a must! I actually take a pump of cream and add 5-6 drops of whichever oil I'm using, mix it in my hand and apply to my face.

EXTRAS:




I LOVE masks! I use one every 2-3 days and typically do them at night. My all time favorite is the Beautycounter No. 3 Balancing Charcoal Mask. This is actually the product that got me hooked on these products to begin with. I alternate with the No. 1 Brightening Mask




This Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Rosewater is the best! It's a perfect midday pick me up for your skin. The smaller spray bottle is perfect for on the go!




Castor oil is supposed to be the best all-natural product to promote lash growth so I thought I would give it a go! The jury is still out on this one but I'll keep using it! 

You can shop my Beautycounter page HERE and if you would like to be added to my Facebook group, just send me an email! Take care of your skin, everyone!!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Kate's Magical Unicorn Sprinkle Cake



I'm not sure how it happened, but our little Princess Kate turned TWO a few weeks ago! Wasn't she just born!? She is just the best little girl in the world and we love her more everyday. I'm in denial that she's less and less baby and more of a toddler. She is sassy, sweet and hilarious. The princess of the family, for sure! We celebrated with family and it was such a special day! Little miss was eating up all of the birthday attention.



Any birthday in this house isn't quite complete without our favorite sprinkle cake. Will has now asked for a sprinkle cake two years in a row and it's looking like this is a Moore family birthday tradition. I took it to the next level and created this unicorn edition for Kate's birthday and I AM IN LOVE. 

A little back story on the unicorn obsession...as trendy as they may be, it was a little bit of an accident how they became Kate's "animal". Before she was born, my dear friend went to England and brought our baby girl back a souvenir. It was a piece of the official china comemorating the birth of Princess Charlotte. The design is a gorgeous gold lion and unicorn- and so the unicorn love started and here we are. 


This cake was not only magical, but delicious, too! I think I've finally found the very best birthday cake recipe. I added sprinkles to the batter making it funfetti, but I used this same cake recipe for my sister's birthday in September and everyone LOVED it. The consistency is perfect- it really is a classic white birthday cake. I'm convinced that Greek yogurt in the batter, plus folding the whipped egg whites in separately at the end makes ALLLLL of the difference here. 


To make the unicorn cake topper, I went back to the clay animal making days of my craft loving childhood. I found a tutorial online and spent a naptime one afternoon molding away. I purchased pre-made white fondant (found HERE) as well as gel food coloring (found HERE). For the sparkly horn and hooves, I used Wilton Gold Lustre Dust (found HERE) and simply painted it onto the fondant. This was my first time ever using fondant and I had so much fun! Any excuse to get crafty is always good for my soul.                                                            
             
  

Kate asked for "puhhhhple " frosting and how could I say no!? I mixed a tiny bit of pink and a tiny bit of purple to get this gorgeous light lavender and I think the color came out perfect. 



The BEST Funfetti Birthday Cake Recipe
recipe adapted from Craftsy

FOR THE CAKE-
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
4 large eggs, separated
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract 
1 cup full fat Greek yogurt 
1/2 cup sprinkles (jimmies are the best!)

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM-
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
6-8 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Food coloring

Adjust oven rack to the middle position in the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease, flour and line the bottom of two 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper. 

In a large bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whisk egg whites until soft peaks start to form. This will take several minutes. Transfer them to another bowl. 

Switch out the whisk attachment for the paddle attachment on your mixer and in a large bowl (just use the same one that you whisked the egg whites in), cream the butter until fluffy and light, about 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed. Scrape down the bowl as necessary. Add the granulated and brown sugars and mix on medium high speed until combined and smooth, another 2-3 minutes. Add the egg yolks one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one. Add the vanilla and mix until just combined.

While on medium speed, add the yogurt and flour mixture alternately, in 2-3 additions each. Mix the batter until it is smooth and free of any lumps. The batter will be super thick. By hand, fold in the egg whites gently until no streaks of white remain. 

Lastly, add sprinkles to the batter and mix those in by hand as well.

Divide batter into the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Every oven is SO different, but I found that 33 minutes was the perfect amount of time for this cake! 

Once cakes are done, remove from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes before flipping the pans over and removing the cakes. Wait until the cakes have cooled completely before frosting. 

To make the buttercream, in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, beat butter for 2-3 minutes until very smooth. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and the salt and beat until smooth. Keep adding powdered sugar in 1 cup increments, until it has reached your desired frosting consistency. If you find that the sugar is too thick, add milk or cream, 1 tsp. at a time, to thin it out. Add desired color and mix until done. 



Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Great Pumpkin Beer Tasting



Back in September, when the first day of Fall hit, Mark and I celebrated in the most delicious way we knew how- with a pumpkin beer tasting! I went to town at Total Wine and built my own 6 pack, making sure to pick mostly new to us beers. Two of the beers we had are old favorites, but I couldn't pass them up and had to include them in our first day of Fall tasting. GIVE ME ALL THE PUMPKIN BEERS. It's like a switch turned on September 22 and I was in full on pumpkin. NO turning back now. 

Pumpkin beer is tricky. Too much squashy taste or too much spice can totally ruin the good vibes. I like a little pumpkin, a little spice and hint of sweet and that warm Fall feeling. I guess you could say I'm particular about my pumpkin beer! 

We didn't go in any particular order, other than saving what we predicted would still be our favorite to the very end. 

My rankings are as follows:

#1 Cottonwood Pumpkin (Foothills Brewing
I'm confident this will always be my most favorite of the pumpkin beers. I've loved this one for years and it's the perfect amount of spice and not too much sweet. If you can find this on draft, GET IT! It's so, so good. 

#2 King Don's Pumpkin (Catwaba Brewing)
This was another winner! Mark and I both really liked the flavors in this and it was the first beer of the night. Again, not too sweet and a good amount of fall spices. 

#3 Pumpkin Pie Porter (Deep River Brewing)
Over the past couple of years, I have grown to LOVE dark beers. They are a great way to end a meal or even as a little dessert beverage. This porter is rich and flavorful.

#4 Pumpkin Down (Ballast Point)
This was a little on the strong side but I enjoyed it for the most part! It was a little heavy on the carmel flavor to me and I definitely couldn't drink more than one but it was good.

#5 Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin (New Belgium Brewing
I wish I loved this but I just didn't. It was way too spicy for me and the spice overpowered all of the good things it had going. If you like a little spice to your beer, this is definitely for you! 

#6 Jack-O Traveler Pumpkin Shandy (The Traveler Beer Co.)
This was like a combo of pumpkin juice and an Arnold Palmer. I think I have decided that Shandys definitely aren't for me. 

A few other Pumpkin beers we are loving this season- Gordgeous, from Noda Brewing and Sycamore Brewing's Oh My Gourd. Both are great and local to Charlotte! 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Best Ever Cajun Seasoning (P.S. it's from Emeril)


If you need a go- to cajun seasoning, THIS IS IT! You can buy Emeril's Essence in the store, but you probably already have all of these things in your spice cabinet. It's also nice to make it yourself because you can adjust the spices according to what you like. I recommend going a little lighter on the cayenne and you can always add extra. A little of that stuff goes a long way. And really kicks anything up a notch.

We put this on everything! It's delicious on grilled meats, fish and even on roasted veggies! When i'm not using my beloved Everything But the Bagel seasoning on my morning eggs, this is a good switch up! 

This makes a big batch, so grab an empty spice jar and you will have plenty of this seasoning to keep on hand.

Emeril's Essence

2.5 Tbsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper (cut back on this for less spice)
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. dried thyme

Mix all ingredients together and transfer to a spice jar! 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Antipasto Kabobs

Going into the weekend with all the heart eyes and pumpkin beers right now. I'm also hoping for an October crispness in the air so that we can enjoy our back patio fire pit and make some s'mores! It's almost Happy Hour time and happy hour on Friday, truly is the best hour- especially when you have a good snack to go with it. 


I'm completely obsessed with these Italian bites. I took them to our big neighborhood party this past weekend and they were a huge hit. They are filled with ALL THE GOOD ITALIAN THINGS and the presentation is automatically cute with everything perfectly lined up. They are also easy to grab which is great for a mixing and mingling setting. What more do you need!? I found these perfect sized bamboo skewers at World Market and they were deifnitely worth the extra trip. A drizzle of pesto on top would totally take these over the edge in all of the best ways. 

I'm already looking for an excuse to make these again.  

Antipasto Kabobs
recipe from Designer Bags and Dirty Diapers

1 package cheese tortellini, cooked according to instructions
Sliced salami
Green olives
Fresh basil leaves
Grape tomatoes
Fresh mini mozzarella balls

Cook tortellini according to the instructions on the package. 

To assemble kabobs, I did salami, tortellini, green olive, basil, tomato, mozzarella. I finished with a drizzle of good olive oil and a tiny bit of salt and pepper. 







Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Pumpkin Power Cookies


I am normally of the mindset "LONG LIVE SUMMER", but as soon as September 22 rolled around on the calendar I was ready to switch to Fall. Will has been super excited about the seasons changing over, well, since Summer started, and he told me that because Friday was the first day of Fall, all of the leaves were going to fall off of the trees at once. Cutest little kid comment ever. 

The season comes and goes so fast here and even though we are still hovering in temperatures around 80 degrees, I want to soak it up before Christmas is knocking at our door. Which is three months from yesterday. Whoah.

These power cookies are the perfect healthy snack, sweet treat and everything in between. My Paleo Snack Bites are my go-to pre workout snack, but I needed a change this week. The 5:15am wakeup call to hit the gym is never easy, but it's been a little easier this week to crawl out of bed knowing I can eat one of these. My kids LOVE them, too! They are packed with all kinds of good nutrients and filled with the flavors of Fall. They are also grain free and refined sugar free! What more could you want!?



Pumpkin Power Cookies
recipe from Primally Inspired

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup raw honey
1.5 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 eggs
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk pumpkin, coconut oil, honey, pumpkin pie spice, salt and eggs. Mix until combined. Stir in walnuts, pecans, cranberries and chocolate chips.

Using a spoon, drop about a tablespoon or two of the cookie mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes. 

Once they are done and completely cooled, transfer them to an airtight container and store in the fridge.