What's on My Food?

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Garden for Herbal Skin Care

Hi Boys and Girls!

What a great learning experience I had from the Comal Master Gardeners. They had a SIG (special interest group) that taught me about making skin care products for men and women. The ingredients are herbs and other household items that are really easy to obtain. These SIG presentations are open to the public so just read the Herald Zeitung http://www.herald-zeitung.com/ for these monthly presentations. This meeting was held in the historic Forke Store. http://www.nbconservation.org/forkestore.htm

Many items use ordinary ingredients such as corn starch, honey, oatmeal witch hazel, borax, baking soda, apple cider and beeswax. Natural Beauty from the Garden by Janice Cox is where most of the recipes came from. She has several books published on using herbs as skin care and making gifts. The cute little soap below are made in cookie molds or even ice trays. They are then wrapped in tule and tied with a lable.

Super-Easy Oatmeal Soap
1 cup grated castile soap (1 3-oz bar will yield this amount
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons oatmeal

Place the grated soap in a double boiler on the stove top. Pour the water over the soap and stir over medium heat to dissolve all of the soap in the water. When the soap and water are combined, add the oatmeal and stir well. Pour the mixture into a greased mold (coat the mold with petroleum jelly or vegetable oil). Let cool completely and unmold by turning the mold over and gently tapping it on a table or countertop. Let the soap dry for a few days. (Yield: 8 ounces, 1 large bar or 4 smaller bars)
Another idea is to use sliced loofah pieces as molds. Just push the soap into the spaces of the loofah and set. See this picture on Amazon to get an idea.  3 pcs/Set Loofah Bath Sponge-100% Natural Fiber,To Soften,Wet the Loofah Sponge in Water,Apply Your Favorite Shower Gel ,Gently Massage the Skin and Enjoy .As you can see, if you slice these into 1/2 inch slices they would make nice molds for soap. They would be perfect as a gift or in the guest bathroom.

This was a real big hit with my husband and a few other guys that attended. It is Old West Aftershave.
1/2 cup witch hazel
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
1/8 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon whole allspice
1/8 teaspoon alum powder (optional)
Mix together all ingredients. Pour into a clean jar with a tight-fitting lid. Place the jar in a dark, cool place and steep for 2 weeks. At the end of 2 weeks, strain of the liquid, discard any solids and pour into a clean container. To use: Splash on your face after shaving. (Yield: 4 ounces)

Some of the items would make a lovely gift. Look how pretty all these things are in this pot.

Add some of the goodies you made and include seeds and maybe a plant. The pot does not have to be this big. If you have a garden gift to give here is a really great hand cream for dry skin. I have dry skin not only from gardening but from handling fabric all day!
Green Thumb Hand Cream
3 tablespoons grated beeswas
1/2 cup dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons strong calendula tea
2-3 drops EO (essential oil) of lavender
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
Combine all ingredients in a glass, heat-resistant container or double boiler. Heat in the microwave or over medium heat on the stove until all the wax and oils are melted (do not boil), stirring well. Pour the melted mixture into a container or jar and allow to cool completely. Stir again when the mixture has cooled. (Yield: 4 ounces) This is really heavenly. I have an idea to spread this on my hands just before bed and put on a pair of gloves so it can soak in all night!

There were so many skin recipes. You will have to read the books to get them all. Another favorite was the Southwest Scrub. I also really liked the Lavender Dry Perfume. It was not heavy with lavender and it can be placed in a closet or drawer to freshen the air.

Save empty bottles or buy some unusual salt shakers at the thrift store. It is amazing how cute these can look with a ribbon and tag attached. I save pure maple syrup bottles. They are small and have a little handle in which to tie a tag. The tag would identify the ingredients. Look at these coffee mugs. They are all different but filled with Tub Tea or could be filled with soap balls. The mugs were most likely purchased at a thrift store.

Tub Tea (from Herb Companion Nov 2008)
Large tea ball, muslin sack or square of cheesecloth
1/4 cup dried herbs or 1/2 cup fresh herbs
Fill container with desired herbs; use either a blend of your choice or individula herbs. Hang tea-filled container under the spout as you run your bath, letting the water flow through it. Gently squeeze the bag or allow tea ball to float in the water as you bathe. (Yield: 2-4 ounces--enough for one bath.
For a Foot Spa: Let the bundle steep in a small tub or large bowl of boiling hot water until the water is cool enough for your feet.

What herbs to use in your Tub Tea you ask? Well, here are some suggestions:
Stimulating--rosemary, lavender, mint
Relaxing--chamomile, elderflower, angelica
Refreshing--basil, lemon balm, mint
Invigorating--raspberry leaves, bay leaves, mugwort
Cleansing--sage, thyme, lemon verbena

We also got some really good food treats!
Pesto-Garbanzo Dip
1 (7 ounce) container pesto sauce (for testing purposes, DiGiorno Basil Pesto Sauce was used)
1 (15.5 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
Pita chips or assorted veggies
Remove and discard top layer of oil from prepared pesto sauce. Process beans and garlic in a food processor or blender until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. With processor running, pour pesto sauce, olive oil and lemon juice through food chute, blending well. Transfer to serving bowl; stir in cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with pita chips and assorted vegetables. (Southern Living, December 2003)

New Year's Punch
1 can (46 ounces) pineapple juice
4 cups brewed tea
3 cups apple juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 cups ginger ale
In a gallon container, combine pineapple juice, tea , apple juice and lemon juice; mix well. Store in the refrigerator. Add the ginger ale just before serving. Yield: about 30 servings

Oh, another treat was seeing Karen's "new" boots that she bought from the Boot Whisperer in Wimberley. http://www.wimberley.org/ These are raspberry not red! Oh so cute.

So, have I got you itch'n to start your Christmas presents? This will get you started and you will have a hard time giving them away! Stop by your nearest re-sale shop or thrift store and pick up some cute bottles, salt shakers or jars to make your wonderful skin care products.
Natural Beauty at Home, Janice Cox
Natural Beauty from the Garden, Janice Cox
Natural Beauty for All Seasons, Janice Cox

Until next time, kick up a good time in your new boots and kiss a cowboy or a cowgirl!


  1. What a great idea! I hate throwing those maple syrup bottles away, I knew there was a use for them!

  2. Yes! Any glass bottle will do but you will probably replace the cap. Try the Habitat store for some cute class salt shakers or tea cups. This is so much fun!