Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Murderer Mystery Party Recap

Hi friends!
If you follow me in Instagram, you may know that Andrew and I hosted a Harry Potter themed murder mystery dinner party this past weekend!
We rented a historic farmhouse from the 1830's and everyone came in character!  Not everyone is pictured here, but starting from the top right, we have Mad Eye Moody, Bellatrix Lestrange (Me), Narcissa Malfoy, Draco Malfoy, Ginny Weasley (Kristin), Tonks, and Hermione Granger!

So, besides sharing a whole lot of fun pictures, I am going to let you in on a little secret...How I planned this whole event!  (Hint:  it was quite extensive, much like a small wedding, but you definitely don't have to go as big as I did, but you can definitely do more if you are so inclined as well!!)

Step 1:  Choose your theme and create characters.  I did a Harry Potter themed party, so if you would like to see my characters and their background story, email me and I can send it your way.

Step 2:  Figure out how in depth you want to go with decorations.  Do you want to go all out?  Or would you rather keep it simple?  Once you decide, gather your ideas and get creative!

Step 3: Create your invites.  Depending on your personal style/preference, this may be the most complicated part; well at least it was for me.  I wanted the card to read as though Bellatrix herself were writing the invitation, so I had to get into character in order to do so.  Then, I created the card using Lucidpress on Google.  On the invite, I included the following:
  • Itinerary and address for the evening
  • A picture and description of the character assigned
  • A themed dish to bring
  • A few paragraphs for the invite in which I explained the rules and expectations of the evening

Bellatrix and Luna Lovegood

Bellatrix and Mrs. Weasley

Now, you don’t have to go quite as in-depth as I did, but you definitely want to give your guests an idea of what they are getting themselves into.  I also gave them plenty of time so they can get or make a costume and/or change character if for some reason they did not like the character chosen for them.  Lucky for me, everyone was happy with their character.  Although, some didn’t want to dress up.  In this situation, I simply said that they had to have a costume, but it did not have to be elaborate.  For example, someone portraying a witch could wear a black t-shirt, yoga pants, and a witch hat headband.  Simple, inexpensive, and most people have something they can throw together easily.

Step 4: Party like you're at Hogwarts!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The BEST Halloween costume for less than $15!!!

See my YouTube video!!
  • Long black skirt (can find at almost all thrift stores for < $5)
  • Black peasant shirt or bodice (I just so happen to own a reversible bodice, so I lucked out there, but I have seen loads of adorable off-the-shoulder tops at Goodwill and Savers)
  • Old fashioned shoes (or black flats will work, or heck go for the grunge look and wear just striped stockings!)
  • Makeup (this is where it can get tricky, but if you own two or three shades of brown, you're practically good to go!)
    • I only had to buy a couple of makeup items, the rest I already owned, but E.L.F. has some great products for very little money.  And they are vegan/not tested on animals!
    • Black eye liner
    • varying shades of brown eye shadow
    • purple eye shadow, optional
    • dark berry-colored lipstick
    • the lightest shade of foundation or BB cream you can find (don't worry about matching your skin color on this one)
    • false eye lashes, optional (the more wild, the better)
Directions:  Prepare for a long post, but I did also make a video!  Check it out here!!

  • For the face makeup:
    • Before applying makeup, I’ve heard from some beauty experts that you should use a moisturizer and primer.  Since I don’t typically use these things, I am going to skip this step, but if that is part of your normal makeup routine, go for it!  Side note:  I’ve heard that the primer will reduce the look of pores, making your complexion more flawless.  Having flawless, magical skin can be important, depending on your costume of choice..
    • Now, begin by applying your super pale foundation or BB cream.  As I said before, I am no makeup expert, so I had to do some research on the differences.  From what I gather, BB cream is more moisturizing and feels less heavy on the skin while foundation generally has more coverage.  Because this is a once a year event, I just got whatever I could find for the least amount of money, that was of course not tested on animals.  Don’t forget to cover your ears and neck!
    • This next step will be done twice (once now and once at the very end) to set the makeup and give it a matte finish (no shiny noses!) once the face is completed.  Take some white face powder, I got mine a few years ago from a Halloween store and it is actual makeup-artist white powder, but any white loose powder will do.  Now, take a large fluffy brush, dab it in the powder and dust it all over your face, don’t forget your ears and neck!
    • Now onto the favorite part!  Here’s where you’ll need black eyeliner.  First, you are going to line your lower waterline; if you’ve never done this before, try to find a crayon-like liner (like the one pictured) as it has no pointy edges that might stick your eye.  If you are an experienced makeup artist, feel free to use what you are used to.  I, personally like to use a small angled brush and loose black eye shadow.
    • Next, take a black eye shadow (or the same liner) and apply like normal eye liner on the bottom lash line.
    • For the eye lids:  Take a medium-brown eye shadow and apply all over the lid.  Use a darker shade of brown and draw a sideways v-shape on the outside corners of your eyes.  Take a fluffy brush and blend it all together.  For an added effect, use a dark purple eye shadow as an accent over that dark brown and along your bottom lash line.  Now, line your top lash line with black mascara, feel free to use a liquid liner and add a little drama!
    • Now, you can either apply false lashes or use mascara to pull the eye-look all together.
    • Since witches and the like have very defined features, we are going to use the same dark brown eye shadow from earlier to define that strong chin, pointy nose, and high cheekbones to give you a nice sunken/ half-dead look.
    • Using a standard eye shadow brush, make a triangle along your temples and blend downward.  Outline the bridge of your nose and blend downward.  Finally, hollow out those cheeks by making a “fish face” and contouring the sunken in part with that same dark brown eye shadow (or black for even more drama!)
    • Finally, give yourself some bold eyebrows by dusting them with dark brown or black eye shadow.  Feel free to get fun with it and make your eyebrows thick and pointy if you’d like!
    • Apply one more dose of that white powder, add a costume and hat, and you are ready to scare!

Be sure to check out my YouTube video to see me apply this makeup!  Also, tag me on Instagram or Twitter so I can see what makeup you are doing for Halloween!!  Or use #YogiRDHalloween

Friday, October 16, 2015

Hug a Fat Month

Hi friends!

In honor of a blog I follow, and love dearly, I've decided to participate in her Hug A Fat Month!

What is this, you might ask?  Well, Hug A Fat Month is all about celebrating the healthy fats we love.  Things like avocado, coconut, nuts and seeds.  All of these foods house healthy fats and vitamins our bodies need to thrive.

I really enjoy all forms of healthy fats, but at the moment I am loving avocado.  The creamy vibrant green fruit makes an amazing topping to almost any dish.  Avocados are loaded with vitamin K, C, and E and are also a good source of folate, potassium (more than bananas!), and vitamins B6 and B5.

Vitamins C, and E are all really good for skin, hair, and nail health.  Vitamin K plays a major role in healthy blood clotting (i.e. when you get a cut, it helps the blood to clot so you do not over-bleed).

Avocados also are a good source of fiber; packing 7 grams of the good stuff in a 100 gram serving!

You can eat avocados straight out of the skin, mash it up and use as a dip, blend with other veggies for an out of this world dressing, or add slices to a bowl of vegan chili!

Eating some fat is good for you because the fat helps your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, E, D, and K!

What's your favorite source of healthy fat?  Let me know in the comments and share with Chocolate Covered Katie!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

9 layer cake, that is actually good for you!

Hi friends!
I am feeling very festive this month, and since it is mine and Andrew's 5th (dating, we've been married for 5 months) anniversary tomorrow, I wanted to share with you a family recipe.

     *Note: I posted this recipe 2 years ago, but have changed it around to meet my personal nutrition preferences.

I have a wonderful down-home recipe to share with you all this afternoon.  My grandma (aka Mamaw) has shared this stack cake with me and our whole family for generations (literally!  This cake has been in our family since I don't even know when!).  It was truly an honor to be able to learn how to make it, especially because that is where most of the fun is. But the taste, texture, and love you get while eating this cake is pretty awesome too!

I am going to give you the recipe that I created from the one she gave me she gave me (because her's used eggs and cow's milk).  This cake can also be made gluten free by substituting gluten-free flours for the wheat.   The most important part of this cake is to take the time to make it with a loved one and share memories through food together!

This link takes you to some history of Stack Cake!  What a history this cake has!

Old Fashioned Stack Cake:
  • 3/4 c vegan butter or solid coconut oil (if you have liquefied coconut oil, measure it out and stick it in the freezer until it is firm)
  • 3 "flax eggs" or other egg replacement (1 T flax meal and 2 T water per "egg")
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 4 c flour
  • 1t ground cinnamon
  • 1t ground ginger or allspice
  • 1/2 t ground cloves
  • 2 large jars unsweetened apple sauce (sweeten to taste and add the same spices as above to taste)
    • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
    • Cream together the eggs, butter, and sugar.  Mix together the flour and spices, then slowly add to egg mixture, alternating with milk.  
    • Once mixed, knead it really well with lots of flour to form a stiff, roll-able dough.  (Note:  the dough will be really sticky and runny before kneading, so make sure to have plenty of extra flour)
    • Roll out 10-14 paper thin rounds.  Bake in 9" pizza pans, or any pan with shallow sides, for 8-10 minutes or until they are light brown and dried out.
    • Once all the rounds are baked and cooled, mix the apple sauce and spices until a desired taste is met.  Place one round on a cake plate and generously spread with applesauce.  Top it with another round and continue by layering with apple sauce and rounds.
    • When finished layering, cover and refrigerate overnight to allow the apple sauce to soak in and make the cake super moist and delicious!

Stack cake in all its applesauce-covered glory!!

If you were wondering, yes this recipe makes a HUGE cake!  Feel free to make smaller rounds or even halve the recipe if you don't think you can finish the whole thing.  This cake lasts about a week if you keep it refrigerated and covered, but after that it starts to become too soggy and mushy.

This recipe is wonderful for family gatherings and celebrations.   Half the fun is actually making the cake with your kids, grand-kids, and all loved ones.  Share some baking memories this holiday season with those you love.

What are some of your favorite old family recipes?  Let me know in the comments, I love traditions that revolve around food!!

Friday, October 9, 2015

What do you get when you run a pumpkin through a juicer?

Pumpkin Juice!!

I know, obvious, right...

Well, I'm writing this recipe post because pumpkin has so many wonderful health benefits and most of the time we use pumpkin in not-so-healthy foods (like pumpkin bread, muffins, pancakes, etc). Not to say that these foods should be avoided by any means (unless they are made with synthetic ingredients...)!  But, I was thinking (scary place to be btw!!) "what if I juiced the pumpkin and made a delicious elixir out of it?!"

Before we dive into the recipe, I'd like to share a few health facts about this magical fruit we see overflowing in cardboard boxes in front of stores everywhere!

Pumpkin is loaded with beta carotene and carotenoids (which is actually the stuff that gives the pumpkin that deep orange coloring!).  If you haven't studied food science or bio chemistry, you may not realize that beta carotene is converted to vitamin A in your body!  And we all know that vitamin A is great for vision and a healthy immune system; both of these are very good benefits especially for the up and coming winter months.

So here's what I did:
  • One medium-sized pumpkin, top cut off and seeds/pulp removed, and cut out some of the pumpkin flesh to juice
  • 1L fresh apple juice or cider
  • 4 T Wassail Mix, we got ours from our Honeymoon at Biltmore (or make your own…would you like a recipe video for that?)
  • 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks for garnish and extra warm and cozy cinnamon flavor
  1. Run your pumpkin through the juicer, small pieces at a time.  If you do not have a high-powered juicer or blender, you can skip this step and move on to step 2.
  2. Heat up your apple cider.  Make it very warm so it will hold its heat for awhile.
  3. Add the Wassail mix, adjusting the amount to your preference.  If you do not have wassail, throw a few cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and a star anise pod into the cider while it is heating.
  4. Add the pumpkin juice to the cider.
  5. Once the cider/pumpkin mixture is heated through, carefully pour the whole mixture into the pumpkin shell.  Add a couple cinnamon sticks for garnish and serve immediately.  If you do not finish the cider that night, be sure to transfer it to a glass container for proper storage.  Do not store it in the pumpkin, as it is not safe or sanitary.
This would be a great warm drink for a Wedding Shower, Halloween party, or as a companion to a good book.  Feel free to leave the actual pumpkin out of the recipe, and simply make a spiced cider with the remaining ingredients served in a pumpkin or other festive vessel.

What is your favorite warm fall drink?  Are you a cider kind of person? Maybe hot chocolate? Or all our pumpkin spice coffee??  Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Gooey, Sweet, Deliciousness (Recipe!!!)

Hi friends!

Whilst planning the Murderer Mystery Dinner Party that Andrew and I are hosting at the end of this month, I was in the mood for some homemade vegan caramel sauce; and boy did I find a good recipe!  The inspiration for this recipe came from Southern In Law.  She created a lovely vegan caramel sauce that is amazing as-is, but because I wanted to add my own twist to things, I decided to spice things up a bit...pun intended...

I added cinnamon!  Yes, I am a cinnamonalholic...cinnaholic...basically, I love cinnamon, and practically put it on everything; even in soups and baked potatoes because it adds a nice depth and warmth without being too sweet.  Mmmmm.

Be warned...this recipe really tested my patience.  It takes nearly 15-20 minutes for the mixture to turn to the good gooey, dark, luscious consistency that you want.  It will get there, it just takes lots of stirring...and... waiting...  Be careful not to burn it though, like all things made with a sweetener, it has the capability of going from perfect to burnt quite quickly!!

Oh, and before we get to the recipe, remember this post from last year?!  Yeah, drizzle some of this on top of those pumpkin cinnamon rolls and you've got a breakfast or dessert that can not be beat!!

Ok, on to the recipe!

You will need:
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk, make sure to shake the can before opening to emulsify the solid and liquid
  • 3 T maple syrup
  • 2 t pumpkin pie spice (or just good ole' cinnamon!)
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt (optional, but it does draw out the flavors a bit more)
  1. Place all ingredients in a medium sized pot over medium-high heat
  2. Stir to combine and bring to a boil
  3. Keep cooking until it thickens and darkens
  4. Once thickened, allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.
  5. Store in a jar for up to a week.  Once cooled completely, the sauce will become solid.  Simply place the jar in a pot and fill the pot with water until it is 1/4 to 1/2 way up the jar.  Gently heat the water on medium until the caramel is back to it gooey deliciousness! 
  6. Optional:  Drizzle over some pumpkin cinnamon rolls, apples, or banana ice cream!!
What's your favorite way to eat caramel?  As a candy, a dipping sauce, or a drizzle?  Let me know in the comments!!

Happy Haunting!  Halloween is only a few weeks away!!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Bride To Be!!

How exciting friends!

This past weekend, I just got to tech some yoga to a friend of mine and her maid of honor!!  Her wedding is coming up very soon, so I offered her some yoga to relax and destress (and to get some pictures to show you all!).  On that very day, the two were headed to the final dress fitting!!  How fun!

We started with a warm up, and then just played around and had some fun with partner yoga poses!  They were such great sports!!  Here are some of the pictures Andrew took, I think they all speak for themselves:

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