Friday, February 13, 2015

Pucker Up :-*

One of the perks of being a woman is we get to dress up and play with make up. I get lots of questions on how to apply red lipstick. Apparently a lot of women out there do not think it is for them and/or down right scared of it. Rest assured, there is nothing to fear and I am going to share with you how I apply it. The key is making sure that you get the right shade for your skin tone. I am almost 40 and my skin tone has changed in the last decade. Mary Kay has always made the perfect red for me. They did discontinue their red lip liner which is probably the dumbest move a make up company could ever make in my opinion. It is not like that is a color you can just substitute with another color liner. So, I have been forced to use another liner since MK no longer sells one. For this tutorial I used a Rimmel Red liner (thank you Roberta for giving it to me!)
 My personal preference is to go a bit lighter with my eye make up when I wear red lipstick. However, I do need to wear make up when I do red otherwise I just look like a washed out face with a pair of red lips.
 First thing, prime your lips like you do your face with primer and use foundation too. This will help your color hold and provides a nice canvas to work on. Liner and lipstick just tend to go on better with primer and foundation for me. It is like the lines are smother.
 Following your natural lip shape you are going to line the lower lip. Then, you are going to make an X with your liner directly in the center of your top lip. Using the top of the X go ahead and line your top lip. I know some people depending on their lip shape will go just outside of their natural lip or just inside. When in doubt just follow the natural line that God gave you :-) I don't know why, but every time I try to draw outside of the box I end up looking like a toddler did my make up :-P
 Now, rub your lips together to pull that color through and reline your lips. This helps that color stay put! I like to line my lips again because I need  to know where to "color".
 Apply your red lipstick. If you are nervous dab it on. I always dab on my top lip :-)
 Take your lip gloss wand and color over your lipstick. I like to use this step to even out any messy spots. The wand is my lip saver! :-P The lip gloss is the only thing I will reapply through out the day if needed. The color tends to hold and I really don't have more time during the day to do this entire process (Beauty takes work!).
 This next step is crucial! You have to do it otherwise you will end up with red teeth and that is never a good thing. Take your finger and pull it through your lips. The residue will end up on your finger and not on your teeth later ;-) Make sure you wash your hands or you will get lipstick on everything you touch (I have learned this the hard way).
 Now you are ready for your day, or hot Valentine's Day date :-)
Go lay one on your baby and take a sweet picture. Or embarrass your teenager by kissing him.

Pucker up! :-*

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Stained Glass Heart Sugar Cookies

 These Stained Glass Heart Sugar cookies are a pretty treat for your loved ones this Valentine's Day and surprisingly easy to make. The goal in creating this cookie was not so much to come up with the perfect sugar cookie, but a pretty special looking cookie. I am not a sugar cookie fan. In fact, truth be told, I rather loathe decorating sugar cookies at Christmas. Not to mention that I find them to taste just "okay" for a cookie that kind of requires a lot of work. I am pleased to report that these cookies are actually the BEST sugar cookies I have ever had. I mean I LIKE THEM! They are relatively easier than any sugar cookie I have ever made as well. There is no chilling the dough and my kitchen did not get as messy with a ton of extra flour. I mean, you will need flour to roll out the dough, but not as much as others.  With that being said, I prefer them without the pretty stained glass feature in the center, but they still are tasty :-) I made up about 6 stained glass cookies and the rest regular cut out sugar cookies that I frosted and topped with decorative dark pink sugar. Nothing fancy, but mixed in with the stained glass cookies it was quite lovely....and.....TASTY!

1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter brought to room temperature
1 1/2 C sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red food coloring
1 bag of Jolly Ranchers
-Preheat Oven to 350 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
-Separate the Jolly Ranchers into flavors and set aside watermelon and cherry to use. I did grape as well and it turned out really yucky. It smelled like cough syrup as it cooked and tasted about like it too. Learn from my mistakes and just don't do it ;-) Set the rest aside for use at a later time. Or you can just suck on them as you make these cookies :-P


-Unwrap the candy and smash them with either a rolling pin or flat side of a meat mallet. They don't have to be really well smashed up. Just enough to spread evenly in the cut out portion of your cookie. Set aside until ready to use.
-In a mixing bowl, beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy (I wish butter made me light and fluffy instead of just fluffy).
-Beat in the egg, vanilla extract and red food coloring.
-Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a separate bowl.
-Add flour mixture one cup at a time to the sugar mixture. Beat for 20 seconds after each add.
-Divide dough into 2 balls.
-On a floured surface, roll each ball into a circle approximately 1/8 inch thick.
-Dip your cookie cutters in flour and cut out shapes.
These are the ones I used:
-Make sure to cut out a large shape first and center the smaller shape inside it and cut that out too. The small shape can just be used as a regular cookie that you frost normally :-)
-Carefully place cookies on prepared cookie sheet and fill the center with smashed Jolly Rancher. Make sure you do not sprinkle any of the extra on the cookie because it will melt and look icky. In fact, I left a little bit of room between the candy center and the cookie since it melts down.
 -Bake cookies for 9 - 11 minutes or until they are lightly browned.
 -Let them cool completely before removing to a wire rack.
- Embellish them with frosting to hide where the stained glass meets the cookie with your favorite butter cream frosting.
 Place on a cute platter and serve to friends and family.
Be will get a lot of "Wow!" and "Those look so cool!" :-)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Good For You Valentine's Day Granola

First of all I have to state how MAD I am at myself! I made this recipe about a week ago and it was a HUGE success. I pulled out a couple special props to use to do the pictures for THIS post. I had Parker help me (he actually took a few great pictures!) and the photos turned out really cute! I would venture to say that they were probably the most adorable photos I have taken to date of anything I have made. I loved how the final product turned out in my kitchen and on screen. I was super excited to share the recipe and pictures with you all! Fast forward to a few days ago when I am ready to do the blog entry. I pull out the memory disk to my camera and the pictures are GONE! I must have had a brain fart and thought I had downloaded, edited them and put them in my folder "Blog" on my computer. No such luck :-( This lousy picture off my camera with a picture of just ONE of the photos on it is all I got and I took this off of Instagram. Sorry ladies and gents :-(  
Now that I have expressed my announce with myself and confession to you all out of the way, I do hope that you give this recipe a go at it in your kitchen. It really is quite amazing, easy and good for you as far as granola goes :-) A few weeks ago I found these at Target and asked my online friends what I should do with them:

I had a few good suggestions for both, however the Red Velvet ones I ended up just eating out of the bag. I blame it on my monthly friend, but whatever....A few great suggestions came in for the bag on the top, but the one that really caught my attention was from my friend Kim. She recommended Granola Bars. Perhaps it was because of a guilt over eating the entire bag of Red Velvet ones or that that my daughter is a big fan of oatmeal in the morning, but I took that suggestion and ran with it. As I did my research on Granola I was really shocked and alarmed that a food that has a reputation as being so good for you is indeed terrible for you! Ingredients like sweetened condensed milk,  butter (I am a huge fan of butter and think it is way better than the fake stuff for so many reasons) and sugar were the main stars of most recipes. You probably would be better off eating an oatmeal cookie with the crap I discovered is put in it. I knew that none of those were going to work for my recipe -- not because I am a health freak, but because I wanted to come up with something that was good for the heart this Valentine's Day (after all it is national heart month and coming from a family that is plagued with heart disease that is near and dear to my heart). The M&Ms are used so sparingly that they make you feel more like you are indulging than you really are and they make it look pretty :-)
Valentine Granola
1/4 C Coconut oil
1/3 C Honey
3 C Oatmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C Valentine Theme M&Ms
-- Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
--In a medium heavy sauce pan melt the coconut oil on low heat
--Add the honey to the coconut oil and mix together on low heat for 3 minutes.
--In a large mixing bowl add the oatmeal and drizzle the coconut oil and honey mixture over it. Sprinkle the salt and mix well.
--Add the M&Ms and mix until thoroughly incorporated into the granola
--Spread the mixture on the prepared cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 12 minutes
-- Let it cool for an hour. Break into smaller pieces and store in an air tight container for up to a week.
Our favorite ways to eat this are over yogurt, with a little milk or just straight up out of the jar.