Recipes That Work: Granola

I like granola on my yogurt but have been wanting a healthier version than my store-bought variety.  I came across a recipe on the Mind Over Munch Youtube channel recently and decided to give it a try.  At first, I didn’t have all of the same ingredients so I used what I had and will be sharing that version with you.  I also tried again with a couple of different ingredients and which I’ll also share.

If you are interested in the original recipe, I’ve linked the video both above and below.


FIRST TRY (ok this was actually my second try, I guess my oven runs hot or something because using the recipe’s guidance of 20-25 minutes I burned the first batch)

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cups almond and cashew mix
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, pour out onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Baked in a preheated 350-degree oven for 12 minutes.  Let cool completely before breaking into pieces.

My ingredient substitutions worked out well for me and I did enjoy the granola.

Recipes that Work: Granola


SECOND TRY (ok, actually the third)

I was interested to know if the coconut oil would make a difference, so I decided to give that a try.  I also swapped in sunflower seeds instead of the ground flaxseed.

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond and cashew mix
  • 1/2 cups sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt

These swaps made the granola taste incredible.

Recipes that Work: Granola

After a while of eating this granola, it occurred to me that I should break down the nutrition for this recipe and wasn’t happy.  For me personally, taking into consideration what else I eat, this granola had more fat and sugar than my store-bought granola.  It is important to note that while healthy, nuts and seeds are high in fat.  So adding them to my granola wasn’t the best call for my particular diet.  Most days I have a handful of nuts as a snack or sometimes with a meal.  So adding more of them wasn’t the best move on my part.  Luckily I only ate it for about a week before realizing this and rethinking my approach.  Although the Mind over Munch recipe was delicious and I would consider this a Recipe that works, it did not end up being healthier than what I was eating previously.

The upside is that now I know the method for making granola and can experiment with the base recipe to find a version that works for me.

Shop My Stash: Tartelette Toasted

Shop My Stash posts are about enjoying and using items I already own.  I hope to encourage both myself and others to use some of the products we have rather than being so quick to buy something new.

This is not about dupes, having the exact colors, nor the same number of shades.  It’s about being inspired by a color scheme and recreating that color scheme or feeling with the products I already have.  I looked through my makeup and asked myself what do I see that reminds me of the Tartelette Toasted palette.

Tartelette Toasted image credit belongs to


I realize that everyone doesn’t have tons of eyeshadows to be able to pick from.  The idea is just to get you thinking about the fact that you may have options that mimic or remind you of an item.  So here are the eyeshadows that I decided on, they are all from Makeup Geek.

Shop My Stash Tartelette Toasted Makeup Geek alternatives swatched

Again, I want to reiterate that this is not intended to be identical.  The colors are different to varying degrees.  Also, the formulas are different and will no doubt perform differently.  This is an overall feeling and color scheme that I think mimics the Tartelette Toasted enough for me to pass on the purchase.

Recipes that Work: Slow Cooker Kielbasa and White Bean Cassoulet

I can’t tell you how often I see a recipe in a magazine and save it to make later, but later never comes.  I’m not sure what in particular made me try this one out, but I’m glad I did.  The recipe appeared in the January 2016 issue of Real Simple Magazine, but you can find it on the Real Simple website by clicking here. Slow Cooker Kielbasa and White Bean Cassoulet


The first time I made this, I was feeling extra ambitious and made the french bread myself.  Now, whenever I want to make it I just grab a loaf from the grocery store.

Homemade French Bread

Over the last year I have changed the way I eat, so the last time I made this I found the lowest fat Kielbasa my grocery store carried and only used half the amount called for in the recipe.  Since there are white beans in the dish, we didn’t feel like anything was missing from the dish.  I also browned the kielbasa and the onions for some added layers of flavor.  Again, these were just some adjustments I made to suit my needs, the changes are not necessary.  The recipe works extremely well exactly as Real Simple has laid it out.   If you are interested in how I personally fix it now, you can find that adaptation below.

Slow Cooker Kielbasa and White Bean Cassoulet

Recipe adapted from and January 2016 Print Issue (for 4 – 6 quart slow cooker)

  • 1 1/2 cup dried white beans, about 8 oz
  • 1/2 lb kielbasa, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes in their juices
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • Additional Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 4 tsp dried parsley
  • 8, 1/2 inch slices of baguette, buttered and toasted, cut into cubes

Brown kielbasa and onions, don’t drain.

Add kielbasa, onions, beans, broth, tomatoes, onion, garlic, thyme, and 1/2 tsp salt to slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours until beans are tender and creamy (original recipe suggests checking the beans after 7 hours).  Season with salt, pepper, and parsley.

Serve topped with the baguette.

The Standout: Dior 677 Hypnotize

The Standout is a new series I decided to start where I will narrow in on the standout shade in a palette and give an alternative to get the same feeling. Of course, this will be based on my personal opinion and taste, so you may not always agree with what I consider to be the standout shade. The alternatives I suggest will not always be exact dupes, but reminiscent of the shade. I’ve learned over the years that some shades give you a similar feeling or look once they are applied to your face.

Dior 5 Couleurs in 677 Hypnotize swatches, Metallics Fall 2017

Today, I’m talking about the center shade in the Dior quint 677 hypnotize (limited edition).  I was immediately drawn to this quint when I saw the promo pictures, the colors are right up my alley.  The quint performs very well and if you are a Dior fan and don’t have an insane amount of shadows, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with 4 of the 5 shades.  The gold shade is just a glitter top coat type of shade, which I’m not happy about. At this price point, I’d guess most people would want 5 shades that can stand on their own.  Also, none of the shades in this palette need a glitter top coat in my opinion, so it is a wasted shade.  The top left shade is very dynamic and nuanced.  To me, it has silver, pink, and purple tones to it depending on how the light catches and how you place it on the eyes.  But all that nuance seems to get lost on my skin tone and it ends up just looking silver.  The bottom left brown confuses me.  I don’t see why they needed to add the micro-shimmer, it does have fallout of that micro-shimmer and some of the brown pigment when used.  The warm reddish brown is stunning.

The standout shade for me is the center shade.  I love this type of shade and this one, in particular, is not only beautiful but also performs well.  However, if you really like this type of shade, I have two alternatives that you can check out for a lot less than the $62.00 price tag on the Dior quint.  Also, this is a limited edition palette that won’t always be available so you may be looking for alternatives if you didn’t get a chance to buy it.  Shade 2 from Clinique’s Morning Java Quad and Bobbi Brown’s single eyeshadow in Cognac may not look similar in the pan, but applied they will definitely give you the same look as the Dior Shade.

Shade 2 in the Clinique Morning Java Quad is a great alternative and the entire quad is $29.50.  If you are someone who enjoys coordinating shades already being picked out for you, I’d go to a counter and check it out.  This is one of my all-time favorite products and I have swatches of the entire quad over on my old blog.

Dior 5 Couleurs in 677 Hypnotize middle shade vs Clinique Morning Java Shade 2

Bobbi Brown’s Metallic Eye Shadow in 13 Cognac is slightly darker and has less sheen than the Dior Shade but is still an excellent alternative.  This eyeshadow retails for $26.00 and while that is steep; it is an option if you are only interested in that one shade.

Dior 5 Couleurs in 677 Hypnotize middle shade vs Bobbi Brown 13 Cognac

Obviously, the Clinique quad is a better bang for your buck, but both the Bobbi Brown and Clinique brand websites will give you 15% off your first order for signing up for their newsletters.  Also, Belk and Macy’s often have beauty sales so you can look out for those as well.

If I knew this information before buying all of these products, I would personally pass on the Bobbi Brown and Dior and go with the Clinique Morning Java Quad.


Urban Decay Naked Heat Alternative (Mac Eyeshadow singles)

Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette

This is just a fun post I felt like doing after discovering that I could have passed on buying the Naked Heat palette. I don’t regret the purchase, but I do already have a similar color scheme using my Mac single eyeshadows. If you are someone who already has these Mac eyeshadows, maybe it will help you realize you don’t need to buy the palette. This could also be helpful if you are someone who likes to curate your own colors and doesn’t like pre-made palettes.

Urban Decay Naked Heat Alternative (Mac brule, coppering, brown script, texture, saddle, embark)

I purposely did not swatch the colors from the Naked Heat side by side with the Mac shadows.  What I want to showcase is that the color schemes are similar and reminiscent of each other.  I find that when you start swatching things side by side it is easy to convince yourself that the tiniest difference will matter when on the eyes it rarely does.

If you like this type of post please consider checking out more of my shop my stash and eyeshadow combo posts.