Monthly Archives: January 2014

DIY all-natural skin care: Orange-coconut body butter

My make-the-best-of-the-sour-orange-harvest extravaganza continues.  Today the recipe is for a body lotion that’s so natural you can eat it.  And that’s a good thing since what you put on your skin goes into your body the same as if you swallowed it.  It requires just two ingredients that you may already have in the kitchen: coconut oil and an orange.  Here’s the story behind it and the instructions for making it yourself.

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Several years ago I vowed to clean up the body products we use in our home (e.g., shampoo, lotion, etc…).  I favor paraben-free, sulfate-free, etc….  But last year I went one step further and started making lotion out of edible oils, namely coconut, shea and olive.  The blend was nice: gentle, soothing, and with a texture ranging between kefir and whipped butter, depending on the room temperature.  It was fine, but not really worth the trouble, as I didn’t really care for the scent (think suntan oil and antipasto mixed) unless I added a ton (and I mean a ton) of essential oils.

This summer, rather than make a new batch of the blend, I just cut to the chase Continue reading DIY all-natural skin care: Orange-coconut body butter

Cranberry-orange bread, or What to make when life gives you sour oranges

I’m back.  Sorry for the hiatus.  There were colds, holidays, travel, life, yada, yada, yada.  Anyway, I’m back, and I have lots of ideas for new posts.  Today’s is about oranges.  And baked deliciousness.

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This time of year my mind turns to citrus.  There’s something magical about the sunshine a Florida orange or Texas grapefruit represents on your breakfast plate when the weather in your neck of the woods is dark and dreary.

Growing up in New England, we relished such treats from faraway lands.  When I was young, my great-grandfather wintered in Florida and every year he’d ship a box of grapefruits to us.  I can still picture where the case sat on the bench in our mudroom, just off the kitchen.  My mother would ration them, reminding us each time she prepared one for us (all those little cuts being a true act of love, wouldn’t you say?), that this was a treat to have them shipped to us.  I can’t explain why that makes them superior to those that had been shipped to the grocery store, but I still (perhaps irrationally) agree.

Alas, this is not a recipe inspired by exotic treats shipped from distant groves by a loved one.  No, it’s an updated version of a family favorite, busted out to use up our sadly sour oranges.

Allow me to share a bit of background.  Continue reading Cranberry-orange bread, or What to make when life gives you sour oranges

What I’m reading: Salt Sugar Fat

Hold on to your barf bags, folks. This book will make you sick. And then mad. Mad enough to get even, or at least take a stand, and get healthier in the process.

Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss was named one of the best books of the year (2013), and for very good reason. This is a stunning tome on the processed food industry. Thorough and well researched. Shocking and compelling.

I thought I was pretty well-informed cynical about the dark side of processed food, but this book shocked me. Did you know that several decades ago the processed food industry began pushing cheese to off-load all the fat leftover when low and nonfat milk became the norm? Pretty soon cheese, or more precisely, “cheese food products” – which should give you a clue right there – began turning up everywhere. A prime example: Continue reading What I’m reading: Salt Sugar Fat