Rebatch Soap

I decided to include old samples whole for some chunks of color. This is all my soap trimmings from the past 2-3 years.

Rebatching soap is as easy as taking any lye soap, shredding it and melting it down in a crock pot by adding small amounts of water in tablespoon amounts until it becomes a thick mashed potato consistancy. You can do this for old soap, ugly soap or scraps of soap. Then use a handheld mixer to get it all combined. Add color or scent if you want, all colors mixing together like I have here makes an undisirable brown/grey color. I added a bit of a brilliant blue to make sure it wasnt a brownish sort of grey. Charcoal is also a good additive if your getting an unappealing color. You can also sort the colors of soap you are rebatching to start with if you are using large amounts of various kinds of soap. If I planed the surfaces for perfection I them I would have quite a bit more to work with but it’s easier to just throw it all together.

I added an even blend of Frankincense, Sandalwood and Patchouli which makes a very clean scent. It also goes well with all the mixed smells that are already there.

Vanilla Coconut Cream Cake

This is one of my favorite cake recipes.

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup dairy-free butter, room temperature

1 3/4 cup sugar

5 eggs, separated and at room temperature

1 teaspoon coconut extract(optional)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 cups cake flour

1 cup coconut cream

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 can of dairy-free premade vanilla frosting ( I do, I hate making frosting!)

Instruction

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 baking dish.

Empty contents of can of coconut cream into a bowl, microwave for 20 seconds, mix until combined and smooth. Measure your 1 cup of coconut cream once fully mixed.

Technique: Creaming the butter properly is important in the overall consistency of the batter.

In a bowl, cream together the coconut oil, butter and sugar using a standard mixer on low until it is white and fluffy. Incorporate one egg at a time followed by the coconut and vanilla extracts, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix for another 30 seconds.

While mixing begin adding the coconut milk and flour in quarters, mixing well with each addition.

Detatch and clean the whisk attachments for the egg whites.

In another bowl add the cream of tartar to the egg whites. Beat on medium for 6-7 minutes to form soft peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter in thirds.

pour into a 9x13in pan and smooth evenly with a spatula. I added some food dye in a mantra swirl design.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer in the center area of the cake comes out clean.

Cool completely before frosting.

Fruit Smoothie

Smoothie shops, at least every one I have ever been to has added sweeteners and concentrated flavors to mask the fact that part of what you are getting is just blended ice. Ice, is not an ingredient to a good smoothie, you want frozen fruit so that you need no ice at all.

The basic Ingredients of a Smoothie

Bananas are essential for texture in a good smoothie, they bring the creaminess to the smoothie. I like to peel a few bananas and freeze them in freezer safe zip-lock bags. Freeze them before they start getting spots for the best flavor. They last for about a few weeks in the freezer. Any fruit you aren’t going to use can be frozen for smoothies instead of letting it go bad.

Aside from preventing waste there is pre-packaged frozen fruit from the store. They sell it packaged individually but premixed bags, are my usual go to.

The standard selection of individual frozen fruit that I can find in my region is Mango, raspberry, cherry, peach, strawberry and blueberry. There are also pre-packaged blends of Peach, Pineapple, and strawberry; blueberry, cherry, and strawberry; and blueberry, raspberry and strawberry.

For the liquid portion of your smoothie you can use any citrus juice, or fresh peeled citrus, pomegranate juice, canned coconut milk/cream, apple juice or pineapple juice. I have even used hibiscus and lemon teas in a smoothie because I was out of everything else.

Additional additives, any fresh fruit, canned pineapple, powdered freeze dried fruit, to make it a little less healthy there also the addition of sorbet and fruity alcohols like coconut rum or tanqueray.

The ratio and the rest

(disclaimer: I never actually measure the ingredients, I just eyeball everything.)

1 banana

1 cup of frozen fruit

1/2 cup of liquid

Adjust slightly this way or that to get the correct consistency. It can change slightly from one combination to the next.

Add all ingredients to a blender, you want just enough liquid that it starts to blend smoothly. If things freeze up and stop moving when blending, remove and shake the blender and add another ounce of liquid until it blends smoothly. Continue to blend for about 20 seconds. Pour into serving glasses and immediately fill the blender with about a cup of hot water and a tiny drop of soap, blend it on the pulse setting a few times and pour out the soapy water into the sink. Rinse the blender clean and then enjoy your smoothie.

Here are my three favorites

Mango Smoothie

1/2 cup of canned coconut cream*

1 cup frozen mango chunks

2 bananas

Empty can of coconut cream into microwave save dish and microwave for 15-20 seconds, mix until you get a consistent thick coconut cream in it’s liquid state.

Citrus Berry Smoothie

1 cup frozen mix of blueberries, raspberries and strawberries

2 peeled seedless oranges

1 banana

Tropical Booze Berry Smoothie

1/2 cup pineapple chunks

1 cup frozen raspberries

1/2 cup orange juice

1 banana, frozen

1 oz coconut rum

Jerk Chicken with Pineapple Coconut Rice

I really liked how the flavor of the bell pepper comes through in the rice. I like to use canned coconut cream instead of canned coconut milk.

Marinade

2 large chicken breasts, butterflied or split into four pieces if they are thick

1 teaspoon cooking oil, of your choice

1 teaspoon honey

1 clove garlic

1 pinch lemon zest or dried lemon peel

3 teaspoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon fresh ginger

3 teaspoons jerk seasoning

Rice

1 bell pepper, diced

1 cup white rice

1 can coconut milk or coconut cream, microwaved for 20 seconds and stirred until smooth

1 cup pineapple chunks, fresh or frozen

Directions

(This is a one pan meal, you will need a lidded skillet large enough to contain the entire recipe. )

Marinade:

Place all of the marinade ingredients into a gallon ziplock bag or sealable tupperware bowl. Add the chicken and marinate in the fridge for several hours.

Add the marinated chicken to a skillet, preheated to med-high heat and braise both sides of the chicken. and set aside. Reduce the heat and add the remaining marinade, the bell pepper and shallot. Stir until the onion is slightly translucent and all of the liquid is just evaporated.

Add the coconut cream and bring to a boil, stir in the rice and the pineapple chunks. Manouver the chicken back down into the pan with the rice surrounding it.

Cover the pan and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until the rice is done and the chicken is cooked through. Careful, if you have the heat on anything above the lowest setting to maintain your simmering you may burn the rice.

Tobacco & Bay Leaf Soap

I rebatched this soap the day after I originally made it. The color was a little flat so I rebatched. I boosted the color and added the mica line.

I achieved this by doing an in the pot swirl in the crock pot and using a mixer to blend. then I just spoon in layers of color and add a mica line at each layer. The white chunks from the rebatch are a nice bonus.

I did a 100% water replacement with coconut milk and superfatted with shea butter.

I really like the stone look you can achieve with hot process soap.

Mint Flower Tea

I can never keep mint happy, I fail to prune it correctly when it is in hydroponic and I fail in general at growing it in containers but I am going to try again. I have it growing hydroponically and I am testing by taking all of my trimmings and I am sticking them directly into a container of dirt I have outside.

The hydroponic light keeps it flowering inside and I have to keep the indoor pollen count down so about once a week for the past few weeks I have enough flowers to make a small pot of mint flower tea which is delicately minty and floral.

Museli Wheat Bread

I took a regular wheat oat bread recipe and used museli in place of the oatmeal.

The museli mix I used contains sunflower seeds, almonds, dried apple, dried cranberry, raisins, coconut, pumpkin seeds and rice crisp to make a very flavorful bread that makes amazing avocado toast and peanut butter sandwiches.

Ingredients

2 cups boiling water

1 cup museli breakfast mix

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon honey

4 tablespoons butter

2 1/2 teaspoons table salt

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 packet yeast

1 1/2 cup wheat flour

4 cups bread flour

Combine boiling water, museli, sugar, honey, butter, salt and cinnamon. Stir and allow to cool to 110 degrees. (~10-15 minutes)

Add yeast and incorporate flour one cup at a time. Knead until smooth ~10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and rise for 60 minutes or until doubled.

Divide for two smaller loafs or leave as one larger loaf.

Shape bread and rest another 30 to 40 minutes before placing in the oven.

Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes. Tent with aluminum after 25 minutes if needed.

Daffodil Cake

It’s one of the first cakes I ever made and you can find many versions of it. Some of them require 12 egg whites which leaves you with 6 left over egg whites. Unless I am planning on making pasta noodles I generally go with this version of the recipe that leaves no leftover egg yolk. In the past I have also made this cake with lemon zest in the white but I decided to do a single flavor this time. Any citrus of your choice and even pineapple versions of this recipe are out there. Orange is my favorite and originally I planned to add lemon zest to the white cake. In the end I decided to do just the orange and left the white cake vanilla flavored.

Ingredients

White cake:

6 large egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup cake flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon lemon zest(optional)

Yellow Cake:

6 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons orange juice

1/2 cup cake flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon orange zest

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup water or orange juice

1 pinch orange zest

Instruction

White Cake

Place egg whites in a large bowl, let them come to room temperature ~30 minutes.

Add tartar and vanilla and beat on medium until foamy before gradually adding 1 tablespoon of sugar at a time until soft peaks form.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Fold into egg white gently and set aside.

Yellow Cake

Beat egg yolks and orange juice until thick and lemon colored. In a seaparate bowl add flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Gradually beat into egg mixture. Beat in vanilla and orange zest.

Alternately spoon yellow and white batter into an ungreased 10 inch tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes.

Immediately invert pan and remove cake. Let cool completely then apply a basic orange zest glaze.

Glaze

Add all glaze ingredients to a bowl and whisk until well combined. Brush or drizzle glaze over cake.

Masala Chai

A lot of people are unaware the word chai literally means ‘tea’ so ordering a ‘chai tea’ is essentially ordering a ‘tea, tea’ but what you get is ‘spiced’ tea or ‘masala’ chai.

Generally in the winter I switch from drinking coffee to drinking spiced tea. I have a really hard time finding a place that serves a good chai. I really enjoy Bangalore Rose Chai from Enjoyingtea.com but alas I ran out. I also enjoy a good sweet coconut ginger tea with vanilla and coconut milk. Instead of reordering I got the chance to ask the magical question…

Can I make my own?

The answer is yes.

What is in chai? Some, but not all of these things:

Core ingredients:

  • water
  • milk (I find milk alternatives blend better with the flavors)
  • sugar or maple syrup
  • black tea
  • cinnamon
  • clove
  • black pepper
  • cardamom
  • ginger

Additional ingredients I found and tried

  • nutmeg
  • mint
  • lemongrass
  • fennel
  • star anise
  • vanilla
  • rose petals
  • corriander

Recipe? Well now. That’s a bit harder, your nose and taste buds will tell you.

There are so many ways to make spiced chai, because people all have different tastes so dont be afraid to experiment and write your own recipe.

It doesn’t matter if you have the whole or powdered version of the spice or some of both, that is completely ok. Using the internet to look up dozens of Masala Chai recipes let’s call the following ingredients the core of the recipe, nearly every recipe I looked at had these ingredients, the quantities and extra additional ingredients surrounding them can change drastically from recipe to recipe… but we have to start somewhere? right?

Actually that lead me somewhere interesting but I wasn’t the right place, not all chai is the same… I went back to square one and looked at the ingredients list of the chai I drink the most and make up amounts of those ingredients, and then tried mixing them around until I was happy with the result.

Instruction:

Using your smallest sauce pan start with about 2.5 – 3 cups of water brought to a simmer and three tablespoons of loose leaf black tea. or a few tea bags. If like me your smallest sauce pan is being used then you may do this via the microwave in a pinch.

My base chai recipe:

2.5 cups water

3/4 cup Almond milk

1.5 Tablespoons black tea (Behora Assam)

1/4 Teaspoon cinnamon

10 black pepper corns

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

2 thin slices ginger

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon corriander

3-4 tablespoons sugar, white granulated

Ok, you could totally stop there if you feel lost but for the adventurous spice users. I find smelling the steam and then smelling the individual spices helps me decide what to add. Once you decide then add in small amounts and taste your way to the correct amount but make sure to write it down.

Let the spices and the tea simmer for about 5 minutes add 1 or even 2 cups of milk, sugar/maple syrup/ vanilla once removed from the heat. steep for a few brief minutes.

Pour though a strainer (or maybe a coffee filter for powdered recipes) to separate the tea and spices.

Good luck in finding the perfect spiced tea!