Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Making Body Butter Bars

I have a project that I've been meaning to do for quite a while now. I had all the supplies, I worked out my process, everything was ready to go...........then 3 months went past. In the last three months I forgot all about my project, I have so many that's not a hard task for me but when I was reading Keeper of the Home yesterday my project came back to me. YES!

This idea originally came to me after my soon-to-be-husband fell in love with the Buffy Body Butter Bar from Lush. He didn't care so much about the exfoliation aspect, but he really enjoyed being able to moisturize in the shower. I was really happy that he enjoyed Lush's product (I like stuff from Lush, I figured it would be easier for me to get away with buying stuff from there), but they are $12 each. That was a cost that I couldn't stomach to pay all the time (and I didn't particularly care for the scent either). I found this great informative youtube video on how Lush makes its body butter bar and knew I could do it at home myself.

Body Butter Bars

You'll Need
Mold (I used a silicone cupcake tin)
Double boiler of some sort
Shea Butter
Coconut Oil

1) Determine how much weight your mold can hold. I did this by placing my mold on my kitchen scale, hitting tare, and pour water in to the desired fullness. If you're using something like a cupcake tin, or something with multiple cavities you can just fill one and then multiply by the number of cavities. My cavities held 2 oz of water, so I needed a total of 24 oz of oils.

2) Measure oils. I decided that I would use equal parts of beeswax, shea butter and coconut oil, so I measure out 8 oz of each.

**NOTE: When buying beeswax, it's probably better to buy the pastilles or 1 oz blocks. I bought the 1 lb blocks because they were cheaper (I regret that decision). It took me 10 minutes to figure out how I was going to break down that block of beeswax. I ended up just breaking it into pieces with a hammer.**

3) Melt oils. You can do this step however you feel comfortable. Options include in the microwave, crockpot or using some sort of double boiler. My double boiler was actually a steaming pot that I set a 4 cup, glass Pyrex measuring cup in (it made for easy pouring).

I did find that the oils melted faster if I put the lid on. Also the beeswax takes the longest to melt so you might want to put that on the bottom.
This is what everything looks like when it's melted. Those little bits on top are beeswax that didn't fully melt. (Don't worry about them)

4) Pour melted oil into mold.

5) Put mold in freezer. My bars were completely cooled in 33 minutes. (I know because that's exactly how long I was exercising)

6) Remove from mold and enjoy! After taking my bars out the mold, I wrapped the ones I didn't intend to use right away in wax paper and put them in the freezer. The one I'm currently using is in a metal tin in my bedroom.

That's it. It's super easy and doesn't require a lot of work. I guess the real question is economical is this?

7 lbs coconut oil: $17.95
5 lbs shea butter: $50.85
5 lbs beeswax: $52.60
7 lbs = 112 oz
5 lbs = 80 oz
17.95 / 112 = $0.16/oz coconut oil
50.85 / 80 = $0.64/oz shea butter
52.60 / 80 = $0.66/oz beeswax
($0.16 x 8) + ($0.64 x 8) + ($0.66 x 8) = $11.68 for 12 body butter bars
$0.97 per bar

Not to toot my own horn but I don't think anyone could deny that this wasn't a successful experiment. Up next I'm going to be making stick deodorant. I just have to find some of those little tubes first. 

Until next time, 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Best Pancakes Ever......(and they're whole wheat)

Pancakes and I have a long relationship, they are my favorite food AND the first thing that I ever learned to cook. My love with cooking from scratch actually started with pancakes (I was a strange 10 year old). I've gone through several recipe variations over the years but I finally created the perfect recipe.

When I make these for people I don't tell them that they're whole wheat. If I did, most people I know wouldn't eat them. They assume that whole wheat pancakes are going to be heavy, gritty and gross. (I've had a few bad batches) These whole wheat pancakes, however, are light, fluffy AND super delicious. So make a batch and don't tell anybody they're whole wheat until after they've finished eating them.

Note: I honestly forgot to take pictures, but I think I'm going to make pancakes for dinner tomorrow, in which case I try to remember to snap a few shots and upload them. (Don't judge me)


13.5 oz soft wheat (if you don't mill your own flour then you need whole wheat pastry flour)
4 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1.5 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
vanilla extract

Q: Kellan, do I really need to use soft wheat or whole wheat pastry flour for this recipe?
A: Yes. If you make this with hard wheat or regular whole wheat flour your pancakes won't turn out right. I accidentally used hard wheat recently, my pancakes were horrible. 

The great thing about this recipe is that there aren't any special instructions for mixing this up recipe. Pancakes should be simple. Put everything in a bowl (except the vanilla and cinnamon) and mix it together. It doesn't need to be thoroughly mixed either, lumps are ok. Just make sure everything is combined and then let it sit for 10 or 15 minutes. After 15 minutes everything will be properly hydrated and the lumps will be gone (I promise).

The secret to this recipe is that I don't measure the vanilla and cinnamon. I put in what I feel to be enough. If I were to guess I would assume that it's about 1.5 to 2 tbsp of vanilla and 2 tsp of cinnamon but I honestly don't know. Put as much feels right to you. 

I use a regular ladle to measure out my pancakes, this recipe usually yields about 12 plate-sized pancakes. I come from a family with pretty large men, my dad is 6'5", and I haven't met anyone yet that can eat more than 3 of these pancakes; not even my 19 year old brother. As you can see the pancake the size of the entire bottom of the pan.
This is the nutritional information per, my extra large, pancake:

  Total Fat7.6 g
     Saturated Fat4.1 g
     Polyunsaturated Fat0.5 g
     Monounsaturated Fat2.2 g
  Cholesterol63.2 mg
  Sodium435.9 mg
  Potassium111.9 mg
  Total Carbohydrate29.9 g
     Dietary Fiber3.7 g
     Sugars7.6 g
  Protein8.0 g
  Vitamin A6.0 %
  Vitamin B-124.4 %
  Vitamin B-62.1 %
  Vitamin C1.1 %
  Vitamin D3.5 %
  Vitamin E0.7 %
  Calcium15.7 %
  Copper0.4 %
  Folate2.3 %
  Iron1.9 %
  Magnesium1.8 %
  Manganese0.1 %
  Niacin0.2 %
  Pantothenic Acid    1.8 %
  Phosphorus    10.6 %
  Riboflavin8.2 %
  Selenium1.9 %
  Thiamin1.4 %
  Zinc2.7 %

This recipe also keeps really well so you can mix it up, make some pancakes and but the rest of the batter in the refrigerator to use later. Happy pancake eating. 

Until next time,