DIY Beauty Kit Giveaway

DIY Beauty Kit Giveaway

Think about your daily routine. Do you wash your body, hair, and face? Use lotion? Deodorant? Makeup? I’m thinking yes to most, if not all, of those. But what a lot of people don’t think about (including me, sometimes) is that all of these substances are absorbed into your skin and all of the toxins in them culminate in your body. Have you ever heard of a lidocaine/analgesic cream, motion sickness patch, birth control patch, or a nicotine patch? They work by passing a medicine through the skin and entering the blood stream to cause a given effect. Even your laundry detergent has an effect on your skin. Although I admittedly do not make all of my own beauty products, I do condition my hair with coconut oil (in each shower), do oil pulling on my teeth (when I remember), and make my own deodorant. If you’re curious about the products you use, try: The Skin Deep Database. I have very sensitive skin, so I have to be aware of what I am putting on it, and I would LOVE to be able to make more of my own beauty products. That’s why I’m so excited to be hosting this Natural Beauty Giveaway with some fabulous bloggers to help you on your DIY Beauty journey! One fabulous person will receive the following in their Beauty box! (Valued at over $120!) Organic Coconut Oil 5 ml bottle of Lavender Essential Oil Beeswax Shea Butter Jojoba Oil Epsom Salt Homemade Mommy’s Beauty Essential E-book Salve Jar Small Glass Jars What I love most about this giveaway is that you can make so many things with...
Roasted Balsamic Garlic Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Balsamic Garlic Brussels Sprouts

Before I talk about the recipe, let me go on a tangent. I always think very long and hard about what should go into a post. And I save it and come back to it several times usually. SOMETIMES I am able to just hammer it out. But it’s kind of like writing essays for school. Unless I am currently having a “stroke of genius”, I don’t automatically create things that I think are perfect. Hell, even when I do spend a lot of time on something, it’s a rare occasion for me to think it’s perfect and beyond the need of further improvements. But when I am working diligently on something, I often forget that I need to eat, and lose track of time, and get so laser-focused that I don’t even hear the outside world. (And that’s very different from my normal “attention span the size of a flea”, I assure you.) This happened to me yesterday when I was working on an advertising banner for my game. So when I come off of these work binges, I am really hungry for something that is either fatty or flavorful (usually both). And an awesome choice for this is roasted vegetables because I can binge-eat them and they’re still good for you. See how that was circular? It always comes back to the food with me! I made these morsels the other day. They’re very similar to the roasted brussels sprouts that I usually make, but the idea just came to me to add balsamic vinegar. It ended up being so tasty! They tasted salty and roasted and garlicky...
Impressive Eggplant Parmesan (with Homemade Marinara from Fresh Tomatoes)

Impressive Eggplant Parmesan (with Homemade Marinara from Fresh Tomatoes)

This is not an exact recipe. I forgot to keep track of how much of everything I was tossing in while I was doing it. So I am going to tell you WHAT to put in, and you decide how much! Add a little and taste! This is a seriously impressive dish. Made with fresh homemade marinara and fresh mozzarella. The only thing that could make it MORE impressive is if you grew the eggplant yourself. Or made your own breadcrumbs. Or pressed your own olives (okay, maybe not that one). I wasn’t going to add this recipe because it’s not really a set recipe, but then I decided to, because, actually, I think the best way to learn to cook is to experiment in the kitchen. Especially when you have guidelines. I’m not going to lie to you: it’s labor intensive. But it is NOT difficult! And it’s a forgiving recipe, so if you add too much of something it won’t hurt, or if you add too little, you can just add more. When I was making it I added too much honey and so I needed to add more salt. It’s all about adapting! Here’s the printable un-recipe: Impressive Eggplant Parmesan Recipe Type: Dinner Cuisine: Italian Author: Sam (Sizzling Mess) Ingredients 1 large eggplant 3 lbs tomatoes 1 normal sized carrot 1/2 red or white onion 3-4 garlic cloves 2 large sprigs fresh basil Dried oregano, parsley, allspice, salt, and pepper Honey 1 can 8oz tomato sauce 1 tablespoon tomato paste Italian breadcrumbs A tiny bit of parmesan cheese (optional) Mozzarella (preferably fresh) Olive oil Instructions ROAST...
Crockpot Nacho Dip and Homemade Chips

Crockpot Nacho Dip and Homemade Chips

I’m calling it nacho dip in the title, but this little treat is also known as “Stoner Dip”. That’s what I call it in real life. It’s super easy to make, hence the name, but I fancy it up and serve it for dinner. Because I’m lazy cool like that. Also, I just really like nachos. Here’s the pre-crock pot saute in action: I learned to make this when I lived with my dad as a teenager (go figure!). And you can pretty much put whatever you want in it! It’s fun to make it into Queso Blanco (I’ll instruct in the recipe card). But the main ingredients are American cheese (so Velveeta), jarred salsa (I like Mild Pace, but if you have it, go for any kind of salsa – just know the soupy salsa-y kind is best), and generally meat. I make it meatless, but again, I will instruct in the recipe card. Also, I’d like to mention that you can buy nacho chips and not make them. It’s the same concept. But I HAD them precut and frozen, ready to bake, so that’s what I did. Look at that! Add in some sour cream and some guacamole and you have a real fiesta! Here’s the printable recipe card. Crockpot Nacho Dip and Homemade Chips Author: Sam (Sizzling Mess) Ingredients For the Dip (This is how I made it, look to the notes for variations) 3/4 package of classic Velveeta 1 cup red salsa (any heat level) 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed 1 can diced tomatoes, drained 1/2 red onion, diced 1 clove garlic, mined...
Jackson, WY: Granite Hot Springs & Granite Creek Falls

Jackson, WY: Granite Hot Springs & Granite Creek Falls

Quick Little Disclaimer: Most of these pictures are from last year. We did visit again this year, but it was raining, so I left my camera in the car. But it’s still lovely in the rain! Granite Hot Springs is in Brider-Teton National Forest, and it’s way up a mountain trail, and it’s only accessible in the Winter by Snow Cat, and hardly anyone knows about it (best kind of springs!), and it’s beautiful! And I would like to mention that I was terrified of two things this trip: 1. A bear. This was the day after we saw the bear and I was having none of that Bears-In-Nature crap. 2. The eco toilets. Am I the only one who is freaked out by peeing into a black hole? When you go there, after you drive up the mountain, on your right side there will be a little pull off and you can visit Granite Falls. It’s very pretty and you could go up and stand in it if you wanted to! And then you go a little farther, and there’s a parking area, so you can park and then walk the rest of the way (not that far) up to the pool. Once you’re there you’ll see some bathrooms, a few picnic tables, and the pool itself. You can go through the gates and pay your fee (it’s cheap, like $6 per person or something), and then there are dressing rooms. Once you’re in, it’s amazing. It’s warm (last year was HOT, this year was warm, thinking it may have had to do with the time of year),...
Iowa State Fair Grinder Sandwich

Iowa State Fair Grinder Sandwich

These are also known as Guinea Grinders by MOST people who have had the pleasure of eating these sandwiches at the fair. But calling them “Guinea” grinders is a bit of a racial slur against Italians. So the original stand changed it’s name to Jennie Grinder. And actually these are more of a Gizmo which comes from the Carl’s Gizmo stand. I always eat from Jennie’s stand at the fair. But I like sauce and broiled cheese. Sue me, okay? Confused yet? Yes. Okay! These contain Graziano’s sausage, as any good grinder does. But unless you either live in Des Moines or have an unlimited supply straight from there, you’ll need to use regular italian sausage from the grocery store. Here’s a secret. And seriously, don’t tell ANYONE I told you. It all tastes pretty much the same in the end! These also contain “award winning” garlic. I’m not sure if it ACTUALLY tastes better. But I feel like it does. It does smell better. Garlicy but not smelly. So that’s something, right? But really, you need to try these as soon as you possibly can! The fair is over for the year, but luckily I’m posting this recipe so you can try them whenever you want! I do recommend going to get a grinder at the fair. And a pickle dawg, and a red velvet funnel cake, and a turkey leg, and some bacon wrapped smokies, and a lemonade shakeup, and and and…. Just, promise me you’ll eat your way through the fair, okay? Actually, the Iowa state fair is the best. I live in Nebraska, and our fair suuccckkkksssss....
Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes

It is painful to me how many people have not tried this Southern American delicacy. I’m not even from the South and I am scrambling to my grandma’s tomato garden every year to get some green ones. (Even if she would rather I let her get some red ones!) I could eat these for every meal. When I was a vegetarian, I ate them in place of bacon on BLT sandwiches. Unfortunately, unless you have access to a summer tomato garden, these are not so easy to make since they don’t sell unripened tomatoes in the store. But if you have absolutely no other choice, or it’s the middle of winter and you just can’t stand to wait any longer, you can look for the green-ish pink tomatoes and use those. You want as little juice as possible. Because I’m here to tell you that water + hot grease = explosion. Normally I don’t take you through step-by-step pictures. But it is VERY IMPORTANT (as in, life or death) that these are right! So slice up some tomatoes. Not too thin, not too thick. You want heirlooms or beefsteaks. Romas do not work for this. They need to have enough juice that the coating sticks to them. Then you make a spice blend and an egg wash not pictured because there’s no pretty way to photograph an egg wash). Then you dip the tomato slice into the egg and then cover it in flour. It’s now ready to fry. Then you fry them until they’re golden brown, and then take them out of the oil and put them on...
Jackson, WY: Thai Me Up

Jackson, WY: Thai Me Up

This was not the first time we had come to Thai Me Up in Jackson. We actually were here last year when we vacationed for a week in Jackson. If you’ve never been there, it’s a cool little western-y town. Lots of restaurants, and gift shops, and expensive boutiques for skiing and backcountry hiking gear. Everything is made out of wood and super picture-esque. It’s right south of the Grand Tetons, and you can see mountains on all sides of it. There’s also an overabundance very expensive of furniture stores. But if you’re like us, it’s the restaurants that REALLY matter. Thai Me Up is an uber-trendy restaurant and microbrewery. Their food is good, and this year they had an abbreviated menu which was actually a nice surprise since there was no decision making. And since I had just driven about 7 hours from the Southeast corner of Wyoming, that was welcome. Their beer list is longer than their food menu, and a lot of their brews are Wu-Tang named (Joel would be disappointed in me if I failed to mention that). We got the tempura shrimp skewer for an appetizer since they were super busy and our food was going to take awhile. It was expensive, but it was so good. Actually, it’s on my list of things that I need to figure out and learn to make at home. If nothing else, THE SAUCE. Also, I swear there were 5, but we ate 3 before I stopped to take a picture. They were actually pretty mess-free. Which was surprising, considering, haha. And for dinner, we both got the...
Vegetarian Sloppy Joe (Grilled Cheese Edition)

Vegetarian Sloppy Joe (Grilled Cheese Edition)

You can put these on a hamburger bun like a regular sloppy joe if you want to. You can eat them with no bread, if that’s your jam. You can also make them 1/2 meat and 1/2 lentil. Or add a can of beans if you’re low on lentils. Or you can make them all meat. I like lentils. I don’t like ground beef. But I am here to tell you that making these into a grilled cheese is the best decision ever. They’re melty and cheesy and sloppy joe-y (is that a word?). If you don’t know lentils, they are a similar (notice I said similar and not identical) texture to meat, and are super easy to make. They are also around $1.50 per pound versus about $6 per pound for ground beef (prices obviously depending on where you live). And one pound of lentils is more than enough for dinner for a family of 6, or a meal, and 2 leftover meals for 2 people. If your family is unsure about lentils, try half and half for the first time! Just, please make sure you pick through them a bit. Sometimes there are twigs and pebbles in them, just like in rice. Up until I made this batch I had never found any non-lentil material, but I always check and this time I found a twig! After you pick through them, just toss them in a strainer and rinse them off! Here’s the printable recipe card! Vegetarian Sloppy Joe (Grilled Cheese Edition) Recipe Type: Dinner Cuisine: American Author: Sam (Sizzling Mess) Serves: 6 Ingredients 1 pound lentils...
Roasted Garlic Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Garlic Brussels Sprouts

I eat these like they are candy. And unfortunately I do not have any exact measurements for you. But it’s flexible! So don’t worry, and I’ll give you a guideline. Also, does anyone else have the mental debate about whether they are brussel sprouts or brussels sprouts. Siri says brussels. The spelling gods have spoken! I only took one picture. I ate them too fast for more. And they’re best hot. But they’re also good cold. Did I mention that I eat them like candy? Here’s the printable un-recipe card! Roasted Garlic Brussels Sprouts Recipe Type: Side Dish Cuisine: American Author: Sam (Sizzling Mess) Ingredients 1 bag of frozen brussels spouts, thawed (or about a pound of fresh ones, cleaned and bad leaves cut off) 3 tablespoons (or so) extra virgin olive oil 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste (lots of salt and pepper, red pepper flakes are HOT and a little goes a long way) Instructions Preheat your oven to 375. Get a rimmed baking sheet and cover it in aluminum foil for easy clean up. Then spread out your brussels sprouts, and cover them in everything else. Toss. If you can, try to keep the garlic on top of the sprouts and not on the pan. But if you can’t, that’s cool. Stick them in the oven for about 25 minutes. Then pull them out and stir them around. Put them back in for about 10 minutes. Then take them out and if they’re all brown on the outside, they’re ready to eat! (If they’re not, put them in...