As much as I love summer, I kind of hate dealing with what to have for dinner every night. Most days, it’s just too damn hot to get the oven going. I could probably live on salad during the summer months, but The BF wouldn’t appreciate it.
The good news is that we have a crock pot. I rely pretty heavily on ours, but especially during summer months when I’m not about to sweat it out over a hot stove. There are tons of websites dedicated to crock pot cooking and make ahead freezer meals (something I really want to try!), but if you’re like me that might be a bit too much planning. I like to fly by the seat of my pants. I like to go with the flow! I like to throw a bunch of stuff in there and cross my fingers!
So anyway, I know this will sound weird. Brats are for cookouts. They go with sauerkraut, not tomato sauce. I know, but just trust me. The brats cook in the sauce all day and they’re so tender that they are better than meatballs. You may never go back to squishing through ground meat to make balls when you find out how good this is.
Turkey brat spaghetti
6 turkey brats
1-2 cans of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 small onion, quartered
4 cloves garlic
1 green pepper, quartered
Salt and pepper
So you can make this as simple as pouring the sauce into the crock pot, adding the brats, and letting it cook on high for about four hours before turning it to low until the brats are cooked through.
If you want to snazz it up a bit, toss the optional veggies in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast on a parchment lined baking sheet at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until you get some char. Toss them in a food processor after they’ve cooled a bit and pulse until a chunky mixture forms. Add that to the crock pot with your canned sauce and brats. Delicious!
I used macaroni noodles because they’re easier for my boy to eat, but you can use whatever pasta you like… just boil it according to package directions and drown it in sauce and meat. And cheese, duh.
Serve with a salad and garlic bread. Make sandwiches or pizza with the leftovers. Go ahead and call me a genius. Just chew that bite up first, ok? It’s not polite to talk with your mouth full.
Sometimes (not right now, hello hormonal breakouts!) I get asked what my skincare routine is like. I hear from ladies that are around my age that are struggling with their skin and I want so badly to help them…I know what it’s like to get hit in the face with turning 30 and then having a baby and suddenly your skin refuses to behave. Boy, do I ever.
In high school, my face behaved really well considering how lazy I was about washing it. Like, wetting a washcloth and rubbing my face with it was my whole routine. The only time I paid any real attention to washing my face was after a show choir performance, because that was usually the only time I wore makeup. And boy oh boy, did we ever cake it on. I can remember thinking I looked like a clown, only to be told I needed MORE BLUSH! MORE RED LIPSTICK! Can you put some glitter somewhere?
It was the only time in my life that I was able to go through an entire tube of red lipstick. Boy, those were the days.
Now, I even think about putting foundation on and I get a bump on my chin. Pluck my eyebrows? Suddenly tiny pimples pop up in place of the hairs. I have blackheads for days, and I swear no pore strip or scrub on this planet will ever get rid of them for good.
I got really sick of feeling a little like Quasimodo every time I groom my eyebrows. I was tired of the “Guess what, it’s PMS time!” pimple pop up on my chin like clockwork. I needed to do something, clearly (get it?), but what?
I read a ton of beauty blogs, including XOVain (the comments on the articles are usually as good or better than the actual post), and I found that a lot of ladies were really into African Black Soap.
It seemed weird at first…To be honest, some of the stuff looks a lot like you’d be washing your face with a turd. I found Shea Moisture African Black Soap on Amazon, and since it looked a lot less like poop than some of the others I ordered it.
This stuff smells like bubble gum and turns your shower black (e-cloth to the rescue!), but it does really seem to do something great to your skin. I use it on my body and face in the shower, with a pair of exfoliating gloves like these from The Body Shop.
About once a week, I use St Ives Apricot Scrub instead of the African black soap on my face. I know some people aren’t fans, but until I find something that actually exfoliates the way this does, I’m sticking with it. Don’t scold me.
Every day after washing my face, I use Valentia Even Glow Serum to even out my skin tone and plump things up. I actually got my bottle for free to test and review. After using it for about a month I have noticed quite an improvement in my skin… I feel like my color is more even and my face looks more…plump? Juicy? In a good way, though. Like, younger. You have to go easy with this stuff at first or you will probably break out or notice some peeling. I had both for a hot minute, so I backed it down from morning and night use to only once a day and saw a big difference. There’s a nice citrusy smell that reminds me of those chewable vitamin C tablets… Do those even exist anymore?
It’s important to use a good moisturizer with your serum. At night, or if I’m not putting makeup on, I use SheaMoisture African Black Soap Problem Skin Moisturizer. Just a heads up…It doesn’t smell very nice. Still, it’s good stuff!
If I’m putting makeup on, I use Clean & Clear Morning Burst Hydrating Gel Moisturizer, which smells really nice and isn’t thick or greasy at all. It works perfectly under my It Cosmetics Your Skin But BetterTM CC Cream with SPF 50+ (which is seriously my favorite thing on the planet).
So that’s the skincare routine that seems to work for me… For now. What are your favorite face products? Am I the last Apricot scrub diehard on the planet?
***Valentia sent me their serum free of charge for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.***
***Post contains affiliate links***
Well the contest went on longer than I originally intended. Apparently, my beloved Samsung Note 3 decided it was going to take a gimongous crap on me in the middle of running this contest. It was really the least opportune time for that to happen, because I also have a few other things going on that require me to be able to communicate.
The boy and I drove to the nearest Best Buy after Sprint customer care said I could upgrade early since I’d had their service for so dang long. It pays to be loyal, I guess (or just too lazy to switch carriers). We spent a hundred years waiting and chatting with a Samsung rep, and I finally decided on the Galaxy S6. Not only did I pay nothing out of pocket that day, I also walked away with a $100.00 Best Buy gift card just for upgrading. Not to shabby, I think!
If you happened to be in the same Best Buy while I was there, I was the lady with the antsy toddler that suddenly yelled, “I LIKE WINE!” for no reason. For the record, no. He has no idea what wine tastes like.
So now that I’m back in business, I can announce the winner of the e-cloth giveaway!
Congratulations to allaboutcoupons4fun! I’m sending your contact information to the lovely people at e-cloth so you can claim your prize.
Thanks to everyone that entered and shared!
**e-cloth was kind enough to provide one shower pack to me for reviewing, and one to the lucky winner of this contest. All opinions in the review are my own.**