I’ve grown basil every summer for many years—sometimes in a garden, but lately in a large pot, since I don’t have space for a garden right now. I love making homemade pesto with my basil! It’s really easy to make and there’s nothing like cutting fresh basil from your own garden or pot to make it!Continue reading
Roasting veggies is great in the cold weather months because not only do they taste really good, your kitchen also gets nice and warm and cozy as the veggies are roasting! These Honey-Roasted Root Veggies have a slightly sweet taste from the honey and they roast up nice and tender. I based this on a recipe I found at MyRecipes, changing the amounts of some of the ingredients.Continue reading
Have you ever made your own soap before? I really like the idea of using homemade soap with natural ingredients and have been interested in trying to make some myself. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to review the new book, The Best Natural Homemade Soaps: 40 Recipes for Moisturizing Olive Oil-Based Soaps (Robert Rose, softcover).
The book starts off by sharing some interesting history about soap making. In ancient times, soap mainly consisted of a mixture of boiled fat and ashes. The first people to make olive oil soap were the Syrians, several thousand years ago in the city of Aleppo. “The women of Aleppo realized that by adding ground bay leaves to soap, skin infections were reduced considerably; the leaves from the bay plant possess an extraordinary natural antiseptic.” And other soap-making discoveries continued over the centuries.
This book also includes preparation tips and utensil and ingredient guides so you have everything you need to make your own olive oil-based soap. The step-by-step instructions seem easy to follow and include information on therapeutic qualities of the natural soap additives in each particular recipe–additives like essential oils, beeswax, cocoa butter, kaolin clay, seaweed, and goat’s milk. Some of the 40 different soap recipes include Kiwi Soap, Lavender Soap, Marigold Soap, Seaweed Soap, Green Tea Soap, Chocolate Soap, Coconut Soap, Cinnamon Soap, Rosemary Soap…and many more great-sounding versions!
I was going to try making the basic Olive Oil Soap recipe. The ingredients are simple and basic enough–mineral water, lye (caustic soda), and extra virgin olive oil. However, I wasn’t able to find lye in any stores near me, so I guess I’ll have to order some from a soap-making supplier (there’s a list at the back of the book). In the meantime, I have permission from the publisher to share the recipe with you! Note: You’ll need safety goggles, a large saucepan, and a kitchen thermometer to make this soap.
OLIVE OIL SOAP from The Best Natural Homemade Soaps
- 7.5 oz. mineral water
- 3 oz. lye (caustic soda)
- 1.5 lbs. extra virgin olive oil
- Scent (optional), store-bought or homemade
- Wearing gloves and goggles, pour mineral water into a large saucepan. Add lye slowly, stirring gently until it is dissolved.
- Using a thermometer, monitor the temperature of the lye mixture until it is between 120˚F and 140˚F.
- Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, heat olive oil to between 120˚F and 140˚F.
- Remove olive oil from heat. Add lye mixture to olive oil, stirring slowly and trying not to splash.
- Stir occasionally, every 15 minutes or so, until the mixture thickens and congeals (it will have a texture similar to that of light mayonnaise).
- Stir in scent (if using). Stir for 1 minute with a spoon (or with a whisk, taking care not to create foam).
- Pour into a greased or paper-lined soap mold. Gently tap mold to remove any air bubbles.
- Cover with a blanket or towel and let stand for 2 days. Uncover and let stand for an additional day if the mold is very large.
- Turn soap out of mold. Wait another day, then cut into bars as desired.
- Dry bars for 1 month, turning occasionally to ensure they are drying uniformly.
Soap recipe from The Best Homemade Natural Soaps: 40 Recipes for Moisturizing Olive Oil-Based Soaps by Mar Gomez, 2014 © http://www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.
This sounds like a great soap for your skin! Homemade soap is a great DIY gift idea, too! Do you use or have you made any olive oil-based soap, or any other kinds of soap?
Linked to Thursday Favorite Things.
It’s been awhile since I tried a new hummus flavor. I’ve made quite a few different kinds of hummus already–like Avocado Hummus, Lemon Artichoke Hummus, Black Olive Hummus, Black Bean Hummus, Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus, Pumpkin Hummus, and good old regular Hummus! Roasted Red Pepper Hummus was next on my list. It was worth trying–the roasted red peppers, blended with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and other spices give this hummus a nice flavor and a creamy consistency that’s great for spreading on pita bread or other breads (I also like it on sourdough) and also for using as a dip with veggies, tortilla chips, or crackers. If you’re a hummus fan like I am, you just may want to try this out!
ROASTED RED PEPPER HUMMUS by NancyC
Makes about 2 cups
- 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
- 3/4 cup roasted red bell pepper pieces from a jar, drained
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons olive oil (start with 2 and add 1 more if consistency is too thick)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Optional: 1 to 2 Tablespoons additional finely chopped roasted red bell pepper from jar, for garnish
In a high-speed blender or food processor, add all ingredients and mix until everything is well blended.
Spoon hummus into a serving bowl and garnish with chopped roasted red bell pepper if desired. Serve with crackers, tortilla chips, fresh veggies, or warmed or toasted pita bread. Note: the garlic and pepper flavor get a little stronger the day after this hummus is made.
I’m glad hummus is healthy, because it’s one of my favorite things to eat or snack on. What’s your favorite healthy snack or dip?
Avocados are so good and since I was making some more homemade hummus, I decided to experiment by making an Avocado Hummus. It came out pretty much like I thought it would–really smooth and creamy, with that great avocado flavor, but also the traditional flavor of hummus mixed in. It makes a great dip, served with pita bread, tortilla chips, or crackers– or spread it on some crusty bread and top it with tomatoes and some crumbled feta cheese for a light lunch! If you like trying different flavors of hummus, you’ll have to make this sometime!
AVOCADO HUMMUS by NancyC
Makes about 3 cups
- 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1 to 2 fresh cloves of garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 avocados, peeled, seeded, and cut into small chunks
- Optional: 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Put all ingredients, except the salt, in a food processor or high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy. If mixture is too thick, blend in an additional Tablespoon or two of water. Stir in the salt, to taste, if desired, then spoon hummus into a small bowl and serve with pita bread, tortilla chips, or crackers.
I wanted to mention, too, that I have a healthy soup recipe featured in Raw Food Magazine, in their latest September/October issue!
It’s a digital magazine filled with lots of healthy recipes and articles on fitness, nutrition, and living a healthy lifestyle. You can find out more about it at RawFoodMagazine.com.
You can also find my recipe for Tomato Basil Avocado Soup on my blog right here. It’s an easy, delicious, raw food recipe. Do you use raw food recipes often?
Linked to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener.