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DIY Orange Lotion

I have been seriously obsessed with citrus lately. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s winter and cold, and citrus is so summery. Whatever it is, I can’t get enough. Two weeks ago, I made Meyer Lemon Jam and Meyer Lemon Curd. I’ve already consumed 1 jar of jam. I have an open jar at work and an open jar at home. I don’t think they’ll last long.

Anyway, I decided I wanted a citrus body butter and I figured that winter was the best time to have it [since you do not want to use citrus essential oils on your skin if your skin is going to be exposed to sunlight–google it].

I found an orange body butter recipe that seemed easy enough. You don’t even have to melt the ingredients. Just throw it in a bowl and use a mixer on it. The original recipe calls for lavender essential oil, but I didn’t use it because I already have lavender body butter and lavender vanilla body butter. Feel free to add it if you prefer.

Orange Lotion

1/4 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup shea butter
15 drops orange essential oil

All ingredients should be room temperature. Put coconut oil and shea butter in bowl, whip for 30 seconds. [I hate measuring things that stick to the inside of a measuring cup, so I just eye-balled it.] Scrape bowl. Add essential oil and whip for a minute. Store in clean jars. [I stored mine in small baby food jars.]

Two things: One, the orange scent isn’t very strong, which I was disappointed about. Two, I have labeled the recipe as “lotion” instead of “body butter” because the texture is lotiony, not buttery. If you prefer the whipped butter texture of my Homemade Body Butter Recipe, then I would recommend following those directions and melting the oil and butter, then allowing it to cool/set up, and finally whipping it with a mixer.

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Mouth Care

mouth care

Left to right: Minty Mouth Rinse, Tooth Powder, Toothpaste

In my search of homemade health and beauty aids, I came across homemade toothpaste and thought, why would anyone make toothpaste? And what the hell is in my toothpaste? So, I started researching and discovered that fluoride is not as a good for oral health as people think. In fact, it’s probably pretty bad. I figured, I’m already getting fluoride in my water, so maybe I’ll cut it out of my tooth cleaning care. The other thing I learned is that you can re-mineralize your teeth (with bentonite clay) and help heal cavities. What-the-what? I know, I was surprised too. I have several fillings because evidently, I’m just cavity prone. I don’t want anymore, so I’m trying this whole thing out.

Tooth Powder Recipe

4 tablespoons bentonite clay
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons finely ground unrefined sea salt
½ teaspoons clove powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons ground peppermint leaves or 5-10 drops peppermint essential oil
1 ½ teaspoons unrefined stevia powder

Using a stainless steel spoon, mix all ingredients in a clean glass jar or bowl. Scoop into small (personal size) glass jars.

To use: Dip wet toothbrush into the powder. Brush as normal.

Things to note: Bentonite clay pulls stuff out of stuff. Let me explain, so if you were to put wet bentonite clay into a metal container, it would start pulling some of the metals out of the container and into the clay. The same would occur in a plastic container, except with chemicals. This is a dry recipe, but I still decided to put them into small glass jars with glass lids, just to be safe. They work perfectly and are just the right size.

So, this tooth powder takes a little getting used to. It’s very different than store-bought toothpaste. I was already using baking soda toothpaste, so I think it was easier for me to get used to. (My sister doesn’t use baking soda toothpaste and said the tooth powder is horrible!) I don’t think the taste is awesome, but it’s not bad either. It just is. The appearance is weird. When you spit into the sink it’s tan with flecks of cinnamon, mint leaves, etc. A mouth rinse is a really good idea as well, since the clay can kinda stick to your gums. Hence, the next recipe.

Minty Mouth Rinse

1 cup water, distilled, filtered (not tap since it contains fluoride)
1 tsp baking soda
4 drops peppermint oil
4 drops tea tree oil

I used this 8 oz glass milk bottle with lid. I added the baking soda and oils to the bottle. Then I filled it with water. Shake to mix. Shake before each use. Swish around mouth and spit into sink.

I found a recipe similar to the bentonite clay one above. It was part of a homemade tooth paste kit that you could buy. On that website, they said they recommended using that recipe only once per day, because it could irritate the gums. I haven’t had any issues with it, but I thought I’d make another toothpaste option anyway. Better safe than sorry, I suppose. Also, the below recipe is less weird than the clay one.

Tooth Paste

2 T coconut oil, warmed
6 T baking soda
10 drops peppermint oil
1/2 tsp fine sea salt

Melt coconut oil in a wide-mouth half-pint jar. Mix in remaining ingredients until a paste forms.

To use: Scoop with wooden craft stick and smear onto toothbrush. Brush as normal.

**1/31/15 Update: While I really like the way the tooth powder cleaned, I am less interested in the fact that it is a powder. So, I mixed the homemade tooth paste and tooth powder together, and added a few more drops of peppermint essential oil. I am very pleased with the results.

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Dry Hands Lotion Bars

I really like this recipe because it’s less oily than the body butter. As much as I love the body butter (and use it daily), it’s not practical to reapply throughout the day at work. That’s why I love these lotion bars. They moisturize without leaving my hands (and desk, and keyboard) oily. I store my lotion bar in a small plastic container. It’s great to keep on my desk at work.

I got the recipe from the blog: In the Nursery of the Nation.

Equal parts of:
2 oz shea butter or cocoa butter
2 oz beeswax
2 oz coconut oil
peppermint or lavender essential oils

Melt the beeswax slowly in a glass wide-mouth pint jar (with measurements on the side) in the microwave. Once melted, add the coconut oil and melt until you have 4 ounces. Repeat with butter to get 6 ounces of oil.  Add 20-30 drops of essential oils. The mixture will begin hardening as soon as it cools, so pour it into a silicone mold right away. Let it cool on the counter for 15 minutes, then put the mold in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. The lotion bars should pop right out of the molds. Store in an airtight container.

To use: Remove the lotion bar from the container. Rub it all over your hands. Return to the container. Rub your hands together.

I used this mold and was able to get 2 sets with the above amounts. (I poured the first set, let it cool, popped them out. Then remelted the mixture and poured it for the second set.)

lotion bars(I threw a little ground cinnamon in the mixture to make them pretty.)

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Homemade Body Butter Recipe

Pinterest is a time-sucker, but it can be pretty awesome too. Pinterest introduced me to making homemade body butter. It was easy enough, so I tried it. And just like that, a monster was born. Now I’m making my own toothpaste, mouth rinse, foot soaks, lotion bars, sugar scrubs, etc. I plan to make body wash, shampoo, styling hair wax, and deodorant sometime in the near future.

Why do I make my own products? I love to craft and making my own products is pretty crafty. Also, (even though I work for one of the largest chemical companies in the country), I really like the idea of getting more natural and removing chemicals from my life. I’m becoming quite passionate about it. Another reason, many lotions contain things like mineral oil which coats your skin and doesn’t let it breathe or release toxins. What is mineral oil? Most often, mineral oil is a liquid by-product of the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline and other petroleum-based products from crude oil. Gross. I do not want that on my skin.

So, here is my first recipe. I can’t seem to find the blog that I adapted the recipe from, but most recipes ask you to weigh the ingredients. I didn’t realize the measurements were by weight, so when I made it, I went by volume (which I think is easier). Here it is, step by step.

body butter

Ingredients:

1 cup shea butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup almond oil or grapeseed oil
lavender or peppermint essential oils*

Directions:

Place a chunk of shea butter in large glass measuring cup (I use an 8-cup one). Melt in microwave on 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds or so. Add more shea butter until you have 1 cup of melted shea butter.

Add spoonfuls of coconut oil (solid at room temp) to the measuring cup, until it reaches 1 1/2 cups. Melt in microwave on 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds or so.

Stir in almond oil or grapeseed oil. Allow to cool for 30 minutes. Stir in 20-25 drops of either lavender or peppermint essential oils.

Allow the oils to partially solidify. Partially is the key! I use the refrigerator to help this along. One time, I started a batch and then friends came over to visit. I forgot about the body butter until the next day, when it was completely solidified. I had to microwave it to warm it up before I could do the next step. It ended up working out, but it was a pain.

Use a hand-held mixer (this is why I like to melt the ingredients in such a large measuring cup, because I can whip it in the same container), beat until it looks like butter (should only take a couple minutes).

Store in clean containers (plastic or glass jars).

To use: Scoop from jar with a wooden spatula. Start sparingly. A little goes a long way. The body butter is different from store-bought (chemical-laden) lotion. It will feel a little greasy, but not to worry, your skin will absorb it fairly quickly. After a couple days, you’ll be amazed at how soft your skin is.

*Make sure you’re using pure essential oils. Personally, I prefer lavender and peppermint because I know they are safe to use on skin. Not all essential oils are skin-safe and some have weird side effects (citrus oils are light sensitive and you shouldn’t use them on your skin before going out into the sun). Before using essential oils, you should research their properties.

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Tomatoes from the Garden

Week 03

This week was all about tomatoes. They are ripening in the garden fairly regularly now. I can find at least a few to pick daily–sometimes a lot more than a few. Because I don’t have a ton all at once, I’ve been processing them in small batches.

I canned 5 half-pint jars of salsa. The pot I used for the water bath canner is actually an old-school (as I’m sure you can tell by the awesome brown paisley pattern) broccoli steamer that my Granny gave me. I love that thing. It’s a tall narrow pot which is unusual and therefore has many uses in my opinion. It’s great for boiling artichokes too.

I’ve also roasted quite a few of them in the oven. To prep the tomatoes, I cut them up and remove all the seeds into a fine-mesh strainer over a small mixing bowl. I then place them on a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. I put the tomatoes close together and throw in a few cloves of unpeeled garlic (though I do remove the extra papery stuff). Next, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea-salt, coarse pepper, and dried basil.

For cherry tomatoes and small plum tomatoes, I cut them in half and squeeze out the guts. Then place them skin down on the pan. Roast at 300 degrees for 30 minutes and check them. Check every 15 minutes thereafter until done. It took about an hour.

For regular tomatoes, I either cut them in thick slices or in wedges. I roasted them at 350 degrees for 45 minutes and then checked every 15 minutes after that.

I used a spoon to stir the tomato guts in the strainer to get out all the juice. When the tomatoes were done, I added them back to the juice before blending.

Some of the oven roasted ones I’ve frozen whole, others I’ve pureed in the blender to make into a rich sauce and then frozen the sauce in cubes. And, of course, I’ve eaten quite a few fresh ones too as well as made them into fresh salsa for dinner.

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Patriotic Jello Shots

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
DSCN0375

Red & Blue Jello:

2 cup boiling water

2/3 cup booze (I used vodka)

2 boxes red jello

2 boxes blue jello

Dissolve red jello in 1 cup boiling water. Then add booze. Pour into 9×9 pan and refrigerate until firm. Repeat for blue jello. Cut into 1/2″ cubes.

 

Whip Cream Mixture:

2 cups water

4 packets of unflavored gelatin

1/8 cup vanilla (clear)

1 8oz container of cool whip

1 cup cold booze

ice

Place water in small saucepan and sprinkle with gelatin. Allow to soften for 2 minutes. Heat on low, stirring until dissolved. Add vanilla. Fill measuring cup with 8 oz booze and enough ice to bring the water level to 16 oz. Combine cold water and gelatin mixture and stir until thickened. Whisk in cool whip until combined. Refrigerate until cold but not set. Create mini-parfaits with cool whip mixture and colored jello cubes.

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7th Day of Christmas

On the seventh day of Christmas, I made more cookies: Thick and Chewy Double Chocolate Cookies.

DSCN9863

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5th Day of Christmas

On the fifth day of Christmas, I made ginger molasses cookies. I played around with cookie sizes and baking styles. The cookies on the left I rolled into medium balls and then flattened by hand and dipped in sugar (and baked for 11 minutes). The cookies on the right I rolled into small balls and flattened with a glass (baked 10 minutes). The ones in the middle are my favorite. They look so perfect. I rolled small balls and just flattened them slightly, then sprinkled them with sugar (baked for 9 minutes).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

3/4 Cup of Butter Flavored Shortening
1 Cup of Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1/4 Cup of Molasses
2 1/4 Cups of Flour
2 tsp Baking Soda
1/8 tsp Salt
1 tsp of Cinnamon
1 tsp of Ginger
1/2 tsp of Cloves
Sugar for Dipping

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Cream together shortening, butter and brown sugar. Add molasses, egg, flour, baking soda, salt, and spices and mix well.

Add about 1/4 cup of white sugar to a small bowl. Take a heaping teaspoon of dough and roll it into a ball. Roll your ball in the sugar, set it on your cookie sheet and press down on it with with a fork. Repeat for the rest of the dough.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until cookies are just set. Cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

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Raspberry Clouds

For the base, I used a can of crescent rolls and a cookie cutter. Baked at 375 until golden brown (approximately 7-10 minutes). The “cloud” is a coconut cream dip: 8 ounces cream cheese blended with a 15-oz container of cream of coconut (NOT coconut milk). Beat with mixer until smooth. Then fold in an 8-oz tub of whipped topping. It makes a ton, so you might want to make half a recipe. This recipe is for a fruit dip, but since I made way too much, I’m trying to find other things to do with it, because it is delicious. The raspberries are coming in, but you can’t really dip a raspberry.

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Strawberry Season

After picking some 30 pounds of strawberries, I had more than I knew what to do with…. Which meant it was time to hit up Pinterest for ideas. I ended up making Strawberry Bread, Strawberry Cream Cheese Cobbler, Quick Strawberry Jam, and Strawberry Butter. (Yes, I like Martha Stewart.) I think my absolute favorite strawberry-related recipe was the Coconut Cream Fruit Dip, which I call Cloud Dip, because I’m pretty sure that this is what a cloud would taste like in heaven. It’s light and fluffy, not too sweet, and perfect for fruit, especially fresh picked strawberries.

DSCN8268 DSCN8241 DSCN8256

Coconut Cream Fruit Dip (aka Cloud Dip)

  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 (15oz) can Cream of Coconut (Not coconut milk! Find this in the aisle with the margarita mix & other mixers.)
  • 1/2 (8oz) tub Cool Whip
  1. Whip the cream cheese with the cream of coconut in a stand mixer until all lumps are gone.
  2. Remove paddle, & fold in cool whip.
  3. Serve with fruit or graham crackers.

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