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Create A Day

One creative project every day for a year

Jan-21-2013

Day 330: Homemade Hair Gel

Posted by annagrace under Days 301-365

Following the theme of the last post, in addition to making shampoo the other night, I also made hair gel! This one I actually got directly off of Pinterest. The original posting is here.

I’ve been playing with the natural texture of my hair lately and trying to embrace the waves. I’ve tried several different scrunching gels and mousses and have found a few I like, but they are all so expensive and ultimately leave my hair feeling crunchy and weird, so I looked into a natural scrunching product and made it up!

This recipe consisted of three ingredients… Water, flax seed, and essential oils. I won’t go through all the steps because they’re on the site, but here’s a picture of the flax seed cooking.

So then I followed the directions like it said, but I feel like mine never got as thick as it needed to… possible because of using a gas range versus electric. My theory is that when you turn off an electric eye, it stays warm far longer that a gas one because of the coils, so maybe the flax seed didn’t cook enough… It ended up more of a thick hairspray consistency versus a gel. At any rate I just went with it and put it into two little spray bottles after adding tea tree and jojoba oils. After taking a shower, I sprayed it all over my hair and scrunched my hair like always. Here’s a picture of me not really caring after my hair air dried.

So, it gave me a bit of texture, but not really as much as I wanted. I think next time I will use more of it and see what happens. I also think I may make another batch and cook it longer. It’s so cheap, I’m not worried about tossing out the other stuff! I’ll update you all when I’ve made it again.

Anna Grace

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Jan-20-2013

Day 329: Homemade Shampoo… FAIL!

Posted by annagrace under Days 301-365

Let me preface this post by saying that I’ve had several posts ready to go over the last few days, but have been sick and/or otherwise busy, so I didn’t have time to post! So, there will be several posts over the next day or so.

As you all know from my recent cooking endeavors, I caved and signed up for Pinterest… and it has since taken over my life!! But, it has also given me a lot of inspiration for creative projects to do for this blog, so I feel like it’s worth it in the end. At any rate, I saw a few recipes floating around Pinterest for homemade shampoos, and decided to do a little research and make my own! I searched on Pinterest as well as online to find the recipe that I thought would be the easiest and would work with my hair texture. I ended up using the Lemon and Cucumber Recipe on this site.

So, I followed the directions exactly and blended everything then stored it in little travel shampoo bottles in the fridge. Here’s the only picture I took of the process… sorry I forgot!

I could have put all the “shampoo” into one big bottle, but since it had to be refrigerated, I decided to split it into smaller bottles just in case I accidentally left it out. That way, only part would go bad versus the whole batch. Anyways, the next morning I decided to put the stuff to use… and I HATED it! It didn’t froth up at all, so I didn’t feel like it cleaned my hair at all. AND it left me with tiny bits of cucumber all in my hair that I couldn’t just rinse out! So I had to use shampoo to get it all out, which totally defeated the purpose. I will say, though, my hair did seem to feel softer after it dried, but that could also be because of the new conditioner I used that day, so who knows!

So, ultimately I would say this creative project was an utter fail… but I may try using it again and see if I can git all the bits out with just conditioner, but I’ll keep you updated

Keep an eye out for more posts tonight or tomorrow!

Anna Grace

Oct-10-2012

Day 315: Eggplant Casserole/Lasagna

Posted by annagrace under Days 301-365

So… I haven’t posted anything in awhile. I’ve had several things in the works, but haven’t had the chance to sit down and post them, so be prepared for several posts over the next few days!

Anyways… the day that the Rooms and I went to the UT Gardens and took pictures we also went to 2 farmers’ markets! At the first one we went to in Market Square I picked up a beautiful eggplant that was striped with purple and white! I’ve never cooked eggplant personally, so I scoured the web for recipes and ended up mixing a few together to create a casserole that could… sorta… be considered like lasagna… Lemme explain…

I started by lining a small baking dish with aluminum foil for easier clean-up and poured a bit of olive oil in and coated the foil. I then threw in about 1/2 tsp of garlic and scattered it all over the bottom of the dish. I topped this with a bit of sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Then I cut the eggplant into thin slices… about a 1/4″ thick?

Then I put a layer of eggplant down, then a layer of chunky tomato sauce. I had found a recipe for this where they just used canned tomatoes, and I thought why not sauce?? It makes it super soupy and hard to cut, but also AMAZING! At any rate, I then sprinkled a bit more garlic into the sauce and salt and pepper. I topped this with shredded mozzarella cheese and then pepperoni. Then another layer of eggplant…

And just kept layering it until it was full! I ended up needing to do 2 dishes because I had a very big eggplant! Here’s before baking…

And then after baking for about 30 min at 350 degrees…

SO YUMMY!!! I have to tell you that this was sooooo good, but also super filling and super duper messy! I tried to cut it into squares like a normal casserole, but it was so much sauce that it just was soupy. We switched gears and got out bowls to eat it instead of plates and served it with garlic texas toast.

I think I may have went a little overboard with the sauce, but it was yummy and made several good meals for us! Here’s my recipe without all my stupid chatter for you in case you want to make it yourself!

Eggplant Casserole/Lasagna

1 large Eggplant cut into 1/4″ slices

1 Tbsp Olive Oil (roughly)

4 tsp Garlic (roughly)

1 large jar Chunky Tomato Sauce

2 1/2 cups Shredded Mozzarella

1 bag Sliced Pepperoni

Salt

Pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Line baking dish with foil then coat with olive oil. Spread about 1 tsp of garlic into bottom of dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Line dish with a layer of eggplant then top cover with a little sauce. Mix about 1 tsp of garlic into sauce layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top this with a handful of mozzarella cheese then a layer of pepperoni. Repeat the layering process of eggplant; sauce with garlic, salt, and pepper; mozzarella and pepperoni until dish is full.

Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 or until eggplant is soft.

I hope you like my recipe! If you want something a bit healthier, you could opt for turkey pepperoni or just put it on top not all the way through. To make it a little less soupy, try doing sauce every other layer or use canned tomatoes instead… but you’ll miss out on the sauce flavor! I opted for Ragu’s chunky garden medley.

I thought this was really, really yummy, so I hope you like it, too!

Anna Grace

Sep-11-2011

Day 210(12 days late): Salmon with Cucumber Salsa

Posted by annagrace under Days 201-300

Today I was trying to figure out a good way to use some of the frozen salmon fillets I had when I came across this recipe for oven roasted salmon topped with homemade salsa! Remember that salsa I made last weekend with my mom? Well, I decided to use some of the ingredients I had left over from that and make another salsa using what I had on hand. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any onions or fresh cilantro, but I did have some cucumber and a tube of cilantro (see below), so I decided to make a spicy yet cooling cucumber salsa to top my salmon!

I started by putting the oven on 375 to preheat. Then I sauteed some garlic in a pan (maybe about one clove) with some vegetable oil and then let it cool. Then I took my cucumber and cut it into chunks, then diced it up in the food processor!

I drained it off as best as I could without losing too much before mixing it with the garlic. Then I chopped up the big beautiful yellow tomato from my church’s garden! After that I squeezed some of the cilantro in and added salt to taste. It says on the tube that 1 tbsp equals one bunch of cilantro, but I found that I needed way more than that and used about half of the tube!

Like last time, I tested the flavor of the salsa before adding the heat. I didn’t have any chips left, so I ended up using pringles! It was a very interesting combo, but I liked it! I thought the salsa was missing that bite of the fresh onion, so I added another clove or two of the raw garlic. Then I chopped up the red jalepeno from church I had left in the food processor and added it a spoonful at a time until it got spicy enough. Here’s the finished salsa!

Isn’t it a pretty green?? I think it came out beautifully, although I think I had something on my phone, so the pictures didn’t turn out…

While I was making the salsa, the salmon was roasting with just a light salt and pepper seasoning. I baked it for 12 minutes, but I think it was a little overdone, so next time 10 would probably to the trick. I topped the salmon with the salsa and I was done!

I have to tell you, this was so good!! The cucumber made it very refreshing, but the jalepeno added a nice kick and flavor which worked so well with the salmon! I went back and added more salsa after this shot because it was so yummy! So it looks like I can experiment in the kitchen and achieve greatness!

Anna Grace

Sep-5-2011

Day 203(13 days late): Homemade Salsa with Mom!!

Posted by annagrace under Days 201-300

Here I was thinking that I was going to use this extra long holiday weekend to catch up on posts, and I just fall even more behind!! In my defense, my mom came to see me this weekend and I have had the most horrible headache for about three days now that I cannot get to go away!! I have tried everything!!

At any rate, when my mom came to town, she surprised me with some fresh vegetables from the garden at our church to make homemade salsa! FYI my mom makes the best salsa EVER so I was totally excited to make it! We even made a quick run to walmart where she got me a cheap little food processor, which I know I will be using a lot!

We started by sauteing some chopped garlic in oil. You can leave it raw if you want, but I think it makes it a little too strong, so I cooked it! Next, we chopped up about a third of a large sweet onion into big chunks,then chopped them up a lot more in the food processor. After draining the excess water off, we mixed the onion and garlic. Then we chopped up a small beautiful purple bell pepper (red bell peppers are fine) and added it to the mix. Loved the added touch of color it gave it and I wish you could see it better in the picture!

Next,we cut up two tomatoes from church and two tomatoes from the store into quarters and put those through the food processor as well and drained them.

We didnt have quite enough tomato, so we used this beautiful yellow tomato that was also from church and added it to the mix!

It gave the salsa a very interesting color, and almost made it look like mango salsa! Then we chopped up a bunch of cilantro and added about half of it in at first with a little salt. As mom says, you have to taste your salsa at this point even before you add any heat, because if your base isn’t right it will screw everything up! So after testing it,we decided it needed more cilantro! Now,we LOVE cilantro, so we may have put more than your average person, but you just have to do everything to  taste!

Last, we chopped up a pretty red jalepeno from church and added it a spoonful at a time until it got to the heat we wanted it! We ended up using one whole pepper, but we have noticed that the store bought peppers are usually not as spicy as home grown, so you may have to use a lot more and/or supplement with a bit of habenareo pepper. Also keep in mind that as the salsa sits in your fridge or whatever, it gets more and more spicy! Here is the finished product!

It is so yummy!!! Mom says it is the best batch she has ever made, and I think the fresh home grown veggies make all the difference! We like to use the blue corn chips because they tend to be a little stronger and can hold the salsa better! And like I said, it gets hotter as it sits…. what was fairly mild  yesterday was pretty hot today! I am looking forward to having this for lunch at work  tomorrow!

Anna Grace

Today I decided to document something that I’ve been making a lot lately. My parmesan crusted tilapia! As I think I’ve mentioned before, I recently started Weight Watchers online and have lost around 6 lbs in just a few weeks! Since then, I’ve been on the hunt for low point proteins that I’ll actually enjoy eating a lot and won’t cost me too much. I discovered recently that I love fish (I used to hate it and would force it down when my mom cooked it), particularly when it’s flavorful. So, I went to the grocery store on the hunt for some. Now, I would love to be able to afford all kinds of fresh, wild fish, but it’s not really in the cards for me right now and I never really know what my schedule is like, so it’d be hard to try and eat it in time. Plus, when you’re cooking for one person, buying a bunch of fresh fish would mean eating it for days! Because of all that, I look for a lot of frozen proteins. Well, at my grocery store (Kroger) I found a big bag of frozen tilapia that had each filet individually sealed. Perfect! And it happened to be on sale the day I got it so I probably paid around $0.75 per filet.

At any rate I’ve been experimenting with them in various seasonings. I found a few recipes in the Weight Watchers online forums that used bread crumbs and parmesan cheese, so I tried different combinations until I ended up with this recipe! I openly admit that I’m a bad cook, but I think that just comes from lack of experience. I have no idea what herbs/seasonings go well together or how much to use of anything because I just haven’t cooked that much, so this recipe is sort of a random assortment of things in my pantry, but I think it turns out quite tasty! And it’s only about 5 or 6 Weight Watchers points, depending on how much of the breading you use!

All these measurements are guesstimations and I ended up not needing all of the breading mixture, so if you try this, just eyeball it to where you think you have enough.

Ingredients:

2 6 oz Filets Frozen Tilapia

2 tsp Grated Parmesean Cheese

1 Tbsp Breadcrumbs

1/2 tsp Dehydrated Minced Garlic

1/2 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp Caraway Seeds

Pinch of Salt

Pinch of Pepper

Pinch of Accent Flavor Enhancer (idk if it actually enhances the flavor, but it doesn’t hurt!)

Thaw tilapia in refrigerator overnight. (Or if you’re in a bit of a rush, you can run cold water over the individual wrapped filets. This is when that wrapping comes in handy… less mess!) Rinse and pat dry. Preheat oven to 425º F

In a plate or flat-bottomed bowl combine all dry ingredients.

Dip the tilapia filets into the mixture coating each side evenly.

Place filets on pan with cooking spray then generously sprinkle the filets with breading mixture until fully coated. (You’ll have some leftover, so I like to save mine in a zip-lock bag in the fridge for next time.) Place pan in center of oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until top is nicely browned and fish is flaky.

Makes 2 servings.

And there you have it! I usually will eat one for dinner and then reheat the other in the toaster oven at work for about 5 minutes for lunch the next day. Be pre-warned: I love garlic, so if you don’t like garlic breath, or can’t handle that much of it, use less garlic and carry some gum with you! :) I’ve gotten to where I take my toothbrush/paste with me to work so I don’t breathe ferocious breath into costumers’ faces!

This is a really simple recipe, and easy to adapt to whatever ingredients you have in your pantry. Sometimes if I wanting a little kick, I’ll add some red pepper flakes or hot sauce. It’s entirely up to you!

I hope to catch up on posts tomorrow, but we’ll see how it goes!

Anna Grace