Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Home Made Autumn Soap with Streusel Topping

I have been gathering the ingredients for quite a quite now to make a batch of home made soap. I wanted to make a snowy white, thick bar like Rhonda, from the Down to Earth blog (see link below, left). I like the plain & simple things in life the best. My husband built me a great soap mold out of wood with a removable end. Monday, I got out the stuff and mixed up a batch. As I added the Palm Oil I noticed it was a goldeny-orange sort of color but I hoped that maybe that would cook out! NOPE! As I reached the trace stage I added some cinnamon oil for fragrance and quickly decided to pulse some oats, throw in some cinnamon & cloves and make a sort of streusel topping to swirl over the top and down through the bars. I quickly covered it with a towel to cure and said a prayer! Today I removed the cover and sliced the bars. I got 19 big bars of soap and they turned out quite nicely, albeit, NOT anyplace close to white! Still, for a first attempt I am satisfied and will certainly try again to get a simple smelling (I LIKE a soap smell) thick, WHITE bar.

Here is the recipe I used: (can't for the life of me find it again or remember where I got it! I have now located Rice oil to use in my next batch and will try Rhonda's recipe!)

5 1/4 oz Beeswax
8 3/4 oz Palm Oil
8 3/4 oz Coconut Oil
2# 12 oz Olive oil (use a lighter shade, or B grade...save the good stuff for cooking!) :)
9 1/2 oz Lye (you MUST have lye to make soap, but don't worry it is changed in a chemical reaction and will not be lye when you are done)
32 3/4 oz H20 (distilled or rain water)

First mix the lye into the water. (Do NOT do it the other way around! Never add water to lye!! ) Also make sure to wear eye gear, a mask and gloves (I do this outside). Prepare a place inside to work on (towels work great, or old newspapers) Allow lye (which will become VERY hot when mixed with the water) to cool to a lukewarm (by feeling the sides of your pitcher). Never use aluminum utensils, or pans, etc., when making soap!

Heat solid oils until liquid, then add other oils. Remove from heat. Let cool until lukewarm. (You can use a thermometer and it should be about 100-110 degrees. )
Start beating the oils with a stick mixer or electric mixer and pour the lye into the oils in a THIN stream (think divinity!) When all the lye is in put your pitcher in a safe place where no one will grab it or use it until you are done to wash it! Now beat until you get "trace" which is a thin line of soap, that when dripped from a spoon stays for a moment on top of the surface of the soap. When you reach this stage you can add color, fragrence, or the topping like I did. If you add another color or swirl to the top, reserve enough of your soap in the pan to cover the top of your mold. Pour the rest in a mold that you have pre-lined with freezer paper (shiny side up). Now color the remaining saop and pour it on top of the other soap in the mold and swirl it through the first layer with a knife, dowel or similar tool. Cover the top with Saran wrap or freezeer paper, again, then cover it with a towel so it will cool slowly. Let sit 12-24 hours (I peeked!!) and the soap will set up and should be ready to cut into bars. Let sit (on end) for about 4-6 weeks (the longer it cures the longer each bar will last and the more gentle it will be to your skin!) It really wasn't hard (although I made a mess doing it my first time grabbing things and not fully knowing which step was next) and I did get 19 good smelling big bars of soap that looks good enough to eat! I plan to make a nice Christmas gift with mine!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Baby is absolutely named correctly! When my daughter brought him home and named him "Baby"" I wondered if she had lost her mind. This was a "baby" Boxer who would probably (and did) grow to be about 90#! "Baby" didn't seem to quite fit! Today he is about 13-14 years old and there could not be a name for fitting for this gentle giant! He is the sweetest, big, guy. He whines to talk when he needs something but otherwise wants to be right with you to the point of laying on your foot, or leaning into you to get closer. What a sweetie! He has big, brown soulful eyes that follow you so you won't get away from him! Here is a photo after he ate some of the home made dog treats. Doesn't he look content? What a big BABY!!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Home Made Doggie Treats

With Christmas coming right up here is a great recipe for cute little (or big) doggie treats:

1 1/4 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup veg. oil
2 gloves minced garlic (no, a LITTLE garlic is actually NOT bad for dogs, but actually very healthy)... google it! :)
1/2 cup chicken or beef broth
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup dry nonfat milk

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix and knead until holds together. Roll out (I use a non stick mat) but you can also use a lightly floured surface. When rolled to about 1/4 inch, cut out with cute doggie shaped cookie cutters (think hydrants, bones, paw prints, etc). Bake at 300 degrees for 24-26 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack. These can be placed in cellophane bags, tied with ribbons, or into cute little boxes to be presented to your special little doggie (or BIG doggie). Baby is actually a B-I-G white boxer, weighing about 90#! (A guess..) Be prepared to be kissed, uumm, licked! Or in the case of my snooty toy poodle, snubbed! :(