Time for one of my fun history posts. I am so glad that people are enjoying these. I thought that this would be a good topic for this time of year as I often pick and dry the end-of-season herbs to be used for making pastilles. I also use them for strewing herbs, so if you missed that article you might want to check it out. Continue reading
My sister gave me one of those candle warmers for last year and it is SO cute. I really wanted to use it but the scented melts you buy have a lot of artificial fragrances. So I decided to make my own. And I thought I would offer it up as my first really quick gift idea.
Grate some beeswax, or soy wax, and melt it in a double boiler. This is also a good use for old candle stubs you might have saved. After it has all melted add some essential oils. I like to use bitter almond, cinnamon and cloves to complement the sweet smell of the beeswax.
Pour the melted beeswax into molds. You can use any decorative ice cube mold. I lucked across these silicone molds on an IKEA trip along time ago but you can find
similar molds on Amazon. Let them set up until they have cooled. I usually pop them in the fridge.
Pop them out of the molds. They can be used for decorations. They look pretty nestled on some greenery. Or you can look for one of those candle warmers at a thrift store and make up a bag of these to go with it. The beeswax melts look really cute tied up in some burlap but I haven’t gotten that far, yet.
For the next little bit I am going to focus on holiday recipes and traditions around our home. We celebrate all of the seasons in our home and we hit up the Winter Solstice season in a way that sometimes confuses people who know us. Regardless of our current spiritual leanings. both my husband and I grew up in families that were pretty big on the holidays. He enjoys the decorating and baking and concocting as much as I do, so it was something we wanted to recreate for our kids. I am pretty happy to see that my oldest daughter who is off on her own, is following suit for her own little one.
This first recipe I am sharing is my homemade recipe for Irish Cream with fairly-traded, organic ingredients. I start by making my own sweetened condensed milk, which is a nice trick to know for holiday baking, so I will toss that recipe on at the end of the post. You will also want to have some really strong, hot coffee on hand.
This tastes better than anything you will find at the store It is an older recipe – really heavy on the eggs which makes sense because Irish Creme is really just a type of nog.
My Homemade Irish Cream
8 oz Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 pint cream
4 oz of hot, strong coffee
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tsp almond extract
1 750 ml bottle Irish Whiskey
You can use a blender to mix this, or a whisk. I use my immersion blender. First dissolve the cocoa powder in the hot coffee. Then stir in the sweetened condensed milk and the cream. Then whip up the eggs a bit and stir them into the cream mixture. After you have whipped this all together for awhile slowly pour in the whiskey and almond extract. Store this in a glass jar in the refrigerator to be safe. I’ve seen people insist it doesn’t have to be kept cool but I don’t like to take chances.
Sweetened Condensed Milk
6 cups organic whole milk
1 stick butter
4 1/2 cups organic evaporated cane juice
1 vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
Melt the stick of butter in a 3 quart sauce pan. Add milk, sugar and vanilla. Bring to a boil and simmer for at 1 hour; stirring frequently. This thickens as it cools, so don’t worry if it isn’t as thick when it is hot.