{Day 9} Homemade Pink Peppermint Lip Balm

IMGP1608Homemade.  All natural.  Fresh.  Minty.  Shiny and flirty pink, need more reasons to make your own homemade lip balm?  Well, it’s actually pretty quick and easy too.  After balking at a $6.oo tube of all natural lip balm (really?…)  I decided to make my own.  Here’s what I did:

Gather ingredients:

You’ll need beeswax, coconut oil, almond oil, peppermint essential oil and hot pink lipstick for the color (but the flavoring and color are optional).

I already had a block of beeswax I had bought at the craft store, and I already cook with organic coconut oil so it was pretty easy after that.  We keep peppermint essential oil for various ailments so the only thing I had to buy was almond oil.  It was about $4.00 at the health food store, and I found a hot pink lipstick in my make-up bag.  If you’re into natural remedies you might already have all these ingredients, if this is your first go at doing anything D.I.Y instead of store bought you might have to start from scratch.  It’s not cheaper in the short term, but you need so little amounts of each of these ingredients that in the long run I’m sure it would cost you much less than buying store bought all natural tinted lip balms.

IMGP1600

Gather supplies:

Fork or small whisk, stainless steel pot, glass measuring cup, cheese grater, measuring spoons and small containers to keep your balm in.  You can find little pots or tubes at your craft store.  Whenever I go to LUSH they will usually give me small samples of their products in small black pots.  I saved them, cleaned them out and that is what I used to hold my balm. (Yay for free!)

I followed the recipe for a small batch of lip balm from this blog and it turned out great.

IMGP1602

Be prepared:

Have your pots ready, cleaned out and open near where you are melting your beeswax and oils so that you don’t have to go looking for them.  Once it is off the heat and you’ve added your flavor and color you will want to quickly pour them in their containers before it begins to harden.

Once it is hardened, apply and enjoy!

 

Discovering the Pumpkin Patch

With October comes a trip to the orchard to visit this year’s pumpkin patch.  We’re still in tank tops, shorts and flip flops here but Fall is definitely here!

 

We left with a pie pumpkin for me and a little tiny, child size pumpkin for her.  My husband and I are moving towards living more sustainably, so this year instead of buying pumpkins to decorate our porch then tossing them when the month is over, I thought I would actually use the pie pumpkin to bake with.  It is after all, fresh produce, is it not?  I want to thank blogger at Live.Learn.Eat.Love. for posting her instructions on how to make homemade pumpkin puree!

Out of the one pie pumpkin I got about 5 cups of pumpkin puree and about 1 cup of pumpkin seeds.  The seeds I soaked and then dried in a warm oven (150 degrees) for a few hours then stored in empty and clean jelly jar.  I’m thinking they will be great on salads, in granola or just to munch!  I used three cups of the pumpkin puree to make pumpkin casserole (see picture above).  I got the recipe from the book Simply Vegan by Debra Wasserman and wanted to try it because it contains no flour and very little sugar.  The pumpkin puree combines with organic chopped apples, organic dried cranberries (or raisins), cinnamon, nutmeg and walnuts (I used pecans) and two tablespoons of maple syrup then baked until hot.  It doesn’t hold together like a pumpkin bread, but I found it actually to be very good smeared on a piece of whole wheat toast, with a tiny drizzle of raw honey over the top.  I think “warm vegan pumpkin butter” is a more apt title!  I froze the rest of the pumpkin puree and can’t wait to make more goodies with it.  We loved going to the pumpkin patch this year!

 

 

 

Homemade Fig Newton Bars

I recently was given a big jar of preserved figs straight from my husband’s grandma’a kitchen in Mississippi (thanks grandma Jean!) and I couldn’t wait to open it up and taste those wonderful figs which are now in season.  Of course, I had to think of something to do with them besides put them on my oatmeal (which was really good, by the way) and what better way to use figs than in this fig and cookie dessert or homemade “fig newton” bars.  Not only are these healthier than the store bought kind, which are usually loaded with “hydrogenated” oils (aka: trans fat) but I liked them so much better.  While the store bought kind have more of a cake texture to them, these were more like a cookie with the yummy figs in the middle.  I got the recipe here but of course substituted all of the fig ingredients for my preserved figs.  

 

For the ooey gooey fig middle I took about a cup of the preserved figs and chopped them up on a cutting board until the whole thing was mashed up and no big pieces remained.

Follow the recipe, but please don’t use wax paper underneath the cookie like it said to.  Most of it stuck to the cooked cookie and I had to painstakingly peel it off.  Ugh.  Just grease the pan really well (bottom and sides) with oil or butter.  It worked for our grandmothers, it will work for us too.

Cooling on a wire rack.

Cut into squares with a large knife. 

Upon eating my first warm square I immediately regretted not doubling the batch! These are wonderful snacks or dessert and great to share or take on any outing.

Enjoy! 

 

 

 

 

Waste Not Want Not: Homemade Bread Crumbs

I believe baking is really forgiving, actually more forgiving than people give it credit for, but last week that didn’t seem to be the case.  I tried baking a couple of loaves of bread as I do most weeks, but this time I used a new recipe and trying to cut it in half didn’t fare (how do you halve 2/3 of a cup?!)  It didn’t rise and it just wasn’t right.  I baked them anyway and although edible, they were small and dense and strangely chewy.  I cringed at the thought of just tossing the loaves, so I thought I would make homemade bread crumbs.

Why bother with homemade (besides making use of botched loaves of bread)?  Well, if you make a habit of always reading the ingredient label on everything you buy (which I think everyone should begin doing) you might be surprised at what you find.  Corn syrups, oils, sugar, artificial colors, artificial flavors and preservatives end up in all kinds of things you would never expect.  Like condiments, bread and rolls, pickle relish and… bread crumbs.

I’ve never done this before, but I knew that bread crumbs were basically stale bread that was ground up into crumbs.

1.  Leave out your loaf of bread on a wire rack on a table or counter for a couple of days.  You want stale bread.  It goes faster if you cut the bread into slices first.

2.  Cut or tear it into pieces.

3.  Put them into a blender or food processor, no more than half full.  

coarse crumbs

4.  Blend until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Stop the blade, stir it up with a spoon to get the crumbs from the bottom to the top, and blend again until the crumbs are finer.

fine crumbs

5.  Store.  Saved glass jars from applesauce and tomato sauce are perfect for storing bread crumbs.  I stored mine in the fridge.

Homemade Toasted Bread Crumb Topping

Melt one Tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium heat.

Add 1/2 cup bread crumbs to skillet and heat through until toasted.

Sprinkle over casseroles, macaroni and cheese, or chicken and vegetables.

Yum!

the beginning of a garden

It’s not even morning yet and I’m thinking it’s a good time to write something.  Baby’s asleep, I’m up for the moment, and no pressing matter is calling for my attention.  Writing here has not been on my to-do list lately.  Giving your full attention to being the kind of wife and Mama you desire to be is something you often have to recommit yourself to, again and again.  That often means sacrificing little things here and there… things like updating your blog on a regular basis.  Nevertheless, here I am, glad to be writing.  

homemade lip balm, healing ointment and chest rub

Yesterday, my always crafty sister-in-law came over and showed me how to make natural beauty and healing products out of things like beeswax and pure essential oils.  She had given me some recipes and I thought it’d be fun for her to show me how to make things like lip balm, healing ointment for the skin, and a all natural chest rub that smells just like Vicks that you would rub on your chest.  (They turned out really good Mea!)  When I was pregnant I became interested in essential oils and their healing properties, and am grateful to begin learning how to have them benefit my family.

Another project I am so excited to be telling you about is the beginning of my vegetable garden.  You see, I have wanted a garden for a long time now, years maybe!  But my green thumb is not at all what I would like it to be.  My skills at gardening are pretty much nill, and my husband still teases me about how I killed the small tree in our front yard when he was out of the country for two weeks because I simply forgot to water it…  Oh, but I just love the idea of digging my fingers in the warm moist earth, noticing the little snail or green lizard that might find some shade under the plants, or seeing those first tiny sprouts come up so miraculously out of the ground.  Inspired by a friend’s beautiful spring bounty of fruit and vegetables, I asked her how she did it and she let me borrow her book on “square foot gardening.”  So, the space was picked out, cleaned up, the ground was leveled and the weed cloth is now set in place (oh am I sore already!) and before long I will be able to plant my seeds for a fall harvest.

my soon-to-be vegetable garden

With August comes more heat, but with the promise of fall just around the corner.  And with a new season comes change in all its forms.  Hopefully this new season just around the corner will bring a brand new harvest, new adventures and new memories.  

What are you hoping for this fall?

baking bread

Today I did something I have always wanted to do.  Today I have made bread absolutely from scratch.  I made the dough, kneaded it, let it rise, shaped and baked it and do you know what?  It came out perfectly!  Oh, if I could only hand you a warm piece from my computer I would, and if you have not had the ridiculous pleasure of making your own bread from scratch then turn off your computer, dear reader, and get to the kitchen.  I promise you will be simply giddy in a couple hours time!

 

“Dinner Rolls” recipe from 2005 Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

 

homemade pizza with roasted red pepper sauce

There’s something about baking that is pure magic.

At first, when you look at those simple, unassuming ingredients…flour, water, baking powder, salt…it doesn’t look like they will amount to much of anything.  But somehow after mixing, molding (praying!) and waiting you pull it out of the oven and find something so delicious, so perfect, it doesn’t seem real!  This is why I fell in love with baking.  There is something magical that happens inside that oven, that happens inside of me whenever I create something with my hands and with fresh ingredients from the earth, and every single time I bake, I feel it all over again.

This recipe is absolutely magical.

My husband adores pizza.  (Is there a guy out there who doesn’t?) So we really enjoy making pizza at home “from scratch,” but this usually means buying pizza dough already made and just heating it up.  This time I really wanted to see if I could make the dough truly from scratch.  I was a little worried at first, (I had my husband on stand by to go pick up prepared pizza dough just in case it was a flop!) but the recipe was so simple and straightforward that even if you have never baked before you could easily make this.

Ingredients:

Crust

2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2/3 c. water
1/4 c. vegetable oil

Pizza

Prepared Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce (O.K, so this pizza isn’t 100% homemade, but it’s just so easy to just buy a jar of pasta sauce and use that instead, and this Roasted Red Pepper flavor gives your pizza something special)

Pizza cheese (mozzarella, romano, parmesean etc)

Garlic salt or one garlic clove

Fresh mushrooms, chopped

Fresh baby spinach, chopped

(Or any other desired toppings!)

Directions:

1. In a bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking powder and water together.

2. Make sure your working surface is clean and dump your dough onto a floured surface.  Knead the dough until a good consistency (about 2 minutes).

There is something so organic about getting your hands dirty

3. Roll out to the desired thickness with a rolling pin.

4. Put dough on your baking sheet and rub with a little vegetable oil. (This will keep the tomato sauce from soaking into the bread).

5. Sprinkle a little garlic salt on the edges of the pizza or rub with a fresh garlic clove.

6. Pour desired amount of sauce over dough.

My husband doesn't like a lot of sauce

7. Sprinkle cheeses, spinach and mushrooms on top along with any other desired toppings.

Half cheese for him, half spinach and mushroom for me!

8. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 18-20 minutes.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: