Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Jawbreaker Nails!

One of my major weaknesses is nail polish.  I've loved to polish my nails since I had my first Tinkerbell make-up set with peel-able nail polish (don't even get me started on how bad of a habit that's become over the years).  With the help of a some nail polish thinner, my collection still has some bottles I got before going to summer camp approximately 20 years ago.  I will go into it in more detail in later posts, but for reference I currently own somewhere in the neighborhood of 175 bottles of nail polish.   For the most part, that number tends to surprise people, but I've also met people who own over 900 bottles (and more often, followed them on the internet).

For Christmas, nail polish is a pretty safe bet as a stocking-stuffer for me, especially if you can find a fun unique shade.  I got a few polishes for Christmas, including a set of Minnie Mouse OPI minis and Revlon - Whimsical, which on first sight looks kind of like green funfetti.

I don't have anything else like this, so I was excited to try it.  The base on this polish is surprisingly sheer for how milky it looks in the bottle. When applied to naked nails, the biggest effect is from the large pink and blue hex glitter as well as the smaller pink/blue/silver glitters. There's a super-slight milky green tinge on your nails, but not enough that most people would notice without examining it closely for a while.  Not quite what I was hoping for when I saw the bottle.

In hopes of getting my nails to look a little more like the polish in the bottle, I layered the Whimsical over a coat of Sally Hanson Extreme in White On.  It still took three coats to be able to see the green quite as well as in the bottle, but the white undercoat was definitely key to the final look.

After a coat of Seche Vite, they look just like mini jawbreakers! I wore this manicure for almost a week. I t was a nice way to brighten up early January.

I will eventually experiment with wearing this polish layered over other colored bases, and who knows, maybe I will wear it alone at some point.  I can say I'm a little less curious about the sister polish, Popular, now that I've actually worn Whimsical.

P.S. According to the internet nail world, Whimsical is a pretty darn close duplicate of Deborah Lippmann's Glitter in the Air.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Polenta

After watching Michael Chiarello make enough polenta to cover a table on The Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Made, I was inspired to try making my own.  Once I realized that probably half of my little fridge shelf was occupied by cheese, I went hunting for a recipe that incorporated both and wouldn't be too hard.  Luckily for me, this is a common enough thought process that Cabot has a recipe on their website for Slow Cooker Cheesy Polenta.

The first night, I ate hot in a bowl with a little bit of salt and pepper. It truly needed nothing else.  Afterward, I spread the leftovers on a cookie sheet (sprayed with non-stick cooking spray worked best, but bare was okay too), covered them, and let them cool over night in the fridge before slicing into triangles/squares for storage.

I will definitely be making this again. Also, I'm working on another post that talks about how to top/pair this decadent cheesy polenta (especially leftovers!).

Slow Cooker Cheesy Polenta
  • 7 cups hot water 
  • 2 cups polenta (not "quick-cooking") or coarse-ground yellow cornmeal 
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 2 teaspoons salt 
  • 12 ounces cheddar cheese, grated (about 3 cups)  - Note: many other cheeses could be substituted, but the sharpness of a cheddar works really well.
Combine the water, polenta, olive oil and salt in slow cooker; whisk until well blended. I've seen some recipes that say you should sift your cornmeal first, but it didn't seems to really have a huge bearing on the texture, so unless you have an awesome sifter (I don't), you probably don't need to bother.  Add cheese and whisk again.  Cover to slow cooker and cook on high setting for 2 hours, or until liquid is mostly absorbed. Stir together well. (The original recipe said that the polenta should have this consistency of "thick cooked cereal" - which I don't think I've ever eaten, so I just went for "thickish creamy goodness.")

If you don't plan on serving the polenta right away, or don't think you're going to eat all of it (it makes quite a bit!), pour it onto oiled baking sheet(s) with sides, spreading it into an even layer. Cover the baking sheets with with plastic wrap and let cool. When you're ready to serve the polenta, cut it into rectangles--or triangles or hearts, have fun with it!--and sauté in nonstick skillet with olive oil until golden on both sides.