Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Purely Pure Pumpkin Puree

Since this year I have tried to stay away from processed and prepackaged foods, I decided that it would be fun to take advantage of the millions and billions of pumpkins that are available this time of year.

I had read that there was something different about the texture and flavor of pumpkin pies and other baked goods made from pureew.

At first I thought that pumpkins are a pain in the butt, and the only people who would ever take the time to make their own pumpkin puree would be those over-achievers who pretend that they are Martha Stewart and are lost in the dark ages.

But then I remembered my mom always telling me that the secret to making awesome food is to have awesome ingredients, and there is no way that I would ever eat the pumpkin puree that you can buy in a can.

Making pumpkin puree while pumpkins are available on just about every street corner makes total sense and allows you to enjoy better, especially when you take the time to make enough pumpkin puree to stock your freezer. All year long you will have a much better pumpkin ingredient available as you are baking such things are pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin dip, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin butter, and so forth.

1,  Choose your pumpkins…You can roast as many small pumpkins at a time as you want. Tyically each pound of uncooked pumpkin will yield one pound of mashed and cooked pumpkin.

Make sure that the pumpkins that you use are the small “sugar” or “pie” pumpkins that are “bred” specifically for baking and cooking…not the larger pumpkins grown specifically for carving jack-o-lanterns.

These larger pumpkins are not the right texture and do not taste nearly as good.

 

 

2.  Prepare to cook it…

  • Slice a small piece of skin off one side of the pumpkin so when laid on its side, the pumpkin will lay flat without rolling.
  • Remove the stem,
  • Slice the pumpkin in half.
  • Scoop out the seeds and pulp from the center with a large metal spoon, ice cream scoop, or melon baller. Place all the seeds into a bowl for roasting later.
  • Repeat until all the pumpkin pieces are largely free of seeds and pulp.
  • Rinse the pumpkin under cool water to rid the skin of any residual dirt. Dry well with a clean towel.
  • Place pumpkin halves, cut side down, in a roasting pan,
  • Add 1 cup of water to the pan.
  • Rub the cut surfaces with oil.
  • Sprinkle the pieces with kosher salt.

 

 

3.  Cook your pumpkin….At this point you are ready to cook your pumpkin. This can be done in at least three different cooking methods—boiling, roasting, and steaming.

 

a.  Boiling your puree..Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pumpkin to the boiling water, Cook for about 25 minutes or until the flesh is tender when pierced with a knife.

b.  Steaming  your puree,…Place the pumpkin pieces in either a steamer or a metal colander placed over a pot of boiling water. Cover. Let steam for about 50 minutes or until the flesh is tender when pierced with a knife.

c.  Roasting your puree…Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Bake the pumpkin halves until you can easily insert a paring knife into the pumpkin, This can take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes, depending on just how large your pumpkin halves actually were.

 

 

4.  Preparing the Puree…

Now that your pumpkin has cooked, your goal is to squash it…until the entire pumpkin has basically turned into baby food.

Let the cooked pumpkin halves cool for at least an hour.

Use a large spoon to remove the roasted flesh of the pumpkin from the skin.

Now smoosh it into smithereens…

This can be done using a food processor, blender, immersion blender, potato masher, or even a fork.

Continue pureeing until all the pumpkin is totally smooth.

If you want your pumpkin more watery, add a few tablespoons of water at a time.

If you want your pumpkin less watery, strain it over a fine mesh strainer to get rid of some of the liquid.

 

 

 

5.  Now what?

At this point you have a choice to either refrigerate and use the pumpkin within the next seven days or to freeze it in Ziploc bags, where it will keep for three months.

If freezing it, store about one cup of pumpkin in each bag.

I honestly find that a smarter idea would be to go ahead and start holiday baking with the fresh pumpkin puree. These five days of baking can save you much needed time later on in the holiday season.

 

After, it’s the most wonderful time of the year…to be getting ready for the most wonderful time of the year…

My how quickly this year has flown!!!

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Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Peter Piper Pumpkin Picker

So this is the one and only time all year that all of us, or perhaps most of us at least, buy a pumpkin.

But how many of us would actually recognize the Great Pumpkin if we actually did see it?

1.PassionHalloween should be as fun as possible for your entire family. Don’t be like the lady that we all hate on the movie The Grinch who gets out her tape measure and actually measures the pumkin before buying it.

Never forget that the holidays—not only Halloween, but also Thanksgiving and Christmas—are supposed to be fun, Be passionate about spending time with your family, not spending more money than your neighbors did on the orange globe sitting on your front porches.

2. PerfectionThe pumpkin that you choose doesn’t have to be perfect. Choosing one with bumps and lumps have character.

3.Personal Preference…The perfect pumpkin is that one pumpkin that you or your child could never imagine leaving the PSL without—even though it isn’t the shape or size that everyone else is attracted to. Follow your heart, not the crowd.

4. PigmentationIt is okay if your pumpkin is not a bright orange like the ones that you see on children’s movies and books.

Even though many will say, “the darker the color, the better the pumpkin,” use your common sense here…most of us can tell if a pumkin is the “ugly duckling” of the pumpkin patch.

Just make sure that the top of the pumpkin, specifically around the stem, is not dull, because this indicates frost damage.

5. PitchThe pumpkin that you choose should have a deep, echoing sound when you pick it up, hold the pumpkin next to your ear, and knock on its side with your knuckles.

The louder the sound, the better the pumpkin.

6. PostBy “post” I simply mean the stem, but couldn’t come up with another synonym for the word “stem” that didn’t seem vulgar.

Anyway, the pumpkin that you choose should have a hard, dark green or black stem.

Squeeze the stem to test its firmness. If the stem is soft to the touch, it’s not an ideal pick.

The stem should not bend and break when you pick it up…that would be about like the trunk of the just-chosen Christmas tree snapping in two before you get out of the Christmas Tree lot.

7. Potholes…Gently press on the pumpkin with your finger to make sure that there aren’t any soft spots that indicate that the pumpkin has already started to decay and won’t last much longer.

The pumpkin should be firm all over.

Even though the pumpkin may look perfect from the outside, you do not want to start carving your pumpkin, only to find that it’s rotten.

8.  Profile…Choose an oblong pumpkin, as opposed to a round one. Round or oval pumpkins are easier to carve, have more workspace, and a bigger cavity filled with more seeds.

Choose a pumpkin with a flat bottom that sits well.

9. ProportionIf you are going to be using your pumpkin for baking and cooking, avoid those big pumpkins that are typically sold to be carved into jack-o’-lanterns, regardless of how appealing they may seem.

Those bigger pumpkins are definitely not the best when it comes to cooking and baking. In fact, bigger pumpkins are typically very stringy, bland, and watery.

Instead look for pumpkins that weigh from four to eight pounds and that are labeled as “sugar pumpkins” or “pie pumpkins”—such as Baby Pam, Autumn Gold, Ghost Rider, New England Pie Pumpkin, Lumina , Cinderella, and Fairy Tale.

If only big carving pumpkins are available, choose a winter squash like butternut squash instead, if you will actually be cooking or baking with it.

10. Punctures and Pimples…Choose a pumpkin that has no scrapes, brown spots, bruises, cuts, or holes on its surface. Any of these “punctures and pimples” will make your pumpkin rot faster.

11.Purpose…Choose the thickness of the walls of your pumpkin according to what you will be using for. If you are going to be making a jack o’ lantern, choose a pumpkin with thin walls. If you are going to be cooking with it, choose a pumpkin with thicker walls.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Make Mine a Tall

But there are times when the smallest cup just won’t do…

And there are times when the smallest pumpkin in the PSL just won’t do either…

So let’s take a look at the tall menu…

This is the size pumpkin typically used to carve Jack o’ Lanterns, and if you’ve carved your share of these pumpkins over the last thirty years as I have, you think of these pumpkins, and probably all pumpkins in general, as one huge stringy mess widh a dry, flavorless “taste”…just sitting there begging to be carved lavishly, to be placed in a corner where they will eventually rot and have to be thrown away, or at best being used as a soup tureen.

Make Mine a Tall

This category includes pumpkins that weight from eight to twenty-five pounds, and the most common varieties include…

Fairytale

  • Best for…cooking or baking pumpkin pies.
  • Size…about 15″ around and 6″ high
  • Weight…twenty to thirty pounds
  • Skin Color…dark green turns to an orange color when ripe
  • Shape…flat
  • Shelf Life
  • Texture
  • Flesh Color…bright orange
  • Vertical Ribbing…,deep

Make mine a Venti

(15 to 25 pounds)

The following are some of the most common monster-sized pumpkins—such as the world record pumpkin that weighed over 2,300 pounds

These are the great big huge ones that are proudly shown by their owners at county fairs and international pumpkin harvest festivals…where the pumpkins compete for bragging rights—such as a award, ribbon, cash prize, and notoriety.

These pumpkins are really now grown to be eaten because these pumpkins often lack the flavor of smaller pumpkins.

These pumpkins are really not good for carving either because scooping out the pulp can be a chore.

But they do make eye-catching displays on porches and in public places.

Some of the most common otf these pumpkins are,,,

  • Atlantic Giant
  • Big Max:
  • Big Moon
  • Dill’s Atlantic Giant
  • Mammoth Gold
  • Musquee de Provence.
  • Prizewinner
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

National Dress Gaudy Day

Today is National Dress Gaudy Day, a national “holiday” inspired by the TV show “Three’s Company”…a day that gives us an annual excuse to wear the most unstylish things that we can find.

But sadly there are people every single day wearing terrible clothes who have never gotten the message that dressing “gaudy” is only acceptable one day per year, not all 365.

Sadly, you find people…

  • Showing up to PTA meetings in cut-offs…
  • Wearing “hooker” clothes to church…
  • Finding themselves on websites such as “People of WalMart”…
  • Being nominated for TV shows such as “What Not to Wear”…

And as for me personally, I don’t care to be the latest “talk of the town.”

Nowhere has the fact that many of us have very little, if any, knowledge when it comes to fashion..even though most of us have enough sense to actually wear clothes to Walmart?…been more noticeable than when “business casual” and “casual Friday” became part of the work world.

So what exactly does “business casual” mean? And how can you add a “business casual” to your budget?

Obviously, “business casual” will mean different things from job to job, industry to industry, office to office, and state to state.

And even though there is no “official” rulebook for dressing “business casual,” there are basic principles such as…

First of all, when starting to create any type of wardrobe, you should strive to…

  • (1) eliminate the amount of time spent folding, organizing, buying and washing clothes
  • (2) fill your closet only with clothes that actually make you feel fantastic, that you absolutely love, and that make you happy
  • (3) keep you from mindlessly shopping despite the fact that you clearly have tons of clothing already
  • (4) keep you from staring at a closet full of clothing each morning, and yet feeling that you have nothing to wear

(5) weed out those pieces that you actually never wear now, and probably never will wear again

1. Face the Facts…Be completely honest with who you are now…not the person you used to be, the person you hope to one day become, or some other type of person that you honestly are not.

Don’t think about what you wish you could afford, wish you could fit, and wish you had the lifestyle to wear.

Dressing professionally means dressing to do your job in a well-groomed and non-distracting fashion.

Never wear denim, shorts, miniskirts, crazy makeup, or anything vinyl or sequined.

Get tips from your coworkers.

Ignore the “dress for the job you want” thing. Dress for the job you actually have and for what is right for you. You don’t want to look like the geek who is trying way too hard.

2. Fewer But Better…Quality pieces, taken care of properly, will generally last much longer than cheap pieces It makes sense to invest in things you know you’ll actually wear often…such as black trousers, pencil skirts and blazers.

Buying fewer clothes will allow you to purchase higher quality, longer-lasting pieces that would otherwise be too expensive.

Establish a color palette.

Invest in a few keys pieces. Add other items slowly…. It’s much better to have a smaller wardrobe full of great pieces than a closet full of junk. Don’t try to build a wardrobe all at once. First buy the bare minimum pieces, and get a sense of what your office is like and what feels right on you in that environment. Then you will have time and money to make better choices.

Sell old clothes to offset the costs….Selling old clothes on eBay or at consignment stores will help the people currently needing that item and provide you additional cash for the new items you need.

Shop online….Even though shopping online means that you obviously will not be able try the clothes on before buying them, you can often find really great deals.

Stay away from full-priced department store items….Great pieces can be found much cheaper at stores like T.J. Maxx and Ross, and consignment and thrift stores.

3. Figure Out What You Actually Need..Having a list of what you already have and getting rid of those things that are simply occupying space enables you to actually see what you already have, figure what else you need, and create different outfit combinations.The following list of items might give you some idea of what your wardrobe might consist of.

  • Tops…1 trench…2 blazers…3 dresses…1 cardigan…2 lightweight sweaters…5 blouses…a layering tank…4 T-shirts
  • Bottoms..1 skirt…2 pairs of shorts…1 pair of white linen pants, full length…3 pairs of cropped pants (one colored, one khaki, one black)…1 pair of boyfriend jeans
  • Accessories…2 scarves…3 necklaces…1 set of bangles…1 cocktail ring…1 pair of sunglasses…1 neutral handbag…4 pairs of shoes

4. Find Your Favorites…Your capsule wardrobe should consist only of those items Thad you absolutely love…Notice what gets the most wear and why. This can help you figure out what NOT to purchase in the future.

Dress comfortably…Feel free to be yourself…If you feel uncomfortable, you won’t look very professional.

Choose slightly more structured versions of what you already like to wear.

5. Find Your Niche…Your lifestyle, tastes, job, budget, and even the climate will all play a role in defining what works for you. Define your own “personal style” and color palette. This will allow you to be more specific and selective when shopping.

Create a “uniform.” This takes the work and the panic element out of getting dressed every morning. Two examples of “uniforms” would be almost always wearing A-Line skirts, low heels and blouses…or wide-legged pants, Oxfords and a sweater.

Know your brands and what you’re looking for.

6. Fit the Puzzle Together…..Never buy anything if it doesn’t go with at least two to four other pieces. .Look for those retailers who best fit your figure, your budget, and your lifestyle.

Don’t worry too much about what everyone else is wearing. Business casual runs the gamut in any given office.

7.  Forget Following the Trends..Forget following trends that will be gone next year and replaced with new trends. Classics, such as a white buttondown and khaki pants, are the basics

8. Forget the Forty…Forty is not some magical wardrobe number. No dress, skirt, or perfect 40-piece capsule wardrobe will magically transform your life or make you look ten years younger and twenty pounds thinner. What matters is that you have a wardrobe of clothing that you absolutely love and can’t bear to part with.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

The Other PSL

By now if you’re anything like me, you’ve already spent half a paycheck on PSL’s, and your Starbucks membership has jumped from silver to platinum, completely hurdling over silver status.

But today I want to talk to you about another trend of this season…the other PSL…

 

…the Pumpkin Sales Lot…

The first time that I ever went to a “pumpkin patch” worth even mentioning was back when my girls were about five and seven…

That was about twenty years ago.

Up until that day I assumed that all pumpkins were orange and round, maybe even plastic since neither my parents or my husband for some strange reason never bothered to buy and carve the expected jack o’ lantern each Halloween…

We were doing good to simply put the tree up before New Year’s Day and take it down by Easter, right?!

Anyway, there I stood in that great big field of all shapes, colors, and sizes of pumpkins…and there I was with them wanting one of each different type…a white one, a green one, a blue one, a tall one, a squat ones, and obviously an orange one…

I felt the same way that I did when I lived in Germany and would travel places where the only words that I knew were numbers and the only phrases that I could say were…

“Where is the bathroom?”

“How much does it cost?”

Actually that’s the only three things that we need to know if it gets right down to it, right?

Anyway, here I was standing on American soil, speaking my native language, and all I could do was say “two” and point out what I wanted and ask how much it cost?

Flash forward thirty years…

Here I sit, fifty years old, getting ready to take the “resident four year old” to a huge pumpkin patch in the morning.

Hoping not to feel like a foreigner in my own country out in the country looking totally stupid by thinking that all pumpkins had to be orange and round…

So this year I’m brushing up on my pumpkin recognition skills, or at least taking this “cheat sheet” with us.

To keep things simple, I have grouped the most common pumpkins into three obvious, or at least obvious to any true PSL, categories—the tall, the grande, the venti, and the trenta.

And made a quick list of the characteristics of the most common varieties of each size that you are likely to see…

(I had originally planned on doing this as one post listing pumpkin varieties within each size group, but that article would have been longer than the “resident four year old”‘s  Christmas wish list and that of my two college aged daughters…so doing this in three segments)…

So looking at the smallest group of pumpkins first, let’s see what your options are…

  • Size
  • Skin Color
  • Shape
  • Shelf Life
  • Texture
  • Flesh Color
  • Vertical Ribbing

The Tall (2 to 8 pounds)

This category—the smallest available “cup”— probably are best suited for decorating the porch or front steps. even though these smallest pumpkins have a great tasting, buttery flesh that makes the very best pies, cookies, baked treats, soups-, and almost any other recipe originally calling for squash.

But if you don’t feel like taking the time to prep two dozen different pumpkins, you could always simply carve it, paint it, or hollow it out and stick a flower into it…

1.Baby Bear

  • Best for…pies, roasted pumpkin seeds…also makes an attractive bowl for serving soup, stews, and chili
  • Size…one to two pounds
  • Skin Color…deep orange
  • Shape…flattened

2.  Baby Boo

  • Best for…decorating because it’s supposedly inedible
  • Size…typically the size of your palm
  • Skin Color…bright white; which tends to turn yellow if exposed to direct sunlight
  • Vertical Ribbing…deep

4.  Baby Pam

  • Best for…pies because of its sugary, starchy, string-less, dry flesh
  • Size…three to four pounds
  • Skin Color…deep orange, yellow if immature
  • Texture…very smooth

5. Casper

  • Best for…pies and baking
  • Skin Color…bright white
  • Shape…more round than squat
  • Vertical Ribbing…slight ribbing

6.  Kakai

  • Best for…Although these pumkins are edible, they are better known for their blue seeds, which can be roasted
  • Size…five to eight pounds
  • Skin Color…gray with orange stripes or ribbing

7. Lakota

  • Best for…its butternut squash-like flavor.
  • Size…five to seven pounds
  • Skin Color…red with green and black markings
  • Vertical Ribbing… light

8. Long Island Cheese

  • Size…six to ten pounds
  • Skin Color…pale yellow or orange
  • Shelf Life…up to a year
  • Flesh Color…bright, deep orange
  • Vertical Ribbing…light

9.  Lumina

  • Best for…baking
  • Skin Color…bright white
  • Texture…smooth
  • Flesh Color…bright yellow

10.  Marina Di Chioggia

  • Best for…having a sweet flavor that makes it a favorite for cooking
  • Size…six to twelve pounds
  • Skin Color…green
  • Shape…squat
  • Texture…thick and warty​ skin
  • Flesh Color…yellow/orange

11.  Musee de Provence:

  • Best for…snacking because it actually has a rich, sweet, creamy, taste…often sold in slices in French markets
  • Skin Color…pale orange-yellow
  • Flesh Color…yellow-orange
  • Vertical Ribbing…deep and distinct

12.  Tiger

  • Size…about 5″ around and 3″ high
  • Skin Color…yellow with orange mottling
  • Shape…flat with recessed stem
  • Vertical Ribbing…deep at the top, then fading at the bottom

13.  White Ghost

  • Skin Color…pure white
  • Shape…squat
  • Flesh Color…bright yellow

14.  Winter Luxury

  • Best for…baking
  • Size…up to six pounds
  • Skin Color…unique netted-looking pale orange
  • Shape…round
  • Shelf Life
  • Flesh Color
  • Vertical Ribbing

Other varieities of  these smaller pumpkins that you might encounter include…

  • Baby Boo (white)
  • Jack-Be-Little (standard orange miniature)
  • Jack-Be-Quick (taller, darker orange)
  • Munchkin (uniform, attractive orange fruit)
  • Sweetie Pie (small, scalloped, medium orange fruit)
  • Lil’ Ironsides F1
  • Magic Lantern
  • Lil’ Pump-Ke- Mon F1
  • Merlin F1
  • Howden
  • Howden Biggie
  • Gold Rush
  • Mystic
  • Spooktacular
  • Tallman
  • Early Autumn
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Pumpkin…The Why?!

Pumpkin is not only a highly low-calorie, nutrient-dense food that is rich in vitamins and minerals, but also help you have a healthier complexion, healthier hair, and more energy.

So let’s take a look at the specific nutritional level of pumpkin and how eating more pumpkin could be beneficial for diabetics…

First, a few nutritional facts…

Beta-Carotene…Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that gives orange vegetables and fruits their vibrant color. Beta-carotene is easily converted into vitamin A…which in turn triggers the creation of white blood cells that fight infection.

This is important because consuming foods that are rich in beta-carotene may reduce your risk of developing certain illnesses, such as

  • age-related macular degeneration
  • asthma
  • certain types of cancer, including prostate and colon cancer
  • degenerative damage to the eyes
  • diabetes
  • heart disease

Calories...One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 49 calories.

Carbohydrates...One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 12.01 grams of carbohydrates.

Cholesterol…One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains no cholesterol.

Fat…One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 0.17 g of fat.

Fiber…One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 2.7 g of fiber. Canned pumpkin provides over 7 grams of fiber.

Although the recommended daily fiber intake is between 25 and 30 grams, most Americans typically only get 15 grams of fiber per day.

Fiber is important for slowing the rate of sugar absorption into the blood and promoting regular bowel movements, and supporting the digestive system in general.

Protein…One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains
1.76 g of protein.

Vitamin A…One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains more than 200% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin A.

Vitamin C...One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 19% of the RDA of vitamin C. Vitamin C is important for the immune system, especially important on days like today when the temperature is lunging from 85 degrees today to about 50 degrees tomorrow.

Other Nutrients…One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 10% or more of the RDA of vitamin E, riboflavin, potassium, copper, and manganese… as well as at least 5% of thiamin, B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, niacin, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Finally, what benefits do pumpkin, pumpkin oil, and pumpkin seeds have to offer type 2 diabetics?

Pumpkins can lower your risk of getting type 2 diabetes, and help control diabetes, because of the powerful effect that plant compounds found in both pumpkin seeds and pumpkin pulp have on the absorption of glucose into the tissues and intestines.

Not only that, pumpkin also helps balance levels of liver glucose.

In fact, these plant compounds found within the pumpkin seeds and pulp have such an impact on diabetes that there is research being done as to using them in anti-diabetic medication.

So now I am headed out the door and to the nearest Starbucks for a grande PSL with extra sugar…after all, pumpkin is healthy, right?

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year…

IMG_4247

The other day I found myself surfing Netflix to see if Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin episode was on there and making a special trip to Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte.

Yes…it’s time for the great pumpkin….not to mention Pumpkin Spice latte.

 

And needless to say, the pumpkin is great indeed…

 

Great for great recipes…

Great for great coffee…

Great for decorating your home not only for Halloween, but also for fall…

Great for “kitchen beauty” concoctions such as hair masks and facials…

Great for nutrition…

 

No other vegetable, other than perhaps the sweet potato, has the same sweet, cinnamon-y taste that nostalgically reminds us of Halloween and Thanksgivings long ago.

But have you ever thought about the health benefits that this great pumpkin, not to mention pumpkin seeds and pumpkin oil have to offer…

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Cruelty-Free and Vegan Dental Care Products Review—Don’t Forget to Floss

As I have been making this lifestyle change over the last six months, I have learned to check the labels of products for certain keywords—such as certain ingredients that you want to avoid, and certain other ingredients that you are actually looking for.
As far as ingredients found in dental hygiene products, here are a few to avoid and why…

  • Artificial Colors, Flavors, Sweeteners
  • Benzoic Acid
  • BPA
  • Fluoride
    Glycerin
    Gluten
  • GMO
  • Parabens
  • Preservatives
  • Saccharin
  • SDS
  • SLS
  • Sorbitol
  • Sugar
    Sulfate

Vegan Friendly Ingredients to Look For

  • Aloe Vera…Aloe vera gently cleans the gums and soothes any irritation or infection which may be present
  • Baking Soda…This is used in many DIY types of mouthwash and toothpaste and is great for getting rid of stubborn plaque and also acts as a whitener for your teeth.
  • Cinnamon…Cinnamon freshens your breath and keeps the mouth clean.
  • Clove…Clove is used by dentists as a painkiller as it contains eugenol, and they will usually apply this to the teeth while pulling a tooth or applying a filling. As well as an anesthetic, it is also an antiseptic so wipes out germs.
  • Echinacea…Echinacea is a natural antiseptic that fights off nasty bacteria and prevents gum disease.
  • Grapefruit Extract,,,Grapefruit extract prevents tartar build up and bad breath.
  • Myrrh…Myrrh is used to help prevent bad breath, as well as providing a powerful soothing agents for any irritation or inflamed gum problems.
  • Pomegranate Extract….Pomegranate extracti helps prevent iplaque.
  • Peppermint…_Peppermint also provides a fresh, minty taste, fights halitosis, and prevent  bad breath.
  • Perilla Seed Extract…Perilla seed extract prevents  tartar build up and bad breath.
  • Spearmint…Besides from providing that fresh, minty taste we all know and love- these oils are great for fighting halitosis and preventing bad breath.
  • Tea Tree Oil,…Tea tree oil acts as a natural antiseptic, fights harmful bacteria, and leads to a healthier smile.

 

Most of your typical toothpastes—including .Aquafresh, Colgate, Crest, Aim, Sensodyne—–are not vegan or cruelty-free.

Toothpastes that actually are cruelty-free and vegan include…

  • David’s Natural
  • Dessert Essence
  • Dr. Bronner’s
  • Hello Oral Care
  • JASON
  • Nature’s Gate
  • Simply Sooney
  • Uncle Harry’s
  • VITA-MYR

 

 

Mouthwash

Even though the most common toothpastes are not vegan, most mouthwashes are. Yet many of the most popular brands of mouthwash are owned by companies that do still test their products on animals.

Here is a list of available mouthwashes that do not have any link to animal testing and byproducts.

  1. Dale Audrey’s Oral Pulling Rinse…The active ingredients in this mouthwash are neem and myrrh, both natural antiseptics that help protect your teeth and prevent infections.
  2. Eco-Dent Ultimate Daily Rinse…The active ingredients in Eco-Dent Ultimate Daily Rinse are twelve different essential oils, echinacea is used as a natural antiseptic to fight off nasty bacteria and prevent gum disease., and baking soda.
  3. JĀSÖN Healthy Mouth® Tartar Control Cinnamon Clove Mouthwash…The active ingrefdients in this mouthwash are grapefruit and perilla seed extracts, both of which prevent  tartar build up and prevent bad breath….clove and cinnamon, both of which freshen your breath and keep the mouth clean….aloe vera, which gently cleans the gums and soothes any irritation or infection which may be present…tea tree oil, which acts as a natural antiseptic, fights harmful bacteria, and leads to a healthier smile.
  4. Eco-Dent Ultimate Daily Rinse…The active ingredients in Eco-Dent Ultimate Daily Rinse are twelve different essential oils, echinacea is used as a natural antiseptic to fight off nasty bacteria and prevent gum disease., and baking soda.

Floss

Most dental flosses are not vegan for two reasons…first of all, many dental care products are tested on animals and therefore are not “cruelty-free”…secondly many brands of dental floss are coated with beeswax, which isn’t considered vegan because it’s made by exploiting honey bees.

Alternatives that are cruelty-free include…

  1. Eco-Dent…Mint, Cinnamon…No Beeswax, No Mineral Wax
  2. Nature’s Answer…Wintermint, Cool Mint, Cinnamint….Alcohol Free, SLS Free, Fluoride Free, Gluten Free, Soy Free, Perservative Free
  3. RADIUS…Mint, Cranberry…Gluten Free, Paraben Free, non-GMO, No Artificial Colors, Sweeteners, Perservatives, Phthalates
  •  

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Cruelty-Free and Minimalistic Makeup for Fall

I admit, I’m definitely not a makeup artist or fashionista, but I am a woman from Mississippi…

And being a woman from Mississippi, there are two things that all of us, or at least all of us that were born in my generation in my neck of the woods were expected to learn…

First of all, how to cook…which I’m having to unlearn all of the bad habits and cooking techniques that I grew up with now that my husband has been diagnosed as having type 2 diabetes…

And secondly, how to always look your best….even when you’re simply going to Walmart…

After all, you never know who you might run into…

 

This year one of my main goals has been to live a simpler and more minimalistic lifestyle…in all aspects of my daily routine, starting with my daily makeup routine.

BUT…

I have found myself with three different trains of thought as to buying makeup…

  1. Brand Loyaty
  2. Cheap as Dirt
  3. Cruelty-Free

Regardless which of these three options I continue to pursue in the months, and even years, ahead…

There is one main thing that I want to be consistent…My one big “key word” for the year…

Minimalism

 

So in this post I am going to talk about what makeup trends I have spotted this fall,, the different stess involved in each category, and which products I am considering adding to my makeup bag sometime soon.

 

1.  Face Primer..Primers seal in your skincare products, help fill in pores and fine lines, create a smooth surface on which to apply your foundation, and help your makeup last all day. Look for an oil-free, water-based primer…Cruelty-Free Pick…Vapour STRATUS SOFT FOCUS SKIN PERFECTING PRIMER

2.  Foundation..Opt for an oil-free foundation. Oil-based products improve the risk of your makeup “sliding” out of place. Use a beauty blender to apply light layers to create a smooth, natural look…Cruelty-Free Pick…Mineral Fusion Pressed Powder Mineral Foundation

3.   Concealor…Concealor should be lightweight and actually help get rid of undereye dark circles, allergy-induced redness, and occasional breakouts…not simply hide them…And of course, a natural concealor should contain no skin-irritating synthetics, chemicals, wax, preservatives, parabens, phthalates, or talc…all without looking dry or cakey.

Which concealor you use depends on what problem you are trying to cover…

  • To cover bluish undereye circles, use a yellow-tone concealer.
  • To cover brown or yellowish circles, peach-tone concealers are best
  • To cover fine lines around your eyes, pat moisturizer all around the eyes, using your ring finger. Allow it to sink in for a few minutes before applying concealer. Creamy, hydrating concealers work best for the delicate and dry skin around the eyes.
  • To cover redness, choose a concealer that matches your skin exactly.
  • To cover pimples, dot a pigment-rich, opaque concealer directly on the pimple. Sweep the brush around the base of the pimple, using tiny strokes in order to precisely blend the concealor without using your fingers.

Using Concealor..

  1. Place three tiny dots of concealor under the eyes from the inner corners to the centers, using a synthetic concealer brush. A synthetic brush is best for applying concealor. Applying concealer with your fingers results in creasing and caking. Applying concealer with a natural bristles results in applying too much color..
  2. Blend in with your fingertips.
  3. Apply a lightweight, loose translucent powder to set the concealor and prevent any shimmer and shine…Pressed powder can draw attention to fine lines by settling into creases.

4. Powder...A lightweight translucent pressed setting powder sets your makeup for longer wear and can easily be taken with you and used to soak up any excess oil throughout the day….Cruelty-Free Option.. Jane Iredale pure Matte Finish Powder.

5. Setting Spray...Setting sprays seal your makeup for a very natural look that lasts all day and refresh your makeup throughout the day…Cruelty-Free Option …Dr. Axe’s DIY Makeup Setting Spray with Lavender Oil

1.  Mix together…

  • 1Tbsp aloe vera gel 
  • 1Tbsp witch hazel
  • 5 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 2½Tbsp purified water

2.  Funnel into glass spray bottle. Shake well.

3.  To use…Hold the bottle a few inches away from the face and mist the face with one or two pumps of this spray after applying your makeup…Allow it to air dry.

6. Blotting Papers...Blotting papers may soak up oils during the day, but often take off more of your makeup than you would probably like. Try using Beauty Blender’s Bloterazzi Sponge instead.

7.  Blush…As far as blush goes for this fall, the two colors to look for are “earthy” tones”—more specifically peachy-pink and orange….This is great for those of us who want to embrace a “no-makeup” look.

To apply…Concentrate the color on the highest points of the cheekbones to give the face dimension and a more angular shape. Placing blush on the high points of the cheeks instead of the apples.

 

EYES

Eyeshadow

This year there seems to be several trains of thought as to eyeshadow…

  • Glitter
  • Pink
  • Shimmer
  • Statement
  • Tan

1. Glitter…Glitter eyeshadow may be the perfect way to transition from your everyday minimalistic makeup look to a more decadent look that is perfect for the upcoming holiday festivities.

2. Pink…Pink eyeshadow can range from a subtle and practical “neutral” to a wild statement piece. The best way to wear these, or at least for real women walking sidewalks instead of runways would be to think of this as if it were a tan eyeshadow and not a big deal.

3. Shimmer...Shimmer eyeshadow is another festive choice and is way more conservative than glitter eyeshadows.

4. Statement…Focusing on one area, such as your lips or eyes, and keeping the rest of your face with a neutral “no-makeup” look is almost always better than a full armor of makeup. This look offers a tension and contrast that adds interest to your overall look.

Just as higher hair doesn’t make you any closer to God, neither does a full face (“armor”) of makeup indicate that you have put on the “full armor of God.”

5. Tan….Another eyeshadow trend for this fall is tan shadow.  Tan eyeshadow is a practical and classier choice that flatters every woman,

These “tan” shadows offer several great options—such as deep golden tan, deep camel, golden brown, or pale cappuccino.

 

Eyeliner

Black

  • Black eyelinmeri is to eyes what classic red is—well, classic…
  • Black eyeliner has been used ince the days of Cleopatra and is always an excellent choice amd can run the gamut of looks—from dainty and sophisticated, to bold and daring000seductive.
  • Make sure that the black eyeliner that you choose is a deep midnight black.

Colored Eyeliner

  • For minimalists who actually take the time to still ut on makeup, there are two basic choices as far as eyeliner—black, obviously, and colored for those brave minimalists out there…
  • Colored eyeliners brighten your eyes and bring out your natural eye color.
  • Colored eyeliners are also an unexpected way to add some color into a minimalistic everyday makeup look.
  • As far as color, certain colors look better for certain eye colors.
  • Blue eyes look best with blue, pink, purple, and orange
  • Brown eyes look best with light purple, deep green, and navy blue….
  • Green eyes look best with purple, burnt pink, and light blue shades.

Waterlining

  • Waterlining and tighthlining your eyes will help define their natural shape.
  • Waterlining…Waterlining involves using eyeliner to line the tiny, little sliver of skin underneath your eyelashes.
  • Tightlining…Tightlining involves using eyeliner to line the skin above your lower lashes. Tightlining makes your lashes look even thicker.
  • These techniques can be done along with your normal eyeliner, or instead of your normal eyeliner.
  • BUT…
  • Waterlining and tightlining can both make your eyes look smaller….so if you want your eyes to look bigger, forget the idea.

White Eyeliner

  • Using white eyeliner to line your lower lashes, on the other hand, can make small eyes look bigger, and tired eyes look more awake.
  • Regardless if you are waterlining with a colored eyeliner or a white eyeliner, the product and technique will be exactly the same.
  • First of all, what type of eyeliner should you use?
  • Use either a waterproof pencil or waterproof gel/cream, not a liquid> Liquid  liners are too fluid and will not stay on your waterline.
  • If you’re brave, you could dip an angled brush into an eyeshadow that’s the same color as your liner, and press this over the liner that you applied to your waterline. Not sure as a contact wearer, that I’m quite that brave.

 

 

Mascara…As far as mascara for this fall, it run from one extreme to the other…

  • Colored mascara—such as blue or green—may seem a little bit of a very unexpected stretch for minimalists.
  • No Mascara…For minimalists, this is awesome news. ou don’t absolutely have to wear mascara to complete your makeup look. In fact, too much mascara can actually make your makeup look too “made up.”

 

Brows…Thank goodness that pencil-lined arches and bold painted silhouettes are now a trend that has come and gone. Fortunately the latest “trend” calls for undone, au natural, “textured,” bigger-is-better brows….filled in with an eyebrow combs and  brow gel.

 

 

Makeup Tips for Women Who Wear Glasses

Lately I have been walking around barely able to see. I ran out of contacts, so I had to wear my glasses…

But being cheap I had not ordered the bifocals that I should have ordered, and having glasses on, I obviously couldn’t put on reading glasses.

It took about three weeks for me to finally order my contacts and for them to come in.

But in the meanwhile I felt very self-conscious in my glasses, especially at first.

Eyewear makes your eyes the immediate focal point of your face, so it’s imperative to apply your makeup in a way that’s flattering to both your frames and your face.

Less is definitely more. Applying makeup to wear with glasses is not a matter of piling on more and more makeup. Instead it’s about using the right makeup and techniques…things like keeping your eye makeup simple, using a light hand, blending everything carefully, and keeping your makeup tidy, well-defined and as close to “perfect” as possible.

Yet putting on eye makeup can not be thought of as merely a waste of time because any makeup that you apply will simply be hidden behind your glasses.

 

 

LIPS

So in this second segment of trasitioning to  fall, I thought it would be fun to share a few tips on lips…

Even though choosing lip colors is a very personal thing…

When choosing your lip-whatevers, it’s important to consider at least five things…

  • Eye Color
  • Hair Color
  • Lip Color
  • Personality
  • Skin Tone

And being a minimalist, it would be so incredibly easy to stay stuck in a rut and simply wear the same neutral color of Burt’s Bees for the entire rest of my life…

So even though I am becoming more and more minimalistic with each and every trip that I make to Mission Arlington, I still feel a need to have more than one magic wand in my arsenal—including lipsticks, glosses and hybrid lip stains—to help create different looks for both everyday life and special occasions.

Typically lip “stuff” falls into the following four color groups…

  • Clsassic Red
  • Colorful
  • Neutrals
  • Pinks

 1.Classic Red…Bold red lips are the classic icon of everything from being the perfect go-to accent for the LBD to being the most-important accessory of Hollywood legends.

Red lips are magical and mysterious, are great for waking up a tired look, brightens up your smile, and giveyou the appearance of whiter teeth.

All that being said, my three choices for “classic red” lips this fall are…

2. Colorful…Bold and colorful lipsticks—such as fuchsia pink, bold orange, or coral—are always fun, sassy, and playful.  Look for a richly pigmented creamy coral lipstick that has the following characteristics…

  • applies opaque in just one coat
  • basically an orange lipstick, yet very close to a neutral
  • bright, bold, and brilliant
  • gives good staying power
  • super hydrating

One of the best ways to wear the look this fall would be with the rest of your makeup having that “no–makeup look” that all minimalists love. The bold lips serve as a stark contrast with your bare skin.

  1. Brand Loyalty…Best 7 Clinique Options
  2. Cruelty-Free…Pacifica Lipsticks
  3. Discount Bin…Best Drugstore Red Lipsticks

3. Neutrals

One of the biggest trends this fall as far as makeup is concerned is the neutral lip. This means that even Mississippi women can dare to go to Walmart without wearing any liner, gloss, lipstick, or anything like that at all.-

So how’s that for true minimalism?

Neutral lipstick—such as matte shades of browns, light pinks, mauve, tan, and caramel—are the go-to lip choice for everyday life.

And needless to say you always take your own lips with you everywhere you go—with or without makeup.

Make sure that the neutral lipstick that you choose is not too matte or too beige…and one that you can apply even without a mirror.

  1. Brand Loyalty….Clinique
  2. Cruelty Free…Best Cruelty-Free Lipsticks
  3. Discount Bin…Best Drugstore Neutral Lipsticks

4. Pinks…Pink lips supposedly make you look younger….So from now on, I think that I will simply always wear pink lipstick.

And if pink lipstick makes you look younger, why not go for pink hair also?

Pink lipsticks truly run the gamut—from blush to magenta to burgundy to purple and beyond. This fall the “pink” lipstick of choice is wine. Wine lipstick is compelling, mysterious, and intriguing. Wine lips work great with dark eyes and messy curls or bare skin and nude eyes…

So go ahead and invest in a quality wine lipstick….Brand Loyalty…7 Best Clinique Lipsticks

 

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

One Bad Apple Actually DOES Spoil the Entire Bunch

Okay, you’ve picked the very, very best apple out of the entire bin of apples to choose from…

Congratulations on a job well done…

 

But, wait…

Choosing the very best apple will not matter at all if you neglect to take care of it properly when you get it home.

So what exactly are you supposed to do with your apples?!

 

There are actually three options as to where/how you could store your apples…

  1. Cool, Dry, Dark Space…Perhaps the best way to store freshly picked apples for the  longest period of time would be to  wrap them in paper, place folded-side down in a single layer on a tray, and store in a cool, dark, dry place—somewhere between  32°F and 40°F.
  2. Refrigerator…Sprinkle your apples with water and then store them in a perforated plastic bag in the coldest area of the refrigerator, They should stay fresh for two or three weeks.
  3. Room Temperature….Apples can be stored at room temperature for a short period of time, but check  apples stored at room regularly, because apples stored at room temperature will ripen faster than if were stored in the refrigerator.

 

Now for a few more quick tips on storing apples…

—Do not allow the individual apples to touch, because it is actually an established fact that one bad apple actually does spoil the entire bunch.

 

Keep your apples away from other fruits and vegetables if storing them in the refrigerator. Apples produce and emit ethylene gas, a gas that causes fruits and vegetables stored anywhere near them to ripen and spoil more quickly.

Even though this interaction between apples and other produce is usually considered a bad thing, you can also take advantage of this fact if you do actually need to speed the ripening of other fruits,

In order to do this, place an apple, with the unripe fruit, in a paper bag. Seal and make a few slits in the bag. Allow the bag to stand at room temperature for 2 to 3 days

 

Finally, regardless of how your apples are being stored, check them quite frequently to see if any apples have begun to rot.

Because one bad apples spoils the entire bunch.