January 8, 2014

COOKING: Cranberry Rosemary Mustard

Not to toot my own horn (which is the polite thing to say before doing so), but I happen to be quite a condiment connoisseur. I know - brag, brag, brag. I've just always been much more interested in what is ON my food rather than the food itself. I have literally placed a food order by requesting "a lot of sweet and sour sauce - like, more than you think a human could eat" on the side, which, incidentally, resulted in TWO measly containers of my beloved nectar, but that is not the point. The point is that I love a good accent flavor, even elderly-style flavors like piccalilli and other pepper relishes. I have an opinion on pepper relishes! See? Told you I was a condiment connoisseur!

Despite my passion, I've made very few DIY condiments, so I wanted to do so before I rightfully claim my place on top of the sauce throne. There is a sauce throne, right? Don't tell me I've been training for nothing!

4 TBS Mustard Seeds
3 TBS Dried Cranberries
1 TBS Fresh Rosemary
Large Splash of Apple Cider Vinegar

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Add just enough apple cider vinegar to cover the dry ingredients by about a 1/4 inch.

Cover the bowl and put that bad boy in the refrigerator for a few days. 
Use the downtime to go on with your non-mustard-related business.

On day 2, a lot of the liquid had been absorbed by the mustard seeds.

I would say 3-5 days of soaking is good. This is what it looked like on day 5:

After you've soaked 'til you can't soak no more, dump the whole thing in a food processor and blend for several minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl or just take a break from panicking that your neighbors are angry with you for making such a loud noise.

The noise of my food processor scared the hell out of this adorable squirrel who was on a branch near my window. He was frozen in fear until he started chewing on the tree instead. He later found a small stick and ran away gleefully with it in his mouth. I took this as a 'halfway there, champ'-style pep talk.

When it seems done blending (meaning there are few or no whole mustard seeds left), you're done!

I popped mine in a mason jar and it filled it about halfway. My ingredients are based on the small jar of mustard seeds available in most grocery stores, but you could scale up {4 Parts Mustard Seed, 3 Parts Cranberries, 1 Part Rosemary} to meet your needs.

This mustard has a bit of a kick to it, which I enjoy (again, connoisseur) but might be a lot for some people. It tastes great on sandwiches and pretzels, of both the snack size and soft variety.

Would you ever make your own condiments? Are you more of a plain yellow mustard type? Will you share your best ketchup, BBQ or hot sauce recipes with me?


January 1, 2014

BEAUTY: Ombre Lips Tutorial

Because sometimes one lip color just isn't enough.
Light to Medium Purple Lipstick {Blackheart Beauty Lipstick in Violet}
Dark Purple Lip Liner or Eyeliner {Jordana Liquid Eyeliner Pencil in Purple Fix}
Clear Lip Gloss {Neutrogena Moisturizing Shine Gloss in Clear}
Lip Brush {ELF Retractable Lip Brush}

First, a lip-related PSA: 
For any bold lip look, I implore you to start by exfoliating your lips. I just rub a wet toothbrush over them. Otherwise, your awesome artwork is overshadowed by dead skin and lumps and we'll have to forever call you "Lumpy Lips" which is just so shameful. 
Thank you, this has been a lip-related PSA.

Start by applying the purple lipstick as you normally would. It's okay if the edges aren't perfect since we'll be messing with them later.

Next, outline your lips generously with the purple eyeliner (or lip liner, if you're lucky enough to have a source for colorful lip liners. If so, WHAT IS YOUR SECRET?!).

Use your lip brush to gently smudge the dark purple liner in toward the lipstick, using short strokes to blend. The goal is to lessen the harshness of the line you originally drew and make the two shades meld together peacefully so that you can't quite tell where one ends and the other begins. Think of this ombre lip as the makeup equivalent of Ice-T and Coco (the people, not the beverages) - you know, seamless, meant to be, etc. etc. 

You could stop here and call it a day (or a night - I'm all about options), and have a softer matte lip look (below), but I'm going to take it one step further because THAT IS WHAT I DO.

I applied a thin coat of clear lip gloss, using the gloss wand to further blend the shades.
Dramatic re-creation. Very pensive.
This version of the final look is a little darker and more blended than without the gloss. Like I said, I'm all about options. This version feels a little more "wearable" than the pre-gloss version, where the ombre is more pronounced, but your version of wearable is obviously up to you. Although, if you're reading a tutorial for a bright purple ombre lip then maybe you also don't care about blending in (unless it is blending in our lipstick in which case we care very much).

Would you wear an ombre lip? Is this just too much work for something that will eventually get lost in a bite of pizza? Are you already plotting other color combinations like I am? Gold and red are calling my name!


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