Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Oil Cleansing Method (OCM)

I recently ran out of my usual face wash and moisturizer (convenient that it happened at the same time). I haven't had a chance to purchase more, so yesterday I began to scour the internet for an at-home facial exfoliating facial scrub recipe. I hit the jackpot with this Lemon and Sugar Face Scrub from Beauty Banter. I used it and my face felt clean, soft, and moisturized without any harsh chemicals! But, I actually came to that recipe through another site, Homemade for Elle. She had posted a list of at-home facial cleansers and the Lemon & Sugar was just one of them. More importantly, her post was about the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM). I began researching and soaking up as much information as I could about OCM. Crunchy Betty has an excellent, detailed post about trying OCM for yourself. If you're not sure which oils to choose, The Happy Skin Diary can help you with that!

I used my empty facial cleanser bottle to mix 3 tablespoons of Castor Oil, 3 tablespoons of Sweet Almond Oil, and 3 tablespoons of Apricot Kernel Oil.

Make sure you do the research and find a formula that works for you!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

3 Meals, 1 Recipe : Mixture for Meatballs, Meatloaf, or Burgers

I hate leftovers. Like, h-a-t-e them. There are very few things I will eat more than once. And unfortunately, that goes for both restaurant food and home-cooked meals. I'm a little less hateful towards home-cooked meals.

I'm a planner. I plan lots of things, including my weekly menu. I try to plan for meals that use the same ingredients (if they're not common pantry items) so as not to waste anything. I hate wasting food. Hating leftovers and hating to waste food make my life a living... you get it. And to make all these matters worse, I am not great at cooking for two and minimizing leftovers. So, the planning saves me. Sometimes...

Well, I decided a while back I was going to attempt to make meatloaf. I have never eaten it in my life, that I can remember. Most kids had it growing up. I don't recall my mom or grandmother ever making it. I now know's freaking disgusting to make. Raw meat, raw eggs, soggy bread... oh, and you have to mix it with your bare hands. Woof.

Well, I did it. I used The Pioneer's Woman's Meatloaf recipe, though I added one tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce to the mixture and I added about half a bell pepper and half an onion, both finely chopped. I also used a Parmesan, Romano, & Asiago cheese blend, since that's what I already had on hand. I didn't even gag once; however, once I was done combining all the ingredients, I realized I was going to have a huge 'loaf' on my hands. I did some googling and it turns out the recipe I used for my meatloaf is very similar to most meatball recipes AND it freezes well!

As a matter of fact, I found this post which shows you how to adapt your batch to make meatloaf, meatballs, or burgers! And Stockpiling Moms taught me how to flash freeze the uncooked mixture.

Now I have a perfect-sized loaf (which I'm sure will still yield leftovers--ack!) and I have meatballs for spaghetti & meatballs and patties for burger night!

Monday, August 5, 2013

An Adventure in Homemade Sugar Scrub-making

I needed to make some favors for a Bachelorette Spa Party I'm hosting this weekend, so I searched Pinterest and gathered a few recipes to try. Thank goodness I started a few weeks ago, because my first three tries were disastrous...

First, I tried to make a Little Birdie Secret's Coconut Ginger Scrub. That one turned out smelling like Chinese food. Strike 1.

Then, I tried using a pre-made scent from Hobby Lobby called "Invigorating Blend." I didn't use any of the turbinado sugar this time, just white. I found a gorgeous pink food-coloring gel and dyed it hot pink. It smelled ok and was the perfect pink tint; however,... it may or may not have dyed my skin when I tested it out. Strike 2.

So, I tried again. This time, I used a vegan cane sugar, which I thought had bigger crystals than regular sugar (better for exfoliation). It doesn't. With this one, I used a lavender essential oil fragrance blend I found at Michael's and instead of food coloring, used soap dye. I used about half the bottle and the mixture refused to turn purple. I don't know where I went wrong. Maybe the dye wasn't strong enough? Whatever. Strike 3.

So, my final attempt, I came up with what I think is a pretty good base recipe.

1 1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. kosher or epsom salt (I used kosher)
1 c. coconut oil (if your coconut oil is solid, don't heat it up to melt it, or you might end up cooking the sugar when you combine them.)
1 T. almond or vitamin e oil

Most recipes have a 2:1 ratio for sugar (or salt) to oil.

Once you've got your base, you can scent it however you like. I ended up using about 30 drops of the lavender oil I bought and used about as many drops of liquid purple food coloring. It still didn't really come out with a vivid color, but I'm not risking skin-dying scrub again.

I drew inspiration from Coordinately Yours and The Gunny Sack for labeling and decorating them.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A few Pinterest recipes

I'm not even going to make excuses as to why I don't blog anymore. I'm also not going to try to catch up on what I've missed. I'll just start here...

Pinterest is where I find 99.9% of my recipes. I recently started a shared board to allow my friends and family to pin things they have actually cooked. I have about three thousand pins. I have tried very few of the recipes.

Last night I made Classy Clutter's Baked Parmesan Garlic Chicken. Next time I make it, I'll be omitting the garlic powder from the breading and adding a little salt and pepper. I served it with jasmine rice and corn on the cob. Not just any old corn, though. Fresh corn. I picked up the corn 3/$1 at Sprout's. It's one of my favorite summer sides--cheap and delicious. I just soaked the corn (silks and husks in tact) in water for a few minutes, then tossed them in my oven, directly on the over rack at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Then, using an oven mit (very important), I took them out of the oven and chopped off one end. They slipped right out of the husks and left the silks behind. It was magical.

Tonight I'm trying crock pot fajitas for the first time. I'm sort-of kind-of following Teenah's Projects recipe. You know me, I'm not great at following recipes...

I also made Domestic Charm's Easy Homemade Salsa, but... I forgot the onion and I sort of cut it in half. I used one 14.5 oz. can of chopped tomatoes plus a little bit of some diced tomatoes I had left from a recipe from last week. I used about 3 large cloves of garlic, 1/2 a large jalapeno, and just eye-balled the salt and pepper. I think it's pretty darn good, but I may add the onion if I think it needs it.

That's it. That's all I got. I don't want to overwhelm myself, you know.       

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Umm, hello? Is anyone out there? Remember me?

Umm, hello? Is anyone out there? Remember me?

It's crazy how life gets away from you and you don't have time to write it all down...

So, for those of you that are still reading... hello again! Welcome back. (To me, I mean...)

It's 2013, so the Mayans were wrong (again). 2013. Wow. It's almost unbelievable how quickly time passes once you hit adulthood.

2012 was an interesting year. I did quite a bit of casual dating--it was awful. I even tried, wait for dating. Please, hold your gasps. I know, I know. But, I read some statistic somewhere that said something along the lines of "half of all marriages begin online." Yeah, sure they do. After a bottle couple bottles of wine I let my friend Stefanie convince me that it was worth a shot. So, thus began my search for my online husband... ha ha ha. Let's just say that I couldn't wait for my 3-month subscription to end.

After the heartbreak of losing out on my dream house, I was at a crossroads as to whether to continue to look for a home or to rent for a bit. In February, I moved in to my very own apartment. For the first time in my life I was living alone...and I. LOVED. IT. Holy cow, I loved it so much. I bought all new furniture, decorated exactly how I wanted, and worked every morning to keep it spotless. It's hard to believe I have lived here almost a year. And, in big news... I'm staying another year. I went back and forth about starting to look for another home, but I decided to wait. I haven't lived in one place for consecutive years since I lived in the sorority house from 2005-07. WAIT! Hold the phone! I wasn't living alone... I do have a roommate--a 4-legged one! My sweet Bayla D'Lane got to move in with me. Seeing as how I have been working from home since December of 2011, my oh-so-needy angel loves living with me. She gets all mom, all the time.

So, that's the update on my personal life and my living situation. That's about all I have to report for 2012.

Kidding. Kind of. There are several points in 2012 I'd like to forget, so we'll skip over those.

So, on to 2013. A fresh start. A new year. This year two of my best friends are getting married and I'm honored that I will be by their sides when they say, "I do." I hope to finally be done with Grad School this year. I hope to travel more. I hope to continue on my journey to be healthier and happier. No resolutions necessary this year.

Love & be loved.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Someday: A Teen & Her Journal

After a series of failed relationship and heartbreaks, I wrote in my journal, “Today is the last day and this is the last time I will ever allow myself to get hurt. No more guys.” Did I write this last year? Did I write this last week? No, I wrote this on November 23, 1999. I was fourteen years old.

While cleaning out my office closet the other day, I came across a Winnie the Pooh notebook. I recognized it immediately—my journal. I started this particular journal on February 20, 1999 and the last entry is from December 11, 2002. I amused myself by reading through it. I had written about boys I liked, friends that had coupled off, break-ups, parties, friends, and all the ups and downs of being a teen.

What struck me the most about reading entries from my teen-hood was that I haven’t changed much. I mean, I have had lots of life experiences since then, but essentially, I am the same person. I am a fourteen-year-old girl trapped in a twenty-something’s body. On January 25, 2001, I wrote, “I’ve decided that I need something more. I need love…real love.” Good grief! It sounds like I am trapped in a loveless marriage or I am a forty-year-old divorcee—I was only a teen dealing with boyfriend issues. 

I thought hard on this one—if I could go back, what would I tell myself? Back then, I had my “life plan” all figured out. How do you tell a teenage girl that all her hopes and dreams may or may not happen? Is that what our parents try to tell us, because they went back and read their own journals more than a decade after they wrote in them? More importantly, if I were to write in it today, what would I tell my future self? Interestingly enough, the last page in the journal reads:

…I’ll be famous.
…I’ll experience real love.
…I’ll love myself.
…I’ll get married.
Dated January 15, 2001

…I will be happy with my life.
…I’ll love myself.
Dated March 19, 2001

…I will be at peace with my life.
Dated December 2, 2001

…my life will be remembered.
Dated January 2, 2002

…I’ll look back on my journal and laugh.
Dated December 17, 2002

If someone had told me back then that more than a decade later I'd be sitting at home blogging on a Friday night, I might have just given up on love then. But as I pick up my old journal and add another entry for me to look back on someday, I write, "The difference between fourteen year old me and twenty-six year old me is that I believe in love more now." I'm still standing, even after a decade of heartbreaks. That's probably what I would tell fourteen-year-old me--"You'll make it."

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Paleo Chocolate Chip Macadamia Cookies

I scoured the Internet for Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies I could make with ingredients I already had on hand. Many of them called for maple syrup, agave (not Paleo), and random nut oils. This one I had everything for AND they turned out great. I actually am not that big of a chocolate fan, so before I added the chips, I made a few cookies. Then, I added chips and made a few more. Finally, before I made the last few cookies, I added macadamia nuts. Yum!

Paleo Chocolate Chip Macadamia Cookies

1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil (I think refined would work just the same.)
1 cup blonde palm sugar
2 large eggs (cage free)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 - 1 cup chocolate chips (dairy, nut and soy free--I used the Enjoy Life chips; optional)
1/2 - 1 cup macadamia nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk the coconut flour and the baking soda together in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl mix together the coconut oil, palm sugar, eggs, salt, and vanilla, then add the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the chocolate chips and macadamia nuts (optional).

On a parchment-lined cookie sheet, use a cookie scoop to form the cookies. I pressed mine down a bit and they turned out perfect!

Bake for 7-10 minutes, depending on your oven.

**Recipe adapted from: BakerGal