Category Archives: How to

Soap making 101


This post is dedicated to my awesome granola friends who taught me how to make soap on a Saturday night!!! And because of a request from one of them, this blog will be mostly pictures with little writing……

Ingredients: safflower oil, extra light olive oil, canola oil, shortening, borax, glycerine, lye, sugar, goats milk and we added grapefruit essential oil for some yummy smell!

Let’s start:

Ingredients: check

All oils and shortening go into a pan to melt…

Goats milk, measuring carefully….

The goat milk heads into a pan that is set in cold water. The lye will be added in next, very slowly, to ensure that the temperature stays below 27degrees Fahrenheit . Notice the finger pointing – this is an important step!!

One must protect themselves from the Nasty lye!

Again, careful measuring….

And mix!

In the meantime, the oils have slowly melted…

And the lye has dissolved into the goats milk.

Time to get the molds ready. They are lined tightly with wax paper.

Now’s the perfect chance to say hi to the kitty, hi kitty!!!

Serious stuff now, we are going to mix the melted oils with the goats milk/lye! This is the same time that we add the borax, glycerine, sugar and essential oils.

Adding and stirring.

Borax in!

Once Everything is mixed, you must blend it together in a mixer. This was working really well for us and was very creamy and thick once it was done, like the consistency of hand soap!

Now pouring it into the molds….

And smoothing it out…

Looks perfect!!!

Now, fast forward 24 hours….

Of course I have to include one picture of the kid!!! He’s with a snowman that lived for three hours. Gotta love temps of 11 degrees!!!

Ready to start cutting. How? Using a cleverly designed apparatus that you feed the soap through and you are able to cut even slices. Here are some pictures!

A gorgeous slice…

Perfect!! (by the way, we added some dried marigold leaves for texture…..looks professional, wouldn’t you agree?)

Finished product: over 30 bars of homemade goats milk soap. It will be ready in 6 weeks!


Baking bread with Habs’ forward Max Pacioretty


I was sick this week, with a head cold that made me sound like one of Marge Simpson’s chain-smoking sisters.

Stuck in the house, I decided to make some bread. Luckily, I had some help from Montreal Canadiens‘ forward Max Pacioretty. He was sick too: sick with shame from the way Montreal lost to the last-place in the NHL Eastern Conference Carolina Hurricanes at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Monday night.

We used the basic bread recipe from the Tassajara Bread Book. I love that cookbook. It takes 13 pages to explain in extreme detail how to bake the bread. Max read it quickly so he understood what to do.

While he explained how it was possible for Montreal to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-0 on Saturday night, yet be humiliated by the Hurricanes two days later, I mixed and kneaded the dough.

Max was very impressed by how high the dough rose.

He was so anxious to eat the bread that he wanted to start before it had even been baked!

Max couldn’t believe that it still had to bake for another 30 minutes.

Finally, the bread is done. Max is 6 feet, 2 inches tall, yet this bread towers over him.

Nutella on homemade bread is just the thing a hockey player wants to eat on his day off. Max said he wants to bring a whole loaf of bread and a jar of Nutella to the locker room on Wednesday night to give the Habs the power to beat the Boston Bruins. I know you boys can do it Max!

Let me Roll it to Ya…


Anyone with kids knows probably the most unpleasant thing about school is the constant comparisons. Kids compare their clothes, school supplies and of course, their lunches. My son has just begun this school phenomenon. Here are some of his comparisons: (*All names have been changed)

“But *Johnny and Trevor* go to afterschool program

“*Geoffrey* brings his toys to school”

“No one else puts their lunch bag in their backpack”

And the list goes on and on. Last week, he came home to inform me that one of his classmates had a fruit roll up in his lunch. He asked could he have fruit roll ups too? I told him that fruit roll ups weren’t really a great snack but that we’d try to make our own. So here are the results of our efforts.

If at first you don’t succeed:

I found this healthy recipe for fruit leather on the CopyCat Cook blog. It looked right up my alley and since I had strawberries already in the fridge, I gave it a go.

I cut the strawberries. Blended them up. Poured them on parchment on a tray. Put them in the oven. About two hours later, it looked like this.












The outside edges were crispy and the middle was softer. Even when it had cooled, I couldn’t get it to roll like the picture from the blog.

On a positive note, the taste was delicious.











We ate all of it.

Try, try again:

Unsatisfied with the results of our first attempt, I decided to try the Food Network Magazine version I’d looked at before. Not as healthy as attempt # 1 but still better than store bought, I think. So I mixed up the preserves and cornstarch. Baked it. And this time, better results.












The “roll ups” were easy to roll.












My sons loved them. I liked¬†them too. Also,¬†they were so easy to make. There is almost no prep time. I also liked the way there were specific times and oven temperatures included. Some of the other recipes didn’t have those.

I just found another Food Network Magazine recipe for fruit leather. I guess my journey into healthy dried fruit snacks is not over. Stay tuned.