Monday, August 29, 2011

Paper Decorating!

Making some fancy paper with shaving cream and food coloring!

Paper...whatever kind you want!
Shaving cream(not gel)
Food coloring
Cake pan
Scraper of some sort

Fill a cake pan with shaving cream(needs to be the regulars stuff not gel!)

Add some food coloring.

Swirl the food coloring to make designs.

Place your paper on top of shaving cream.

Pull paper out(only one side has shaving cream on it).  Place on table.

Scrape off shaving cream.

See your beautiful design!
Fun and easy project for kids!

Make your own gift bags!

What a fun and simple project this was.  We used sketch pad paper, card stock, and paper bags. 


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Blonde Brownies


2 cups brown sugar
2/3 cup butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup walnut
2 cups sifted flour
6 oz. chocolate chips

Melt butter in saucepan.  remove from heat and add brown sugar.  Stir until dissovled.  Cool.

Add eggs and vanilla.  Stir in dr ingredients and nuts. Mix well and spread in greased 9x13 pan.  Sprinkle chips over top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.  Don't overbake.  Cool before cutting.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

A soap making kind of day!

A few of us got together this week to make a small batch of soap.  The recipe I found was a small and simple recipe.  This recipe turned out wonderful, and is a great recipe for a beginner.

Word of caution to those who have never made soap.  You will have to work with lye and lye is caustic.  It will burn your skin or eyes if you were to spill it.  When handling lye wear safety goggles and rubber gloves.  It is also smart to wear shoes.  Other than that don't be afraid to work with it.....just be cautious.

This recipe is for a mint soap.  It called for:

16 oz. olive oil
5 oz. of distilled water(frozen)
2.5 oz of lye
1 oz. of coca butter
2-3 tsp. of peppermint essential oil

(Tip:  Things go much smoother when you have everything planned out and ready to go.  ALWAYS follow the directions).

Olive oil.  Needs to be heated to 100 degrees.
We heated the oil in a bowl over a pot filled with water.  Then used a candy thermometer for temperature.

The lye.  We found it at Menards in the plumbing section.

Weigh lye into a smaller container.  This container is marked lye and only used for lye. 

This recipe called for us to freeze the water.  The night before we were going to make the soap I weighed 5 oz. of distilled water and placed in the freezer.  The reason for the frozen water was to cool the lye down faster.  When the lye is added to the water it heats up.  It needs to cool down to 100 degrees. 

We placed the frozen water in tall pitcher(also marked lye and used only for lye).  Then added the lye(lye always goes INTO water, not the other way around).  We also have a candy thermometer that is used only for the lye for checking the temps.  To speed up the cooling process you can place the pitcher of lye solution into a water bath filled with ice.

Right now is when the process is the trickiest.  The oil we have on the stove and our lye solution both need to be at 100 degrees before we can combine them. 
The lye solution ALWAYS goes INTO the oils.

Adding lye to oil.
We now stir until trace happens.  Trace can be hard to explain if you have never seen it.  Basically when you lift up the stirrer and drizzle some soap on top of the soap and you can see the lines you are drizzling.  You are at trace.  We found using an immersion blender speeds up this process tremendously.  Way easier than stirring with a spoon for hours.
Stirring with immersion blender.
After soap has reached trace we add 1 oz of melted down cocoa butter.  This needs to be as close to 100 degrees as you can get it.  Blend the cocoa butter in.

Cocoa Butter.
I found this in bulk for a very reasonable price.  Half the price of the pre packaged stuff.
Oh, and this stuff SMELLS HEAVENLY.
Then add the mint essential oil. 

Pour into molds.
Molds we used this time.  We have picked these up at rummage sales and goodwill.  They are easy to pop the soap(or lotion out).  They do bend and move easy.  So we placed these molds in something a bit firmer(like a old Tupperware piece) to keep the shape.
Place molds in a cooler.  We place towels on the bottom of the cooler.  Then place the mold filled with soap.  Add a piece of cardboard to cover the mold.  Add some more towels.
The goal here? 
To insulate the soap so it can cool slowly.

Check the soap out the next day.  If hardened take out of mold, cut into bars, and place in paper bags to cure. (Depending what oils you used in your batch it may take more than a day to harden.)

The soap is still caustic.  After about 3-4 weeks the ph in the soap will come down and it will be safe to use.  We use ph slips to test the soap out.  We found the ph test slips at a hobby store.

*if your soap did not harden, if it looks like a solid on the bottom and oil on top, the soap did not get stirred until trace.
{This can be fixed!  It happen to us the first time we made soap.  We put the blob back into the pot and melted it back down.  Then we stirred the mixture again until we were sure we had trace that time.  We then remolded.}

Ok, so like this wasn't enough.....(there were 5 of us there for this small batch of soap).  I thought I would show them how to make a lotion bar.  While we were waiting for the oil and lye to get to the right temps. we got our ingredients for lotion.  The recipe we used was:

3oz. Coconut Oil
3 oz. Cocoa Butter
3 oz. Beeswax
Essential Oil (peppermint in our case to match our soap)

We weighed and measured our fats.  Placed in a double boiler.  Melted.  When it was melted we poured into our molds.  I like placing the filled molds in the freezer to harden them up fast. 
When these bars are hard they are ready to use. 
Yeah, that was simple :)


Lotion Bars

Linkin' up to Funky Junks Link Party!
Theme:  Things you can't live without (gift ideas).
When I thought about it, I really can't live without my lotion bars!  I love using them!
They are simple and quick to make.  They would make a great gift for someone!

Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cinnamon Granola

A few days ago I decided to step up my granola recipe a notch.  Boy, was it worth it!  All I did was add a few teaspoons of cinnamon to the dry ingredients of my original recipe.  It turned out DELICIOUS!! 
Recipe as follows:

4 cups oats

1 cup chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, whatever...I often use a combo of 2)

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup ground flax (have seen wheat germ also added)

1 cup coconut (I'll be honest I have never added this.....not popular in my house)

1/2 cup sesame seeds (another confession, I ALWAYS forget to buy this I add a few more sunflower seeds)

1/2 tsp salt


1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup molasses or maple syrup
1/2 vegetable oil (try safflower oil)

1 T vanilla

In a large bowl, blend dry ingredients. Gently heat honey, molasses, and oil in sauce pan. Add vanilla.

Blend dry ingredients well with liquid. Spread on a large cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Let cool(it will harden). Store in air tight container.

Some tips-

-Use old fashioned rolled oats. They are bigger.

-Measure oil in glass measuring cup, then use the same cup for the honey and molasses. The sticky ingredients will easily roll out of the oily cup. 

Cooking At Café D

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Raspberry Muffins

I found this recipe at
 Easy to make and very tasty, though I thought they tasted better after they cooled.

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries (thaw and drain frozen berries)

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. (I mixed it). Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add egg and buttermilk, (I lightly beat my egg in the buttermilk); mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in berries.

Fill greased or paper-line muffin cups 2/3rds full. Bake at 400 degrees F for 25 min or until browned.

I used a generous cup of the raspberries.

I made blueberry and raspberry muffins, both were a hit!  I also did not have buttermilk on hand so did the lemon juice/milk combo ~Emily


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