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by Erin Weaver

It doesn’t take too much experimentation to find a clothing style that suits you. Similarly, you probably figured out a makeup look that works for your face after a little bit of trial and error. When it comes to diet and exercise, your body will usually tell you what it does and doesn’t like. However, skincare is a far trickier beast. Your skin might not react to a product for weeks after you begin using it, and the mix-and-match nature of skincare makes it impossible to tell what’s really working. But one thing is for sure: it all starts at night. Preparing your skin for a good night’s sleep will make a world of difference for the day ahead, so use this guide to nail a night-time skincare routine that works for you.

Step One: Take Off Your Makeup

It’s so simple! You have to do it! This is the easiest step because you just need to be thorough. Use micellar water, coconut oil, makeup wipes, or whatever you want, but just do it. This is the single most important step in your nightly skincare routine if you’re a makeup wearer.

Step Two: Cleanse

Get your face wet – really wet! – and massage in a cleanser, starting at your hairline and moving in small circles all the way down to your neck, including your eyes. Once you’re done, rinse a bunch of times to make sure that it’s really all gone and pat your face dry with a clean towel.

Step Three: Tone

Toner makes your pores appear smaller and gets rid of any remaining makeup or grime that’s hanging around on your face. Apply a few drops of toner to a cotton pad and wipe it across your face in small circles. You can fan your face dry with your hands afterwards – it shouldn’t be too damp.

(Optional) Step Four: Oil

Facial oils can seem a bit fussy and they aren’t totally necessary, but they really help to breathe life back into tired or dehydrated skin. They’ll fight wrinkles and reduce irritation too. Simply massage a couple of drops of face oil into your skin using the tips of your fingers.

Step Five: Moisturize

Moisturizing is vital, particularly if you haven’t used any oils. Moisturizer seals all of the hydration into your skin and stops you from drying out overnight, so take a healthy blob of an alcohol-free moisturizer and smooth it over your skin from your neck up to your forehead.

Step Six: Eye Cream

An eye cream keeps your under-eyes looking lively and bright, so use your ring finger to tap a small amount of eye cream into your under-eye area and up around the top of your eyelids. Don’t use too much pressure as this is a delicate area.

Step Seven: Drink Up

Before you get into bed, drink a large glass of fresh water. Yes, you might have to get up to use the bathroom before you fall asleep, but your skin will thank you in the morning when it’s plump, bright, and full of moisture.

Night-time skincare is vital to set yourself up for the cold light of day. This night-time skincare guide will help you figure out a routine that makes your skin glow like never before.

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Oh, we are all about…




Your Own Bacon From Pork Belly

If you have the space for pigs but still haven’t made up your mind to raise them, then let me give you a little nudge. It will be one of the best investments you’ll ever make for your farm. The return is almost immediate, and the money saved is huge. Now with that said, let’s move on to one of my favorite reasons for growing your own pork: making bacon!

On my personal blog, I have a “cheater’s” recipe for anyone that wants to try their hand at curing to make a more traditional-flavored bacon. You can pick up a side (pork belly) from your local butcher and use liquid smoke for flavor without a having to purchase a smoker.

Cheater’s “Smoked” Bacon

(Original recipe by Karen Solomon – jam it, pickle it, cure it: and other cooking projects.)

Ingredients:

3 lbs pork belly
1/2 cup sugar or packed brown sugar
1 tbsp molasses, maple syrup, or honey
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 teas curing salt (pink salt, optional*)
1 teas black pepper
Liquid smoke

(You can double or triple this recipe for larger sides.)

Directions:

  • Rinse the pork belly and pat it dry. Trim the fat to the desired thickness. If the belly comes with a skin (rind) then remove it.
  • Mix the sugar with the molasses.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  • Rub the mixture into the meat and store it in a large plastic bag in the refrigerator for 7 days, turning it once a day and rubbing the mixture in each time.
  • On day 7 check for stiffness in the meat. It should be somewhat stiff all over. (If necessary, add more salt and leave it another day.)
  • Once it’s ready, preheat the oven to 200° and rinse the meat well.
  • Brush a tiny bit of liquid smoke on both sides of the meat. Place it on a rack inside a shallow pan or baking sheet (to catch the juices) with the fat side up.
  • Roast for 2 – 2 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 150°.

Slice a piece off and fry it. At this point you’re just testing to see if more liquid smoke should be added to your liking. (But be careful, too much smoke gives the side a saltiness that could overpower the bacon.) If all is good, square up the meat to make slicing easier. Save the excess for a big pot of beans, split pea soup, Southern-style collard greens, etc. The bacon will last about a week in the refrigerator, 3 months in the freezer. Enjoy!!!

If you love this and want to do more (and I bet you will!) then you might be faced with the difficult decision to buy a smoker and slicer. I bought both on eBay, you’ll find great prices that won’t scare a beginner away.

*About pink salt: I like to use it because the pork will turn dark without it. Here is more information according to the New York Time Cooking section:

“Pink salt, also known as curing salt No. 1, is a nitrate, a combination of sodium chloride — table salt — and nitrite, a preserving agent used to deter the growth of bacteria in cured meats. Bacon is cured in the refrigerator, then slow roasted, and finally cooked again before serving. It is not being consumed as a raw, cured meat, so the use of a nitrate is a personal decision. A small amount of pink salt in your cure provides that familiar pink color and bacon-y flavor, or what we have come to know as bacon-y. It is absolutely possible to cure bacon without nitrates; but be aware that the end product will be more the color of cooked pork and that the flavor will be akin to that of a pork roast. With or without the pink salt, homemade bacon is worth the effort.”


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