Christmas in July Candles

Well folks, due to a death in the family, Christmas in July is now Christmas in August and it  is in full swing with candies and candles and soap. Oh my!!!

So today we bring you Baking Beauties, NE Candles. We went green by recycling some of our old candles and some pretty old glassware we found. Some of the candles were getting low or were at their wicks end. But when combined they made a beautiful mocha scent!  This is what we did:

First we boiled up some water to melt the old candles down in their jars. While they were melting we glued twine wicks to the bottom of the glasses and let them set. After they had melted we blended the two scents together and poured them into pretty glasses to set. After letting them set for a bit we added cinnamon sticks for a decorative touch and let them dry completely. There was a dip in the middle once it all sets, so we save some melted wax to pour in after they had dried. We cut the wicks and voila: a beautiful candle set was ready for display.

Now, though our first candle recycling adventure went well… we will now treat you to a not so perfect tale. 

“A very short time ago in a kitchen that may be far away, a beautiful girl went about the task of making beautiful Christmas candles. The candles she was to recycle were peach colored and had no scent. This just would not do for Christmas. They need to be a dark red, she thought, and with prehaps a nice peppermint scent.

This foolish girl, not thinking to clearly and without doing research into the best way to change a candle’s color, began with the task of melting the candle down in a jar in boiling water–just as she had on previous occasions. Once melted, she then however pulled out her rouge #40  gel food coloring and put in a splash. It immediately sank to the bottom and did not spread. After stirring it a bit, only to end with the same results, she added more food coloring. ( DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME)

To her surprise, strange things began to happen and eerie white smoke began to billow out of the pot.  She immediately turned off the heat source. Right then, BANG!!!! the first (of many) explosions happened. She raced from the house, child in hand, to the safety outside. Knowing the child was safe in his stroller, she returned, determined to  stop the chaos inside, to no avail the exploding pot was still guysering off spouts of hot wax and water. The eerie white fog had developed into a luming white cloud that covered every room in the house. She set about opening windows to get that awful smell out of her house. Once that was finished she was able to move the pot off the burner and analyze the mess… and oh what a mess it was.”

I would finish the story with the hours of cleaning that came next, but instead I will just say this: when deciding to recycle candles and change the color to fit your needs please use eitherand my little helper special made candle dye (which can be purchased at Michael’s or your local crafting store) or keep it green by recycling coloring crayons, melting it into the wax (you can also have fun experimenting with the melted crayons to make swirls in the candle) but we will try that another time.

So remember folks 

  • Always be careful when heating wax. It can leave very nasty burns.
  •  Don’t overheat the wax or it will catch on fire.

Join us next time for Christmas Candies and special treats. Maybe. If we feel like.

Stay excellent,

Danae

Laments of the Organic Bread Baking Biz

Laments in order of current thought progression:

1) Organic baking ingredients are difficult to come by in a small town.

2) Baking bread takes a minimum of 4 hours from measuring the flour to bagging a cooled loaf.

3) Gluten free Danae cannot partake of the bounty.

Advantages of the Organic Bread Baking Biz:

1) I gorge myself weekly on delicious homemade bread made from ingredients that I trust!

2) My husband’s coworkers are consistently jealous and awed by his daily lunch assortment, often including Organic PB&J on mouth-watering slices of homemade bread.  (This month’s flavor is Nash Brothers Organic Blueberry Jelly found at Bag N Save.  Look for coupons at: www.nashbrotherstrading.com.)

3) My house smells awesome, the day and few days after my bread baking extravaganza.

4) I no longer spend hours standing in the bread aisle at the supermarket reading ingredient labels.

How am I able to accomplish such a task? Well, let me tell you all about it.

Firstly, I must purchase organic ingredients, some at Harvest Health on 6th Street in York, some I find in Lincoln, and some I order online from Azure Standard.

Secondly, I put all the ingredients together, mush them around, and cook it.

Thirdly, eat and enjoy.  Fairly simply, yes?

If you would like to keep reading, here is the story in picture form:

First I clean my kitchen. I choose to never begin baking without a clean kitchen.

I mix together some dry ingredients:

2 Cups Bob’s Red Mill Organic White Flour

1 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Wheat Germ

1/2 Cup Organic Rolled Oats

1/4 Cup Organic Instant Non-Fat Dry Milk

1/4 Bob’s Red Mill Wheat Bran

5 tsp Active Dry Yeast

4 Tbsp Organic Cane Sugar (Or Organic Maple Syrup, mmm)

1 tsp Sea Salt

When the dry ingredients are mixed I add:

2 1/4 Cups HOT water

1/4 Cup Organic Sunflower Oil (or any kind of oil)

Mix at medium speed for 2 minutes, add:

1 Cage-free organic egg

1 Cup white flour

Mix on high for one minute

Then I switch my batter mixer out for the dough hook and slowly add:

2 more cups of white flour, and 1 cup of wheat flour

As the hook kneads the dough I end up adding about another cup of flour. When it gets doughy, I dump it out and knead for about 10 minutes… I don’t really have a system. I just kinda knead til I’m bored with it. Some people say you can tell when the dough is ready. I haven’t really been able to tell. So I just knead for a while. When you think you’ve kneaded enough and you’re needing to stop kneading, then knead some more. You need to knead for quite some time to have the yummiest of breads.  Btw, if you’re short like me, then get yourself a stool to stand on. Your kneading counter should be waist-high so you can really get your back into it.

Now comes the fun part. Smush it all out like you’re making biscuits, then fold the edges in around the circle–like curling in flower petals. Go around again, pulling in the dough.

Pick up the dough, flip it upside down, so the smooth side is facing you. Rock it back and forth in your hands pulling the smooth side tighter. As you tighten the top dough, just keep tucking it up under the ball. This is called Rounding the Dough. I think. I don’t suppose it’s super important, but it allows the dough to rise evenly and eagerly.

Dust your counter with flour, and put a big bowl on top. Isn’t she a cute ball of dough?

Leave her for about 20-30. My clue is when she’s huge enough to stick to the bowl all the way around. And this is a big bowl, mind you.  While she was sleeping I sliced up some organic oranges to dehydrate. Like so:

I was planning to simply do something crafty with them because they’re so pretty. But they turned out to be really yummy. So I ate them instead.

Wow! Look how big that dough is!

Gently roll her out. Knead the air out. Since I was making 5 baby loaves, I cut her into 5 sections. But she will make two big loaves or three mostly big loaves.

I oil my pan with coconut oil. Roll out the dough.

Fold up one side. So she’s frowning at you.

Fold in the edges.

Roll the dough!

Place dough seam down in pan. Slice the top if you care to. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.

Cover with a light damp cloth. Let rise for 45-60 minutes or until she looks good. If you let the dough rise too long then she might sink in the oven, and that’s no good. When she’s done rising, you should be able to poke her and she won’t bounce back up.  Bake at 400* for 20 minutes. When you knock on the crust she should sound hollow.

I regret that I was so excited to eat this lovely loaf that I neglected to take a picture. Your loss really, because eating her is much better than looking at her.  With that, thanks for reading!

I’ll be selling these beauties at the Farmer’s Market in York, Thursday’s 5-7.

See ya ’round,

Tasha

The Moment You’ve All Been Waiting for…Bug Spray!!

Last week we left our heroes battling the MOSQUITOS in the bogs of South Central Nebraska. The vicious critters had staked their claim on the defenseless town of York. This week, our heroes have discovered the ancient art of Essential Oils.

So never fear: The Baking Beauties, NE are here with their new toxin-free, Sweet Summer Bug Spray.

Here’s the deal, folks. I like things that I’ve made because then I KNOW what’s in them. Some of those chemical processes… we, at least I, don’t know how that all happens. Like most coconut oils for example, they use a chemical to get the oil out of coconuts, but what is that chemical doing hanging around later? Being gluten-free (Danae) I feel much safer knowing what’s in my product, then perhaps misreading a label and having an adverse reaction; this is not only annoying but can be hazardous to my health. I also feel much safer putting these products on Baby A. because I know they’re not going to do him any harm–short-term or long-term. “p-Mentane-3,8-diol is the chemically synthesized version of oil of lemon eucalyptus” (http://www.epa.gov/opp00001/health/mosquitoes/ai_insectrp.htm), why reinvent the wheel? Why not just use oil of lemon eucalyptus?

Here’s what we did:
We went shopping!

We did research!

We consulted a safety expert! And we put it all in a big mixing bowl *Insert Trumpet Fanfare* and out came our magical bug spray elixir!

… not really, well kinda.
Okay, I can’t speak for the ticks, but the mosquito’s sure don’t like it. It’s been tested tried and true…

My sister (Michelle) and I went out late one night into a thickly mosquito infested swamp… otherwise known as her backyard, though still mainly inhabited by blood sucking skeeters. I wore the elixir, freshly spritzed on my radiant skin. She foolishly did not. The moral of THAT story is that she was savagely eaten alive by the vicious brutes, while I remained completely unharmed. I felt remorse at the doomed fate of my sister. I ran to her aid and spritzed her (with the magical elixir, of course). She then reveled in her safety.

What is this magical elixir, you ask? Well listen up, folks, and I’ll tell ya.

This bottle:

Filled with: Witch hazel, and these essential oils: Grapefruit, Citronella Java, Tea Tree, Lemongrass, and Eucalyptus. We also added a bit of castor oil and glycerin to better diffuse the oils with the witch hazel.

We have so named them “Sweet Summer Bug Spray” and are selling them for a meager $5.00 at the York Farmer’s market, Thursday’s 5-7. Comment, or email bakingbeautiesne@gmail.com to inquire about purchasing one of these little beauties.

And now I adjourn to gallivant through the mosquito loving Nebraska countryside in perfect peace.

See ya ’round,

Tasha

P.S.

Tune in next time for the start of our Christmas in July festivities.