Sunday, November 25, 2012

It's almost that time...

The soap & candle sale is coming up soon! I will begin taking orders first come, first served on Monday, December 3rd at 9:00 am (California time). 

Here are some details about the products and the sale. 

First, let me tell you a little about my soaps and why you’ll love them. :-)   My soaps are 100% all natural – never any harsh chemicals or ingredients to harm your skin. My soaps contain natural glycerine which is formed in the saponification (soap making) process. Glycerine actually attracts moisture to your skin. Most commercial soaps lack glycerine because they are extracted out for use in other products. Detergents are added in and that is why your skin can feel dry and itchy.  Consequently, homemade soap is softer, and you must let it drain and air dry well between uses.

Do you know what is in the soap you use? I do, because I control everything that goes into the soap I make! I choose only quality, natural ingredients such as coconut, organic palm, and olive oils, pure essential oils, goat’s milk, natural colorants and exfoliants. Yes, I use lye as it is essential in soapmaking, but rest assured it evaporates in the saponification process. You can read more about the properties of each specific type of soap below. 
All the soap is made in small batches, by the cold process method, and is cut by hand in my own kitchen. I enjoy making soap for my own family and it’s a joy to share it with you, too! These bars are large, about 5 oz each! 

I will be offering 4 different types of soap: 
All-vegetable oil 
Shea butter
Goat milk 
Goat milk oatmeal 

Made with coconut, organic palm, and olive oils. 


This clean, invigorating bar contains both tea tree oil and peppermint essential oil. Tea tree oil naturally has antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Peppermint will wake your shower up! A great all-over body soap, tea tree is also an especially great facial bar as the tea tree oil helps control blemishes without being overly drying for the skin. 


Always a favorite! Calendula petals (from the Marigold plant) contain antioxidants and carotenoids, and can be soothing to dry or irritated skin. This bar is bursting with citrus! Scented with white grapefruit, lemon, sweet orange, and tangerine essential oils. 


Returning to the lineup, this sweet and spicy bar is reminiscent of the tea we have come to love. Made with brewed & ground Chai tea, then enhanced with cinnamon, clove, and a touch of anise essential oils. 


If you love lavender, you’ll love this soap with the sweet hint of lime. French green clay colors this soap and absorbs impurities from the skin. 

SHEA BUTTER SOAPS - $3.50 each 
Same oils as the all-vegetable oil soap, with the addition of shea butter for extra richness (this is considered a "super fatted" soap). Shea butter moisturizes without clogging pores and contains skin benefiting vitamins A and E. You can really feel the difference when you use a shea butter soap. All the shea soaps are uncolored and smooth, and I'm offering three different scent combinations.

GOAT MILK SOAPS - $3.00 each 
Same oils as the all-vegetable oil soap, but the addition of goat’s milk provides rich emollients and vitamins to moisturize and nourish the skin. It contains capric-capryllic triglycerides, which are effective in moisturizing skin, and goat milk soap's gentle natural ingredients are beneficial to people with skin sensitivities or eczema. 


As pure as it gets, this soap is uncolored and scented with invigorating spearmint and lavender essential oils.


This hand soap is specially formulated with coffee grounds to remove odors like garlic and onion from your hands. Keep by your kitchen sink! Bright & refreshing orange and tangerine essential oils will delight your senses as you clean. 

All the moisture of goat milk soap, oatmeal soap also provides numerous additional benefits. It is great for both oily and dry skin types. Dry skin benefits by having its ph balanced by the oatmeal, while oily skin benefits by the absorbent nature of oats. Plus, there is a healthy fat in oatmeal that keeps skin moist. And the polysaccharides in oatmeal protect the skin after it is washed. Oatmeal soap also contains polyphenols, which benefits acne prone skin and exfoliates the surface cells; it is particularly effective for cystic acne. Oatmeal soaps lather great and provide light exfoliation.


This soap will remind you of an spicy oatmeal cookie. Contains the warm, sweet aromas of cinnamon and clove. 


Refreshing lemon, earthy rosemary, basil, and lavender essential oils, plus French green clay makes this a great complexion soap. 

Can’t decide?   
Try a sample pack!   
I will surprise you with 8 different soaps in half bar sizes.


Now, for a little info on the candles. I’ve been a candle maker for about 15 years, and think you’ll love my richly scented candle formula. I use a high quality 100% soy wax blend and lead-free wicks, for a slow, clean burn. 

14 oz jars - burn time 80+ hours   $12
  8 oz jars - burn time 40+ hours   $8

The candles make great Christmas gifts (and make the most welcome holiday hostess gifts!). Of course, treat yourself to some, too, for the season! Candles can be shipped – see below for details.

I will be offering the following festive holiday scents:
Candy Cane (Peppermint) 
Vanilla & Cedar 
Cranberry Woods 


This will most likely be my last sale for awhile. In light of my son’s May wedding, I anticipate being a bit busy and I have decided not to have a spring sale.  You may want to stock up now!

DELIVERY/SHIPPING: If you are close by, we can make arrangements to get you your goods. If not, I am happy to ship to anywhere in the U.S. 

Soap: I can ship up to 4 bars of soap for $5.35 using the USPS small flat rate priority box; larger orders will most likely fit in the medium flat rate box for $11.35. 
Candles: I can ship up to 6 candles in the USPS medium flat rate priority box for $11.35 (and if you buy soap, it can most likely ride for free with the candles). 

PAYMENT: I accept & prefer PayPal (use, cash, or personal checks (cash & checks accepted only in person).

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

WDW - A regular star on our dinner menu


As I was preparing this chicken dish for dinner tonight, I realized that I have never posted it on the blog.  This was a Pinterest find that my sister told me about, and I pretty much make it every week!  If I don't, Rich asks for it. :-)   So, I figured it was time to share one of my favorite dinner recipes. 

This recipe is ridiculously simple, fast to prepare, nutritious, and super delicious.  All my favorite criteria when it comes to food.   Oh, and did I mention it's a one-pot dish?  Gotta love that!

I begin by preheating my oven to 450 degrees.  By the time it's ready, usually my dish is prepared is ready to bake. 

This is so easy I don't even feel like writing it in recipe form.  It's technically called Pan-roasted Lemon-garlic Chicken with Green Beans, but I just call it Chicken & Green Beans. 

Just zest one lemon and squeeze the juice of two juicy lemons into a large mixing bowl.   Add a few cloves of fresh, chopped garlic, a heaping tablespoon each of herbes de Provence (or any herb blend) and kosher salt, and a heavy sprinkling of fresh ground pepper.   Drizzle in about 4-5 Tbsp. of EVOO and whisk well.  You now have your marinade.  How easy was that?

Now drizzle another 2 Tbsp. EVOO into a 9x13 pan.  I love to use my Pampered Chef stoneware pan.  It creates a little extra magic if you ask me.  But any 9 x 13 will do, or even a big cast iron skillet.

OK, now take about 4-5 medium potatoes, any kind.  Don't bother to peel them, just scrub them well. Dice them (about 1" pieces) and toss them into the lemon/olive oil mixture.   Get them nice and coated and then lift them out with a slotted spoon (so the marinade can drain off) and lay them on the bottom of your pan.


Next, grab about a pound of green beans (or brussels sprouts, halved) and throw them into the marinade.  I don't particularly enjoy the tedious task of properly preparing green beans, so... I pretty much don't.  I just leave them whole, clean them and pat them dry.  Toss and coat with tongs; now layer them over the potatoes. 


Now, lastly, grab about 4-5 skin on, bone-in chicken pieces and toss them into the marinade (cut any large breast pieces in half for even baking). There might not be a lot of marinade left at this point, but toss and coat well on all sides.   Note - I like to use organic chicken, and I'm crazy about Mary's air-chilled chicken.  If you're thinking, what in the world is an air-chilled chicken, click here. I have to say it's A-mazing -  the texture and taste are notably better than the conventional water-chilled method birds.  I look for sales at Whole Foods and load my freezer with absurd amounts of it.   I ask the butcher to cut the chicken up into pieces, and freeze half-chicken portions in Ziploc bags (I freeze the "spines" all together to make chicken broth). A half chicken is enough for our family, but feel free to add a couple more pieces if you need to. 

OK, now put the chicken pieces skin side up on top of the green beans.  Dump any remaining marinade right on top.  At this point, I like to give a generous sprinkle of Penzey's lemon pepper over the entire top and drizzle on a little more EVOO for good measure.  You're done!

Pop the dish in the oven for about 50 minutes.   Then, remove the chicken, place in a shallow dish, and cover with foil.  I just put this on my oven top to keep it warm.   Continue to bake the green beans and potatoes another 10-15 more minutes and then return the chicken to the pan and serve (note: if you are like me, and enjoy your potatoes more browned and crispy, remove the green beans after the 10-15 minutes, add them to the chicken dish you have set aside, and continue to roast the potatoes alone about 10 more minutes. Then just dump the chicken and green beans on top of the potatoes and serve).

Oh, and a very happy Thanksgiving to all of youI just love this time of year, the opportunity of being with family and friends, and of course all the yummy food. :-)   Wishing you a blessed season!

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

WDW - Pumpkin cuteness


Since I'm currently experiencing that annual can't-get-enough-pumpkin phenomena, and since it's been ages since I put up a WDW of this nature, may I present to you Mini Pumpkin Pies.  If these aren't the cutest things ever, I don't know what is.  

The recipe calls for baking them in regular size muffin tins, but I wanted them bite-sized, so I used my mini muffin tin.  I just adapted the recipe and made smaller rounds of dough (I used the top of a 8 oz jelly jar to cut them) and cooked them for only 15-20 minutes. I will say that they are a little bit of work, but I love pie making so I enjoyed the process.  

And, incidentally, have you ever tasted a warm-from-the-oven bite of pumpkin pie?  I have always considered myself a die-hard cold pumpkin pie eater (particularly the morning after Thanksgiving -it's seriously the perfect breakfast) until these arrived on the scene todayWhat can I say, they are just so easy to pop in your mouth, I actually discovered that they are mighty tasty that wayYou ought to try it.  :-)

The recipe included a spiced whipped cream to dollop on top, but I didn't have enough whipping cream on hand to try it.   It sounds heavenly though

Mini Pumpkin Pies with Spiced Whipped Cream

Makes 12 small pies (or 48 mini muffin sized)

Pie Crust:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, cut into pieces
8-9 tablespoons cold water

1 15oz can pumpkin
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I use Penzey's Vietnamese)
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup half and half or whole milk

Spiced Whipped Cream:
½ cup heavy or whipping cream
1 heaping tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

For the crust:
In a food processor, combine the flour, salt and butter. Pulse until the flour begins to look like course bread crumbs (there should still be pea-size chunks of butter in the dough).

Transfer the flour mixture into a mixing bowl and slowly add in the water, mixing it as you go until the all of the flour is moistened. I use my hands for this step but you can also use a fork to distribute the water.

Pour the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 30 seconds. Form the dough into two small round disks, cover each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

Remove one disk of dough from the refrigerator, and roll out until it is roughly a 9×13 rectangle. It should be pretty thin. Using a large glass or cup (roughly 4-5 inches in diameter), cut out circles of dough and mold them into the muffin cups. You will probably need to re-roll the dough out once or twice in order to use it all up.  Repeat with remaining dough. 

For the filling:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl combine the pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Beat in the eggs until just combined and then stir in the milk or cream.

Carefully pour filling into the pastry shells, until they are almost full but don’t go above the top of the crust. Cover the sheet lightly with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a pie comes out clean (Note: I baked for 15-20 minutes uncovered for the minis.  I also did the pies in two batches since I only own one mini muffin pan that only holds 24).

Remove the pies from the oven and gently transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool.

For the whipped cream:

Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl. Beat on high with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form in the cream. Spoon as much as you wish over baked pies.
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