Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Because It's Fun, Adventures in Mixing Makeup

Contributed by Anna of Not Knowing Where

Did you know that you can create your own makeup from items that you probably have in your kitchen right now? Recently, Wellness Mama wrote a post about just that. I spent the following weekend scattering a multitudinous amount of colored powders across my kitchen and bathroom, in an attempt to concoct my own blends. I tried most of her suggestions. I made several happy discoveries, and experienced a few disappointing revelations. It was a little trickier than Wellness Mama's simple post made it appear.

"Why in the world," you may ask, "are you mixing your own makeup?"

Three reasons. One - My skin has developed allergies to just about every product that is found at a drug store. Two - I've always disliked the fragrances of cosmetics. Three - Mixing makeup just seemed like a lot of fun. What can I say, I do strange things on Friday nights after the toddler is in bed.

Inspired by an expert, here are my stumblings in creating makeup in my kitchen...
Foundation Powder, Eye Shadow, and Blush
 Here is the initial color pallette of my endeavor:
  • White: corn starch
  • Brown: cocoa powder
  • Orange: cinnamon
  • Red: dried hybiscus
  • Black: activated charcoal
In addition to lightening up the makeup, the corn starch is integral to absorbing the colors and spreading them on your skin. My skin also happens to thrive on the corn starch. Go figure. Whereas makeup I've bought has always made me break out, this stuff actually keeps breakouts at bay. Crazy!

For the foundation powder, I mixed cocoa powder and cinnamon into the corn starch until I was happy with the color. The corn starch and cocoa powder both tend to clump. A tea infuser worked as a sieve to break apart the clumps and help it mix. 
I used the skin on my arm as a guide as I alternately mixed cinnamon and cocoa powder into the corn starch for the best shade. 
For the eye shadow, I started by emptying one capsule of activated charcoal into a small bowl. To the black, I added cocoa powder and cinnamon alternately until I found a brown I was happy with. 
The activated charcoal plays a similar role as the corn starch. It is a smooth base that helps the makeup stick to the skin.

The blush works a little bit differently than the foundation and eye shadow. The red from the hibiscus requires a small amount of moisture to get absorbed into the corn starch. I ground the hibiscus into as fine a powder as I could get. A coffee grinder is perfect for this. I sifted the hibiscus through the tea infuser into a small bowl. It was about 1 tablespoon. Then I added an equal amount of corn starch to the red powder. Next, I added a very small amount of water. No more than 1/4 teaspoon. I mixed well with a spoon, then I started using my fingers to work the hibiscus and corn starch together. 
The result was a bright pink powder. Continuing to use my fingers, I added cocoa powder, more corn starch, more hibiscus... until I was pleased with the shade.

The most expensive part was the activated charcoal. It cost $9 at a health food store. However considering I have enough to make a lifetime of eye shadow, I figure it was $9 well spent. Hibiscus was $2 for an ounce at my local health food store. An ounce of dried flower petals is more volume than you would think. It may make ten batches of blush.

Making makeup in your kitchen is super cheap, and a lot of fun for the artistically minded. Have fun!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Homemade Taco Seasoning {Chicken Taco Soup Recipe}

My friend Rachel passed a recipe on to me for "Chicken Taco Soup" that is delicious and super easy to throw together in the crock pot or prepare in bulk and store in the freezer for multiple crock pot meals.

One of the ingredients on the original recipe is "one packet of taco seasoning," and scribbled out beside is a homemade alternative that I was pleased to find is comprised of ingredients that we keep in our spice cabinet! I love scratching pre-made ingredients off my shopping list! Use this in any recipe calling for a packet of taco seasoning:

Equivalent of One Packet of Taco Seasoning:

1 Tbsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes*
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper

*This is a bit spicy, so if you prefer a milder seasoning, leave out the red pepper flakes.

The possibilities of course are endless with this. It makes delicious "taco meat," and I've even made taco flavored hummus!

Now for the yummy soup recipe:

Chicken Taco Soup:

1 chopped onion
1 each 16 oz. canned chili beans*,
black beans, and corn. (I use frozen corn)
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup of chicken stock or broth
2 10 oz cans of diced tomatoes
1 Packet of Taco Seasoning (or above recipe)
2-3 chicken breasts

For topping:
Sour cream (We use plain yogurt and it tastes great!)
Shredded cheddar cheese
Tortilla Chips (or Fritos )

*I stopped using kidney beans and started preparing my own black beans via Trina Holden's instructions in Real {Fast} Food to eliminate canned beans!

Just dump everything in the crock pot and make sure the chicken is below the surface of the liquid ingredients. Cook 5 hours on high or until chicken is cooked through. Pull out chicken and shred, and return to soup. That's it!

{Confession: We eat this with Fritos, which I was pleasantly surprised to discover has a refreshingly short ingredient list of only three things! You should check it out. I'm not going as far as to call it a "health food" though! ;) }

To Prepare in Bulk:

 I quadruple the recipe in a large pot on the stove top using the same amount of chicken as the original recipe for more with less. I divide into as many quart size freezer bags as possible and freeze.Then a few hours before serving, I just dump a frozen quart bag of it in the crock pot and put it on high.

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