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Just Wash Him “Into” Your Hair with 5 NEW Intoxicating Sexy Scented Shampoos via [InStyle]

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The 5 Best Smelling Shampoos Right Now

Best Floriental

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With its unexpected combinations of grapefruit, gardenia, amber and vanilla, John Frieda Full Repair is musky and very sensual.
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Time Inc. Digital Studio
From the first scent of crisp grapefruit and green almond to the romantic notes of camellia petals and lily, Shu Uemura‘s Moisture Velvetis utterly addictive.$45; shuuemuraartofhair-usa.com.

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What does a beach smell like? According to Redken Nature Rescue, there are traces of jasmine and watery cyclamen layered with leafy greens, blond woods, and airy metallic notes.$16; redken.com for salons.

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Time Inc. Digital Studio
A sugary confection from top to bottom, Wella Brillianceopens with pineapple, pear and clementine before turning to honey and praline laced with violet and quince.$13; wella.com for salons.

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More than 25 flower and plant essences swirl together in cult favorite Aveda Shampure, including lemon, petitgrain, lavender and ylang-ylang.$11; aveda.com.
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Last-Minute Edible Gift Ideas via [huffingtonpost]

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From our friends at Food52.com, whose weekly recipe contests we’ve been featuring on HuffPost Food, comes this clever collection of recipes that can be whipped up in the waning days of Holiday gift-giving.

Salted Pumpkin Caramels

By cheese1227

Photo: Sarah Shatz

Amanda & Merrill’s Notes:

Cheese1227’s caramels really evoke the essence of fall, and her approach is elegant not heavy-handed. The earthiness of pumpkin, softened with cream, permeates each chewy bite, followed by a whisper of spice, and the delicate crunch of fleur de sel is a clever detail, offsetting the sweetness of the candy. The toasted pepitas are addictive even on their own (make sure to save some for the bottom of the baking dish!); they give each of the finished caramels a beautifully lacquered, dusty green cap. – A&M

I recently made the fetching brown butter pumpkin layer cake featured on the cover of the latest issue of Fine Cooking. That batter just cried out to be sampled. It tasted as I imagined pumpkin caramels would. Seeing as serving raw cake batter is frowned upon these days, I had to come up with a safer alternative to this wonderful taste profile. – cheese1227

Makes 64, 1-inch caramels
  • 2/3 cup unsalted pepitos
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cups light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup good maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in chunks
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon fleur de sel
  1. Dry toast the pepitos in a skillet until they start to pop.
  2. Line the bottom and the sides of an 8-in square glass pan with parchment. Butter the parchment on the sides of the pan. Evenly spread out the toasted pepitos on the bottom of the pan, on top of the parchment.
  3. In a saucepan, combine heavy cream, pumpkin puree and spices. Get this mixture quite warm, but not boiling. Set aside.
  4. In a second heavy bottomed pan, with sides at least 4 inches high, combine the sugar, both syrups and water. Stir until the sugars are melted, Then let it boil until it reaches 244 degrees (the soft ball point on a candy thermometer). Then very carefully add the cream and pumpkin mixture, and slowly bring this mixture to 240 degrees as registered on a on a candy thermometer. This can take awhile — like 30 minutes — but don’t leave the kitchen, watch it carefully and stir it more frequently once it hits 230 degrees to keep it from burning at the bottom of the pan.
  5. As soon as it reaches the 240, pull it off the heat and stir in the butter and lemon juice. Stir vigorously so that butter is fully incorporated.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Let cool 30 minutes and sprinkle the salt over the top. Let the caramels fully set (at least 2 hours) before using a hot knife to cut them into 1-inch squares and wrapping them individually in waxed paper.

Secret Cookies

By Veronica, posted about 1 year ago

Photo: Sarah Shatz

This recipe has truly been kept a “Secret” for 30 years but now is the time to release it. It was given to me by an elderly lady who had been given it by an even more elderly Swedish lady. The proviso: “After I’m ‘gone’, you may give out the recipe.” The same proviso was given to me…so, here it is. Be sure to use salted butter!

Makes About 80 cookies
  • 3/4 pounds salted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • Red, green or multi-colored sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar. Add the yolks and vanilla, mixing well. Add the flour and combine thoroughly.
  2. Use mounded teaspoonfuls and make balls of dough with your hands. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, then flatten the dough with the bottom of a patterned glass dipped in colored sugar (don’t mix the red and green!).
  3. Bake for about 10 minutes (watch carefully as they burn easily), until the cookies are lightly golden just around the edges. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheets for a minute or two and then gently transfer to baking racks to cool — they’re fragile.

Cocoa Pear Crisps

By Rivka

Photo: Sarah Shatz

Amanda & Merrill’s Notes:

These pear crisps aren’t the most obvious “Open House Dish,” until you taste them, and then all becomes clear: you don’t want to be eating big baked dishes at an open house. You want somewhat light, intensely flavored food that can be eaten out of hand. The flavor of these delicous pears, which are seasoned with cocoa and spices, concentrates as they bake, and you end up with a chip that’s warped and brown, like a fossilized pear. Don’t bake them too long — you want crisp edges and slightly chewy centers. Then pile them into a bowl, and make sure you tell your guests they’re edible! They’ll love you forever. – A&M

I developed these pear chips for an iron chef competition a couple years back. The secret ingredient was cocoa, my fridge was near-empty save for a couple of pears, and I had an hour. I used galangal, which is a bit spicy like ginger, but also delightfully fruity. The result was unexpectedly delicious, the perfect thing to have out on a table during an open house. – Rivka

Makes about 60 crisps
  • 3 very firm pears
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoons powdered galangal, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (if not using galangal, increase this to 1 teaspoon)
  • 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  1. Preheat oven to 275°F. Halve each pear and use a melon baller to scoop out the core (including the stem).
  2. Set a mandoline to the 1/8-inch setting, and slice each pear half into about 10 very thin slices. Occasionally, the 1/8-inch setting will cause the pears to mush or crumble. In this case, the 1/4-inch setting will work, though the crisps will need an extra 15 minutes or so in the oven.
  3. Mix sugar and spices in small bowl. Place pear slices on rack set over baking sheet. Alternatively, place slices on silpat-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with spiced sugar. Bake until almost dry, about 1 hour, turning the slices over and the sheets around half way through to ensure even baking. Cool on rack or sheet. Store airtight up to 2 days.

Gin Fruit

By amanda

Photo: Sarah Shatz

Most years, in early December, my mother starts making a jar of gin fruit for the holidays. Her recipe is mindlessly simple — layer your favorite dried fruits with some spices, cover with booze. Then all there is to do is wait a week. I think it’s ok to sneak a few tastes before then, don’t you? My mother pointed out that you may need to replenish the gin after a day or two, as the fruit soaks up the alcohol. And the fruit is best consumed within a few weeks, before the fruit’s sugars begin turning the booze to syrup. I’d suggest passing it alongside a cheese course, spooning it over ice cream or cake (with some of the macerating liquid!), or adding it toward the end of cooking roast pork.

Serves about 1 quart
  • 1 cup dried figs
  • 1 cup plump prunes
  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 teaspoons raw sugar
  • 8 cloves
  • 8 long strips clementine peel
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • About 375 ml gin
  1. In a large bowl, combine the dried fruit.
  2. To a lidded 1-quart glass jar, add 1/4 of the fruit. Add 1/4 of the sugar, cloves and clementine peel. Repeat 3 more times. Push the cinnamon stick into the center of the fruit. Pour over enough gin to just cover the fruit. Seal the jar with a lid. Let sit for a week before eating, replenishing the gin as needed.

Chocolate Swirl Cinnamon Marshmallows

By notlazy.rustic.

Photo: Sarah Shatz

Amanda & Merrill’s Notes:

If you’ve never made marshmallows you should try these — we had a ball with this recipe! You pour hot sugar syrup into gelatin and then let the mixer work its magic, whipping up the marshmallow until it fluffs and gets bouncy. Once the marshmallow is shaped and set, you snip it into whatever size or shape marshmallows you want. For a child’s treat, notlazy.rustic.’s marshmallows have an adult touch — they’re scented with chocolate and cinnamon, and not too much of either. You’ll probably eat all of them plain, but you might also try dropping a few into hot chocolate. – A&M

I fell in love with making homemade marshmallows a couple years ago. It took only one batch to realize how easy they are to make and that most people are very surprised to learn marshmallows can be made at home (one of many reasons I like giving them as gifts). After finding a no-fail recipe in Gourmet, I’ve felt much more comfortable tweaking elements to create my own. These are perfect for the winter – a vanilla-infused marshmallow that’s been swirled with chocolate and sealed in a cinnamon-cocoa powder coat. For the chocolate, I like to go dark (here, I used a bar with 75% cacao to offset the sweetness of the rest of the square). – notlazy.rustic.

Serves 1 9×9 square

chocolate swirl marshmallow:

  • 2.5 ounces dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 1 cup water, divided
  • 3 packets (.25 ounces each) unflavored gelatin
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 large pinch kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

cocoa powder-cinnamon coating:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Lightly grease a 9×9-inch metal baking pan with cooking spray or oil; set aside.
  2. In mini food processor, chop chocolate 45 seconds, or until the chocolate is the size of tiny pebbles; you could also use a knife or spice grinder for this. Set aside.
  3. Place 1/2 cup water in bowl of electric mixer; sprinkle gelatin over water, distributing well. Let stand while you prepare the syrup.
  4. In medium saucepot, combine remaining water, sugar, corn syrup and salt; cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium; bring to a boil without stirring. Add candy thermometer; cook, without stirring, but brushing down sides with a pastry brush dipped in cold water, until the mixture registers 240˚F (soft-ball stage). Let sit 1 minute.
  5. Turn electric mixer on, on low speed. Carefully pour hot sugar mixture in a stream into mixer bowl; once the mixture is incorporated, gradually increase speed to high. Beat 12-14 minutes, or until mixture is opaque and very thick. Turn mixer off. Add vanilla extract; beat 30 seconds. Add chopped chocolate and beat 15-20 seconds more, or until just melted and swirled through, but not completely combined.
  6. Immediately transfer marshmallow to the greased pan (use a greased spatula to transfer any that sticks to the bowl). Lightly wet your hands and smooth top of marshmallow. Set aside, uncovered, until firm (about 2 hours).
  7. Meanwhile, in bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder and ground cinnamon.
  8. Using scissors dipped in confectioners’ sugar mixture, cut marshmallow into squares, tossing in powder and dusting off excess as you go. (They will be incredibly sticky, but as soon as you toss them in the sugar-cocoa powder mixture, they will be easy to package.) Package in an airtight box or plastic gift bag that is tied very well.

Oaxacan Cinnamon Chocolate Macaroons

By robinbeth, posted 9 months ago

Photo: Sarah Shatz

Amanda & Merrill’s Notes:

If Laduree had a location in Mexico, this would be their signature treat. Perfectly crisp and airy, with just the right amount of lift, robinbeth’s macaroons are gently spiced with cinnamon and tinted the lightest shade of brown with just a touch of cocoa powder. The rich, sweet ganache, made of melted Mexican chocolate, butter and a dash of cream, echoes the spice of the cookies and the sugar crystals crunch pleasantly between your teeth. Intimidated by French-style macarons? This is the perfect recipe for your first attempt. – A&M

In the Mexican city of Oaxaca, almonds are ground into a rough paste with cacao, cinnamon, and sugar and hardened into thin fingers of chocolate. The distinctive mixture is used in the city’s famous mole sauces and melted into rich hot chocolate which the Oaxacans drink more regularly than coffee. The warm, spicy smell of toasted cacao, cinnamon and almonds fills the city, as crowded storefront grinders are endlessly turning and the mercado stalls are crowded with vendors selling secret family recipes. The Oaxacan trio of cinnamon, chocolate, and almonds is so lovely, that I was inspired to make macaroons with the same flavors. Put on a Lila Downs album, and enjoy these delicious cookies with a cup of Oaxacan hot chocolate or a glass of Mezcal, the region’s smoky alcohol made from roasted agave hearts.

Serves 40 1.5 inch cookies or 20 sandwiches

Macaroon Ingredients:

  • 100 grams egg whites (about 3 eggs, left at room temperature for 24 hours)
  • 50 grams granulated sugar
  • 125 grams almond flour (Bob’s Red Mill, made from ground blanched almonds)
  • 175 grams confectioners sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons cocoa powder or raw cacao
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar

Ganache Ingredients:

  • 150 grams Mexican chocolate (can be found in most supermarkets, gourmet shops, or ordered online)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  1. Measure egg whites and allow to sit at room temperature for 24 hours in a covered bowl. Aging the whites helps them thin and will create a better textured macaroon.
  2. Line two cookie pans with parchment paper and trace 1.5 inch circles on the paper, keeping the circles about one inch apart. Preheat your oven to 300 F.
  3. Pulse the almond flour, confectioners sugar, cinnamon and cocoa in a food processor until it is a finely mixed powder. Sift into a large bowl.
  4. Put egg whites in stainless steel bowl and beat on low with a hand mixer until frothy. Add salt and cream of tartar, and slowly mix in the granulated sugar. Once the sugar is all incorporated, increase mixer speed to medium and beat until meringue forms stiff peaks. The meringue should look glossy and remain in place when the bowl is tipped on its side.
  5. Using a silicone spatula, fold the almond and sugar mixture into the egg whites one-third at a time. You do not have to be gentle, instead use brisk strokes to fold the mixture together completely, this will help reduce the air in the meringue and keep the macaroons from being too puffy.
  6. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag or a ziplock. If using a ziplock, cut off a 1/4 inch tip from the corner. Pipe the mixture in a spiral to fill each 1.5 inch circle on the parchment paper. Allow the unbaked cookies to sit out for 30 minutes, until the cookies have a matte texture and are no longer sticky.
  7. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool and then peel very gently off the parchment paper.
  8. Make ganache while the cookies cool. Melt chocolate in double boiler. Whisk in heavy cream and butter and stir mixture over gently boiling water until it is smooth and shiny.
  9. When the cookies and filling are cool, spread or pipe the ganache on the flat side of one macaroon and create a sandwich with a second one.
  10. Eat.

White Chocolate Snowflakes

By merrill, posted 11 months ago

Photo: Sarah Shatz

When I was young, my mother made lots of different kinds of cookies in the weeks leading up to Christmas. These “snowflakes” (which technically aren’t really cookies, but no matter) were among my favorites because they were simple enough that my sister and I could actually help my mother make them. We often filled tins with these to take to our teachers before school let out for Christmas vacation. I’ve never been a huge fan of the bland sweetness of white chocolate, but when it’s combined with something salty — like pretzels, or the salted peanuts in these snowflakes — I can be swayed. Really, these snowflakes are just Rice Krispies treats for grownups. Of course, if you don’t like white chocolate, or Rice Krispies, you can experiment with milk or dark chocolate or use different types of cereal (I think Cheerios would be pretty good). Best of all, the snowflakes take all of 15 minutes to make, leaving you with plenty of time to write cards or wrap presents or do whatever else you don’t have enough time to do.

Makes about 40 snowflakes
  • 1 pound white chocolate, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups Rice Krispies
  • 1 cup salted roasted peanuts
  1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, stirring until smooth. Stir in the Rice Krispies and the peanuts, coating the dry ingredients evenly in the chocolate.
  2. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of the mixture in little mounds onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper or parchment (no need to space them apart too much as you won’t be baking them, so they won’t spread). Refrigerate uncovered until the chocolate hardens, at least 30 minutes, before eating. Once they’ve hardened, store the snowflakes in the refrigerator in a sealed container so the chocolate doesn’t melt.

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Chewy Sugar Cookies #2

By mrslarkin, posted 8 months ago

Photo: Sarah Shatz

Amanda & Merrill’s Notes:

Mrslarkin’s classic sugar cookie makes use of three sugars: granulated, light brown and turbinado. The granulated gives the cookie a foundation of sweetness, the light brown adds caramel notes and the turbinado’s in there for a little snap. They’re crisp and buttery on the edges and chewy through the center. Perfect for dunking and ice cream sandwiches, we think! Note, if baking them on a dark, non-stick baking sheet, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees (this is a good general rule for all baking). – A&M

One of the things I like best about this sugar cookie is that it’s not tooth-achingly sweet. It’s got a nice proportion of crunch-to-chew. And it’s so sparkly from the turbinado sugar! The inspiration behind this cookie came from the New York Times’ chocolate chip cookie recipe, printed March 1, 2000, one of the best chewy cookies I’ve ever tasted. – mrslarkin

Serves about 2 dozen
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour (I use King Arthur)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup turbinado, or course sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 large sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. Cream butter and sugars for 1 minute. Scrape sides of bowl. Continue beating for another minute. Scrape bowl again.
  3. Add vanilla. Beat for 1 minute. Scrape sides of bowl.
  4. Add egg. Beat for 1 minute. Scrape sides of bowl.
  5. Add flour, salt and baking soda. Beat 1 minute. Scrape sides of bowl and beat for another minute.
  6. Place course sugar in small, shallow bowl. Using a small cookie/ice cream scoop (mine is 1 ½“ in diameter), scoop balls of dough and drop a few at a time in the course sugar and gently roll around. Place balls of dough on parchment, leaving about 1 ½“ space around each. My pans fit 12 cookies very comfortably.
  7. Do not press the balls down. This will ensure a chewy middle.
  8. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, turning and reversing pans midway through baking. Resist the urge to bake your cookies longer, or they won’t be chewy. The tops don’t get much color, but the bottoms will be nicely golden.
  9. Place pans on cooling racks. When cool, store cookies in air-tight containers.

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Figgy Pudding Butter Cookies

By Helenthenanny, posted about 1 year ago

Photo: Sarah Shatz

Amanda & Merrill’s Notes:

Like mince pies in cookie form, these delicate biscuits melt in your mouth, leaving a hit of sweet figs and a whisper of brandy on your tongue. Helenthenanny’s rich, sophisticated cookies are not only delicious to eat but also lovely to look at, drizzled as they are with a spiced brandy glaze. Make sure to squeeze as much liquid as possible from the softened figs, and do not be alarmed if the dough seems wet before you chill it — it will firm up in the fridge. – A&M

My little invention smells and tastes just like the holidays! I got this idea from the traditional ingredients in figgy pudding. These little butter cookies are studded with chunks of soft fig, orange zest, cinnamon, and nutmeg, AND they get a generous drizzle of brandy-sugar glaze. The aroma from making these delicious cookies fills your house with holiday cheer, and the buttery goodness will fill your belly too!

Serves 3 dozen small cookies

For the Cookies:

  • 1 tablespoon orange zest (from one orange)
  • 8-10 large dried Turkish or Caliymirna Figs (the light brown ones)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cups (or 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cups Confectioners sugar
  • 1 large egg

For the Brandy-Sugar Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cup Confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons Brandy
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  1. Sift together flour, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a bowl and set it aside.
  2. Dice figs into small chunks and put them in a saucepan with the milk. Heat on low, stirring occasionally for about 15.
  3. Put 1 1/2 sicks of softened butter in the bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on med-high until the butter is fluffy, about two minutes.
  4. Sift 3/4 cup of confectioners sugar into the fluffy butter and mix until smooth.
  5. Add in one egg and reduce speed to low.
  6. Add in flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  7. Strain the figs from the milk. Add them, along with the orange zest, to the dough. Fold in until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  8. After the dough has cooled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough until it is 1/8 inch thick. Using a 2 inch round cookie cutter, cut out the cookies and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet, spaced one inch apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
  9. While the cookies are baking, combine all the ingredients for the Brandy-Sugar Glaze in a saucepan on med-low heat, and stir often, until the sauce comes together. After the cookies have cooled, use a fork to drizzle the warm glaze on them.
  10. Please enjoy and have the happiest of holidays!

Mom’s Flapjacks

By Londonfoodieny

Photo: Melanie.Einzig

Amanda & Merrill’s Notes:

Probably not the sort of flapjacks you have in mind, these are what all granola bars aspire to be. Chewy, crispy and rich with butter, these oatmeal squares (or wedges, like ours) are made with golden syrup (the British answer to maple syrup, only milder), rolled oats, and a variety of seeds (pumpkin, sesame and sunflower). Londonfoodieny’s flapjacks couldn’t be easier to throw together (melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup, stir in the dry ingredients, spread in a pan and bake), but the rewards are great. Because of all the butter and sugar, the edges of the flapjacks crisp to a lovely golden brown, and if you cook them properly, the centers remain slightly chewy. We used a non-stick pan — otherwise, make sure to use parchment, or you’ll be scraping out the hardened sugar for days. – A&M

Serves 9-20 depending on greediness
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • heaped 1/3 cups golden syrup
  • 4 1/4 cups 1 minute oats
  • 1 heaping tablespoon flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 handfuls pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • scant 1/4 cups sesame seeds
  1. Heat the oven to 350F/180C/Gas 4. If you have a fan or convection oven reduce the temperature and cooking time but ideally turn the fan off. Line a 20 x 30 cm baking tin with greaseproof paper (parchment paper)
  2. In a large pan, heat together the butter, sugar and golden syrup over a gentle heat, stirring until the butter has melted. Tip in the flour, oats, salt and seeds and stir to combine.
  3. Tip your pan and spread evenly without pressing down too hard. Bake in the oven for roughly 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden (they will be slightly darker at the edges). Cut them, whilst still in the pan, straight from the oven and then leave to cool and set in the pan.

Ruggelach

By deensiebat, posted about 1 year ago

Photo: Sarah Shatz

Amanda & Merrill’s Notes:

If you’ve ever made pizza, you can make rugelach, because all rugelach is, really, is dough rolled into a circle and spread with toppings. Pizza gets baked at this point whereas rugelach gets sliced and rolled into croissant-like shaped before going into the oven. Deensiebat’s rugelach is a cinch because you can make the soft, pliant dough in a food processor, then it’s just a matter of rolling it out, spreading it with apricot jam, walnuts and cinnamon sugar, and forming slices into crescents. The rugelach comes out tender and not too sweet, and while baking, some of the apricot juices seep out and caramelize on the parchment paper, giving the finished rugelach a candied edge. – A&M

Came from my New-York-born-but-Yiddish-inflected grandma, which I adapted.

Serves 64 small cookies

Dough:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 pound cold butter, cut in Tbsp-sized cubes
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Filling:

  • 1 1/3 cup apricot jam
  • 1 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon-sugar (1/4 cup sugar + 2 tsp cinnamon)
  1. In a bowl or a food processor, mix together the flour, salt and sugar until combined. Add the butter, and pulse in the food processor or cut with a pastry cutter (or two knives) until it is reduced to bits that are about half the size of a pea. If using a food processor, dump the contents into a bowl at this point. Stir the vanilla into the sour cream. Using a spoon, and then your hands when needed, knead the sour cream and vanilla into the flour mixture until it is well incorporated, and the dough holds together when you squeeze it. Stop as soon as this is possible — do not over-mix. Shape the dough into four chubby disks, cover with plastic and allow to relax in the refrigerator for at least one hour (overnight is fine too).
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Take a disk of dough out of the refrigerator, and place on a floured countertop or pastry mat. Roll out to a 12″ circle, trimming off the ends if needed. This dough is much softer than a traditional pastry crust, so you shouldn’t need to let it warm up before rolling. Spread 1/3 cup apricot jam over the round of dough, and sprinkle with 1/3 cup nuts and 1 Tbsp cinnamon-sugar. Taking a chef’s knife or pizza cutter, divide the dough evenly into 16 wedges. Starting from the wide base of each wedge, roll towards the center to form a crescent. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or silicone liner, making sure that the tip of the crescent is pinned underneath to prevent the cookie from unrolling. Bake until the filling is bubbling and the crust is just beginning to color, about 30 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool, being careful of the hot jam. Best enjoyed the day they are made (any leftovers are best kept in the freezer).

Tipsy Maple Corn

By thirschfeld

Photo: Sarah Shatz

Amanda & Merrill’s Notes:

We were initially seduced by “tipsy” in the title, but once we tried thirschfeld’s recipe, we fell in love with much more than the Jack-Daniels-infused syrup. There are the peanuts (we used dry roasted) and the tiny dots of pancetta — neither of which stoops to merely accessorizing the corn. The nuts give the treat heft, the pancetta salt and richness. The most important step is the oven-crisping. Be careful not to burn the edges and don’t worry if the popcorn isn’t totally crisp when you take it out of the oven — it will continue to firm up as it cools. We loved this as a Halloween treat, but it would be just as delicious paired with a good movie. – A&M

Cracker Jacks were invented to be served at the 1893 Worlds Fair in Chicago. Since then there have been about as many variations as boxes sold. Not one to let that stop me I jumped right in and came up with my own version. The pancetta is key for the right salty sweet combo so make sure you add all of it. And do you see what we have to deal with around here during our photo shoots. The drive by grab and go while I am looking through the view finder. – thirschfeld

Makes 2 quarts
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons bacon grease, or non flavored vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1/3 cup Jack Daniels
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 3 pieces pancetta, baked until crispy and minced
  1. Place the bacon grease in a 3 quart dutch oven with a lid. Add the kernels and place the covered pot over high heat. Once the popping begins, gently shake the pot to keep the kernels from burning. Once it is done remove the lid and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In another small pot add the Jack Daniels and heat it to burn off the alcohol and reduce it by half. Add the syrup and butter and heat until the butter is melted. Season with fresh ground pepper to taste.
  3. Place the popcorn, peanuts and the pancetta into a large mixing bowl. You want to sprinkle a little of the syrup over the corn a little at a time. You want to stir as you do this. Take your time otherwise the corn will saturate with syrup and collapse and just be gooey.
  4. Once it is coated put it on a sheet tray and spread it out. Then place it in the oven and back in for 20 to 40 minutes. Sometimes it takes longer to crisp that others so just check it and stir it around about every ten minutes.

Candied Ginger Sables

By food52

Photo: food52

This recipe was a finalist in one of our test rounds. The category was for “Favorite Holiday Cookie” and the recipe was created by our friend Teresa Parker. These rich little biscuits make for a festive twist on the classic French rendition of shortbread (sablé means “sandy” in French and refers to the crumbly texture). Brown sugar lends a mellow caramel quality, and we love the chewy morsels of candied ginger that creep up on you with a fiesty little kick towards the end of each bite. Teresa thought to simplify — and modernize — the original recipe for cut-out cookies, which came from Gourmet (June, 1992), by shaping the dough into a log and slicing it into neat discs. It may seem like a minor alteration, but it dramatically decreases the time from mixer to mouth!

Makes about 60 cookies
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups finely chopped candied ginger
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  1. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter, brown sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the ground ginger and salt. Add these to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until the ingredients are just combined. Add the candied ginger and beat for a few more seconds to incorporate.
  2. Divide the dough in half and gently roll into two slim cylinders of about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the cylinders tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  3. When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F. At this point, if the cylinders have slumped or flattened at all, re-roll them a bit to make them perfectly round. Cut the dough into 1/4-inch slices and arrange them an inch apart on baking sheets (use parchment paper if your baking sheets are dark). Bake the cookies until they are light golden around the edges, about 15 minutes. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets and then transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely. Dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar.

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Fig and Blue Cheese Savouries

By TheRunawaySpoon, posted 23 days ago

Photo: Sarah Shatz

Amanda & Merrill’s Notes:

These delicate, crumbly little thumbprints are the perfect combination of sweet and savory, as their names suggests — they’re like a great cheese plate all wrapped into one crunchy little morsel. TheRunawaySpoon’s simple food processor dough yields tender, buttery coins flecked with blue cheese and black pepper. A good quality fig jam is crucial here; if you can’t find it, quince or pear jam would also work well. – A&M

If you are like me, you always offer to bring something when invited to someone’s house. I mean the offer, I always love an opportunity to cook for people, but sometimes it’s hard to come up with a quick idea on the fly. And when it’s one of those roaming parties – not a seated affair – choosing a dish that doesn’t have to be kept hot or cold or require and special equipment adds to the challenge. I tend to fall back on the same recipes, but I recently wanted to add one to my repertoire – after all, it gets to be the same people at parties, right? These little Fig and Blue Cheese bites are easy but very elegant, and the surprising tart and tangy with sweet combination is a real treat. – TheRunawaySpoon

Makes about 3 dozen
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • Ground black pepper
  • Fig preserves, about 3 Tablespoons
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the flour, butter, blue cheese and a few grinds of black pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the dough just comes together and starts to form a ball.
  3. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times to pull the dough together. Roll out to 1/8 inch thick with a floured rolling pin. Cut rounds out of the dough with a floured 1-inch cutter and transfer the rounds to the parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Using the back or a round half-teaspoon measure or your knuckle, make an indention in the top of each dough round. Spoon about ¼ teaspoon of fig preserves into each indention, using your finger to push the preserves as best as possible into the indentions.
  5. Bake the savories for 10 – 14 minutes, until the preserves are bubbling and the pastry is light golden on the bottom.
  6. Let cool on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes, the remove to a wire rack to cool.
  7. You’ll find fig preserves at the grocery – it may be shelved with the “fancy” jams and jellies. You can make these a day ahead and keep them in two layers separated by waxed paper in an airtight container.

Gingered Cranberry Fig Chutney

By Oui, Chef

Photo: Sarah Shatz

Amanda & Merrill’s Notes:

This chutney is perfect for those looking for something zippy and less sweet than a typical cranberry sauce. It combines the elements of a great chutney (mustard seeds, spices, vinegar, sugar) with other carefully selected ingredients (among them cranberries, dried figs, fresh ginger, red pepper flakes, fresh thyme and toasted hazelnuts); the result is a sophisticated, jewel-toned “cranberry sauce” with just the right ratio of sour to sweet that’s just as well-suited to roast pork or beef as it is to Thanksgiving turkey. Be careful not to cook the chutney for too long — you want it luscious and thick, not sticky. – A&M

I’ve never been much of a fan of straight-up cranberry sauce, in fact, the jellied kind makes me want to gag. I much prefer a condiment like this, that is more than just cranberries and a lot of sugar. This chutney gets it’s sweetness not just from sugar, but from raisins, some OJ and dried black mission figs. The cider vinegar and lemon juice lend a sparkling acid note, and the ginger and red pepper flakes bring heat. I finished it with some chopped, toasted hazelnuts to add an earthy crunch, and some freshly minced thyme for a hint of herbal complexity. I love the way it turned out, I’ll definitely reserve a spot for it on my Thanksgiving table.

Serves 6-8
  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts, skinless, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 8 dried black mission figs, cut into eighths
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely minced
  1. Add all the ingredients, with the exception of the chopped hazelnuts and fresh thyme, to a heavy bottomed pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to bring the mix to a simmer, and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occassionally, until the chutney thickens some. Remove from the heat, stir in the nuts and fresh thyme and let cool slightly before serving.

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Salted Almonds

By lauren, posted about 1 year ago

Photo: Sarah Shatz

Amanda & Merrill’s Notes:

This is more a concept than a prototypical recipe — which is one of the reasons we like it so much. By adding a mere suspicion of sugar to her recipe for roasted salted almonds, Lauren has come up with an unusual variation on a traditional technique. Similar recipes usually call for no sugar at all, or for a larger amount of brown sugar, but this strikes a balance. The amount of sugar is just enough to soften the saltiness without actually making the nuts taste sweet. We couldn’t stop eating them, and we’re pretty sure you won’t be able to either. Try the same technique with peanuts, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts — whatever you have on hand. – A&M

Perfect at cocktail hour, along with a stiff drink

Serves 6 to 8
  • 1 pound whole almonds, shelled
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the almonds in the olive oil, salt, and sugar until well coated. Bake for ten minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Ancho Chili-Cinnamon Chocolate Bark

By wanderash, posted about 1 year ago

Photo: Sarah Shatz

Amanda & Merrill’s Notes:

Neither of us had ever made chocolate bark before we tried this recipe, and wanderash’s version happens to be a great introduction. Waves of smooth dark chocolate are spiced with smoky ancho, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper, and studded with dried cherries, cashews and pistachios. The finished product looks lovely, packs easily and takes a total of about 20 minutes to put together. We think it makes a great holiday gift. – A&M

This is a tasty treat to spice up your fiesta or light up a lucky recipients tired holiday palate. I often make this easy dessert when I have friends coming for dinner who love wine. I know that we will sit at the table well after the meal is over and continue talking and drinking for hours. I serve this on one plate and put it in the middle of the table. It is a casual dessert, so easy to make and great with a good cabernet. I first wrapped this up a few years ago while thinking of an edible present that would not be tossed aside amongst the mountains of Christmas sugar. With so many sweets out there this subtle spicy and salty chocolate makes a great gift. Use good chocolate when making this; it will make all of the difference. And of course feel free to substitute your favorite nuts and fruits.

Serves about 3 gifts
  • 1 large ancho chili
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 3 cloves
  • 2″ cinnamon stick
  • 2/3 cups pistachio
  • 2/3 cups cashews, very lightly crushed
  • 12 ounces dark bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • kosher salt, or sea salt
  1. To make the spice mix, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place first 5 ingredients on a baking sheet and place in oven. Toast until fragrant or about 10 min.
  2. Remove steams and majority of seeds from the anchos. Place all spices in a spice grinder or coffee grinder and pulverize. You may need to grind spices in batches.
  3. Toast the nuts by placing them on the baking sheet and put in the oven. Check after 10 minutes. When done, remove from oven and let cool.
  4. Place ¾ of the chocolate in a bowl and slowly melt the chocolate, either in the microwave checking and stirring it every 25 seconds or over a double broiler on the stovetop.
  5. When all of the chocolate is melted, take it off of the heat and add in the remaining chocolate, stir until it is completely melted.
  6. Add one to two teaspoons of the spice mix. Add one at a time and taste; add more if you want it to be spicier. I like a subtle spice flavor, it keeps those eating it wondering what the secret spice could be.
  7. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Spread out the nuts and cherries, reserving a few of the nuts to decorate the top.
  8. Sprinkle salt over the nuts and cherries.
  9. Pour the chocolate onto the pan, covering the nuts and cherries in an even layer. Add remaining nuts to the top of chocolate and press them into the chocolate.
  10. Put in fridge and allow to cool for 45 min. Break into pieces and keep in a sealed container in the fridge.

Exotic and Spicy Ideas for a LAVISH Upscale Holiday Cocktail Party via [more.com]

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OPULUXE Lounge GroovesPlayList

Sparkling cocktails, created by Kim Haasarud, Maria Hunt, and Gina Chersevani, and killer apps, created by Monica Bhide, make your holiday party elegant and effortlessly effervescent.

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Photo: Kenji Aoki

Petal Power: Hibiscus Royale

A single crimson blossom soaked in syrup gives this bubbly cocktail its drama queen status. The grace note: a lacing of elderflower liqueur.

Makes 1 drink

1 hibiscus flower in syrup (from an 8.8-ounce, 11-flower jar of Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup)*

1 teaspoon hibiscus syrup

4 ounces sparkling rosé, chilled

1 tablespoon St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

Place the hibiscus flower and syrup in a Champagne flute or tall white-wine glass. Slowly add the sparkling rosé, and top off with the elderflower liqueur.

This drink is from Kim Haasarud, author of 101 Champagne Cocktails.

*Available at wildhibiscus.com or gourmet grocery stores.

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Photo: Kenji Aoki

Spoon Fed: Mango Salsa with Calamari Rings

Asian soupspoons let your cocktail party repertoire venture beyond traditional finger foods. Here each spoon serves a mouthful of fruity salsa tweaked with jicama, cumin and cilantro and topped with sautéed calamari rings.

Makes 20 appetizers

Salsa

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 small ripe mango, peeled and finely diced

1 small red onion, peeled and finely diced

½ small jicama, peeled and finely diced

2 tablespoons minced cilantro, plus extra for garnish

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt

Calamari

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ pound calamari rings, about ½ inch thick

Salt and pepper

20 Asian soupspoons

1. To make the salsa: Place a small skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin. Dry-roast for about 30 seconds, shaking spice frequently until fragrant. Remove from heat immediately. Grind in a spice grinder. Combine the cumin and remaining salsa ingredients, except salt, in a bowl. Mix well. Add salt to taste. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve. Salsa can be prepared up to 6 hours in advance.

2. To make the calamari: Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the oil. When it shimmers, add the calamari rings. Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, until the calamari are just cooked through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Divide the salsa evenly among the soup­spoons. Top each with calamari. Pour any juice over the rings. Garnish with minced cilantro.

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Photo: Kenji Aoki

Leaf Bed: Endive with Citrus Salad

Each sturdy, bite-size endive leaf holds a spoonful of sliced blood orange and sliced grapefruit. Red radishes deliver crunch and a peppery tang. The salad’s fresh, bright flavors come together in a lemony dressing spiced with jalapeño and mint.

Makes 24 appetizers

1 small grapefruit

1 small blood or navel orange

2 small red radishes, trimmed and diced

1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

2 tablespoons finely chopped mint leaves

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon honey

24 large, sturdy endive leaves

1. Supreme the citrus: Remove the grapefruit and orange peels. With a small sharp paring knife, segment the fruit, leaving behind the inner membrane. Cut each segment into 6 pieces, and place in a bowl.

2. Add the remaining ingredients except the honey and endive. Mix well. Cover, and refrigerate for about 2 hours to allow the flavors to blend. Before serving, allow the mixture to come to room temperature. Drain off the juice. Warm the honey slightly (for a few seconds in the microwave) so that it’s runny, and stir it into the salad. Taste, and adjust the salt.

3. Arrange the endive leaves on a platter. Using a teaspoon, evenly divide the salad among the leaves. (Each leaf should get a generous teaspoonful.)

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Photo: Kenji Aoki

Fire and Ice: Berry-Chile Fizz

Jalapeño pepper muddled with mint and sugar kicks up the heat in this spicy mojito. Stir in fresh lime juice, a (very) generous shot of rum, ice and club soda, and you won’t care whether it’s hot or cold outside.

Makes 1 drink

3 fresh mint sprigs

1 slice fresh jalapeño pepper

1½ tablespoons sugar

1 lime, halved

2 ounces light rum

Club soda, chilled

Cranberries for garnish

In a pint glass, muddle 2 of the mint sprigs, the jalapeño and sugar. Squeeze both halves of the lime into the glass, leaving a slice in the mixture. Add the rum, stir, and fill with ice. Top off with the club soda, and garnish with a mint sprig and a few whole cranberries.

This is from Kara Newman, author of Spice & Ice.

101645506
Photo: Kenji Aoki

Peas O’Cake: Wonton Crunch

It doesn’t get much easier, or more delicious, than this: Mash peas with parsley, spices and ricotta, then fold into ready-made wonton wrappers. Bake. Devour.

Makes 24 appetizers

1 cup cooked peas

¼ cup ricotta cheese

1 jalapeño pepper, minced

1 tablespoon minced parsley

1 tablespoon chopped scallion

½ teaspoon minced ginger

Salt

24 wonton wrappers

1 egg white, lightly beaten

Cooking spray

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Lightly mash the peas. Add the ricotta, jalapeño, parsley, scallion and ginger, and mix well. Add salt to taste, about ¼ teaspoon.

3. Lay out the wonton wrappers on a work surface. Place 1 rounded teaspoon of the pea filling in the center of each. Lightly brush the edges of the wrappers with egg white. Fold over to form a triangle (or if using round wrappers, a half-moon). Press the edges with the tines of a fork, gently, to secure the seam so the filling does not fall out. Place the wontons in a single layer on the baking sheet. Spray them lightly with cooking spray. Bake for 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the wontons, and bake on the other side for another 3 to 4 minutes until they are crisp and golden brown.

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Photo: Kenji Aoki

Pom de Nuit: Ginger Bubbly

The earthy rhizome inspires and transforms this festive potion. A splash of pomegranate juice supplies the blush. Make it with candied ginger and ginger liqueur and top with Champagne. Drink, drink and be merry.

Makes 1 drink

1 ounce Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur

Sugar for rimming, preferably sanding sugar*

1 slice candied ginger, for garnish

1 ounce pomegranate juice

4 ounces brut Champagne or sparkling wine, chilled

Rim a Champagne flute by dipping the edge in the ginger liqueur and then in the sugar. Place a sliced coin of candied ginger at the bottom of the flute. Add the ginger liqueur and pomegranate juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well chilled. Strain into the prepared flute. Top off with the Champagne or sparkling wine.

*This large-grain sugar can be found at baking-supply stores.

This is from Maria Hunt, author of The Bubbly Bar.

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Photo: Kenji Aoki

Sea Treat: Ginger and Honey Shrimp

This grilled app is easy to make, but the flavors are complex, thanks to a rich marinade of fresh ginger, chile flakes, honey, garlic and lemon.

Makes about 24 appetizers

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
½ to 1 teaspoon red chile flakes

½ tablespoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon minced garlic

1 pound large shrimp, peeled, with tails on

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Salt and pepper

1. In a large bowl, combine the honey, ginger, chile flakes, lemon juice and garlic. Mix well. Add the shrimp; toss to coat. Cover, and refrigerate for an hour.

2. Set a grill pan over high heat. Add the oil and shrimp. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then flip over. It should take just another minute for the shrimp to turn pink and be fully cooked (but not overcooked). Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Photo: Kenji Aoki

Pink Shot: Roasted-Beet Soup

The hit in this soup-served-in-a-shot-glass comes from the unexpected beet, coriander and coconut milk combo. You can prepare the mix ahead of time and garnish it at the last minute with chopped chives and toasted coconut flakes.

Makes 16 shot-glass appetizers

½ teaspoon white pepper, plus more for seasoning

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning

1 tablespoon ground coriander

2 medium red beets, trimmed, scrubbed, peeled and halved (about 1 pound)

1½ to 2 cups chicken broth

½ cup coconut milk

Finely chopped chives or toasted unsweetened coconut flakes for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Combine ½ teaspoon white pepper, the oil, 1 teaspoon salt and the coriander in a large bowl. Add the beets, and mix well to coat. Place the beets and marinade on a large piece of aluminum foil. Wrap tightly to keep steam from escaping.

2. Place the foil packet on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake for about 50 minutes or until the beets are soft and cooked through. Allow to cool to room temperature. Unwrap, and scrape the beets and marinade into a blender. Add the broth. Puree until smooth. Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Soup can be made ahead up to this point and reheated.

3. Pour into 16 small heatproof glasses. Swirl ½ tablespoon of the coconut milk into each glass. Garnish with chives, coconut flakes or both.


An UPSCALE Thanksgiving Buffet How To: OPULUXE Lifestyle Design™ Wishes Everyone a HAPPY and SAFE Thanksgiving 2010!

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Elegant Thanksgiving Dinner Buffet Ideas

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Easy Thanksgiving Centerpieces

By JenniferSbranti

Easyfallcenterpieces

Looking for some quick and easy centerpiece ideas for Thanksgiving that won’t cost you a lot of time or money? No problem! Here are a few stylish ideas you can whip together in just a few minutes:

1. Fall Vase Fillers
Group 3 or more glass vases together (cylinder, square, or whatever shape you prefer) and fill each one with a different fall-appropriate decorative filler, such as autumn leaves, pinecones, twigs, mini pumpkins, and green or red apples. This concept looks great as a table centerpiece, atop a fireplace mantle, or as a festive backdrop for the food buffet. (Side note: You can find faux autumn leaves like the ones pictured above in-store at Target, along with several other fall-themed vase fillers!)
{image via Joyful Weddings & Events}

2. Small, Colorful Arrangements
Instead of one great big centerpiece, line 3 small bunches of flowers in a neat row down the center of the table. Opt for colorful blooms like deep orange dahlias and yellow roses, and display them in simple glass vases. Add a few tea lights between the vases for a touch of elegance… and you’re done!
{image via BostonBlooms.com}

3. Corn and Candles
Super simple, yet so very harvest-appropriate – this corn & candle concept makes for fabulous Thanksgiving décor! To extend this idea further, try other versions of this combination – like grouping several white, plum, or harvest brown pillar candles on a plate covered with corn, or creating a display made from tall vases filled with Indian corn and several small tealights.
{image via bhg.com}

4. Vintage Glass
Vintage glass bottles, vases, and jars look great when various shapes and sizes are grouped together – and tinted glass is also an elegant way to add color to the table. The Vintage Green Glass Jugs pictured above are from Pottery Barn, but you can also check discount stores like Home Goods or Marshall’s for great deals on similar products!

5. Cranberries & Candles
Bright red cranberries are an easy way to add a pop of color to the table. Pair them with vases and pillar candles for a pretty centerpiece element.  Try grouping 3 of the “cranberry vases” together – using vases with alternating heights, or line several smaller vases down the length of the table. (If cranberry is your decorative theme for the day, consider serving “Gobble-tinis” garnished with a cranberry skewer for your signature drink!)
{Faux Cranberry Vase Filler – $14 at Pottery Barn}

6. Dried Florals & Fruit
Create a simple, unexpected centerpiece using dried florals with unique shapes – like bell cups and fans – displayed in modern cubed vases with large bunches of purple grapes spilling over the rim. Embellish the vases with coordinating ribbon.
{image from Modern Elegance Thanksgiving at HostessWithTheMostess.com}

4 Foolproof Pie Recipes

By Sara Quessenberry

Easy, delicious twists on Turkey Day classics.

1.   {{Bourbon and Orange Pecan Pie}}

Bourbon and Orange Pecan Pie

Serves 8| Hands-On Time: 10m | Total Time: 3hr 45m

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Set an oven rack in the lowest position and heat oven to 350º F. Place the pie plate on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the corn syrup, sugar, butter, eggs, bourbon, orange zest, and salt. Stir in the pecans.
  3. Pour the pecan mixture into the crust and bake until the center is set, 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

By Kate Merker

2.   {{Chocolate Fudge Pie}}

Chocolate Fudge Pie

Serves 8| Hands-On Time: 20m | Total Time: 4hr 00m

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375º F. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet. Prick crust with a fork and line with foil. Fill to top with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the edges are firm, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake until just golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Reduce oven temperature to 325º F. In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, salt, and ½ cup of the sugar until fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Fold a third of the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder.
  4. Pour the combined mixture into the crust and bake until puffed and beginning to crack, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool for 1 hour, then chill.
  5. Beat the cream with the remaining sugar until soft peaks form. Spread over the pie and sprinkle with the shaved chocolate.

By Sara Quessenberry,  November 2009

3.   {{Gingery Apple Crumb Pie}}

Gingery Apple Crumb Pie

Serves 8| Hands-On Time: 20m | Total Time: 3hr 00m

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Set an oven rack in the lowest position and heat oven to 375º F. Place the pie plate on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the butter, ¾ cup of the flour, and ¼ cup of the sugar until large clumps form. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the apples, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and the remaining ½ cup of sugar and tablespoon of flour.
  4. Transfer the apple mixture to the crust, sprinkle with the crumb topping, and bake until the top is golden and the apples are tender, 55 to 60 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

By Sara Quessenberry,  November 2009

4.   {{Maple Pumpkin Pie}}

Maple Pumpkin Pie

Serves 8| Hands-On Time: 10m | Total Time: 3hr 30m

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Set an oven rack in the lowest position and heat oven to 350º F. Place the pie plate on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, cream, maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves.
  3. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the crust and bake until the center is set, 60 to 70 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

By Sara Quessenberry,  November 2009

Elegant Recipes for a Complete Thanksgiving Dinner

Show off your culinary skills this Thanksgiving with these impressive meal options from FoodandWine.com: They look, taste, and sound like you spent hours slaving away, but they’re simple at heart. Versatile focaccia rolls, carrots cooked in carrot and orange juice, and a whole-grain stuffing are just a few of the ways you’ll get rave reviews at the dinner table. Then finish it off with one of these fall desserts.

Apricot-Glazed Turkey with Fresh Herb Gravy

From Food & Wine

apricot-glazed turkey with fresh herb gravyFrances Janisch 

Serves: 12


Total Time: 4 hr

Prep Time: 30 min

Ingredients

U.S. Metric Conversion chart

Turkey

  • 1  (16-pound) fresh turkey
  • 1 tablespoon(s) canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • lemon, halved
  • 6 clove(s) garlic, crushed
  • 6 large thyme springs
  • 4 large rosemary sprigs
  • 4 large sage sprigs
  • 1  fresh bay leaf

Glaze

  • 3/4 cup(s) apricot jam
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon(s) fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon(s) grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon(s) finely chopped sage
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Gravy

  • 3 cup(s) turkey stock, chicken stock, or low-sodium broth
  • 4 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon(s) chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon(s) finely chopped sage
  • 1 teaspoon(s) chopped thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Make the turkey: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before roasting. Pat the turkey dry and set it on a V-shaped rack in a large roasting pan. Rub the turkey all over with the oil and season it inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the lemon halves, crushed garlic, thyme, rosemary, sage, and bay leaf. Roast the turkey for about 2 1/2 hours, until golden all over and an instant-read thermometer inserted between the leg and thigh registers 165°F.
  2. Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a small bowl, mix the apricot jam, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sage and season with salt and pepper. Microwave the glaze until thinned slightly, about 20 seconds.
  3. Brush the turkey with half of the glaze and roast for about 15 minutes, until the skin is mahogany-colored. Brush the turkey with the remaining glaze and roast for about 15 minutes longer, until the skin is deep mahogany and an instant-read thermometer inserted between the leg and thigh registers 175°F. Tilt the turkey to drain all the juices from the cavity into the roasting pan. Transfer the turkey to a carving board and let rest for 45 minutes.
  4. Make the gravy: Skim the fat from the drippings in the roasting pan. Set the roasting pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the turkey stock and cook for 2 minutes, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  5. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over moderate heat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Strain 3 1/2 cups of the liquid in the roasting pan into the saucepan and whisk to blend. Bring the gravy to a simmer and cook over moderately low heat, whisking occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley, sage, and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Pour the gravy into a small pitcher. Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy.

Whole-Grain Stuffing with Apples, Sausage, and Pecans

From Food & Wine

whole grain stuffing with apples sausage and pecans

Serves: 12 Edit

Total Time: 3 hr

Ingredients

U.S. Metric Conversion chart
  • 1  7-inch round loaf of whole-grain bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3/4 cup(s) pecans
  • 4 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1  celery rib, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 pound(s) sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 teaspoon(s) chopped sage
  • 1 teaspoon(s) thyme leaves
  • 1  Granny Smith apple, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 1/2 cup(s) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1  egg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toast the bread cubes for about 15 minutes, tossing halfway through, until lightly golden and dry. Transfer the bread to a large bowl. Spread the pecans in a pie plate and toast for about 8 minutes, until fragrant. Let cool, then coarsely chop the pecans.
  2. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the onion, celery, and sausage and cook over moderate heat, breaking up the sausage with the back of a spoon, until the sausage is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add the sage and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Scrape the sausage into the bowl with the bread.
  3. Add the chopped pecans and apple to the bowl with the bread. In a medium bowl, whisk the chicken broth with the egg. Pour over the bread mixture and add 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Toss until the bread soaks up the liquid. Scrape into the prepared baking dish and cover with foil. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the stuffing for about 30 minutes, until it is hot throughout. Remove the foil and bake for about 30 minutes longer, until the top is lightly golden. Serve hot or warm.

Cranberry, Clementine, and Pumpkin Seed Conserve

From Food & Wine

cranberry clementine and pumpkin seed conserve

Serves: 12

Ingredients

U.S. Metric Conversion chart
  • 3  clementines
  • 1 1/4 cup(s) sugar
  • 1 cup(s) water
  • 1 bag(s) (12-ounce) fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup(s) roasted pumpkin seeds

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, cover the clementines with water. Bring to a simmer and cook over moderately high heat until the skin softens, about 8 minutes. Drain and let stand until cool enough to handle. Coarsely chop the whole clementines and discard any seeds. Wipe out the saucepan.
  2. In the same saucepan, combine the chopped clementines with the sugar and water. Bring to a simmer and cook over moderate heat until the clementine peel is sweet, about 30 minutes. Add the cranberries and cook over moderately high heat until they burst, about 6 minutes. Scrape into a bowl and refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours. Fold in the pumpkin seeds and serve.

Mashed Potatoes with Crispy Shallots

From Food & Wine

mashed potatoes with crispy shallotsFrances Janisch 

Serves: 12


Total Time: 45 min

Ingredients

U.S. Metric Conversion chart
  • 6 pound(s) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered see Note
  • 4 clove(s) peeled garlic
  • 2 cup(s) canola oil
  • 6 large (1 1/2 cups sliced) shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup(s) half-and-half
  • 12 tablespoon(s) (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt

Directions

  1. In a large pot, cover the quartered potatoes and garlic cloves with cold water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the canola oil until shimmering. Add the shallots in a single layer and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until they are golden, about 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to paper towels to drain.
  3. Drain the potatoes and garlic in a colander, shaking out the excess water. Add the half-and-half and butter to the pot and heat until melted. Remove from the heat. Press the potatoes and garlic through a ricer into the pot and season with salt. Stir and cook over moderate heat until very hot. Transfer the mashed potatoes to a bowl. Just before serving, sprinkle the shallots with salt and garnish the potatoes with the shallots.

Tips & Techniques

Yukon Gold potatoes have yellow flesh and a naturally creamy texture, which makes them ideal for mashed potatoes. They’re available at most supermarkets.

Glazed Carrots with Cardamom and Ginger

From Food & Wine

Serves: 12


Total Time: 1 hr

Ingredients

U.S. Metric Conversion chart
  • 6 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup(s) thinly sliced fresh ginger
  • 1 clove(s) garlic, minced
  • 4  cardamom pods
  • 3 pound(s) carrots, sliced on the diagonal 1/3 inch thick (you can also use baby carrots left whole)
  • 2 tablespoon(s) sugar
  • 1/2 cup(s) fresh carrot juice
  • 1/2 cup(s) fresh orange juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the ginger, garlic, and cardamom and cook over moderate heat until fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots and sugar and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the carrot and orange juices and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with parchment paper and a tight-fitting lid and cook the carrots over low heat until tender, about 12 minutes. Uncover and cook over moderate heat until the carrots are glazed, about 5 minutes longer. Discard the ginger and cardamom pods, transfer to a bowl, and serve.

Rosemary-Potato Focaccia Rolls

From Food & Wine

rosemary potato focaccia rolls

Yields: 12 rolls

Total Time: 3 hr

Ingredients

U.S. Metric Conversion chart
  • 1 envelope(s) dry active yeast
  • 2 cup(s) lukewarm water
  • 4 1/4 cup(s) bread flour
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon(s) sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound(s) small red-skinned potatoes, very thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoon(s) chopped rosemary

Directions

  1. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the yeast with 2 tablespoons of the water and let stand until moistened. Add the flour, 1/3 cup of olive oil, sugar, 2 teaspoons of salt, and the remaining water; mix at medium speed until a soft, supple dough forms, 10 minutes. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand in a draft-free spot for 1 hour.
  2. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line 3 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. On one of the sheets, toss the potatoes with the rosemary and 1/2 cup of olive oil, and season with salt. Spread the potatoes in a single layer and bake until tender, 15 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Turn the dough out onto an oiled surface and press to deflate. Cut the dough into 12 pieces and roll into balls; transfer to the remaining 2 baking sheets and brush with the oil used to roast the potatoes. Let stand in a draft-free spot until nearly doubled in bulk, 1 hour. Fan 3 potato slices on the top of each roll and brush with more oil.
  4. Set a sheet pan in the bottom of the oven and fill with water to create steam. Bake the focaccia rolls for 30 minutes, until golden brown; shift the pans halfway through baking. Transfer the pans to racks and let the rolls cool completely.

Mulled Red Wine with Muscovado Sugar

By Marcia Kiesel via [delish.com]

mulled red wine with muscovado sugar

Ingredients

U.S. ] Metric Conversion chart
  • 2 teaspoon(s) black peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • 1 teaspoon(s) fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1  3-inch cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  • 2 bottle(s) (750-milliliter) Zinfandel or Merlot, or equivalent fruity red wine
  • 3  bay leaves
  • Zest strips from 1 orange
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) muscovado sugar, or other dark brown sugar

Directions

  1. Put the peppercorns, fennel seeds, and cinnamon in a large tea ball or wrap them in cheesecloth and secure them with kitchen string. In a large saucepan, combine the aromatics with the wine, bay leaves, and orange zest. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the aromatics and orange zest strips. Stir in the sugar until dissolved. Serve warm, in glasses or mugs.

You might also like:

Pouring red wine

 



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The Winter 2010 Haute Hair Restoration Project via [HueKnewIt]

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HAUTE HAIR: The Great Weave Debate

omarosa and hue knew it sophia alston and hue knew it celebrity hair stylist and hue knew it weaves and hue knew it pantene and hue knew it hellobeautiful.com and hue knew it

Photo Credit: Russ Einhorn/Splash News – Omarosa

To weave or not to weave. That is the question.

The level of discussion that surrounds a black woman’s hairstyle (relaxed or natural, short or long) is one that is never-ending. But whatever side of the issue you fall on, one thing is true – you still need to wear a style that you makes you look your absolute best and what better person to be the star of today’s discussion than reality television star, Omarosa.

Omarosa (or Lady O as she is called on The Ultimate Merger), has worn a variety of weave styles as evidenced here, and has done so unapologetically. But many struggle to take the first step in donning a weave because they’re afraid of how they will be perceived by others. The entry entitled, Hair Problems Solved: Combat Premature Balding which talked about the damaging effects of neglecting one’s own hair while wearing a weave spurred some debate among women and some brave men – just check out the comments on:

Hellobeautiful.com.

Celebrity stylist, Sophia Alston shares her expert opinion on which styles do and don’t work for everyone’s favorite villain.

Off the face is a no-no: The first look isn’t the best style for her, however, the brown color is a do.

The bang is too severe: This weave looks well done, however, the black color is too harsh and the straight bang isn’t very becoming. An off-black color might have been a better choice.

Sophia loves Omarosa’s look with the side swept bang because it softens her appearance.

To keep your weave in the best condition for as long as possible, just follow Sophia’s suggestions:

1. Treat your weave like your own hair by shampooing it at least every two weeks with Pantene Pro-V Color Hair Solutions Color Preserve Shine Shampoo ($5.97, walmart.com) and sit under the dryer so your hair and braids avoid mildew. If you don’t let it dry, then you risk an odor-filled scalp which is a smell that’s hard to remove.

2. Keep the color of your hair looking shiny and healthy by using The Pantene Color Nourishing Treatment ($3.97, walmart.com). These Pantene products (and really any product from the entire color line) is perfect to use to keep your weave in tip-top condition.

Should you or shouldn’t you? Synthetic or human hair? These questions and more will plague you until you come to grips with not caring about what anyone else thinks and going for it.  Your concern should only be what style looks best on you.

HAUTE HAIR: How to Get Beyonce’s Volume

beyonce and hue kenw it long hair styles and hue knew it wavy hair styles and hue knew it samy fathair and hue knew it goody and hue knew it hot tools and hue knew it

Long, straight hair is one thing, but waves add an interesting textural element that also softens your look. To get cascading, sultry, sexy hair like Beyonce’s, you just need the right tools of the trade and to follow these steps:

Step 1: Divide your hair into 2-inch widths.

Step 2: Curl them in opposite directions with Hot Tools Gold Curling Iron 2” ($37.59, ulta.com). Make sure to curl the pieces along your hairline away from your face.

Step 3: Spray your hair with Samy FAT Hair 0 Calories Amplifying Hair Spray ($12.99, walgreens.com). Fat Hair shapes, holds and is an amplifying mist that adds extra volume and shine to all styles and leaves it feeling soft.

Step 4: Brush your hair lightly with Goody’s Pro Dual Bristle Oval Brush for Volume (walmart and target stores).

Step 5: Finish by raking your fingers through your hair for a slightly unfinished look.

HAUTE HAIR: Rehab Dry & Brittle Hair

kenya moore and hue knew it aphoghee and hue knew it dry hair and hue knew it brittle hair treatment and hue knew it hot oil treatment and hue knew it queen helene and hue knew it phytospecific and hue knew it

Hearing your hair snap as you comb through it can be as traumatic as having a loved one do the unthinkable and play in your hair and you hear the comment, “wow, your hair feels a little rough.”The horror!

Rather than worry yourself into a craze, concern yourself with reviving your dry & brittle hair and turn it into shiny & lustrous hair like Kenya Moore’s. If you don’t have an appointment lined up with your stylist, it’s easy to do a series of at-home treatments to make this transformation happen on your own.

No time. No problem. Do a one-step treatment if you suffer from hair breakage with ApHogee’s Keratin 2 Minute Reconstuctor ($9.99, sallybeauty.com). It’s made specifically for home use between salon visits, so there’s no way you can make a mistake. This product is a concentrated blend of keratin amino acids, botanical oils, and vitamins that does a wonderful job of restoring strength and softness to hair that requires a deep, penetrating treatment.  It’s recommended on tinted, bleached or relaxed hair. ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor even helps to repair damage caused by chlorine and hard water. It soothes irritated scalps and can be applied following each shampooing until the healthy condition of the hair is restored.

To use, just apply to clean hair in the shower and rinse to treat brittle hair with cuticle damage and moderate breakage.

If you need a root to tip treatment and you have no time commitments, Phytospecific Intense Nutrition Mask ($28, sephora.com) is a good option. It improves strength and elasticity. The ingredients include an interesting mix of (but aren’t limited to) mango seed, plaintain, quinoa oils which hydrates and fortifies and vitamin E which sooths the scalp. There is also wheat amino acids and wood cellulose which help lock in moisture and detangle your hair. After using this product you will notice that your hair will feel hydrated, soft, and very strong.

To use, shampoo hair and towel dry. Apply a generous amount of product to your entire head and then put on a plastic cap. Sit under a dryer for at least 10 minutes. Rinse and continue styling.

Queen Helene Hot Oil Treatment (local beauty supply stores) is a product that many have used in their homes for years, but for those of you new to the Queen Helene phenomena, a hot oil treatment is yet another way to lock some moisture into your otherwise, dry, drab hair.  It also restores softness, shine, manageability, breakage and split ends.

To use, simply shampoo your hair and towel dry. Place bottle in a cup of hot tap water for one minute. Massage 1 oz of warmed oil into hair and scalp. Cover hair with a dry towel for three minutes. Rinse thoroughly with warm water. Towel dry and style. This heat-activated treatment penetrates deep into towel-dried hair to control damage caused by chemicals, over-processing and weather exposure.

HAUTE HAIR: Turn Fine Hair into Fuller Hair 

Quantcast

Not everyone’s blessed with thick strands of hair which is why weaves and wigs have become the norm, and in some cases an unfortunate crutch. What would you do if you had fine hair like the chanteuse Toni Braxton, who from her early years as a recording artist never had the fullness that she boasts as of late (with the help of a weave no doubt)? Would you treat your underlying issue and use some of the following products to bring some fullness to what nature blessed you with or add superficial fullness to give you a little extra confidence?

Folicure Moisturizing Conditioner ($6.39, sallybeauty.com) is part of line that was formulated to develop fuller, thicker hair for men and women. This particular moisturizing conditioner is the first everyday use, rinse-out Folicure conditioner. It leaves your fine, delicate hair smooth, shiny and full while it stimulates your scalp with a refreshing tingle.

Many of you have of the Bosley System for men’s hair loss, but there’s a line specifically made for women as well. Bosley’s Professional Strength Bos Defense Nourishing Shampoo for Normal to Fine Hair for Non Color Treated Hair ($18.99, haircarechoices.com) is a sulfate free cleanser helps to promote hair growth by removing buildup and toxins like D.H.T. (a male hormone that stops hair growth, in other words it stops hair growing from the roots) from the hair and scalp. This shampoo nourishes, strengthens and fortifies your hair follicles to result in thicker, fuller looking hair.

Marc Anthony’s Instantly Thick Hair Thickening Cream ($7.99, ulta.com) is a little different in it’s ability to thicken your hair. If you have what is typically called “wet & go” hair and you get blow outs then this may be the perfect product for you. This product is formulated with phytokeratin which wraps a secondary layer around each and every hairstrand. Also provides heat protection and shine. This heat activated cream is used after you shampoo and condition your hair. To use: Apply the cream from roots to ends on damp hair, the hair is thickened by the blow dry process. For added lift and hold, combine with other Instantly Thick™ styling products.

Hue Knew It? I did.

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DIY – “T-Shirt Flower Wedding Bouquet” via [bridescafe]

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Hi Guys….I’m so excited to share the cutest DIY project with you today….”T-Shirt Flower Wedding Bouquet”. It is just to sweet….a totally “new twist” on wedding bouquets….our DIY is brought to us today by the oh-so-talented and sweet, Maize Hutton…..Maize is an AMAZING crafter and designer….I’m so happy that she stopped by to share one of her many meaningful and beautiful DIY projects with us…Enjoy!

Ingredients:

T-shirts
Scissors (regular and decorative scallop)
Needle & Coordinating Thread
Branches or Bark covered wire

Kraft Paper or brown paper sack)

Twine, lace or ribbon
Glue gun & glue


Directions:

For Each Flower:

1.  Cut 3 strips approximately 2” wide by 18” long or however big you’d like your flowers.  See other technique below for thicker flowers.

2.  Cut each strip along edge approximately 1/4″-1/2” leaving 1/2” at the other edge.

3.  Gather all 3 strips together matching uncut edge.

4.  With needle and thread, secure the three strips with a stitch.

5.  Start sewing layers together securing with a stitch while rolling into a flower.

6.  Continue sewing layers together securing with a stitch until you’ve reached the end of the strip.

7.  When complete, inside flower will have a ‘well’ for branch or wire to insert.

8.  Insert 1-2 drops of hot glue in flower well.  Stick in branch or bark covered wire for stem.

9.  Stitch around to secure flower to stem.

10.  Cut kraft paper using a decorative edge scissor or scallop scissor.  Wrap paper around flower bouquet.  Tie with twine, lace or ribbon to match your wedding colors.

Now you have a beautiful DIY wedding bouquet for the bride or bridesmaids!  You can also use these flowers as corsages by simply attaching a pin to the back instead of a stem.  You may also cut leaves and attach to the flowers as I’ve done in the finished bouquet.

Another technique is to cut the material 4 inches wide and fold in half, sewing the cut edge together with your sewing machine.  Then use your scissors to cut down the folded half and then cut the ¼” strips.  Follow the instructions by rolling the flower as described above.  This produces a thicker flower.

Have fun crafting and enjoy!

Maize….thanks SO much for sharing your work with us today…we look forward to your next visit…and guys, please head over to Maize’s blog site to see more of beautiful work!




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Julie Powell Meets the Wine Divas via [oprah.com]

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By Julie Powell
O, The Oprah Magazine

What’s the best wine with hamburgers? With chocolate? And what does tannic mean, anyway? Julie Powell raises a glass to a vintage organization that celebrates wine, women, and friendship.

The Divas

Photo: Michael Edwards

They had hosted dinner for 150 people the evening before, then stayed up half the night making nametags and centerpieces for today’s luncheon, but the Divas Uncorked look amazingly serene as they greet their guests. Rosalind Johnson approaches me with a charming smile, a glass of Roselle Syrah Rosé, and a friendly exhortation: “Breathe!” she says. “You’re here now.” Though I’m frazzled from a long and noisy train ride to Boston, right away I begin to relax.

The event at which I have just arrived—a weekend conference featuring multiple-course meals with wine pairings, plus lectures, presentations, and a reception—is called “Wine, Women, and….” It is the highlight of the Divas’ year, and the culmination of nearly a decade of learning, planning, organizing, and sipping.

Divas Uncorked started in 1998 when a group of friends decided to learn more about what they were drinking. Now it’s a thriving business dedicated to educating consumers about wine, and educating winemakers about consumers—particularly women and African-Americans, who are often overlooked by the industry. To that end, the Divas organize frequent Divas Dine events in restaurants across the country, inviting the public to eat and drink while learning about wine. They act as marketing consultants to wineries and wine stores that become members of the Divas Uncorked Collaborative Consortium. They also manage a Web site, divasuncorked.com. They even have their own wine, Divas Uncorked Chardonnay, produced in partnership with the Mendocino Wine Company.

https://i0.wp.com/thefabempire.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/divas.jpg

All of this could be quite enough to occupy the friends, ten energetic women in their late 40s, 50s, and early 60s. But each of them also has a high-powered day job, ranging from executive consultant to educator. “We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into when we started,” says Callie Crossley, a commentator with NPR and WGBH-TV, as she walks with me to our seats at the luncheon.

As we dig into our appetizers, the conversation in the room grows raucous. Although I don’t know any of the hundred women gathered here, I feel as at ease as if I were sitting around with friends at a girls-only cocktail hour. And I realize the Divas have succeeded in doing what many of us fantasize about: They’ve built a business out of their favorite pastime.

https://i1.wp.com/multimedia.heraldinteractive.com/images/c54a53d47e_Divas_07172009.jpg

Before they were Divas, the women were friends who met doing volunteer work with a nonprofit organization, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. They started going out together after meetings. “We were always eating and drinking,” says Carolyn Golden Hebsgaard, executive director of the Boston Lawyers Group and the Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity. “Frankly, we were spending a fair amount of money, and we decided we should know more about this wine thing.” They quickly got organized, as type A personalities will, and began hosting monthly wine-tasting get-togethers. At first they served cheese, crackers, fruit, and “little nibbles,” but before long they were planning elaborate, themed dinners.

“We were just having fun,” says Karen Holmes Ward, a producer at WCVB-TV. And learning a lot. Stephanie Browne, an information technology director at Blue Cross and Blue Shield and president of the Divas, learned not to serve her reds too warm or her whites too cold, for example.

The friends have become educated in more arcane subjects as well, such as vintages and sugar-to-acid ratios. But “wine savvy not wine snobby” is their mantra, and the most important lesson they pass along to consumers is to trust themselves when it comes to taste. “Pick wines that please your palate,” says Ward.

As the conference winds down, I ask the Divas how they balance work and friendship. “The one thing we’re not going to lose is what brought us together,” insists Hebsgaard. So on top of all their other responsibilities, they still plan monthly wine-tasting dinners, just for themselves.

No wonder, then, that where others might describe a wine in terms of its nose or finish, Browne compares it to something closer to her heart. “My aha moment was when I realized how a balanced wine tastes,” she says. “The fruit and acid and alcohol are all in perfect harmony. It’s like having your favorite food next to your favorite person in your favorite place.” In other words, delicious.

Julie Powell is the author of Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously (Back Bay Books).

The Wine Divas solve 7 great mysteries of the wine world!


7 Mysteries of the Wine World, Solved

By Brooke Kosofsky Glassberg
O, The Oprah Magazine

Grape connoisseurs, the wine Divas, educate us on wine bottling, serving, tasting and all around etiquette.

Wine tasters
Photo: Michael Edwards

O: How do you figure out what you like?

Divas: Taste as much as possible. Find a shop with helpful salespeople. Many stores are now organized by flavor instead of region or type of grape, making it easier to find winners based on your “flavor profile,” or the characteristics you enjoy. Another good way to start is to select a region—say, California or New Zealand—and then ask your salesperson to recommend five or six typical, affordable wines from there. As you try them at home, jot down notes about color, smell, and taste. There are no wrong answers: You’re learning what tastes good to you, not trying to impress others.

O: What’s the ideal serving temperature for wine?

Divas: The lighter the body and color of the wine, the cooler it should be. But avoid extremes: Excessive chilling can mask the flavor of a white; too much warmth heightens the alcohol fumes of a red. A rule of thumb is to take whites out of the fridge 15 to 20 minutes before drinking. Reds should go into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes before opening.

O: Does the glass matter?

Divas: Look for one with a long stem so the warmth of your hand won’t heat the wine. The vessel should be clear and unfaceted so you can see the color and clarity of the liquid. Many experts insist on different glasses for reds and whites, but if you have a limited budget, make sure your glass has a bowl roomy enough to swirl the wine and release its aroma, and a rim that tilts inward so the aroma is channeled toward your nose. Ikea sells a great line of glasses that meet these requirements.

O: Are screw tops or wines-in-a-box any good?

Divas: Yes to both. Once associated with cheap vino, screw caps are becoming increasingly popular for wines of all prices. The tops are simple to open and close wherever you are—think picnics—and allow you to easily save an unfinished bottle. Boxed wines also once had a bad reputation, but today’s options are often good quality. Try Delicato’s Bota Box Merlot or Shiraz.

O: Does the vintage matter?

Divas: Not necessarily. The climates of wine-growing regions like California, South Africa, and Australia don’t fluctuate enough from year to year to matter. In Europe, where the climate does vary, the best vintages can be quite expensive; top bottles are collected by aficionados and aged for many years. Lesser vintages are often fine for immediate drinking, however.

O: How do you store wine at home?

Divas: Many fancy cabinetmakers feature built-in wine racks above the refrigerator, but these are pointless—rising heat can ruin the wine. If you can’t afford a cellar or wine refrigerator, find a cool, dark space with a consistent temperature. Try underneath basement stairs or on a closet floor. If you’re going to drink the wines fairly quickly, countertop racks are fine so long as they’re not in direct sunlight or near a heat source, like the oven.

O: How do you overcome being intimidated by restaurant wine lists?

Divas: Easy. Don’t read them. When a multipage wine list hits your table, ignore it. After you’ve decided what to eat, ask the waiter what goes well with your food. Either he’ll be able to make suggestions, or he’ll send over a sommelier to advise you. Eating at places that serve a good selection of wines by the glass will also allow you to experiment without investing in a full bottle.

For more information visit their website!




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