Slow Cooker Honey Teriyaki Chicken

Hello lovely,

Welcome to what was supposed to be the first recipe of the year! I kept pushing this back because of time and forgetfulness, but we’re finally here! I honestly couldn't wait to use my new slow cooker. I looked through Pinterest for the perfect recipe (because, duh, I don't know how to cook in one yet). I don't know why I put so much pressure on picking the perfect recipe just because it would be the first. What I really needed was convenient and cost effective. So when I found this recipe on Kitchen, I knew this would be the one to tackle. It even came with helpful tips on choosing the right part of the chicken and how long the recipe keeps in the fridge.

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Go Thighs for the Slow Cooker

Chicken thighs are the right choice for this take on takeout because their meaty flavor isn't overshadowed by the rich teriyaki sauce and they are more forgiving than chicken breasts, consistently remaining juicy after a couple of hours in the slow cooker. That said, if you've only got chicken breasts on hand, you can substitute them with no change in prep or cook time.

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Slow Cooker Honey Teriyaki Chicken

Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 6 thighs)

  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce

  • 1/2 cup honey

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger

  • 1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons cornstarch

For serving: Cooked rice, red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, sliced scallions

Instructions

Arrange the chicken in a single layer in the bottom of a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Scatter the onion and garlic over the top. Whisk the soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, pepper, and ginger together in a small bowl and pour over the chicken.

Cover and cook on the LOW setting for 2 to 3 hours or on the HIGH setting for 1 to 2 hours. The chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest piece registers 165°F.

Transfer chicken to a cutting board and cut into 1-inch pieces.

Pour the sauce into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced by half, 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the water and cornstarch together in a small bowl. Once the sauce has reduced, whisk the cornstarch slurry into the sauce and cook until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.

Return the chicken to the slow cooker and pour in enough sauce to coat the chicken. Reserve any remaining sauce for leftovers. Serve over cooked rice and garnish with red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, and scallions.

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Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftover chicken and sauce in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Make ahead: The chicken and sauce can be made 1 day in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container. Warm in a saucepan over medium-low heat or in the microwave before serving.

Honey & Orange Pumpkin Spice Sweet Tea

Hello Lovely,

This past weekend, I told you guys how I engaged in some much needed self-care. What I didn’t mention is that I drank so much, I threw up. I didn’t feel bad about it. I actually puked until I passed out, and then had one of the best nights of sleep I had in a long time. Of course the bad side to this is waking up with puke on your shirt and breath, an upset stomach from your purging and a hangover that leaves your legs feeling week and useless. So what’s a girl to do when she needs to get work done, but her night of fun led to some unforeseen consequences? I reached for the magical healing powers of herbal tea of course!

You should’ve seen me. I probably looked like a caveman as I moved around the kitchen gathering ingredients and boiling water! But I was determined to feel better and not forgo all of the tasks I had lined up for the day.

As you all know I’m an avid coffee drinker, but I cannot deny that when I am sick, I will reach for a cup of herbal tea before anything else. And given the severity of the situation, I thought I’d amp it up with some orange zest and honey. The addition of a little honey adds another depth of sweetness/flavour. I find that orange juice is great for combating hangovers but any citrus you prefer could be used here instead (like lemons or limes). Oranges are sweeter, but lemons could add a little zest kick, so you do what you like. This can be enjoyed hot or cold, but if you’re not feeling well, hot is the best way to go, and cold is great for just wanting sweet tea.

Honey & Orange Pumpkin Spice Sweet Tea

(single serving)

·        2 teaspoons  sugar

·        1 tablespoon honey

·        1 Pumpkin Spice Tea Bag

·        ¼ cup orange slices

In your mug, steep your tea bag about 5-8 minutes (the stronger the better) then stir together the hot water, sugar and honey until dissolved. Add the orange slices and allow the flavour to be absorbed. Remove the bags or leave them in if you’re like me and like a continual release of flavour. If drinking cold, chill for 2 hours before serving. Garnish your mug with an orange slice and enjoy!

My Natural Hair Journey: 2 Months After My Haircut Nearly Ruined My Life

Hello Lovely,

This month makes two years since I big chopped making me officially a naturalista! I was hoping my hair would have been longer by now, but after bleaching it twice, really not understanding much about natural hair (I seriously just found out what TWA stands for about a month ago) and after undergoing to worst, most unexpected haircut back in April, I basically spent two years just to have about 4 inches of hair.

I would like to think that I was strong enough to rock my hair regardless but I was really embarrassed. I about about to meet my future mother-in-law in St. Croix who has really long hair and I didn't want her to think ill of me. Yeah, I was that self-conscious. Also I was going to be on vacation in a foreign country with lots of visits to the beach and I did not want to have to fix my hair so I went with box braids.

It looked great but I really was ashamed the entire time. I ended up leaving the braids in for 6-7 weeks and experienced a lot of breakage when I finally took it out. Which added more feelings of shame so I had my mum flat row the front for me.

Since the haircut, this was honestly the first time I looked at my hair and actually liked it. The style looked great, everyone liked it and it also hid the length because everyone thought it was just shrinkage. But of course, it didn't take long for my hair to dry out and I was back to feeling like nothing would ever work for my hair.

After doing some research, I learned that I had low porosity hair. And being the hypochondriac that I am, I am grateful for every diagnosis I can get because it helps me to come up with a practical solution, rather than sitting in defeat. That's when I came across this amazing Honey & Aloe Hair Treatment that I shared last Friday on the blog. 

Yesterday was my second time trying it. I didn't feel like going outside to cut the aloe plant so I used my aloe vera juice and honey, which I'm sure works the same way. I combine about 1/2 cup of aloe vera juice (because my hair is still shoulder length it doesn't require much) with 1 tablespoon of honey and stir until the honey is completely dissolved. You'll want to pour it over dry hair and really make sure it's fully absorbed into the hair. Then I put on a plastic shower cap and left it on for an hour because I don't apply heat to my hair.

After that I rinsed it out with hot water, then did a final rinse in cold water. From here I allowed my hair to dry 80%, before starting my LCO. For the L, I used coconut milk. In the past my hair has responded really well to coconut milk. My supply is diluted with water and a little bit of aloe vera juice. Then I have to wait for my hair to dry 80% again.

After this, I'll section my hair into relatively small sections and apply my C, Aunt Jackies Seal it Up, Hydrating Sealing Butter and then apply my O, Olive Oil before detangling and styling. I used to use olive oil when I lived in Tampa, so going back to it felt like the right thing to do and I really can't remember why I ever stopped. The first time I did this LCO after the aloe and honey treatment, I was genuinely surprised by how much shine and bounce my hair had. It also lasted about four days before it started to feel dry again, so I think my new regimen will be to do this entire process every 4-5 days, shampooing twice per month.

I'll definitely keep you guys up to date with how this goes for me. I think I've noticed about two inches of growth since the haircut, which I think we can all agree is better than nothing! I can't tell you how many selfies I took yesterday because I was just so happy with my hair! For growth? Who knows. It may have been the tea tree oil, it may have been the lavender essential oil. Maybe even a combination of both. Either way, I'm satisfied!

What has your natural journey been like? Share any tips you may have for others who may be suffering or struggling with low porosity hair!

DIY Body Wash with Honey + Coconut Oil

Hi friends!

It's a new month, which means a new and clean start! And what better way to get a new and clean start than to make your own body wash?

Made with Three Simple Ingredients:

COCONUT OIL

Coconut oil isn't just for cooking: it's also a beauty multitasker that you can use to hydrate your skin, fight frizz, and reduce premature signs of aging.

RAW HONEY

It does wonders for a wide variety of skin ailments including: Acne and enlarged pores, Rosacea
Eczema, Hyperpigmentation, Sensitive, mature, and dull lifeless skin. Its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties make it great for healing cuts and burns by killing bacteria and fungus. Raw honey also contains gluconic acid, a mild alpha hydroxy acid that brightens the complexion, evens out skin tone, and lightens scars and age spots.

LIQUID CASTILE SOAP

Olive oil is what makes natural Castile soap ideal for the skin. It is the primary ingredient in Castile soap and it's the ingredient that gives the soap its mildness and gentleness. Free of synthetic fragrances and preservatives, pure castile soap is gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin. It is completely biodegradable and lacks the harsh chemicals that may pollute our groundwater.

I first saw this recipe/tutorial about two or three weeks ago and thought it would be amazing to try!  I thought maybe it would be cheaper than buying shower gel but now that I think about it, this actually costs more. Why does everything that's all natural and good for you have to cost more? I paid about $12 for the coconut oil, sometime last year (thank God this stuff lasts long), $7 for the honey, about $3 for the vitamin e and a little under $10 for the liquid castile soap. That's almost $32! The only good thing about this is with the bottle of castile soap that I got, I can make this recipe at least twice. But I can still buy shower gel for about $6-7 a pop. Even if I pay $7 per 16 oz. bottle, I can still buy 4 bottles and have $4 change. So this still isn't the most cost effective way to go all natural.

When I used it in the shower this morning, it lathered real nice (thanks to the foam-action pump on the bottle) so that felt good going on, but it left my skin feeling dry. Not dry as in under-nourished, dry like, squeaky clean dry. It's a feeling I'll have to get used to but at least I didn't feel icky and filmy. A little Jergens lotion afterwards and I felt silky smooth.

So if you're looking for an alternative to store-bought body wash for whatever your reason may be, I would suggest you try this little DIY! Even if only for the fun of it! 

DIY Body Wash with Honey + Coconut Oil

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup raw honey
  • ½ cup liquid Castile soap (I used the Rose scented Castile Soap so I skipped out on the essential oils)
  • 1 teaspoon vitamin E
  • 15 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 10 drops sweet orange essential oil
  • 10 drops lemon or grapefruit essential oil
  • An empty plastic/glass bottle with a pump (foam pumps are the best because it's just so much fun!)

Instructions

  • Scoop coconut oil into a microwave safe bowl and heat on medium setting for 30 seconds until melted. I was able to skip this step because I'm always leaving my coconut oil out at room temperature. I hate having the work so hard to scoop it up so I just leave it in liquid form, since most tutorials would have you melt it anyway.
  • Add honey, essential oils and vitamin E and whisk together.
  • Add Castile soap slowly, stirring gently to avoid creating suds.
  • Transfer to glass or plastic bottle.
  • Shake before each use.

You’ll notice the body wash separates as it sits so just shake it up before each use. I have not had any problems with the coconut oil solidifying, as long as it stays at room temperature, but if you’re worried about that you can use almond oil or even coconut milk instead. Personally I think I'll use coconut milk next time because coconut oil tends to dry out my skin and hair (I did once use it to cure my eczema).


Are you guys going to try this? Are there any other beauty products that you'd rather make yourself than buy? Sound off in the comment section below, or on my Facebook page!


XoX,

Olivia

Vegan Stir Fry Noodles

Hey everyone,

 

It's been a rollercoaster of emotions since we last spoke. But I talked it out and went shopping yesterday for new sweaters to wear to work. I got three new sweaters, in khaki, coral and turqouise (or maybe it was mint green, I can't remember). I also got a new pencil skirt in baby blue, for a grand total of $82.67 for all four items. I think that was a good deal. I also bought some fabric in a beautiful mint green for only $1.87 (while the sales lady did a horrible job of convincing me that the $8.99 per yard was the better choice. 

 

I actually made a pencil skirt out of the fabric. I use the term actually, because I haven't touched my sewing machine or had much desire to do so in weeks. I'm trying to get back into sewing again, but it's gonna have to happen gradually. The skirt looks great, because pencil skirts have to be the easiest clothing item in the world to make. I'll share the photos with you when I wear it.

But wait, that's not all! (Don't you feel like you're in a commercial for the latest trendy item)? As I was leaving the fabric store, I got a craving for stir fry noodles. Considering I had just bought sweaters and fabric, I decided it was best to make this dish myself and save some money. I did a budget friendly version using regular spaghetti because let's face it, who actually has soba noodles just sitting around this house? I didn't have all of the ingredients needed to make a true, authentic stir fry, but this satisfied my craving. There's even leftovers for lunch today. Forgive me if I'm a little off with the measurements. So if you're craving stir fry, but want to do your wallet a favour, try this recipe. It takes about the same amount of time as if you were waiting inside a Chinese restaurant and is better for you. So leave the MSG and let's wok n roll! (I can't believe I just said that).

VEGAN STIR FRY NOODLES

Ingredients

  • 4 oz Thin Spaghetti (it cooks faster, but use whatever you have)

  • ½ cup frozen mixed vegetables

  • ¼ cup chopped mushrooms

  • ¼ cup chopped extra firm tofu

  • ¼ cup soy sauce

  • ¼ cup honey

  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 2 tablespoons diced green onions

  • a pinch of ginger

Directions

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil, then add spaghetti and mixed vegetables and let boil until spaghetti is tender.

  2. Meanwhile, in your greased skillet, combine mushrooms, green onions,  tofu, soy sauce, honey, nutmeg and ginger, and sautee on low heat, about ten minutes. Turn off the heat once the mushrooms and tofu have fully marinated before it starts to burn.

  3. Once the spaghetti and vegetables are done, add to the skillet, and mix until well combined.

  4. Serve in your favourite dish and enjoy!