Tuesday, August 31, 2021

DIY Easy to Make ~ Herbal Wax Sachets

 “If you have been afraid that your love of beautiful flowers and the flickering flame of the candle is somehow less spiritual than living in starkness and ugliness, remember that He who created you to be creative gave you the things with which to make beauty and the sensitivity to appreciate and respond to His creation.” 

~ Edith Schaeffer, The Hidden Art of Homemaking

My 20 year-old daughter and I spent some time in the kitchen today with the heavenly scent of herbs and oils and wax. We melted, slowly stirred and delicately drizzled the slightly set “sachets“ with dried flowers and aromatic citrus. It is like capturing the seasons in a beautiful fragrant bar.

We will place our herbal wax creations in our closets and drawers to scent our little spaces for the chilly, cozy, autumn months ahead… we’ve done these kinds of projects together through all our years of homeschooling. It is a delight to do them now simply for the love of homemaking…

Supplies (some of these links on this post may be affiliate links):
  • dried herbs, dried flowers, dried fruit, dried spices  -- Some ideas include dried lavender, calendula, roses, hibiscus leaves (for color), chamomile flower, dried citrus (tutorial here), cloves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, allspice (I will be making fall-related ones next!), etc.
  • essential oils (your choice) -- I use the least expensive ones like orange for these types of projects.
  • baking tins, baking molds, silicone molds -- You can use cupcake tins, candy molds, silicone molds or even these ornament molds (shown two pictures below) that you can hang. Note: you can also poke a hole with a skewer (once they have completely cooled) in the top of the sachet to hang them from a hanger, doorknob, etc.
  • double boiler (see my makeshift, shortcut version below)

Make shift double boiler:

To bypass excess clean up, save up some of your discarded canned food tins to make a disposable double boiler (that means you don't need to clean up the wax residue after - you just toss your can!). Just add a few inches of water into a sauce pan and place your clean can inside. Add the wax to the can and you have a makeshift double boiler!

To Make Herbal Wax Sachets:

Slowly melt down soy-wax or beeswax in a double-boiler, once slightly cooled, stir in essential oils of choice, pour into molds (baking tins, etc.). Stir in herbs and dried citrus if you’d like. Once wax has slightly set, sprinkle additional dried flowers on top for extra decoration and fragrance. Do not remove sachets until they have completely cooled at room temperature.

Place finished products in closets and drawers to naturally scent and freshen the air.

These kind of projects are fun to make but also add a bit of charm into your life and we could all use a dose of that right now. Happy homemaking!


Tuesday, August 24, 2021

A Call to Common Sense ~ Proverbs 31 Preparedness Series

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” 
~ John F. Kennedy, State of the Union Address January 11, 1962

One thing about the Proverbs 31 woman that always inspired me was she did not fear for the future. The Good Book writes that “God does not give the spirit of fear”.

However, He does give wisdom. 

He gives the example of the ants that work hard and put away in due season. He gives the example of Noah to put aside provisions for a coming flood. He gives the story of Joseph to store food for a future famine.

And so, it is with a prudent spirit that I’m spending a little extra care this summer in building up our pantry and/or larder this year. I will be preserving with a purpose.

Common sense dictates that if half the world closes up commerce for over a year’s worth of time, there must be repercussions (right or am I crazy?!?!). 

I already notice little things missing on the shelves. And I’m honestly not sure what to expect. But I’m leaning on the Biblical side of preparedness and am slowly putting aside in a Proverbs 31 fashion.

I am making a real effort to dry any excess produce we grow and be extra mindful about waste! Any small bit of produce (Did someone say zucchini?) will be diced and dried and added to my "winter soup, sauce & stew" pantry. 

If there is a bumper crop of tomatoes, I’ll be diligent to preserve as much as possible.

If there is a good discount on oats (or anything else that is useful and stores long term), I’ll be purchasing two bags (instead of one). I will make certain to have an abundance of the three main preservation ingredients on hand; vinegar, sugar and salt (all of which don't technically expire).

If there’s a desire to buy something bright and shiny, I’ll hold off and make do with what I have. 

Another way I am "doing" this is collecting frugal and resourceful recipes and keeping them in my "Proverbs 31 Preparedness" Notebook. This doesn't cost any money and is a great little homemaking guide for hard times. I will include the pantry recipes I shared HERE (perhaps I will do a printable of these in the future) and any other concepts that allow you to make do with what you have. Of course, it will include all the crazy cake recipes which only uses pantry staples as well as:

You get the idea!

I'm also learning how to preserve everything that surrounds me in my environment. It is a little hobby I created for myself. It's called the pretend game... "pretend I have only what is grown on my property and my pantry as a resource for food". What can I make and serve as food for my family? So I look around my yard and find everything that is edible. I learn about my landscape. Dandelions in the spring! These are free and can be made into jelly, fried up into fritters and brewed into tea (they also boast many health properties). I also look at my beautiful roses and see food there! The hips can be dried for vitamin C-rich teas. The petals can be brewed for a relaxing tea and you can make "rose jelly" (which can be served with biscuits made from pantry ingredients). All the culinary herbs can be dried for food but can also be made into jelly. They can top a pizza (all the crust ingredients are pantry staples) to make it more nutritious. I think you get the point. Be aware of your surroundings, what can feed you and how to prepare the various foods. This is just a side little hobby I have been doing and it is quite fun to add this useful information to my "Proverbs 31 Preparedness" Notebook as well.

Here are a few recipes to make "floral and herb" jelly with anything edible in your yard. All that is required is sugar (pantry staple) and a supply of pectin (I bought mine in bulk - -affiliate link) as it is less expensive that way plus it enables me a nice supply for any spontaneous project). HERE is another recipe which uses the basics of herbs, water and sugar.  I have made rose jelly and dandelion jelly and they were both quite delicious.

In conclusion, this is no different from what our pioneering ancestors did to survive each season as they never knew what the weather would bring. I foresee a bit of a storm coming so I’m quietly continuing in the old ways of canning, drying, pickling, fermenting, repurposing, thrifting and saving. However, not out of a rushed panic or fear, but slowly, gently, calmly and with a “sound mind”.

(And if I'm wrong, I will have an amazingly stocked pantry and I will have acquired more forage and food preservation knowledge (always a good thing). With all the savings, I can purchase that apothecary cabinet that I've been eyeing! 😉 )

"The wise store up choice food and olive oil..."
~ Proverbs 21:20a

"The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty."
~ Proverbs 22:3

“It is not often that a man can make opportunities for himself. But he can put himself in such shape that when or if the opportunities come he is ready.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt

"Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come."
~ Proverbs 31:25

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
~ 2 Timothy 1:7

To begin your own Proverbs 31 Preparedness Binder, here is a printable cover page.  I've be placing much of my information in this binder for any "time to come" and can pass this down to my daughter one day as a beautiful resource. In the meantime, here are the preparedness articles we have shared thus far to get you inspired to continue adding to your Proverbs 31 Preparedness notebook: 

🍅 🧺 ♥️

What are your thoughts on this? I’m so curious! There are many "ordinary" homemakers like ourselves who feel this importance and are sharing their ideas and experiences that you may also appreciate such as Annabel at The Bluebirds are Nesting and Patsy at A Working Pantry. I also glean much from The Prudent Homemaker and the Preparedness Mama (though her blog is solely preparedness tips).


Wednesday, August 18, 2021

The Intentional Homemaker ~ Snippets

The intentional homemaker seeks to embellish every area of home life.... she adds powerful aroma through her simple basic oven. She adds smiles and laughter through her delicious dinner offerings. She adds comfort and security through her cozy interpretation of home. She is ever ready to bless. She is ever aware of her holy example. And like the God she serves (though she may be in the humblest of circumstances), she strives to make everything she can “beautiful in its time...” 

🪴 Based on Ecclesiastes 3:11 🕯 

Dearest homemaker,
What a glorious work is in your care!

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

The Anatomy of a Quiche ~ Free Printable Recipe Kit

In the summer (especially with all the zucchini) we make a lot of quiches! I will even venture to say that they pop up often in the autumn/winter to be used with spinach, kale or any other leftover produce. To make meal time easier for the homemaker, I have put together a little printable quiche recipe kit

“With enough butter, anything is good.”
~ Julia Child

There are many quiche recipes out there, but my go-to is comprised of:

-- 6 tbsp. butter (or oil)

-- 8 c. thinly sliced produce (summer squashes, kale, spinach, chard, etc.)

-- 1 large onion, thinly sliced

-- 5 large eggs

-- dried spices (this we will make into a ready-made mix)

-- 4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese (you can mix and match your own cheeses)

NOTE: This recipe makes one 13x9-inch quiche or 2-round pie plates (reduce the recipe in half to make an 8x8-inch or one round pie plate). You can make this crustless (aka low carb or gluten-free) or you can prepare a pie crust (this is an easy pie crust recipe) and pour contents inside. 

“It is hard to imagine a civilization without onions.”
~ Julia Child

By preparing one of the components ahead of time (the spice mix), it makes for an easy meal. 

Simple sauté 8 cups of thinly sliced produce (my favorite is zucchini) ** with one large onion (also thinly sliced).

** If using greens in this recipe, I will sauté the onion until tender and then add in the kale, spinach or chard until just wilted together. If using broccoli (or a vegetable just as "hard"), I would steam it until tender and then add into the sautéed onion.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and 3 scant tablespoons of the quiche seasoning mix (recipe to follow). Add the slightly cooled sautéed vegetables with the cheese and egg mixture. Pour into a 13x9 inch casserole dish and bake for 400 degrees (Fahrenheit) for 30-40 minutes (or until golden brown and set on top). Or, prepare a pie crust and pour contents inside and bake as normal. 

The key to making this easier is the make-ahead seasoning mix and a basic recipe (which I taped to the inside of my cupboard for convenience).

For the seasoning mix, stir together and place in a (wide-mouth) pint jar the following:
  • 13 tbsp. dried parsley
  • 3 tbsp. salt (I use the pink mineral salt)
  • 3 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp. dried basil
  • 3 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. ground pepper

Now, you simply print out the RECIPE KIT, make the seasoning mix and keep your recipe handy for all your quiche making needs. Hopefully this all makes sense?

Happy homemaking!