Beauty Products

It’s very use to produce some homemade cosmetics and it’s a lot of fun.

Make your cosmetic products simply with the culinary ingredients and bee products as well as herbs from the garden.

Last week I prepared a great set as gift for birthday and it was funny way for myself to discover some new interesting ingredients.

As all skin products, some people may be allergic to this or to that, you have to adjust the recapture to your needs!

Tip: combine beeswax and oil by melting them in a small pot to about 80°C or better in a small bowl over a pot of boiling water.

Note: the Beeswax Skin Balsam is not in the photo.

Beeswax Skin Balm

  • Ingredients: Beeswax (20%), Baby oil (80%)
  • Properties: Protecting and nourishing

The all-purpose balm described below, is the balm I use for my skin since ages and I’m very happy with this. Perfect to protect you skin against the cold weather and to take care of your hands before and after gardening! If you need a sun protection I use a sun protection cream before and then our beeswax cream.

Tiger Balm Lip Balm

  • Ingredients: Beeswax (20%), Baby oil 79%) and Tiger Balm (1%)
  • Properties: protecting and anti-inflammatory

The second version is very similar, the only difference is the addition of Tiger Balm. Tiger balm isn’t designed for use on lips, but I discovered that in small amounts it works well against irritated lips or nose; but be careful, maximum 1% Tiger balm content in you mix and only for one or two days! If it is too much this will either irritate you skin!

Rosemary and Lemon Scented Salt Bath

  • Ingredients: Sea salt, dried rosemary powder and grated lemon zest (Quantities to taste, no rules)
  • Properties: relieves fatigue and tonic for the skin

Salt Bath make you feel the water smooth and sea salt is a natural ally to balance, protect, and restore the body and skin. This also can help balance and improve hydration, strengthen the protective barrier of our skin.

Rosemary and lemon scent together give us a lot energy and they work as mood enhancer.

Turmeric Mask for the Face

  • Ingredients: Turmeric powder and flour (flour is only a carrier and it is optional)
  • Properties: anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidants, smoothing, tonic, and anti-bacterial
  • Use: Combine 1 teaspoons powder with 1 teaspoons plain Greek yogurt. Apply for 10-15 min and then wash nicely

This is an old very powerful method to improve the texture of your skin. It can also help to fight acne!

Lavender Scrub for Hands

  • Ingredients: brown sugar (80%), olive oil (18%), beeswax (2%), and dried lavender powder (ta taste)
  • Properties: smoothing and nourishing
  • Use: Rub well 1 teaspoon scrub on wet hands, rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry

Crystals of sugar work a natural scrub, the oil and beeswax are a great carrier and help you skin to smooth the skin while you are scrubbing with the crystal. Lavender texture works as scrub but also gives to the mixture a great scent!

Foot Bath with Mint

  • Ingredients: Salt 80 %, baking soda (“0%), fresh mint leaves (mint processed with salt in the food processor, quantity to taste)
  • Properties: refreshing and smoothing

Foot soaks are very effective against tiresome of feet, dry and damaged skin of feet, cracked heels, stinky feet and many others. Take a foot basin large enough to hold both of your feet in it, add 2 tablespoons of the mixture. Then soak your feet for about 30 minutes and keep rubbing your feet gently using your fingertips or a sponge. In this way you will remove a lot dead cells and exfoliate the skin. Rinse well with water and apply any of good hand and body lotion to keep your feet moisturized.  Best if you use the Beeswax balm I’ve suggested

Avocado Pit and Honey Facial Scrub

  • Ingredients: avocado pit powder, honey, olive oil, lemon juice and cornstarch
  • Properties: scrub, cleansing, nourishing and anti-oxidants

The use of the avocado pit was the most surprising discovery of this beauty set! I would have never thought that this could be used and in the internet I saw that this can be used as additive to food!

The procedure of preparing the pit was easy: wash, remove the dark skin, grate and let it dry overnight or more if necessary. Then process it to get the powder! The colors changes form light to dark orange in only a few minutes, that’s OK, no worry! Here a few more suggestion how to use this seed: https://toughnickel.com/frugal-living/avocado-seed

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Nocino/Ratafià – Italian Walnut Liqueur

Nocino

Have you ever tried the NOCINO the Italian green-walnuts liqueur? It’s delicious and it is very easy to prepare this! Simply follow my instructions and you will prepare this next year as well! It makes a wonderful gift for your friends!

Nocino is a  sticky dark brown liqueur very popular in Northern Italy as well as in the Ticino the Southern Italian speaking part of Switzerland were it mostly called “ratafià”. It is much appreciated for it’s an aromatic but bittersweet flavor.

It’s origins are unknown but it is during the Middle Ages, Italian monasteries used nocino for its medicinal properties and also as an alcoholic treat; some sources says it has even Celtic origins.

In any case I can say that it particular delicious and after a heavy meal this helps the digestion!

“Noci” means nuts; as this is made from unripe green walnuts. According the tradition the nuts should be picked in the night of St Johannes, but I would suggest to pick the nuts before they are “wooden” and size is around 3 cm. Don’t forget to use plastic gloves while picking the nuts as the juice would brown your skin and cloths!

Almost every family has its recipe, I will live the first recipe I got. I still follow this recipe, but the alternative I follow is to use “tsikoudia” (τσικουδιά,the Cretan grappa/raki) instead of alcohol and water. The result different but it is delicious as well and I can’t say which version s better!

Other spices that can be used for this recipe: vanilla, nutmeg, maces and, cardamom.

In the photo: before and after result.

Nocino/Ratafià – Italian Walnut Liqueur

  • Servings: 4 loaves
  • Difficulty: medium
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Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/  Nocino

You need:

  • 20 green walnuts, halved or quartered (more if too small)
  • 1 liter 90% alcohol for preparation of liqueurs
  • 1 lemon zest, cut into strips
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 big piece of cinnamon
  • 400 g sugar
  • 300 ml water, boiled and cooled down

Procedure:

  1. Prepare the walnuts .
  2. Place all the ingredients in a big pot/bottle and close tightly.
  3. Let sit for 40 days in a warm place, best if at the sun.
  4. Sieve and fill in bottles.

Suggestion:

I place again all the ingredients (expect of the filled nocino) in the original bottle, I cover it with a sweet rose wine (you may add some sugar if you like) and I let it sit for a few month. I’m sure you will enjoy this very much as well! It is less strong but delicious as well!

Coconut Snow Balls

Coconut-Snow-Balls--2

I made these for Christmas gifts (homemade Raffaello) and I realized they “disappear” if not placed in a “safe place”. These will make cute gifts!

The preparation is easy and to assemble this you will need only to melt the chocolate with the butter and assemble the ingredients. The melted chocolate will appear oily, but don’t worry, after assembling and cooling this will fist hold together and then will set and turn harder.

I planned to prepare a snowman, to use a ball and a smaller one without almond for the head, but finally my hubby saw in this a bird and after I’ve fixed the head with a toothpick  he just placed a piece of roasted almond as beak. I found a bird much so cute that I simply used to cloves as eyes and the bird was ready!  The snow? Some additional coconut flakes were perfect for this and are edible.

Coconut Snow Balls

  • Difficulty: easy
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Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/ Coconut-Snow-Balls-1

You need

  • 200 g white chocolate
  • 150 g unsweetened dried coconut flakes
  • 100 g ladyfingers cookies
  • 100 g powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
  • 100 butter or margarine
  • 1 tablespoon rum
  • about 50 almonds, whole and peeled
  • 50 g unsweetened dried coconut flakes to coat

Procedure

  1. If you have almonds with skin, place them in hot water for 2 minutes and then rinse with cold water. It will be easy to remove the skin. Dry the almonds with a towel before use.
  2. I used 200 grams of white chocolate which I crumbled using the food processor; if you have white chocolate chips you will not need this step. Place the crumbled chocolate aside in a microwave safe bowl.
  3. Place coconut flakes and the broke ladyfingers cookies in the food processor. Work until finely crumbled.
  4. To the processor add powdered sugar and vanilla and work for a few seconds.
  5. Place the butter in the same bowl as the white chocolate and melt it in the microwave for about 1-2 minutes. Stir. You can also make this placing the bowl over a pot of boiling water.
  6. When the chocolate mixture is soft (it is not necessary that this is completely melted) add this to the food processor as well as the rum. Pulse until combined.
  7. Now take about 2 teaspoons mixture in your hand, press inside the almond and press it all together forming a ball of about 2 1/2 cm (1 inch) wide.
  8. Coat immediately in the reserved coconut flakes and place on a tray. Continue until all the mixture is used.
  9. Place the tray in the fridge or outside (if winter) until set.

 

Coconut-Snow-Balls-3

Spanakotiropita with Homemade Filo Dough

Many times I was tempted to prepare Filo (or phyllo from Greek: φύλλο ‘leaf’) at home. Homemade fresh food is better than preserved one, freshly made filo dough is always much better than the stuff of the shop.

Spanakotiropita with Homemade Filo Dough 15

Today I took the decision and I did it! WOW, the challenge was less difficult than I supposed, it was more a question of technique than exercise!

It’s possible to roll it out with a pasta machine stretching the dough manually to make it thinner, but using the rolling pin it’s easy as well and you can roll it to the desired round shape for your mold.

Filo dough can be used to prepare different kinds of dishes as the famous baklava but also for this savory recipe including spinach, cheese and lots of herbs!

Follow these instructions and you will get incredible results!

Spanakotiropita with Homemade Filo Dough

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Autor: https://artandkitchen.wordpress.com/

Spanakotiropita with Homemade Filo Dough 15

You need

Filo dough (for 16 sheets for a mold of 35-40 cm)

  • 100 g Greek yogurt
  • 80 g oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 400 g flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder, sifted
  • Cornstarch (for rolling out)

Spinach filling

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 big onion, peeled and sliced (or 1 sliced onion + 1 leek cleaned sliced9
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 kg spinach, cleaned, (very) roughly chopped
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 20 mint leaves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Assembling

  • 6-8 tablespoons olive oil for the mold and the dough
  • 200 g feta cheese, crumbled
  • Sesame seeds and black cumin seeds (optional)

Procedure:

Preparing filo sheet

  1. Combine in a mixing bowl or in a food processor yogurt, oil, eggs, flour and baking powder.
  2. Knead for 5 minutes using the food processor (eventually a mixer), or knead by hand for 10 minutes. Add more flour or yogurt (or water) until you get a smooth dough with the consistence as “earlobes” J.
  3. Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes, but more a few hours would improve the elasticity. In the meanwhile prepare the filling (from step 8 to 11)
  4. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and shape into logs. Divide each log into 4 pieces, forming 16 pieces in total. I made one of the balls little bigger as I wanted to use it for the bottom of the mold.
  5. Roll each piece to circles of the size of dessert dish with your rolling pin dusted with lot of cornstarch.
  6. Stack 4 circles with about 1/2 teaspoon corn starch in between each layer. Do the same with the other ones (4 by 4).
  7. Roll out carefully the first set of 4 circles and applying even pressure on the dough. Flip and stretch any short pieces with your hand. Roll out to the size of the mold (about 35-40 cm) circle are ready to be used, you can simply lift one layer from the other and use it for your favorite filo pastry! Now they should be so thin, that you could read a newspaper through them.

Preparing the filling

  1. While the dough is resting heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large non-sticky pan and sauté the onions and garlic until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add spinach and sauté until soft and the liquid has evaporated.
  3. Remove switch off the heat, let cool down slightly and add herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Finally add the eggs and combine well.

Assembling

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
  2. Oil your mold (about 35-40 cm wide) with olive oil.
  3. Layer the first bigger (about 50-55 cm wide) filo sheet into the mold covering the mold wells as well. Brush with olive oil. Layer other 5 sheets brushing with olive oil in-between.
  4. Layer one third of spinach filling on them and add one third of the crumbled feta cheese.
  5. Layer 3 more filo sheets (brush only lightly with oil in-between).
  6. Add the second third of filling and the second third of cheese.
  7. Layer 3 more filo sheets (brush only lightly with oil in-between).
  8. Add the remaining filling and feta.
  9. Top with the remaining filo sheets (brush each sheets with oil!).
  10. Fold the bottom sheet over the top to seal.
  11. Using a sharp knife, score the upper sheets into portions.
  12. Sprinkle with sesame seeds
  13. Bake for approximately 35-45 minutes at 200°C/400°F until golden brown.
  14. Serve lukewarm or just warm as flavours melt and develop better.

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