Oat Bran Muffins

I don’t have time for breakfast in the morning so I started making these the night before, oatmeal in muffin form is a perfect heart healthy on the go breakfast.

Oat bran is usually sold with specialty flours or with the hot cereals in stores, I had to look twice to find it.

This is a well established recipe, I found it from AllRecipes to 10 other web sites and even on the package the oat bran were all the same recipe so I went with it.

I make half the recipe so that I have six standard size muffins, this last two days in my household so nothing is wasted and nothing goes bad. You can double the recipe for 12 muffins.

I like to change it up, I leave the lumps in the brown sugar so it gets gooey sugar pockets, I add different dried fruit and I add different flavors of yogurt. In the pictures I used  cinnamon, dried blueberries and Peach Almond milk yogurt which added peach chunks to my muffins. I like to use dried fruit if it’s available, You get all the flavor but not a soggy pocket in the muffin from water content evaporation. So check out the dried fruit section, I like to go to the bulk bins in the market instead of prepackaged for this. Add apple sauce, add chocolate chips, coconut flakes, add banana or maple syrup, add everything all at once! I like it because of the versatility.

Here is the base recipe before being dressed up, add things like cinnamon or cocoa powder in at 1 teaspoon. And add the fruit berries and nuts as thick or thin as suits your taste.

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Ingredients:

3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup oat bran

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup yogurt

Instruction:

In a bowl mix oat bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and any dry additives of your choice.  Stir and then add Egg, oil, and yogurt. Mix until combined and add any remaining additives. Scoop evenly between 6 baking cup liners and let stand for 10 minutes before placing into the oven.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

 

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Blueberry Peach

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Apple Cinnamon

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Cranberry Dark Chocolate

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Cardamom spice with chocolate chips and pecans

 

Aerogarden Salad

Aerogarden grow: Red Sails Lettuce, Cilantro, Genovese Basil, Dill, Curly Parsley and Chervil. Everything is doing well except for dill which has had a slow start.

I can make my own salad now. I put off trying any of the lettuce so red sails is my first salad green, I am really enjoying it. Lettuce will probably become more common in my grows for a while.

Second aerogarden: two more types of lettuce and mini tomato. The tomato keeps producing, I just change out to new lettuce pods when it bolts.

Pine Tar Soap Recipe

Pine tar is made from placing pine in a kiln and heating it until it becomes charcoal and pine tar, which drips down from the wood and is caught in a container.

Pine tar has been used for centuries for sealing wood, protecting rope from sea water, for bug bites and skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis. Despite advances in modern medicine pine tar soap is still around and people with skin conditions still use it. As to if they are being old-timey or it’s still relevant in comparison I cannot say. It does however make a uniquely wonderful soap.

A caution however, when wood burns it releases creosote which is a carcinogen, most pine tar contains some creosote. But you also have to consider other interactions you may have with creosote for perspective, when you eat BBQ for instance, or use liquid smoke on your food, you are ingesting creosote. There is creosote free pine tar for those who wish to eliminate creosote though it can occasionally be hard to find closed kiln pine tar.

I has a very strong scent you will not be able to mask with a fragrance oil. It smells a bit like pine, rubber and smoke. Some fragrances that can work well with it are peppermint, patchouli, rosemary, cedar wood, tea tree and fir needle. You can also leave it unscented, eventually the pine tar scent will mellow. I choose to scent mine with Siberian Fir needle essential oil, it smells like pine trees and camp fire with a hint of kerosene.

There are several methods to adding the pine tar, it is recommended you add it to your oils before you add the lye water. Then blend it to thin trace and pour immediately. You can also add it just after emulsification at the thinnest trace but you should use a whisk once it has been added because it will thicken incredibly fast. Pour it as soon as you have it mixed well or it will solidify and you will be scooping and squishing it into your mold. If you add your pine tar at emulsification and whisk you should give yourself no more than 60 seconds from the addition of the pine tar before pouring, the faster the better.

This soap will be a bit soft in terms of unmolding. I let mine sit for a bit longer than usual before unmolding and cutting. I added extra water to this recipe to help with how fast it was going to thicken. I am planning on it taking 3-6 months for a full cure before this soap will be at it’s best.

Ingredients

317 g olive oil

272 g lard

91 g coconut oil

91 g palm oil

136 g pine tar

365 g distilled water

111 g sodium hydroxide

 

Indoor Houseplants

I get weak morning sun on most days in the summer until the early afternoon. I have a lot of low light tropical plants on this side of the building and succulents on the other, I use my aerogarden lighting for some of my plants in darker areas. I was re-potting some of them the other day, and decided to make a post  while I was doing that so I can come back and do a comparison on growth later. I have been increasing my houseplants, a lot of these are new. Some of them I have had for years. I have started using hydro spikes for a lot of my plants for more consistent watering. I’ve gotten most of them into larger pots  and hydro spiked over the past week.

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Plectranthus ‘Mona Lavender’

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Dracena Compacta

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Nenanth bella palm

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Dracaena deremensis Warnecki

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Sansivieria

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Oxalis

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Vanilla Orchid

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Calathia Lancifolia

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Coffee Arabica

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Philodendron

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Dracena Marginata

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Asparagus Fern

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Maidenhair fern

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Jade Plant

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Coral Reef Sedum

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Old Mans Bones Sedum

 

I also have some propagation going on with my succulents, when moving my aloe I knocked a leaf off so I have cut and am letting that dry for replanting. When I transplanted my asparagus fern I found baby maidenhair ferns starting to grow in the dirt, they were mangled a bit as I didn’t notice them at first so I hope they make it. My Coral Reef Sedum is putting out roots on all of it’s ends, my sansiveria has a pup so it looks like my work is not done yet.

 

 

 

 

Bay Rum & Vanilla Soap

This is a hot process soap with a moderate water discount using the following recipe:

lard 40%

coconut 20%

olive 25%

rice bran 5%

shea butter 5%

castor 5%

I blended bay rum with vanilla fragrance, I didn’t try much for a design here as it’s going to darken quite a bit due to the vanilla. I did not do a fluid HP. I sort of smooshed this down into the mold and banged it on the table for a while. I superfated this with the shea butter. I really like the rustic look of hot process soap.

Here is the color transition over a month, I was expecting to get a little darker discoloration from the vanilla than this, perhaps it will get there in time.

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Day 1

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Day 15

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Day 36

How To Make Savon Noir

 

This soap is also known as Moroccan Black Soap or Beldi. It is made with 100% olive oil, black olives, distilled water and potassium hydroxide. It should not to be confused with African black soap which is very different. As this is the first time making it I am trying to be as simple and traditional as possible.

Because we are using KOH instead of NaOH this will not be a solid soap. The olive are blended up and added to the lye water, it is also common for the olives to be blended with the oil instead. This is made in a crock pot and is cooked for 3+ hours, in that time the olive breaks down and gives this soap paste a unique texture. It is used by rubbing a small amount onto the skin and working it to a lather, then letting the lather sit for several minutes on the skin before a good scrub and rinse. This soap gel should be sequestered for two weeks to a month before use.

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Instruction:

Calculate this recipe using Soapcalc.net as a 100 % olive oil soap, set the superfat somewhere in the 5-10% range based on your preferences. You will be using KOH as your lye source for this recipe. Please check the type of KOH you are using with the soap calc settings. The water content should be calculated in the range of 60-70% of the oil weight depending on how thick you want it to end up.

Add the oil to the crock pot and turn the heat to high. Weight water into a separate heat safe container and add 100 g of olives for every 300 g olive oil, stick blend until everything is in tiny bits.

Add the KOH to the water and mix until dissolved thoroughly.

Add the lye solution to the oil and stick blend until light trace is reached.

Continue to cook for 3-4 hours, stirring every 20-30 minutes or as needed.  It can expand rapidly so watch it, until enough water has cooked out and it settles down. It will go through a mashed potato and chunky phases, It might get somewhat solid, you just break it up and mix it. Cook in the 170 to 200 degrees F range and continue to cook until the soap gels and turns dark, it has taken me up to 7 hours of cooking to get gel phase in this soap. Keep cooking it until it gels, the higher the water content the longer it may take. Typically Essential Oil that blends with the natural scent of the soap is chosen.