Pumpkin Breakfast Casserole

Pumpkin for breakfast, anyone?

Ingredients:
10 slices white bread, cubed
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
2/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt 6 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk 1 (5 ounce) can evaporated milk 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1 9×13-inch casserole

Directions:
Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray, and place the bread cubes into the dish. In a bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla extract, salt, eggs, milk, evaporated milk, and pecans. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the bread cubes. Cover the dish with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Uncover and bake the casserole until the pumpkin mixture is set and a toothpick inserted into the center of the casserole comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

pumpkin casserole

Pumpkin Syrup

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups honey
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 (15 ounce) cans canned pumpkin
2/3 cup butter
1 cup strong brewed coffee
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup half-and-half cream
1 1/4 cups hot water

Directions:
Stir the honey, sweetened condensed milk, canned pumpkin, butter, brewed coffee, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, maple syrup, half-and-half, and hot water together in a saucepan over low heat; simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture is fragrant and hot, about 20 minutes. Serve warm or hot.

pumpkin syrup

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DIY Peel Off Mask

peel off mask

Celebrate Watermelon Day Spa Style!

August 3, 2014 is National Watermelon Day! Watermelon is a delicious summer fruit that has become a staple at family picnics and cookouts. Did you know that watermelons are 92% water? No wonder they’re so refreshing! There are around 300 different kinds of watermelon in the U.S. and Mexico. You can find red, pink, white, and yellow varieties in various sizes and shapes. Watermelons are usually quite large, and many county fairs award prizes for the biggest ones. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the heaviest watermelon weighed 262 pounds. To learn more interesting watermelon facts, check out www.watermelon.org. To celebrate National Watermelon Day, have some watermelon for dessert tonight! Slice it up and eat it plain, cook it on the grill, mix it into a salsa, or blend it into a cocktail. Enjoy!

Watermelon-Day

4978294318_50bb804e14_zWatermelonade Recipe:

1 (12-pound) watermelon (preferably seedless) 1/4 cup sugar, divided 4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, divided 16 cups ice cubes, divided

Garnish: lemon slices; mint sprigs

Cut watermelon flesh into 2-inch chunks and discard rind. Purée one fourth of watermelon in a blender with 1 Tbsp sugar, 1 tsp lemon juice, 4 cups ice, and a pinch of salt. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, discarding solids. Make 3 more batches. Add sugar to taste if desired and serve over ice.

Cooks’ note: Watermelonade can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Drink will separate; re-blend before serving.

Watermelon-facial-mask-620x400Watermelon Facial Mask Recipe:

Ingredients:

1/4 watermelon

Mash up 1/4 of a watermelon and drain off the excess juice. You’re also going to want to make sure you get rid of the seeds or it might not make for the most pleasant of masks! By applying the mixture to the face for 15 minutes you will reap the rewards of the highly powerful antioxidant effects attributed to the watermelon. A great way to achieve a thorough cleansing!

Chocolate Beauty Day

chocolate dayToday is a delicious reason to celebrate— July 7, 2014 it’s Chocolate Day!

Did you know that chocolate actually comes from trees? It’s true! This small tree is called Theobroma cacao, or the cocoa tree. Its fruit produces cocoa seeds, which in turn produces cocoa powder and chocolate. If only chocolate bars grew on trees! If you’re a chocoholic, then you have two more chocolate days to celebrate! World Chocolate Day is on September 4 and National Chocolate Day is on October 28. Today, take the time to enjoy one of the most popular desserts in the world. Whether you prefer to munch on a chocolate bar, sip on a steaming cup of hot chocolate, or smother an ice cream sundae in hot chocolate fudge, be sure to get your chocolate fix! Happy Chocolate Day!

Chocolate Beauty:

We all love to eat chocolates and seldom spare a few bites for others. It is delicious and tempting! Dark chocolate is known for its health and beauty benefits. Yes, you read it right. Dark chocolate which was considered fattening earlier has become famous for beauty treatment these days. It is applied on the skin to get rid of acne, protects the skin from sun damage and moisturizes it. Chocolate is rich in Vitamins A and E which repairs the skin cells and rejuvenates it. Delicious chocolates also have antioxidant that prevents skin damage due to free radicals.

chocolate mask

Check out some beauty benefits of chocolate.

Beauty benefits of chocolate:

Scrub: You can use chocolate powder with milk and yogurt to make a homemade scrub. It cleanses the skin, exfoliates and brightens it. Chocolate powder can either be melted before or while mixing with milk. Apply it on the wet face and neck. Scrub for 10 minutes in both clockwise and anti-clockwise directions and then leave for 5 minutes. Rinse with cold water.

Anti-aging: We all do not wish to see the fine lines forming on the face. Chocolate benefits the skin as the beauty product fights ageing. Dark chocolates have flavonoid which increases skin elasticity and fights ageing. Melt chocolate in milk and then massage on the face twice or thrice a week to prevent the formation of fine lines.

Glowing skin: Chocolate facial is very popular for this beauty benefit. The yummy chocolate helps bring fairness and improve skin complexion. You can mix cocoa powder with milk, honey and oatmeal. Apply it on the face and neck and leave for 15-20 minutes. Rinse with cold water to get fresh, clean and glowing skin in a few weeks.

chocolate maskDIY Chocolate Beauty Mask

This mask contains calcium, honey, & added vitamin E for a rich skin cocktail of benefits and nutrients.

Ingredients: 1/4 cup cocoa powder 1 tbp plain yogurt 1 pierced and drained vitamin E capsule

Directions: Blend and apply to your face for 10-20 minutes. Breathe deeply & inhale all that choco goodness!

DIY beauty recipes

 

Sunburn Peeling & Relief: DIY Aloe Vera Gel Cubes

I know many of my friends and family love to be in the sun as much as I do; some think putting on sunscreen isn’t necessary.  Some days sunscreen just doesn’t seem to do the trick either, you forget to bring the bottle with you on a trip, and/or forget to reapply after swimming or long hours in the sun. Waking up the next day sunburned, in pain, and red as a lobster is not fun and can ruin your outdoor plans.  Always apply sunscreen before you head outdoors. Make a mental reminder that you need to reapply sunscreen after so many hours. Each sunscreen brand has their own recommended times to follow. Doing so will help prevent your skin from serious sunburns. Most sunburns cause your skin to peel; here is some info on why your skin peels and how to take care of it properly.

Why does my skin peel after getting sunburn? When your skin is exposed to the sun for prolonged periods of time, ultraviolet rays emitted from the sum have a damaging effect to the top layer of the skin- actually killing the skin cells residing on the upper most layer of the skin while also drying your skin (in some cases even causing blistering of the skin). This is why when selecting a sunscreen for your skin you want to ensure you are purchasing something that uses the best sunscreen ingredients to protect every inch of your skin.

As a natural reaction, your skin starts to quickly repair itself and build new cells to replace the ones killed off by harmful ultraviolet rays. During the rebuilding process, the dead skin sitting on top of your skin act as a guard in that it protects the deeper layers of your skin while the new top layers are being rebuilt. Once the rebuilding process has finished and the new layer of skin is ready to be exposed, the dead skin begins to peel off of your body. The skin peeling is an important and natural part of the healing process.

Peeling skin: Best remedy? Unfortunately, there is no quick remedy or cure for sunburn. Your skin needs time to naturally heal, repair, and rejuvenate itself. In fact, it may take several days to actually see the severity of damage from the sun. While it may be an unpleasant and even painful process, there are some things you can do to treat the sunburn to provide relief to your skin.

Cool down: We all know how discomforting and irritating sunburn can be. For temporary relief, keep your skin cool by applying cool, damp cloths to regions giving you the most discomfort. Some prefer to take a cool baths to soothe the skin. While it is a great way to provide instant relief to the skin, remember that your skin is in a sensitive state and make a conscious effort to avoid any irritants like bath salts or solutions that may augment discomfort.

Moisturize: There is nothing worse than the severely dry, itchy, tender state your skin is left in after being sunburn. Be thoughtful of your skin and give it the proper nourishment and hydration it needs by using an after sun moisturizer that not only brings your skin relief, but assists in the healing process. Even after the skin peels, the skin is still somewhat sensitive as it is having exposure to the sun and environment for the first time. Pure Aloe Vera is the best solution for to relief and healing sunburn. It can be applied as a lotion or as a gel. A wonderful herbal remedy used to soothe sunburn and naturally bring the plants moisturizing properties out to soften the skin. Always remember to carry a bottle of sunscreen and aloe vera gel with you when you travel to the beach, pool side, on hiking trips or picnics.

Home Remedy: Just in case you do forget to apply sunscreen or the sun was just too strong that day and you are in dire need of some instant relief, try this awesome home remedy I came across.

aloe vera gel reliefAloe Vera Gel Ice Cubes: (Best Sunburn Relief Remedy)

What you need:

Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe Vera gel is recommended for it contains some water which makes it much easier to freeze. The gel has a greenish coloring to it but when applied to the skin you would think it frozen aloe vera gelwas clear. Since it doesn’t contain moisturizers it will freeze quicker and won’t leave a greasy film on the skin once applied.

Ice Cube Tray (Makes 12 cubes)

Instructions:

Fill ice cube tray with aloe gel (takes about a minute) and freeze (takes about 3 hours). If you plan on being out in the sun all day, its best to make a few batches. You can leave the cubes in the tray till ready to use or remove cubes and store in a plastic bag in the freezer or put them in your ice chest.   *Aloe Vera gel by itself is soothing to sunburns. Having some frozen on hand will just aid in making that burn feel much better faster. The icy coolness will pull more of the heat from the damaged, overheated, and reddened skin to bring relief sooner. Rub on sunburn as needed.

sunburn soothing