Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Relaxing Bath Salts Recipe

Just reposted a recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs on making bath salts.  Thought I'd pass along my own recipe.  This leaves your skin so soft.  You can also grind up oatmeal and add it as well.  This is great for sensitive skin and rashes.  Do some research on the essential oils you add however.  Some can be harsh on the skin.  Tea Tree, Lavender and Geranium are some that are great in this.  Cinnamon and Clove are too harsh.  Tea Tree, Lavender and Geranium are also great natural antifungals.  You can also just add Almond, Grapeseed or Olive oil instead of the essential oils and that is also great for sensitive skin and rashes.  I like to use seasalt if I have any on hand.  The Epsom salts are also great for sore and tired muscles.  Enjoy!

Make Your Own Bathsalts

The basic ingredients are table salt, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) & Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate). Some herbalists also use borax. I prefer to add sea salts if I have them on hand, if not plain table salt works fine.  Add the salts to a large bowl in these proportions:

3 parts Epsom salts
2 parts baking soda
1 part table sea salt (or borax)
Essential (scented, herbal/floral) Oils

Mix thoroughly using your hands to stir the ingredients. Some people will tell you to use a spoon or other utensil, although others find the salts work better if you use your hands. This is now the base from which you can create a wide variety of bath salts. You can add colours to bath salts. Use plain food colouring for this purpose, letting it fall drop by drop onto the salt base. If two or more colours are required to mix an exotic hue (such as purple), mix these in a spoon first and then add to the salts to avoid creating a two-toned product, unless of course, you plan on a two or three tone salt. Add many drops for a darker coloured salt; fewer for a lightly hued salt. Mix the colour into the salts until it is evenly distributed; again use your hands or you may use a utensil.

Now add the essential oils drop by drop, one ingredient at a time, until the scent seems right. using your hands and fingertips, mix it until all salt particles are moistened. This may take up to fifteen minutes or longer. As to proportions, rely on your nose to determine the exact quantities. The more potent the finished products' scent, the less will have to be used for each bath. They should be strongly scented.

To use, add from 2 tablespoons to one-half cup of the bath salts to a full tub. Mix with your hands into the water. Enjoy your homemade bath salts!

Gumbo and Turkey Sausage Recipes

I made homemade turkey sausage yesterday and later also made my gumbo using the sausage.  Both of these are great recipes.  For both I basically looked up some recipes and came up with my own based on my own tastes and a little trial and error.  I do that alot with my recipes. 

As for the gumbo recipe I found two or three recipes from people that were experts on Cajun cooking and sort of combined the recipes and made some tweaks to make it my own.  When I made this yesterday, I didn't have any shrimp on hand and didn't put in any chicken either but I did have some leftover BBQ and it was great!  Possibly the best batch I've ever made.  I substituted the shrimp stock for chicken stock.  You can pretty much substitute any kind of meat (well, maybe except lunch meat).  This is spicy, so if you don't like spicy food you can try cutting the Cayenne pepper back to 1/4 - 1/2tsp.  I myself love spicy food and to me this isn't that spicy but it does have a nice kick. 

Homemade Turkey Sausage
1 lb. Ground turkey
¾ tsp. Ground ginger
1 ½ tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Sage
¼ tsp. Cayenne pepper
1 tsp. Ground black pepper
½ tsp. Onion powder
2 cloves of garlic or 1 tsp. Garlic powder
½ tsp. Dried thyme
½ tsp. White pepper
1 ½ tsp. Splenda brown sugar or 3 tsp. Brown sugar
1 tsp. Paprika
dash allspice

Mix everything together in a large bowl. Knead until all spices are incorporated well.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and coat with nonstick cooking spray or a small amount of olive oil. Form the turkey sausage into patties and fry until browned on both sides and no longer pink in the center. Cook approximately 15 minutes.

for maple sausage add
¼ tsp. Maple flavoring or 2 tbsp. Maple syrup

Chicken, Shrimp and Sausage Gumbo
12 - 16 oz. of shrimp
16 oz. (1 qt.) tomatoes
14 oz. smoked sausage or Andouille sausage
12 oz. turkey sausage (see turkey sausage recipe)
½ cup oil and/or butter
½ cup flour
12 oz. okra
1 large onion
1 or more cloves or garlic
3 stalks of celery
2 green bell pepper
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. file powder
1 tsp. parsley
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. lemon or lime juice
1 qt. shrimp stock

Add a little oil or melted butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the turkey sausage, onions, celery, bell peppers, okra and garlic until the sausage is cooked and onions are translucent. Cook okra until they are no longer sticky. Set aside.

Add ½ cups oil to a large heavy cast iron skillet. Add ½ cup flour and stir until completely mixed. Put the skillet in a preheated oven at 350 degrees and bake for 1 ½ hours stirring at least two or three times while baking. When done, the roux should be a dark chocolate brown. While it is baking, you can peel and devein the shrimp if needed. If you don’t already have shrimp stock available, go ahead and make some now with the shrimp shells. Add about 2 – 3 cups of water to a stock pot, add the shells and some seasonings if desired and boil for at least an hour. Strain off everything but the broth and reserve.

If you want a quicker method for the roux, you can also cook in a stockpot on the stovetop. Stirring constantly over medium-high heat until the roux becomes a chocolate brown color.

Add all of the roux to a stockpot. Return vegetables to the pot. Add the tomatoes. Add the shrimp stock. Add bay leaves, salt, basil, thyme, cayenne pepper, black pepper, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, lemon or lime juice, turkey sausage and smoked sausage or andouille. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Add shrimp. Cook an additional 10 – 15 minutes or until the shrimp is completely cooked and has turned pink.

Remove the pot from heat and add the file powder and stir. Let it rest for about 15 minutes. Be very careful not to overcook the file powder or it’ll turn stringy.

Mound rice in bowls and ladle the gumbo over and serve.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

New Jewelry

I've created these to go in the local store.

Blue Floral Pendant on a Velvet Cord with two pair of matching earrings.  I'll probably sell the necklace and earrings separately.

Large Aurora Borealis Crystal Heart Pendant with a pair of matching earrings.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My journey to the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure: Why I'm Walking

I thought this was well worth passing along.  Carolyn contacted me a few months back asking if I'd be open to contributing some of my handmade peppermint swirl soy candles.  The answer was a resounding "YES!!".  My own mother has been battling cancer herself and was recently hospitalized due to the cancer spreading into her brain.  Fortunately, the surgeons believe they got it all and she came through the surgery with no lasting damage.  She's had to go through another round of chemo and is still recovering but all considering is doing extremely well.  This is a topic that is close to my heart.  I recommend everyone check out Carolyn's blog and support her in her efforts. 

My journey to the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure: Why I'm Walking: "I lost my mother, Anne Forcier Watson, a little over 4 years ago. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001, and outlived the doctors' ..."