Saturday, October 8, 2011

Rainy Day Potato Soup

Potato Soup for a Rainy Day

Lets start with the basics!
About a cup of chopped onions, cup of chopped carrots and celery. More 
carrots and celery if you want. 

Saute in soup pot along with a clove of 
fresh garlic. (or more if you like) 

When that is ready, add about 4 cups of chicken stock and
let simmer.  You can add black pepper and salt to taste.

Add 4 cups cubed potatoes

 When the veggies are tender
add about 2 cups of milk

Just heat till hot and serve
with grated cheddar cheese on top.
I did not have any so I used marble cheese. I hope you try
this, but don't be afraid to add any seasonings you might like, such as dill!

I am hoping that my sisterkin will share a soup stock recipe from a cooking course she took last year in France.  It is the easiest and tastiest stock that you will ever make.  Keep checking back as she is off on another cooking excursion in Italy. YUMMY PASTA!!!!
Have a good day!
Bessy Boo

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Gentle Bar Of Soap


 Hi Everyone,  I decided to make some soap for Christmas gifts.  The soap I will make is called castile soap, which is a pure olive oil soap and free of sodium lauryl sulphate.   This soap is a gentle and mild cleanser.  People who have eczema  as well as others with sensitivity to  sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) prefer this soap.   I must stress that soap making can cause serious burns and that proper equipment is a must.  My soap kit contains heavy rubber gloves, safety glasses, a thick apron and long sleeves.  For equipment, I use a large stainless steel pot, a glass quart wide mouth canning jar,  a wooden spoon,  small glass dish,  a scale,  a silicon spatula,  a stick mixer, a large stainless steel mixing bowl,  and a homemade soap mold.

I gather all my ingredients to start.


 Weigh 11 ounces of cold water into a quart sized wide mouth mason jar and place in a stainless steel bowl.  I put the bowl and jar in the  kitchen sink.  If any spills, it will clean your drains.  SEPARATELY weigh out  4 ounces of sodium hydroxide into a small glass dish.   Pour the sodium hydroxide INTO the water, not the other way around.  Fill stainless steel bowl halfway with cold water as pictured below.  This will help cool the sodium hydroxide mix quickly. Stir this with a wooden skewer until dissolved.  Don't breathe in the fumes cause it will make you cough.  Let the solution cool to 110 degrees.

Meanwhile weigh and pour 32 ounces of  olive oil into a large stainless steel pot. (THIS IS ONE TIME YOU CAN CHEAP OUT .  JUST USE PLAIN OLIVE OIL.  YOU DON'T NEED TO BUY THE EXPENSIVE EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL.  VIRGIN OIL DOESN'T MAKE GOOD SOAP.)    Heat to 110 degrees. 

When both the sodium hydroxide solution and oil are at 110 degrees, pour the sodium hydroxide solution into the oil.   Stir this mixture for about 15 minutes with the wooden spoon.

Next step is to get out the stick mixer or you could be stirring for days.  Mix the soap until it reaches trace.  This means the mixture will change colors (a creamy off white) and will thicken.  It should be the consistency of vanilla pudding.  You can add your essential oil now (up to 2 ounces) and mix thoroughly with the stick mixer.

 Pour the mixture into the mold scraping the pot out with a silicone spatula.  This mold was designed to hold this size batch of soap.  A mold can be made from a heavy cardboard box lined with plastic.  I would say a box about 10 inches long x 4 inches deep  x 3 inches wide.  You can build this from wood too.  This would be the better option if you are planning on making soap more than once.  Make sure you line your mold with plastic though or your soap will get stuck when cured and could also leak out the sides when you pour it in

When the mold is full, cover exposed soap with plastic.  I use saran wrap.  Wrap in a blanket and let sit for at least 3 days to harden.  This may take longer.....or like this freaky batch, less.  (one day cure....very rare).  Probably because Halloween is in the air.......

When the soap has hardened up, it is time to un-mold.  I use a cheese cutter that I modified with some sticks and epoxy so I could cut the soap in even bars.  Yes, I tried duct tape, but the sticks moved and caused crooked bars.  Nobody likes crooked bars!

The soap needs to cure for minimum 4 weeks.  I leave mine longer usually 6 to 8 weeks as castile soap needs a longer curing time.  I put it in a closet with wire racks so that air can circulate around the bars.

After it has cured,  I package the soap in a shrink wrap package.  You can wrap it in fabric and tie with a bow, or in cardboard or just leave it in the air.  It is ready to give to a smelly person  to your family and friends!  Not because they are smelly, just because you love them.

Hope you're having a great day,

Party Time At

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