I downloaded your new ebook yesterday. I'm thinking about gifts for Christmas, and I have a few questions for you.
1. Are shea butter and cocoa butter equally effective for treating very dry skin such as cracked heels and fingers? For dry skin like you mention, yes. For eczema and psoriasis, shea butter seems to work better, from the testimonies I receive.
2. Can the body mousse be made using shea butter instead of cocoa butter? Yes! In fact, that recipe is in my summer e-book. Adding essential oils is optional.
3. Can you tell me where you get the mold and tins for the hard lotion bars that you sell? I had those custom made. There are bead organizers (it's a plastic 12-box organizer) that you can find at Michaels and Wal-mart with fairly close dimensions but you do have to cut off the edges to fit the tin. If you can find rectangle soap molds with the correct dimensions, you might be able to find the right size for the large tin.
4. You mention using small ramekins for molds and large ones for containers, can you be more specific on the sizes? One is 3.5 inches in diameter and the other is 3 inches.
I know at least a few people I will be giving this to at Christmas will really benefit from using it, as I have. Thanks so much!
Entries in recipe (7)
Last year on Mother's Day, my husband proudly announced that he scheduled a massage for me.
First, I was not the massage type. Scratch that... massage, yes, but massage by a total stranger? No.
Second, I could think of two things I would rather do with $50: shop Kohls, then hit Starbuck's.
Third, what in the world do I do during a massage?? Talk? Listen to my iPod? Strip? To what? I was uncomfortable just thinking about it.
Now, a year later, it was the best gift ever. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't just a luxury, but a real massage from a real massage therapist. Shannon knows her muscle groups, explains the role of lactic acid, and really works the deep tissue treatment. So much, in fact, that it's borderline painful. If you're fortunate to find a massage therapist that can do all that, she's worth her weight in gold.
Massage therapists are professionals who treat you with respect and privacy. They leave the room when you change your clothes. It's up to you what clothing to leave on, and the parts you'd expect to stay covered, are covered.
By touch, massage therapists know what muscle groups need work and which areas are tender. They work with you to give the most amount of pressure possible without causing you (too much) pain. Personally, I try to endure the most pain because then I know I'm getting the best work done.
To get the best of your massage, don't bother wearing make up, and don't make plans to shop afterward. In fact, do what I do: get a chiropractic adjustment immediately following the massage. You can expect to feel very sore afterwards. And you should drink, drink, drink plenty of water following your massage. If you can, go home and rest.
A year later, I'm back for my Mother's Day massage. But this massage joins the thirty-some massages I've received since last Mother's Day.
Massage Oil Recipe
For every 6 ounces of carrier oil, add 20-30 drops of essential oil
Carrier oils can be: almond oil, apricot kernel oil, fractionated (liquid) coconut oil, or jojoba oil.
Essential oils can be whatever you prefer, or mix up a blend!
The EdventureProject, one of the organizations that we sponsor, had the opportunity to learn how the cocoa bean travels from seed to chocolate during their recent stay in Guatemala. In a video of their interview, we learn the following facts about cocoa beans:
*cocoa pods grow on the trunk of the tree and are harvested year-round
*in Guatemala, cocoa is pronounced “cuh-cow”
*a cocoa pod is about the size of a large sweet potato, and cutting it is like cutting a gourd
*inside the pod is the arrangement of cocoa seeds held together and surrounded by a white, slimy, citrus and sweet-tasting liquid
*that sweet, white liquid is what feeds the fermentation process
*cocoa beans are fermented naturally on the jungle floor, inside the pod
*cocoa beans are extracted from the pods, dried, toasted (to remove the shells), and then ground into powder (cocoa powder)
*cocoa butter is the result of pressing the cocoa beans with a press, extracting the oil
*the Mayans like their chocolate hot... but by that I mean spicy!
*the skin of the bean is released when heated, and the skin by-product is often used to make tea
*chocolate can be made with just cocoa powder and honey.
*chocolate mousse: Kari says she makes a chocolate mousse with avocado, cocoa powder and honey!
I'll ask Kari to share her chocolate mousse recipe. Here's my first try at sweetened chocolate which will completely replace my need for a Snicker's bar fix:
Homemade Chocolate (chewy like a taffy but softer, smoother, and velvety)
On low heat, melt about a tbs of coconut oil, add 2-3 tbs of honey and stir. Slowly stir in about a tbs of cocoa powder until a chocolatey, velvet consistency occurs (may need to remove from heat before you get to this point). Transfer to plate and cool (or drizzle over a banana). Enjoy!
I came home to find my husband mysteriously busy at the kitchen stove with sprigs of lavender in one hand, and a wooden spoon swirling around melted shea butter in a hot skillet in the other. Dinner was an experiment last night, but I'll let him speak:
Since we have plenty of shea butter on hand for my wife to make fresh batches of hard lotion bars, I decided to swipe a couple tablespoons of the shea to test in our kitchen.
I like soft, fried eggs and I normally cook them in a pan with butter or a half-tablespoon of coconut oil. This time I used some of Renee's very white looking shea butter. I also added a few sprigs of lavender from the garden for a slightly wild and elevating flavor.
The first thing I noticed was that this butter can get much hotter in the pan without it beginning to smoke. Normally, if it is a dairy butter, I have to watch closely as the butter can turn quickly from golden brown to a smoked burned state. In comparison, shea butter seems to withstand a much higher cooking temperature and never got close to burning.
Secondly, and the most important observation, is how it tasted. I served up the eggs, and immediately, on our first bite of the eggs, both my wife and I agreed that the viscosity was very pronounced. Both butter and coconut oil give each their own distinct taste, but they dissipate immediately in the mouth. The shea butter, however, lingers long in the mouth after finishing the bite and overwhelms the fine taste of soft eggs. We both commented that it reminded us of flax seed oil and cod liver oil - not a good combo for light dinner fare.
Conclusion: I'm not ready yet to switch to cooking with shea butter, but I think it could find its place in any food requiring high and sustained heat that needs a robust complementary flavor.
I can't take credit for this one (I don't even have a goat), but thanks to Hardlotion Facebook member Danielle Besley, she shared how she was able to work up a recipe that brought relief to her dairy goat!
Danielle wrote: You sent me a "sample" of your beeswax with my last order. I thought you might find it interesting that I used the sample as a base for my homemade "bag balm" that I am using on the congested udder of my Nigerian Dwarf dairy goat!
I used the 1/2 oz beeswax, 1 oz coconut oil and 3 oz olive oil melted in a double boiler. I let the oils cool and then added the following essential oils: Clove Bud, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary, Tea ...Tree and Thyme. I picked these oils because they are either "cooling", "heating" or "healing" and edible. I want to increase the circulation to her udder and I want her teats to taste nasty since she has started "self-suckling" due to the discomfort from the congestion. I added 48 drops of each oil and tested the balm on the back of my chapped hands. I want it to feel hot/cold but not burn :) I started using it on Friday and her udder feels better already. Wish me continued luck!
I just made an amazing chocolate bark using coconut oil.
I've never made chocolate bark before, but it looked so incredibly easy, and with the base recipe using only three ingredients (which I had in my pantry), tonight was the night to try it.
1/2 cup coconut oil
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup sugar
½ tsp peppermint oil (optional)
Over a double boiler on medium heat, whisk coconut oil, chocolate and sugar together for about 4-5 minutes, or until mixture begins to bubble. (Taste for flavor – add sugar if more sweetness is desired.)
Remove from heat.
If adding peppermint, wait five minutes and then add in peppermint oil and stir.
Pour mixture into a large baking dish or rimmed baking sheet that’s lined with parchment paper. Spread smooth with a spatula or spoon. Cover with plastic wrap, foil or a fitted top and freeze for 15-20 minutes, or until chocolate sets. You may break up chocolate and store the rest in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
Other ideas: just before pouring, add in one or more of the following: chopped walnuts, almonds, raisins or other dried fruit, shredded coconut, etc
It was easy to assume this would be good based on the ingredients, but even compared to the Lindt chocolate I recently had, I have to admit that this is even better. This is one of those after dinner sweets that will totally knock the socks off your guests (so make plenty). By the way, it makes a great gift idea.