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

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!

Delicious Korean Tacos with Kimchi: Recipe

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A couple years ago my aunt found a restaurant in south Minneapolis, the Nokomis area, that served Korean Tacos. They soon became her favorite go-to meal for the evenings she didn’t feel up to cooking or didn’t have enough time to. Unfortunately, after the rent was raised at the restaurant, the owner had to close down and this left my aunt saddened by the loss of her favorite tacos. 😦 So for her birthday dinner last year, I was determined to make a Korean taco as equally satisfying for her and that’s when I came upon Bakedbree’s Crockpot Korean Taco recipe. I altered the recipe to my liking and changed the recipe to one that is baked in the oven, versus being cooked in a crockpot, so my recipe will be done in 3 hours instead of 8-10.

Ingredients:

  • 3lbs. Grass Fed Chuck Roast
  • 1/2 Cup Organic Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup BRAGG Liquid Aminos (or Coconut Aminos)
  • 1 Whole Medium Sliced Onion
  • 10 Garlic Cloves, Sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Grated Ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • Optional – Red Pepper Flakes
  • Olive oil, (or other high heat oil)
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Sea Salt
  • 1 cup of Water

Lime Cream Sauce:

  • 1 Cup Plain Yogurt
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 Lime Juiced
  • Salt to taste

Toppings for serving:

  • Kimchi (I use my homemade kimchi recipe, but store bought is just fine!)
  • Lime wedges
  • Siracha
  • Corn tortillas
  • Cilantro
  • Bean Sprouts

Pre-heat the oven to 275°F. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven and heat over medium high heat. Sprinkle sea salt, garlic powder and onion powder over the meat. Sear the chuck roast on one side, for about a minute until it’s browned. Flip the roast over to the other side and toss in the onions and garlic.

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In a bowl, stir together the BRAGG Liquid Aminos (or coconut aminos), brown sugar, vinegar, grated ginger, 1 cup of water and sesame oil. Once both sides of the roast are browned, remove the pot from the burner and add the liquid to the roast.

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Cover the roast and bake for a total of 3 hours, check on it after 90 mins and flip the roast over. Remove the cover for the duration of the cooking time. Add a 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup of water if the pan looks dry. At the 3 hour point, your roast should be very tender and pull apart easily. If it isn’t, cook another 30 minutes and check again.

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At some point while the roast is cooking, create the Lime Cream Sauce (see ingredients above) and mix together. Set in the fridge until it’s time to grub.

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Once everything is ready, grab a corn tortilla, and top it with a little of everything and ENJOY!

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YUM!

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.

Beautifully Fermented Watermelon Radishes: How to Ferment Radish Pickles

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About a month ago I tried my first watermelon radish. I quickly fell in love with the beauty that was unleashed once I cut it open.  The color burst found inside is one of a kind. I have come to prefer watermelon radishes to the regular red radish, as they are not as harsh tasting; they are a mild version of what I am used to and they are much more aesthetically pleasing.

Initially I tried roasting the radish with other root veggies and I fell even more in love with my new found friend. I was unsure what to do with the remaining radish and so naturally I decided to ferment it. 🙂 If something is good raw, it’s going to be even better fermented… that’s what I’ve come to find anyway.

I only fermented one radish and that filled up a pint sized mason jar.

To Make: Wash the radish, cut off the ends and slice it up. I used a mandolin to thinly slice the radish. Pack the slices in a jar and cover it with brine.

The brine is made up of 1 teaspoon of sea salt (or kosher salt), stirred into 2 cups of water (filtered water is preferable but not required) until dissolved. Remember to leave about an inch of space from the top of the mason jar to curb spill overs as the radish ferments. I used a glass jar weight to keep the radish from floating above the brine and molding. If you don’t have a weight, you can sanitize a rock and use that. Cover the jar with cheese cloth and let it ferment on the counter for a few days. I like to taste my ferments daily and decide when it has the taste I prefer. I fermented this just 4 days. Once the desired fermented flavor is met, put a lid on the jar and refrigerate.

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Normally I add garlic to everything but this time I really wanted to taste how the radish fermented on its own. The beautiful pink color from the center of the radish leached out into the brine and made a gorgeous pink color out of it. The radish pickle tastes even less like a radish now and is a treat to have on the side of a meal or even chopped up and added to a salad or sandwich. My 5 year old even approved of them and she’s the true test after all.

Love for Local: Wintertime Roasted Root Vegetable Recipe

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Typically in Minnesota, we think of summertime being the months of farmer’s markets, gardening and freshly plucked produce. Surprisingly there are a lot of wonderful produce options during the winter months that, I hate to admit, but I’ve looked past for years.

Recently I took a closer look at the produce section of my local co-op and found that not only was there a wide variety of root veggies to pick from, many were grown in MN and WI! I quickly gathered a basket of mysterious looking veggies and went home to experiment.

I decided the easiest way to sample all of the veggies at one time would be to roast them. Roasted veggies make a great snack and are a fantastic side dish to almost any meal. It turns out the assortment of veggies I collected included: yellow and orange carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, celery root (celeriac),  beauty heart radish (watermelon radish) and turnips.

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I became completely enamored with the radish. Who knew such a vibrant color would be hiding inside? The flavor of it was similar to a regular red radish, but with less of a punch. The celery root had a faint flavor of celery, but a texture more similar to a potato. Shockingly, the roasted rutabagas were my favorite veggie of all.

These commonly overlooked root vegetables are not only versatile but offer a gauntlet of nutritional benefits to your health. Many are rich in vitamin C (antioxidant) and phosphorus, which is important for the health of your bones. They are also high in fiber and low in calories!

How to Roast Root Vegetables

  • Preheat oven to 400°F
  • Clean all veggies (cut skin off of the celery root, peel carrots and parsnips, cut ends off of radishes and parsnips) and rough chop them into fork-friendly sized chunks

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  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
This looks more like a platter of fruit than a platter of vegetables, doesn't it? Stunning!

This looks more like a platter of fruit than a platter of vegetables, doesn’t it? Stunning!

  • Toss veggies in 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil (or other high heat oil of choice)
  • Once evenly coat veggies with oil, sprinkle seasonings of choice over veggies and mix well. I used garlic powder and Montreal steak seasoning but salt and pepper would work just as well.
  • Spread veggies out into one layer.
  • Roast veggies until tender, which is about 30 mins. Cook longer as needed.
  • DEVOUR. 🙂

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

Lunchtime Juice Recipe: Swiss Chard, Carrots, Celery, Cucumber and Apple

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For the last 3 weeks I have been participating in a 8-Week Health Challenge. The challenge includes forming better daily habits such as, not eating sweets, drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day, being active for a minimum of 30 minutes per day (I’ve been trying for an hour), eating a total of 5 servings of fruits & veggies each day as well as a few other goals. I’ve decided to revert back to a mostly Paleo diet, as that worked for me two years ago and with that, I started juicing again.

Juicing is a fantastic way to get vegetable and fruit servings in, as well as a very healthy way to blast your system with easily digestible vitamins and phytonutrients (a beneficial substance found in plants that is believed to help prevent diseases). I like to juice at least a couple times a week over lunchtime. It’s always surprising how filling the juice is and what an energy rush I get from having it.

Here is the latest juice I made and it was so tasty I had to share it on the blog.

Organic Ingredients:

  • 2 Carrots (rich in vit. A, C, K, B8 as well as folate, potassium, iron, copper and manganese)
  • 1 Apple (rich in antioxidants, as well as a great source of vit. C)
  • 3 Celery stalks (a wonderful source of vit. K, A, C and also contains folate & potassium)
  • A Bundle of Swiss Chard (a great source of vit. A, K & C as well as potassium, iron & magnesium)
  • 1 Whole Cucumber (full of vit. K, C, B1 as well as copper, potassium, manganese & biotin)

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Don’t forget to add some water to your juice and mix well before drinking.

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The juice turned out to be a dark brownish green (not the prettiest juice I’ve ever made), but the flavor was wonderful and all of the ingredients complimented each other well. No one ingredient overpowered the others.

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One tip I have is to line your juicer “waste bin” with a plastic bag. The pulp will gather in the bag for a super quick clean up.

To see what other healthy meals I’ve been eating over the last few weeks, check out my Instagram. To see my other favorite juicing recipes, click here.

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

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