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Banana Oatmeal Chocolate 1

Ready for the freezer.

Well, I’m on the annual “try to take off some of the holiday weight gain in the month of January” ritual. For me, this is as much about getting off of the sugar indulgence band wagon and regaining some control over my snack cravings than anything else. Though seeing the scale move to a number higher than I’ve ever seen before was certainly additional motivation. I’ve been doing pilates at home and swimming three days a week. I started out doing a three day smoothie detox, mostly to clean out my system (the smoothies are basically a giant fiber bomb). We’ve been eating lighter, eating WAY more vegetables, and mostly eating much smaller serving sizes. Read the rest of this entry »


Lavender 40/42 (a standardized blend), folded Lemon EO (for strength) and Litsea Cubeba (also known as May Chang)

Back when I started making soap, I wondered about using essential oils to scent it. But the only EO’s I had ever seen for sale were the Aura Cacia brand found at the natural food stores. The bottles were typically .5 oz (about 1 tablespoon) and expensive. Read the rest of this entry »


Coconut, Sunflower and Castor oil. A nice combination.

For those of you with no interest in making your own liquid soap, you can stop reading now. Next week we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programing of gardening, homesteading and cute animal pictures. Wink.

Edited 4/25/15 to add: This blog is MY opinion and MY experience with liquid soapmaking. I’ve had several readers point out that they have had different experiences from mine (with adding salt to thicken, and with the Soaping 101 glycerine liquid soap video, for example). Please note: YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY. Feel free to experiment! Please share your differing experiences and understanding of the chemistry in the comments. That’s how we all learn from each other. This isn’t meant to be the final word on the subject. It’s just my own personal understanding and experience.

Questions about how to get started with liquid soapmaking come up a lot on some of my soap making groups, and I remember how hard it was to get a handle on it all when I started making my own, despite the fact that I’d been making cold process bar soap for years. I find myself writing out long-winded answers over and over again. So I thought I would do a bit of a brain dump on some of the fundamentals to get new liquid soapers started. Note: what this is NOT is a step by step guide to making liquid soap. If I were going to do that, I’d write an ebook. Also, apologies for lack of pictures. This is mostly an informational post. Read the rest of this entry »


Carrots. Healthy, nutritious and cheap.

I recently ran across an article in my Facebook feed, about a reporter taking the “Food Stamp” challenge. He attempted to eat only what he could purchase with the “average” food stamp allotment for an able bodied adult with no dependents, which is $29.69 a week. I had a bit of a rant about it on my personal Facebook page, pointing out that SNAP (the new name for food stamps) stands for SUPPLEMENTAL Nutrition Assistance Program. It’s not meant to be your sole source of nutrition if you are an able bodied adult. I also pointed out that the reporter had made some poor food choices, such as prewashed salad greens and nutritionally empty white bread. I proudly claimed that while it would be tight, I could certainly do much better nutritionally, and that I could ABSOLUTELY feed myself for $30 a week. Read the rest of this entry »

DSC07533watermarkThe first time I saw hibiscus tea, I was in a small take away restaurant called Super Taqueria in San Jose California. The drink was in one of those big clear plastic containers on the counter where the contents are aerated. I was out of my comfort zone just walking into the place and ordering a super taco with no avocado (the list of things I wouldn’t eat was still pretty long at 19). Most of the signage was in Spanish. I had no idea what jamiaca aguas fresca was, and I certainly wasn’t brave enough to find out. (Super Taqueria is still in business by the way, and if it is still the same as it was 29 years ago, I highly recommend it! Best carne asada tacos anywhere.) Read the rest of this entry »


For those of you who aren’t soap makers, my apologies for this long post. But I’ve included some pretty pictures of soap to look at, in lieu of cute animal pictures.

Note: Edited December 24, 2020 to update links and screen shot of SoapCalc. Edited April 2018 to add a couple of new links and fix a few typos. I’ve been making my own soap since 2005. In 2011 I started to sell soap at farmer’s markets. I belong or have belonged to several soap making forums that field a lot of questions from people who are new to soap making. After the gateway skills of learning to bake bread, make your own yogurt, and make your own granola, homemade soap is often the next step in your homesteading evolution. Know what goes into your soap and onto your body? Check. Avoid ingredients that you don’t understand and can’t pronounce? Check. Make a product you can feel good about your family using? Check. Make products to help with skin issues? Check. Make inexpensive gifts for friends and family? Check. Use up all of that lard/tallow from your wild harvested deer or elk or bear, or your own butchered goat or cow or pig? Check. Read the rest of this entry »

Alternative title: Come The Revolution.


Flour corn. Grown as an ornamental. But useful as a food, for both humans and poultry, should it come to that.

True confession time. I feel like I know you all well enough that I can come clean and you won’t judge me too harshly. That you won’t think I’m totally nuts after you read this. That maybe you’ll admit to your own closet “come the revolution” thoughts. And then I’ll show you pictures of my new bunker. Just kidding. If I had a bunker, I wouldn’t tell you. Wink. Read the rest of this entry »


In retrospect, perhaps these should be renamed “rabbit pellets”. They may not be the most appetizing thing to look at, but trust me, they taste great.

Years ago, I had a subscription to Saveur magazine. I love to travel and I love to cook, and I thought a magazine that combined the two would be great. Alas, while the travel stories were inspiring, the recipes just weren’t a good fit for me. A bit too haute cuisine and hard to find ingredients for how I tend to cook. During a one year subscription, I made one and only one recipe, for Sugar Plums. Read the rest of this entry »

Wait, there was a Soap Making 101 post?

ChristmasForestSoapNo, there wasn’t. (Actually, now there is. I wrote it AFTER I wrote this post).  There are LOTS of great resources on the web to learn how to make soap. I learned primarily from the Miller’s Homemade Soap pages. It’s a clunky website, compared to how sites are put together now, and is not regularly updated anymore, but it’s still a great resource. I also highly recommend the info on soap making, and tons of great resources on SoapQueenTV  put together by Brambleberry, a soapmaking supplier that I’ve been ordering from for years. Read the rest of this entry »

MuesliBowlIn my quest to eat healthier in January, I’ve been avoiding added sugar. This means that my several times a week fruit, plain yogurt and granola habit has been tabled of late. Then I ran across this recipe for Hazelnut Cherry Muesli. I’d been collecting muesli recipes for a while, but had never gotten around to trying one out. This one seemed like a great place to start.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jennifer Kleffner

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