Honey & Lavender Oatmeal Soap

If you’re following me on Instagram @Amanda_manda12 you may have seen me post a sneak peek 2 weeks ago for homemade soap. It took me a few days just to figure out what scent of soap I wanted to do. I threw down a few ideas from Pumpkin Spice, Coffee & Cardamom to Blueberry Banana and French vanilla until my husband asked me if we were going to be eating the soap? I realized I was getting a little to crazy on “flavors” and decided to keep it simple.ย  I went with 2 very common natural soap scents and that is Honey & Lavender.

I’m always looking to try something new and have never worked with or used Goats milk soap before (I’ll explain the minor difficulties I came across as I get into the method of prep section). If you’re new to Raw Goat milk, one fact is, it’s very benefiting to your skin. Goat milk soap is excellent for people with dry, sensitive skin or conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Some of the benefits goat milk contains is: Alpha hydroxy acids (lactic acid) which helps in removing dead skin cells from your skins surface, keeping your skin looking smoother and younger. Vitamins: particularly high in Vitamin A, which is necessary in repairing dead skin tissue and maintaining healthy skin. Cream: The cream that is present helps boost the moisturizing quality and will not dry your skin out like most other soaps particularly in the winter months.ย  Minerals: Selenium is believed by scientists to have an important role in preventing skin cancer. This can also help prevent damage to the skin from excessive time in the sun. As for the other 3 ingredients, I chose Raw Honey because it is full of antioxidants, moisturizing, and naturally antibacterial, also great for giving your skin a little glow and slowing down aging. Lavender: reduces anxiety and stress, improves sleep, restores skin complexion and reduces acne. Lastly, Oatmeal: Yields clean and clear skin, removes dead skin cells, tackles oily skin, a natural defoliant and is also good for sensitive skin.

So as you can see, this soap is probably one of the best things to use on yourself for healthy, younger looking skin. I found that this soap has its own kind of a natural soapy like scent, but I recommend adding a dash of essential oil to make it extra delicious! I haven’t had the opportunity to use this soap on my face yet, but it’s great for hand washing! You can happily make your own soap from scratch if your feeling spontaneous, but I’ve seen fight club and that’s enough for me to start soap making by using a pre-made base which can be found online or in craft stores for under $10/pound.

 

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 Bars of Soap/1lb

Mise en Place:

  • 1 Pound Block of Goats Milk Soap Base
  • Essential Oil of choice (I used French Vanilla)
  • 3 Tablespoons Raw Honey
  • 1/4 Cup Oats
  • 2 Small Sprigs fresh Lavender, removed from stems
  • Soap Dye, optional (If you want a colored soap)
  • Soap Mold

Method of Prep:

  • Cut up the soap base into small cubes. Toss in a microwavable dish and melt for 30 Seconds. Stir and repeat until melted (I melted half the block first then added the second half and melted together).
  • Once the soap is completely melted (this part is tricky and you need to work fast as the longer the soap sits it begins to quickly solidify and you will have to melt again) Add in all the ingredients and mix until incorporated. Add in Coloring and mix.
  • Using a lightly greased soap mold, pour soap base in (If soap is beginning to lose it’s melted texture, toss back into microwave. I had to do this a few times because of how fast it was hardening).
  • Allow to sit in the molds at room temperature, untouched for a few hours until it is hardened again.
  • Take a shower ya filthy animal & ENJOY!!!

 

 

Framed Chalkboard

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The interwebs has so many fun and creative ideas for signage. I used to think dry erase boards were so fancy. You’d hang it up on the wall with the magnetic marker that would stick to the board and some of them even came with half of a cork board for pinning notes and pictures as well. These days, were way past cork and dry erase boards for writing cute notes to our loved ones, leaving a list of “to do’s” for the next day or even leaving a motivational quote for a quick reminder that you are awesome and life is good.

One style ofย  board that has become very popular is chalkboards. I still don’t quite understand the hype with chalkboards, but I do sort of like the look of them. Now the craft stores even have a chalk marker that makes writing on the boards look neater, in my opinion at least. Only thing I dislike about chalk markers, is when you go to erase the previous writing, it will sometimes leave a shadow of the lettering behind, so be careful when choosing to use the markers vs the chalk.

I personally love the framed chalkboard look. This was such a fast project to make and very inexpensive. Just another cute craft idea using old picture frames for great decor around the house. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Total Time: 30 Minutes-1 Day

Mise en Place:

  • 1 Picture frame (Size of your choice, Pictured above is an 8×10) *Also found frame from the thrift store, if looking to not spend a lot of money ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Flat White Primer (I used the Rustoleom Brand, in the aerosol can found at Home Depot)
  • Black Chalkboard Paint (See above)
  • 1 Large Paint Brush
  • Newspaper

Method of Prep:

  • Remove the glass from the picture frame, set frame aside.
  • Working on top of the newspaper, first clean the glass of any dirt then dry completely. Once dry, spray on primer. Let dry for 20 minutes then spray on a second coat and allow to sit overnight. (If in a rush to finish this in one day, just make sure primer is completely dry based off instructions on primer bottle before turning to the next step).
  • After primer has sat for a bit, paint on the first coat of chalkboard paint. Allow to dry completely and then add on a second coat. (Be sure to paint in the same direction for both coats. You will see paint brush lines left behind once dry, there’s nothing to really change that as far as I’m aware and wont effect the writing on the board at all).
  • After chalkboard paint has dried, you can now reassemble your picture frame and being to write on it as you please.
  • Enjoy!
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**Note: If you’ve never worked with chalkboard paint or primer before, please be sure to read the instructions on the bottles before using them to make sure you are using the right brand that will work on glass, how to use and how long drying time may take.

Cauliflower Steaks

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It’s a well known fact that fresh is always better than frozen products. When it comes to vegetables though, the shelf life for them being fresh and kept in the fridge goes faster than I can keep up with in my back and forth work schedule.

During the slow winter months, also knows as our off season at the Country Club, I try to use this free time to do a lot more cooking at home. The only thing I wish this side of Cleveland would offer is more farmers markets. I would much rather spend my money there than at the grocery store any day. Even though I’m doing a lot more cooking at home, I’m still watching how much produce I bring home. I can only use up so much of it at one time during the week. Like I said, fresh vegetable always seem to wilt or rot on me before I get to using them.

I’ve always had a liking for cauliflower, raw or cooked didn’t matter to me. A fellow co-worker mentioned how she will make roasted cauliflower for her 2 little kids at home. She roasts it in the over with oil, salt and pepper and then sprinkles loads of Parmesan cheese and tops it with fresh made pesto, she really talked the roasted cauliflower recipe up. I figured if 2 kids under the age of 6 will eat it, it’s gotta be good. Usually I steam cauliflower so I was ready to try something different with roasting it. I took the basic ingredients: salt, pepper, and EVOO and added a few more spices to it to really make the flavor pop. The recipe makes the best entree, or side dish, you choose.

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Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Total Time: 25 Minutes

Mise en Place:

  • 1 Head of Cauliflower, stem & leaves removed, cut (You will get 3 steaks out of 1 head)
  • 1/2 Cup EVOO
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning Blend
  • S&P, TT

Method of Prep:

  • Heat Oven to 350
  • Once cauliflower is cut, place on a sheet tray
  • In a small bowl mix together EVOO & seasonings
  • Using a pastry brush, brush oil over the front and back of cauliflower, brush along the tops and sides as well. Season with S&P.
  • Place in the oven and roast for 10 Minutes. Turn over and place back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes or until tops of cauliflower are golden brown.
  • Enjoy!
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Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

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Whats not to love about a classic plain cheesecake!? If made right, you don’t even need the fru fru additions of fresh fruit and whipped cream. I make at least 1 cheesecake every year, depending on the occasion will determine the flavor I choose to make. With autumn in full effect, I wanted to make the one pumpkin flavored dessert I make each year. Last couple of years I’ve made a pumpkin roll and decided this time to make a pumpkin cheesecake. I get that pumpkin spice is over rated and over used, but I promise you this pumpkin swirl cheesecake via Juniors Cheesecakes will have you begging for more.

If you’re not familiar with Juniors (I wasn’t either, my Husband told me about them) they are known for the home of New York’s best cheesecake. You haven’t really lived until you’ve had Cheesecake at Juniors. Unless you plan on traveling to NYC anytime soon, using one of these recipes to make for your own is the closest you’ll get to the best cheesecake. Believe me when I say Cheesecake factory is good, but this is so much better! It has been voted number 1 cheesecake in NY for over 45 years, that’s saying something!

This recipe was borrowed from the Juniors website. Check out the site for other tasty treats and history! (Graham cracker crust is my own)

Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Total Time: 1 day.

Yield: 1, 9″ Round cake pan

Graham Cracker Crust:

-1 1/2 Cups Ground Graham Cracker crumbs.

-1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar

-6 Tablespoons Butter, melted

 

-Combine all ingredients and mix until well incorporated.

-Press mixture into 9″ pie plate.

-Place in the oven @ 350 degrees and bake until lightly browned. Remove and allow to cool completely.

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For the Cheesecake:

Mise en Place:

Four 8-ounce packages cream cheese (use only full fat), at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs
3/4 cup heavy or whipping cream
1 cup canned pumpkin purรฉe (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more for sprinkling

Method of Prep:

1. Bake off graham cracker crust if you haven’t yet done so.

2. Put one package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl down several times. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each one. Beat in the cream just until completely blended. Be careful not to overmix!

3. Remove 1 1/2 cups of the batter and set aside. On low speed, blend the pumpkin and the 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice into the remaining batter. Gently spoon the pumpkin batter on top of the crust. Using a teaspoon, drop the white batter in small spoonfuls on top of the pumpkin batter, pushing it down slightly as you go. Using a thin, pointed knife, cut through the batter a few times in a “figure 8” design, just until white swirls appear.

4. Place the cake in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the springform. Bake until the edges are light golden brown and the top has golden and tan swirls, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 2 hours (just walk away-don’t move it). Leave the cake in the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely cold, preferably overnight or at least 4 hours.

5. Release and remove the sides of the springform, leaving the cake on the bottom of the pan. Place on a cake plate. Pipe whipped cream rosettes around the top edge of the cake. Lightly sprinkle the cream rosettes (page 26) with a little pumpkin pie spice. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Slice the cold cake with a sharp straight-edge knife, not a serrated one. Cover any leftover cake and refrigerate, or wrap and freeze for up to 1 month.

The Junior’s Way
For this cake, the bakers use canned pumpkin, the kind that’s 100-percent pure pumpkin purรฉe, not canned pumpkin pie mix. This works better than cooked fresh pumpkin because the moisture and flavor are consistent, cake after cake.

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Apple Butter

apple-butter

Autumn, the years last loveliest smile. Were already half way through the season but it really hasn’t felt much like fall here in N.E Ohio in the last month with the unusually warmer weather we’ve been having, hey I’m not complaining though!ย  This week, the temperature finally started to dip back into the lower 60s with heavy clouds and even a little rain fall here and there. The crisp air is comforting as I warm up around a fire pit with a hot hazelnut latte from Starbucks in my hand and watch as the wind throws the leaves onto the ground. The sound of leaves crushing beneath my brown leather boots is a lovely reminder that its okay to let things go and to just breathe and have patience for whats to come in the near future.

I didn’t have much opportunity this fall to work with the seasonal produce. I finally made time to swing by my favorite fruit stand up near my Grandparents home in Port Clinton and grabbed a heavy bag of the best looking Gala apples a girl could pick. The first thing that came to my mind that I haven’t made before in the past was Apple butter. Of course I made apple pie as well, however that recipe is one everyone should already have.

This smooth, puree that spreads better than butter is super easy to make and goes great on pancakes or even a piece of toast. Heck, it’s even good enough to eat it off a spoon like peanut butter! However you choose to enjoy it, this recipe is worth making. If you’re looking for gift ideas to your friends and family for the holidays, which are just around the corner, why not make a large batch and can it up in a fun gift basket with pancake mix and other breakfast essentials; Just a fun idea!

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Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Total Time: 50 Minutes

Yield: Makes 4, 8oz Jars

Mise en place:

-8 Gala Apples, peeled, cut in medium chunks, seeds removed

-1 Cup Apple Cider

-1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar, divided

-3/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

-1/4 Teaspoon Allspice

Method of Prep:

-Bring apples, cider and 1/2 cup sugar to a boil in a dutch oven over high heat. Cover leaving lid slightly ajar, and boil 20 minutes or until apples are tender and most of the liquid had evaporated; Stir every 5 minutes.

-Process cooked apples and cooking liquid in a blender until smooth. Return mixture to dutch oven. Stir in cinnamon, allspice and remaining 1 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

-Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered stirring often, 15 minutes or until thickened.

-Cool about 45 minutes. Spoon into airtight containers and refrigerate up to 2 months or freeze up to 6 months.

**Mix in 3 Tablespoons of Pumpkin puree to make a pumpkin apple butter!

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