Saturday, November 27, 2010

Use Up That Leftover Pumpkin: My Favorite Homemade Face Mask

Friends, Romans, Countrymen! Lend me your ears... er... faces!

I have a wonderful, easy recipe to share with you for a fantabulous face mask. If you are anything like me, you have accumulated a dozen cans of pumpkin that are now taking up space in your pantry. The solution?

Pumpkin Pineapple Face Mask!

Did you know that pumpkin is FABULOUS for your skin? Pumpkin and pineapple both are full of enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids. When applied to the skin, they literally eat away all the dead skin cells on your face, leaving you with more radiant, smooth, youthful-looking skin!

There are a LOT of expensive masks out there that claim to be full of alpha hydroxy acid, but most of those products are diluted and ineffective after all the processing they've been though. This mask is full of pure, effective ingredients that cost a fraction of the price of one of those store-bought masks and have better results!!!
Here's how you make it:

You'll need:
  • oats

  • honey

  • 1/4 c. canned pumpkin

  • 1/4 c. chopped pineapple (I use the frozen from Trader Joe's)

  • heavy whipping cream, milk or water

In a blender or food processor (I used my magic bullet!) combine a handful of oats, a big spoonful of honey, pumpkin, pineapple and a small bit of your liquid. I use heavy cream or milk because they are full of anti-oxidants that are so great for your skin. But you can also use a little filtered water. You don't want much, just enough liquid so the mixture is blend-able.

That's it. Blend it all together and you're ready to use it.

To use, generously apply the mixture to your clean face. Leave the mask on for at least 20 minutes, so those little Alpha Hydroxies have time to work! You may feel some tingling, and this is good... it's a sign that the mask is working.

Refrigerate the unused portion of your mask and use within 10 days. I use this mask 2 times a week.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lemon Garlic Chicken: Another Awesome New Recipe to Try

Hello My Pretties,
Just thought I'd pass on a delish recipe I made for dinner tonight. It was SO quick and easy and took me like 10 minutes to make!

Here's the recipe.

Also, I made a few small changes... I used bone-in chicken breasts and drumsticks (so no thighs). And I added about 2 tablespoons of butter on top of the chicken as it roasted. I thought it just needed a little bit more moisture in the pan. You could also add a bit of olive oil instead.

It was so succulent and scrumptious and any other "s" word you can come up with that means delicious! :0)


Any way you say it, it was good!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Trader Joe's Product O' the Whenever: Nitrate Free Hot Dogs

For dinner tonight I made these baked corn dogs, and I must say they turned out pretty gal darn tasty.

I love that they were baked instead of friend because:
a. it's healthier, of course...
b. it's much less time consuming to just pop all the corn dogs in the oven, rather than having to stand in front of scalding oil, frying them individually and fearing oil burns.
Here's a cut-open view of the delicious corn-doggy goodness.

For the hot dog portion of our recipe, I used my new favorite hot dogs... Trader Joe's Nitrate free!!!
You may be asking... What are nitrates? Well, I don't mean to get all hippie-earth-mother on you, but nitrates are pretty scary and they are in almost ALL processed meats. It is very important to watch your family's intake of this toxic chemical! Nitrites are preservatives used in the processing of hot dogs, lunch meat, breakfast meat, etc. Nitrites are known carcinogens, and are especially known to bring on cancers of the oral cavity, urinary system and bladder, esophagus, stomach and cancer of the brain.

Seriously... can you believe this chemical is in our meat?! Well have no fear because good old TJ's makes an array of wonderful nitrate-free bacon, lunch meat and hot dogs! These hot dogs are delicious and nutritious without all the added garbage in most hot dogs.
Thank you, Trader Joe, for allowing me to pursue my love of processed meat without fear of brain tumors or oral cancer. This is yet another reason why I love you.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Domestic DIY: Spicy, Fall Air Freshener

Hey Peeps... I just learned a scary fact.

I recently read that air fresheners are among the top three most toxic chemicals in your home.

Yep, air fresheners are right up there with oven cleaner and drain cleaner. Yikes!

Being a girl with a strong olfactory sense and a love for fragrances, this was quite disturbing to me. One of my favorite things is to come home and be greeted by a delicious, seasonal scent; cinnamon in the fall, coconut in the summer and crisp, woodsy scents in the winter.

So I've been trying to figure out a way to fragrance my home and still get rid of all those icky toxins. The solution?

Essential oils!

While fake-o fragrances are harmful to your body, essential oils, in addition to smelling amazing, are actually good for you when you inhale them!

A while ago, I purchased an oil warmer at Bath and Body Works. They have some really cute ones. (Don't buy their oil though, as it is also full of ickies).

Instead blend 2 or 3 delicious essential oils together to create your own unique home fragrance.

For fall I chose clove, cinnamon and orange essential oils. To burn just place 5 or 6 drops of each oil in the top of your warmer. Then add water to fill the top portion of the warmer (this is to keep the oil from burning). Now in the lower section of the warmer, add a tea light (unfragranced) and light it.

And now, a bit about each of the oils in my favorite fall scent...

Cinnamon Leaf Oil:
This oil is germicidal, antiseptic and anti fungal. It is a physical and emotional stimulant and gets the blood and mind in motion. It is considered an aphrodisiac as well as an antidepressant. Aroma in a room reduces drowsiness, irritability, pain and frequency of headaches. Makes a warming balm to relax tight muscles, ease joint pain & menstrual cramps and increase circulation.

Clove Oil:
Clove Oil contains antiseptic properties, best used in a diffuser or vaporizer to help purify the air during cold and flu season. Kills parasites, is antibiotic, antioxidant and antiseptic.

Sweet Orange Oil:
Orange essential oil is refreshing and invigorating fresh orange sweet aroma. Its scent and properties are energizing and invigorating and may be helpful in reducing fatigue. Used as a room freshener, orange contains antiseptic qualities. It's scent may calm and soothe the nerves. Orange essence helps refresh the mind and raise the spirits.

A few other delish scents for fall:
Vanilla Absolute
Vanilla is calming, comforting, and dispels anger, frustration, and tensions. Its relaxing influence can help during menstruation. It is recommended to use in massage blends, particularly when there is tension in the female reproductive system. (AKA... feeling PMS-ish, Ladies? Burn some vanilla!)

Inhaling this scent is said to be stimulating and helpful in clearing your head. Used in a compress, lotion or massage oil, it's heating action relieves pain from arthritis, sore muscles, menstrual cramps and headache. Ginger stimulates both appetite and poor blood circulation and helps relieve nausea and motion sickness. Reduces drowsiness and irritability, increases concentration and mental energy.

So in summary, burning these oils purifies the air, especially during cold and flu season. It also helps enhance your mood and calms you down while fighting off drowsiness and fatigue (don't we all need that, Mamas?). Plus your house will smell like a freshly baked loaf of pumpkin bread!!!

My favorite place to buy essential oils is Mountain Rose Herbs. Great prices and awesome quality!

In closing,

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Mo-month of Silence: The Mommy Time Warp


It has been over a month since I've posted anything on this here blog.


A friend mentioned the other day that she missed reading my blog posts, and I thought, "Oh yeah, it's been like a week or two since I've posted. I should get on that."

But a MONTH?

Does anyone else just feel like time is flying by? Like it's Thanksgiving, and I still haven't gotten to that Fourth of July craft yet?

I often have moments where an entire week (or month, apparently) is gone and I have no idea where it went.

I can't speak for other Mamas, but for me, I am learning that this is just how life is in this season of mothering young kids. And that's okay.
Some days it feels like all I can be is Mommy to two kids and wife to McPreachy. That's it. I get so into Mommy-mode that I don't realize how fast life is going by outside our sparkling clean somewhat clean, peaceful somewhat chaotic home.

We had a great speaker at our MOPS group the other night who reminded us that it's okay if certain things in our life are chaotic, forgotten or not done as well as we would like. It's just a season. And during this season, our most important job is to love, respect and honor our husbands and love, care for, nurture, guide and play with our kiddos. That's it.

Such a simple lesson... why can't I learn it?

So that's all I have for you right now by way of an update.

I'm a Mama giving it my all, trying to balance the most important things while ditching some of the lesser-important things (can we say pine cone Christmas trees and edible, homemade Cornucopias?)

Balance and Consistency are two things I'm not very good at.

But I'm working on it...

...and I am SO sorry if I forgot to call you on your birthday. You know who you are.