Tripod Thursday-Products

For anyone around Saint Martin, Ohio, this Saturday is the annual Chatfield College Quilt and Craft show. This weeks pictures are of some products preparing to make the trip there.There are more

Make it Yourself Monday- Healing Herbal salve

Today's make it yourself project is a basic herbal salve, or balm. I like to use arnica (great for muscle pain) and comfrey, which has a long history of being known as one of nature's greatest medicinal herbs. It promotes healing of many things, most notably, wounds.

To make it you will need to first, infuse some oil.  So grab your small crock pot (the easiest way, but you can use a pan on the stove). Add some dried arnica and some dried comfrey to your crock pot, cover with your choice of oil* and turn on "high" for 15-20 minutes, then turn down to "low" and allow to cook for at least another 2 hours, but I like 4 or more. The biggest thing is that you do not want to allow the oil to boil or to burn, so depending upon your choice of oil and your crock pot, your time on "high" may vary, and possibly even your "low" time. If you use the stove, I suggest keeping your temperature on low all the time to avoid any possibility of burning it. Believe me, burnt oil smells terribly. Um....don't ask me how I know this! Lol

*As for the oil of your choice, I suggest using olive, avocado, sweet almond, apricot seed or grapeseed oil, but really most any other will work. Just do not use hemp or wheat germ oil (in this method), as they break down when heated.

Once you have steeped the herbs for a minimum of two hours, you need to strain it. The easiest way I have found to do this, is to get a cone shaped coffee filter and place that [down] into a medium to large funnel. Then sit the funnel into a glass jar. My medium funnel rests nicely on the rim of an old pickle jar, leaving my hands free, and plenty of space before the tube will be under oil. Pour your oil and herbal mixture into the filter and go gather the balance of the ingredients while it drains.

You will need;
1/2 ounce of beeswax
1/2 ounce of cocoa butter (I get the deodorized, but if you don't mind the scent, regular is fine)
1/2 ounce Mango butter- or the butter of your choice- (remember to temper it first, if you use shea butter)
1/2 ounce of your herbal infused oil

Melt the beeswax, cocoa butter and mango butter in a double boiler, stirring occasionally. Once it is melted, add in the herbal infused oil and stir well. Now you can be done right here, just pour your mixture into a tin or jar and allow it to sit until its set. But, if you want, you can allow it to cool a tad, then add some lavender, tea tree, or lemongrass essential oil, just a few drops will do. Stir well and then pour into a tin and allow to sit until set. Once set, cover when not in use.

This mixture should melt as it warms on your skin, so pop it out of the tin, or dig some out of a jar, and rub over and into your skin. You can use it on rough areas of skin, like knees, elbows, and heels, or for an all over moisturizing treat. Have sore leg muscles? Treat yourself to a massage with this balm and see if you get some relief. I know people who swear by these herbs, but at the least you will get a nice, soothing, moisturizing treatment. And who knows, you may just be one of those that swears by them when it's all said and done!

If when you try it, it isn't soft enough, just remelt it (you can use the microwave on shot bursts of 20 seconds at a time until melted) and add in a tad more oil. If you need it harder, add a bit more beeswax. It's just that easy!

Tripod Thursday-products

Here are a few things that I have ready for next weeks' show. The facial oil is a new formula, one that I am very excited about! While I loved it before, I just couldn't help myself, I had to add some more great oils!

What Will We Eat Wednesday- Diet Fudge

I am still searching for great treats that are low in calories and carbs, especially chocolate goodies. This is one that I wrote down a while back, but have yet to try. I just found it again, so I am making my shopping list!

3 cups carob
1/4 teaspoon artificial sweetener
1 (14 -ounce) can of sweet condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
1 cup chopped walnuts or nut of your choice
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put the carob, sweetener and condensed milk into a saucepan, cover with lid and cook over low heat until the carob is completely melted. Remove from the heat, add the chopped nuts and vanilla extract, and stir until it's completely mixed.
Once its mixed well, pour it into a [9" x 9"] square pan and put it in the refrigerator until it's firm. Once firm, cut into 2" squares and enjoy!
According to my notes one square is one serving, and it is only 137 calories and 13 carbs. So this treat can easily be worked into any diet!

Teaching Tuesday-Cats and Aromatherapy

Just one thing for today, but it is an important one. I have learned that my belief that cats should not be exposed to essential oils, due to an enzyme they lack, is not a truth! Several years back a customer berated me for not having a warning on my "pet spray" that pointed out that it should not be used in cat beds, or on cats. At that time I was a dog Mommy, so it never occurred to me that my product would be considered for cats. In the description I even said "dogs" several times, but I did say "pet beds" as well. So I quickly looked up information from the ASPCA and other sites I found across the internet. Like a dummy, I never looked at it again, as I took it as gospel. I never fully researched the issue. Well, now get your cameras ready, yep I am going to say it..........I WAS WRONG! Yes, I was wrong and you now have proof, Lol!

This incident point out several problems, and I am really ashamed that I fell into this trap. I have preached about researching everything yourself many times, yet I failed to do this myself. I actually had not even thought of this since the time I posted the cat information, years back. Normally I would tell everyone to check the scientific studies, scientific publications, and known experts before believing anything about an essential oil or herb. I guess that I looked at the ASPCA as an expert, when in fact, they are not experts in essential oils, and have likely just read a lot of the same crud that many of us have! So now that I have berated myself and know where I went wrong, time to correct the problem!

We can begin by looking at an expert in the field of essential oils, Robert Tisserand. Check out this article;  Some of the comments on his site (from readers, not from him) advocate applying neat oils to cats for various problems. I do NOT recommend any of these treatments, as I believe that safe is better than sorry any day. I would steer clear of neat applications all together, unless I was consulting a trained professional. There are more and more trained professionals these days, making it is relatively easy to locate holistic Veterinarians in most cities across the country.

Just as an aside, there is a comment on this article from someone implying that one particular brand has high grade, pure essential oils. This is a crock and was not addressed by the author because, in my opinion, he did not want to evoke a back and forth argument that person. In my experience, these believers are like dogs with bones, they don't like to allow anything to drop without hashing it to death, and they never change their minds, no matter what proof you offer to support your position. Unfortunately, people from this group appear to be quite indoctrinated and dogmatic. Be wary of of any site or any person that insists they have the "only" pure, great whatever. While I certainly think that my products are the best, I would never assert that they are the only ones that will provide relief or whatever. There is not one company that provides the only true, the only pure essential oil. Anyone who says differently is misinformed, and has simply not done the research for themselves.

That being said, follow the references posted after the Tisserand post, read what he based his post on. Then try doing a search of scientific publications on your own.  You may be amazed at what you can ferret out! But the greatest thing that we all need to do, is to stop perpetuating non-truths!

Make it Yourself Monday-Moisturizing Body Scrub

Have you seen the soap in jars that looks like whipped cream?  If you have, you know what I mean. They usually layer a couple of pretty colors together and pack it into a see through jar, and suggest that it makes a great shaving soap. Sometimes it is mixed with sugar or salt and sold as a body scrub, or even a face scrub. This whipped soap takes several months to make, as it needs months of what is called "rotting" time. Basically that just means that it need curing time. But, if you don't have the time, patience or inclination to wait that long, yet still want to try this great soap, you are in luck! Many vendors sell a whipped soap base. That means that you can make it yourself!

While the directions may vary slightly with your particular vendor, the basics are all the same. You need to put one pound of base, 1/4 to 1/2 ounce of skin safe fragrance (either essential oil(s) or fragrance oil), and 1 ounce of the oil of your choice (Sweet Almond Oil, Avocado Oil, and Olive Oil) into a bowl. Using your electric mixer, the kind with two beaters, slowly begin to mix the ingredients. Keep on low until the mixture is smooth. When you have it blended together, turn your beaters to high and mix until it is fluffy. Don't go overboard with the mixing though, or you will cause it to flop, much like when you are baking and someone slams the door, causing your cake to fall in. Generally speaking, you are looking to double the size of your batch. Once you are at the right fluffiness, you can split the batch into two if you want to do two different colors. Add in your colorant and gently stir it. Basically you are folding in this ingredient so that you don't collapse the fluff. Most people use mica to color, but your vendor will likely tell you what choices you have and what they feel is best. Food coloring is not appropriate. Now is also the time to add in the exfolliant, 1/2 to 1 pound of sugar or salt, whichever you like best. Again, you want to fold it in so that you don't collapse the fluff. When the sugar or salt is blended in, you are ready to package it. You can just use a spoon and layer it into jars, or you can get a little fancy and pipe it in with a pastry bag. To do this, just grab two plastic storage bags (freezer bags work best) and spoon each colored mixture into one bag. Seal the top of the bags and push all the whipped soap down into one corner. Cut the corner of the bag and use it just like a real pastry bag, alternating layers of the whipped colors until your jars are full. Make sure that you press the tip of the bag around the sides of the jar so that you get nice, clean layers. Since this can be so pretty, I suggest using clear jars. But if you don't really care about how it looks, only in its use and feel, then you can skip the coloring part of this and store it in any colored jar that you want. In order to make using it easy though, you probably will want to use a wide mouth jar.

This is really a very easy and very fun project for an afternoon. There are just a few things to remember in order to ensure that you are successful.
-Aside from not over whipping, you need to make sure that you do not add in too much oil or too much fragrance. The vendor should provide the maximum percentage of additives, as well as the ideal amount.
-Not every fragrance/essential oil is safe for use on the body. Be sure that what you want to use is appropriate for use on the body, and that you know/check the maximum skin safe amount for use in this type of soap. Understand that the maximum skin safe amount and the maximum amount of fragrance load that the base can accept, are likely different amounts. You must comply with both in order to be safe and to have a successful batch. If you are not sure about your fragrance choice, check with the vendor. They should be able to tell you if your choice is skin safe, and how much you can use in various types of products.
-Once you get the fluff, you need to stop and prepare to package. If you over-fluff and your batch collapses, you cannot re-fluff. So, while it may be fun watching it rise out of the bowl, don't get carried away with yourself! Lol Stopping and starting is not good either.
-You need to use an electric mixer to make this, a hand mixer just won't get enough air into the batch, and air is what "whips" it up. Once you start on the high setting it should only take a couple of minutes to incorporate enough air to double the batch size.
-If you don't want to make a scrub, you may want to add in (fold it in) about two tablespoons of kaolin clay to make some shaving soap. Shaving soap isn't just for men either, this feels great on the legs of women, and moisturizes the skin quite nicely!
-Of course you don't have to add clay either, whipped soap is wonderful to use in and of itself. Just remember that you don't want to get water into the jar, use wet fingers, or store where moisture may get into it, as this recipe doesn't contain a preservative. As long as there isn't any water in the product you don't need a preservative, but if water is introduced, it won't take long for microbes to begin growing nasty things. So use a scoop, store in an airtight container, and keep away from the tub/sink area.

What's Up Wednesday- Spices for cooking

Hi there everyone! I am busily preparing for an upcoming show, so today I thought I'd share some spice mixes that you can make yourself, saving yourself a lot of money in the process. While I had some of these written in my cookbook from eons ago, and some are new to me, coming from a blog post by Mountain Rose Herbs.
You can purchase bulk spices from them and make a ton of mixes, or you can purchase smaller amounts and just mix enough for you and your family. Either way, you can do it cheaper than buying these from the grocery store!

Taco Seasoning
1/4 cup Chili Powder
1/4 cup Cumin Powder
1 tablespoon Garlic powder
1 tablespoon Onion powder
1 teaspoon Oregano leaf (or oregano leaf powder)
1 teaspoon Paprika with 1/4 cup Himalayan salt or sea salt (optional)
1 teaspoon ground Black Pepper

To make: Mix everything together and store in an airtight jar. It should be good for about 6 months, maybe more.  You can add this to your hamburger or chicken for great tacos! I use between 2 1/2 and 3 Tablespoons per pound  to pound and a half of meat. You can adjust as you like.

Cajun Seasoning
1/2 cup Paprika Powder
1/3 cup sea salts
1/4 cup Garlic Powder
2 Tablespoons Onion Powder
2 Tablespoons Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Cayenne Pepper *if you like it hot hot hot, you can add more!
2 Tablespoons Oregano
1 Tablespoon Thyme

To Make: Mix it all together and store in an airtight container. Good for anything you want to spice up! From eggs, to meats, to casseroles.

Jerk Seasoning
1/4 cup Onion powder
2 tablespoons sea salt
2 tablespoons Thyme
2 teaspoons ground Allspice
1 tablespoon Cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper

Mix everything and store in an airtight container. This is a good rub for meat. Just pat it on and cook your meat, basting as you normally would. You can baste your meat with a honey, mustard, hoison and jerk spice mixture for a tasty delight, or try adding the mix to your favorite bbq sauce. Experiment away!

French Onion Soup Mix
1/2 cup dehydrated Onion flakes
2 tablespoons Onion powder
1 tablespoon Garlic powder
1 teaspoon Celery salt
1/2 teaspoon ground Pepper
1 tablespoon sea salt

One of my most favorite seasonings is onion soup mix, but I hate to buy it! You can add a pack of soup mix into some water, toss it into a crock pot, add meat, potatoes, carrots and cut onions, then cook all day. It makes a wonderful dinner, gravy included! Of course it is also good when mixed in a container of sour cream, for chip dip. But I use the mix to season a lot of meats and stews! If you want to use it for soup, you have to find the recipe on the packaged, because I have never used it for that, Sorry!

Chili Seasoning
1/4 cup Chili powder
1/8 cup Garlic powder
2 Tablespoons Onion powder
1/8 cup Oregano
1 Tablespoons Paprika
1/2 Tablespoon Thyme
1/4 to 1/2 Tablespoon red pepper, depending upon your taste

To Make: Mix everything together and store in an airtight container. Use about 1/4 cup of the mix in a batch of chili.

The next few came from the Mountain Rose Herbs post, so I haven't tried them yet. I am sure they are good though! If you make one, don't forget to come back and let us know what you think!

Healthy Ranch Dressing Mix
1/4 cup dried Parsley leaf
1 Tablespoon Dill leaf
1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 tablespoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Basil leaf (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

To Make: Mix all ingredients together in jar or food processor. To make into Ranch Dressing, mix 1 Tablespoon of this mix with 1/3 cup Homemade Mayonaise or Greek Yogurt and 1/4 cup Coconut Milk.

Herbs de Provence
1/2 cup Thyme leaf
1/4 cup Marjoram leaf
2 tablespoons of cut and sifted Rosemary leaf
2 tablespoons Savory
1 teaspoon of Lavender flowers (lightly ground-optional)
2 teaspoons dried Orange zest (optional)
1 teaspoon ground Fennel seed

To Make: If you are zesting the orange yourself, remove the zest of one organic orange and dry in an oven on lowest setting or a dehydrator until completely dry. Place in a food processor with the lavender flowers and lightly pulse. Remove and mix all ingredients in a jar or bowl until mixed (do not grind up the herbs!). Excellent in soups, on chicken or on roasted vegetables.

5-Spice Seasoning
2 tablespoons Anise powder
1 tablespoon ground Black Pepper
1 tablespoon ground Fennel seed
1 tablespoon Cinnamon powder
1 tablespoon ground Cloves
1 tablespoon Himalayan or sea salt

To Make: Mix all ingredients and store in airtight container. Great for recipes like Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry and other Asian themed cuisine.

Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/4 cup Cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon ground Ginger
2 teaspoons Nutmeg powder
2 teaspoons Allspice powder
1/2 teaspoon Clove powder (optional)

To Make: Mix all ingredients and store in airtight container. Use as you would regular pumpkin pie spice. Great in pumpkin cheesecake,  pumpkin pie, spiced pumpkin lattes or coconut flour pumpkin muffins.

Tripod Thursday- Aragon Oil Separating Fact From Hype

While trying to answer a question for my Mother, I searched several web site "reviews"of Aragon oil. I put the word "reviews" in quotation marks, because the ones that I found were eerily similar, and reaked of a sales pitch, complete with a "proof" picture that had a woman clearly frowning in the first view and not in the he wrinkles were supposedly improved due to the oil. I really hate scams, but I know how good some oils truly are, So I set out to determine what was hype and what was real.

Aragon oil is golden colored, with a light, distinctive, slightly nutty and fatty odor. The oil is expeller pressed from the fruit kernels of the argan tree, which is native Morocco. This tree was first reported by explorer Leo Africanus, in 1510. We know that an early specimen was taken to Amsterdam and cultivated by Lady Beaufort, at Badminton House in 1711. However, much of the oil is still produced in Morocco, where the tree grows wild, with a deep root system, making it quite helpful in fighting soil erosion.The tree is extremely well adapted to drought, as well as other environmentally harsh conditions which are natural to southwestern Morocco. While the species Argania once covered the whole of North Africa, it is now endangered, and under the protection of UNESCO. The majority of Aragan oil sales go through a cooperative that shares the profits among the Berber tribe. This cooperative has established an ecosystem reforestation project, ensuring that the supply of oil will not run out and also that the income will continue to be generated. According to the Moroccan Department of Water and Forests, Argan oil production provides 20 million workdays a year, and income for 3 million people in the southern part of the kingdom. Because the vast majority of all Aragan oil sold today comes from a small, specific growing area, it is arguably one of the rarest oils in the world.

Traditionally, the Berbers of Morocco collected undigested Argan  pits from the dung of goats which ate the fruit. The pits were then ground and pressed into oil, which was used in both cooking and cosmetics. Although the videos with many of the "review" sites shows the Berbers hand milling the oil, from what I understand, the oil that is used today has most likely been harvested directly from the tree, and processed with machines. In addition to this method sounding more sanitary, With mechanical presses, the mixing of the dough with water is unnecessary, therefore eliminated. The dough can be directly pressed so production time is sped up. There is one issue though, I have seen references that state that this oil is made by combining crushed roasted almonds with the Aragon pits. This is a potential hazard for someone with a nut oil allergy, and needs more investigation before using.
The shelf life of this oil is anywhere from a year and a half to two years, if it is stored under 77 degrees F. and away from sunlight. Some is for cosmetic use only, and some is safe for food use as well. You will have to trust your vendor as to what you can do with the oil you buy. I would only buy this oil from a TRUSTED vendor though, as I saw many references to adulterated Aragon oil. Not sure if yours is pure? Accordingto Wikkipedia, try placing it in the refrigerator. If it remains liquid and appears cloudy you have an adulterated oil. This oil should become semi-solid when it's refrigerated.

Aragan oil is comprised of about 42-48% fatty acids, 30-38% linoleic acid, and 12-16% palmitic acid. Additionally, it is also rich in Vitamin E, phenols and squalene. It is quickly absorbed by teh skin, and is said to reduce scarring, prevent/decrease stretch marks, strengthen hair and nails, and heal many skin conditions such as psorisis and eczema. While the small growing area plays a part in its cost, I surmise that the attention brought to it by  Oprah helped to propell the cost. The majority of sites that I have seen are selling one ounce of oil for between $18-$48. Since I am unable to confirm studies on this oil, personally, I am looking to other oils to meet my needs.While meadowfoam seed oil is a bit higher than many oils, it is also very high in fatty acids, rich in vitamins and minerals, and the big bonus? It is an economically and ecologically beneficial crop, and is grown in the USA. You can read more about it here. When looking for a great, yet less expenisve alternative to the meadowfoam, I think that where sweet almond oil and jojoba seed oil don't do the job, avocado oil, hemp seed oil, and grape seed oil will. And all at a cost that is significantly less than the Aragon, and they also can be sourced much more easily. Of course it's all up to you, but I urge caution and suggest further research before paying the price for all the hype.

Feelin' it Friday-Straight Hair is Not Worth Dying For!

Do any of you use hair-care products called, Brazilian Blowout?  If you do, or if you know of anyone who does, please share with them that they need to quit using it! Largely used in salons across the nation, this LA based company is popular for its hair straightening products.

The US Food and Drug Administration, (FDA), issued warnings about the Brazilian Blowout product line last September. In fact, they threatened the company with removal from the marketplace if they failed to comply with FDA demands by September 12, 2011. 

The FDA found liquid formaldehyde levels ranging from  8.7% to 10.4% in Brazilian Blowout products. Since the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that an  occupational hazard alert be given when the levels are higher than  0.1%, obviously, the  levels found in the Brazillian Blowout products were "dangerously high levels"
The FDA also stated that the products were "adulterated" and .
"misbranded",  and "containing misleading labels and advertising
that falsely claim the products are formaldehyde-free."

Of course the company's CEO, Mike Brady maintains that the products 
are safe, can still be used, and that they meet OSHA standards. But 
according to the FDA's statement, they disagree. They state that the 
Brazilian Blowout products are not safe and that they do not use anything other than formaldehyde, as their labeling suggests.  

According to the FDA, "Formaldehyde, commonly found in a number of 'Brazilian style' keratin-based hair straighteners, is extremely dangerous and a known carcinogen." They go on to say that salon workers and consumers have reported a number of injuries [to the FDA] due to their use of the products. The problems included eye and nervous system disorders, respiratory tract problems, chest pain, vomiting, and skin rash. 
While Australia, Canada, Ireland, France, and Germany have banned Brazilian Blowout and other similar products, it can still be found on US shelves. In spite of the fact that in early 2011, the National Academy of Sciences released a report on formaldehyde, confirming that "formaldehyde causes cancer in humans" [which had already been  determined and reported by the Environmental Protection Agency], you can still find Brazilian Blowout products in salons across the USA.
Why is that? This has been all over the news, other countries have ban its use, and our own FDA has issued warnings to comply or be pulled from our market. In January of this year, a lawsuit settlement was reached in California. The manufacturers of Brazilian Blowout and Acai Professional Smoothing Solution "must cease deceptive advertising products and put caution stickers on their products, advising the consumer that the product releases formaldehyde gas."
While the legalese may be helpful in some small way, without  enforcement of the threats to remove the products violating US laws, and endangering US citizens, I am afraid this company will simply pay its fines and settlement, and continue banking money from sales that are risking the lives of unsuspecting people across the USA.
 The laws that are meant to protect us are not enough. The regulatory system is flawed. The FDA does not have the ability to adequately enforce the laws in a timely manner, or even follow through on its own threats. So this company that has a long standing history of deceiving the public, as it poisons consumers continues to lie and laugh all the way to the bank. The FDA needs to follow through and do as they threatened, hit them where it counts, in their money belt. Remove the products. Meanwhile, we need to warn everyone to stay away from these products. DO NOT even sit in a salon that is using this product. It forms a gas, a gas you don't want to get a whiff of!  If you are a salon worker, refuse to work unless your boss removes this line from the shelf. If you are an owner, step up and remove this product line! Send it back to the company with a letter telling them you won't risk your life on their lies! 

*Remember that the references are listed on the reference tab at the top of this page, and are under the post date.

Tripod Thursday- What's on the Curing Racks

Here is what is currently on the curing rack. I am still looking for a name for the green bars, next to the Appalachian Trail soap. If you have a suggestion, please leave a comment. Who knows, you may just get a special treat if your suggestion is used! It is scented with a proprietary blend if essential oils. It has a touch of eucalyptus, but it doesn't smell like eucalyptus. It is bright, clear, rather uplifting, and calming at the same time. I know I am not describing it well, as I am at a loss for words (I know that is something nobody that knows me will easily believe! Lol, but it's true!) I already have a peaceful, which is the only name I have been able to think of so far. So put your creative caps on and help me, please!

What's Up Wednesday- chives

What's up this Wednesday? The grass, weeds and chives, that's what's up here in our yard! Lol. We have already mowed once, when it really should have been twice, and the yard is needing it again. And all over the yard is patches of wild chives. When the yard was mowed the other day, I was overwhelmed by the scent of chives all night long and ended up dreaming that I was cooking! As I sat down to create this post, I again got a whiff of the chive aroma from the yard. So I am giving in and going with a recipe for chives. Now you don't have to head to your yard to pick some, you can get yours from the supermarket! Fresh, dried, from the market or even from the yard, chives make a tasty addition to many dishes.

This recipe is easy and can be added to vegetables, meats, fish, or even bread. It is called, Chive Blossom Butter.

You will need;
1 cup (salted) butter
2 tablespoons chive blossoms
2  tablespoons  dried or fresh thyme
2  tablespoons  dried or fresh chives

Wash the chive blossoms and pat them dry, then gently pull the blossoms apart and add them into the butter. Then add the thyme and the chives, and blend well. Cover the butter dish and place it in the refrigerator overnight, or for a day. It will taste better after it sits and marinates. Use this butter to enhance grilled vegetables, fresh bread, steaks, chicken, fish, just about anything!

I am not sure where I got this recipe, but I know that Mountain Rose Herbs posted several chive recipes recently, as well as one similar to this one.

Teaching Tuesday-

I just put in my order for this months oil supplies, and finally got Meadowfoam seed oil again! I am so excited, and looking forward to making some great products with this oil. I especilly am anxious to whip up my facial serum, with this oil as a base, and some great, skin-loving essential oils to further enhance the skin and reduce wrinkles. can you say carrots? Lol Anyway, with this oil coming in, I thought that we would review Meadowfoam seed oil in today's Teaching Tuesday.

Meadowfoam Oil is pressed from the seeds of Meadowfoam plant, botanically known as Limnanthes alba.  It is an herbaceous, annual plant, native to northern California, southern Oregon, Vancouver Island, and British Columbia. Meadowfoam Seed Oil was developed in the 1970's as a way to save the whales. It was to be an ecologically responsible replacement for sperm whale oil, and did, in fact, succeeded as such.

Meadowfoam seed oil protects the skin from moisture loss, adds shine and moisture to the hair and the scalp,  offers ultra-violet protection (sunscreen applications), reduces wrinkles and signs of aging, moisturizes and revitalizes dry, cracked lips, provides good slip in massage oils and creams, and is highly valued as a lubricant type of oil. In also provides adhesion in lipsticks and other makeup formulations, providing them with lasting endurance.  Actually, this oil is suitable for a wide range of applications, so experiment away!

 Meadowfoam seed oil has an unique chemical profile. Even though it has a high molecular weight, it remains liquid at room temperature.  On the skin, meadowfoam seed oil feels distinctly different than many other natural oils. It has a non-greasy feeling and  soaks into the skin very easily. It is chemically different than most oils, as it contains over 98% fatty acids that have over 20 carbon atoms. It also  possesses outstanding oxidative stability.due to its high vitamin E content. In fact, meadowfoam 
Seed Oil is one of the most stable fats known and it will lend that 
stability to other oils that it is combined with. So, if you have a recipe that has some less stable oils, you can extend their shelf life by adding this oil to the formulation.  This oil also is often used as a binder, as it helps to extend fragrances better than other oils when used in bath salts, soaps and massage oils.  

Meadowfoam seed oil received its name because when it is in bloom it resembles the foam blowing on the ocean, and it is quite a sight to behold. This oil has proven itself to be invaluable to the
body care and cosmetic industries. And currently it is being studied for potential pharmaceutical and industrial applications.

This plant is truly a modern marvel of human ingenuity. Not only does it protect the whale species, and provide a comparable oil for us to use, but the pressed seeds are then fed to cattle and other livestock, and are a good source of nutrients for these animals. Of course, while growing in the fields, birds, insects, mice, and all manner of critters also eat the nutritious plant seeds. Additionally, the meadowfoam plants themselves are a renewable crop, and are usually grown as a rotation crop for grass seed farmers. This eliminates the need to burn the fields in between grass seed plantings, and has the added benefit of providing farmers with additional income. Meadowfoam also requires less fertilizer and less pesticides than most other crops, so farmers, the environment, and all of us by extension, benefit. Meadowfoam oil is a versatile and amazing oil! 

Make it Yourself Monday-Lip Balm

Almost everyone uses a lip balm at one point or another, so why not make your own?  Wondering what to do with all those girls at your daughter's sleep over? Why not help them make lip balm? Whatever your reason, this is an easy recipe and a great way to protect your lips!

You will need;

1 oz Beeswax (I like the beads, but you can cut up the sheets or even a beeswax candle)
1 oz Anhydrous lanolin (or butter of your choice; ie. avocado, coffee, shea ect.)
1/2 oz Sweet almond oil (or apricot kernel oil)
1/4 oz Avocado oil  (or grape seed oil)

As you see, you can pretty much alter this recipe to accommodate your pantry or your favorite oils and butters. In the end, if the balm is a bit too soft for you, just add a little more beeswax. If it is a bit too hard, add a tad more oil. If you want a bit more slip, add a teaspoon or four of castor oil (at which point you may need to add a bit more beeswax). Keep in mind that this recipe will make about 18 tubes of lip balm. So, if you aren't planning on giving away some, you may want to use the tins instead of tubes, or maybe even cut the recipe in half.

To make;
Place the beeswax and the lanolin in the top of a double boiler and heat until melted, stirring occasionally. Once melted, remove from the heat and stir in the additional oils. Once mixed, allow to begin to cool (but do not allow to begin to harden), then add the essential oil(s) of your choice. Stir well, then pour into lip balm tubes, tins, or small cosmetic jars. Set aside and allow to harden. Once cooled completely, cap or fasten lid and use as needed.

Of course this is great for the lips without any added fragrance, but if you want it to smell good, you can add any food safe essential oil or EO blend that you want. I like to use a *bergamot (orange) and ginger blend myself. You can also add some fragrance oils, but be sure to check with the manufacturer/vendor to make sure that it is lip safe. Not every skin safe product is safe for the lips! Also, I know that a lot of people add flavoring to their lip balms, some even add sweeteners. But this is a very bad idea for good skin care. Think about it. If it tastes good, you will likely lick it. Licking your lips increases chapping and removes the protective balm that you applied. Of course, once you reapply, you will lick again and continue the vicious cycle, effectively defeating the purpose of using lip balm. So I really encourage you to stick to fragrancing the lip balm and leaving the flavorings for your food and drinks!

*If you are using essential oils, remember that most citrus oils can cause photo-sensitivity. Some of these can be purchased furo coumarin free, so that you can  use them without this worry.

Also, I did not put an amount for the essential oils because it will depend upon the one(s) that you choose. If you are not familiar with usage rates, check with your vendor, making sure that you get the proper amount for lip balm, as it will be different than the amount for lotions or other products.

Of course, if you don't feel like making this yourself, you are always welcome to purchase mine! It isn't this exact recipe (I have to keep some secrets you know! Lol), but it is highly moisturizing, wonderfully healing, and greatly protective!