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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Aunt Denny’s Peanut Brittle

This is a little more involved than the last two Christmas Recipes but if you like peanut brittle you should give this recipe a try. I have been told by Peanut Brittle connoisseurs (aka my stepfather) that it is their favorite.
Aunt Denny says it is all about the cast iron pan. Honestly it is the only time I break that darn heavy thing out of the cupboard. So the ingredients are pretty simple.

  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of corn syrup
  • 2 cups of raw spanish peanuts
  • 3 TBSP of butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of vanilla 
Bring those ingredients to a boil and bring up to a hard ball stage. Denny says it has to spin a super fine hair. I tried to capture a picture of what that looks like for you here. When the mixture looks like baby fine hair and just kind of floats away you know you are there. 
Add 2 cups of raw peanuts to the mixture at this point. Stir frequently and continue to cook until it reaches a nice amber color. This is kind of guess work. Each batch that I do is varying degrees of this color.
Once the amber color is reached, remove from heat and add 3TBSP of butter, 1 tsp of vanilla and 11/2 tsp of baking soda. Stir all that in until it is well mixed. It will foam up. Turn this all out onto a VERY WELL BUTTERED cookie sheet. The cookie sheet I use is 12 x 15. Much bigger than your average cookie sheet. I suppose it would work with a smaller one you would just have thicker peanut brittle. 
And finally allow to cool for at least an hour and half. 
Happy Baking Season!
Thanks for stopping by the blog! 
See you next year! 



Christmas Mice



A dear client of mine gave me one of these cute little guys several years ago, BP (before Pinterest).
They were so cute! I had to recreate them.
And I have every year since.
They are time consuming but they are relatively easy.
Here are some pictures and some directions that should get you on your way relatively quickly.
Here are the main ingredients.

  • 30 - Hershey’s Kisses
  • 30 - Maraschino Cherries with the stem on
  • 60 - sliced almonds
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 30 - Oreo cookies split
  • Frosting (red & green)


Drain and dry the cherries on a paper towel for 30 minutes. Separate all cookies so you have only the white stuff on  top to decorate. While the cherries are drying, melt the chocolate chips in a container in a microwave for 1 minute. Stir the chocolate chips and continue to cook in microwave for one minute at at time until melted completely. Dip the dry cherries into the melted semisweet chocolate, adhere the candy kiss as shown and adhere the almond slices to simulate ears as shown. We made regular frosting for the whites of the eyes of the mice and then re-melted the chocolate for the pupils and used toothpicks to apply the eyes (whites and the pupils), Then we added a ribbon of green and red at his feet to make it all look cute!  This year we used the red and green gel frosting. I am not a fan of how the gel turned. I will be using decorators icing again next year.
They add such a cute little presence to our holiday trays!
Thanks for stopping by today!
Have a great weekend.
Michon :)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Cheeseball



This post is arriving a couple of days early as I wanted a chance to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! Over the next couple of days I will be posting my three favorite Christmas recipes that I include on all my holiday trays. The other two will not come to your inbox. But if you check here at the  blog over the weekend I will have all the pictures and instructions up by the Sunday night. Plenty of time for you to whip up something special for your gift giving.
Cheeseball and a Beauty Blog you may ask...
Well I think sharing is beautiful. Every year when I do my customer appreciation day, I get requests for this recipe. Just a couple of recommendations here... 



It was my mother-in-law’s cheeseball recipe that she gave to me 20 years ago. 
Seriously it is so simple that it is almost shameful!

Grandma Kessler’s Cheeseball
1 brick of Philly Cream Cheese
1 tsp of McCormick Bon Appetit Seasoning
1 heaping Tbsp on fresh chopped green onion
1 cup of crushed nuts (walnuts or pecans)
Bring cream cheese to room temperature. Add Bon Appetit Seasoning and green onions to brick and cream together well. From mixture into a ball and roll ball into the crushed nuts until completely covered.

Wrap in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator overnight.
Voila!
Easy as!
Except, the darn seasoning is getting harder and harder to find. My friends in Utah should have no problem finding it. But from what I understand the only two stores in Reno that have it are not actually in Reno. The Savemart in Carson and the Savemart in Sparks carry it. You can also find it here Amazon. If you can’t find Bon Appetit, this is the best substitute I have found.



The cost is minimal, yet it feels so special and homemade with a touch "of class" when coupled with wine, crackers and a card.

Hope your Christmas is Merry and Bright. And your Hanukkah is Happy and Holy? Or whatever holiday you are celebrating right now is truly blessed and wonderful.
Remember to check the blog tomorrow for the other two recipes.
It’s a surprise!! ;)
Michon :)

P.S. ~ Share the love and forward this to a friend!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Happy Hands & Cuticles (Winter Edition)



Hands in particular are exposed and at risk for dry, chaffing, irritation and sometimes cracking skin during this cold season. We are washing them more than usual to ward off cold and flu germs. We are drinking less water, which is what our skin, hair and nails need the most. And your oil glands typically excrete less oil during these cold month. All of this leads to dry brittle nails and cracked, dry cuticles. Here are a few tips to help get your fingers off the DOA list.

  1. Drink more fluids! It is difficult when it is cold outside to want to be drinking all that cold water. How about switching it up with some nice herbal tea? Sam bought me some of this wonderful tasting white tea that I am loving right now. Highly recommend it! Even a cup of warm water with lemon is a nice soothing way to get more moisture into that skin. Whatever your taste is just try to pump up the fluids at this time of year. 
  2. Use a gentle cleanser for all that hand washing. Glycerin soaps are know for their moisturizing qualities. Try to cut back on the antibacterial, harsh soaps. I found this one while searching online the other day that is infused with vitamin E and has an aloe base. And it is orange scent to boot! All things Christmasy! In my shopping cart it goes!  
  3. Cranberry Hempz
  4. Use lots of lotion. Keep it in your purse, your car, your gym bag. My favorite at this time of year is the Cranberry Hemp These sweet little gems can be found at my salon and they make great stocking stuffers! 
  5. Get a manicure. Have a professional take a look at your patties and give their professional opinion. Besides the benefit of getting your cuticles trimmed, so as not to catch and snag the dry corners on clothing it, many are offering hot oil treatments for free with a mani at this time of the year. 
  6. Aloe infused gloves are a great option for extremely dry hands and feet. Just apply a thick coat of lotion or body butter to your hands and then slip on the gloves. Even if you end only wearing them half the night your skin with have the chance to soak in the wonderful emollients from the gloves and the butter and your will find that your hands will be much happier and much more youthful looking.
All ready for another home remedy option for hands and cuticles? I love this one! Trust me you are going to get tired of my endless uses for coconut oil! It is an amazing product and I love the stability of this oil. The fact that it is anti-microbal and solid when kept at room temperature below 76 degrees only adds to my affection.

Bedtime Cuticle Treatment
Empty 2 oz container 
1.5 oz of coconut oil 
4 drops of Lavender essential oil

Warm oil in the container on the defrost setting in your microwave, about 10 - 15 seconds is usually enough in most ovens. Once the oil is liquified add the lavender oil. Stir with a toothpick and allow the oil to come to room temp and solidify again. Place lid on the container and put by your bed side. Apply to cuticles at night as you are crawling under the covers, with or without gloves. The lavender has a natural relaxing sensation on the body that is perfect for this bedtime routine. 
Please feel free to share your home remedies for dry hands with me in the comments below. I would love to hear your approach. Feel free to share this page or forward this link to your freinds. Sign up for my weekly tip in the header above. 
Enjoy,
Michon :)



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Winter Hair Woes



As per my post last week, skin is not the only thing that suffers in the winter. Hair also gets compromised by these cold, dry, arrid conditions. Hair is simply dead skin cells. It grows approximately a quarter inch a month. So the longer your hair is the longer it has been in the scalp, or in it’s place of nourishment. Here a a few tips to help you keep your hair in it’s healthiest condition ever.

  1. Shampoo from the scalp out. Your scalp is the only part of your hair that is really holding onto the dirt. Your sweat, and oils at your scalp are what attracts the dirt. The shear action of the suds from your scalp being rinsed away will be enough to pull out any loose dust from your ends. So remember suds up the scalp and leave your ends be. Of course use gentle shampoos with a pH balance of between 4.5 to 6.7
  2. Condition from the ends in. Taking the above recommendation into consideration you can understand that the only part of your hair that really needs conditioning is the ends. So don’t plop the conditioner on your scalp and work down to your ends. It will leave you with flat greasy hair and dry ends. Instead, generously apply conditioner to the ends and work it up from there. Conditioners should contain little to no alcohol.
  3. Color application. Whether you are doing it yourself or you are having it done professionally, make sure that you/they are not overlapping color. This is crucial! If you are double dipping hair in 20 volume peroxide every 4 -6 weeks you can expect breakage and dryness.
  4. Don’t brush wet hair. Always use a wide tooth pick and GENTLY comb through to the ends. Hair is in it’s weakest state when it is wet. Be gentle to it and resist stretching it out by round brushing it and pulling it excessively while it is wet. If you must round brush for volume make sure the hair shaft it 80% dry before putting the brush to it. 
  5. Use a quality leave-in oil treatment. There are a plethora of oil treatments on the market right now. Find the right one for your hair that won’t weigh it down but will add sheen and suppleness, argon oil, moroccan oil, sunflower oil, and the list goes on. Your professional should be able to recommend the right one for your hair. You should always be using some sort of leave in proteinzer or moisturizer on your hair after shampooing for optimal health of the hair.  
  6. Turns out the old wives tales about mayonnaise are true. Mayonnaise is rich in oils and protein (eggs) to strengthen the hair. The problem I keep hearing most people are having with a mayo pack for their hair is that it smells and will look greasy for sometime after the application. Two things here. They used too much in the wrong place and you need to rinse with vinegar. Every site I went to with recommendations of using mayo all talked about applying to the scalp or working into the scalp. Why would you do that if your ends are dry? So again I go back to tip #1. The hair at your scalp is at optimum health! Blood flow, oil secretions, everything it needs to be healthy. So please follow the directions in the recipe so you can have a happy hair day the day after your mask! The purpose for the other ingredients I added are as follows: Avocado oils are light and moist and full of proteins. Honey is a natural humectant, which means it attracts and locks in moisture. Coconut oil is rich in fatty acids, vitamin K and E. And lavender to combat the smell factor. I have come up with a cool recipe for you.
Mayo Mane Tamer
4 TBSP of mayo (the real deal. no low fat stuff for this!)
1/2 ripe avocado 
3 TBSP of honey
4 TBSP coconut oil
4 drops of Lavender oil (optional, makes it smell a little better) :)

Rinse out treatment
5TBSP of apple cider vinegar 
2 cups of warm water

After shampooing with a gentle cleanser, towel dry hair until hair is 50% dry on the ends. Apply mask to hair starting at the ends and work it up toward the scalp. Don’t comb through. Simply work it into the ends of your tresses with your fingers. Put a plastic bag on your head and wrap with hot towel  Consider using it once or twice a month. Sure it looks funny but the heat and the steam will help the moisture and protein penetrate more readily. Kick hubby out to play poker with his buddies for the night and pop in a chick flick! ;)
Do double duty and use last week’s Green Island Facial at the same time! Now there is a picture for you! In fact post a link on my blog of you doing either the or both of the these and I will give you a pile of free samples of Pureology Shampoo and Conditioners! 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Facial Night





So we had a fun, if not eventful, night this evening...
We tried the wonderful avocado mask that I recommended a few nights back with mixed results.
Two of my fairest, most sensitive skin girls were pretty red and sensitive.
My youngest ended up with small welts on her cheeks!
We all exfoliated as directed, the only difference was that she also added her acne serum before I applied the facial. Not sure if that is what did it or what?  The Benadryl and cool compresses brought it down before bedtime.  I just wanted to warn anyone out there to possibly patch test for this facial. None of the rest of us had any sort of reaction except Sam and I had itchy eyes? I love cucumbers. I eat them all the time! They felt so cool and awesome on my eyes and I see it all the time in the magazines and yet I wanted to itch my eyeballs out when we were done.
So beware of that as well!
Cool compresses to our eyes cured that!
Till next time,

Michon :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Beautiful Winter Skin

It seems like such an oxymoron to have this lovely wet and cold weather and yet have your skin dry out! I know we all suffer from it in one form or another. Whether it is your chapped lips, cracked heels, or itchy back, none of it is fun. Here are my best tips for beautiful winter skin.


  1. Avoid hot showers. Hot water strips your skin of it’s natural oils. Use warm water for your face and skin. Use cool water on your face if you are acne prone. Warm and hot actually increase the bacteria growth.
  2. Look for lotions containing a “humectant”. These products typically have sorbitol, glycerin and alpha-hydroxy acids that attract moisture to your skin. You want an oil based moisturizer not a water based one to keep moisture levels high. 
  3. Drink Water! Your skin is your largest organ and it is comprised of 90% water. If you want your skin to be clear, plump, and youthful looking, you need to keep your body hydrated, even when you are cold. 
  4. Moisturize the air you breath. Break out your humidifier or simply place a bowl of water in the room that you live in the most. As the water evaporates it will add moisture to the air. Having house plants also helps. 
  5. Sunscreen is still on the order. Snow, if we ever get any, reflects 80% of the sun’s rays compared to sand at 20%. At least a 15 SPF please.
  6. Get a facial! Exfoliation is important in the winter months. So often we load up on heavier creams to compensate for the dryness. but dry skin often means cellular buildup. Exfoliation should be a regular part of your winter regime. Once the dry skin is removed replenish the new healthy skin with moisturizers that are rich in vitamins. If you can’t make the time or don’t have the money for a professional, give yourself a wonderful moisturizing facial after you exfoliate at home. See my recipe below.