oil

Did you say, "Green Cosmetics?"

In today's American society, to be "green" doesn't refer to green with envy but rather sensitive to the earth we . Is the product manufactured in an ethical way? Is recycling a part of the process? Is it friendly to the environment? In investigating beauty products  that fit the bill, I discovered brands whose mission and purpose earned them recognition by Certified Green Cosmetics.

Origins

Our mission is to create high performance natural skincare that is powered by nature, proven by science.

 

Burt's Bees

This company started out selling their renowned lip palm  at craft fairs and they've come a long way Baby! Their line now includes products for men, babies, skin, face, body, hair AND products for the outdoors.

Aside from a great quality product, here's what I love:

We believe in giving back.Through The Greater Good Foundation, we commit to pledge at least 10% of all Web Site sale revenues to our selected "well being" partners.

 

 

 

                                                                                   JASON

In 1959 when other companies were including man made perfume and petroleum in their products, a group of Californians moved towards a more natural approach with Apricot Oil, Peppermint Oil and Wheat Protein. In addition to face, body, hair and sun products these guys have a entire Oral lineup of toothpaste and mouthwash that  do not include chemicals and are safe for people and the environment.

  Mary Kay Cosmetics

While Mary Kay Cosmetics doesn't carry the "green seal" their newest product is called  Botanical Effects Skin Care and the products do not include synthetic dyes or added fragrance. All of their products have a 100% buy back guarantee.

Each of theses companies reaches out to a wide range of clients and they include products for dry, normal and oily skin. Focused on providing  people a quality product, it appears that each of these organizations has a reputation of  putting their clients needs out in front, and if you're not already 'brand loyal' you might want to give one of these companies a try.

Brown Rice, Mexican Style

Anywhere there's Mexican food, you'll find rice. Enchiladas and rice, tacos and rice, beans and rice. My mother, grandmother and mother-in-law each prepared rice with their own twist and now I've added mine. I hope you'll try this easy, yummy recipe which takes brown rice, full of nutrients, and packs it with flavor that will fill your kitchen with a heavenly aroma.

Mexican Brown Rice

Ingredients

1 c. brown rice

2t. canola oil   

1 T. chicken boullion

2 c. water

½ t. ground cumin

2 cloves minced garlic

1/3 c chopped onion

3/4 c diced or crushed tomatoes

1c chopped vegetables –combination of any of the following: mushrooms, cooked garbanzos, chopped carrots, celery, bell pepper, frozen peas)

Cilantro (optional)

 

Pour brown rice  and canola oil into 2 qt. saucepan, stirring continually until toasty. ( This will make cooking time shorter and rice will have a wonderfully  firm texture.) When rice has browned sufficiently, add water, cumin, tomatoes and garlic. Bring to a boil then lower temperature to a simmer.  Add vegetables and cilantro after rice has been cooking for 20-25 minutes.Cook an additional 15-20 minutes until all liquid has been absorbed and rice is al dente.

Makes 4 c or 8-1/2 c. servings

CW Beauty Tips & Picks

One of the best ways to find the best Beauty Tips is look around and get the Top Picks from women who look their best! To find out how the  CW writers always look their best I asked them to share their personl Top Picks, the things they won't leave home without. It won't surprise you to see how diverse their choices are. Fownder and owner of Created Woman, Heather, says she's been using Oil of Olay Cleanser and Moisturizer since she was thirteen. "I have tried other products but have always switched back to my tried and true. "

 

 

 

                    Covergirl LashExact Mascara is Erika's top pick.

"After trying all the expensive brands of mascara,

this is the one that gives me the most definition, volume and length."

 

 

Jessica says this about  100% Organic Jojoba oil!

It is 100% natural and smells great! I LOVE this stuff because it has so many uses and a little goes a long way. I use it:

  • As a lip balm
  • Added to my face/body lotion (you really only need a few drops)
  • Apply to hair then wash out as a hair mask

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every one knows Carmindy, the encouraging makeup artist from What Not to Wear. Coby's Top Pick is from Sally Hansen's Natural Beauty by Carmindy.

This is the only thing that covers my melasma (hormonal discoloration from pregnancies).The melasma was so bad after my third pregnancy and this ws the only product that covered it and still felt light and natural.

 

 

I don't start or end my day without 3 pumps of

Mary Kay Replenishing Serum + C coupled with Day/Night Solution.  

My skin is tout, it's not too heavy and I started getting carded again.

~Kala~

 

 

~Nichole

Stila Natural Finish Oil-Free Makeup foundation gives me the perfect, natural coverage. It gives me a smooth, even look and lasts all day. 

 

 

Express is a clothing store but they have such a great lip gloss! Their "Black Cherry Lip Gloss" is the perfect color for anyone. It's a pinch of red with a little cherry flavor. I love it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                       MAC Studiotech Foundation

                                                                  The coverage and finish is flawless. - Lilly

It is the only line that makes a foundation with the color I need for my ebony skin.~Cheryl

 

So, if you've been on the search for a better age-fighting product, mascara or foundation, give these Top Picks a try.

Hotcakes for the 4th - Red, White and Blue Cupcakes!

  Happy 4th of July!!! If you're scrambling around trying to find a fun recipe to bring to the BBQ, this Fourth of July Cupcake recipe may be just the thing! Taken from Baking Bites these cupcakes are as cute as they are delicious! Enjoy :)

Fourth of July Cupcakes 2 large eggs 1/2 cup milk (low fat is fine) 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour 3/4 cup sugar 1 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 1 tbsp raspberry or strawberry jam (optional) 1 tbsp blueberry preserves (optional) red food coloring blue food coloring

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vegetable oil, melted butter and vanilla extract until smooth. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk just until batter is smooth. Take out two small bowls and place 3/4 cup batter into each one. Add 1 tbsp jam and red food coloring to first bowl and whisk to incorporate. Add 1 tbsp blueberry preserves and blue food coloring to second bowl and whisk to combine. Add additional food coloring (batter should be very brightly colored, use at least 15 drops of each color minimum) as needed until desired color is reached. Divide red batter evenly into prepared muffin cups. Divide blue batter evenly into muffin cups, centering it on top of the red batter (do not attempt to smooth it out!). Divide remaining white batter evenly (again, do not attempt to smooth it out!). Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cupcake comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting 6-oz cream cheese, room temperature 1/4 cup butter, room temperature 1 1/2-2 cups confectioners’ sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until well-combined.  Gradually add in confectioners’ sugar until the mixture reaches a thick easy-to-spread consistency. If you prefer stiffer icing, add a little extra confectioners’ sugar. Spread on cooled cupcakes.

Basil-Cilantro Pesto

It's quick! It's easy! It's healthy and more than anything, it's DELICIOUS! Pesto is a sauce that can be added to pasta, used as a topping on pizza  and today it's featured in Pesto Chicken Salad. Traditional pesto ingredients include basil, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. We're shaking it up a little and melding the sweet taste of basil with the fragrant mix of  parsley and citrus found in cilantro.

 

 

Ingredients:

1 c. fresh basil

1 c. cilantro (no stems)

1/3 c. walnuts

1 large clove garlic

1/3 c. Romano or Parmesan cheese (Romano is a little stronger)

1/4-1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil

pinch of kosher salt

 

 

First of all, run the walnuts through your processor.

 

 

Next, add the basil, cilantro, minced garlic, cheese, salt, and drizzle a little oil in the processor. Pulse and add oil. Repeat until it takes the form of a thick paste.

 

 

Chop 2 c. of chicken (what you see above is the last of a rotisserie chicken) and add some chopped black olives and the pesto. Because I like texture, I added some minced celery as an afterthought. Blanched almonds would also work. They would add texture, taste and visually change the look of the salad.

 

 

 

This Chicken Pesto Salad is whipped up in about 15 min. and served on a toasted baguette or crackers.

 

 

Cupcake Wars winning cupcake: The Elvis

  I love The Food Network. There is something about watching people prepare food that just puts me in a good mood! So you can imagine when, "Cupcake Wars", made it's debut I was hooked. Basically, Cupcakes Wars starts with four bakeries who take on different "cupcake challanges"...kind of like a cupcake olympics if you will and one by one the teams are eliminated until one lucky bakery is standing. When I saw the following winning cupcake being assembled I knew I had to share it with my cyber-friends...you!  

This cupcake is a combination of a few of my favorite things...banana, peanut butter, chocolate, and Elvis :). Bake, enjoy, and pass it on!

The Elvis Cupcake

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 extra-large whole eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon banana extract
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1 large, overripe banana, mashed
  • Peanut Butter Frosting, recipe follows
  • Chocolate Coating, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line mini cupcake pans with cupcake liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and yolks, 1 at a time, and then stir in the vanilla and banana extracts. Stir in the vegetable oil. Beat in the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the mashed banana.

Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, 8 to10 minutes. Cool completely, and then frost with Peanut Butter Frosting and dip in Chocolate Coating and enjoy!

Peanut Butter Frosting:

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
  • 2 cups smooth peanut butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, well sifted
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons cream, as needed

Beat together the butter and peanut butter until smooth and combined. Blend in the powdered sugar. Add the cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, if the frosting is too thick.

Chocolate Coating:

  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Melt together the chocolate chips and vegetable oil in the microwave until completely melted

Easy, Organic Chocolate Swirl Cupcakes

Who doesn't love cupcakes...and chocolate...and easy?!? Here is the most simple cupcake recipe you'll come across and the best part is...it uses Organic ingredients so you can feel good about serving this to your friends, family, or enjoying a few yourself!  This is also a great recipe to get your kids involved in helping with!

Ingredients

  • 1 (16.2 ounce) box organic vanilla cake mix (recommended: Dr. Oetker)
  • 3 organic eggs
  • 2/3 cup organic whole milk
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 4 ounces organic 72-percent dark chocolate, chopped
  • Confectioners' sugar, for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the paper baking cups into the cupcake molds.

Melt the chocolate in adding it to a small glass bowl set over a simmering saucepan of water and stirring until it melts. Stir in the milk to thin it out a bit.

Follow the package instructions and prepare the vanilla cake mix. Blend the cake mix with 3 eggs, 2/3 cup milk, and 1/2 cup oil. Pour 1/2 the mix in a separate bowl. Mix the melted chocolate into one of the bowls and stir for a couple of minutes, until you have reached a nice dark colored mix.

 In each cupcake mold, use 1/2 vanilla and 1/2 chocolate mix, bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

 Serve with a sprinkle of confectioners' sugar. Enjoy!

Vegan Lemon Macadamia Cupcakes

Spring is just around the corner and what better way to welcome it than a Vegan Lemon Macadamia Cupcake with Lemon Buttercream frosting from the cookbook Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World??? (my stomach is growling as I type this)

Lemon Macadamia Cupcakes

1/3 cup canola oil 3/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup yogurt 1/3 cup milk 1/4 cup lemon juice 1 tbsp lemon zest 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp salt 1/3 cup ground macadamia nuts 1/2 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine oil, sugar, yogurt, & milk. Add juice, zest, & vanilla. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, & salt in a separate bowl. Incorporate dry ingredients into wet ingredients in two batches.  Add in ground macadamia nuts, then fold in the chopped macadamias. Bake for 20-22 minutes, then allow to cool on a rack.

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

1/4 cup shortening (I like Earth Balance) 1/4 cup margarine 2 cups powdered sugar 2 tbsp lemon juice 2 tsp lemon zest

Cream together and frost or pipe onto your cupcakes. Enjoy (preferably in the sun with a good book/Frank Sinatra)!

Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcakes by Babycakes

With February being the love month I thought we should share a little love with our gluten-free/vegan/health conscience friends by sharing this amazing chocolate cupcake recipe from Erin McKenna at Babycakes NYC. This cute, quirky bakery on the upper-east side is 100% gluten-free, vegan, and delicious!

For those of us who aren't upper-east siders no need to cry! Now we can bring Babycakes into our own kitchens with one of Erin's new recipe books. Here is a sneak peak into one of my favs:

Chocolate Cupcakes

YIELD: 1 dozen

  • 1 cup garbanzo and fava bean flour
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup agave nectar
  • 6 tablespoons applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup hot water or hot coffee
  • Frosting for serving (see recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line one, standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, potato starch, cocoa powder, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt. Add the oil, agave nectar, applesauce, vanilla, and hot water directly to the dry ingredients. Stir until the batter is smooth.

Pour 1/3 cup of the batter into each prepared cup. This portion will almost fill the cup up entirely. Bake the cupcakes on the center rack for 22 minutes, rotating the tray 180 degrees after 15 minutes. The cupcakes will bounce back when pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean. Remove from the oven.

Let the cupcakes stand for 20 minutes. Transfer them to a wire rack right side up and cool completely. Using a frosting knife, gently spread 1 tablespoon of Frosting over each cupcake. Place the cupcakes in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Vanilla Frosting

YIELD: enough for 1 dozen cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups soy milk
  • 3/4 cup soy “Better Than Milk” powder
  • 1 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice

In a blender or food processor, combine the soy milk, “Better Than Milk” powder, coconut flour, agave nectar, and vanilla. Mix the ingredients for 2 minutes. As the machine blends, slowly add the oil and lemon juice, alternating between the two until all parts are incorporated. Pour the mixture into an airtight container. Place the container in the refrigerator for 6 hours, or for up to 1 month, before using.

Hungry for Hummus?

Chickpeas are the core ingredient to this healthy food, loaded with protein. Hummus is popular in the Middle East and is also commonly found in Mediterranean-style meals. However, it is now quite popular in the US, costs pennies to make and less than fifteen minutes of prep time. My recipe is a "mas o menos," which means more or less. Adjust the ingredients to your particular taste.

Ingredients

1 can of chickpeas/garbanzo, with liquid

juice of 1 fresh lemon

2 T. tahini*

2 cloves of roasted garlic**

1/8 c. olive oil

salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve with pita chips, raw veggies or use as a spread on a sandwich or wrap.

*Sesame seed paste can be purchased at any grocery store with a healthy food section.

**My daughter taught me to a quick-roast garlic, just place the cloves in a nonstick pan on medium heat and turn them until they're lightly browned on all sides.

Variations

Substitute any of the following for a twist:

roasted red bell pepper, roasted jalapeno, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives