Welcome Friends!!!

I am a scientist at heart, and my kitchen often looks like a laboratory with all kinds of jars and containers fermenting and brewing on the counters. I love to share my recipes, my herbal remedies and health tips, and I really LOVE to save money! We have a large extended family....two sons, their wives, eleven grandkids (and often a friend or two), my sister, Lanny's brother, and my parents that come over every Tuesday night for dinner...kind of a family reunion, only weekly instead of yearly! That adds up to from 17 to 22 or more people here every week. So I have to cook big, and cook economically!

So here we go! For all my friends and family that have been encouraging me to put all my recipes and ideas in one place like this....if you don't see what you are looking for, and cannot find it by using the "Topics" or the search field below right, just let me know and I will be sure to post it as soon as I can.

Be sure to check out our African Mission Adventure - we traveled to Malawi in August 2014 and you will find photo's and stories about our trip! LanDebLewAfrica.blogspot.com!!!

Lanny and I also have started devotional blogspots that you might enjoy:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Basic Soap Making and Recipes

OK, so a lot of you are asking about my soap. I have been making (and giving away) some basic lye soap and also some olive/coconut/cocoa butter/shea butter blends that seem to be a hit. I have several family members that have sworn off store bought shampoos and conditioners because the lye soap works wonders. People think lye soap must be harsh, but quite the contrary, lye soap is wonderfully moisturizing and very gentle! So, I am going to post just a few really basic recipes that can be modified in so many ways by just adding different essential oils, herbs, etc. Once you get the basics down the sky is the limit as far as scents and additives. It is so much fun, and very rewarding when you DO IT YOURSELF!!!

There are two processes for making soap: cold process and hot process. Many people swear by the cold process, but it takes several weeks to months for your soap to cure when you do the CP way. I am one of those instant gratification people when it comes to soap...I want to use it NOW. So I do the hot process method using a crock pot and my stick blender. I am going to give you some of my favorite links that describe the process in details with lots of pictures. You can't go wrong!

Here are some photos of my plain old Simple Lye Soap.....

 and my basic oils blend....

I just use a silicone baking pan for these and you can use any number of plastic molds,
homemade or bought (I've used plastic shoe boxes, trays). You can line wooden or
metal pans with parchment or waxed paper. 

CAUTION: It's best to wear goggles and gloves any time you’re dealing with lye and while handling the soap until it tests non-caustic. I must admit to you that I don't wear goggles (I just make sure that I am not leaning over the cup when I pour in my lye...and I DO wear glasses so I am semi-goggled), but I DO wear gloves. And I keep a little bottle of vinegar near by so that if I do splash lye on myself a little dab of vinegar on the spot will fix you right up - it neutralizes the lye.

Here are my favorite recipes and the step by step hot process directions follow:

Simple Lye Soap
2 pounds Lard
4.4 ounces Lye
7 ounces Water

Basic Lard & Coconut Oil Soap 
12 oz. lard 
4 oz. coconut oil 
2 oz. cocoa butter added at trace 
2.2 oz. lye 
7 oz. water 
½ oz essential oil added at trace (optional)

Basic Lard & Olive Oil Soap 
8 oz. lard 
8 oz. olive oil 
2.1 oz. lye 
7 oz. water 
1 oz. castor oil added at trace 
.25 oz esssential oil added at trace (optional)

Classic Blend Soap 
2 oz. castor oil 
4 oz. olive oil 
4 oz. coconut oil 
6 oz. lard 
2.25 oz. lye 
7 oz. water

A great website with detailed instructions and step-by-step photographs is Soap Making Essentials at http://www.soap-making-essentials.com/hot-process.html....the following instructions are from that site:

Gather all tools, utensils, ingredients, and other supplies including your molds and prepare your work area. To make soap by the hot process method, you don’t need to take the temperature of your mixtures at any point. Just carry on the way your great-grandma did, except without the iron kettle and the open fire.

Step 1

Weigh each fat/oil.

Place fats/oils in a crock pot on Low.

Heat until completely melted. Turn the crock pot off.

Step 2

Put on your goggles and gloves. Weigh the lye and the water.

ALWAYS ADD LYE TO YOUR LIQUID not the other way around. I take the lye and water outside to mix, releasing the fumes in the open air. Slowly pour the lye into the water. Stir with a slotted spoon and hang back so you don’t inhale the fumes. A water mixture will appear cloudy at first.

The mixture quickly clears. Take it back inside.

Step 3

Slowly pour the lye mixture into the melted fats/oils.

Stir briefly with a spoon then begin mixing with a stick blender.

Use the stick blender on and off so you don’t burn up your tool. This recipe takes me about 10 minutes to trace.

Step 4

Identify trace.

When your mixture traces, it will be sort of like a soft pudding where you can draw a line in the mixture and see the “trace” you left behind.

Step 5

Set your crock pot to Low and put on the lid to start the cook.

The soap will gradually take on a waxy appearance. The edges will appear dryer than the middle as they push up the sides of the crock pot. Stir occasionally–this keeps the soap mixture cooking evenly. As it nears finishing, it will look like waxy mashed potatoes.

Test it with a pH strip (usually takes several minutes to change color after dipping in the soap) or do the “zap” test with your tongue.

The cook time of soap recipes will vary with the fats/oils involved. It can take up to an hour with some recipe.  But some cook up very quickly.

The soap is now no longer caustic and is safe to touch.

Step 6

This is optional, but if you are adding a fragrance, you can transfer the mixture to a new bowl and continue to stir for a couple of minutes, letting the soap cool slightly. I usually leave it in the crockpot and just let it cool there a few minutes (keeps me from having to clean a lot of bowls...I am lazy like that). 

Mix in the additives and colorant, if using, as you stir. There’s a fine line between letting the soap cool slightly and letting it begin to harden, so don’t over-do it. Add fragrance last. Additives and fragrance should be measured and prepared before the soap is ready to come out of the pot so that you can work quickly.

Additives: Use a maximum of ½ cup dry additives in a two-pound batch. (More may make your soap crumbly.) If adding honey, add 2 tablespoons per two-pound batch.

Coloring: I prefer liquid soap colorant. I find dry pigments are more difficult to blend evenly. Be sure you’re using soap colorant. Use as many drops as it takes to reach your desired effect. You can also color soap naturally in a variety of organic ways, and keep in mind that some additives (such as ground cinnamon) will color your soap. I haven't used liquid colorants and prefer to use herbs and spices. 

Fragrance: Use no more than 1 ounce fragrance oil or essential oil per two pounds of soap. (More may make your soap oily.)

Scoop the mixture into the mold.

When making hot process soap, by the time you put it in the mold(s), it’s soap. You may line the mold (I use freezer paper) to protect the mold (for example, a wood mold) from the oils in the soap and to make the soap come out easily. Unlike when making cold process soap, you’re not lining molds of various materials to protect from the reaction of the mixture prior to saponification. Hot process soap is already saponified by the time it goes into the mold. 

Bang the mold down a little to settle, cover the soap (I just fold over the freezer paper I used to line the mold), and clean up your work area.

As soon as the soap is cooled and hard–about 12 hours–it’s ready to remove from the mold, cut into bars, and use. I usually set the bars on end for a day or two while they continue to set.

Hot process is real soap, real fast!

FYI, to make round bars, I use Pringles cans. No need to line them for hot process soap–eat the Pringles (get your kids involved, they’ll find it a real hardship), clean the can out, spoon the soap in, and just tear the can off when it’s ready to cut into bars.

The above directions were taken from Soap Making Essentials - HAVE FUN!!

A Pool Side Family Night

Gorgeous weather, lots of kids, and a refreshing pool....all the makings for a great family night. We always enjoy ourselves but summer just adds a dash of extra fun!!! This month marks the eighth year that we have been doing these four generation gatherings EVERY Tuesday night!! What a great event to celebrate!

Circling up for prayer. We are SO thankful for all God's 
blessings, but these family times are just extra special!!