Friday, September 28, 2012

Weekend Recipe - Overnight Oatmeal

The weather is perfect.  There is a great harvest to be attended to or some bicycling that can be enjoyed or sight seeing as the leaves change.  These are all good reasons to spend as little time in the kitchen in the morning as possible so you can enjoy as much of the seasonal shortened days as you can.  This recipe will help you do just that.  You make it ahead in the slow cooker and serve in the morning.

Special note - it is not just because it "sounds gourmet" that I suggest the steel-cut oats.  Steel cut oats, which you can find in some stores called Irish Oatmeal, is a toasted oat kernel that has been removed from the husk and cut into 2 or 3 pieces.  You cannot substitute rolled oats in this recipe because they cook too fast and your oatmeal will be done before you wake up in the morning.

Overnight Oatmeal
adapted from

8 cups of water
2 cups steel-cut oats
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup dried apricots or peaches
1/2 to 1 tsp. cinnamon (of if you have it Backyard Patch Cinnful Dessert Blend)
1/4 tsp. salt (or less to taste)

Combine water, oats, cranberries, apricots (or peaches) and seasoning in a 5 to 6 quart slow cooker.  Turn the heat to low.  Place the lid in and cook until the oats are tender and creamy.  Takes about 7 to 8 hours.

If you want to make them on your stove, you need to craft it in a double boiler and should use about 1/2 of the recipe.  You will cook the oat mixture over boiling water fro about 1 1/2 hours, being sure to check the water level under the the double boiler so you don't burn it off.

I serve with a sprinkle of brown surgar or more Cinnful Dessert Blend.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rose Petal Facial Cleanser

Rose is very softening to the skin.  Anything that can soften will lessen the appearance of wrinkles and pores.  The roses bloomed early this year due to the heat, but as a result I harvested many more flower heads than usual rather than watch them wither on the vine.  As a result I experimented with making a facial cleanser that has no soap.  You might like to try this for yourself or a gift.

Rose Petal Facial Cleanser

Fill a glass jar with dried or fresh rose petals and cover with distilled witch hazel.  Use a chopstick to stir the mixture to remove any air bubbles, then add more witch hazel so all petals are covered. If you leave the petals uncovered they will go brown within a couple of hours.

Seal the glass jar with a screw top lid, label and date. Leave the jar to infuse in a cool, dark place for a couple of weeks. Strain and pour into dark glass bottles.

If you find the scent from fresh rose petals is not strong or even non existent, it might be worth adding some dried rose petals and re-infusing for two further weeks after you have strained the fresh rose petals. The fragrance is much more concentrated with dried petals than with fresh.

To Use: Apply to your face with soaked cotton balls.

This recipe can also be made with dried or fresh elderflowers when they are in season.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Crafting Pillows to Aid Sleep

When the days shorten and the clocks change in autumn, I sometimes have problems sleeping.  This probably goes all the way back to the insomnia I suffered from in college and this time of year brings back those memories of wondering the dorm hallways and pacing the quad trying to get myself to sleep.  Most of the time I gave up trying to sleep and went over to the museum and cataloged artifacts in the wee hours of the morning.  It helped to know the security guards who would let me in.
lemon verbena
One of the first herbal remedies I employed with my first harvest back in the early 90s was a sleep pillow blend.  I cannot sew, so these were sealed into cotton bags and later oversized tea bags which I slipped into the pillow case.  As long as I kept from putting in catnip I generally got to keep the bags for myself.
There are several herbs you can choose when putting together a sleep enhancing pillow. Lavender is a popular herb for sleep-dream pillows, and was often used by Victorian ladies to relieve headaches.  Lemon Balm and Lemon Verbena have an exceptionally soothing fragrance that is said to help depression. Rosemary was thought of traditionally as an herb that could guard against evil spirits and nightmares.
Any dried herbs you like may be added to a pillow.  Choose those whose scent appeals to you, but whatever you choose, remember that it should give off a soothing, subtle scent that promotes relaxation.  You can pick from angelica leaves, marjoram, rose petals, rose geranium leaves, lemon thyme, lavender, lemon balm, and lemon verbena.  Avoid mints as they are thought to be energizing and not so sleep enhancing.

The procedure for each blend is the same.  If using essential oil add it to the orris root powder - substitute oak moss if you are sensitive to orris root (these are fixatives, like in potpourri they help the pillow herbs keep their scent.)  Then mix in the ingredients and store in a covered jar for 2 weeks, shaking container daily.  Once cured place the dried flower mixture into a small pillow made of closely woven fabric or in a cotton teabag.

2 oz. lavender flowers
1 oz. chamomile flowers
1 oz rose petals
2 tbsp. coriander seeds (lightly crushed),
1 sm. cinnamon stick (crumbled)
2 tbsp orris root powder

Lavender-Lemon Verbena-Rosemary
2 oz. lavender
1/2 oz. crumpled bay leaves
1 oz.lemon thyme
1 oz. rosemary
1 oz. lemon balm
1 oz. orris root powder, a few drops of lavender oil

2 oz. hops
1/2 oz. Eucalyptus
1 oz. meadowsweet
1 oz. woodruff
1 oz. crushed cloves
1 oz. crushed orange peel
1 oz. orris root, few drops sweet orange oil

If you do not have the time or the herbs to craft these pillow inserts yourself, the Backyard Patch makes pillow sachets for sleep, relaxation and headaches.  You can find them all on our website under Pillow Sachets on the Bath and Spa Items Page (look down toward the bottom.)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Best Herbs for Autumn

Here is a list of the ripe perfect autumnal herbs  and some ways to add them into your seasonal cooking.

Garden Sage
Sage -- This herb gives savory flavor to sausages and stuffings, either by itself or in combination with other herbs. To amaze your friends at dinner parties, pick a handful of the thick, fleshy leaves and fry them to crispness in olive oil, then sprinkle them with sea salt. Much better than potato chips as a snack.

Peppermint -- The mint (small serrated leaves in the picture) shoots up long, lavender flowers. Don't discard the flowers! These have a strong and slightly different flavor than the leaves, and make a nice addition to salads. While most use mint to make iced tea or juleps, the mint can also be used in pestos, and to make various other Italian salsa verdes.
Flowering garlic chives -- This herb flowers in the fall with a white button type flower.  It can be used in stir-fries, or as stuffing for meat, poultry or fish. Steamed with a little sesame or olive oil, they make a fine side dish by themselves.
Lemon Balm
Lemon Balm -- Said to have healing properties, this herb in the mint family smells like lemon more than it tastes. It can make a fine addition to salads or teas, or can be macerated to make a soothing balm for insect stings or sunburn.
Purple Rubin Basil
Basil -- Once again, the flowers are the most potent part of this anise-y smelling herb, and, crumbled over pasta or fresh mozzarella with olive oil, make all the dressing you ever need. And if you like a colorful vinegar, use the purple varieties instead of the green for the best shade of magenta you have ever seen and all the same Basil flavors.
Curly parsley -- Once provided on the side of the plate almost universally in restaurants as a breath freshener (you were supposed to chew it after the meal), curly parsley is strongly flavored and a little goes a long way. Salads or pestos are its best use, or sparingly in meat and poultry stuffings. Or try stuffing a big zucchini with rice and chopped up curly parsley.
Lavender -- Identifiable by its lovely lavender flowers and saw-tooth leaves, lavender is more fragrant than it is tasty, and cooking applications are sometimes hard to find. Yet, it is indispensable in the Herbs de Provence of France, is great stuffed in a sachet and hidden in your underwear drawer, and can be sparingly used in flans, ice creams, and other sweet applications.
Thyme -- After a rainfall, thyme becomes the densest of herbs, and also one of the most pungent. Typical uses include savory stews and soups, and why not dry a handful for the winter? Much better than the jarred variety in stores.  The lemon thyme varieties make great tea and vinegar.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rosh Hashanah Slaw with Pomegranate Seeds

One of my co-workers, the one who arrives at the office most days before me, so we are the only two early birds in the office most days, is out several days this week in celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.  I am not Jewish, but I am fascinated by world religions and he shares little bits of things with me to increase my understanding which I appreciate. 

In my internet wanderings I discovered that Pomegranates are often a feature of this celebration because the pomegranate is said to contain 613 seeds, one for each of the 613 mitzvot (God's commandments). Eating pomegranates during Rosh Hashanah also symbolizes the hope that observances of the commandments and good deeds in the coming year may be as many as the seeds of the fruit.

So Steve, in honor of good wishes for the New Year.  Here is a recipe I found to enjoy Pomegranate seeds!

Lime Mint Slaw

2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp. sugar
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1 pound package of shredded cabbage and carrot slaw (or grate your own if you have time and materials it is about 4 to 5 cups)
1 Tbls. fresh dill, chopped
2 Tbls. fresh mint, chopped
2 Tbls. cilantro, chopped
2 Tbls. pomegranate seeds
2 Tbls. currents or cranberries

Make the dressing with cloves, salt, pepper, sugar, lime juice.  Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and slowly whisk in the olive oil until blended.  Taste and adjust to your liking.  Place the coleslaw in a large serving bowl and sprinkle with herbs.  Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat.  Garnish with the pomegranate and currents for seasonal color and serve immediately.  You can make the dressing ahead and chill, then toss together the slaw just before you sit down to eat.

Monday, September 17, 2012

September the month for potatoes - recipes

September is National Potato Month.  I have used this as an excuse to share potato recipes for years and this year is no exception.
In its native Peru, the potato has been a valuable food staple for nearly 8,000 years, and some 4,000 different varieties can still be found there. The Quechua vocabulary included over a thousand words to describe the cultivation and use of potatoes, and "the time it takes to cook a potato" was as an important measure of time. The potato was used as a staple medicine and was believed to ensure fertility.
When the Spaniards brought the potato to Europe in the 1570s, however, it was a different story. Europeans were suspicious of the plant, partly because they viewed it as a food for the poor and partly because it produced grotesque tubers underground and reproduced itself from those same misshapen tubers. Surely there was some deviltry associated with this! The matter was settled when in 1596 the Swiss botanist Gaspard Bauhin assigned the potato to the Solanaceae family: the same nasty clan that included the deadly nightshade, henbane, and tobacco—herbs long used as poisons, narcotics, and magic.
I love potatoes and since my husband is a Peruvian scholar, we don’t get to ignore, replace, or forego potatoes in our diet.  I even put together a “Spud Celebration” package.  This set of herb mixes is the best of the best for using on spuds and it comes with a list of the best eating potatoes and ways to prepare them.

So celebrate National Potato Month in style with these great recipes:

Green Chile Potato Casserole
Scalloped potatoes never had it so good!

5 - 6 potatoes, sliced with skins on
2 - 3 green chilies, cut into long strips
1 cup onions, sliced
1 tsp. summer or winter savory, dried
1 cup Longhorn cheese, grated
1/2 cup Velveeta cheese, thinly sliced (you can use Farmer's Cheese or Chihuahua Cheese if you dislike processed Velveeta)
3 - 4 strips bacon, cooked crisp
butter or margarine

Grease 13x9x2 inch pan. Layer potatoes, then onions, strips of chilie, Longhorn cheese, and last Velveeta cheese. Repeat until all the ingredients have been used up. Top with pats of butter and crumbled bacon. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour.

Sweet Potato Casserole
Can’t forget the Sweet Potato, this recipes is good at Thanksgiving too!

2 cups sliced sweet potatoes
1 medium onion, finely sliced
1 cups frozen peas
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1 Tbls. butter
1/4 cup water

Combine all ingredients and bake at 350 degrees until vegetables are tender.  About 40 minutes.

Tomato Potatoes

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (about 6), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 scallions, trimmed and chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 pounds salad tomatoes (about 5 medium), chopped

Place the potatoes and garlic in a large saucepan and cover with lightly salted water. Bring to a boil; cover and simmer about 20 minutes or until a fork easily pierces a potato.  Drain the potatoes and garlic. Mash with a potato masher or a fork until smooth. Blend in the milk, butter, parsley, scallions, Parmesan, and salt. Gently fold in the tomatoes.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

National Peanut Day recipes

Today is National Peanut Day so I thought I would provide you with some Peanut trivia and a recipe or two.

First the trivia:

  • The peanut isn't really a nut. It's a legume, related to beans and lentils.
  • Peanut butter was first introduced to the USA in 1904 at the Universal Exposition in St. Louis by C.H. Sumner, who sold $705.11 of the "new treat" at his concession stand.
  • Peanuts have more protein, niacin, folate and phytosterols than any nut.
  • Peanuts have more antioxidants than grapes, green tea, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, and carrots.
  • Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth
  • Peanuts and peanut butter contain over 30 essential nutrients and phytonutrients.
  • Peanuts flower above ground and then migrate underground to reach maturity.
  • Peanuts are cholesterol-free. (my favorite!)
  • Two different presidents were peanut farmers can you name them both?  (answers at the bottom)
  • November is National Peanut Butter Month, so we might get to speak about these wonder nuts, excuse me legumes again!

Now the recipes:

Cinnamon Roasted Nuts

1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup walnut halves
1 cup peanuts
1 egg lightly beaten
1 tsp. water
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. salt

Combine the nuts.  Mix together the egg and water and toss with the nut mixture.  Combine the sugar, spices and salt and toss that with the nuts until they are well coated.  Spread nuts in a single layer on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 300 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.  Break up any large clusters and allow to cool.

Recipe courtesy of The Backyard Patch 630-248-7278

I think I have shared the recipe before, but with the winter approaching, I thought it a good time to share it again.  Besides this is a great project to make with the kids on a rainy fall day.

Just-for-Birds Pudding
½ pound lard
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
½ cup raisins
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup mixed bird seeds
¼ cup honey or molasses
about 3-4 cups cornmeal
Soften the lard and peanut butter briefly in the microwave to make it easier to mix. Add raisins, seeds, honey or molasses, and as much cornmeal as the mixture will absorb. I keep this in the refrigerator and soften it in the microwave when I'm ready to put it out. I "butter" it directly onto tree branches and place big dollops of it on the tops of bird feeders; it will, however, stain tree bark. You can also freeze it in a square cake pan, cut it into blocks, and insert the blocks into suet feeders.

Presidential Peanut Farmers - Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Weekend Recipe -No butter Corn Topper

The sweet corn is reaching the end of the season, but finally we've had some rain so the corn is a bit sweeter than it was earlier this summer.  Now I love an ear of corn slathered in butter, but I also recognize that does not always enhance the flavor of the corn, it can mask it.

I have explained how to make herbal butters int eh past, so I thought this time i would share how to make an vinaigrette corn topper with fresh herbs so you can enjoy several harvest time flavors.

Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette Corn Topper

1 Tbls. lemon juice
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. freshly minced basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk lemon juice, oil and basil in a small bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Brush over hot corn just before eating.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Make a Herb Car Freshner

One of my favorite comments when someone climbs into my car is “Wow, it smells so good in here.”  I have to admit what they smell I do not because the scent of herbs is in my home and car and on my clothing so much that I have learned or been conditioned to ignore it.

But if you would like to get these types of comments, it is really simple to do.  My car smells like herbs because of the scents left behind when I transport my programs, lectures and show supplies, but you can make an herbal bundle to do the same thing without all the hard work of hauling the crates.

Bundle some fresh herbs, like lemon balm, lavender, mints, or scented geranium leaves and hang them in the car or lay them in the back window.  I love the smell of scented geraniums and I often cut small twigs of leaves and tie them together to hang from the rear view mirror or tuck into the side door pocket if my car starts to smell like garden mulch from hauling supplies out to the garden.

Try it, you will love this better than a pine-scented freshner any day!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mojito Mint - Herb of the Week

The Mojito, a traditional Cuban cocktail said to be the favorite of the writer Ernest Hemingway,  is made with rum, powdered sugar, lime juice, club soda and a mint unique to Cuba.  Since the true mojito mint is difficult to get “up north,” spearmint is usually substituted.  However I recommend that you grow a plant of Mojito Mint and enjoy its unique minty flavors.

Mojito mint and lemon verbena
True mojito mint known as Mentha x villosa is very different from other mints.  And worthy of being considered for an Herb of the Week

Mojito Mint’s scent and flavor are agreeably mild and warm, not pungent or overly sweet like some mints.  Like all mints it is easy to grow and will provide more than enough fresh sprigs for your mojitos. While recipes call for any available variety of Spearmint, the real mojito can only be made with the true Mojito Mint.

This culinary herb, a native to Cuba, was previously impossible to get in North America but thanks to Toronto mojito enthusiast Catherine Nasmith who visited Cuba in 2006, we now have the authentic plant from Cuba. Not just great in beverages, Mojito Mint also makes a great seasoning for meats and confections.

To Grow

Hardy in zones 5 through 9 it likes partial sun rather than full sun as it will react badly in full sun and high temperaturtes.  It requires normal water and should not be overwatered. The plant will not set seed accurately so it is best not to grow this plant from seed.  Instead gather it by root division, cutting or from a nursery plant.   They do very well in containers.  I grew it in a pot on the porch so I could make a Mojito anytime I wanted!

To Propogate from a stem cutting

This is good with many plants, like rosemary, scented geraniums, any variegated plant or hybrid variation, like Mojito mint.

You will need a mother plant, a sharp knife or scissors, plastic zip seal bags, Hormone rooting powder, growing medium, pots, a dibble (I just use a blunt pencil)

Collect only a small amount of material at a time and be sure to keep it in the zip seal bag to avoid moisture loss.  Choose a sturdy, non-flowering stem with lots of leaves. Cut a section just below the leaf joint and remove all but the top two of three leaves.  Fill a pot with moist growing medium.  Insert the blunt-end of a pencil into the edge of the pot and create a circle of holes. (Do not plant too close together or put one in the direct center of the pot.)  Dip the cuttings into hormone rooting powder, tapping off excess.  Place the cutting into the holes created with the dibble.  No need to fill the holes back in because when you water it the soil fills in itself. Be sure to water the pot lightly.  Cover with a plastic dome, or seal into a gallon sized zip seal bag.  You need to maintain maximum humidity. It will take 2 to 4 weeks for softwood cuttings like mint to root.  Once they are rooted transplant to individual pots.  Be sure to harden them off before moving outdoors.

I do this in the fall to make smaller plants to bring in side, so think about doing it now so the plants will be hardy by the time frost arrives.

If you just want to get a nursery plant, they are generally available from Richter’s Herbs at

To Use

Mojito Mint can be dried and used as a tea.  It has a rich flavor that is perfect with heartier herbs like rosemary and sage.  Mojito is a great herb to use to make scented oil for salves and is a nice ingredient in mint jelly.  You can also make a marinade for chicken or pork with it.  And of course it is the main ingredient in a Mojito Rum Drink.

Cuban Mojito recipethe original authentic recipe from Havana Cuba

1 teaspoon powdered sugar
Juice from 1 lime (2 ounces)
4 mint leaves
1 sprig of mint
Havana Club white Rum (2 ounces)
2 ounces club soda

There are countless recipes for the Mojito (pronounced moh-HEE-toh), but this version is for the one Hemingway himself enjoyed at the Mojito's place of birth: La Bodeguita del Medio in Havana, Cuba. If you are throwing a Cuban theme party (Havana night themed party), definitely plan on serving mojitos.

Place the mint leaves into a long mojito glass (often called a "collins" glass) and squeeze the juice from a cut lime over it. You'll want about two ounces of lime juice, so it may not require all of the juice from a single lime.

Add the powdered sugar, then gently smash the mint into the lime juice and sugar with a muddler (a long wooden device with a nobby end, though you can also use the back of a fork or spoon if one isn't available). Add ice (preferably crushed) then add the rum and stir, and top off with the club soda (you can also stir the club soda in as per your taste). Garnish with a mint sprig.

The Nojito
Here is a non-alcoholic recipe from

crushed ice
8 mint leaves
3 ounces lime juice
1-1/2 ounces sugar syrup
2 ounces club soda
garnish with mint
Fill a pint glass 1/3 full with ice, add mint leaves, lime juice
and sugar syrup. Lightly mash the leaves in the liquid using a
blunt instrument, taking care not to tear the leaves. Fill the
glass with more ice, add club soda, and garnish with mint.

Mojito Marinated Chicken

3/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup light rum (2 tablespoons)
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint (finely)
6 tbls. Mojito mint syrup
1 tbls. vegetable oil
1 tbls. kosher salt (coarse)
6 chicken breast halves (with skin and bones about 5 pounds)
3 limes (quartered lengthwise)
1 sprig fresh mint

Whisk lime juice, 1/2 cup rum, and next 4 ingredients in bowl. Place chicken in resealable plastic bag. Pour marinade over; seal bag. Turn bag to distribute marinade. Chill 4 hours, turning bag twice. Place lime quarters in shallow bowl. Pour remaining 2 tablespoons rum over, tossing to coat. Let stand at room temperature. Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Grill chicken until cooked through, about 15 minutes per side. Transfer to platter. Grill limes until soft and slightly charred, about 5 minutes. Garnish platter with mint sprigs. Squeeze grilled limes over chicken and serve.

Mint Syrup
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
8 mint leaves

Combine water and sugar in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Once the liquid is boiling and the sugar has dissolved (creating simple syrup), remove from heat. Rip the mint leaves into small pieces and combine with the hot simple syrup immediately after removing the pot from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool until the pot is cool to the touch. Now, it will be ready to add to a drink or recipe! Refrigerate the left-overs.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How Tuesday - Making an herb infused oil

Herb infused oils are used to make scented salves and beauty products and sometimes to cook with.  I have shared making Lemon Cooking oil on the blog previously.  This time I want to explain how to make an herb infused oil for making a salve.  I share this now because we are entering the gift making season and I will be sharing a few recipes for salves and toners and creams and other beauty gifts in the coming months.  I wanted you to have this base of information to work with.

Oils, unlike vinegar will not keep indefinitely, so you must use a preservative, like alcohol or another stabilizer to keep the oil from going rancid.

To Make Herb-infused oil for a salve

Infused-Herb Oil
What you’ll need: oil of your choice (almond, jojoba, grape seed, olive oil can all be used), wide-mouth jar, herbs of your choice, 190-proof alcohol

Use a ½ pint wide-mouth jar for this size recipe.  Add about ¾ cup herb of your choice (washed, chopped and air dried until they are wilty), to that add about ¾ cup oil, ore more as needed to cover the herbs entirely, but leave about 1 to 2 inches of headroom at the top of the jar.  Insert a butter knife into the jar and run it around the edge to dislodge any air bubbles.  Make sure the oil covers the herbs completely.  Then to prevent mold float about a ½ inch of 190-proof alcohol on top.  Put a tight fitting lid on top and shake the alcohol into the oil.  Remove the lid and replace with four layers of cheese cloth, help in place with a rubber band or jar lid rim.  Place in a warm dry spot for about 2 weeks or until oil has taken the color of the herbs and the oil has evaporated.  Then strain the oil from the jar pressing as much of it out of the herbs as possible.  Let the oil sit overnight.  Decant it to separate it from any sediment or water that will settle to the bottom.  A turkey baster can be helpful in doing this.

Salve from herb-infused oil
What you’ll need: a double boiler, beeswax, 8 liquid ounces of herb oil, enrichers of your choice can also be added like vitamin E, lanolin, cocoa butter, coconut oil, etc. depending on your skin type. 

Gently warm 8 ounces of herb oil ion a glass or stainless double boiler.  Add 1 Tablespoon of beeswax; add small amounts of other enriching ingredients about ½ teaspoon at a time.  When the ingredients are all melt together, you check the consistency by dropping a few drops in ice water.  If the salve is thick in will form a little ball, if thin it will spread out over the top of the water.  Simply add ¼ teaspoon of beeswax at a time to firm it up or a bit more herb oil to thin it down.  While liquid pour it into a container.  Let it sit to cool.  If when it sets it is not the firmness you like, you can reheat it and add materials until you adjust it to your desires.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Weekend Recipe - Orange Mint Skin Toner

Mint Orange Toner

It is getting that time of year to harvest and the recent rain has really made the herbs sprout.  This skin toner recipe is quick to make with some fresh mint and left over orange peel.  Orange is high in vitamin C which helps protect your complexion.  Mint leaves are high in iron and menthol which will tighten your pores after cleansing.  And while the temps are still warm, you can keep it in the refrigerator for a cooling effect.  Use this after cleansing to rid your skin of surface residue and dead skin cells.

3 Tbls. fresh mint leaves
1 orange peel
2 cups boiling water
1 Tbls. witch hazel

Place mint leaves and orange in a ceramic bowl and pour boiling water over them.  Allow mixture to steep and cool completely.  Strain out mint leaves and peels and stir in witch hazel.  Pour into a clean container with a tight-fitting lid. 

To Use: Apply Mint Orange Toner to your skin after cleansing with a clean cotton pad.  You can also use in a spray bottle after bathing or a freshner throughout the day.
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