Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hemp Uses and NORML Gathering

I have started using hemp oil in many of my soaps and all of my lip balms. The oil contains high levels of essential fatty acids including linolenic acid which aids skin healing. It is quickly absorbed and highly moisturizing making it a good ingredient for all types of products for dry skin.
There is still quite a bit of resistance from many about using a product containing hemp in spite of its long history of being a useful herb for textiles, skin preparations and food for livestock. If you would like more information about the history and uses for hemp visit the NORML at CCSU website. They will also be holding an informational gathering on April 20th at Central Connecticut State University.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring Asparagus Chowder

This delicious chowder is quick and easy to make. The timing for the ingredients couldn't be easier. Simply chop the veggies one at a time and add them to the pot in the order listed. The onions cook while you chop the mushrooms which cook with the onions while you chop the celery, etc.

Asparagus Chowder

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • one medium onion
  • 12 mushrooms
  • 2 ribs of celery
  • 12 baby carrots or one large carrot
  • one sweet potato, peeled
  • 2 white potatoes(no need to peel if the skin is thin)
  • 1/4 pound of ham or turkey ham
  • 12-14 fresh asparagus spears, tough end removed
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Chop and add veggies one at a time. After the addition of the asparagus, saute for 3-4 minutes or until the asparagus is bright green and everything is fragrant. Add one quart of good quality chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer 10-12 minutes or until the veggies are tender. While the veggies are simmering make the cheese sauce as follows.
  1. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat
  2. Stir in 2 1/2 tablespoons of flour . Cook and stir one minute.
  3. Whisk in 1 1/2 cups of milk- skim, whole 2%- whatever you have on hand
  4. Bring to a bubble stirring and cook until thickened stirring constantly.
  5. Stir in 2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Stir over heat until cheese is melted.
  6. Slowly stir the cheese sauce into the rest of the soup and serve.
Yield- 4-5 main dish servings

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Lavender Balm

This is an easy to make balm that is wonderful for healing and preventing dry, cracked skin.

Lavender Balm
  • 1/4 cup apricot kernel oil
  • 1/4 beeswax
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vitamin E
  • 1/2 teaspoon lavender essential oil
  • one 4 ounce tub or jar
Melt the beeswax and cocoa butter along with the apricot kernel oil in a double boiler stirring occasionally to thoroughly blend. Remove from heat and let cool until you can see your mixture just begin to harden on the sides of your pan. Keep a good eye on it so it doesn't get too far along. Stir in the vitamin E and lavender oil and pour into your pot. Let cool and harden with the lid off.

You can substitute another light oil like jojoba or sweet almond oil for the apricot kernel oil if you like. Don't care for lavender? Use your favorite fragrance or essential oil instead. If you don't have access to bottled vitamin E add 3 vitamin E capsules by poking a hole in them and squeezing the liquid into the balm.