Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WDW - "Farm Box" Pasta


I've found that using pasta as a base is a great way to incorporate random farm box veggies into a dish. This week, I found myself with leeks and kale, and leftover rigatoni in the fridge. I googled "rigatoni" "kale" and "leeks" and found a fabulous recipe! I had a thawed chicken breast hanging around so I added that to the dish, too. If you add the chicken, just dice it and saute it first in a little olive oil, and then add it back in at the end when you toss the pasta. I substituted one large leek for the shallots in the recipe. In the end, I added about 1/2 cup chicken broth to make the sauce more fluid. Note: To revive leftover cooked pasta, place pasta in a bowl, and cover in boiling water. Let sit 1-2 minutes and then drain. My family really enjoyed this pasta dish...I hope you enjoy it too! Be creative and substitute whatever veggies you have laying around.

"Farm Box" Pasta with Goat Cheese sauce

olive oil
1 chicken breast, optional
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, oil packed, drained and cut into julienne strips
1/4 cup shallots, minced - or 1 leek, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups kale, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces pasta (rigatoni, shells, etc.), cooked
1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup chicken broth, optional

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and saute one minute (or if using leeks, saute leeks until soft - about 5 minutes, then add garlic and saute until garlic is slightly cooked). Add kale; saute 3 minutes or until wilted. Add sun dried tomatoes, saute 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.

Reduce heat; simmer 3 minutes or until kale is tender. (Depending on the point in the season that you are cooking this it could take quite a bit longer than 3 minutes to get the kale nice and tender.)

Add the pasta (and chicken, if using), and goat cheese to the skillet, turn off heat and toss well until goat cheese melts. Add chicken broth to moisten, if desired. Serve immediately.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Soap and a special offer!

ATTENTION: The soap offer is now over. Due to such kind interest, each and every bar has been spoken for! I will be doing this again in the spring. :-)

I finally did it - it's been a longtime desire of mine to make my own soap and I was finally brave enough to try! I spent quite awhile researching online first, learning about soap and technique (I chose the cold pressed method), and looking at lots and lots of gorgeous soap (super motivating!). I was fortunate to find a downloadable instructional video that was fantastic. The video was just basically a woman, named Cherie, in her own kitchen (probably videotaped by her hubby), walking you through everything step by step. It was like having a good friend teach you; she seemed like a wife and mom just like myself. She gave all kinds of tips, advice, and most importantly, her tried and true recipe. She also pointed me in the right direction for all my supplies. Because of gleaning from her many years as a soapmaker, I was able to make soap without any mishaps! I made six different kinds and I love them all! I made them early in November, hand cut them and let them cure for 4 weeks to completely harden. It was so much fun and I enjoyed making each batch unique and different.

What I'm most excited about with my soap is that it is completely all natural! I used palm oil, coconut oil, and olive oil as the emmolients, and only used natural clays, powders, my own garden herbs, and spices for colorants. Instead of synthetic fragrance oils, I opted for all natural, pure and clean smelling essential oils. Yes, there is lye in the soap, but it completely evaporates during the saponification process. Four of the batches are goat's milk soaps, and the fifth one is an all vegetable oil soap. They are all moisturizing soaps (called "super fatted"), which nourish the skin. The bars are big and weigh around 4-5 oz. each (regular commercial bars are around 2-3 oz). They are long lasting, lather well, and leave your skin soft and clean. I have personally tried each soap on my own skin, and they are wonderful.

Now, you must understand that all this soapmaking has resulted in me having over 125 bars of soap at my house! Whew, that's a lot of soap. It's obviously more than I really need right now for my own personal use and for upcoming holiday gifts. I thought about what I might do, and began to wonder if any of my blog readers would like the opportunity to try some of my soap. So, I'm offering a sweet little deal - and just in time for the holidays for gifts (or for a little gift for yourself). I thought I would offer a 4-bar assortment for $10. So here are the details: You can pick your own assortment, and it's first come, first served until I run out of the soaps I have set aside for this, which is about 50--60 bars. Here are the descriptions and photos of the different soaps:

lavender oatmeal soap

Lavender Oatmeal Goat's Milk Soap

Deep grey/purple swirl, robust lavender scent. Lightly exfoliating bar.

Ingredients: saponified olive oil, goat's milk, saponified coconut oil, saponified palm oil, organic oats, lavender essential oil, alkanet powder (for color).
Use: entire body.

tangerine soap

Tangerine Lavender Oatmeal Goat's Milk Soap

Flecks of crushed lavender flowers, oats, and paprika speckle this peachy color soap and make this a good exfoliating bar. The top is lightly sprinkled with crushed lavender flowers and oats. Mild tangerine scent along with a hint of lavender.

Ingredients: saponified olive oil, goat's milk, saponified coconut oil, saponified palm oil, organic oats, tangerine essential oil, crushed lavender flowers, paprika (for color).
Use: entire body.

coffee soap

Peppermint Mocha Goat's Milk Kitchen Soap

Contains espresso grounds to lightly exfoliate, with unsweetened cocoa powder for a yummy mocha color. Topped with what looks like thick whipped cream - this looks like your favorite Starbucks drink -but it's for your skin! Mild and sweet peppermint scent(not medicinal). Limited supply.

Ingredients: saponifed olive oil, goat's milk, saponified coconut oil, saponified palm oil, organic espresso beans, peppermint essential oil, unsweetened cocoa powder (for color).
Use: for hands- lightly exfoliates and removes food odors like garlic and onions.

grapefruit soap
Pink Grapefruit All-Vegetable Oil Soap

Pink swirled soap with light and refreshing citrus scent.

Ingredients: saponified olive oil, distilled water, saponified coconut oil, saponified palm oil, grapefruit essential oil, rose clay powder (for color).
Use: entire body.

rosemary mint soap

Rosemary Mint Goat's Milk Soap

Uncolored soap, rustic with flecks of dried garden rosemary. Refreshing and sweet peppermint scent (not medicinal).

Ingredients: saponified olive oil, goat's milk, saponified coconut oil, saponified palm oil, peppermint essential oil, crushed dried rosemary leaves.
Use: entire body.

plain soap

Sweet Baby Goat's Milk Soap

Uncolored, unscented, bare bones goat milk soap. I made this one to give to new babies, and to use for my homemade laundry soap.

Ingredients: saponified olive oil, goat's milk, saponified coconut oil, saponified palm oil, nothing else. Limited supply.
Use: entire body, perfect for those with sensitive skin, good for homemade laundry soap.

So, dear blog readers, this is how it works. Just pick which 4 soaps you would like, and I can either arrange to give them to you (if you're local), or I can ship 4 bars anywhere in the contiguous U.S. via priority mail flat rate for $4.95. The bars will come individually wrapped and labeled in a cello bag. Keep in mind the bars will not all be the same size shape, or weight, or look exactly like the ones in the photos. They are homemade and hand cut, after all. :-) Each bar is unique.

Tip: Be sure to let your soap dry between use, to extend its life. A soap dish that drains is necessary so your soap doesn't get gummy and yukky.

You can email me at if you are interested! And stay clean :-)

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