Why I’m Going Naked For A Month


Yes, I’ve decided to go naked for a whole month. I started this week and I don’t regret it one bit! I’ve said goodbye to nail polish for one month, on both my hands and my feet! (What? What did you think I meant?)

It was time – my nails had been hidden underneath acrylic, and although they looked pretty, they were choking beneath the surface. It was time to let them breathe!! And this is what they looked like after removing the acrylics (Not a pretty sight!):



Clean Those Makeup Brushes!

Makeup Brushes – A Girl’s Best Friend! 

I use my makeup brushes every day. They are the tools of my trade! Years ago, when I started breaking out on my face, I realized that I needed to keep them clean. Turns out, the combination of old makeup and oils is just a breeding ground for germs!

So gather up a small bowl or cup, some baby shampoo and follow my easy steps for cleaning your makeup brushes!


Crockpot Minestrone Soup

Winter seems to just call for the slow cooker! I love my crockpot for all sorts of things, but I especially love making soups. Soups are my comfort food – I have fond memories of my mom making soups on a cold winter’s day. We would rip off a piece of warm, crusty bread to dip in and get every last drop of delectable broth in the bowl!

This recipe is a nod to my time living in Boston’s North End — the Italian neighborhood! Crockpot Minestrone Soup is perfect to prep the day before, refrigerate, then set it on low for 8-10 hours.


Crockpot Minestrone Soup
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A Great Winter Warmup Recipe! Full of veggies & protein-packed with kidney and white beans, this Italian style soup will be a favorite!
Recipe type: Soup, slow cooker, crockpot
Cuisine: American Italian
Serves: 12 servings
  • 1 cup each of carrots, celery, green beans (and really any veggie you may need to get rid of in fridge - I added diced zucchini as well!)
  • 1 whole sweet onion, diced
  • 64 oz vegetable stock
  • 2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes - I used Fire Roasted, with Basil, Oregano & Garlic for more flavor!
  • 2 16 oz cans dark kidney beans, drained
  • 2 15.8 oz cans great northern beans, drained
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 4 cloves
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1½ teaspoons dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1- 1½ cups dried elbow pasta - I used Ditalini style because i like the short macaroni!
  • Optional: You can also add ¾ cup quinoa if you want to add an extra "punch" of nutrients!
  1. Combine all ingredients, except pasta & quinoa (if using), into large crockpot.
  2. Cover and cook on high 4-5 hours, or low for 8-10 hours.
  3. In last 20 minutes of cooking add in the pasta (and quinoa if using), making sure the slow cooker is set on high for the last 20 minutes.
  4. Serve with bread and a little fresh parmesan and enjoy!


Crockpot Italian Beef

This is a super recipe to prepare the day before a big event or football game (think EASY tailgating!). Serve on sub rolls, with a little provolone cheese, roasted red peppers – OH SO GOOD!

Crockpot Italian Beef
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Juicy Italian-spiced beef, shredded and ready to serve at a tailgate or any informal event! This recipe is perfect to serve up on sub rolls, with a little provolone cheese, some roasted red peppers!
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • 3 cups water or beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon of each: sea salt, black pepper, oregano, basil, onion powder, and garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • One package of dry, Italian salad dressing mix (I used Zesty Italian!)
  • 1 cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 5 lb. rump roast
  1. Place rump roast into crockpot.
  2. Sprinkle onions over roast.
  3. In a saucepan, boil the water (or broth if you are using that).
  4. Add the spices, bay leaf and Italian dressing mix and stir. Bring to a rolling boil and turn off heat.
  5. Pour the mixture over the roast, then cover and cook on low for 10 hours.
  6. Serve on toasted sub rolls with melted provolone cheese, roasted red peppers and salted onions! Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff

Aren’t slow cookers the best? You can make something in the morning and let it cook all day until it is tender and delicious! But have you noticed so many slow cooker recipes use canned soup? IT is a short-cut to making something creamy – BUT you can’t control the ingredients! Though I am the Queen of Shortcuts, I try to make things from scratch so I can control the ingredients. That’s why this recipe is so good! It is all fresh (no canned soup here!), so I’m in control of all the ingredients, plus it is EASY!

This is a creamy & tasty dish that I feel good about serving the family. Make it in the morning, before the day gets busy (or assemble the night before, put in fridge & cook the next day!). You come home to a delicious smelling house! Doesn’t it look fabulous? (You should SMELL it!)

Serve it over egg noodles and pair it with a healthy vegetable side dish – Oh SO GOOD! Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff
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Creamy and flavorful Chicken Stroganoff is a wonderful recipe to make for guests! Serve over egg noodles, dust with a little fresh, chopped parsley! Yum!
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4-6 servings
  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup milk (you can use ½ cup evaporated milk for a richer feeling sauce)
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon each of garlic powder, dried basil, dried oregano & sea salt
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • ½ cup onions, chopped
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  1. Place the cubed chicken breast into the crockpot.
  2. In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk into a paste. Remaining over medium heat, add the chicken broth and whisk. Add the milk and whisk. Continue whisking the mixture over medium heat until the mixture is a slightly thick sauce.
  3. Add the pepper, garlic powder, dried basil, dried oregano, and sea salt. Stir well.
  4. Add the fresh garlic, onion and mushrooms.
  5. Pour sauce over the chicken in crockpot. Stir until all chicken pieces are covered in sauce.
  6. Cover and cook on low for approx. 5 hours.
  7. Add cream cheese (cube it first) and stir until melted.
  8. Add sour cream and stir. Allow to heat up - maybe 20 minutes.
  9. Serve over egg noodles, garnish with fresh chopped parsley, if desired.

Make A “No Sew” Scarf

I’ve always fancied myself a seamstress. . .

As a kid, I used to make costumes for my cats, making them get married or go to a ball. I’d spend hours on costumes, and quite a bit of time trying to get them on the cats! Once done, I’d sit back and admire my work, as I applied Bandaids to my face and neck.

But I never really LEARNED to sew. Yes, I could sew on a button (Thanks Grandma!), but I never really learned on a sewing machine. I envied people who could! So over the years, as I tried to create Halloween costumes for myself and eventually my kids, I found I became very adept at using a hot glue gun to seal seams!

Well, with THIS project, you don’t need ANY hot glue, sewing machines, or even needle and thread! Just a yard of fleece fabric, some masking tape and sharp fabric scissors! (MY kind of sewing project!) And look how nice they are:



This makes a great, last minute gift idea, or even better, it could become a community service project for middle school or high school students! Make a few scarves in one day and donate them to a homeless shelter!

A Few Tips:

  1. Fold the yard of fleece in half, line the edges up and cut off the white edging where the print stops.
  2. ssd-scarf-3Use masking tape to mark off the four scarves and to provide a straight line to cut along. Scarves should be 8-10 inches wide – on this project I marked off 9.5 inches.






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