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How To Dry Herbs In The Oven.

My little herb garden has done really well this year. Especially the chocolate mint. . . . that stuff is practically trying to take over the whole bed. 

In fact, I’ve been using it as the background for a lot of product photos lately. . . . 

Herb Garden as background

I love using fresh herbs in soap making and DIY beauty treatments (like the rosemary ACV hair rinse here) and of course cooking, but sometimes you have to turn to dried herbs. And while, we haven’t had any really cold weather, yet, and the herb garden is still going strong for now, those frigid temps are on the way. But before it gets here, I wanted to dry some of the herbs.

Now, there are a few different ways to dry herbs. . . . there’s drying by bundling the herbs and letting them air dry over several days, oven drying them, and even microwaving. If you live in humid areas (like I do – even in the Fall, it’s still humid). then air drying is going to take a lot longer. So, for me, that means oven drying the herbs. 

How to

First, some tips that I have quickly learned:

Pick the herbs in the morning when the essential oils and flavors are stronger. 

If they need it, rinse them immediately. 

For smaller leafed herbs, wait until after they’re dry to pick them off the stems. It’s much easier and quicker.

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Preheat the oven to a very low temperature setting (under 200F degrees).

Spread the herbs out on a cookie sheet, making sure they’re not touching each other as it’ll take longer to dry if they are.

Place in the oven, leaving the door cracked. Leaving the door cracked ensures that they dry instead of bake. 

After about 20 to 30 minutes, check the herbs. When they’re through drying, the leaves will crumble in your fingers. If they need longer to dry, leave them and recheck them every 10 minutes. 

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I dried my basil and chocolate mint with the oven at 180F degrees, and it took about 30 – 50 minutes in all for each batch. 

Store whole or ground in a jar. 

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DIY Bath Truffles

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. 

Bath truffles are a new-ish addition to the Maiden Hill Farm lineup (visit the Etsy shop here), and let me tell you, they’ve been really popular. 

With good reason. Imagine a bath bomb (or fizzy, as they’re somtimes called) with a boatload of skin nourishing cocoa butter added to it. What does that make? A bath truffle!

So, how do you make these little truffles of goodness. Well, it’s as simple as three ingredients. 

No, seriously. There are three main ingredients in them.

Baking Soda. One.

Citric acid. Two.

And cocoa butter. That’s three.

Of course, if you’re like me and dream in bling-tastic, add a little fragrace (or essential oils), a bit of color, and the ultimate in bling, glitter, and you’ve got the bling-iest of bath indulgences. 

Okay, so maybe that’s a little much on the bling wagon, but these babies are seriously cute. 

Pink Champagne

So, let’s make some. . .

Ingredients:

5 oz baking soda
2.5 oz citric acid
3 oz cocoa butter
0.17 oz fragrance or essential oil (I used Strawberries & Champagne body safe fragrance oil for this batch)
1/4 tsp Pink Mica Powder mixed with vegetable glycerin (optional)
Silicon Ice Cube Mold

Drizzle on top:
2.5 oz baking soda
1.25 oz citric acid
1.5 oz cocoa butter
.08 oz fragrance or essential oil

Cosmetic Grade Glitter (optional)
Pink Himalayan Sea Salt (optional)

Directions:

First, I should mention that all ingredients (other than colorants, glitter, etc) are measured by weight. 

Weigh the citric acid and baking soda into a heat safe medium sized bowl.

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Use a fork or your hands to break up any clumps and to also mix the two powders together. Set aside.

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Weigh the cocoa butter into a microwave safe measuring cup. Heat in 30 second bursts until completely melted, making sure to not leave it unattended. Handle with care when removing it from the microwave as it will be very hot.

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Slowly pour the melted cocoa butter into the citric acid/baking soda mixture, using a fork to completely combine them.

At this point, you can add in the fragrance and/or essential oil (I used Strawberries & Champagne for this batch). M It’s very important that you only use body safe fragrance oils. 

You can also stir in colorants if you’d like. To get a beautiful soft pink color, I used an eighth of a teaspoon of pink mica mixed with just enough vegetable glycerin to dissolve the powder. 

Spoon the mixture into the mold of your choice (I use a silicon ice cube tray – similar to this one)

Allow to harden for about 24 hours before unmolding. 

To create the drizzle on top, make a second smaller batch of bath truffle mixture, following the same instructions above. But instead of spooning it into the mold, place it into a plastic storage bag, snip one corner off, and drizzle a little on top of each bath truffle square.

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Then, add a little cosmetic grade glitter (regular glitter won’t work and can irritate skin) and a pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt and voila!

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Directions For Use:
Drop one in to a warm bath (or foot bath) and enjoy.

Please note: Bath truffles may make floor slippery, so please use caution.

DIY Pink Champagne Bath Truffles

Ingredients

  • 5 oz baking soda
  • 2.5 oz citric acid
  • 3 oz cocoa butter
  • 0.17 oz fragrance or essential oil
  • 1/4 tsp Pink Mica Powder mixed with vegetable glycerin (optional)
  • Silicon Ice Cube Mold
  • Drizzle on top:
  • 2.5 oz baking soda
  • 1.25 oz citric acid
  • 1.5 oz cocoa butter
  • .08 oz fragrance or essential oil
  • Cosmetic Grade Glitter (optional)
  • Pink Himalayan Sea Salt (optional)

Instructions

  1. Weigh out baking soda and citric acid in a heat safe bowl. Combine completely with fork or hands, breaking up any clumps. Set aside.
  2. Weigh out cocoa butter in microwave safe measuring cup. Melt in a microwave in 30 second bursts until completely melted. Don't leave unattended and use care when removing from microwave as it will be hot.
  3. Slowly pour in to baking soda/citric acid mixture, using fork to make sure it's completely combined with no clumps.
  4. Stir in fragrance or essential oil and colorant if you're using any.
  5. Spoon in to mold. Allow to harden for about 24 hours before unmolding.
  6. Drizzle:
  7. Once the bath truffle squares have completely hardened, remove them from the mold and set aside.
  8. Weigh out baking soda and citric acid in a small heat safe bowl. Set aside.
  9. Weigh out the cocoa butter in a microwave safe measuring cup. Microwave in 30 second bursts until completely melted. Handle with care when removing from the microwave as it will be hot.
  10. Slowly pour the melted cocoa butter into the baking soda/citric acid mixture, using the fork to make sure it's completely combined. Stir in the fragrance and colorants if you're using any.
  11. Spoon into a plastic storage bag. Snip one corner off with scissors and drizzle on top of each bath truffle square.
  12. Top each square with a sprinkle of cosmetic grade glitter and pink Himalayan sea salt. Allow to dry for a couple of hours.

Notes

I can somtimes unmold the bath truffles a little earlier than 24 hours later, but not often.

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Homemade Shower Cleaner: Easy DIY Recipe

Today, I have a special guest post for y’all from Anna W. Take it away Anna!

Cleaning the shower in the bathroom is just as important as cleaning the toilet, the sink and the other parts of the place. By doing that regularly, you will be able to remove permanently the stubborn stains and also protect the head and the head and the other parts of this important device now and in the future. When it comes to cleaning, it is essential to have cleaning supplies with good quality and the right tools. Instead of spending a lot of money for various toxic products, however, you can simply make disinfecting solutions yourself. It is easy and cheap, and the best part of all is that you will be sure that your family is protected from dangerous chemicals. 

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Homeshower.JPG

Disinfecting your shower daily would be best but, unfortunately, not all people can afford to do this that often. If you are one of them, there is no need to worry. It is possible to remove effectively all grim from the shower in your bathroom , even if you clean it once a week. Thanks to the excellent recipes for homemade shower cleaners NW6 MainCleaners will present to you in this article, you won’t have to worry about the looks of this device anymore.  

  • Destroying the hard water spots with white vinegar –

After a while you may notice that there are some unpleasant spots on your shower, which simply don’t want to disappear no matter what you do. Those are probably hard water spots, for which you will need a special cleaner. The ordinary cleaning supplies usually can’t help in a situation like this, so in this case you can just use white vinegar. Pour a small part of the product in a plastic bag and then attach it to your shower’s head with a cord. The vinegar should cover the entire head of the shower and you have to leave the plastic bag there for an hour or more. Then you can scrub the surface of the device and wash it with water. 

  • Special cleaning spray with essential oil –

There is a great recipe you can try, which will turn the cleaning of your shower into a pleasant task. You will need a clean spray bottle for the purpose, in which you will have to mix a little liquid dish soap with white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, lemon, or some other essential oil and water. Adding more than one essential oil to the mixture is also an option. Make sure that all ingredients mix well and then you can take a dry cloth and start cleaning your shower from top to bottom. 

  • Disinfecting with baking soda – 

Another great recipe for homemade shower cleaner includes baking soda, a little filtered water, castille soap and the essential oil that you like so much. This time you can mix the necessary ingredients in a bowl or some other container and in the end you will receive an effective cleaner in the form of a paste. You can apply it on those parts of your shower that need cleaning, then disinfect with a sponge or cloth and rinse in the end with cold water. 

Those are three of the best recipes for natural shower cleaners that you can prepare in your own home. Except that they will make the device sparkling clean, they will also save you a lot of money in the future. As you can see, all necessary ingredients are perfectly affordable, so you won’t have any problems preparing the special mixtures any time you like. The cleanness of your shower will be preserved for a long period of time and you won’t have to worry about chemical residue and unpleasant side effects. 

 

Anna W. is keen on green living and natural cleaning. She likes to make her own house cleaners and here she shares three of the best recipes for natural shower cleaners that you can prepare in your own home.

*I hope you enjoyed this post, and thank you to Anna for some insightful tips! If you’re interested in being featured on a guest post, please contact me.

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Talking Soap.

A couple of weeks ago, we were invited to do a soap demonstration at the Claybank Master Gardeners Club meeting.

By the way, a big thank you for inviting us! We had such a wonderful time!!

We (Mom and I) had so much fun talking soap and goats and all of the benefits you get when you combine them (soap and goat milk, that is 😉 ). And of course, making soap. 

Cotton Pickin’, one of my favorites to make because of the pretty blue color.

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I think it turned out really well (find it listed in the shop in about two more weeks).

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If you’d like to have us do a Soap Making Demonstration at your event or club meeting, feel free to visit the Contact Me page. 

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Pickled Jalapeno Peppers.

While I’ll never qualify for any gardening awards (lack of green thumb, here), there is one thing that I do know how to grow. In abundance. 

Peppers. Specifically, jalapenos. Which leaves me with one problem. What to do with them. 

First, I tried adding them into a few salads. A marinade or two. Grilled jalapeno poppers. But I quickly realized, it wasn’t enough. There were just way too many peppers.

Then, in a moment of brilliant (if I do say so myself 😉 ) ah-ha inspiration, the answer emerged. . . pickling!!

Pickled Jalapeno Peppers

 

Now, my pickled peppers also have the addition of chives from my garden (mainly because they are also growing in abundance this year), but you can totally leave them out if you want.

Wash the jars and lids thoroughly. Fill your canner or a large pot with enough water to completely cover the jars. Place the jars in the water, tilting them to fill up with water. Bring to a simmer. In a small saucepan on low to medium low heat, place the lids and rings in warm water.

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Slice the peppers into 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch rings and discard the stems.
In a large saucepan, pour in the water and vinegar.
Add the sugar, salt, peppercorns, and garlic. Bring to a boil.

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Add the jalapeno slices and the chopped chives. Remove from heat. 

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Allow the jalapenos to cool while sitting in the mixture soaking up all of the flavor for 10 or so minutes.

Carefully remove the jars from the canner, emptying them of water. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, fill the jars with the jalapenos. Pour the vinegar mixture into each jar leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Then, insert a chopstick or skewer down the sides of each jar to remove air bubbles.
Wipe the rims of each jar with a damp paper towel. Using a magnetic lid lifter, remove the lids and rings from the warm water and place a lid and ring on each jar, tightening until they’re snug or fingertip tight. 
Using a jar lifter, carefully return the jars to the canner, making sure they are completely covered by water with at least 1 inch of water above the tops of the jars. Process in boiling water for at least 10 minutes.
Using a jar lifter, carefully remove the jars from the water. Set on a kitchen towel or cooling rack. Don’t place the hot jars directly on the counter. Allow to cool undisturbed for at least 12 hours. You may hear a pinging noise as they cool.
After 12 hours have passed, check to see if the jars have sealed by pressing the center of each lid. If there’s any give, the jars didn’t seal properly. Either reprocess them or refrigerate and use immediately.

IMG_4812

Pickled Jalapeno Peppers.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs jalapeno peppers
  • 1 tbsp chives, chopped (optional)
  • 2 - 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 - 4 tbsp kosher salt
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups vinegar (2 cups white vinegar and 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons peppercorns

Instructions

  1. Wash the jars and lids thoroughly. Fill your canner or large pot with enough water to completely cover the jars. Place the jars in the water, tilting them to fill up with water. Bring to a simmer. In a small saucepan on low to medium low heat, place the lids and rings in warm water.
  2. Slice the peppers into 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch rings and discard the stem.
  3. In a large saucepan, pour in the water and vinegar.
  4. Add the sugar, salt, peppercorns, and garlic. Bring to a boil.
  5. Add the jalapeno slices and the chopped chives. Remove from heat.
  6. Allow the jalapenos to cool while sitting in the mixture soaking up all of the flavor for 10 or so minutes.
  7. Carefully remove the jars from the canner, emptying them of water.
  8. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, fill the jars with the jalapenos. Pour the vinegar mixture into each jar leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
  9. Insert a chopstick or skewer down the sides of each jar to remove air bubbles.
  10. Wipe the rims of each jar with a damp paper towel. Using a magnetic lid lifter, remove the lids and rings from the warm water.
  11. Place a lid and ring on each jar, tightening until they're snug or fingertip tight.
  12. Using a jar lifter, carefully return the jars to the canner, making sure they are completely covered by water with at least 1 inch of water above the tops of the jars. Process in boiling water for at least 10 minutes.
  13. Using a jar lifter, carefully remove the jars from the water. Set on a kitchen towel or cooling rack. Don't place the hot jars directly on the counter. Allow to cool undisturbed for at least 12 hours. You may hear a pinging noise as they cool.
  14. After 12 hours have passed, check to see if the jars have sealed by pressing the center of each lid. If there's any give, the jars didn't seal properly. Either reprocess them or refrigerate and use immediately.
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