Sunday, December 13, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
My first SheGyver Tip: If you're away on vacation and staying in a condo or rental house that has a washer and dryer, and you need to do just ONE load of laundry, but can't (or don't want to) buy a whole box of laundry detergent, what can you do? Use a cheese grater to shred one of the little bars of guest soap! Before synthetic detergents, all laundry was done using soap. I use shredded soap all the time for our family's laundry because I have such a plentiful supply of soap pieces. It works great and is also biodegradable!
Do you have a SheGyver tip to share?
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Here's how they're made:
2 cups buttermilk (the higher the fat content, the better)
In the heated (medium-high) pan, place a small portion (1/2 teaspoon each) of vegetable shortening in the depressions for each æbleskiver. Butter doesn't really work for this, as it scorches too easily and doesn't make the outside of the æbleskiver crispy. Spoon some of the batter into each depression, so that it barely reaches the top edge. It will expand slightly as it cooks, so you don't want to over fill. After 1-2 minutes, use a wooden skewer or a fork to turn the æbleskivers. This is done by inserting the skewer or fork into the middle and rolling it onto the other side...it just takes a little practice. Let the other side cook for 1-2 minutes and serve hot, with sugar or jam. So good!
Sunday, October 25, 2009
much longer than a piece of candy or cake, it smells good, it's customizable, and it's symbolically wholesome. Nothing says purity and clean living like soap. Even if it's not your first marriage, soap is the perfect wedding favor because it says 'we're making a fresh start'. Soap can come in so many shapes, sizes, colors and packages...the possibilities are endless. Soap: the suds to love.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
I will have a booth selling soap in the lunchroom, near the stage and our 4-H club will be right next to me selling dog biscuits, book marks, greeting cards and...wait for it...soap! All items were made by the young entrepreneurs themselves. The club is raising money to donate to charity (last year we donated half of our profits to the Seattle Animal Shelter) and to support club activities like our summer camping trip. Come out and join the festivities!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Ingredients: one gallon of heavy whipping cream, 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, ice water, salt (optional)
Tools: large bowl, plastic wrap or bowl cover, spatula, wooden spoon, hand or stand mixer
Mix the whipping cream and buttermilk. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 12 to 36 hours, or until the cream starts to thicken and becomes slightly tangy. Check the temperature of the cream. It needs to be around 60 degrees Fahrenheit to move on to the next step.
Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, whip cream on high (like you would if you were making regular whipped cream). Beat until it reaches the 'stiff peaks" stage, then reduce the speed to low and continue mixing.
The cream will start to look grainy and yellowish as the butterfat starts to separate from the whey. When the butterfat has formed large curdles, stop beating and drain away as much of the whey as possible.
Pour 1/2-1 cup of ice water over the butterfat mixture to further harden the curdles and to begin washing away the excess whey. Using a wooden spoon, knead the butterfat against the side of the bowl to thoroughly wash it.
Drain the cloudy water. Repeat this process three or four times until the whey is completely rinsed away from the butterfat. Continue kneading the butter in the bowl for another minute or two to remove and bubbles of rinsewater that may have gotten trapped inside the butter. If you're adding salt, this is the time to do it.
Spoon into a storage container and refrigerate. One gallon of whipping cream makes approximately 3 1/4 pounds of butter. And for a slightly different method, check out my friend Deanna's technique...
great for energetic kids!
Monday, September 28, 2009
When I started in the early 1990s, I used fragrance (synthetic) oils for scent because they were so much cheaper than true essential oils and had a very strong and lasting aroma. I would use fragrances like cucumber or gardenia...copies of smells that I loved in nature. After a while, though, I found that being around the fragrance oils really started to bother me. I would get headaches if I was in a room with them for too long. It occurred to me that whatever my body was reacting negatively to from smelling the synthetic oils, would not be something I would want to keep rubbing on my skin...or have somebody else rub on their skin. And let me just say, I am NOT someone who is particularly sensitive to chemicals or allergic to things so if they bothered me they would surely bother others.
At that point I started using natural essential oils exclusively in my soaps. True essential oils come from the plants they smell like and can sometimes be VERY hard to extract. For that reason, they tend to be much more expensive than fragrance (synthetic) oils and can be more fragile when mixed with the sodium hydroxide (lye) used to make cold process soap. I found over the years that some essential oils are much sturdier than others (like patchouli), and can help to strengthen more fragile oils (like citrus or florals). I love the clean, fresh scent of orange, lemon and lime, but none of those oils fare well on their own against the lye so I always mix citrus with another oil.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
1 small (2.5 oz) jar beef baby food
Directions:Preheat oven to 325 ° F (165 ° C).
In a large bowl, combine the dry milk, egg, parsley, oil, honey, baby food, and broth. Gradually blend in the flours and cracked wheat. Add enough wheat flour to form a stiff dough.
Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth (about 3-5 minutes). Shape the dough into a ball, and roll to 1/2-inch (12 mm) thick. Using bone-shaped cookie cutters, make biscuits! Transfer to ungreased baking sheets, spacing them about 1/4 inch (6 mm) apart. Gather up the scraps, roll out again, and cut additional biscuits.
Bake for 30 minutes. Whisk together the egg and broth for the glaze. Brush biscuits with the glaze on both sides. Return to oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Let cool overnight.
Makes several dozen small bones that freeze well. Or 2 1/2 to 3 dozen large bones, depending on the size of cookie cutter you use.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
The Pike Brewing Company was later established on the site of the old LaSalle Hotel. Its owners were taken with the story of Nellie Curtis and named one of their fine artisan beers after her: Naughty Nellie Ale. I use this lovely golden brew to make my Naughty Nellie Soap. Why beer in soap? It makes the lather more frothy and creamy and adds complexity to the scent. My Naughty Nellie Soap is scented with the rich floral essential oils blue lavender and palmarosa, mixed with the hoppy scent of the beer. It's a very nice soap...appealing to both men and women. It makes a nice shaving soap, too.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Many clubs around the world (yes, 4-H is a HUGE organization with clubs in over 80 countries) give young people the opportunity to learn how to raise animals, grow food, sew, cook, do mechanics, work with electricity, protect the environment, and build things...to name just a few. The 4-H Pledge which is spoken at the beginning of each meeting goes like this: "I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living for my club, my community, my country and my world." Service and stewardship are important components of 4-H. Through the structure of the organization, kids hone their public speaking skills, learn how to organize information and make connections with others around the world.
Having grown up on a ranch in a family that knew how to 'do stuff', I think that it's terribly important for my kids...all kids, city kids in particular, to be more in touch with the land and have the knowledge and the confidence to do things for themselves. They should know how to grow food, how to care for animals, how to fix machines, how to cook, sew and most importantly... how to ask questions, learn through trial and error and go through the critical thinking process it takes to master a new skill.
Support 4-H... join a club, be an "expert" who teaches a lesson, give money, give time, or start your own club. You won't regret it.
Friday, July 24, 2009
The kids and I were outside today hanging out in the yard (not very quietly, I might add) when we heard a rustling in the bushes behind the raspberries. I looked down into the hedge and saw a tiny little clawed hand clutching a laurel branch and the beady-eyed creature attached to it. A real, live mountain beaver sighting! The kids were thrilled.
I ran to fetch the camera and didn't have to wait long for the chance to snap a few shots...the Mountain Beaver (who I call Butt Head) seems to have no fear of people...or regard for their ownership of prized fruit plants. He can't get at the raspberries now because of my elaborate electric fence shield.
Materials: 1 cup baking soda, ½ cup citric acid, ½ cup corn starch, ¼ cup fine sea salts, ¼ cup powdered cow or goat milk, 2 teaspoons apricot oil, 1 teaspoon melted shea butter, 1 teaspoon essential oil (scent of your choosing), 3-5 teaspoons witch hazel, dried flower petals or food coloring (optional), molds…just about anything rigid will work (Dixie cups, plastic Easter eggs, small silicone baking or ice cube molds, yoghurt cups, etc.)
Mix the apricot oil, melted shea butter and essential oil together and drizzle over the dry ingredients, while mixing on low speed.
Gradually add the witch hazel (plus a few drops of food coloring). The best way to do this is to put the witch hazel into a spray bottle and squirt it into the other ingredients while constantly stirring. This is because too much added at once will activate the fizzing action and make hard, clumpy bits in your bath bomb.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
The pity part comes in as a result of the weather. You see, traditional Scottish dress includes a wool kilt made from 7 yards of fabric, wool socks (hose), black leather shoes (ghillie brogues), a black wool vest (waistcoat) and a black wool jacket (Braemar or Prince Charlie, usually). Remember that the climate in Scotland is considerably different from that of the Pacific Northwest. The forecast for this weekend is for the low 90s in the greater Seattle area, which probably means in the high 90s for Enumclaw. Imagine wearing all that wool, standing in the hot sun (no shade at the King County Fairgrounds) and blowing and squeezing like crazy on a set of pipes or carrying and marching with a heavy drum...that's a recipe for heat stroke if there ever was one. Wish us luck, and come out to hear the music and see us drop like flies in the heat.