Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kitchen Cosmetics Blog Party

Winter has done a good job of making itself known this year I'm sure everyone is suffering from dry skin that needs a pick me up. Because of this I decided to host a blog party on kitchen cosmetics. A blog party is when several blogs link together and post an entry on a similar topic. Be sure to read to the bottom of this entry for the other participants in this party.

Besides the wonderful skin care products offered by Colorado Aromatics and other small independent companies, there is also alot that you can do for your skin in your own kitchen using simple ingredients. My all time favorite is the yogurt facial. Use full fat yogurt though, although not good for your arteries, high fat is best for your skin. Yogurt contains alpha hydroxy acid (lactic acid) which will help to exfoliate the dead skin cells to leave your face looking rejuvenated with fewer fine lines.

Yogurt facial
1 small container of yogurt - I use plain but a fruit yogurt would be ok too.
1 tablespoon of dried herbs - this can vary depending upon what you have in your spice cabinet.

Parsley is great for its high vitamin A, C and K content. Other good herbs for the face that you might find in your spice cabinet are fennel, sage, basil and calendula. You might also check your tea cabinet and try chamomile or mint.

Mix the herbs in the yogurt, add a teaspoon of honey if you'd like and smooth the yogurt over your face with fingers. Now sit and enjoy a cup of tea while your face becomes moisturized and rejuvenated.

Visit these other blogs for recipes too:
Mountain Mary posted some recipes for salt scrubs. Exfoliating is a great way to get more moisture into the skin.

Maryanne Kudera posted a few recipes here; one of which uses 'old champagne'. Personally, I would never leave champagne around long enough for it to get old but you might try it.

Maggie at Prairie Land Herbs posted a recipe for a lemon egg shampoo. When spring arrives our chickens will be laying too many eggs for us to eat so I'll try it then.

Cory Trusty of Aquarian Bath posted instructions for making an herb infused vinegar and them some great recipes using it.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Keep the Kitchen Cozy

This winter has been more than cold in many parts of the country and keeping warm can be a challenge. Rosanne Tartaro of Sunrose Aromatics mentioned this link to the farmers almanac ( which had suggestions for keeping warm. Number 5; "Keep the Kitchen Cozy" resonated with me and I wanted to expand upon it.
In many households the kitchen is the center of attention; people gather here to play, eat, and talk. Turning down the heat in other parts of the house might even encourage this, but its important to keep it cozy. Here are some of my suggestions for a cozy kitchen:

Keep a pot of water on the stove. This serves two purposes; it helps increase humidity which is dangerously low in the mountain west and you can use it as a simmering potpourri. Check your spice cabinet for cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, allspice, pieces of nutmeg too small to grate or experiment with other spices. Orange peel also works well in the potpourri. Check your tea cupboard too for mint, chamomile and other aromatic teas.

Drink lots of hot beverages; teas, coffee, hot cocoa. You can use this as an opportunity to experiment with different flavors. Add mint or orange peel to your tea or cocoa - hey, maybe even your coffee, but I've never tried that.

Make soup early in the day and let it simmer on the stove a long time.

Candles can give the kitchen a warm glow, but remember to blow them out.

And is there anything that makes a kitchen more cozy than home baked bread? Although yeast breads can take quite awhile there are many options for quick breads. I like to make this ginger bread:

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
pinch of cayenne pepper (to taste)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup light molasses
3/4 cup milk (or buttermilk)
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar (or slightly less)
1 egg

Cream butter and sugar together, mix in egg. Add remaining ingredients and mix together. Pour into a greased 4x8inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes. Cool and cut into squares. This bread can be made as spicy as you like it and is very warming!

What are your suggestions for keeping warm during these dark and cold winter days?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Winter Indoor Fun

As winter drags on here in Colorado it can make one a little anxious. Here are some things to help pass the time and entertain! Have you ever had a 'blooming tea'? This is a centuries old form of art from China. Put this small bundle of hand tied tea leaves into a clear glass teapot. After you pour hot water over the tea it begins to unfurl to reveal a secret flower hidden inside. The flowers inside vary from jasmine, chrysanthemum, globe amaranth flower, osmanthus, and others. These are wonderfully entertaining to watch and beautiful, inexpensive entertainment for yourself and children. And of course you are aware of the many health benefits of green tea both internally and topically. Do a google search for blooming teas and you'll be surprised how many sites there are and they are not expensive.

Also, although I have not read the original research on this; here is a link to a news article that says green tea can inhibit the H1N1 virus! Drink up.

Nuts are a great wintertime treat and often given as gifts during the Holiday season. I love trying to crack the walnuts open while trying to keep the halves perfectly in tact. There are many crafts you can do with walnut shell halves. If you put a cotton ball in there you have a small fairy bed. You can cut tiny paper ears and glue a yarn tail on to make a tiny mouse. But my favorite is to make candle boats to float in a bowl. Just use birthday candles, drip a little wax from them in the bottom of the walnut half to stabilize them and carefully set in the water. In this picture I have also floated some rose petals. Have each person in the household make a boat and see which one lasts the longest if you are competitive. But do enjoy the candlelight given off from your boats. And eat those walnuts, they contain omega 3 fatty acids that are good for your skin, heart and your brain!

Do you have fun activities you like to do in your house to while the cold winter away?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Its a Swap!

Online communities can be great fun; finding people with similar interests to share with and to learn from. Another great fun can be a swap. In a swap, each person participating makes a gift for each other participant in the swap. Each person mails their box of gifts to the organizer who then divides the gifts into separate boxes to send out so that everyone gets one gift from every other person in the swap. These swaps are not only fun but very educational and a chance to try out someone else’s products and learn from them. Swaps can have various guidelines or be open. For instance, while learning how to make lotions I participated in a lotion swap. These types of swaps also involve swapping formulas. A recent swap I participated in was through “The Essential Herbal” Community, a magazine and a YahooGroup. The guidelines of this swap were that the gift needed to be from your garden in some way. Following are the participants and gifts of the 2009 Fall Garden Swap:

Beth Byrne of Soap and Garden contributed a beautiful bar of Cool CukeAloe Mint Soap.,

Karen Creel of Garden Chick made tins of healing balm from comfrey, plantain and calendula.,

Susie Miele of made a comfrey salve.

Marita Orr made a delicious wild cherry cough syrup.

LaDonna made lovely beaded earrings. These were packaged with calendula petals.

Katrina Kruczko made mango apple soap.

A Luscious Lemon Sugar Scrub was made by Deborah Stiffler of "Scent-sational"

Diane W. of made Melissa Aloe soap and Propolis Myrrh lip balm.

Betsy May made a Sweet Dreams herbal tincture.

Deb Hammett of Whisper of Essence made cucumber aloe cream soap.

Tina Sams, editor of The Essential Herbal Magazine made an Elderberry Elixir and some herbal teas.,

Marty sent a lavender sugar and a recipe for lavender lemon sugar cookies to use the sugar.

Kay sent evening primrose seeds harvested from her garden.

Julie Dees-Pickhinke made bath tea, soap & chamomile tea,


Cindy Jones (myself) of Colorado Aromatics at Sagescript Institute made cucumber mint toners from hydrosol distilled from cucumber and mint grown on the farm and other herbs.,

Imagine how much fun it is to open the mailbox one day and find all of this there! Now you can see how much fun a swap might be! Swaps do not have to be among online communities either, you could organize your garden group, church group or any group to do a swap. Let me know if you’ve done anything similar and how it worked out.


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