Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Homemade Cranberry Preserves

Cranberries are a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants.  They also contain proanthocyanidins, which protect you against bladder and urinary tract infections.  Reportedly, other health benefits include lowering cholesterol, heart disease, kidney stones, gum disease and stomach cancer.

Do you have 15 minutes and a wooden spoon?  Lately I have tried my hand at making my very own fruit preserves.  Homemade cranberry preserves is a delectable sweet-tart combination and so easy to whip up with just three simple ingredients (If you can eat cranberries without adding sugar, more power to you.  Just the thought makes me pucker.):

Cranberry Preserves

2 14 ounce bags cranberries
2 cups water
1 cup brown sugar

Optional: Some cooks like to add orange zest or fresh grated ginger. I tend to keep it pure.

1. Pour all the ingredients into a pot.  Stir and bring to a boil on a stovetop.
2. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until it thickens.  Stir ocassionally with a wooden spoon.  You will hear the cranberries pop.  (If you simmer the cranberry mixture for 7-8 minutes you have cranberry sauce.  Double the time to get the thicker cranberry presrves.)
3. Let the cranberry mixture cool, then mash with a potato masher.
4. Pour into jars or containers.
I got my mitts on an iphone and took these photos.
This snack, peanut butter with cranberry preserves on whole grain bread, was a reward for all my hard-not work.Try cranberry preserves with brie on crackers, and spoon some into plain yogurt. Tasty.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Jouer Makeup Palette

The Weekender Collection
If you wear makeup, but desire a natural look -- like you're not wearing makeup -- then Jouer is the perfect beauty brand for you.  Launched in 2008 by Christina Zilber (herself, a busy entrepreneur and mother of two), the cosmetics are created to be simple, chic and modern.  All formulas promote a healthy glowing complexion.

The pigments are rich and stay on your face. From shimmering nudes to rich matte chocolates, the colors are ultra wearable and timeless.  Peachy pink lip glosses, radiant moisture tints and earthy eye shadows glide on to enhance a woman's natural beauty.

The packaging is clever and practical too.  Select a customized palette that is right for your personal style.  All the products in a collection are designed to interlock.  They snap together like legos, so you can configure your makeup anyway you like, making it compact and easy to carry.

The collections are the better value.  Although at $58 they are an investment, you are paying for lavish pigments that will last all day and not fade after a couple of hours of wear.  The all-in-one Weekender is all you need in a pinch. It includes eye tints, check color, highlighters, bronzer, face powder and lip gloss. [On Amazon here.]  The colors in the palette are universal.  Every skin tone can wear them.  ♥ it!  To learn what makeup to save and splurge on, see the blog posts below.

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Prabal Gurung For Target Collection

For designer duds, it's Target again!  Mark you calendar for February 10th, the day Prabal Gurung's Target Collection goes on sale in stores and online.  Gurung is a Singapore born, Nepali bred, American designer.  He successfully designed for Bill Blass before launching his own label.   Michelle Obama, Kate Middleton, Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lawrence (+ other Hollywood red carpet walkers) wear his dresses.  He says his Target collection is inspired by love -- all of the stages from first crush to everlasting.  The apparel and accessories are colorful, fresh and feminine ... with a bite.

The limited edition collection consists of 80 plus pieces: clothing, handbags, shoes and jewelry.  The price ranges from $13 (crystal stone earrings in silver) to $200 (for a blue leather jacket), with most falling under $40.  To see the entire Prabal Gurung Target offerings, click here.  The designer claims that red is his favorite color, but I see lots of blue.  Gorgeous!  Decide: Which are your favorites?
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Monday, January 14, 2013

For The New Year

Photo by Jane Smith (Flickr)
As the new year begins, many people focus on physical fitness.  While some aim to lose a few pounds, others just want to embrace a healthy lifestyle.  Sometimes what you don't do, is as important as what you do.  With that thought in mind --

Here are 15 exercises to avoid in 2013*:

1. Grasping at straws
2. Wading through paperwork
3. Running around in circles
4. Pushing your luck
5. Spinning your wheels
6. Adding fuel to the fire
7. Beating your head against the wall
8. Climbing the walls
9. Beating your own drum
10. Dragging your heels
11. Jumping to conclusions
12. Jumping on the bandwagon  
13. Fishing for compliments
14. Throwing your weight around
15. Passing the buck

*source: Mickey's Funnies (hosted by the Agathongroup)

Though I'm featuring bright plastic straws above, #1 actually refers to a drowning man grabbing at the thin reeds that grow by the side of a river.  A last ditch ... and likely futile effort.
The only way to break a bad habit is by replacing it with a good habit.  Something to strive for one-day-at-a-time until you succeed.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Drugstore Beauty Buys To Beat The Winter Doldrums

Photo by Duane Reade
Baby, it's cold outside  and dreary.  Time to hydrate skin and wake-up your features with color.  Have you checked the aisles of a drugstore lately?  You will find a treasure trove of affordable beauty products.  If you need help to battle Old Man Winter, then try a few of the top-notch products listed below.  Pamper yourself with:

Skin Care: Face (formulas with retinols and rich moisterizers)
1. L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Concentrated Serum
2. L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Deep-Acting Moisturizer
3. Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Moisturizer 
4. Neutrogena Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream
5. Olay PROx Intensive Wrinkle Protocol - a kit that includes (1) Age Repair Lotion with SPF 30, (2) Deep Wrinkle Treatment and (3) Wrinkle Smoothing Cream
6. Roc Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Serum
7. Roc Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream
8. Roc Retinol Correxion Max Wrinkle Resurfacing System - to remove old, dry skin and encourage the growth of collagen.

Skin Care: Body
1. Aveeno Daily Mosturizing Lotion
2. Cetaphil Moisterizing Cream - hidrates chapped, sensitve skin; 
no fragrance to dry skin.
3. Bio-Oil - moisturizes dry skin and smooths stretch marks. Apply after a shower.
4. Nivea Smooth Sensation Daily Lotion - with Shea Butter.  Nivea has a new line of skin care just for men. [Or try Neutrogenia just for men].
5. Tree Hut - Certified organic shea is infused into the body scrubs and body butters.

1. Physicians Formula - Includes (1) organic wear mascara, (2) shimmer strips eye liner, (3) ph matchmaker (all-in-one) lip and bronzer.
2. Cover Girl - Blast Flipstick Lipcolor - 13 duo shades: the 1st side is shimmer,  the 2nd side is cream, which you blend together to create polished looks.
3. Presitige - a full line of (1) face primer, (2) lipsticks and (3) mascaras.
4. Neutogena - Shine control (1) face primers, (2) foundation and (3) powders - they contain a rice protein complex.
5. L'Oreal - (1) Infallible 24HR Eye Shadow, (2) Magic Lumi Light Infusing Primer, (3) Infallible Le Rouge 12HR Lipcolour - created to last.
6. Black Opal - a full line of True Color (1) lipsticks, (2) face power and (3) blush.
7. Revlon Just Bitten Kissable lip balm stain in 7 pretty colors.

Nails - For all you nail fashionistas.  (Personally, I'm slacker: buffed nails or one coat of shimmer nail polish is what I do.  Still ... it looks like fun!)
1. Revlon Colorstay - new bright colors with gel-like shine that lasts up to 11 days.
2. Sally Hansen (1) Gem Crush (for glitter) and Sally Hansen (2) Magnetic Nail (nail art).
3. imPress - 20 press-on nail colors; no messes, no waiting to dry.
4. Kiss Nail Dress - fun press-on jeweled nail strips.

Hair Care
1. Ren - A shampoo so gentle it's called a "cleansing conditioner."  Contains coconut oil, karatin and shea butter.
2. L'Oreal Ever Sleek Intense Smoothing shampoo and conditioner - Turns frizz into smooth.
3. Pantene Expert shampoo and conditioner - (2 formulas: Keratin Repair and AgeDefy) - Prevents and retores damaged hair to health.
4. Organix - Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner.
5. Clear Scalp And Hair Therapy shampoo and conditioner - I received a sample and like this new brand.  It's rich, gentle and smells nice.

Beauty products are expensive. Drugstores offer variety and bargains.  If you watch for sales (buy one, get one free) you can walk out with some steals.  Use your rewards card for extra savings.

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Friday, January 4, 2013

The Fit And Flare Dress

Here are three variations of one of my favorite dress styles.  The look is dressy, clean and feminine.  The dress is cut to draw the eye down the sems, creating a slimming effect.  It has a classic princess neck.  Without hugging the waist or hips, the dress tapers at the waist, then flares out from the hips down to the bottom.  Both the style and length -- which is just above the knee -- is very flattering.  A Fit and Flare dress can have long sleeves in the winter and cap sleeves in the summer.  And, it is comfortable to wear.  Sometimes this lovely style is so hard to find in stores.  Why?!?

The dresses I used to illustrate the style are:

This is my style.  What's your style?  Knowing what you feel good wearing helps you avoid buying mistakes and lets you pounce when there are too-good-to-be true sales.

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Pimenton Roasted Chicken And Potatoes, A One Pan Meal

Photo by Tim Mazurek/Lottie and Doof 
On New Year's Day I made a dinner created by David Tanis in Bon Appetit.  The original recipe is here, and of course, I tweaked it a little bit.  Why not start a New Year by roasting chicken a new way?  It is a healthy meal using a few fresh ingredients without a lot of fuss ... or pans.  I love one pan, crispy, spicy food. The chicken is moist on the inside, crispy on the outside, and the roasted potatoes collect all the deliciousness that drips off the chicken.  It's perfect for a holiday, or any day.

4 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons smoked paprika
½ tablespoon hot smoked Spanish paprika
One 4 pound whole chicken
1 large bunch fresh thyme or marjoram

2 pounds potatoes, unpeeled (Eyeball it: a potato per person)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup thinly sliced scallions
Smoked paprika (for dusting)

Optional: Roast carrots, onions, broccoli, or brussel sprouts at the same time as the potatoes.

1. Make a paste by mixing the garlic, salt, olive oil and both paprikas in a bowl.
2. Using your hands, coat the entire outside of the chicken skin with the mixture.
3. Place the thyme bunch inside the bird.
4. Chill for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
5. Remove from the refrigerator and let the chicken stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
6. Cut the potatoes (and other vegetables) lengthwise into thick wedges.
7. Drop into a mixing bowl.  Drizzle the potato wedges (and vegetables) with olive oil and salt and pepper, then spread them out on a baking tray, or on the bottom of a roasting pan.
8. Place the chicken on top of the potatoes.
9. Roast in a 500 degree F oven for 30 minutes.
10. Reduce the oven heat to 425 degrees F and roast for 20 minutes more.  Let rest for 15 minutes.
11. Transfer to a serving platter if you wish (or don't and use the baking tray, rustic-style).  Sprinkle the potatoes with scallions and parsley, and sprinkle the roasted chicken (lightly) with smoked paprika.

I add a green salad with a vinaigrette dressing.  Thank you, David Tanis and Bon Appettit!  This new dish is a keeper.

On New Year's Day some cultures eat black-eye peas and sauerkraut for good luck.  Click on the words of each to find a tasty receipe.
Happy New Year! 

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