Saturday, February 25, 2017

Naturebox: Snack Subscription Box that's actually worth it!

Does anyone else find a subscription, a new product, a new place that they are so excited about they can barely contain themselves? This is absolutely me and that is exactly what I want to do today. FYI – Everything said is my own opinion; I am not being compensated in any way with what I write today so hopefully that appeases any thoughts of a biased opinion!
In general, I am always looking for quick, easy, healthy alternatives to curb my mid-afternoon munchies. Last month, a friend introduced me to NatureBox, a subscription snack box that gets delivered directly to your door. I checked out the website and immediately wanted to order one of everything since it looked so good! 
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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Simple Date Night Outfit: Valentine's Day

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day! I enjoyed a relaxing evening at home on the actual night of and made dinner for us. Don’t worry though, I did get to have my night out in celebration with a cute little date night outfit! We had dinner at Benihana – an amazing Hibachi restaurant & enjoyed a movie (John Wick: Chapter 2 – which did not disappoint, action packed start to finish)! When it comes to date night outfits for me, I am more of a comfy casual gal with the exception of my shoes. My shoes are the one piece of my outfit that is always chosen on appearance and not comfort. That’s just the price we pay for fashion ladies! I don’t always know what S is going to have in store for me when he plans a date night out so I have to be prepared for practically anything.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Strawberries & Cream Cookie Bars: Valentine's Day Treat

Happy Valentine’s (Galentine’s) Day to all of you!! I wanted to share a quick recipe that I whipped together last minute for a delicious V-day dessert! I love strawberries, & this recipe is so good. Since we do not typically celebrate/go out for dinner on the actual holiday, I like to cook a meal and dessert for us to enjoy together on the actual holiday. A lot of the time, we will cook and bake our meal together. For this dessert since I was experimenting and relatively had no plan in place, I let him enjoy some quality time with his other love, his PS4 Pro (a new addition to the family – eye roll).
Let’s be honest, I told him I made this for “us” but I really made it for me and decided it would be rude not to share. The idea for this dessert came from my love of all sweets – haha – said every girl ever. This recipe is easy and simple even for an inexperienced baker, perfect for impressing that special somebody – or even taking it along for your Galentine’s night! I want to jump right in to this recipe so you can enjoy your day of love!

Strawberry Cream Cookie Bars
Prep Time: 10 minutes                   Cook Time: 10 minutes                  Yields: about 24 bars

1 roll of Pillsbury sugar cookie dough
¾ cup of powdered sugar
¾ cup of Cool Whip
6 oz cream cheese
1lb fresh strawberries, diced
10 oz of strawberry glaze

1. In an ungreased 12 x 9 baking sheet/pan, press the cookie dough.  Create a small lip around the sides of the pan. Bake per the directions cookie dough directions. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
2. Blend cream cheese, powdered sugar, & cool whip until smooth. I used a hand mixer for about 1 minute & that worked perfectly.
3. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the top of the cookie crust, using the entire mixture.
4. Layer the diced strawberries over the cream cheese mixture.
**This step can be done numerous ways. The strawberries can be large slices or diced as I have shown above. Also, the amount of strawberries is up to you. We love strawberries so I used a full pound minus 2 strawberries for the garnish.
5. Spread the glaze over the top using a spatula to evenly distribute.
6. ENJOY with your love!

                Once again, I really hope you have a wonderful day with your loved ones, your gal pals, your pups, or even your independent self! This day is about love, so love yourself & enjoy a delicious treat!


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Basically Shrimp Pasta - Quick & Easy Dinner for Two

I swear this year is flying by! One of the goals that I had for myself this year was to cook more meals at home. I am REALLY good about baking treats, like really good, but cooking meals is a whole other story! Since I am a lover of seafood, I thought I’d make a dish I made for myself quite often while I was single & living in Oklahoma City. Once I moved cities after graduating, I started dating S and like any new relationship, or an explorer of a new city, you go out to eat and try new things together.  The amount of me cooking at home dropped drastically and now it is time to dust off some old recipes and see what he thinks of them!
This recipe is relatively basic & doesn’t require a whole lot of skill! Since it is a basic pasta dish, you can add so many more things such as veggies or spices to give it some pizazz! I’m going to give you the nitty gritty of the recipe but make it your own, that is what cooking is all about! I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I “followed” a recipe. I typically look at it and think okay, I’m going to add less of that, more of that, and add this instead of that. I encourage you to do the same! That’s enough of me jabbering on, let’s get to the recipe!

Basically Shrimp Pasta <--See what I did there *wink*
Prep Time: 2-3 minutes                 Cook time: 15-20 minutes            
Serves: 2 (Perfect for Valentine’s Day!)
10 oz pasta (Spaghetti, fettucine, linguini)
10 oz shrimp – peeled, deveined, & tails off (I used “extra small” frozen but you can also use raw)
1 cup sour cream (I use light to cut down on fat)
1.5 tbsp butter (Country Crock is my preference)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
Salt & Pepper
Optional – 1 tbsp gorgonzola cheese

1. Since I used frozen shrimp this time, you’ll need to thaw the shrimp. You can do this as an overnight thaw but I don’t plan ahead like that. If you’re like me then place the shrimp in a strainer & run underneath cool water for about 3 minutes, rotating the shrimp to reach all sides, & set aside.
2. Cook the pasta according to the instructions. I used Barilla Spaghetti and boiled it for 11 minutes; I like softer pasta more so than al dente.
3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter on medium until the butter is melted and mixed well with the oil, about 2 minutes. I started this step about 3 minutes after adding my pasta to the boiling water.
4. Add the shrimp to the oil & butter mixture, cook for about one minute then add Tony Chachere’s. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes.
5. Stir in garlic, salt, & pepper. Gradually add the sour cream until blended.
6. Add the parmesan cheese (& gorgonzola if desired – I love the flavor it brings, but gorgonzola is an acquired taste) & stir until everything is well blended. Remove from heat.
7. Serve sauce over pasta and garnish with chives or parsley if desired.
*Serve quickly as the sauce does separate some after sitting.

                If you wanted to do so, it would be quite easy to add some precooked veggies to the mix after step 5.  The next time I make this recipe I will add carrots and broccoli to add some color!  This was a hit last night in our house & S said he would definitely want me to make it again for him, which is a huge win! Let me know if you try this and like it! 
For those cooking for your Valentine, good luck! I hope everything goes off without a hitch for you. XOXO

Friday, February 3, 2017

Time sure flys, let's catch up: Instagram Style

February, really? I cannot believe that January has come and gone. Mean Mr. Punxsutawney Phil predicted 6 more weeks of winter after seeing his shadow yesterday morning, which I’m pretty sure puts him on the naughty list for Christmas this year. I mean yeah, it’s early to be on the naughty list, but that was just rude! Surely I am not the only one ready for summer time, vacations, boats, & relaxation, right? Didn’t think so! Travel plans for 2017 are almost finalized and I’m ready to jump into some fun! Any big travel plans for you this year?
I feel like my last post back in January started out similar to this but I was seriously MIA from the blog last month and I’m very sorry everyone! Sometimes life has other plans & those plans kept me extremely busy with work, play, and everything in between! Since I was so absent recently from the blog, I really wanted to check in with everyone & give them a Basically Joy update. You know the usual stuff i.e. have an IG roundup, let you know what is coming up this month on Basically Joy, & just to say hey girl heeyyyyy!
                A large majority of my time this last month has been spent getting my rear handed to me with the workouts my friend/personal trainer, Delani, designed for me. If you haven’t yet, go check out her YouTube channel or Instagram for some great fitness tips, workouts, etc! In conjunction with Delani’s workouts, I am also finishing up the Dietbet hosted by Brandi Laughlin this upcoming week.  It has been so much fun & I always love the support I get from everyone that joins her Dietbets! My work outs have been going great but I really need to kick my diet into high gear this month – and that is the plan! Round 2 of “Delani Kicks my Butt” starts on Monday & strangely, I am looking forward to it! At the beginning of next month (MY BIRTHDAY MONTH), I am hoping to give my first update/results of how everything is going. I am excited and nervous to see what progress I’ve made with my body since I haven’t checked my body inches since I began the process! Fingers crossed everyone!
               This month on Basically Joy, I am planning on keeping up with all that life entails which also means several upcoming posts!  And what all will I be sharing this month you ask? Excellent question! A little bit of what will be happening this month includes some great recipes, some healthy & some maybe not so much, great deals on fashion, beauty reviews  from my January & February Ipsy glambags, & so much more! I do hope that January treated everyone well and that February does as well! Until we chat again, check out my IG roundup below & follow along with me on IG to stay up to date with all my fun! 

BCBGeneration Pumps, Old Navy Jeans, Kate Spade Purse, Rip Curl Sweater

DSW Boots, Old Navy Dress

Delicious English Muffins with Dark Chocolate Almond Butter, Strawberries, & Coconut

UA Running Shoes, Bp.Leggings

Plaid heels, Old Navy Pants, Similar top, Fitbit

Christian Siriano Heels, Old Navy Jeans, Similar Nordstrom Top, Kate Spade Purse

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