Meals for Your Week-plus a tofu tutorial

One of these meals has tofu in it.  Don’t you stop reading like I would’ve done ten years ago.  Stay with me.  Let’s POP into my kitchen for this Tofu Stir Fry recipe.

Tofu, couldn’t they have come up with a different name?!  Hearing that name mentally made me gag before tasting the dish.  What’s even more, when you buy it in Firm, Extra Firm or Soft-ewww-it’s floating in this cloudy water.  Thanks to my hubby, I’m over it.  What I suggest is that you do what he did.  Try it in a stir fry recipe, and chop it tiny-like chopped garlic and onions tiny.  It helps for sure!

Recipe One:

Veggie Stir Fry With Tofu That Looks & Tastes Like Chicken

YIELD: 4 Servings Ingredients

  1. 1 lb Firm or Extra Firm tofu-chopped in half-inch cubes (found in the produce section)
  2. 1 Tbsp canola oil-I recommend not using Olive Oil for stir fry.
  3. 4 scallions-or 10-I love green onions!
  4. 1/2 head of diced cauliflower or broccoli-diced to about the same size as you chop your tofu
  5. 1 carrot for each person eating-diced same size as tofu
  6. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 3-4 Tbsp Basic Stir Fry Sauce-scroll to the bottom at the end
  8. Toasted cashews if you want to sprinkle them on top at the end.

DIRECTIONS:

  1.   Drain-just think of it as mozzarella straight from Italy wrapped in packaging with its milky white juice.   But it’s not milk, ok?  Press tofu between clean paper towels to dry it off a bit.
  2.   Cut the tofu into 1/2 inch thick cubes.  You want it to look like diced chicken (trust me; it helps mentally).  And when it browns up, it really looks like chicken that’s browned up.  I can’t tell you how far I’ve come!
  3.   Heat the canola oil in a wide skillet or stir-fry pan.  Add the tofu and stir-fry it over medium-high heat until golden on most sides.  You don’t have to watch it for the first 5 minutes, but watch it carefully when it’s half way browned.  It can cook up too much and taste like rubber chicken if you’re not careful.  It just needs to look like chicken that’s slightly browned.
  4.   After it’s been sizzling for about 5 minutes, add the carrots, cauliflower, green onions (scallions) and garlic.  It should take about 7 more minutes depending on how soft you want your cauliflower.  Also add 2-3 Tbsp of water to help the veggies soften.
  5.   While that’s browning, stir often.   You want 3/4 of that tofu to brown up to a tan color.
  6.   When the tofu is a light brown color, add the stir fry sauce and let everything warm up for about 3 more minutes.
  7.   For each person, put a bit of rice and top with the Veggie Stir Fry With Tofu.  We always like toasted cashews on our stir fry dishes.  Serve with raw carrots and/or a few raspberries.  They just liven you up after this comforting dish.

Recipe Two:

Sriracha Chicken Skewers from This Mama Cooks.  I’d serve these with a side of broccoli, red onion, and pineapple chunk grilled skewers and sliced pineapple.  All done on the grill.

Recipe Three:

This is my favorite:  Spaghetti Squash from All Recipes I have said for five years that I would never eat spaghetti squash instead of pasta.  This blew me over and tasted like garlic and olive oil sauteeing with noodles.  Honest!

Recipe Four:

If you’ve never cooked with real ginger, this is the one to try.  I cannot eat powdered ginger, but this is super easy and really good.  Ginger-Dijon Glazed Pork Tenderloin is so good my child went back for seconds.  I’d serve it with red potatoes roasted on 350 for 40 minutes-salt and pepper.  I’d also have green beans pan seared with sliced almonds on top.

Recipe Five:

Roasted Orange Tilapia and Asparagus sounds plain Jane, but it’s really good.  You might want to make this on a Monday when you still have will power.  Serve with sautee’d zucchini and crusty bread.  Maybe orange sherbert for dessert.

For me planning is most of the battle to healthy eating and saving money.  Hopefully this week’s worth of meals will help you have a less stressed week because you stressed less.

Follow me on my Instagram or YouTube.  Thank you for POPping over.  I really mean it.

 

 

 

Off The Shoulder Top-Women Over 40

 

They’re so flattering.   They’re elegant.  They’re super cute.  Here is my thought process:

Function

Where will I wear an off the shoulder top?  Girls’ night, date night, outdoor concert.  I’m a little conservative of a dresser to wear one to work or church or to weed my fake flowers in.  So, my price point was low.  I just can’t spend alot of money on something I’d only wear once a year.  I want it to be easy with low maintenance, and I want to feel confident!

Practicality

These tops feel like a strapless dress, but they can be a bit fussy if the sleeves keep sliding up.  On a strapless top, you keep pulling things up; on an off the shoulder top you pull things down.  In my YouTube video you can see how one slides up very easily.  Here is my favorite from Dillard’s.  It’s sold out, but it’s in stores for $17 on clearance!!!  It looks much better in my YouTube Video. IMG_5237

The Outcome

Shopping for a great Off the Shoulder Top was probably harder than bathing suit and jeans shopping combined!  And I’m a positive thinker.  They’re very flattering, but finding one for you is quite a task.  Here are my sad ones.

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Not flattering even tucked in.  Looks kinda cheap too.

 

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Michael Kors in size Small!  See how it doesn’t lay right?  Yes, I have on a bra.
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Okay fit but dated fabric.  But you never know; so take all options into the dressing room with you.

Dillard’s and Nordstrom are where I found success.  This awesome one is from Nordstrom and I recommend wearing dark denim with it and big earrings. IMG_5229

If you watch the YouTube above, you’ll see how they drape when I walk.  It looks much better in the video.  Since the draping is great, I feel confident in this top.  And confidence makes any outfit POP!  This gal has killer options if you want to explore this look. And as always, Jolynne nails it.

When it comes down to it, I don’t think I’ll wear this style b/c I’m too plain Jane and low maintenance.  But, this style is possible if you’re over 40 and if you feel comfortable.

***You may want to watch my other video to help you Shop Your Closet

I am linking up with Fashion Should Be Fun.

CONGRATULATIONS to Lynn for winning the tassel necklace!

Rules for the Giveaway:

  1.  Subscribe to my LauriePOP YouTube Channel.
  2.  Click on the thumbs up while watching the Off the Shoulder Video on YouTube.
  3.  Leave a comment here on my blog below.  You may have to keep scrolling to leave a comment.
  4.   You have until July 31 to do these three things.              IMG_5235

Follow my Pinterest pages sometime.  Or be my friend on Instagram.  Thanks for POPping over!

 

Easiest Way To Clean MakeUp Brushes

Cleaning means 1) getting rid of the caked on makeup as well as 2) sanitizing each brush.  So it’s a two step process really.  First you want to remove the dirt, dead skin cells and old makeup.  Then you want to remove bacteria.  And the easiest way is with alcohol.  I have never gotten sick from an unclean makeup brush…or have I???  But since I’m traveling so much this summer, this nagging “clean me!” voice keeps POPping into my head. IMG_5125

Which Cleaners & How Deep

Baby Shampoo or Zest bar soap will work.  Just get the soap or shampoo wet and swirl (like 5 times for a quick clean) your makeup brush in it.  Rinse with warm water and let dry.  Smaller brushes will dry faster, right?  You need to let them dry completely-all you efficient ladies like me out there.

I would just do what my friend on Pretty Neat Living does and use a spray bottle to squirt the alcohol onto your towel (vs pouring some alcohol onto it).  You can find those here and here.  Squirt 2 sprays of alcohol onto a towel or wash rag; then grab 5 small brushes and swirl them like 2 times and let them dry completely.  Two or three squirts is good for 5 small brushes.

Two of my brushes are unique, though.  My concealer brush (caked on concealer) gets its own two squirts and its own place on my towel because there’s so much caked on.  And for my brush that I transition dry shadow onto my eyelid after applying eye primer, I use two squirts of alcohol and it gets its own section on my wash cloth.

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I write Alcohol on Washi Tape for a quick identifier.

Look for an upcoming video on how to start your eye shadow brush collection.

You may also like one of these from my YouTube Channel:

Summer MakeUp Looks Video or The Cutest MakeUp Bags Video  and then there’s Liquids Containers for Airline Travel

Let’s be friends on Instagram:  @lauriepop2  lauriepop

 

 

 

London Food In One Day

IMG_1848We travel for the food of it!  Food just MAKES the trip.  And we have found the best food for a day in London.  If you only have 24 hours, this is your list!

BREAKFAST:
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Patisserie Valerie – Just like most European establishments, you can stay as long as you want-worked on my laptop for 2 hours, and they let me be.  Look at this croissant and cappuccino!  Their mugs are huge helpings of coziness. As if that wasn’t enough caffeine, I ordered their hot chocolate.
Oh my word, it was like drinking chocolate stew – that thick of a consistency.  Think Starbucks Hot Chocolate with more chocolate flavor and more thickened hotness…and then having the shakes for the next hour.  Next time I won’t order coffee; I’ll just take a bath in that hot chocolate!

LUNCH:    

Borough Market – Vendors from all over the world sell their best tastes here. IMG_4934 It’s under a metro track, so if it rains, you’re good.  If it’s hot, you’re shaded.  You want the side for tourists-not the market with raw meat for locals.  The most important part: where are the bathrooms?  The single, clean bathrooms are right in the middle of the touristy section; you may have to ask a friendly Englishman.  IMG_4900

Indian, Middle Eastern, Egyptian, Ethiopian, Thai pancakes, cheese from Parma, hash, pig roasting on a stake, Bakery School bread… you just stand around and eat and people watch.  No pushy salesmen either.  Oh, and you can pay with credit card.

Look at this fresh, dense fudge!  I got this super creamy hummus with a spinach bread; he was out of pita by 1 pm on a weekday!  IMG_4905IMG_4916         I’ve heard that on the weekends, it can be shoulder to shoulder.  Get there early if you can.  And bring your bottles of water that you can stash in your back packs to wash down your delicious lunch…or dessert.

Now getting there is easy. IMG_4898 Just take the Tube (underground metro) to London Bridge and while you’re still in the subway station, look for the black signs telling you which side of the street to exit for Borough Market.  The first time, we didn’t look for the signs.  But a friendly Englishman smiled as he told us directions.  They’re so friendly!!!

MID-AFTERNOON SNACK:

Dining in caves that you can barely stand up straight in can be quite an experience!  But it was a beautiful day so we made sure we got to Gordon’s Patio and Wine Bar early afternoon.  Or at their opening hour of noon.  This is the oldest wine bar in London.  They tell you on a sign that they only serve wine and to not ask for beer haha.  Wine Bar.  You can go here for a full meal, or you can just go through their “salad bar” that’s not really a salad bar.

We recommend you have someone in your party snag a table outside on the super-long patio that fills up quicker than you can say, “Will you grab us a table?”  IMG_1856   Then you get two wooden plates and fill it up with olives, cheese from Italy, Spain or France, Spanish Jamon (prosciutto type), gherkins, loaves of bread…all for $10.95 a plate.   You can fill it up!  Then you would pay for that and your wine or order wine from your table – but that could take forever.  Remember that Europeans are into lounging, and the patio is seriously super-long and narrow, so the servers may not notice you.  I could’ve stayed here for hours!

Finding it can be tricky.  Get off at the Embankment stop and go out toward the Starbucks umbrella side.  You will just see a tiny patio with a few Starbucks umbrellas.  Then go left so that you’re walking by the little garden, and you will run into the Patio.  You have to look closely for it, or use your phone to get there:  47 Villiers Street.  

DINNER:

For dinner we highly recommend the area of St Christopher’s Place.  It is an area of eclectic sidewalk shops and restaurants; Parisian-like outdoor seating right up to the edge of the sidewalk.  However, cars can only go one way so it’s not exactly Parisian.  There are sidewalk cafes on two parallel streets.  We heard about La Tasca-a tapas restaurant.  Tapas is Spanish for “small plates.”  It has an extensive drink and small plates menu, and IF you have room, you can order their Paella.  It comes in a black skillet on a raised platform.  We only ordered small plates.  I highly recommend the Croquettes-3 creamy cheesiness with just enough chicken.  Think crispy balls called Croquettes-for plain Jane eaters.  Comfort food to a T!  Take your time and enjoy people watching and relaxation!  Make yourself eat slowly and European-y.

HOW TO GET THERE:  30 – 34 James Street past the Forever 21 store near Hyde Park on Oxford Street.

POP over to my Instagram, and let’s be friends.