Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Are they made from real Girl Scouts?"

It's that special time of year when those cute little Girl Scouts make good on their word and return to you with those rainbow colored boxes of cookies! This year I ordered Thin Mints, Caramel deLites, and the new Shout Outs! The first two are what we order every year. (I always store Thin Mints in the freezer!)

The Shout Outs! have no trans fat, no artificial coloring, no artificial preservatives, hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup. I didn't know that when I got them, I just thought that a "Belgian-style carmelized" cookie sounded pretty darn good. They've got inspirational words on them, too. I wish I had enough restraint to save some of these to make a pumpkin cheesecake crust this fall!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

All Natural Liquid Soap

I know soap isn't something to be eaten, but everyone must washes their hands right? Right!? God, I hope so. I've always been obsessive about washing my hands, so I make sure to use a good moisturizing soap. Last week I was looking at the ingredients to see what made up my soap. I have to say I consider myself a smart person, but I didn't know what 1/2 of the ingredients were, what they were there for or how to pronounce them! I try to use natural products when I can, but the natural liquid hand soaps always seem to be so expensive and make my hands dry. What's a girl to do? Make her own soap, that's what!

Being 2011 I did what any person would do - jump on the Internet. I found tons of ways to make and customize your own liquid soap, but the one I chose was super easy to do with ingredients I didn't have to use beakers to make.

I used one 4 oz. bar of of Burt's Bees Naturally Nourishing Milk and Shea Butter (chop it up, finely) and one gallon of distilled water. You heat the water until it begins to boil. Once it starts boiling take it off the heat and add the chopped soap. Let sit for 15 minutes to melt down. Once it's melted give it a good stir. If you have any extra ingredients to give your soap an extra umph add them in now. Let sit overnight to thicken. Stir, let sit 10 min. You're all ready to go for some hand washin!

What I added in: One cup of strong green tea adds antioxidants. I used a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to moisturize and 2 tsp of honey to restore damaged skin and help retain it's moisture. Real honey people. Not that fake flavored syrup junk. Honey is one of the most amazing things that can be found in nature! I added 1/2 cup of rose water to act as a natural anti-inflammatory for itchy dry skin. A couple drops of *Lemongrass essential oil were added in as an antibacterial and a spirit lifter. You don't have to use it if you don't want to, but I did since the lemongrass scent and properties were apealling for kitchen use. Finally to top it all off, a leaf off of Spike, my aloe vera.

The result is a slightly thicker than Dr. Bronner's viscosity. You can use less liquid if you want really thick liquid soap. I apologize for not having pictures. My camera is out of batteries, and I've yet to go and get some. Eep!

*Some people may have a reaction to this oil. Test a small amount on skin if you're not sure. If you do have a reaction put vegetable oil on it. It acts as a diluter to reduce discomfort.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cherry Banana Mini Muffins

I know it's not a traditional Valentine's Day dessert, but making banana bread is a silent, delicious smelling way of saying I love you. I added in some chopped maraschino cherries to give them a little cherry flavor and to make them slightly pink. For 1/4 batch of the muffins I added in some unsweetened cocoa powder. Yummy! The chocolate ones were my favorite. Steve, my boyfriend, liked the plain ones better. (That's alright! More for me!)

Sorry about the sort of poor picture quality. My kitchen is kinda dark, so it can be challenging to take pictures that look decent.

Hope you had a good Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Hey, Cupcake! Bring them sweets over here!"

I love eating sweet things so much my boyfriend lovingly refers to me as a hummingbird. I like to bake breads, pies and cookies. Above all, my favorite thing to make is cake. Cupcakes, layer cakes, plain old sheet cakes - It doesn't matter. I love cake. I created this blog to showcase my love of baking and the things that inspire me. I'll post pictures of things I've made, articles of interest and occasionally some ramblings of some sort.

Ready to hop on the Sugar Rush Express? Here we go!

(Side effects of reading this blog are: jittery movements, extreme hunger, weight gain, diabetic coma, excess energy and the uncontrollable urge to slather yourself in buttercream frosting.)