Thursday, December 20, 2012

Morningstar Grillers Chili and a Yogurt, Honey, Nutmeg Mask

Two recipes today! I'm sorry, no photos right now because I'm lame like that. While I read tons of food blogs with gorgeous, mouth-watering pictures of their recipes, I am absolutely terrible (and lazy) at construction the perfect photographic set-up for the meals that I make. However, I will be making the chili again so I'll try to remember to take a picture and update this post with it.

Anywhoo. The recipes are for a really simple but pretty freaking yummy chili using Morningstar Grillers and a riff on the nutmeg and milk microdermabrasion I wrote about in my previous post. While I really liked the results of the microdermabrasion, it bothered me how runny it was. I would have to do it in the shower and it made such a huge mess. You ain't lived until you've nearly slipped and died on milk and nutmeg all over the bottom of your bathtub. Besides, picking nutmeg out of your hairline gets annoying after a while. 

So the solution was to create a more mask-like concoction. I came up with this when I went to go wash my face with honey one night and thought, "What would happen if I mixed yogurt, honey, and nutmeg together?" The answer? Magic. Yes, magic happens. I'm not lying. It turned into a face cleanser/scrub/mask that creates magically clear, smooth, soft skin. 

The thing is, most people don't realize that dry, flaky skin can benefit from a good hearty scrub rather than a super-moisturizing mask. When my forehead was going all, "I hate you, I hate life, zits, zits, zits," this mask calmed it right down. "Hey there boy, relax a bit."

So here's the recipe for the magical, and apparently talking, mask.

Yogurt, Honey, and Nutmeg Mask

1 tbsp yogurt
1/2 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp ground nutmeg

Add to bowl and mix together very well. Apply to a dry, makeup-free face using gentle circular motions. Leave on for 5 minutes or more. Rinse off with warm water. Apply moisturizer if necessary. (I use olive oil.)

And onto the recipe of the edible kind...

Grillers and Red Bean Chili
makes 4 - 6 servings.

1 onion, diced
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, minced (more or less to your preference)
32 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (I use Muir Glen)
15.5 oz. can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes (Muir Glen also)
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
pinch cayenne powder
Salt to taste
1 bag Morningstar Grillers
1 big can red kidney beans
Optional garnishes: chives, cilantro, parsley, chopped avocados

In a dutch oven or heavy pot, saute the onions in olive oil until soft and translucent. Add the tomato paste and garlic and cook for about 30 seconds more. Then, pour in the two cans of tomatoes and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and season with chili powder, cumin, cayenne powder, and salt to your taste. Simmer partially covered for about 20 minutes or longer if desired. Add the Grillers and beans (as much beans as you like) and cook until warmed through. Garnish and serve!

I served it with elbow macaroni which was what Guitar Boy requested. It's called chili mac? Eh. It's not really my thing. I've only ever really eaten it by itself with a hunk of crusty bread. But you can serve it however you like. A note on Morningstar Grillers: I try not to use faux meat a lot but when Guitar Boy gets those pleading sad puppy eyes, I can't say no. However, it's my philosophy that when I gave up meat, there's no reason why I should try to revisit it in faux form, you know?

Can you believe Christmas is almost here? My Christmas spirit has not yet shown its spangly red and green head, but I think it's because we completely slacked on getting a tree. Holiday fail, I know. There are certain people in my life who will be aghast to find this out... In any case, Happy Merry Christmahanukwanzicah! 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Face Mapping and Nutmeg Dermabraison

Hello there. Winter is coming here. Though it doesn't really feel like it. For as much as I hate snow and winter, if it's going to be this cold and gloomy, it might as well snow. Might as well make it all pretty-like, you know? I'm tired of looking at the corpses of stray dead leaves over my lawn and being paranoid if my yard has gotten too unruly for the neighborhood. At least with a dusting of snow, it can look like a tiny vignette inside of a snow globe and I'll just bitch about the finger-biting cold and not about the finger-biting cold and the drab scenery.

Anyway, rant aside, I wanted to discuss the other fun part of winter: dry skin. My skin pretty much feels like all the moisture has been zapped out of it. My face especially. It's look ashy, a bit puffy, and I'm finding flaky dry spots here and there. Pimples have come out full force all across my forehead so I'm going to have to figure out what to do there. 

By the way, is anyone familiar with the acne face map? It is believed in Chinese medicine that the location of acne on your face is related to various imbalances and upsets in your body and health. I've always known that acne on the jawline is related to hormonal changes, but finding it on my forehead and between my eyes is definitely new. According to this acne face map: for acne between my eyes: I either have a weak heart, I'm drinking too much alcohol, or smoking too much tobacco. Since I don't smoke and I'm pretty sure my heart's going strong, I guess wine might be the culprit. For acne on my forehead: I could be having digestive problems (yep,) small intestine issues, liver issues, irregular sleep schedule (double yep,) too much worrying (triple yep,) too much sugary foods (quadruple yep,) toxin build-up, hair products, bangs, and wearing dirty hats. 

I'm a strong believer that stress and other mental incapacities have a direct effect on one's body and health. For years, I've experienced terrible migraine-like headaches that only grew worse as time went on. I took medicine, went to the doctor, got testing and was concluded that I may or may not have tumor in my pituitary gland. Fun stuff, right? When things in my life changed and I was placed in a situation away from certain people and things that were stressing me out, my headaches melted away. It was pretty close to miraculous. 

So aside from using natural products to wash my face and care for my skin, I really need to ramp down my stress level, quit eating so much sugar (I'm so stressed, cookies look so damn good to me right now,) and reduce the amount of wine I'm drinking. I will also be doing this:

Nutmeg Microdermabrasion Scrub

1 tbsp whole milk (or hemp milk, almond milk, rice milk, but not soy unless it is GMO-free)
1/2 tbsp nutmeg (ground or freshly ground if you can do it)

Mix together well in a little bowl. With clean, dry hands, and preferably a clean face, scoop the mixture up and massage it in little circles on your face. Try to use an upward motion to counteract all that gravity does. Leave on for 2 to 10 minutes depending on whatever floats your boat. Then, rinse well. Moisturize if needed.

Why nutmeg and milk? Nutmeg is similar to honey that it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which makes it good for oily skin and acne. It's also nourishing which helps dry skin by removing the top dry skin layer and nourishing the new layer beneath. Milk has lactic acid that works as a gentle peel for dead skin that refused to be removed as well as moisturizing benefits. It makes your skin baby-butt soft and helps replenish some of the lost moisture in your skin. So really, this is a great scrub for all skin types.

For some people, they say they feel a burning sensation when they use it. I didn't feel it at all. However, if you do feel it, it's not a bad thing but just leave it in for much less time, obviously. Rinse it right away or just do a minute if it's not burning badly. Do not use cinnamon as it will burn. 

My skin was still a little tight and dry afterwards, but it's just because my skin gets really dry once winter comes around. It was definitely extremely soft. I'm going to try this again with heavy cream to amp up the moisturizing benefits so check back to see my experiences with heavy cream.

Like all scrubs, resist the desire to use it everyday. Just try to keep it to once a week to prevent any irritation. Also, you will experience the desire to bake a pumpkin pie. I don't recommend resisting that desire.

Special thanks to Crunchy Betty for the idea.