Monday, December 23, 2013

Flower Power Hand Salve

Here's a nice and ultra pampering hand salve, perfect for these dry winter days. The blend of infused oils lends the salve a really nice scent without being overwhelming. I put it on every night before bed to help sooth my overly scrubbed, inky printer's hands. When I wake up in the morning my hands are soft and smooth!

12 ounces infused oil, prepared at least a month in advance
about 1 ounce beeswax
1 tablespoon cocoa butter
5 drops vitamin E oil
7 drops lavender essential oil (optional)

To make the infused oil, fill a glass jar with loosely packed dried rose, lavender, calendula, chamomile, and red clover. The amount you use is up to you and the size of the jar you are using, just make sure the jar is about 3/4 full of dried flowers. Fill the jar with oil so that the flowers are completely submerged. You can use one type of oil or a combination depending on your skin type. I used about half olive oil, with the other half being macadamia, kukui, and avocado oils.

Leave the jar on a warm, sunny window ledge for a full moon cycle being sure to shake the jar once a day.  After a month, strain the oil through a cheesecloth to remove the bits of dried flowers and store in a clean glass jar until ready to use. The oil will have a wonderful floral scent and will be packed with skin-nourishing properties.

To make the salve, gently warm the oil, beeswax and cocoa butter in a heavy nonreactive pan over low heat. Stir frequently and remove from heat the moment the wax melts. Allow to cool for a minute or two (but not long enough for it to solidify) then quickly stir in the vitamin E oil and optional lavender essential oil. Pour into glass jars, secure lids and allow to sit overnight to solidify.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Roasted Garlic Habanero Hot Sauce

I made a double batch of this hot sauce to give as xmas gifts this year. It turned out great and can be cooked up, bottled, and hand labeled in an easy afternoon so if you are in need of a few more gifts, read on. It seems like in every hot sauce recipe I see, the blogger talks about the Hot Sauce Camp and how he or she is firmly in it. I'll say that I enjoy a good hot sauce, but I'm not the kind of person who slathers it on everything. Be warned, it is pretty darn hot so if you are interested in having a flavorful but more mild sauce, swap out half of the habaneros for an equal amount of orange bell pepper.

5 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 medium carrot
Half of a small onion
12 medium orange habanero chiles, stemmed
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Additional water (as needed)

Break apart the garlic cloves and wrap them in some foil. Roast in an oven (or a toaster oven if you have one, it'll use less electricity) at 350 F for about 20 minutes. You can also dry roast the garlic cloves in a pan on the stove, just be sure to keep on eye on them and stir frequently so they roast evenly. Check the cloves; they should be soft and fragrant. If they look done, let them cool before peeling. Set aside.

Meanwhile roughly chop the carrot and onion, then add them to a medium sized pan. Add the habanero chiles (just leave them whole), vinegar and water. Partially cover and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes until the carrots are very tender. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool a bit.

Transfer the carrot/onion/habanero mixture into a blender along with the roasted garlic, salt and sugar. Blend until very smooth. Taste and decide if you want to add more salt. If you think the sauce is too thick, blend a bit more with additional water until it's where you want it. Pour into glass bottles and store in the fridge. I recommend crafting cute little labels to make it official.