Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Easy Negative Calorie Soup

Hi friends,
Today I am sharing with you an easy recipe for a Negative Calorie Soup I have been making these past few weeks.
A Negative Calories soup is basically a vegetable soup that contains mostly, if not only, vegetables that are deemed to be negative calorie vegetables. It means that these food items require more calories to be digested and processed by your body than they provide as calorie intake for your body...Therefore, it is the perfect soup for someone trying to loose a few pounds. It will not impact your diet and will give you all the nutrients and fibers you need while keeping you full a long time.
Some negative calorie vegetables are:

Here are the ingredients for my Negative Calorie Soup (you can use any of the vegetables listed above as well):
  • 1 half green cabbage
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 3 large carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • about two cups of fresh tomatoes
  • 1 turnip
  • 1 large onion
  • 4.5 tbp of olive oil
  • Sea Salt, Cumin, Turmeric and black pepper to taste.
I start by chopping /dicing all my vegetables and shredding the cabbage. I then rinse them all under water to ensure there is no dirt on them.


In a large soup pot, I bring some heat to the olive oil, then add my onions and garlic stirring them until tender and brown.
Once they are golden, I add all my spices, including the salt, and stir some more.
I then add about 2 cup of water and let the garlic/onion and spice mix simmer for about 3 minutes.
Once the water has reduced a bit, I add all my vegetables, one at a time, stirring them enough so that they become coated with the onion mix and take on the color of the spices.

Time to add water! I add about 1 and a half large pitcher of water. The amount of water depends on how fluid you want your soup, I like chunky soups so 1 1/2 pitcher is plenty for me.
I bring my soup to a boil for about 5 minutes, then lower the heat to simmer and let the soup cook for about 3 hours.
It is then ready to serve!
Here I am serving it with a simple salad and some pretzel sticks.
The soup is about 100 calories per cup, but remember, your body will burn more than 100 calories, just to digest it!
Watch this video if you want to watch me in action - making the soup!

Thank you for liking and sharing my blog.
Sophia, NJ

You can find me on FACEBOOK and YOUTUBE

* My blog contains affiliate advertising.  All opinions are my own. This is not a sponsored post.

Portable Mini Office

Hi friends,
Well, I just about had it with not being able to take care of my billing and other matters because stuff was spread all round the house!
In the past, I would take care of all manner of home management out of the home office. It quickly became cluttered, not to mention the kids needed the space for their time on the computer, which was just about the same time I needed to do my work!
I then set up a mini office in the basement, but since the basement/family room is still not complete at this time, it has become an unused space, plus it made me feel isolated form the rest of the house.
Since I purchased a laptop computer, I found myself working mostly out of the dining room, going back and forth to other rooms to fetch what I needed. Putting all my stuff in the dining room made it look cluttered, so I decided to put together a portable mini office!
And here it is:
To make my portable office I did not spend a dime! I only recycled items I already had on hand around the house. The file folders were brand new, but I had purchased them at a much earlier time, matter of fact, I had forgotten all about them!
Here I have a large basket with a metal armature, it has two handles which makes it portable.
The goal is that whenever I need to work on something house related (paperwork, billing, budgeting, etc.) I have everything on hand. Whenever we have company, I can simply take the basket out of the dining room and bring it to our home office, or to my other desk in the basement. No more messy dining room table!
So, what do I keep in my portable office? Well, I thought about it for some time and decided to only keep those items I know I will need and/or use - nothing else!
I keep my laptop, my label maker, a hand/body cream, a recycled box of basic supplies and  my portable pouch for more supplies (this is my on the go pouch which I featured in my Basement office post).

Inside the green container (which used to be in my pantry) I keep all that I would need to complete paper tasks:

 I have a container of clips (binder and paper clips), post it notes, a pencil sharpener (kids need that when doing homework), a stapler, glue, a nail file (hey, you never know), some Martha Stewart Dew Drop Repositionable Stickers and tape. The clear container used to hold magnetic clips from Target, I put the clips inside the round container and used this clear one to hold all my post it flag and tabs. The Hello Kitty clips are there just for fun.
In my on-the-go-pouch, I keep more and similar supplies. This is a great pouch for travel or whenever I am on the go and I know I will need writing instruments, clips etc. (I take a lot of trainings) I also take it to my bedroom, on occasions, when I am doing some personal work in the evening.
For pens and pencils, I used another similar basket but instead of placing it at the bottom of the larger basket and therefore losing space at the bottom, I tied it to the top part of the basket using twist ties. It allows me to place the green container underneath it without having to remove the pen holder to get to the other just hangs there!
The basket is almost the right size for hanging folders so I placed a few in there but was very thoughtful not to overload myself with categories. I only need a few:
I have one folder for each member of the family. In another section I keep two folders: bills paid and bills to pay. Most of my billing is completed online nowadays, so the amount of paperwork inside these folders will be limited. I have another one for Important to -dos, an example would be kids after care registration and the like. There is one more folder where I keep two more files: Archives and Banking.
In the front folder I keep a notebook and checkbooks. There are some spare files in the back, I am keeping them there in case I come up with another category I may need. The file folders are made of plastic (Pendaflex EasyView Poly File Folders ) I like them better than the usual manila style since the tabs are stronger and the sticker can be removed to be replaced by another one. I used my Dymo label maker  (DYMO LabelManager 160 ) to clearly label all my files.
That's it! Super easy to put together, super practical and what a difference it has made in my dining room! During the day I simply keep the basket on top of a spare chair and when needed, I bring the chair and the basket closer to where I am sitting, I have everything I need on hand.
I should have thought about this a long time ago!
Here is a video on how I managed this task and other ones, all in one day, including a recipe for a Negative Calorie Soup!

Thank you for liking and sharing my blog.

Sophia, NJ

You can find me on FACEBOOK and YOUTUBE

* My blog contains affiliate advertising. I am not affiliated with any of the brands mentioned in this post. All opinions are my own. This is not a sponsored post.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Birchbox - August 2013 - Open Box

Hi friends,
It's that time of the month when I reveal the contents of my new Birchbox!
This August 2013 box is a hit for me, I think this is one of the few times I have received a box with everything to my liking (except for the big mistake at the end - read on!) Check it out!
This month's theme is FINISHING SCHOOL
Don't you just live that Tiffany Blue Box?


There's even a 20% off coupon to Ann Taylor (when you buy 1 item and 30% off when you buy two items!)
Very neat!

So without further ado, let's get started with the contents!

 ******** Birchbox - August 2013 ********

Miss Jessie's Super Slip Sudsy Shampoo - $14

From the BB Site: "The undisputed ruler of the curl universe, Miss Jessie’s developed this silky shampoo for girls with stubborn ringlets, natural kinks, or parched hair [  ] it’s great for hair of all types and textures. It instantly detangles even the most intricate knots, leaving your strands sleek and uber-manageable. "
Now, here is a shampoo I am actually excited about as it seems to be targeting my type of hair. It's just funny to me how we have two ends of the same spectrum now: on one side, the anti suds believers (Wen Shampoos) and now the "super sudsy" shampoos! What is one to do?
Coastal Scents Eye Shadow - Starry Night - Under $10

I have heard of Coastal Scents from other bloggers and on You Tube, but never really looked into their products. Because my August Birchbox card was only printed on one side, I had to go to the original products sites to check out their prices and product description. Imagine my surprise when I found out that Coastal Scents offers eye palette (60+ shadows) under $40! They do not sell quads such as the one above, but their smallest version (the Go Palette) is a close match and under $9!

Here are the selections for the Go Palette Sets... and you can buy all 7 of them under $25!!WOW!

Image Source

This month, I received the Starry Night Collection which is a mix of two shimmers and two matte shadows in shades of gray (I believe they are part of the Cairo Palette Set). I do not usually wear grey eye shadows ( I tend to steer towards purples) but I have to say that these color are very attractive on my pale skin tone. I particularly like the top three colors:  Snow Bunny, Ash Grey and opal black, Sterling has a bit too much shimmer for me.

I cannot wait to try these on and let you know about their staying power. One downside - they are made in China. I am not sure of the quality, and I did find them to be a bit too powdery but we shall see!
(Malin + Goetz) - Vitamin e face Moisturizer - $45


 From the site: "(MALIN+GOETZ) gives our skin an ample dose of vitamins with this daily-use oil-free moisturizer. Its lightweight, antioxidant-rich formula has intensely hydrating properties and provides pH balance for all skin types, especially those with sensitive skin."

I have never heard of this brand. From the packaging, it seems to be a no - fuss - Let's focus on the product - kind of company, which is something I like. That being said, and despite the great things I heard about vitamin e as a moisturizer, $45 is a bit stiff for a bottle of vitamin e emollient! And again, that is just my opinion! Here is another sample I am taking with me on a trip out of town at the end of the month!

Sumita - Eye Base - $11

This is a full size product! I learned about Sumita in another Birchbox this year and I was very impressed with the sample I had received at the time (black eye liner). I felt it was an excellent quality product and I guess I should expect the same from this concealer. On my hand, it did seem to provide good coverage, it is a bit too yellow for me, but will definitely try it.

ARANGARA - Body Lotion - $24

So here is the deal here, I go this sample that states it is Lemon & Peach and it is totally unscented. No smell, nothing, not even soap...just unscented lotion. I am not happy because Lemon and Peach sure does sound like a great scent combo! As far as I am concerned, it better perform as a moisturizer! I can't hold Birchbox responsible for that as I do not expect them to take a sniff at all the samples. Obviously this was a manufacturer error, and sure enough, I had to be the one to get it! ah!
So there you have it, aside from the lack of scent in the lotion, I would say this was a great box and to boot, a better box than my August Eco Emi! Well now, that is a first!
Thank you for liking and sharing my post.
Sophia, NJ

You can find me on FACEBOOK and YOUTUBE

*This site contains affiliate advertising. I am not affiliated with Birchbox and am not compensated to review their monthly box. This is not a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own

Monday, August 19, 2013

Eo Emi - August 2013 - Open Box

(I don't know why, but it looks like I cannot format this post properly, for the life of me!)
Hi friends,

I was really looking forward to receiving my Eco Emi box this month but for some reason, this was not a really good one for me. I am a bit disappointed and I think this was the worst box sine I joined Eco Emi last December. It still has a good variety of samples - I guess that makes it an okay box, just not stuff I would care about...So let's see what I got!





A lot of food items, no bath product, two makeup items but those leave to desire...keep reading!







$21.00/8 oz.
From the card: "This light weight natural lotion with an amazing scent, will repair, rejuvenate, hydrate, moisturize and soften your skin. Packed full of powerful anti-oxidants, vitamins!"


I have never heard of this brand and I have to say that the combination of fragrances sound really intriguing to me. I am not a big fan of lightweight lotions though, as I prefer a butter type cream. But I am still very eager to try this and the body oil that came with it!


$24.00/4 oz.
From the card: "Repair damaged skin with this energizing, anti-aging body oil infused with organically grown coffee extract and vanilla essential oils blended in a rich formula. This body oil smells so cozy and amazing and the caffeine will help wake up your skin?"

This one really sounds like my kind of scent since I love warm fragrances (patchouli, vanilla, etc.) I have used body oils in the past and have enjoyed them, they can be a bit messy though.
Since I am going on a trip at the end of the month, I am definitely taking both samples with me!



(Feel free to use the coupon!!!)
From the card: "Known for its cleansing properties, French yellow clay gently lifts oil and impurities while leaving skin feeling refreshed! This is a great soap for your face and is infused with lemongrass so it smells delicious and is perfect for all skin types".
This looks like an awesome soap! I am not a big fan of bar soaps for my face as they tend to leave my skin dry and tight, but this is very waxy to the touch and I can see where it would be moisturizing rather than striping my skin of its natural oils. The scent, though Lemongrass, is very subtle.





From the card: "What girl does not love Tiffany Blue! This color collection is soft and chic. The perfect shade for the end of summer!"


I am going to keep it simple and short here: H-I-D-E-O-U-S!





$18.99 0.23/oz



From the card: "This eye shadow is a lovely and very versatile color. It's great for sensitive skin or for contact lens wearers. Pure concentrated color is waterproof and won't wear off so you can look fabulous and be worry free in the warm weather". 



I like this color a lot. It's a bit dark and dramatic and would look great to set a dark gel eyeliner, by softening it.  It had a bit too much of a shimmer though so I am not sure how it would look on me as an all over lid shadow.





$25.00 / 100g



From the card: "I have iced green tea every day but I was surprised to find out that eating your green tea leaves has 10,000 times more powerful antioxidants than drinking green tea! Now I add this to sandwiches or salads. It is also great paired with the walnut butter featured in this box."
I am not sure what to think about this other than it sounds really good and I love green tea! I am going to follow Christine's advice and add some to my next salad!




$11.33 / 8oz




From the card: "This is a favorite of mine! Raw walnut butter is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids and also a great way to add protein to your diet. Great snack for on the go. I keep a packet in my purse at all times. Perfect on toast, crackers and is great for baking or just squeeze and eat alone."

 Very intriguing! I am definitely going to snack on this on top of a few celery stalks! It has 205 calories per hefty snack!



$1.49 / bag


From the card: "These are the best cookies ever and what is even better is knowing they're healthy! Free of most food allergens and gluten and they are certified vegan. A single bag contains more than 1/2 serving of whole grain. A perfect guilt free snack that will satisfy your sweet tooth".
 I tried that brand in another box this year, and they are NOT the best cookies ever! They taste healthy, so there!



$12.49 / set of 18


Okay! So what are these, and what are you supposed to do with them? I mean they are cute and I am going to assume that the sample is a miniature size but when you buy the large size, can they be washed? Are they supposed to be thrown in the trash and be bio-degradable? It's a pretty cool idea, but wow, $12.49 for 18 utensils?
As for this sample, I really don't know what to do with it...card making? Scrapbooking? a brooch? I just don't know! Not very happy with this - it's just eye candy.
Well, as you can see, and if you have been following my Eco Emi reviews, this was not an impressive box at all! But hey, you never know...all (aside from the cookies) may turn out to be awesome products!

 Sophia, NJ
You can find me on FACEBOOK and YOUTUBE

*This site contains affiliate advertising. This post is not sponsored by Eco Emi, I m not affiliated by Eco Emi or any brand mentioned in this post. All opinions are my own,



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