Archive for October, 2008

Coated with white sugar, those Molasses & Ginger Cookies are the perfect cookie to bake on a Fall Day, like today, when the leaves are turning into their autumn colors and surrounding us with peace. Bake a bunch and bring it to your friends…!

3/4 cup of butter
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 cup of sugar
2 tsps of ground cinnamon
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 tsp of ground ginger
1 egg
1/2 tsp of salt
2 cups of flour
2 tsps of crystallized ginger, chopped up
2 tsps of baking soda

Mix all together. Chill the dough. Roll in balls, coat them in sugar and place on greased cookie sheet. Use a juice glass dipped in sugar to flatten the balls. Bake at 350F, 10 minutes. Make about 24 cookies

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Once upon a time, there was a bubble…

Once upon a time there was a bubble, dying to get out in the open, in any form possible and in any fragrance available to its nose.

That bubble came to me in my handmade soap : Rose Bouquet, that I made yesterday. Absolutely like a bouquet of fresh roses. Highly potent, but not at all sharp, this Rose Bouquet soap makes my whole house smell like my local flower shop.

Each bar of soap weights a beefy 6oz each and I left them all looking bulky and ruffled, looking like a bed unmade on a Sunday morning…
After making soap for one year now, one of the great things that I have learned is : no experience is ever wasted!
When it comes to matters of fashion, colors and scent, one must never forget the importance of a French accent… I’m french…
*I’m still experiencing, so my soap is not for sale, it is for my own pleasure only.

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Oh, even if I try to stay away from my yeast and my white flour and all the carbs in the house, I just love making big huge wonderful BREADS!!!!

It has been a passion for me, for as long as I can remember, to make a loaf of bread from nothing. I don’t even follow a recipe. I just do it by feeling the dough and adding left over ingredients that are in my fridge.

So today, it is raining outside and I felt like making breads. This one contains main ingredients and also others like, left over grease from the lamb rack cooked yesterday; left over shopped green olives and feta cheeses from Sunday brunch and a blend of spices that I mixed together from my cupboard (curry, marjolaine, celery seed, thym, basil, garlic and powder mustard).

Here are the main ingredients :
2 cups of warm water
3 tblsp of white sugar
2 tblsp of powder yeast

Disolve the sugar in water, and sprinkle the yeast of top, let it double in size.
5 cups of white flour (give or take)
1 egg
2 tblsp of grease or oil or butter
a pinch of salt

Mix the egg, grease and salt together. Add the yeast mixture. Add the flour, one cup at a time, with your hand, mix it all together until reaching a sticky dough.

Put flour on a working surface, drop the dough and work with your hand with extra flour to obtain a nice shiny dough, that is no longer sticky to the touch. Grease a bowl, drop the dough in it and cover the bowl with a clean wet cloth. Let it rise until double size, on top of your stove or other warm place. After the dough has reached double its size, uncover and punch down the dough, to remove any air. Place the dough back on the working surface and knead until soft. Divide the dough into section (usually 2), places the sections in greased pans, cover with a dry cloth and let it rise again until double in size (about 30 minutes).

Bake at 375F, for about 35 minutes until a tap with your fingers on top of the bread will sound hollow to you. Enjoy!

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lip balms

Green tea and cucumber as in : lip balms and not something that we could eat!
I have to write this recipe down for myself, to keep track of my trials and errors : here I go :
Making lip balms is so easy, anybody could do it, with ingredients already in your kitchen. The main thing to remember is the % of the ingredients used to make the lip balm sticks together and reach a very desirable final product, full of softness and wonderful tasty flavors.
MMS gave me the starting point of my project and from there, the sky is the limit to my creation. Of course, as I’m not incline to very complicated calculation, I decided to start with a final result : I wanted to make 2oz of lip balms. That been said, here we go :
Coconut oil, 25 % of 2oz is : .50oz (Coconut oil is excellent as a skin moisturizer and softener)
Cocoa butter, 15% of 2oz is : .30oz (cocoa butter contains natural antioxidants that prevent rancidity and give it a storage life of two to five years)
white beewax, 20% of 2oz is : .40oz (a component of sealing
Olive oil, 40% of 2oz is : .80oz (excellent oil to generate and moisturizer for the skin)
I added 6 drops of liquid vitamin E (heal scars and dry skins), and 6 drops of Green Tea & Cucumber essential oil to the melted oils.
Now, all these ingredients can be found at Whole Food, Hobby Store or some supermarket. I ordered my lip balms containers on the net here and also, this site will provide you with a tutorial on how to make lip balms.
The final result gave me a very smooth lip balm product, one that can hold itself in small round containers, as well as in those pencil like sticks. My loved ones will get tons of lip balms for this Christmas, for sure!
*to add SPF to a lip balm, use Shea Butter as an extrat ingredient. It provides a natural ultraviolet sun protection.
Now, in this picture, I made exactly the same recipe but instead of using Green Tea & Cucumber essential oil, I used Vanilla. The recipe gave me 22 tubes of lip balm, .07oz each. So easy to do…

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Filled Pineapple Cookies

If you have time, stop at Moogie & Pap’blog for this wonderful recipe : Filled Pineapple Cookies

I will be making this recipe and post my result later on, on my side.

It is not very often than I see a filled cookie, with other jams than the Strawberry’one. I can just taste the freshness of the pineapple in this one!

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Making handmade soap again…!

Cooking could also means : making Soaps, since it involves the heat, the mixing, the measuring and the art of loving making recipes…

Well, after one year of having made Sandalo, Baby blue, Patchouli and Lavender handmade soaps, I have decided to make others batches in the coming two months.

First, I gave away most of my handmade soaps because I like to make my friends happy and it makes me happy. But like any artist, I kept some, hidden, in a box, in my closet. The more the soap stays unwrap, stored in the dark, the more riped it will become.
This soap, Lavender, for exemple, was made last October 03, 2007 (yes, last year) and I rebatched that one, meaning that I did one batch, let it sit for two days and cut it up in pieces again to remake it by heating the already made soap. The final product was not at all what I expected, the bars stayed too soft for at least two months.

Now, one year after making this one, I don’t believe the end result. What a marvelous soap to the touch, the smell of lavender is there but not overwellming. Lavender flower buds were added to the last minute. I have about 20 bars left, a marvelous soap, for the woman!

Patchouli soap, my favorite, one that I have barelly 10 bars left and that I will keep for myself. First, the smell of patchouli would disturb any passionnate woman on this earth. I made this soap for myself, with household ingredients like ground coffee, mixed spiced and many drops of Patchouli oil. It was made last November 2007 but the end result was a bit questionable. The soap got very hard right after two days of the making. After having waited 30 days before using it, once the soap got wet, it kind of gave us a glue like texture, leaving a brown trace on the dish soap, and melting in the water. I was very dissapointed, my favorite smell in the whole world… So I did put this soap aside, for a year, and to my surprise, now, I’m using it every day to my delight. It stays as a soap bar by itself, even when it is wet and the smell of patchouli…. man oh man…
My Baby You, was my first soap I made with melted wax crayons, I know but if you come to think about this, wax crayons are made of wax with incredible colors and it is not damagable to the skin.
Heck, read all the ingredients on a commercial soap bar and come back to me please!

This soap was made with baby powder, baby oil and olive oil. This is a great soap for removing make-up and giving the skin this overall young glow. Don’t ask me why, I just make them… I made two big batches of this one and gave away half of it. Right from the start, I could tell this soap would be a success by the smell of it and by the colors. Wow! It was made October, 25, 2007. I have about 10 bars left.

Sandalo, was my last soap I made, just before Christmas time, last year, November 2007. It turned out marvelous. I used Sandalo oil to give it a sweet and soft smell and over one year, it has acquired a very soft feeling and smell. I have about 25 bars of this one, keeping it safe under my clothing in a drawer, for only me to use.

There is no telling in the feeling I get each time I grab one of those bars and smell it. It brings me back directly to the country side of my young; the simplicity of life wraped in a sniff of the moment!

Now, don’t take me wrong here but out of those batches that you see here on my site, I made a tons of others that did not turn out very well and I ended up in cutting them in little pieces and used them all over the house, for added smell and decorations. Making soap is a very personal voyage, one that will lead you wherever you want to go and with whatever ingredients you have on hand that day, for making a batch. Soap making is very simple to do, with a basic knowledge and the internet is a wonderful place to learn by yourself to do it. Don’t be intimidated by the many sites, staying simple is the key ingredient here, nothing else! That been said, I will get back to my notes and start planning a November 2008 batching of making handsoaps! Yes!

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