Lifestyle Showdown | Blake Vs. Gwyneth

Gwyneth Paltrow and Blake Lively

In a Kill Bill inspired battle to the death, two leggy blonde queens will fight for the title of lifestyle guru.

Well, not really, but I must admit, the thought of these two going at it with custom Hattori Hanzo swords is enough to save me from a mid-week funk. It’s hard to imagine anyone having the ability to out shine Gwen at her own posh game, anyone except Blake Lively, who for all intensive purposes may be her genetic clone.

I took it upon myself to go through the arduous task of reviewing both sites in a head to head showdown. First up, her Lord and savior, the inventor of concious uncoupling and lover of $1200 jewelry boxes, Gwyneth Paltrow and her goop.

Web Design |

goop

Goop wins major brownie points for it’s clean and accessible site. If you have been on the internet for more than 5 minutes at a time, you may have noticed that simplicity is all the rage, proving that sometimes trends are the way to go. The website feels effortless, allowing the content to be the primary source of interest.

Fashion |

goop

It’s easy to get sidetracked by some of the ultra expensive clothing suggested on the site, although in the recent past there has been a shift with more reasonable brands such as J.Crew and Zara. Don’t get excited just yet, Paltrow hasn’t moved too far away from unattainable luxury items, such as a $245 Robot Sweatshirt that is only appropriate for a kindergartner. Still, I have to give credit where credit is due, the woman knows clothes, and it looks like somebody out there is buying this stuff because half of it is sold out- reveal yourselves!

Food |

goop

White Pear Kimichi aside, the recipes featured on the site are not as absurd as one might expect. Sure, some of the ingredients may be a little out there ( I’m looking at you dandelion greens) but who can be mad at fried chicken? Overall the dishes are relatively easy to follow, even for the novice chef.

Commerce |

goop

My goodness, the woman loves to monogram stuff. Before you ask yourself what one would do with a five-hundred dollar wooden longboard, please remember that this is goop, and while she will sometimes throw in a Zara coat, most of the items offered are pricey pricey. There is a reason the mere mention of it causes exaggerate eye movement.

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Next up, everybody’s favorite Gossip Girl, the envy of Teenagers everywhere, Blake Lively’s Preserve.

Web Design |

Preserve

Preserve takes a different turn with a darker, moodier layout. It’s definitely a departure from the whitewashed websites that seems to be popping up everywhere, although I’m not sure if that is a benefit or a hindrance. There is a mystical new-age feel, which may or may not have been done on purpose, it’s hard to tell. I’m also perplexed as to why these people are wearing shoes in 3 inches of water?

Fashion |

Preserve

Continuing on with the strange-ness, there is an entire post dedicated to why it’s ok to wear black during the day, black, as if this is a foreign concept. (Side note: Do people really need to be told this? Yes, wear black, it’s the best non-color color ever. Bury me in it.) Oh, you can buy an artisan apron for a hundred bucks. There doesn’t seem to be too much of an emphasis on clothing here, but that may also be because the site is fairly new.

Food |

Preserve

The big difference between goop and Preserve is editorial, where Paltrow’s site is straight to the point, Preserve likes to tell a story. Which is the case with the donuts, oh, the donuts. Here contributor Ransom Weaver gives a peek inside of L.A.’s Donut Friend, where apparently magic is preformed with flour and sugar. The short story was adorable and the images, mouthwatering.

Commerce |

Preserve

The prices in the Shop may vary, but they are a far cry from that $1200 jewelry box. Actually, that sold-out all natural hot fudge looks like something I could get behind. A $600 crystal bowl being the exception, most of the products offered are splurge items that won’t break the bank completely. Who needs to eat more than bread, and water, and Artisan hot fudge any way?

Winner |

Gwyneth Paltrow

I have to give this one to Gwyneth. Yes, she is pretentious and way too into herself, but the site is welcoming and easily navigated. That’s not to say Blake is far behind, with a little polish I’m sure we will be scoffing at the insanity of Artisan deodorant in no time. Until then, please enjoy both these sites in whatever way you see fit.

Happy Lifestylin.

Xx

*All images where grabbed from their respected sources.

The easiest summer brussels sprout recipe ever.

So, let’s discuss the beauty of these little mini cabbages we so lovingly refer to as Brussels Sprouts. In the past, these nutritious buds were after down-played as one of the least liked vegetables for it’s bitter taste, but when cooked correctly these morsels can add a much needed splash of color and flavor to any Summer BBQ.Not to mention they are chock full of Sulforaphane, a known cancer fighter.

Brussels Sprout Recipe

Boiling Brussels Sprouts had long been the go-to (AKA boring) way to cook them, unfortunately it also happens to be the least nutritious way. My preferred method has always been roasting, however the thought of turning on the oven in 90 degree heat is enough to make me re-think my ways.

Pan frying is not only the best way to maintain cancer fighting antioxidants, it also happens to be extremely tasty.

First you need to make this quick and easy Marinade.

* You can pretty much use this on anything including steak, chicken and other vegetables.

What you need:

The juice from half a Lemon

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

3-4 Cloves of Garlic (chopped)

4 Table Spoons of Olive Oil ( You will probably need to add more to the pan throughout the cooking process, so keep it handy.)

Mix all the ingredients into a bowl.

Lemon Garlic marinade

Depending on the size of your sprouts, toss in your halved or quartered brussels. (I opted to quarter mine since they were quite large.) If you are prepping a day ahead, cover and refrigerate. If not, add them to a pan on medium heat.

Brussels Sprouts

They usually need to cook for 10-15 minutes. The end is near when you start to seeing that yummy caramelized browning.

Brussels Sprouts

The finished product should look something like this. The garlic and lemon perfectly combine for that delicious fresh Summer flavor we all know and love. These were served with Pork Chops from the BBQ and fresh corn.

Brussels Sprouts

Happy cooking.

Xx

Sunday night burritos.

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On the seventh day, right before siesta, God created Mexican food.

The burrito, often worshipped, very rarely prepared with confidence in your apartment.

That is, until now.

For years I have been combing the interwebs looking for the perfect burrito recipe which could be prepared on the fly with little to no prep time. Which is why I was so relieve to come across The Pioneer Women’s (Ree Drummond) favorite beef and bean burritos. These lovely little meat and cheese pockets are perfect for a late night meal, or even a weekday treat.

Here is what you need:

1 Yellow Onion

4 small cans of Mexican style tomato sauce

4 cups of shredded cheese

1lb of ground beef or turkey

8 Flour Burrito tortillas

1 can of refried beans

1/2 tsp of cumin

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Chili powder to taste

A few dashes of Tobasco or your favorite hot sauce

First, dice the onion and sautΓ© lightly in some butter until translucent.

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Once the onion is fully cooked, add your meat.

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While the meat is browning put your refried beans in a sauce pan on low heat. Mix in about a cup of shredded cheddar cheese.

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Once your meat is brown, start adding your seasoning. Use as little or as much as you want. Then add about a half a can of the tomato sauce to the meat. Its important not to drown the meat, but to “lightly coat”. A mushy burrito is no fun at all. Allow it to cook in the sauce for about 5 minutes.

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Don’t forget about those beans! Remember to keeping stirring until the mixture looks something like this.

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Once these two main components are done you can start assembling your burritos. I highly recommend microwaving the tortillas for 30 seconds covered in a damp paper towel. This adds a little moisture to the tortillas making them much more pliable.

Add a layer of the bean dip followed by a few spoonfuls of the meat mixture, then roll it up. Not sure how? Watch this YouTube video.

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Pour your leftover tomato sauce over the burritos followed by as much cheese as you can handle. Once you feel satisfied place them in the oven uncovered at 350 for 25 mins.

When they’re done, say hello to quick and easy cheesy goodness.

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Happy eating.

Xx

How to make scrambled eggs.

Even the most renowned Chefs in the world will tell you that scrambled eggs are not always the easiest to prepare, and although I’ve had years of practice, I still can’t get them to that perfect consistency. Dry eggs are not even worth serving and dare I speak about that mucus horror that occurs when they haven’t been cooked enough. Lets face it, we have all suffered through a poorly cooked breakfast and know just how awful bad eggs can be. Which is why I love Leaf.tv‘s quick little tutorial. Check it out and start making your mornings LEGENDARY.

For the full recipe click here

Simple bread pudding.

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Bread pudding is one of those simple pleasures every home chef should be able to prepare at a moments notice. The ingredients are always available, the process is easy, and the outcome is gooey warm love in a bowl. This dish is best served warm and can be either enjoyed as a sweet breakfast or a savory dessert.

What you will need:

6-8 Slices of bread

1/3 cup of melted butter

Raisins

4 eggs, beaten

2 cups of milk or half and half

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract (optional)

8 inch pan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

First you want to break up your bread and place it evenly in the pan. I suggested 6-8 slices but you can determine for yourself how much bread you will need. You can also feel free to use leftover dinners rolls or even bagels. Drizzle the melted butter over the top.

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Raisins are a common addition to bread pudding, but feel free to step outside the box with sliced fresh fruit or even nuts. Spread your topping over the bread.

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In a separate bowl combine all the other ingredients including the 4 beaten eggs. You can use whichever kind of milk you prefer. I usually do a mixture of 2 percent and Half and Half for some added creaminess. Also, feel free to deviate from the sugar suggestion. You can use brown sugar as a substitute as well.

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Once all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed you can pour the concoction evenly over the bread, allowing for it to be fully absorbed. If this is feeling very similar to French toast, thats because it is. Only way more fancy and impressive.

Lightly push the bread down with a fork. This makes sure all the bread gets soaked in that cinnamon goodness.

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Then toss that beautiful mess into the oven for 45 mins. When its done you’ll be the talk of the town! Well, not really, but I’m sure whoever gets to eat it will be super impressed and grateful to know you.

Dig in.

Happy eating.

Xx

Sweet and Savory Turkey Chili.

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The Winter blues are in full effect in my house. Between the bitter cold, consistently gray sky, and intense cabin fever, things have started to get a little hairy around here. So to ease my seasonal woes I turned to the one thing I can enjoy all year round, cooking!

For me, there is nothing more delightful on a frigid night than a warm bowl of Chili. Over time I have experimented with a few different recipes, but I always find myself coming back to one. This Turkey chili is both sweet and savory with a hint of spice, not to mention, it’s super easy to make!

What you will need:

3 Red Bell Peppers (chopped)

1 Whole yellow Onion (chopped)

2-3 Cloves of Garlic (Roughly chopped)

*1 1/2 Cups of your favorite Bean(s)

1LB of ground turkey (I prefer free-range organic)

1/4 TSP of Ground Cumin

1/4 TSP of Cinnamon

1/8 TSP Cayenne Pepper

3 TBLS of Chili Powder ( More or less)

1 Bay Leaf

32oz Can of Tomato Puree ( Can be substituted with chicken broth)

OPTIONAL Red Pepper flakes for an added kick

* You can use any bean you desire but I prefer red or white (or both) Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed to avoid access sodium.

How you put it all together:

– First, place a large lightly-oiled pot over a medium flame. Then add the garlic, onions and red bell peppers. Season with salt and let cook until the onions are translucent.

-In a separate pan, brown and then drain the ground turkey. Add it to the pot with the peppers and onions.

-Once the turkey is mixed in, add beans and tomato puree.

-Then add the chili powder, bay leaf, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. Salt and pepper to taste.

– Let chili simmer for a minimum of 30 mins. I like to prepare mine in the afternoon and let it sit on a low flame for a couple hours.

-Serve with a choice of shredded cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips.

Enjoy!

Xx