DIY Moisturising Body Butter for ladies

Recently I did a tutorial on body butter for men, it’s a great whipped body butter and I’ve been told that it works a great and also works well for psoriasis by my aunt.

20171112_202154.jpg

I’m currently in the states for turkey day (sorry turkeys) and decided that not only would I bring a LOT and I mean a LOT of soap that Ive made (as per the above picture), I would make various lotions for the family. Just a quick note to say that whilst Europe seriously doesn’t seem to care about the transport of soap in your hand luggage, America’s TSA take personal offence at them (apparently the shape and weight make it very suspect), be prepared for questions and searches, even when you’ve already cleared two other security points! I decided that not only would I make lotion for my dad but Id also make some whipped body butter for my nana and mother (and secretly Id make something for myself). I made three versions of this (yes, I made a LOT of body butter for the lay-deez), geranium (Jesus, this is a scent that I honestly did not get on with, it actually made me gag and smelt nothing like roses! I was literally turning my head away as I whipped it trying not to breath), lemongrass, and tea tree and eucalyptus body butter.

Why this whipped body butter is good for you?

  • Shea butter: It contains vitamins A and E and is rich in fats that make it an excellent emollient and skin moisturising agent.
  • Coconut oil: It has antibacterial properties, protects against fungal infections and can prevent premature ageing.
  • Sweet almond oil: Enriched with vitamin E, monounsaturated fatty acids, proteins, potassium, zinc, and a number of other minerals and vitamins. It is a mild, hypoallergenic oil, it moisturises the skin without irritating it further, its good for eczema and psoriasis.
  • Castor oil: Heals inflamed skin, reduces acne, moisturises skin, fades blemishes, prevents stretch marks and reduces pigmentation.
  • Mango butter: Due to its rich minerals and vitamin content, it can heal scars. It is high linoleic and oleic acid content, making it good at maintaining the skin’s elasticity and flexibility.
  • Vitamin e oil: Can improve the appearance and texture of rough and dry skin due to its role in maintaining skin barrier function and helping the skin to retain water.

1511448581314

DIY Whipped Body Butter For Ladies

Makes: 210g(ish) Prep time: 5 mins Cooling time: 3+ hours Overall time: 4 hours minimum

  • 1/2 cup (110g) Shea butter
  • 1/4 cup (55g) Coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup (55g) Mango butter
  • 1/8 cup (30ml) Sweet almond oil
  • 1/8 cup (30ml) Castor oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
  • 20 drops essential oil – as above, I made 3 batches which were geranium, lemongrass, and tea tree and eucalyptus – I added a few more drops to get a more intense scent
  • Clean pots to put your product into or when all else fails, tupperwear!

20171115_133019.jpg

How to make this girly body butter:

1. Over a double boiler combine the shea butter, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, castor oil, and mango butter. Once its all completely melted, combined and no lumps at all, remove from the heat. 20171115_133035.jpg

2. Allow your mixture to cool for 15-20 minutes. Once it has cooled down, add in your essential oil and vitamin e oil. If you add the essential oil whilst its melting or still very hot, they can be damaged by temperatures in excess of 100F (38C). This can result in reducing their therapeutic value and may cause skin irritation.20171115_134850.jpg

3. Now the waiting game starts, you need to wait for it all to cool down and start to solidify before you can start whipping it. For me, this literally took HOURS and HOURS. I tried beating it a few times in hope that it was ready and it just really wasn’t! In the end, I left it overnight (bottom left), and it was solidified and ready to be whipped. The top left and top right picture are the various stages of it solidifying and me trying to whip it and it just not working. Now that I have made so many of these, it really does whip best once its solidified. Once it is good to go, use your hand mixer and whip it good! I whipped mine for easily 5 minutes but probably closer to 10, you want medium peaks but not soft floppy peaks.

4. Now to take your whipped body butter and put it in a pot and label them. When putting it in the pot, you will need to tap the air out of the pot where you’re putting it in the pot. I lightly (or not so lightly) tap the pot against a counter top to release any air bubbles in the pot, yes, this does make the lotion slightly less airy but not enough to make a difference and it ensures you fill your pot entirely.

I created labels for the pots, so that there wasn’t a mystery as to what is in them. I used a glossy self adhesive printer paper (for laser, as thats what I have), measured the pots and changed the font according to the size of the pot. As with anything you’re giving to someone, its best to list all the ingredients to avoid any allergic reactions.

The great thing about this whipped body butter is that you dont need much at all, a little really does go a long way. I use it as a day and night cream for my face, along with as a lotion for my hands and body, so it really is an all in one body butter/cream. I personally like lemon grass as a face and body butter, as its not overly strong in scent and doesn’t seem to affect the scent if I wear a perfume. Tea tree and eucalyptus are also great for the same reason but does smell slightly more strong.

This is a great example of how truly easy it is to make your own products or products that will moisturise and nourish you and your family.

*Notes: you do not have to whip this body butter, you can use it as is once its solidified, however, whipping it gives it a fluffier and lighter texture.

*When making body butters, potions, lotions, soaps or any body product, always make sure that the equipment, spoons, bowls etc you use will NEVER be used for edible purposes again and are only used to make body products with.

*When using any essential oils directly or indirectly on skin, ensure that you stay out of sunlight or UV rays for up to 12 hours after application. This might sound quirky but as per this article, the combination of sun and essential oils can cause the skin to severely burn and blister.

Remember to share with friends or just keep it all for yourself! 🙂

DIY Gift: Hot Chocolate on a Spoon

Does being a hostess mean I have the mostess? Since starting my social group for expats, I seem to be hosting far more gatherings and events than I ever have, from parent and baby groups to ladies who chat over coffee and adult evenings where chat is had over a lot of beer. Having a sense of humour and being able to laugh at my own awkwardness helps a lot, I host parent and baby groups and yet have no children. The other parents naturally ask, ‘Do you have children?’, I awkwardly smile and say ‘No, I’m a crazy cat lady, just cats for me.’ I do get a lot of strange looks but they seem to be grateful the meet up has been arranged, so I get a pass, even if it is a slightly awkward one.

I recently hosted an expat event, it was equally horrifying and exciting. I decided that pizza and beer would be a great theme, its casual and yet combines two things adults love. I would make the pizza and the people would bring the beer (the irony here is that *I* dont actually drink beer). Then I secretly prayed that I wouldn’t have any gluten-free attendees. The pressure one person can put on themselves to host an event is incredible! I decided it wasn’t enough to open up my home (spending a day in advance cleaning it to be pretend like Im some sort of organised and tidy adult), to buy all the ingredients and make the pizzas from scratch, along with brownies and snacks, no no, I also needed to give a thank you gift to the attendees who came. Yes, Im sure its party planning rule 101 – one must give a gift of thanks for those who take the time to attend. Right! Great, now I need gifts, what gift do I give? Homemade gifts are the best gifts to give, it shows you’ve taken the time and initiative to make something, because clearly everything you’ve done above simply isn’t enough. 🙂 I thought, its practically winter, cold, rainy and what is something I can play on with that, and then like any good idea a light bulb went off, HOT CHOCOLATE!!! As I shouted ‘giddy up’ and fist pumped in the air, I started to make the list of things to buy to make these gifts.

Ive previously made hot chocolate on a spoon (normally I give it to close friends at Christmas with their gifts) and have learnt what I like and what preferences people seem to like. Hot chocolate on a stick is VERY popular, its all over Pinterest and other internet locations. However, Im not a fan of sticks, I think of sticks and have visions of dogs running across a field with a large dirty muddy dribble soaked stick in its mouth. Oh hell no! Im equally awkward when I go into coffee chains and they only have the little wooden stirrers and I think ‘surely be an adult means Im capable of using an actual spoon!?”, I know, environmentally friendly, rah rah rah blah blah blah, just give me a spoon! I also find the texture of a stirrer weird on my tongue but we wont get into that.

1510953516393

Makes: 15 shot sized glasses   Prep time: 15 mins  Cook time: 20 mins   Mixing and Filling time: 15 mins Total time: 50 mins

What you need to make these really great drinkable treats:

  • 9 oz. milk chocolate (not chips)  – I used 3 x100 gram bars
  • 7 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (not chips) – I used 2 x 100 gram bars
  • 1/2 c (59g) cocoa powder
  • 1 c (115g) powdered sugar/icing sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoons salt
  • 2 (10g) teaspoons ground cinnamon (or go wild and use pumpkin pie spice!)
  • 15 large marshmallows or 150 mini marshmallows
  • 7 mini candy canes (optional) – I put a mini candy cane in every other hot chocolate made, some people dont like them, so lets not force them to eat it.

Supplies

  • Plastic spoons
  • Plastic shot glasses (approx. 15) – you can use glass shot glasses ( you can use them to mould the mixture or you can give them away as part of the gift.
  • Cellophane to wrap each gift
  • Ribbon to wrap around each gift and to attach the label with

*Please note that I doubled the recipe for the pics below as I knew I wanted to make a lot and I couldn’t find shot glasses but I found double shot glasses instead, sure lets do that!

20171117_190609.jpg

Now to make these awesome drinkable treats:

1.  Chop chocolate into small pieces (or you can grate it if you really fancy it) and combine in a glass bowl. You can either microwave in 30 second bursts on 50% power, stirring between each burst, or you can use a double boiler (as I did) and allow it to melt over slowly over simmering water.

I was a bit of a idiot and thought super hot water = quicker melting time and actually seized the chocolate. Not going to lie, I didn’t even realise that you could ‘seize’ chocolate. I was able to rescue mine (hooray!) but play it safe and melt it slowly.

20171117_191324.jpg

2. In a separate bowl, sift together cocoa, powdered sugar, cinnamon and salt. Set aside. You need individually grease each shot glass (THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT!!!), I used vegetable oil on a paper towel (kitchen roll) and lightly greased the inside of each shot glass.  This allows easy removal of hot chocolate once its set.

3. Once the chocolate has completely melted, mix in the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Mixture will be very thick, similar to brownie batter.

20171117_200809.jpg

4. I used two teaspoons and spooned the chocolate mixture into each cup or you can spoon the mixture into a piping bag (no coupler or tip is needed) and pipe it into the cups. I find the mixture too thick if Im honest and thought it easier just to spoon it into the shot glasses.

After you have filled all your shot glasses, shove a spoon in each one, ensure that it is straight, this will allow for easier wrapping. I then took a large marshmallow, cut it down the middle half way through (NOT all the way through) and then shove it over the spoon. When using mini marshmallows, I put 4 around the spoon and then just before I tie the bag up, I shove in about 6 more, as 4 mini marshmallows isnt enough!

Leave chocolates to dry a few hours.  Once all shots are dry, you can remove carefully from the glasses, the heat from your hand should be enough to release them from the glass, (obviously plastic is thin and this takes longer with an actual glass shot) wrap hand around glass around 10-15 seconds. I released each glass but put them back in the glass, to make it easier to remove when the giftee receives them and uses them.

I created the attached template that I use for labels on every cup. I print it back and front and it works great!

hot chocolate on a spoon

After everyone was full of pizza and beer and heading on their way out the door into a cold wet Dutch autumn evening, they were delighted with little gems.

Ive decided to work out the prices for these so you can see how affordable these great edible gifts are, all prices are based on prices at Albert Heijn unless otherwise stated (where the cheapest option has been chosen):

  • 3 x100 gram  milk chocolate bars  = €0.49 a bar = €1.47
  • 2 x100 gram  dark chocolate bars = €0.49 = €0.98
  • 1/2 c (59g) cocoa powder = €0.45
  • 1 c (115g) powdered sugar/icing sugar = €0.40
  • 2 (10g) teaspoons ground cinnamon = €.14
  • 15 large marshmallows or 150 mini marshmallows = €0.83
  • plastic spoons = €0.53
  • Plastic shot glasses = €1.29
  • Above total is €6.09
  • Total price per shot glass gift = €0.41

Remember to share with friends (and maybe take one for yourself to enjoy)! 🙂

DIY Nourishing Winter Lip Balm

Not that long ago I posted a tutorial on making a chocolate lip balm, whilst this was indeed a tasty treat for your lips, it didn’t feel very nourishing or last very long (this could be as a result of constantly licking ones lips constantly because it was so sweet). I decided to take inspiration from Reform Stead and make something a bit more hearty for the winter. 20171115_135912

I also realised that its possible to melt down lip balm that didnt work, with my chocolate lip balm, the top layer went funny as it was basically honey and cocoa only, making it gooey and not in a good way. I decided to melt it down, clean out the tubes and make something else. I put it in a double boiler, water outside and inside the pyrex dish, it took about 20 minutes to melt but totally worked without affecting the tubes at all.

This lip balm is firm and when you put it on, it feels waxy but in a good way, you can tell its providing a protective shield.

DIY Nourishing Winter Lip Balm

Makes: 11 lip balms Making time: 1 hour  Dry time: 24 hours minimum Overall time: 25 hours

  • 2 tablespoons grated beeswax or beeswax pellets
  • 2 tablespoons shea butter
  • 1 teaspoons sweet almond oil
  • 1 teaspoons castor oil
  • 10g Mango butter (I used a small piece from the pot)
  • 20 drops cherry essential oil

Now to make these nourishing balms

1.  Over  a ban marie or double boiler (or cheat like I do and use a Pyrex jug in a pan with water) add the beeswax, shea butter, almond oil, castor oil and mango butter in a small heat proof bowl. Bring the water to the boil and then allow to simmer, until the mixture is just melted. You can stir the mixture but you dont need to stir it constantly.20171115_204505

2. Whilst your oils and butter are melting together, get your lip balm containers ready. I find it easy to put five (5) together and wrap a rubber band (loom bands work perfectly) around them, this stops them falling over when filling them. I also like to put them in a small plastic container, so that if there is any spillage, its contained. I find it easier to use my Pyrex jug making lip balm, as the spout on the jug allows for easy pouring.

3.  Once fully melted, turn off heat and take container out of the pan. Allow your oils and butters to cool.  If you add in the essential oil now, it can damage it. You dont want it to solidify but just to be cooler. Once it has cooled down, add in your essential oil and stir well. You may decide to add more or less the recommended amount, thats ok. Once you get a scent you are happy with, call it done. 20171115_205531

4. Pour the mixture into the lip balm tubes and allow to cool completely. Do NOT pour all of the mixture into the tubes (leave 1-2 teaspoons spare). As your mixture cools, A (small) depression will form in the center, use the spare balm that you didn’t use to fill this in, leaving a even finish. Simply reheat the leftover balm and add it to the tubes. Allow your lip balms to set over night.

Technically now you are done with your lip balm, HORRAY.  Like last time, I decided to take it a step further and created the labels for the tubes. I had a few glossy adhesive sheets, which were perfect for this! Be sure to clean the outside of your tubes before applying the labels! You will have drips and this will affect the adhesion!

20171116_130506

So here are a few resources that I found and were SUPER helpful (ish). Whilst I dont sell my products I still want to present them in a professional way. Labeling Your Products : Lip Balm gives great advice on how to create labels that meet a USA legal standard, even offering a free downloadable template. I wasn’t sure how to even create a template, as I wanted mine to be unique and this free template was the right size for small lip balm tubes. I tried using it but Word and I started getting into a fight and my images were shifting and yeah… In the end I measured my tubes, length and width (kind of guessed here) and then went into word, made four columns, sized them accurately for the tube and went from there. Oh and if you didnt know, you can get all kinds of great royalty free photos at Pixabay, a great selection you can use across all your crafts!

Notes: You can change the scent by using a different essential oil, I would actually suggest sweet orange oil but I think cherry works well for winter or any season.

I bought my lip balm tubes on Ebay but they can be found a variety of different stores.

Remember to share with friends! 🙂

DIY Whipped Body Butter For Men

Man products (as I like to call them) are totally underrated. I get that lotions, potions, balms, and scrubs are a girls paradise BUT men have needs too! Ok, we’re not talking about those kinds of needs… We’re talking soap, skin and lotions. I’ve been making what I call ‘Man Soap’ for a few years, it’s a basic soap with sandalwood essential oil with a bay leaf in the middle, giving it the essence of man and nature. I like to think men smell it and they automatically flex their muscles and beat their chests, ok ok ok, I know I’d be boring without my imagination! Seriously though, when you think products, you think girly stuff galore but you don’t really think dude wash, man lotion, or man maintenance products!

Cedarwood essential oil is GREAT for the skin and is known to treat eczema and other skin conditions. My aunt has had great success (within a using it a few times) with treating her psoriasis with this whipped body butter, where other ointments haven’t previously worked.

My dad has super sensitive skin, something that I inherited. As a result he is incredibly limited in what he can use, as am I. My dad is also what you’d call a ‘mans man’, not the type that smashes beer cans on their chest but more the type that spends 80% of his life outdoors and wears a LOT of camouflage and not just when he’s outside. He’s also not the type to go to the store and spend more than 30 seconds in an aisle looking for lotion or comparing what the best or more natural product would be for him.

I wanted to make a super moisturising non greasy lotion that he could use in the winter or generally for dry skin that had a ‘manly’ scent, allowing him to avoid the beauty isle entirely.  I came across this recipe that I realised I was able to alter and make it my own!

1510597179687

DIY Whipped Body Butter For Men

Makes: 210g(ish) Prep time: 5 mins Cooling time: 3+ hours Overall time: 4 hours minimum

  • 1/2 cup (110g) Shea butter
  • 1/4 cup (55g) Coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup (55g) Mango butter
  • 1/8 cup (30ml) Sweet almond oil
  • 1/8 cup (30ml) Castor oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
  • 20 drops cedarwood essential oil – I added a few more to get a more intense scent
  • Clean pots to put your product into or when all else fails, tupperwear!

How to make these manly products:

1. Over a double boiler combine the shea butter, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, castor oil, and mango butter. Once its all completely melted, combined and no lumps at all, remove from the heat. 20171113_110835

2. Allow your mixture to cool for 15-20 minutes. Once it has cooled down, add in your essential oil and vitamin e oil. If you add the essential oil whilst its melting or still very hot, they can be damaged by temperatures in excess of 100F (38C). This can result in reducing their therapeutic value and may cause skin irritation.

20171113_111657

3. Now the waiting game starts, you need to wait for it all to cool down and start to solidify before you can start whipping it. For me, this literally took HOURS. I tried beating it a few times in hope that it was ready and it just really wasn’t! So I’d leave it another hour and then go back. The picture on the left was an hour before it was ready. Once it is good to go, use your hand mixer and whip it good! I whipped mine for easily 5 minutes but probably closer to 10, you want medium peaks but not soft floppy peaks.

4. You need to put it in pots. This for me filled 1 large pot and 2.5 medium pots.

I also created labels for the pots, so that there wasn’t a mystery as to what is in them. I ensured that the logo was consistent with my soap and TADA my dad has his own range of man maintenance products!

The great thing about this whipped body butter is that you dont need much at all, a little really does go a long way. Start with the amount that is the size of a pea and work from there.

A female scented version of this recipe can be found here.

This is a great example of how truly easy it is to make your own products or to save your dad the hassle of the beauty isle!

*Notes: When making body butters, potions, lotions, soaps or any body product, always make sure that the equipment, spoons, bowls etc you use will NEVER be used for edible purposes again and are only used to make body products with.

*When using any essential oils directly or indirectly on skin, ensure that you stay out of sunlight or UV rays for up to 12 hours after application. This might sound quirky but as per this article, the combination of sun and essential oils can cause the skin to severely burn and blister.

**Before I forget (again), you can also make this for your boyfriend or husband, however, as you can tell Ive now been single for such a long time (after 5 years, you stop telling people the real amount of time) that I dont even think of these things and when I think of love, I have visions of my cat and only my cat. Yes, she is also the screensaver on my phone…

Remember to share with friends or your Dad! 🙂

*Edits: Ive been told that this whipped butter treats psoriasis exceptionally well and other dry skin conditions as quickly as within a few times of using the body butter. Cedarwood essential oil is well documented in treating eczema and other skin conditions, which I believe is the element that makes this so good for psoriasis. I used it specifically for its woody masculine scent but it is also great for the skin!

DIY Dump soap

I’ve never really understood the fascination with YouTube, apart from Simons Cat and the occasional make up video (yes in my 30s I still have no real idea about make-up and get hints and tips from teens, OH the shame), I’ve never spent hours just watching random videos. I’d rather spend the hours on Pinterest, however, in my search for soap inspiration, Id thought Id give YouTube a go and WOW, just WOW. I quickly realised that anything really over eight minutes is well beyond my attention span and that honestly after the five minute mark I’m starting to lose interest and looking for glitter and shiny things to keep me interested. I came across a video that made a unique fun soap, allowed me to use the existing soap I already had and made me think it was easy – I should have learnt my life lesson by now, if it looks easy, it really isn’t! However, after a few days and LOTS of melt and pour base, Im pretty pleased with the results! What I love about the soap is that I was able to use off cuts of colours that I already had, so really I was just ‘dumping’ what I had to create a new soap, happy soap recycling! 🙂

Its that time of year where I need to stock up for the holidays, dear friends and family, please look surprised when you get these!

DIY Dump Soap

  • 2Lbs (1 Kg) white melt and pour soap base
  • Mica to match the colours you want to achieve, you really want a minimum of 3 but up to 5 colours
  • Essential Oils/Fragrance oils for your desired scent, I used cherry, vanilla and peppermint for this to keep in line with my Christmas theme
  • 4 tablespoons Castor oil (optional)

This soap isnt straight forward and requires quite a lot of prep.

I screen shot a picture of the soap that I was using for inspiration and then tried to mimic the needed shapes from there.  What you need to create in your prep stage is:

Screen Shot 2017-11-03 at 17.44.30

You need ‘shreds’ which are the feathery looking shapes to the right of the soap. I used unscented pieces of left over soap from my shape/embed cut outs and just cut them to quite smallish sizes. You need curls, I created these using mica powder and scents (vanilla&cherry-red and peppermint-green). Pour a thin and thicker layers into your pans, allow to set, remove and then roll into curls, as per the second picture where there is a red curls. I also created little hearts which are quite wide, as I was bored and looking for other shapes to, I wanted something different than the curls. Honestly you can use any shapes but you need them to be lengthy so that when you cut the bars you see the shapes.

Whilst you’re creating your curls, create your first layer of the bar. I used red and scented it cherry and vanilla, I added in a small bit of castor oil for a better bubble on the soap. You do not want this layer to be very thick but maybe 3cms/1in.  Allow it to set whilst you’re creating your other bits which will all stack on top of the base layer.

Once you’ve created all your curls, shreds, and hearts, now onto creating the bar! Super important note, cover EVERYTHING in alcohol as you go, every time to you go to touch something to add to the soap, spray it with alcohol! It makes such a massive difference and ensures good adhesion between the layers and pieces.

Taking your base layer, on one side, DUMP in the shreds to one side, remember to spray them all with alcohol as you go. On the opposite side to it, place some of your curls, ensuring that the majority of the length of the mould is filled.  Put in you curls in different directions so that the ‘seems’ are in different directions to each other. Remember to cover everything liberally in alcohol!

Now you are going to want to melt the rest of your white base, for me my mould was massive and it took about 3lbs/1.5 Kgs to fill!!!! I scented this with peppermint and added in 2 tablespoons of castor oil. You want the base to cool down once its melted, so that it doesn’t melt the items you’re pour it onto. Unfortunately I let mine cool just a bit too much it it was ok. I filled it roughly 2/3 full at this point, so that I could add in the last of my embeds/cut outs.

You can see the white base was setting with the pour but this was ok as I knew I was adding more over it after I out in the next layer of embeds/shapes. BE SURE to give your mould a gentle shake so that the soap gets in all the little holes and crevices and there are no air bubbles. I now added in all my little hearts I wanted to ensure there were enough so that no matter what I cut the bars there would be heart shapes, so dump them in! Once you’ve set all your embeds/shapes cover it with the last of your white soap base, remember to spray everything with alcohol, even the finished layer of white base.  Allow to set for 24 hours. This was the most difficult part for me, as I REALLY wanted to know how it had come out. However, I also realised that I needed a knife to cut the soap, so I needed to go shopping before I could. Fast forward 24 hours with a new knife in hand!

This is how the outside looked, It was obvious that I had a new air bubbled which bummed me out but I thought I needed to cut it first to see if it would just crumble into a mess or hold up. I measured it out to 1 inch bars, to be honest, they probably could have been slimmer given they are really quite wide. I used a bread load pan rather than a actual soap loaf pan, which would have given a better finish and everything would have been more compact but given I was just using what I had, Im pleased.

20171104_183603

Im really quite pleased with the outcome, yeah I have more white space than the original but for me, it works. It smells great and its held together, so win win. I think its a good outcome for a soap where you basically just dump stuff in!

I hope you’ve found this tutorial helpful and enjoy your adventures in soap making!

Remember to share with friends! 🙂

Pumpkin pie from scratch

This is one of those instances where I happily go to back to my American roots. I scream, you scream…oh wait, no, no, wrong edible reference. Its autumn, the leaves are turning and there is a chill in the air, you see pumpkins in the stores, at the markets and on peoples porches. Yeah, they are a cute carved decoration but even better to eat! You start to think of ways to ensure that your pumpkins don’t go to waste.  The great thing about pumpkins is that they dont taste of much, so you can flavour them any way you like.

I love pumpkin pie, I mean I LOVE it, there is just nothing else quite like it, the taste, the texture and the feel of autumn and the holidays that it brings to you. I’ve said it once and I’ll said it again, I HATE recipes that are not really recipes. ‘Whats this non recipe – recipe?’ You ask… In this instance the ‘recipe’ would call for 1 unbaked pie crust and 1 can of ready-made pumpkin pie filling.  You see this all the time on Pinterest, like cake recipes that call for 1 box cake mix… Whilst these are recipes, just very bad ones, there are no elements of anything required, I mean even the FUN is left out of this. Ok, I’ll admit it, I’m jealous of places where such ingredients are available and you aren’t forced to bake from scratch. However, I am not in a country where such ready made ingredients exist and have to bake from scratch which lead me to making my own EVERYTHING from scratch this time round. I have no problem with cheating, in the UK I could get a short pastry and do everything else from scratch, fake baking I called it but no more fake baking for me! I can now say that I made my own short crust pastry and whilst it wasn’t perfect, it was an edible imperfection.  This recipe does take time, hours, and patience but it’s totally worth it. Oh and I successfully introduced 3 people (Hungarian, Vietnamese, and Dutch) to the amazingness that is Pumpkin Pie this week, which I think makes me a Pumpkin Pie Converter 🙂

Pumpkin Pie (with pumpkin filling and short crust pastry from scratch)

Makes: 1 large 10in pie Prep time: 1 hour  Cooking time: 50-55mins Overall time: 2 hours

For the Pumpkin pie mixture:

  • 2 cups (450g) pumpkin puree
  • 1 tin (14oz or 397g) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I’ll be honest and use at least 2 and then in some extra for good luck, I LOVE cinnamon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mixed spice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the short crust pastry:

  • 1 1/2 cups (192g) plain flour
  • 1/2 cup (125g) unsalted butter
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly whisked
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) ice chilled water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • extra flour for dusting

First we will work on the pumpkin element of the pie, as it need to cool while we are making the crust.

For the pumpkin puree:

I cheated and used pre prepared pumpkin (I know I made a big stink about cheating at the top but this is hardly cheating). If using a pumpkin in its original round form, cut it down, remove all the seeds and strings. Before you start cutting it into chunks, get your vegetable peeler out and peel the pumpkin. Be warned that the skin is tough! Once the skin is removed, cut into chunks.

Place your diced pumpkin into a steamer and steam until tender, which shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes.

Once your pumpkin is tender, put in food processor to puree until smooth. Now get a strainer out and put over a bowl. Pour the pureed pumpkin into the strainer to allow the excess water to drain, allow to drain until no more water comes out, this will take a few minutes. This is vital to the recipe, as the excess water will RUIN this recipe, making it far to watery to set.

Once the pumpkin has drained, put it on a shallow dish for at least 20 minutes to cool. (If you use hot pumpkin to make the mixture, it will scramble and cook your eggs before it even goes in the oven, which is not nice.)20171029_120501

Now onto the pastry element

Place flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter in a food processor and process until it resembles course breadcrumbs. Add in egg yolk and water and process until dough starts to come together and form large clumps.

 

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Do not overwork your dough at this stage, as it will make it tougher and cause it to shrink when baking. Pat it into a disk and cover in clingfilm. Leave it to rest for 15-30 minutes but no more than 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Once your dough has rested, time to roll it out. On a very lightly floured surface with your 3 teaspoons of water, roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it is 3mm thick. I got my pan and checked it a few times to make sure it was big enough to go up the sides too. Any excess dough that goes over the edges of the pan, trim them off, fill in any gaps you might have with this dough.

Place a sheet of baking paper over the bottom of the pastry and fill with baking weights or rice (uncooked) before baking. Remove the weights halfway through the baking time. Bake the pastry in an oven preheated to 180 degrees celsius (350F) for approximately 15 minutes. You don’t want to completely cook the crust as it has another 40 minutes to go with the filling in, yes this does mean the base is undercooked but its FINE, I mean it’s not amazing or a unicorn flying over a rainbow but it works. Its kind of a pumpkin pie thing.

Now back to the pumpkin pie filling:

Preheat the oven to 425F (220C). Place your pumpkin puree in a bowl and mix in the sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices, vanilla and salt. Mix until smooth. Pour into the crust. (Yes my eggs were double yolked and I did NOT add in 4 eggs, I have an entire box of double yoked eggs!)

Bake for 15 minutes at the high temperature and then reduce down to 350F (180C) for another 40 minutes. You want a knife inserted into the centre of the pie to come out clean. Allow to cool completely. When the pie comes out of the oven the top looks a bit puffy but as you can see it will naturally drop as it cools, this is NORMAL. Keep in refrigerator in an air tight container. This can serve with whipped cream.

If you’ve never had pumpkin pie, this will convert you. Pumpkin pie isn’t overly sweet, as you can see from the recipe hardly any actual sugar is added to it. Pumpkin doesn’t have much of a flavour and takes on the spices, leaving you a fantastic cinnamony treat. It is a lot of effort, as you can see, but TOTALLY worth it!

Notes: Why do I steam pumpkin and not boil it or roast it? Effectively I think steaming it gives the best flavour profile (for baking, which is generally what I use it for), boiling I feel boils the flavour out and with roasting, you normally have to add oil to the tray for them not to stick/burn and I find the pumpkin can adsorb the oil, which isn’t great for baking.

Remember to share with friends! 🙂

 

DIY Chocolate Cake Lip Balm

So I came across a recipe that combines chocolate with lip balm, hooray! I mean really, who doesn’t love chocolate? So naturally I decided to adapt it to fit me and I have to say its been a success! I found out that my lip balms were quite soft (VERY soft), in my adaptation Ive added in more beeswax.

Chocolate lip balm

DIY Chocolate Cake Lip Balm

Makes: 12 lip balms Making time: 1 hour  Dry time: 24 hours minimum Overall time: 25 hours

  • 4 1/2 teaspoons grated beeswax or beeswax pellets
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon almond oil
  • 1tablespoon cocoa butter (grated)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon vitamin E oil,
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Over  a ban marie or double boiler (or cheat like I do and use a Pyrex jug in a pan with water) add the beeswax, coconut oil, almond oil, and cocoa butter in a small heat proof bowl. Bring the water to the boil and then allow to simmer, stirring mixture until just melted.

2. Whilst your oils and butter are melting together, get your lip balm containers ready. I find it easy to use 5-8 and wrap a rubber band (loom bands work perfectly) around them, this stops them falling over when filling them. I also like to put them in a small plastic container, so that if there is any spillage, its contained. I find it easier to use my Pyrex jug making lip balm, as the spout on the jug allows for easy pouring.20171024_164914

3.  Once fully melted, turn off heat and take container out of the pan. Stir in the honey, cocoa powder, vitamin e oil, almond and vanilla extract. Make sure all ingredients are fully mixed and even. Be quick and mix well!

4. Pour the mixture into the lip balm tubes and allow to cool completely. Do NOT pour all of the mixture into the tubes (leave 1-2 teaspoons spare). After you have poured two, stir the mixture again, do this until you’ve filled all your tubes (this is important!!! With mine I just poured the mixture and was basically left with just cocoa and honey at the bottom of my pyrex jug, this wasn’t what I wanted). As your mixture cools, A (small) depression will form in the center, use the spare balm that you didn’t use to fill this in, leaving a even finish. Simply reheat the leftover balm and add it to the tubes. Allow your lip balms to set over night.

Technically now you are done with your lip balm, HORRAY.  However, I decided to take it a step further and created the labels for the tubes. I had a few glossy adhesive sheets, which were perfect for this! I thought this would be easy, sadly it wasn’t as straight forward as I wanted and I ended up having a fight with Word. (Be sure to clean the outside of your tubes before applying the labels! You will have drips and this will affect the adhesion!)

So here are a few resources that I found and were SUPER helpful (ish). Whilst I dont sell my products I still want to present them in a professional way. Labeling Your Products : Lip Balm gives great advice on how to create labels that meet a USA legal standard, even offering a free downloadable template. I wasn’t sure how to even create a template, as I wanted mine to be unique and this free template was the right size for small lip balm tubes. I tried using it but Word and I started getting into a fight and my images were shifting and yeah… In the end I measured my tubes, length and width (kind of guessed here) and then went into word, made four columns, sized them accurately for the tube and went from there. Oh and if you didnt know, you can get all kinds of great royalty free photos at Pixabay, a great selection you can use across all your crafts!20171024_222052

Im really pleased with the results. I also put mine in the refrigerator overnight to set but honestly, it wasn’t necessary. The top of my lip balms were cocoa and honey, which tastes great but it is a bit weird at first, luckily it was used by the first 3 uses. This lip does go on clear but if you wipe at your mouth you will see a slight brown tint but no one would know you were wearing chocolate cake lip balm. 🙂

Notes: You can change this to White Chocolate by using white chocolate drink POWDER instead of cocoa powder. Additionally you can add in flavours if you want to by replacing them with the almond extract, which is what Im planning on doing next. Ill update with my next lip balm creation.

I bought my lip balm tubes on ebay but they can be found a variety of different stores.

Remember to share with friends! 🙂