Sunday, April 14, 2013

Using Kool-Aid to Make Lip Gloss

Upon looking through some old phone pictures, I realized I never posted about this!  For my Christmas-is-Possible quest this year, I made some people lip glosses using kool-aid as a means to flavor the glosses!  It wasn't difficult, but I did learn to work quickly with hot petroleum jelly...otherwise it starts to solidify and will coat the bowls/jars you are using to prepare the gloss before getting it into your desired containers. (Such a bummer to clean!)

Some of my finished products!
Left to Right: Blue Raspberry Lemonade, Sweet Orange,
Pineapple/Orange/Banana ("Tropical"), and Cherry Watermelon.
The recipe below just requires that you use kool-aid packets, but I like to add a little something extra to mine most of the time.  For instance, I made a blue raspberry lemonade gloss so I added a little lemon juice.  This helps to dissolve the powders/sugar and also slows the solidifying process so you don't have to work as fast.  I also used lime juice for a lime-flavored gloss and a few different extracts to compliment various flavors, such as cherry extract with a cherry kool-aid.  Again, these additions are completely optional, but I would recommend them to make your life easier! Also, I like to add some sugar to keep it from being so bitter (remember, kool-aid doesn't already have sugar in it).

Speaking of sugar, one good reason to add this ingredient is because it contains natural alpha hydroxy/glycolic acid.  This helps to exfoliate, moisturize, and to stimulate collagen production, which helps to reduce aging.

Citrus juices (lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice, tangerine juice...I could keep going...) have good amounts of vitamin C, which help to brighten skin and stimulate collagen production (anti-aging properties).

Extracts have various benefits depending on what type of extract you use.  Cherry extract also has vitamin C in addition to antioxidants that reduce pain and inflammation.  It also increases the skin's ability to retain moisture, which is important for your lips.  Coconut extract has similar moisturizing properties and is good for sensitive skin. Vanilla extract has antioxidants that promote the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles.

I've never tried it, but I would think that adding small amounts of essential oils could be done as well. Vitamin E oil would probably be excellent for adding into a lip gloss because it heals dry skin and prevents further drying as well as scarring. I would think this would be great for lips, but again, I've never actually done it...yet. :p

And finally, a quick note about petroleum jelly.  As you may already know from previous posts, this ingredient soothes dry, chapped skin and can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  It not only seals in moisture, it also helps skin to retain that moisture.  This makes it ideal as a base for lip products.

Okay everyone, here is the recipe:

Kool-Aid Flavored Lip Gloss
1 cup Petroleum Jelly
1 pkg. Kool-Aid (Any flavor you like)
1 Tbsp. Sugar or Other Sweetener (optional)
A few tsp. fruit juices/extracts to compliment flavor (optional)

1) Melt the petroleum jelly in a microwave-safe bowl for about 2 minutes or until it is completely liquid.

2) Stir in other ingredients mixing well to avoid your gloss being too gritty. You may want to pre-grind raw sugar if using to prevent this phenomenon. You also may want to pour this into a jar and shake to mix, but if you do this you must be fast because it will begin to solidify if it has the chance to cool.

3) Pour into desired containers such as cosmetic pots, empty lip gloss tubes, small Altoids™ tins, or my favorite, cleaned contact cases that I get free when I order new contacts. 

*~*Note: This makes a LOT of gloss, so be prepared to fill MANY containers!*~*

4) Allow gloss to set for 2 hours, then seal with lids and enjoy at will!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

(Virtual) Paperback Writer

Hey All!

Just thought I would toss up a link on here for one of my latest endeavors. I'm a newly-published author!  I wrote a book about an encounter I had with man in a coffee shop a few weeks ago.  I didn't actually write it with the intention to publish it, but I got lots of encouragement and now I am the proud creator of an ebook!  The subject matter is something that I think is important in a world full of discrimination borne from what can only be described as ignorance.  People aren't innately's something we learn to be.  Which means it is also something we can learn not to be if we critically analyze our motives and give logic and human decency a chance to make us better people today than what we were yesterday.  I suppose that when people say things that are factually incorrect to support their ideologies, they don't say things knowing that they are wrong, they say them assuming that they are correct.  They have probably heard others make the same claims over and over again and assume that those people knew what they were talking about.  (What's that saying about making an a$$ out of "u" and "me"???) So I believe it's not so much a matter of people knowingly spreading misinformation as it is a matter of people ignorantly spreading misinformation. That can be fixed! Spreading correct information to combat the ignorance isn't just a good idea, it's essential for the creation of a better society.  This concept of an educated or at least well-informed general public transcends the message of this book and is a concept that I think we can all get behind.

For anyone who would like to purchase a copy of my ebook, Homophobe: A Logical Response to an Ignorant Ideology, please click the link below.

Happy Reading! :D 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Black Bean Casserole (a.k.a. "Mexican Lasagna")

Hey all! I've made this several times and I'm always adding and subtracting ingredients based on what I have on-hand at the time.  It's a great "base" sort of recipe and as a result is perfect for adapting to your own taste.  The first time I made it, it was meatless, so I called it a black bean-tortilla casserole, but my husband prefers the term "Mexican Lasagna"...probably because I don't like real lasagna so this is the closest he comes to it!

First, I preheat the oven to 350 degrees and layer 6 corn tortillas in a 9 X 13 baking dish. (I let the tortillas overlap a bit, but I make sure to cover as much of the bottom of the dish as possible.

While the oven is warming up, I saute diced red onions, minced garlic (or garlic powder if I'm out of the good stuff), and a FEW diced jalapenos (these bad boys go a long way...especially if you are using the kind that come in a jar like pickles and get hotter the longer they sit unused but opened in your refrigerator) in some olive oil for a few minutes. As the veggies are cooking, I usually add wedding seasoning blend (See What's In My Pantry?) along with some paprika.

Here I usually add corn (frozen or canned and drained) and black beans (cooked previously from a dry bag, or canned and drained) before adding more seasonings to taste. Next I add my husband's famous Morrow Family Salsa ("Hot Sauce" as they call it) if we have any or I add some tomatoes (either a few fresh ones or about half a can of the diced ones that has been well-drained).

This is great without meat, but when available, it's much more filling to have the extra protein.  Sometimes I throw in handfuls of shredded rotisserie style chicken, or I'll cook up some ground beef to add to the mix.  I haven't tried any seafood, but I'm sure tuna or even shrimp would still taste great in this recipe!

Once everything has been cooked and seasoned adequately, I layer half of the sauteed mixture on top of the tortillas in the baking dish. I then sprinkle on a layer of cheese. Cheddar works great, but sometimes I mix it up with colby-jack or mozzerella (or a combo!).  I would think pepper jack would be good if you were wanting to kick it up a notch.

Then I add a second layer of tortillas on top of the cheese, followed by the other half of the sauteed mixture, and finish with another layer of cheese. I pop the whole thing in the oven for 15 minutes or so and voila! Dinner!

The meatless version.

I usually serve this with sour cream for me and salsa or Louisiana hot sauce for my hubby. Sometimes I mix the sour cream in with the sauteed mixture to make the whole thing a little creamier, but I have to be careful because my husband is lactose-intolerant and he insists that I not skip the cheese for this one.

It would be easy to add other veggies like broccoli or shredded potatoes to this dish if you so chose. You could also replace the black beans with kidney beans or chili beans. I love the versatility of this dish!

The first time I made this, it was meatless and my husband gave it an 8.2 out of ten on our yummy scale. Coming from a guy who loves meat, that's pretty high! He upped the rating for the chicken version, but I didn't write that one into my dinner log, so I have no clue what his actual rating was for that version. :p

This dish is super easy and straight forward...great for people just learning how to cook or wanting to do more experimenting in the kitchen without wasting money on failed attempts. Seriously, even if you burn some of the veggies, this will usually still turn out great! Best of luck, and happy eating! :)

Happy Husband is Happy. :)