Making Body Butter and More Exploration

Several months ago I purchased all the raw products to make body butters. I’ve seen so many recipes on Pinterst and wanted to have a go.  I have experimented with coconut oil, but today was serious business. 

I started with a few recipes I had found on Pinterest but did a lot of tweaking. First batch was simply equal parts coconut oil and coconut butter. I melted them all in the microwave then refrigerated until opaque.

After it was opaque, around 20 minutes, I took it out and whipped it with the electric mixer. Then put it back in the fridge again for 5 minutes to firm up before the final beating. It takes a lot of beating to get to stiff peaks. If it is not making stiff peaks put in back in fridge for another 5 minutes. 

Using approx 6 oz of each coconut oil and cocoa butter yielded 3 containers.  For the pink butter I used 3oz coconut oil, 6oz shea butter, 2 oz cocoa butter, 1-2 oz vitamin E oil.  I melted the coconut oil and cocoa butter in the microwave and then added the Shea butter and mixed. I placed this mixture in the freezer for 5 minutes, removed it, added bit E oil and then whipped and whipped with the electric mixer. It only yielded 2 containers. I added essential oils to both but never really got a good smell. The Shea smells awful and needs masking!  With both the finish products feel a bit greasy, but I’ll let them set and test them both tomorrow.  Next I’ll just use Shea and cocoa butter. The coconut oil seems to hinder the firming up of the butters. We’ll see what it looks like in 24 hours. 

Pulled out all my Christmas goodies today!

So excited to start the process!!  Has always been the tradition to decorate on Thanksgiving week-end and this year will be no exception. It is always such a treat as every year what with yard sales and such my decor grows and allows even more holiday cheer!!  This year I am hosting a company party so want everything just perfect!  

As the hubs and I continue to plan for retirement and view homes we have been doing serious thinking and can’t decide between property in the country or the coast. So far with all the places we have viewed country property is winning. On our foray to look at homes yesterday we happened upon this treasure!

This wonderful cheesemaking operation was just tucked off the highway beside the family dairy farm. Willamette Valley Cheese!!  Sampling was free and you were allowed all the samples you desired.  As there was just too much of a selection, I deferred to their recommendations for my tasting. Every single cheese was exceptional….every one!!!  I walked away with a nice selection. And the prices were beyond reasonable!!  

I love small family businesses! From their website I copied this excerpt:

“It’s sunrise at Volbeda Farms. The creek runs cold and clear in the countryside surrounding Salem, Oregon. Rod Volbeda’s jersey cows are enjoying a breakfast of home-grown, fresh forage. Their milk is the prime ingredient for the award-winning line of Willamette Valley Cheese Company brand Gouda, Havarti, Jack, Cheddar, Brie, Fontina, and other farmstead cheeses. Some are updated with subtle herbs and spices. Others represent classic European recipes Rod learned as an apprentice with Dutch cheese masters in Holland. All are buttery-smooth, mildly fragrant, and all-natural. They are enticing alone; prepared for discerning palettes. Their depth and intensity are heightened by hearty red wines and crisp, refreshing whites. The specialty cheeses of Willamette Valley Cheese Company consistently exceed expectations.

Treating the herd well ensures the finest cheese ingredient: top-quality milk with high-butter fat and extra protein. Time-honored recipes, innovative techniques, and imaginative flavors are balanced by Rod Volbeda’s dedication to artisan cheese making. “Cows and dairy are a family tradition,” says Rod, a second generation craftsman with a degree in food science from Oregon State University. Rod spent more than a decade perfecting cheese recipes and growing his herd of jersey cows. Only after careful consideration of every aspect related to the cheese making process did he believe the timing was right to launch Willamette Valley Cheese Company. Honors and awards for the company’s 100% Jersey milk farmstead cheeses soon followed. Health-conscious consumers seeking fresh, natural products began lining up at specialty stores and growers markets for their cheeses.

The Volbedas know their customers care about where their foods come from. Raw milk produced at Volbeda Farms goes directly from the milking parlor to a thoroughly modern cheese making facility. Pasteurization takes place in an on-site vat with no bumpy truck ride or lengthy trip through pressurized tubes. The Volbedas believe it makes more sense to create and age their cheeses on the same farm where their trademark Jersey milk is produced.

The Volbeda’s philosophical approach to farming includes the practice of environmental sustainability. They fertilize their pastures and crops with nutrient-rich compost. Their cows are not treated with hormones. Their cheese making operation focuses on quality, not quantity. That may be old-fashioned, but the Volbeda’s care about their customers and never rush to market with products that don’t meet their stringent standards for freshness and flavor.

Loyal customers appreciate and savor the flavorfully soft and creamy hand-crafted cheeses created by the Volbedas – part of their dairy family’s heritage since 1962. Rich western soil and verdant fields provide pasture for the happiest cows in the valley. Willamette Valley Cheese Company guarantees you’ll find their products distinctively fresh, smooth and uniquely flavorful.

Pamper your palate. Explore the textures and tastes derived from the fine art of hand-crafted, slow-made, all-Jersey cow milk farmstead cheeses. Willamette Valley Cheese Company’s offerings are from the Volbeda family to you and yours. Natural cheese just doesn’t get any better than this.”

All so very true!!!

While out exploring we headed to Monmouth and Independence.  Salem is surrounded by small towns and we both love visiting them.  Found the sweetest used bookstore in Independence.  Who doesn’t love a good used book store?!

Could spend hours here!!  Shelves and shelves of magic!!!

Closer to home we make our usual forays to Minto-Brown Park for our routine walks.  We have yet to explore all the paths. Minto-Brown Park is 1200 acres with over 20 miles of paved paths and numerous dirt paths. It borders the Willamette River.  It is meticulously maintained by the city and an absolute jewel!!! 

It is one of our favorite places to walk!  I just love it when cities care enough to preserve green areas for public use.  I have been fortunate enough to live in cities that offer these amenities. But have to say Minto Brown Park is the best hands down!!!  The boxers would certainly agree!  Here they are after a walk

Cozy and content!  

And now I must attend to all those boxes of decor…

Making Merry!



Autumn: A Season For Renewal

Autumn is here!!!  My most favorite season of them all!  I love the brilliant autumn hues; russet reds, golden yellows, burnt oranges, and deep plums.  The crisp snap in the air is invigorating and the musty smell of burning leaves and logs is somehow comforting. Autumn always makes me want to cook up hearty stews, fruit crisps, and golden loaves of crusty breads.  The bounty of the garden harvest is in and it is a time for celebrations!  

I have always viewed September as the advent of the new year.  The idea of a new year beginning in the deep of winter is just without merit in my opinion.  But September, with back to school and crisp fresh days; yes that is where my new year begins!  

The last of the summer visitors have come and gone as children are now back in school and it is time for a thorough turning out of the house before holiday decorating begins in earnst!  A summer of yard sales has added exponentially to my already burgeoning boxes of decor!  

However before I get too carried away on the spleandors of Autumn here’s a look at the last lazy summer days.

Two little wood sprites came for a visit!  We had lots of fun exploring and of course they could not wait to hit the yard sales with their grandma!  And they found treasures, lots of treasures!

Always have to get in park play time too!  And a birthday celebration as a sweet wood sprite turned twelve!!!

So grown up and beautiful, my Milsie!!!

And of course a trip to the beach was included!

The waves were huge and cresting quite a distance from the seashore!  It was magnificently beautiful!!

The house is so quiet when the grands leave and it takes me a few days to readjust and resume my routine as I miss them dearly.  

The hubby has week days off still but I managed to sneak away one day for us to hit the beach and explore a few wooded paths.

Oh how they love to run and play on the beach!!  

While there we checked out a myriad of properties. We lucked into a great realtor. Mike took us to a dozen places and we have pretty much decided upon the area we want. Now just to find that perfect retirement cottage!!!  It is so fun to look and plan for that next step, the time when we both step away from work and turn our attention to play!!!  

And let’s not forget a few of my latest yard sale finds!

The sweetest carrying case for my iPad and a hand painted milk glass piece, plus a set of ikea dishes and silver!! 

And now off to mix up some delicious pumpkin bread!  Autumn is the perfect excuse to make yummy loaves of sweet breads!

Happy Autumn!