How to Make: Organic, Made-from-Scratch Lotion {EASY!}

A few years ago, my part-time blog partner, Kris, posted a recipe for homemade lotion here on the blog. We have been making different variations of the recipe ever since. Once you successfully make your own homemade batch of lotion, you will NEVER waste your money on the store-bought stuff again. After experimenting with different oils, I have come to find I have two favorite concoctions and I’m going to share them with you today.

Before I get down to the business of lotion making, I want to be clear that this lotion is likely more oily than what you are probably used to. But the oils and beeswax are what lock the moisture in your skin and because the ingredients are organic and good for your body, you will notice that your skin stays soft and healthy-looking for much longer than it does with the other stuff you buy. Plus, a little goes a LONG WAY so if you find it to be oily, use less. Trust me, it’s so awesome – it’s worth trying.

Occasionally I’ll get lazy and buy some organic, fantastic-smelling lotion while I’m out shopping, and it’s always a disappointment. The homemade stuff is just so much better. My husband suffers from psoriasis and years ago, when we started making our homemade version, he noticed a big difference in how his skin felt compared to using other lotions. <—– That alone is reason enough to make our own.

 

Supplies:

  • A glass measuring cup that can be heated (PYREX recommended)
  • 3/4 cup organic oils (My 1st recipe calls for: Jojoba, Olive Oil and Vitamin E oil. My 2nd recipe calls for: 1/4 coconut oil, 1/4 Shea butter, sweet almond)
  • Beeswax, organic (pellets recommended)
  • Essential Oils (optional, for scent)
  • Small sauce pan
  • Blender
  • Spatula
  • Glass jars with lids, for lotion storage
  • Water

Directions:

In a measuring cup, measure out 3/4 cup of oil – You can pick out any oils that you want and mix and match the amounts, but I generally do 1/2 cup olive oil, and split the remaining quarter cup between jojoba oil and vitamin E oil. Add in 2 tablespoons of beeswax.

ALTERNATE RECIPE –  1/4 cup coconut oil, 1/4 cup shea butter and 1/4 sweet almond oil with 2 tablespoons of beeswax.

Fill a sauce pan up about half way with water and add in the measuring cup of oil. You want the water to reach the level of the oil mixture, but not to be too full that it will splash all over the stove when it’s simmering. Turn the heat up to medium high and stir the oil/wax mixture occasionally until the beeswax pellets are completely melted. Once melted, turn heat off, use a hot pad to remove the measuring cup and place it on the stove top to cool for 2 minutes. Add 30 drops of your favorite essential oil to the hot oil mixture at this point. Our favorite is sweet orange.

In a blender, add 3/4 cup of cold water. Turn the blender on “blend” mode and slowly add the hot oil mix to the blender. If the blending mixture stiffens up and stops mixing, turn the blender off and use the spatula to push out any air pockets that are sometimes created during the blending process. You may need to repeat this a few times. Once all of the oil is added to the water and things are blending smoothly, set the timer for 2 minutes and blend away.

Once blended, transfer the lotion from the blender into a heat-tolerant, glass jar, and leave it uncovered overnight, until it is completely cooled. The next day, cover the jar with an air-tight lid.

That’s it!

Couple additional notes…

  • Remember: A little goes a long way!
  • The essential oil scent fades over time. You’ll smell the essential oil during application, but as the day goes on, the smell fades. So don’t worry about the fragrance overpowering your lotion.
  • Play around with oils! Some oils are less “oily” than others. Some will make your body feel better than others. Look up organic oils and their benefits and determine which mixture sounds like the best fit for your body and needs. My husband prefers lotion made with Hemp Seed Oil. He thinks it helps with his psoriasis more than any of the other oils, but I don’t like that one as much because of the “woody” scent it has.
  • Make a few batches at a time. We go through about one batch per month (between the 3 of us), so I like to make 3-4 batches since I have the supplies out anyway.
  • In the summer, keep a jar in the fridge to apply cold. It really cools you down nicely.
  • Homemade lotion makes a fantastic gift. Think of your friends and family when making it!
  • Oils I’ve tried variations of and liked: Organic: Vitamin E Oil, Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Olive Oil, and Sweet Almond Oil, Hemp Seed Oil

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Can It & Ferment It – Release and Book Launch Party

Although Can It & Ferment It released on July 18th, 2017, the pre-ordered books did not ship out until just a week ago due to the book selling out at release (WHAT?! That’s awesome!). The book is on the third print, and now (FINALLY) almost everyone that pre-ordered has the book in their hands. I cannot tell you how much fun it is to see the posts on social media that fellow Instagrammers and Facebookers are posting. Here are a few:

If you post pics of my book or recipes you’ve made from the book, please tag me (@minnesotafromscratch) and/or use the hashtag #CanItandFermentIt so I can easily find your picture.

Last Saturday I had a Book Release Party at GYST Fermentation Bar in Minneapolis. Here are some pics from the event!

I even got to meet one of my Instagram friends in person, how cool is that?!

I had a lot of great prizes to giveaway at the party including prizes from Le Parfait Wordwide – gorgeous jars sent all the way from France, GYST, Lakewinds Food Co-opFermentation Creation, as well as Stone Creek Trading and NWFerments!

The owner of Stone Creek Trading drove up from Chicago to celebrate with me too, and she generously gave away the awesome fermentation crock shown in the background of the pic of me and my Instagram buddy a few pics above (they are giving away another on Instagram in the next week or two, so be sure to follow my account!)

It was a fantastic event and I’ll post future book signings and demos that I will be scheduling in the next few weeks.

In other news since the release of Can It & Ferment It, New Jersey Monthly Magazine published an article about my book. Check it out here.

Also, REMINISCE Magazine featured Can It & Ferment It in their SPOTLIGHT in their August/September issue!

THANK YOU for all of the support! If you like my cookbook, please take a moment to leave a review on whichever website you purchased it from. 🙂 If you purchase the book directly from me, while supplies last, I will send a Can It & Ferment It bookmark, magnet AND sign your copy!

 

 

All professional photos of the event were by Joe Croissant of Photojo’s Photography, joecroissant@gmail.com, 612-986-3528

Happy Earth Day! Exclusive Promo: Join MightyFix For Just $1!

Earth day is Saturday, April 22nd – Make a change for the better! 

Long before MightyNest was around, I wished for a store that offered all-safe products, free of BPA, PVC and other harsh chemicals and toxins. I had a newborn baby at the time and I found myself spending endless hours searching the internet to find the safest products available. I wanted a place to take the worry out of my shopping experience and that is EXACTLY what MightyNest has done. Everything sold at their shop is safe and toxin-free. Truly a dream come true!

Now MightyNest has deployed an awesome program called MightyFix. It’s a subscription program where each month, you are shipped one amazing product that is eco-friendly and promotes more sustainable living. Each item sent monthly is valued more than the monthly subscription fee (which is only $8.25-$10/depending on plan) and it ships for free! Not only does your MightyFix item ship free, but you can purchase any products from the MightyNest website and that will ship for free with your MightyFix order! Who doesn’t love FREE shipping?

This month I was sent 5 Reusable Produce Bags as part of the MightyFix subscription. These reusable bags are perfect for bagging produce at the grocery store but also work wonderful for bagging bulk items such as: beans, nuts, and dried fruit. They also serve as washable bags to toss small items in when traveling or going to the beach. They also can be used to protect your delicates in the washing machine!

Here are some jaw-dropping facts about plastic from theworldcounts.com:

  • 160,000 plastic bags are used globally EVERY SECOND.
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is a floating landfill of garbage in the Pacific, is twice the size of Texas and is mostly composed of plastic.
  • Whales and other sea life are dying because they mistake plastic for food and eat it.
  • Plastic bags are produced using petroleum, natural gas and other chemicals. Its production is toxic to the environment.
  • Plastic remains toxic even after it breaks down. It doesn’t biodegrade, it photo-degrades, which means that after it degrades, it breaks down into smaller and smaller toxic bits of itself and bleeds contaminates into the environment.

Now why are we using plastic bags again? MightyNest is making it really easy for you to take the first step in your personal life to making better choices.

MightyNest is offering Minnesota from Scratch readers a special promotional rate of just $1 for the first month of a new subscription! Just use the promo code: MINNESOTAPRODUCE at checkout or click hereYou will be sent these awesome Reusable Produce Bags for just $1. Such a crazy great deal!   You can cancel your subscription at anytime, so what have you got to lose?

Happy Earth Day!

Make It Minnesota Magazine – Minnesota Kitchen – Can It and Ferment It Recipe

This month I was invited to take over the “Minnesota Kitchen” portion of Make It Minnesota Magazine. Each issue of the magazine has a theme, and the theme of this issue is: Driven. In the article, I explain my drive behind preserving food and I also share one of my favorite fermented recipes, Strawberry Chutney, from my book, Can It & Ferment It, that is coming out this summer (7.18.17).

This magazine is available in print as well as in a digital format. To view the magazine online, click here.

6 Delicious and Unique Recipes Featuring Rhubarb

Pic from one of our 2015 harvests, when we made some jam. 🙂

The rhubarb in our home garden started appearing in early March and I still have 20 cups of it (cleaned and chopped) frozen from last year’s harvest. Year after year I make dozens of jars of strawberry-rhubarb jam and apple-rhubarb jam and today I’m in the mood for something new. After some time spent searching the internet, I created a collection of 6 recipes that piqued my interest. I intend to give 1 or 2 of these a try this week!

  1. Rhubarb BBQ Sauce
  2. Rhubarb Simple Syrup
  3. Stewed Rhubarb 
  4. Spicy Rhubarb Chutney
  5. Rhubarb Butter
  6. Rhubarb Kimchi (Fermented)

If you have a favorite rhubarb recipe not listed, please let me know in the comments.

How to Grow Alfalfa Sprouts in a Jar

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Growing sprouts is one of the easiest things you can do on your own. They are tasty and add a delightful crunch to a sandwich, salad, taco or soup.  In addition to being delicious, they are also packed with health benefits. According to Livestrong.com, alfalfa sprouts are a great source of dietary fiber, protein (important for vegan diets), and B vitamins.

To grow your own alfalfa sprouts at home, you just need a quart size mason jar (or other similar glass container), cheese cloth, a rubber binder, organic sprouting seeds, tap water and about 4-5 days.

I buy organic alfalfa sprouting seeds here. They are very inexpensive.

  • Add 1 tbsp seeds into a clean quart jar and fill with tap water until the seeds are submerged. About 1-2″ of water. Cover jar with cheese cloth. Soak overnight.
  • After the seeds have soaked 12+ hours, pour the water out that they were soaking in and rinse once more. Cover with cheese cloth. Turn the jar horizontally and slowly rotate to spread the seeds out so that some will stick to the sides of the jar. Store in a dark place (such as a dark corner of the counter top or in a cupboard), out of direct sunlight at room temperature (ideally 68-72°F). Store the jar on it’s side. You don’t want the seeds in a wet mass in the jar or they may mold. 
  • Repeat the steps of rinsing the seeds daily until the seedlings have grown 1-2″. It takes about 4-5 days.
  • My mom has grown sprouts for decades and she tells me to place the jar in sunlight for about 20 minutes once the sprouts have grown to their edible length. This gives the sprouts a chance to turn darker green.

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Soak over night, or for at least 12 hours

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Rinse daily and gently rotate the jar so the seeds can spread out and grow

THAT’S IT. IT’S SO EASY. Kids can’t get enough of these things. Once the sprouts are big enough to eat, I take what I need from the jar and continue to rinse and let them grow on my counter for a few days. If longer term storage is needed, store them in the fridge.

Enjoy!

Dreams Do Come True: I’m Writing a Book!

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Next summer, in July or August of 2017, you’ll be able to buy my book! I’m writing a book! I cannot believe it. I wrote my first 4,000 words over the weekend and although it feels good, I have a lot ahead of me. It’s an awesome feeling but also so, so scary. It’s easy to let my insecurities creep into my mind but I will continue to be positive and keep my eyes on the prize, THIS BOOK IS GOING TO ROCK.

I began canning about ten years ago and it quickly became an obsession, I’m sure many of you know exactly what I mean. After a lifelong love affair with kimchi, I decided it was time to start fermenting as well (I finally mastered my recipe two years ago). As the years go by, I’ve come to realize that most people stick to one hobby or the other, not enough of you can and ferment food. That’s when the idea came to me and I decided that I needed to write a book with both canning AND fermentation recipes, for the same produce item. Now you will be able to easily reference recipes for both canning and fermenting for the same fruit or vegetable in one amazingly resourceful book, my book!

I’m going to be laser focused over the next 9 months and do my best to produce the most delicious recipes I can come up with.

Thanks for all the love and support over the years on this blog, twitter and instagram. ❤

10 Ways to Incorporate Hydrosols in Your Life

(Photo: Pop Tika/Shutterstock)

(Photo: Pop Tika/Shutterstock)

Have you used hydrosols yet? Hydrosols are also known as “Flower Water”. If you like essential oils you’ll want to be sure to add these to your daily regimen. If you aren’t familiar with what a hydrosol is, it’s a water solution that contains micro-molecules of essential oils. The plants used in the hydrosols are steam-distilled to release the oils. So when you spray the hydrosol, each droplet of water includes some essential oil as well. They are refreshing, smell amazing and are very versatile!

Here is a list of my ten favorite ways to use Hydrosols:

  1. Mist on my face after I wash it, using the hydrosol as a skin toner.
  2. 2-3 sprays on my face perks me up if I’m feeling tired and sluggish.
  3. Spray in the air to give a fresh smell to a room and it disinfects the air as well.
  4. Spitz on minor wounds to help sooth the scratch/cut, as the hydrosol helps kill germs and aids in healing.
  5. They are even used as surface cleaners, but I only use it to clean off my cell phone and key board. I save the larger surfaces for other cleaning products. 😉
  6. Spray on my daughter’s pillow before bed to aid in peaceful rest (lavender hydrosol).
  7. I mist it on my face, neck and feet if I’m feeling hot and it instantly cools me down.
  8. It feels great on the skin after a day in the sun!
  9. In the bath! Add just 1/2 cup of hydrosol to a tub of water.
  10. Mix it in a drink, but make sure it’s safe to consume. My lavender hydrosol has a recipe for relaxing drink: Mix 1 tablespoon of lavender hydrosol, with 8oz of mineral water. ❤

I’ve also heard of people using the spray on pets for minor abrasions.

Hydrosol

 

 

A portion of these products were generously provided by  Lakewinds Food Co-op.

Safe Sunscreen Options: Part 2 of 2

Sunscreen

We are back from our Bahamian trip and I’m happy to report that none of us got sun burned! Unfortunately my daughter had a high fever our entire trip, beginning with our very first night so this put a damper on our activity level. Additionally, the weather was in the 70’s and very windy, so we were not in the sun as much as last year. However we did manage to spend a couple of days with the sunshine and we maintained a healthy relationship with the sun while doing it!

First off, I liked all of the lotions we tried. They all went on white but once rubbed in, the white color was more faint and after minutes it was soaked in and not noticeable. My favorite of them all was the Alba 45 SPF. My husband preferred the Goddess Garden spray lotion SPF 30. But he doesn’t need to apply the lotion as diligently as I do, since he’s hairy…haha… sounds funny, but it’s true. His hair offers some defense against the sun.

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Straight out of the bottles. The lotion closest to my hand is Think Sport 50, next is the Mineral Fusion SPF 30, then the Alba SPF 45 and finally Goddess Garden SPF 30.

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After I gently rubbed it in.

Though none of us in my household burned, my father-in-law did burn the back of his hands on a boat excursion. I offered him the Alba Hawaiian after-sun lotion, which he commented on as smelling great (it really does!), though he noted that it doesn’t squeeze out of the bottle easily. I agree with him, you have to twist off the cap and dig into the bottle to get out the lotion, but it’s worth it. My father-in law-also used the Lily of the Desert 99% Aloe Vera Gelly, which  helped soothe the blistering.

I loved the little Mineral Fusion SPF 30 face stick. It’s shaped like a tiny deodorant stick that glides on gracefully over the skin. I did make sure to exfoliate my face because after the first time I used it, I noticed the dry skin on my face was accentuated by the white lotion. But that’s more of a personal problem than a flaw of the product. 😉 I love that it’s small enough to toss in my bag without weighing it down. My forehead is prone to burning so I’m always re-applying and this made it very convenient for me.

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I love the little 21 SPF chap stick. As  mentioned in my first post that it doesn’t leave any residue on my lips whatsoever and it is so smooth that it’s comparable to lip gloss! I’m replacing my current chap stick brand with this one.

I’m thankful all of the sunscreens worked this year but in addition to the products, I know a large part of not burning was knowing how to protect myself effectively when visiting a place where the sun is much stronger than in Minnesota. Here are a few more tips on how to protect yourself from burning:

  • Apply sun screen at least 15 minutes before going into the sun
  • Read the application directions on each bottle and re-apply as needed, usually once an hour or after swimming/perspiring.
  • Avoid being in the sun over the hottest time of day (10am-2pm) and if you are, seek shade as relief.
  • Apply lotion liberally, if you rub it in too much you reduce the effectiveness.
  • SPF over 50 offers a false sense of security.
  • You need sunscreen even on cloudy days.
  • Don’t breathe in while using spray sunscreens and always apply them outdoors.

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All products used in this post were generously provided by Lakewinds Food Co-op.

Safe Sunscreen Options: Part 1 of 2

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Soon I’m heading back to the Bahamas. We are going to the same location we went last year in Nassau. I love taking off to the islands in the spring, but I always worry about my skin. When I was a kid I got burned badly a few times and because of that I have to visit the dermatologist annually to check my skin. GoThinkbaby.com published an article that stated that one bad burn before the age of 16 will double your chances of skin cancer. DAMN IT. But that’s why I’m so careful with my daughter’s skin. The last two times we’ve gone on vacation I’ve gotten burned and it’s frustrating because I do my very best to be careful while in the sun. Last year we had a full-day excursion on the ocean and as a result, I burned worse than I have to date, despite reapplying sunscreen all day. I was the only one in my family to burn so I figured it must be something about me and my skin.  So now that we are heading back, I am very cautious and am feeling nervous about being in the strong sun again. The burn last year really put a damper on the enjoyment of the rest of the trip for me. My skin blistered and it was so incredibly uncomfortable. This year I’m taking every precaution to NOT BURN.

Last week I stopped at the co-op I’m apart of (I talk about it a lot but I love it and I’m so happy they joined our city) and spoke to the wellness department manager. He took the time to explain the different products to me and helped me select the best options for myself and my family. I explained my unfortunate burn from last year to him and he told me something I never  knew before… he told me that even if I’m using a sunscreen with an SPF 50, but apply it too thinly, it could be comparable to using an SPF 5! That’s crazy and horrifying and quite possibly why I fried! I am so much more diligent when applying sunscreen to my daughter. We use the natural brands, that often times leave a white coating from the zinc oxide on our skin. I don’t mind leaving the thick whiteness on my child, but I do try to rub it in thoroughly on me – I don’t want to go around looking like a clown. 🙂  That would really explain why I burned so badly… I was essentially rubbing the sunscreen OFF of myself. How horrible?!

It’s important to me to use skincare products that are safe and not full of harmful chemicals. The Environmental Working Group is a great resource for checking which products are safe and I always check their sunscreen list before I purchase any. Part of the reason I love picking items up at the co-op is because they do a lot of the research for me by not stocking brands that include a lot of the unsafe ingredients. Your skin is your largest organ and what you put on it soaks into your system.

Here is a list of ingredients that are banned from the co-op’s wellness section:

  • Synthetic preservatives: Parabens, EDTA
  • Formaldehyde donors: Urea
  • Petrochemicals: petroleum, propylene glycol
  • Ethanolamines: TEA, DEA, MEA
  • Synthetic sunscreens: Oxybenzone, Avobenzone
  • Ethoxylated ingredients: PEG/PPG
  • Anti-bacterial: Triclosan
  • Antiperspirant: aluminum Phthalates/synthetic fragrances

Many of the ingredients have a common theme of being linked to one or more types of cancer. For complete details on the hazards of these ingredients, check out Lakewind’s Body Care List of Unacceptable Ingredients.

Here’s what I decided to take with me on our trip.

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The wellness expert suggested these products as they do not leave a white film on the skin as the brands I’ve used in the past. I ended up with: Thinksport Sunscreen SPF 50+, Alba Botanica Hawaiian After-SunLotion – it  smells so good I’m almost impulsed to taste it, Super Lysine coldstick SPF 21, Aloe Gel, Mineral Fusion SPF 30 Sun Stick, which is for my face and Organic Lavendar Hydrosol because hydrosol offers a wonderful refreshing spritz for the skin and it smells beautiful.

It can be intimidating and expensive to try to figure out which lotions are the best bang for your buck, so I am going to report back after my trip and let you know what I thought about my selection. Don’t mind the hangover formula… that was an impulse buy as I was checking out and you just never know. 😉

Here are some other interesting tidbits of info I learned while speaking to the wellness manager that day… he said that though people say coconut oil is a safe sunscreen, it isn’t. It only contains 1-5% SPF and that won’t do much as you are supposed to use 15-50 SPF for skin protection. However he said that it’s a GREAT after-sun moisturizer. He also told me that many of the sunscreens for lips contain petroleum and that’s bad, the best option at the store was the cold-sore chap stick called Lysine (pictured above). I have used it a couple times since last week and love it. It even makes my lips shiny and smooth as if I’m using lip gloss and there is absolutely no white residue leftover. He also mentioned that while spray lotions are convenient, they waste a lot when spraying vs. rubbing lotion directly on the body. Though I’m a fan of spray lotions when I’m on vacation and need a quick re-application and that’s why I decided to give Goddess Garden a try.

I’ll report back with my findings! Wish me luck to not burn this year!

 

 

Many products used in this post were generously provided by Lakewinds Food Co-op.

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