Entries from February 26th, 2010

February 26, 2010

grapeseed oil benefits: grapeseed oil for healthy nails and cuticles

My bathroom counter is filled with all sorts of magic potions. A small canister of grapeseed oil lives along with my tray of perfume and bottles of olive oil and coconut oil.

Why so many oils? Doesn’t one size fit all?

While olive oil is perfect for almost everything, I like to vary what oils I use for specific natural beauty remedies. While I douse my hair in coconut oil and slather olive oil on my dry face, I like to use grapeseed oil on my delicate cuticles and nails.

grapeseed oil

Photo By rkosick/Courtesy Flickr

Though I like to keep my nails short, it drives me crazy to have jagged cuticles that snag on snuggly fabrics and lead to painful hangnails. By moisturizing my cuticles with grapeseed oil every night, I keep the cuticles hydrated and smooth. It make having short nails look less masculine; trust me, people do notice your hands.

Grapeseed oil has a light, smooth, silky texture and is odorless.  Grapeseed oil is loaded with antioxidants, vitamin E, vitamin C, Beta-Carotene and vitamin D. Grapeseed oil’s biggest benefit is that, along with all these powerful vitamins and antioxidants, it’s ultra-moisturizing without being greasy like some other fruit and vegetable oils.

Do you use any other oils besides olive oil in your natural beauty routine? Leave me a comment and tell me what other oils I should stock on my bathroom counter.

February 10, 2010

recipe of the week | loose meat tavern sandwich recipe

Ladies, I have stumbled upon a rare genus of man: man who cooks.


I don’t know why, but the allure of a man who cooks is simply irresistible…even when he proposes to cook something that doesn’t sound too beautiful in the English language (or SMS English language, to be succinct):

man who cooks: listen up poker face. shrimp scampi. or loose meat tavern.

me: what is a loose meat tavern? im scared to google that at work.

man who cooks: it’s what we eat in the upper midwest instead of burgers. tangy ground up beef on a bun—but not in a patty form.  saucy and messy.

Because his explanation of this dish, a dish native to man who cooks’ hometown, seemed legit, I was brave enough to risk my IT department tracking me Googling something as risque-sounding as “loose meat tavern.” To my surprise, “loose meat tavern” yields about 5,610,000 search results, with the top hits belonging to The Blue Mill Tavern Loosemeat Sandwich and Iowa Maid-Rites (Loose Meat Sandwiches). Basically, a loose meat tavern is a sloppy joe without the tomato sauce mess and hails from Sioux City, Iowa. Another man who cooks, Abraham Kaled, created the loose meat sandwich in 1934 at Sioux City’s Ye Olde Tavern Inn, according to the Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink.

After consuming all this loose meat tavern knowledge, I was more prepared to let the man who cooks take over my beloved kitchen.

man who cooks loose meat tavern sandwiches

Cast iron skillet + man who cooks = hot.

If you happen to have a man who cooks, or want to toss together your own loose meat tavern sandwiches, here’s the simple recipe, taken from the man who cooks’ recipe box. The original title of the recipe is called “Taverns: Grandmummy’s recipe from South Dakota.”

Loose Meat Tavern Sandwiches
Serves 4-6

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup ketchup
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon mustard (try different varieties of mustard for a kick)
1 pound ground beef
4-6 hamburger buns

1. Heat slightly salted and oiled cast iron skillet on medium.

2. Combine all ingredients except ground beef into a mixing bowl. Set aside.

3. Brown ground beef in cast iron skillet.

4. Add ingredients from mixing bowl to cast iron skillet and turn heat down to simmer. Cook slowly for about 30 minutes so all the seasonings soak into the beef.

5. Serve the loose meat over hamburger buns and enjoy!

If you’re not into cooking, have yet to find a man who cooks, or simply don’t want to mess up your pristine kitchen (ahem), see if you can find some old seasons of the show Roseanne (Nick at Nite?) to get a sampling of what a loose meat tavern is. On the show, Roseanne’s restaurant The Lunchbox specializes in loose meat sandwiches. Too bad she didn’t have a nice-looking man who cooks in her restaurant’s kitchen.

If you’re adventurous and yearning for a loose meat tavern sandwich, you can always take a road trip to NuWay Cafe in Wichita, Kansas, for its version of the loose meat tavern sandwich, creatively called the NuWay—which it’s been producing the old-fashioned way since 1930.

Have you ever had a loose meat tavern sandwich? Can I still consider myself a sloppy joe virgin?

February 7, 2010

coconut oil for hair | sunday detox

Imagine me sitting at my desk with organic coconut oil slicked all over my hair, which is piled on top of my head and wrapped in a Minnie Mouse towel turban. Attractive image, no?

I rarely heat-style my hair, mostly out of pure laziness and a preference for sleep over having picture-perfect hair every day. But this weekend I went out for special occasions that called for looking better than I do during the week, so I busted out the blow dryer, curling iron and Elnett and did some damage to my hair (though it looked good).

kimberlyloc with a cupcake and blown-out hair

It took a little time and tugging to get my hair blown out for Friday night. Reward for my efforts: cupcake.

mary johnson and kimberlyloc

I spent an hour creating ringlets for Saturday night...my sister's going-away party! Now I'll spend an hour nourishing my stressed hair.

Now I’m treating my stressed, fragile hair to a warm coconut oil treatment. Coconut oil is great for hair because it’s loaded with vitamin E and vitamin K, is super-moisturizing and is completely natural (and in my case, USDA organic—no need for me to worry about random chemicals seeping into my skin). Various studies say that coconut oil can penetrate hair and reduce protein loss in distressed hair. Coconut oil bonds to weak hair strands and reinforces them (temporarily—it will not mend split ends—only cutting will do that…which I have yet to do to my hair that’s been growing for a year and three months).

Here’s how to use coconut oil for hair:

1. Scoop two heaping spoonfuls of coconut oil into a ramekin or other microwavable container (I have medium-length hair, so adjust the amount according to your hair length).

2. Warm the coconut oil in the microwave for about 30 seconds (coconut oil is solid at room temperature!).

3. Apply to hair and massage into scalp with fingertips. Comb through hair with a wide-toothed comb for even distribution.

4. Dip your ends into the last of the coconut oil (it’s great to concentrate oils at the ends because that’s the oldest and most moisture-strapped part of your hair!)

5. Wrap your hair in a towel turban (Minnie Mouse optional) and keep it on for an hour for maximum effect.

6. Use a gentle shampoo (I like Monave Rosemary Lavender shampoo) after an hour, or for even more moisture and repair, leave the treatment on overnight and shampoo out in the morning (I’ve done this once before and it’s amazing…just make sure you’re using a pillowcase you don’t care too much about because it’s not exactly easy to get oil out of fabrics.).

Find coconut oil at any natural food store or big-box store. It’s in the vegetable oil aisle. While you’re there, pick up some olive oil and grapeseed oil, too…I’ll tell you what I do with these gems in the next few posts.

Do you have healthy hair secrets to share? Please reveal.

February 3, 2010

kansas city barbecue | hayward’s pit bar be que

I’ve lived in the Kansas City metropolitan area for six years and have only eaten Kansas City barbecue twice. Blame it on my disinterest in driving 30 minutes for food or my ability to get stuck in food ruts. But this year is different—I’m going to visit every great Kansas City barbecue place even if it means I have to convert barbecue sauce into fuel. I’ve already marked Gates Bar-B-Q and Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue off my list; last night, I had the pleasure of marking off Hayward’s Pit Bar B Que and enjoying a nice food coma with my Barbecutie.

Note: I wish all barbecue joints would follow AP Style and get rid of “bar-b-q,” “barbeque,” “bar b que” and all other ridiculous spellings…but I guess it’s a barbecue tradition.

Hayward’s Pit, named for its founder (and fellow Arkie from Clinton’s old stomping grounds!) Hayward Spears, has been around since 1972 and apparently is a Kansas City barbecue staple. I was surprised I hadn’t heard of it when the Barbecutie suggested Hayward’s Pit for dinner, but I was quite impressed at the coziness of the barbecue spot (a dimly lit, deliciously smoky joint near 110th and Antioch). It was quiet and we were one of just a handful of couples there, which made us a little nervous, but the food delivered.

I tried the brisket burger and onion rings (though our side dishes were plated incorrectly…good thing I was in a sharing mood and got to try some sweet potato fries, too). It was delicious! I love brisket (and I know the Imaginary Heroine loves brisket, too—miss you!), and this sandwich hit the spot.  The slow-cooked brisket was tender and flavorful, the sauces were spot-on and the cheese melted perfectly.  I definitely made it into the clean-plate club for Tuesday night (even if that meant eating a sandwich two-serving-sizes-too-big…so worth it), but I wasn’t quite sure my Barbecutie would make it, too. Here’s why:

Hayward's Pit Triple Stack

Heart attack on three buns...this is easily 2000+ calories.

He ordered the Triple Stack, which is a monstrous, three-slices-of-Texas-toast sandwich layered with barbecue sauce, smoked bacon, cheddar and smoked meats…I believe he opted for pulled pork and sausage with a side of heart disease.

Kansas City barbecue from Hayward's Pit

"Pain is weakness leaving the body," or something like that...the knife in the sandwich really sets the tone for the meal.

I truly doubted he was going to finish this heart-stopper sandwich…but somehow…some way…he got down to the last bite, washed down 40 ounces of beer, and did what he had to do. Quite impressive. Sometimes I wish I was a 6-foot-3 man with a dinosaur stomach who could indulge in such gluttony!

Hayward's Pit Kansas City barbecue clean plate club

He made it into the clean plate club!

Barbecutie managed to make it out of Hayward’s Pit without having to unbutton his jeans or make like a sorority girl in the bathroom—but we both definitely had food hangovers during the car ride home.

I think that’s a pretty good indicator of Kansas City barbecue success. I’m already anticipating my next Kansas City barbecue adventure. Where should I go? Would love to know your suggestions…the more obscure, the better.

February 3, 2010

valentine’s day poem fail

Time to gear up for Valentine’s Day. I thought this was a smooth move. Apparently, though, nice gals finish last:

Valentine's Day Poem Fail

At least I tried. :)

I guess you’d have to understand the odd relationship I have with my friend/coworker. Basically, I say weird, creepy things to her just to get a reaction, and she rejects me every time. :)

Stay tuned for more Valentine’s Day misfortune.

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