Monday, January 25, 2016

Homemade Bar Soap!

A little over an hour from my growing up home in McLean, Virginia - in the Beautiful Shenandoah Valley - is our family farm.  My family settled here over 200 years ago. My siblings and I would spend weeks here in the summer with my Grandmother and great Aunt. We spent Christmas here..... it was truly unbelievable!!  We all have so many wonderful memories and stories to tell!!  What an awesome childhood!  My family lived in a major metropolitan area (a few miles from DC) and yet could leave it all and come here - it was like going back in time!! My mother is an only child and my dear wonderful Grandma Lois (my mothers mother) only had one sister, my Great Aunt C'Lee, and she had no children. My mother had 4 children and needless to say we were doted upon and spoiled something awful!!  All I remember growing up was Love! Love! Love!!!

Just beyond the stone fence (right building) is the spring house. It is a glorious place. Up those stairs and through that door is the tack room.  This is where we went to get the bridles and saddles to ride the horses. My mom would put me on Ginny, at age 2 or three, and I would fall asleep. She was a trusting gentle horse. She was my babysitter!! My sister Julie is behind me with my mom watching!
Underneath the tack room are two rooms.  One with a big fireplace! Where they had the copper and iron kettle. They would make apple butter and soap and many other things in the day!!  The other room had a trough going through with the spring water from our natural spring. They had big crocks they put in the water to keep things cold. They also had a big trough outside where wonderful yummy spring water was always flowing and has never gone dry.  We played in the trough on hot summer days!!  My children did the same thing!  I am grateful they spent time here as well with their cousins!
Well my Great Grandma Glaize would make soap in the spring house with the big iron kettle. She would ask Miss Molly (everyone called girls and women by Miss rather than just their first name) to come over and help make soap.  I asked my mom why did  Grandma Glaize need help.  She told me even though it is a small town there were experts to help everyone do things. Miss Molly lived down the lane about 3/4 mile and she was the soap making expert in town. She was probably one of the older ones in town as well. They would get the ash (lye) they had collected from the wood cook stove and the lard from the butchering and make lye soap. The soap made in my moms day was used for dish soap and laundry. They bought softer soap at the country stores for bathing. My mom is 92 so before her time they used this soap out of ash and lard for their bodies. There is talk it could take the hide right off you! I have been using my soap in the kitchen to wash dishes and clean the counters.  It is nice to know what is in the dish soap, ya know what I mean :)!!

This is my Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Glaize
Well even after having a one on one tutorial with an expert soap maker (who gave me some awesome recipes), taking several classes and reading a couple of books on soap making, I am not an expert!!  However, I think I can get you through!!! I love making and enjoy using homemade soap! There is just something awesome about being a big bubble in the shower with soap made right in your kitchen!!  I guess it is like my dad starting with the axle to rebuild a car, I like starting with the very raw materials and make something!! I have several recipes I like, but below is one I make in a crockpot. Another one of my favorites is goats milk soap,  but I can't make it until my neighbors start milking their goats again!! :)  Also 100% Olive Oil is not as bubbly but very moisturizing!!  I have learned through a lot of trial and discovery and now I want to pass it on!!

Don't let all the rules for soap making scare you!!  It is not scary!! Just be careful!!  
  1. Wear rubber gloves
  2. Wear goggles
  3. Wear long sleeves
  4. ALWAYS pour the lye into the water!! NEVER pour the water into the lye.
  5. When mixing lye and water be outside or in a well ventilated area
  6. Do not make soap when children are close by
  7. Have a bottle of vinegar ready to grab in case of a spill! It will neutralize the lye immediately to stop burning.
  8. When using a hand blender to mix the oil with the lye water - ALWAYS - put the blender way down touching the bottom of container or crockpot BEFORE turning on. 
  9. Rinse all utensils and have a sink of water ready to put all your utensils when finished using. Hand wash your crockpot with remaining soap left on the sides. Plenty to wash all your dishes!  I always then put in dishwasher to be sure. Not the crockpot!!  😃  
  10. Wear your gloves to clean up as well
  11. It's like being a scientist in the kitchen. Enjoy!! 
I really like using the oils that are in this recipe below. 
Olive Oil It is so soothing and moisturizing to the skin. The French are famous for their 100% Olive oil or Castile soap. Very luxurious!!  I love homemade 100% Olive oil soap!  
Coconut Oil Makes lots of bubbles in the shower to help you feel clean. It is also anti microbial, antibacterial, and helps with fungus (yuck) like on feet and helps with acne and a bunch more.   
Palm Oil  Nourishes the skin with vitamin E. Is anti-aging. With palm oil your bars will be harder which makes them last longer. 
AND they are all pretty easy to get, BIG plus!! I use these same oils in the goats milk recipe too!

                                        Collect all the stuff you need to make the soap!!

  1. Digital scale
  2. Rubber gloves
  3. Safety goggles
  4. A pitcher or a 2 qt glass canning jar for water
  5. A pitcher or 1 quart canning jar for lye
  6. Lye
  7. The oil/oils your recipe calls for
  8. Hand stick blender
  9. Wooden mold or other mold/molds.  My mold inside is 15 1/2' long, 3 5/8' wide, 2 1/2' deep
  10. Long handle spoon 
  11. Plastic to line wooden mold if using
  12. Elastic band.  Can find at grocery store
  13. Bottle of vinegar - it will neutralize the lye if you spill!!  Be quick so it does not burn!!
  14. Crockpot 6 qt.
Soap Recipe
30.8 oz. olive oil
18.9 oz. coconut oil
14.2 oz. palm oil
9.2 oz. lye
20oz. water

The first thing I do is gather all of the ingredients and supplies I need before getting started.  
  •   Turn your crockpot to "low"
  •   Measure all your oils and put in crockpot then put on lid
  •   Let all the oils start to melt - when almost melted 
  •  Then measure out your water in a 2 quart canning jar or equivalent
  •  Then measure out your lye in 1 quart canning jar or equivalent
  •  Take water and lye outside or open a window that is safe from being spilt!
  •  Pour lye into water!  Very important!! Do not pour water into lye (safety reasons)
  • Using a long handle spoon stir til clear and let stand for 10 minutes
  • It was a yucky winter day and I did not want to go outside and this works well for me.. My window is open.
  • The jar will get very hot so be careful
One thing I love about making soap in a crockpot is you don't have to worry about what temperature the oil and lye water is!!  That is a huge PAIN!!
  • At this point pour your lye water into the oils in the crockpot and stir with a spoon til the water and lye mixture and oils are blended.
  • Important!! Put the stick blender in the crockpot all the way to the bottom before tuning on so there is no splash!!! 
  • Mix around and around until trace. So what is trace?  Trace is when you can see the tail behind the blender.  Hard to see the tail in the picture!  
  • Cover the crock pot and let cook for 15 min.
  • Uncover and stir with spoon
  • It will look as if it has turned into apple sauce as you stir, but it has not so don't be tempted! :)
  • Put the lid back on and cook for another 10 or 15  minutes.  Watch carefully so it does not bubble over. 
  • The sides will be very bubbly and it turns into itself.
  • Turn your crock pot off and stir well.
  •  It will get shinny looking
  • Take a little with your glove on and it will almost instantly look like soap. 
  • I take it to the sink and see if it will bubble between your fingers, if so, it is done
  • Have your box lined with a plastic bag.  I like to use a clear one and then put a large elastic the kind that will hold your trash can in place around box.
  • Work quickly and place soap in mold  
  • Pat down with gloved hand and make sure it is evenly distributed.

I put parchment paper over and tuck in sides to rubber band. 

Let sit 24 hours then pull out and remove plastic and cut to size.

It is ready to use!! 

Oh my goodness it is so DIVINE!!!
My family loves it!!!
PS - you may wonder why I don't have any essential oils to put in.  Well the reason is you don't need them!!  They are expensive and it smells so clean and good without them!  Save your oils for other important things!!

Thursday, December 31, 2015


I have a lot of apples hanging out in my garage and I need to use them. So... one more treat before the new year!
My mother won the blue ribbon at the church bazaar for her "Fresh Apple Cake" on Scotts Run Road in McLean, Virginia when I was in elementary school. 

My mother found this recipe in the newspaper in 1959!     
I have a few favorite things...  We had these knives at our family farm in Lebanon Church Virginia!!  I am guessing there was a traveling salesman that came around and sold them. 
(BTW I did not grow up on our family farm (where my family settled over 200 years ago) it is where my mother grew up!! I grew up in McLean Virginia - a hop - skip - and a jump - from Washington DC!)   
First saw the knives to buy in Amish Country (Lancaster Co. Penn.) years ago and now on Amazon! USA made!
They are worth it!  DON'T PUT IN DISHWASHER!!!!

Fresh Apple Cake

Mix 4 cups chopped apples and
2 tbl. lemon juice together

Dry ingredients:                      Wet ingredients:  
                            3 cups flour                             2 eggs
                            2 cups sugar                           1 cup oil
                            2 tsp. cinnamon
                            2 tsp. soda
                            1 tsp. salt
                            1/2 cup nuts
                            1/2 cup raisins (optional)     

Mix the wet ingredients together - then mix the dry ingredients - then mix both together. 

Add the apples!
It will not look like cake batter -
just some yummy coated apples. 
Put in well greased bundt pan. I grease and flour the pan.
BAKE 50-60 minutes at 350* use the toothpick test!!Remember to grease and flour your pan really well!!

Topping Recipe
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar

When melting butter and mixing with brown sugar, be sure to mix the butter with the brown sugar so there is no separation. Keep stirring - it only takes a minute!

Also makes great cupcakes or muffins
So moist and yummy!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Julie's Frosting Recipe

My sister Julie made the most beautiful wedding cakes!!  They were not only beautiful they were Divine!!!  Everyone raved about them. I will share some of her recipes later!
 Her amazing frosting recipe is below!!

My Mom and Dad and my siblings have been my greatest inspiration!  My mom was a short order cook for all of us, she would make anything we wanted in the morning for breakfast  (I know spoiled) we had dinner every night at 6 PM - food is her passion!   My Dad could build anything from his first car he put together from a junk yard - to building a beautiful home by himself with my mothers help!!  He was a Mechanical Engineer  and when he died everything started to break down and my mom had to call a repair man for the first time in her life!!  He was a mechanical genius!! One day my sister took her Mercedes ( one my dad rebuilt for her)  into the shop - when she picked it up the mechanic asked her "who put together this engine"- my sister said "my dad"! The mechanic said "I have never seen anything like it!!"  He was so Cool!!  My siblings are so talented in and out of the kitchen!   They will be mentioned here in this blog.  Below is a picture of my family and then below that is my dad with his first car he put together before he was 20!!

My Siblings and Mother

The Master with his hands!!  ❤️
My dad with his first car Model T Ford
- all the parts came from the junk yard!!

Julie's  Divine White Frosting Recipe!

1lb. Powdered sugar
1/2 cup Shortening
1 teaspoon Clear vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Butter  flavoring
 1/4 teaspoon Almond flavoring
1/4 cup cold water
Whip all together!!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Famous Needs Sugar Cookies

One lone Christmas cookie left!

Enjoy! This is one of our favorite recipes. Recipe below. Frosting to come tomorrow!

Famous Needs Sugar Cookies

4 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix eggs, shortening, and sugar together. In separate bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together with a fork.  Add flour mixture to shortening mixture alternating with buttermilk, and vanilla.
Mix well - it will be sticky.
Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in fridge overnight.
Roll out and cut cookies. Thickness: a tad more than a 1/4 inch
Bake at 350* for 10 minutes.
The dough will stay in fridge for several days until ready to  roll out and bake!!  I have frozen these cookies with or without frosting. They thaw beautifully!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Clabbered Milk

I have a problem!! I LOVE doing this crazy kind of stuff!!! Clabbered milk turning into cream cheese!!!! So exciting every time!!! CRAZY!!!!

Famous Sugar Cookies

Famous Sugar Cookies. Yum! Christmas Trees on the way :)

Baby Blessing Dress

I made this dress out of pillow cases from the farm. Original lace and tatting. A priceless gem.