Tag Archives: recipes

DIY Lotion Bars

Call it hippie-ism, call it The Pinterest Effect – call it whatever you want – but in recent years I’ve taken a bit of an interest in natural remedies.  It started with a quest to alleviate my severe allergies, chronic sinus infections (thank you North Texas) and tinnitus (thank you rock music), but it has now spilled over to my beauty routine, too!

diy lotion bars

These lotion bars smell light and fresh, are easy to make, and are a natural way to moisturize your skin without exposing yourself to the chemicals found in many store-bought lotions.

Supplies

  • Beeswax
  • Coconut oil
  • Essential oils (I used Orange, Jasmine and Sweet Basil but you can choose whichever scents you like)
  • Glass bowl / measuring cup or double boiler
  • Metal spoon
  • Silicone mold, muffin tin or soap mold

The silicone mold I chose to use was one that was intended to make heart-shaped ice cubes.  I bought it at IKEA a couple of years ago for a whopping $1.  I used about 1/2 cup of beeswax and 1/2 cup of coconut oil and it filled this little 12 heart tray.  If you want to make more or less, you can.  Just make sure you use equal parts beeswax to coconut oil.

diy lotion bars - three ingredients!

Start by mixing your essential oil blend in a small glass or coated ceramic container.  This isn’t just to let the scents marry, but helps ensure that your fragrance is even and retains its potency.  If you put the essential oils in later, you risk your mixture hardening too fast, which means you’ll have to re-melt it and potentially lose some of the scent to evaporation.

diy lotion bars - three ingredients!

For these lotion bars, I used 72 drops of orange essential oil (“EO”), 12 drops of sweet basil and 10 drops of jasmine.  The scent is so fresh and spring-y!

Once you’ve mixed your EOs, it’s time to melt your beeswax.  You can do this in a double boiler or in a microwave with a glass bowl – I used the latter for convenience.  Take caution when you do this, because some beeswax can spark in the microwave.  I used Country Lane White Beeswax (purchased at Hobby Lobby) and it didn’t spark.  It took about four and a half minutes for my 1/2 cup of beeswax to melt down.

Once the beeswax is liquefied, carefully (its super hot) remove your bowl from the heat source and add in the 1/2 cup of coconut oil.  This will melt very quickly because of the heat from the beeswax.

diy lotion bars - three ingredients!

Pour your EO mixture in and stir well for about thirty seconds to evenly distribute the scent.  Don’t stir too long – once this stuff starts to cool it hardens pretty quickly!

Carefully (use your oven mitts) pour your mixture into your silicone mold.  As you can see my pour was a bit messy.  It would probably be easier to pour cleanly with a microwave safe glass measuring cup, so if you have one, swap it out for the glass bowl I normally use.

diy lotion bars - three ingredients!

You can either leave them on the counter to harden, or set them in your fridge to speed the process up.  These smell so fantastic that I opt to leave them out.

Here it is after about 30 minutes:

diy lotion bars - three ingredients!

And an hour and a half after I poured them into the mold, they were solid enough for me to pop them out!

diy lotion bars - three ingredients!

To use:  rub your lotion bar between your palms for a few seconds to warm it up and melt it a bit and then smooth over arms, legs, hands; anywhere that needs moisturizing!

diy lotion bars - three ingredients!

Big Bonuses

  • Easy to use:  I used to use coconut oil by itself to moisturize.  It was messy and took a while to soak in, and I still felt a little greasy.  These lotion bars are simple to use without dripping and slipping everywhere!
  • Gentle:  I have super sensitive skin – especially on my legs just after shaving.  I have yet to experience irritation after using these little gems.
  • Customize-able:  There are so many great EOs out there, so it’s really easy to make a scent that is uniquely you!  There are also tons of different molds so you can personalize the shapes!
  • Easy to make: The whole process took me about two hours and an hour and a half of that was spent watching Arrested Development while I waited for them to harden.
  • Great for gifts:  You could give these by themselves or even pair them with my sugar scrub recipe to give the gift of baby soft skin – your friends will love you!

What natural remedies do you guys use?  Do you have a favorite combination of EOs?  Do tell…

Eats: Mexican Quinoa Skillet Dish

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t just do home decor projects at home – I enjoy cooking and I like eating even more.  And the fella works on his feet anywhere from 8 to 14 hours a day depending on the season, so he can eat a LOT.  I try to make home cooked meals at least five nights per week (try), since its cheaper than eating out and the man needs sustenance.  Anyway all of that is to say…  I’m back today with another recipe that is full of flavor and spice!

Spicy Mexican Quinoa Skillet Dish

Disclaimer: this recipe isn’t for wimps.  If you don’t like spicy food, cut the jalapeno and dial back the white and cayenne peppers… But don’t tell me about it.  It’ll just depress me.

 Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 jalapeno (I don’t de-seed mine because I’m a glutton for punishment)
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can low sodium black beans, drained
  • Olive oil

Spicy Mexican Quinoa Skillet Dish

Spices:

  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Spicy Mexican Quinoa Skillet Dish

Equipment:

  • Large skillet
  • 3 quart saucepan

The above quantities feed the fella and I for maybe three whole nights but we have serious appetites.  You could probably manage to feed eight people with this amount of food.  I love making this much early in the week, though.  The fella and I work long hours and between my full time job and working on this blog, it’s easier if I don’t have to cook every night.

Tip: mix your spices together ahead of time.  I use the above mixture of spices on like 82% of our meals.  We love spicy Mexican-style dishes and that mixture is perfect for chicken, beef and even shrimp!  If you don’t want to mix your own spices, pick up a packet of taco seasoning from the salad dressing aisle of your grocery store – I’m pretty sure it’s the same ingredients!

To start, cut your chicken breasts into one-inch cubes.  Pop them in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and your spice mixture and stick them in the fridge while you get busy with your quinoa.

Spicy Mexican Quinoa Skillet Dish

Quinoa seems intimidating, but it’s super easy to cook.  Almost the same procedure as rice.  TheKitchn has an informative post that I followed when I first started cooking with this hearty and healthy little grain.  I toast mine a little longer than most websites say; I just prefer a toastier taste.  This particular time it was about long enough for me to do some sick air guitar while Zeppelin / Black Dog played.  You needn’t know how often this type of behavior happens at my house.  Hint: it’s frequently.

Spicy Mexican Quinoa Skillet Dish

Anyway, once your quinoa is toasted and simmering in a pot, chop your veggies if you haven’t already.  If you have, pat yourself on the back for being prepared.

Spicy Mexican Quinoa Skillet Dish

Your burner should be on medium for this part.  Once your skillet is hot, drizzle olive oil and dump in your chicken.

Spicy Mexican Quinoa Skillet Dish

Once the chicken is almost fully cooked (5-6 min), toss in your frozen corn and black beans.

Spicy Mexican Quinoa Skillet Dish

Two or three minutes later, toss in your veggies and minced garlic.

Spicy Mexican Quinoa Skillet Dish

Another two or three minutes and your quinoa should be ready to go in too.

Spicy Mexican Quinoa Skillet Dish

Mix it up a bit and then turn off the heat.  Friend, you’re ready to eat now, aren’t you?!

Spicy Mexican Quinoa Skillet Dish

Spoon some in to a bowl with your favorite toppings (mine are shredded cheese, sour cream, fresh jalapenos and cilantro).  In the winter I usually squeeze in a few pieces of jalapeno cornbread with it.  Recommend serving with your favorite cerveza or a refreshing margarita!

Spicy Mexican Quinoa Skillet Dish

What do you guys like to cook with quinoa?  Do tell…

Pinspiration: Low Fat Wendy’s Frosty Copycat

Hey friends!

If you follow me on instagram, you may know that I’ve got several projects going.  Among those, one involves fabric:

image

And another one involves sanding:

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I hope to have the delicious deets posted here soon, but in the mean time….

Jessie at Fact or Pin-tion graciously invited me to write a guest post for her blog.  Her format is to test all of those crazy life hack pins to see which ones are legit and which ones are duds – fun, right?

I decided to test a Low Fat Wendy’s Frosty Copycat Recipe.

Peep the post on her blog to see the results!

Have a great day, lovies!

Eats: Rahr Texas Red Mac N Cheese

Yeah I cook too.  I know I normally post about home projects here, but another thing I do at home (a lot) is eat.  I recently got a wild hair to make scratch beer mac n cheese and holy beer boil, Batman.  It was good.

rahr texas red beer mac and cheese

Before I get to the nitty-gritty I need to address something.  I am a lover of craft beer, local beer, trying new beers, drinking my favorite beers….  If you’ve never tried a Rahr beer, obtain some by any means necessary.  This, like all of my other posts thus far, is NOT sponsored by Rahr or anyone else.  I just happen to be a huge fan.  They’re local to my area – Fort Worth to be exact – and I’ve never tried a single Rahr I didn’t like.  Not once.  Their brewery tours are ridiculous.  Three beers and a tour around fancy machinery?  Yes, I’ll have that pleasethanks.  Lets get to it, shall we?

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dry pasta – I used Farfalle (aka bow-tie pasta) which is my fave pasta shape
  • 8 oz white cheddar
  • 4 oz gruyere
  • 4 strips cooked bacon, crumbled (I used 8… more on that later)
  • 1 or 2 green onion stalks (?) chopped
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • Rahr Texas Red Beer (you’ll use one and a half bottles in the recipe, but I recommend drinking some too – after you’re done cooking of course)
  • 1-2 tsp flour
  • Garlic Powder
  • White Pepper

Supplies:

  • A pan to cook your bacon (unless you’re using bacon bits – I’m not judging)
  • 2 pots (one for noodle cookin’ and one for cheese meltin’)
  • A glass bowl (you’re gonna want to make a double boiler to melt your cheese)
  • A whisk, spoons, colander, cheese grater and other standard cooking tools

Prep Steps:

  • Cook and crumble bacon or open your package of bacon bits
  • Shred your cheeses
  • Cube or shred your butter

 

A google search told me that amber lagers pair well with white cheddar (I drink my Rahr with any food), so after a tasting where the fella and I ate a chunk of cheese and then sipped on two of our favorites, we both decided that Texas Red was the winner.  Buffalo Butt was a close second, though.  Time for happy cooking.

The first thing you want to do is cook your noodles.  In beer.  I poured one beer and 12 oz of water (just fill your empty bottle) into my pot.

rahr texas red beer mac and cheese

When beer boils, it does crazy things.  Keep your heat around 7 or 8 on your stove to avoid this:

rahr texas red beer mac and cheese

When the beer comes to a boil, toss in your noodles.  They seemed to take a tad bit longer to cook than when you just cook them normally.  If I were bathing in beer, I’d probably hang around longer too.  Whenever the noodles are done to your liking, drain them and set them aside.

rahr texas red beer mac and cheese

Meanwhile, make your double boiler.  Fill your other pot with water – enough to get good coverage under your bowl but not so much that it will spill over when its boiling.  Set your bowl on top of the pot and set your heat to around 8.

rahr texas red beer mac and cheese

Put your butter (half of a stick, remember) in the double boiler and let it melt down.  It goes faster if its in chunks or grated.  While its melting, pour in half of a bottle of Texas Red.  Drink the other half if you please but do it responsibly folks.  Just because I drink while I cook doesn’t mean its safe.  Do as I say not as… You get the idea.  I don’t have pictures of that part so here’s a Texas Red. 🙂

rahr texas red beer mac and cheese

Your water under your glass bowl should be boiling at this point and hopefully your beer and butter mixture is decently hot.  This is when you add in your cheese, bit by bit.  Give it a good whip with the ol’ whisk after each oz or so that you add.

rahr texas red beer mac and cheese

I also opted to add about a half tsp of garlic powder and a tsp of white pepper.  I like the taste of white pepper better than black, but really you can use whatever spices you’d like at this point.  I don’t recommend adding salt to this recipe.  The white cheddar and gruyere are rich and salty on their own.

rahr texas red beer mac and cheese

Once your cheese is liquefied (that part takes a bit of patience), you may want to add a tsp or two of flour to thicken the sauce.  I added only one, because I like my mac and cheese just slightly on the soupy side.

Then, my friend, put your beer noodles in your bowl of beer cheese and toss to coat.

rahr texas red beer mac and cheese

Put your beer mac n cheese in a bowl, top it with bacon crumbles and green onion, pop open a Texas Red, chow down and drink up.  Oh and remember how I said I used 8 strips of bacon?  Don’t do that.  That’s too much bacon for this dish.  I hate myself for saying that, because really there’s never too much bacon, but it’s the truth.

rahr texas red beer mac and cheese

A food photog, I am not, but it tasted 1000 times better than this picture looks.  It’s definitely really rich, and more of a hearty winter food than spring, but it was fun to make and damn delicious.

So friends, what is your nearest, dearest craft beer?  What about a dish that calls for your favorite frosty?  Do tell…