Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Days 3, 4 and 5

I've been behind on listing the winners on our 12 days gifts... my out of town Grandchildren are here! There are much more important (and fun!) things to do than write in a blog.

At any rate... the winners for days three through five are: (can you hear the drumroll?)

On day three, the 27th, Shelley Ureel, of Kingman AZ, was chosen to receive a gold deluxe personal inhaler.

On the following day, Sharon Tobiason, of Destin FL, received a tiny bottle of Bulgarian Rose Otto 10%. (Our very last remaining smidge, other than my personal stash, of course!)

And on the fifth day of Christmas, December 29th, Lauri Dixon from Portland will be receiving an Aromastone diffuser.

Thanks to the winners, and all of our other clients who are patient enough to wait until we finish tallying inventory for their orders to arrive!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Twelve Days of Christmas - Day Two

On the Second Day of Christmas, the 26th, (Boxing Day or St. Stephen's Day for our British readers), John Lee, of Danville, CA was chosen to receive an Indian Treasure Box, hand carved of Rosewood.

Happy Boxing Day, John!

Friday, December 26, 2008

12 Days of Christmas

Most of you know that during the 12 days of Christmas, from the 25th through January 5th, we give gifts to our clients. Every day one order is selected to receive a special gift.

Among the orders placed on Christmas Day, Karen Redmon of Saucier, MS was chosen to receive a copy of my book, Essential Oils and Aromatics. Merry Christmas, Karen!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Arlington at Christmas

Somehow this bittersweet story, that shows the generosity of spirit that still exists in this world, strikes me as an appropriate Christmas Eve post. A friend sent it via email, and I've verified it at Snopes. (The urban legend myth-buster.) 'Tis true, my friends.

Rest easy, sleep well my brothers.
Know the line has held, your job is done.
Rest easy, sleep well.
Others have taken up where you fell, the line has held.
Peace, peace, and farewell...

Readers may be interested to know that these wreaths -- some 5,000 -- are donated by the Worcester Wreath Co. Of Harrington, Maine. The owner, Merrill Worcester, not only provides the wreaths, but covers the trucking expense as well. He's done this since 1992. A wonderful guy. Also, most years, groups of Maine school kids combine an educational trip to DC with this event to help out. Making this even more remarkable is the fact that Harrington is in one the poorest parts of the state.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fast and Easy Christmas Candy

You've said you like my 'fast and dirty' recipes... I first had this White Chocolate Peppermint Bark at my daugher-in-law's mother's house one Christmas morning brunch. Yummy, and FAR too easy!

The classic recipe calls for

2 lbs white chocolate. (PLEASE use real white chocolate... the first ingredient in the list must be cocoa butter. If it's not...put it back on the grocery shelf.) And the so called "almond bark" that's offered looks like white chocolate, but it has a good amount of paraffin in it and leaves your mouth feeling waxy...oddly enough.

Enough Candy Canes (or red and white peppermint candies) to give you a cup if you coarsely chop them.

Obviously you can use less of everything. I had in the house, and used:

7 ounces of White chocolate
12 Oz White chocolate chips.

and three medium sized candy canes. (They were three for a dollar, that's why three.)

and...for my version... the KEY... our Midwestern Peppermint Oil (the one that I say is sweet as candy, remember?) I used ONE ml for this amount of chocolate.

Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler if you have one, or a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. While it is melting, put the candy canes inside a HEAVY plastic bag, put that bag inside a second bag, and crush the candy with a hammer, a rolling pin, a heavy skillet...whatever striking instrument you have at hand.

Line a jelly roll pan or BIG cookie sheet with waxed paper or baking parchment.

When the white chocolate is melted, pour in the crushed peppermint, the one ml (approx 20 drops) of peppermint essential oil, stir well. Pour it onto the paper lined pan and spread it as thinly as you can.

EITHER... put the pan in the refrigerator at this point and let it sit for an hour or until hard

OR... while waiting for the white chocolate to set up, melt 1/2 cup of chocolate chips with a pat of butter, and swirl bits of this over the white chocolate. Smear that around a bit to marble the dark chocolate over the white.

THEN refrigerate the pan for an hour...or put it freezer for perhaps 20 minutes.

Once it's cold...break or cut into random chunks, put in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

The cook gets to lick the meling pan and the spatula.


Very addictive.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Virgin Coconut Oil (or, a Cat named Marge)

I enjoy P. Allen Smith's gardening newsletter. I copy his recipes, and sometimes borrow his weekly quotes for our "Quote of the Month"

I'm not really sure of my reaction to his naming his striped cat Marge, and giving her her own column on his website, tho. Seeing an article entitled "Marge Says, "Yum! Coconut oil..." startled me immensely, because although I sometimes saute things in our Virgin Coconut Oil, I've never tried it "unadorned" or tried feeding it to either Max or BlueKitty. After reading the following, though, I may try. I have to admit that their Marge certainly seems to be a charmer. And has excellent taste in coconut!

Quoting from the article: "My cat Marge was “thumbing” through a health book and discovered her new favorite treat – organic, virgin coconut oil. This isn’t the villainous hydrogenated coconut oil that contains trans-fats. Organic, virgin coconut oil has been the darling of health conscious people for several years and now Marge has discovered it. Not only is it good for people, but pets too. She’s so excited she wanted to share the news with her friends....." more

A note... for all sorts of legalistic reasons, our products are all "for external use only." We market our Virgin Coconut Oil for skin and hair care. However, I cook with it, and intend to try feeding a smidgeon of it to my furfamily.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sunshine Honey Recipe

Came across a recipe in the new Aromatherapy Today that sounded yummy, but made WAY too much. (The original called for a full gallon of Honey... which might work if you wanted to make a whole lot of gifts, otherwise you'd be eating it forever.(

So I cut it down to a more manageable size.

8 fluid ounces Honey (or 240 ml)

Divide the honey roughly in half.

To the half in the mixing bowl add:

9 drops Organic cold pressed Bergamot Essential Oil
10 drops Organic Cold Pressed Lemon Essential Oil
13 drops Organic Sweet Orange or Blood Orange Essential oil
3 drops Organic Cardamom (or Cardamon) Seed Essential Oil.

Blend the essential oils into the smaller portion of honey, then gradually stir in the remaining honey until very well blended.

This sunny citrus flavored honey is wonderful in tea, on top of biscuits or toast, I'm thinking gingerbread... almost any place you would like the blend of sparkling citrus with a touch of gentle spice.

I'm going to try adding a drop of nutmeg essential oil, as well.

Actually, making a gallon of this, and pouring into sterilized canning jars for holiday gifts would have been a good idea....


(And there is a reason that I specify Organics on all of the cold pressed citrus oils... think about when they spray the fruit groves with pesticides...where do the chemicals land? On the surface of the fruit, of course, to be cold pressed right into your essential oil. That's why we offer only organic citrus rind oils.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

People just baffle me!

They really do.

I never EVER shop at a website without first checking out their "Clearance/Bargain/Special Sale" pages. Even if I go to that specific site to purchase one specific product, I always look to see what is on sale. Because you never know, and I *love* to save money. I always wait to order from my favorite packaging supplier until I receive her weekly "what's on sale this week" flyer. I wouldn't want to order the day before it goes on sale!

So... it seems to me... that the BEST place to get everyone's attention would be at the top of the specials page. Especially if what I want to get their attention about is a special promotional code that will save them money.

It is downright amazing how many people never visit that page. Of course they are, in most cases, spending 10% more than they would if they had the code. So I shouldn't complain.

But it still baffles me. Are Christi, T and I the only bargain hunters left in the world?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Unbelievable Christmas Cookies

For the noncook -

I stopped by a friend's house today, and she urged me to take home a bag of homemade cookies. Now, this woman does not cook. Most definitely she doesn't bake. And I am a bit of a snob when it comes to cookies. They had best be extraordinary, or they aren't worth the calories. And, in all honesty, they didn't look extraordinary. And she said they had peanut butter. I'm not a big fan of peanut butter cookies. But, I am polite. I said "thank you" and took a small bag.

They sat on my countertop most of the day looking at me, trying to make me feel guilty.

Finally I tried one.

In the interests of science, I had to eat them all, while figuring out how they were made.

Crackers, not Ritz, because they are oval. Perhaps Keebler's Town House? A buttery, salty cracker, not a saltine type. Two crackers, sandwiched together with creamy peanut butter, and dipped in melted white chocolate.

OH my! The mix of salty cracker, peanutbutter, and white chocolate is amazing!

Even if you DO bake, and CAN make all sorts of wonderfully involved traditional Christmas cookies... make some of these too.

And to think I almost didn't try some. "contempt prior to investigation" and all that.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sometimes you just can't win!

People have been asking how to create the popular Reed Diffusers, using our oils and a natural dispersant. My answer has always been, I don't think you can.

But I saw this suggestion somewhere on a list. Dilute the essential oil into Polysorbate, add distilled water, and voila. I was going to post this suggestion, but thought "I need to try this first."

Ordered some reeds. With shipping, they became really expensive reeds. Didn't know I could have bought them in a local craft shop.

Came home, with my reeds, some Polysorbate 20, a bottle of Balsam Fir essential oil (yes, I want it to smell like a Christmas Tree!) and remembered that the reed diffusers are always in a very small necked bottle. (To prevent evaporation? I guess.)

Well, I had this lovely vase. A gift from someone. Lead Crystal. Shaped like a small ball, with a VERY slim opening to a V shape above the circle. I should take a picture, but the camera is at work. Anyway; added the polysorbate, added the Balsam Fir oil, and dribbled in distilled water.

Uh-oh...it's cloudy. Smells wonderful, but it's cloudy. Obviously one needs an opaque bottle or vase. But, I thought, perhaps if it stands, the cloudiness will clear.

So I set the experiment in the middle of my dining room table, and left the house.

Came home to find the whole front of the house wonderfully aromatic, smelling of fresh fir boughs. GREAT! It works! Went to look at the experiment.

Obviously BlueKitty, my very small once feral grey cat was intrigued by the experiment.

No, the vase did not break. It's very sturdy crystal. But the place mats on the table are totally soaked. And the vase was, unfortunately, standing within a few inches of a pair of Rosenthal china salt and pepper shakers, part of a set of china that we bought in Germany about 40 years ago.

It landed on the pepper shaker, and broke just a "corner" of the top off.

Rosenthal no longer makes salt and pepper shakers in "Maria - Blue Garland"... even the china replacement companies don't list them. They make dinner plates. This is a picture of one, snipped from www.replacements.com. Thank goodness she didn't break one of THEM!

Sometimes testing out ideas before putting them in the newsletter gets very complicated indeed.