Recipe Review: Pad Grapow (Cravings by Chrissy Teigen)

I recently took a look at Goodreads’ list of the best cookbooks of 2016 and put a few of them on hold. I got into cookbooks when I worked at the public library during college, but since it’s rare that I want to make every recipe in a single book, I usually check the books out from the library and save the recipes with the most potential. Cravings by Chrissy Teigen was one of those books.

I took a look through the book today and decided to make Pad Grapow Chicken, which is Thai basil chicken. I was looking for a recipe that would be on the healthy side, delicious, and still easy to cook. This recipe has relatively few ingredients, was something new, and looked like something my family would enjoy. After a quick stop at the grocery store, I got to work.

1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
5 cloves of garlic
1 serrano chile
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cups fresh basil leaves
Cooked rice for serving

In a bowl, toss the chicken with the oyster sauce and soy sauce and marinate for 10 minutes. Mash the garlic and chile until finely smashed.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic-chile mix and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Increase the heat to high, add the chicken, and cook, stirring, until just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add the basil and cook until wilted, about 1 minute.

Serve over rice.

A couple of notes –

  1. If you aren’t familiar with oyster sauce, don’t be put off by the name! It is a brown, salty sauce that is commonly used in Chinese food. It does not taste like fish.
  2. I used a garlic press for the garlic cloves and serrano. It worked perfectly. You could also cut into tiny bits, you mostly want the flavor to come out and add to the taste of the chicken.
  3. If you aren’t comfortable using a serrano, a slice of mild green pepper would add the flavor without the kick.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Definitely check out the cookbook – whether it’s from your local library or by purchasing – there are quite a few tasty looking recipes (and pictures – John Legend, mmm) inside!

 

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Product Review: HiSmile Day 1

Man, it really sucks when you see a picture of you and a friend and your eyes are drawn to the fact that their teeth are noticeably whiter than yours. I have never been able to whiten my teeth. I remember buying Crest white strips for the first time as a teenager, and leaving them on even though it felt like I was chewing on tinfoil. I wasn’t brave enough to continue to regimen, so my teeth never got whiter, but every few years I would try them out again with the same results.

I haven’t heard much about HiSmile but a couple of weeks ago I was talking to a friend who mentioned that they were good for sensitive teeth. Later that night Kylie Jenner posted on SnapChat that the product was 50% off, so I decided to buy a kit.

The package showed up in the mail yesterday. It took about two (maybe three) weeks to get here. I think it came from Australia? Not 100% sure because I had someone else do the ordering for me, but it says AirMail. I was super amused to see that I am apparently a company called “What Up Jenn” in 2017.

The kit comes with three pens full of gel, a mouth piece, and a UV light. It also comes with a “how it works” note that explains how to use the product and a tool that allows you to measure the shade of your teeth before starting use.

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I think my teeth are about a seven. This isn’t the best light, but the photo is unedited.

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After measuring my tooth color, I pieced together the product and put it in my mouth. I pushed the button, and voila! It wasn’t terribly difficult to figure out, and the product wasn’t strange to use. I waited the full ten minutes and could see a bit of a shade difference immediately after, though not anything significant. I could definitely see the calciums in my teeth that had whitened up.

While it wasn’t pain free, the pain was only on the top of my two upper front teeth and was gone before bedtime. I am a little nervous about that and I’m hoping it doesn’t get worse as the week goes on.

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Selfie! I was simultaneously wearing a charcoal nose strip which was terrible and not at all worth reviewing.

Please let me know if you have any questions! I’m not sure if there are any referral bonuses for this product, but if you decide to buy let me know so I can look. It’s always nice for us all if we can get discounts!

Answer: What is sheet masking?

Last summer, a friend of mine introduced me to Asian beauty. She did so by linking me to the Asian beauty subreddit and it quickly became my new obsession. Since I had been having a difficult time with my skin, I decided to take a look at the products that were available.

I’m always interested in trying something cute and new, and Asian beauty products are certainly that. I began to research products that were specifically designed to help with acne, or products that would at least not make my sensitive skin any worse than it already was.

The first thing that I did was build a basic routine. Asian beauty experts recommend waiting at least two weeks between introducing new products, so I would order a new product every two weeks on payday. The products generally range from $10-25 so it was nice to break up the spending and take advantage of Amazon Prime shipping.

One of the first products that I ordered was a set of sheet masks. If you are someone who has wondered why I post photos of myself on Snapchat or Instagram with white sheets over my face, this is the reason. Sheet masks are thin paper masks that are soaked in an “essence” that works to specifically improve one or more aspects of your skin. Some of the common skin concerns are acne, moisturizing, aging, and whitening (which really means brightening.)

My first purchase was a ten pack of the Benton Snail Bee High Content Sheet Masks. I was excited to try the masks, although I was a little worried that the mask would react with a bee allergy that I’m not 100% sure I still have. I ordered the masks and when they arrived, I thought about patch testing but decided to just throw one on my face because.. You only live once, right?

Fortunately, there was no reaction and I really loved the mask. While I will admit that I’ve never had noticeable effects from the use of a single mask, I always enjoy the relaxation time that comes after applying a fresh mask. I especially enjoyed my family’s reaction to seeing me in a mask the first time, but I was a little bit heartbroken when my dogs weren’t at all spooked my new look.

All-in-all, sheet masks are a fun adventure. It is important to find masks that work with your skin concerns, and the Asian beauty subreddit (plus the internet!) can help you find the products that are right for you.

Beauty Review: Dr. Jart+ Vital Hydra Solution Face Mask

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I was very lucky this weekend to stumble upon a real life Kbeauty store in Chicago Chinatown! I was in town with family for an event and we went to Chinatown for lunch before heading home. I kept my eye open for Kbeauty, but nothing caught my eye until just before we were leaving.

I went into a store called “Korean Beauty Store” and really loved the experience. I saw a ton of products that I have purchased during the last year, and it was neat to see some of the more “well known” products in real life. I personally love touching and smelling things, especially if I’m planning to spend money on them, so this especially exciting to me. I also enjoyed having the opportunity to chat with the salesgirl and learn about the products right then in there without having to do my own research.

Since I have more than enough products at home right now, I decided to check out a couple of new face masks. I asked for recommendations and the salesgirl suggested the Dr.Jart+ Dermask Vital Hydra Solution Deep Hydration Sheet Mask. At this point in the day I had spent several hours outside in 3 degree weather, so I figured a super moisturizing face mask couldn’t hurt and decided to take one home.

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This was my first Dr. Jart mask, and I was pretty impressed with it. I loved the smell (roses!!) and was surprised by the thin texture. It is probably the thinnest mask I have ever used, and definitely the first one that I have had to peel off of a second sheet. I was a little worried that I would tear it, but it all went very well.

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Next, I tried the mask on. This mask did not fit as well as some of the others that I have used. The thin texture allowed the mask to cling to my skin, but it did not match my eyes and mouth. I haven’t had a problem with this before and it wasn’t much of a problem this time, though it was not ideal.

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The mask in general looked a bit silly on me. I was super tired and did not work very hard to take nice pictures.

As you can see, the mask material was very thin and allowed my skin impurities to show through.

I was ready for bed after 20 minutes with the mask on. When I took it off there was still some liquid, but it felt nice and absorbed very quickly.

All in all, I enjoyed the mask and would use another one. I paid a bit too much for the product (around $6.00) but they are available at lower cost online. The Amazon link says 5 for under $15, which is a much better deal.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this mask.