Gel Nails

Hot Hands

Let’s face it. It’s a lot easier to look good if you have money. Well-tailored clothes made of quality fabrics, luscious face creams, Brazilian blowouts, and regular mani-pedis do not fit into my budget. Luckily, there are occasionally ways around this dilemma.

Real Life Nails
What my nails usually look like

I’ve already shared my love of BirchBox for cheap beauty products, but I also love to use sites like Groupon and Living Social to get discounts on beauty services. I just bought a $25 haircut on Groupon, and I’m planning something drastic. Just wait.

Gel Nails

Most recently I used Groupon to get a pedicure and a gel manicure. Normally, I skip the gel because it costs so much more than regular nail polish, but this time I was able to get it for the same price I’d pay to get my nails done regularly. I figured, why not.

Although I haven’t experienced the aftermath yet, I was extremely impressed by how quickly my nails were dry. I almost always ruin my nail polish, sometimes before even leaving the shop. With gel, it was completely dry in three minutes. I was blown away.

Gel Nails After a Week

It’s been a week, and I still don’t have a chip. And seeing as how I don’t have a dishwasher, that’s pretty impressive. I don’t think I’d actually pay the extra money for it, but if I can get a better service for the same price, I’m not gonna say no. Free is for me.

If you’re still on the fence about using Groupon and Living Social, hop down on the side with all the cheap deals. The grass is super green over there.

Spicy Chicken Chili

Spicy Chicken Chili

In my experience, British people are easy to impress. All you have to do is put a bowl of spicy chicken chili in front of them, and they think you’re a genius. It’s so simple.

When my husband and I first started living together, we spent the first few weeks marveling at all the things the other had never eaten before. My husband had never had a PB&J until I made one for him one afternoon when he was sick. Can you believe that? We’ve been together three years now, and we’re still discovering cultural differences. It never gets boring.

I absolutely adore the UK, but one thing they seriously lack is Mexican food. They just don’t do Latin flavors over there. I think their only spice is curry powder. It’s been wonderful introducing my husband to the world of cayenne, jalapeno, and habanero. He’s a huge fan now.

Spicy Chicken Chili

His favorite dish is spicy chicken chili. He requests it all the time. I’ve also made it for his parents, and then for our best man and his fiance, all UK residents. Everybody asked me for the recipe. I’m spreading the chili love around the world.

This chili is full of goodness and spice, along with plenty of chicken, green chiles, and cannellini beans. I like to crunch up tortilla chips in the bottom of my bowl, then top it off with a fistful of cheese, and a cooling dollop of sour cream. My husband adds extra habanero sauce because he’s a mad man.

Next time you have guests, particularly of the British persuasion, make sure to blow them away with this simple, delicious, hearty dish. They’ll be begging for more.

Spicy Chicken Chili close

Spicy Chicken Chili
Serves 4
A hearty hot chili perfect for a crowd
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Total Time
45 min
Total Time
45 min
  1. 4 Tbsp butter
  2. 1-1/2 to 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size chunks,
  3. 1/4 cup flour
  4. 1/2 onion, diced
  5. 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  6. 2 cups chicken stock
  7. 1 cup heavy cream
  8. 2 Tbsp chili powder
  9. 1 tsp ground coriander
  10. 1 tsp ground cumin
  11. 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  12. 15 grinds black pepper (1/2 Tbsp)
  13. 1/2 Tbsp salt
  14. 2 cans cannellini beans, drained
  15. 1 7 oz can green chiles
  16. sour cream to garnish
  17. shredded cheese to garnish
  18. tortilla chips
  1. After you’ve cut up your chicken, don’t forget to season it a bit with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Sprinkle it in and give it a toss.
  2. In a large pot, melt your butter over medium high heat.
  3. Add chicken and cook until browned on all sides and just cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate to hang out while you get on with it.
  4. Sprinkle in the flour and stir it with the melted butter to make a roux, or thick paste. Sometimes the chicken gives off a lot of liquid when cooking, so you may need to add a bit more flour. If you don’t make it pasty, the sauce won’t thicken later. Cook for about one minute.
  5. Stir in the onion and pepper. Let it cook for a few minutes.
  6. Add in about half of your chicken stock and deglaze the pan. Scrape up any bits that might be stuck to the bottom of the pan, then add the rest of the chicken stock.
  7. Stir in the heavy cream. Allow the mixture to come back to a boil, then simmer for about five minutes to thicken.
  8. Add your spices and seasonings and make sure they’re incorporated. Don’t leave any clumps of cumin behind.
  9. Next, stir in the beans and green chiles.
  10. Add your chicken back in, give everything a good mix, and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.
  11. I like to crush some chips into the bottom of the bowl, then spoon over the chili, and top it with some sour cream and cheese. Get creative.
Adapted from Aaron McCargo Jr.
Adapted from Aaron McCargo Jr.

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Gel Nails

Backyard Awesome Sauce

Backyard Awesome Sauce

You have all those herbs growing in your backyard, so now what are you going to do with them? Why make an awesome sauce, of course. In fact, let’s go ahead and just call this one Backyard Awesome Sauce.

I’ll tell you how I made mine, but please just take it as an inspiration. I got my idea from the divine Nigella and her salmoriglio sauce from Kitchen. Basically, all you need is garlic, lemon juice, fresh herbs, and extra virgin olive oil. Have fun with the herb combo, but most importantly, use what’s fresh and hopefully growing at your house. I used Italian parsley, oregano, and basil.

Fresh Herb Sauce

And once you’ve made it, the possibilities are endless. You can throw it on a sandwich, drizzle it over grilled meat, toss it with some pasta and Parmesan cheese, or just dip some nice crusty bread in it. I mean, you can basically stick this stuff anywhere.

The flavor is fresh and vibrant. It just tastes like green. I like to pretend I’m fancy and French and involve some baguette action, along with some charcuterie (a fancy word for salami) and some difficult to pronounce cheese  Throw in a glass of white wine and some Carla Bruni, and I might as well dust off the black beret I used to wear in high school. No joke. That really happened.

You can throw this together in about ten minutes then mix and match it for days of tastiness. How awesome is that?

Backyard Awesome Sauce with Fresh Herbs

Backyard Awesome Sauce
Yields 1
A quick and fresh sauce made with herbs from your own backyard
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
  1. 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  2. 1 tsp coarse salt
  3. 30 grams fresh herbs (I used ten each of oregano, basil, and Italian parsley)
  4. 4 Tbsp lemon juice (don’t skimp, it really brightens the flavor)
  5. 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. Put the garlic, salt, herbs, and lemon juice into your food processor and switch it on for about 20 seconds, or until everything is nice and pasty. You may need to scrape down the sides and give it a few more pulses.
  2. With the processor running, drizzle in your extra virgin olive oil. Process until it emulsifies, aka, turns into sauce.
  3. Drizzle over just about anything savoury that you’d like to make herby and delightful.
Adapted from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson

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