Clove and Mandarin Soap

I tried making soap using the hot process in the past but unfortunately it ended up being a disaster.  I was not careful monitoring the temperature of the mixture and this resulted in it bubbling and getting spoilt.

Anyway, I thought I’d try the cold process this time. This is slightly easier but does mean waiting for 4-6 weeks before the soap is ready to be used. We have enough soap at home at the moment so I don’t mind the wait.

I’ve used Lye, Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil, Virgin Olive Oil and Coconut Oil, Neem Oil, Beeswax and Mango Butter and essential oils of Clove, Mandarin, Sweet Basil and  Lemon.

cold pressed rapeseed oil lye

I think I got carried away with the beeswax and mango butter. I should have used a lot less because when I mixed the lye with the oils and melted butters, the solution solidified very quickly and it became difficult to blend the mixture with the blending stick.  Anyway, I put the final mixture in containers and left it overnight to solidify.

Result: The soap in the silicone container was relatively easy to take out.

bars of soap

But the other stuff in the two plastic containers wasn’t.  I ended up having to break one container.  I made a bit of a mess with the soap from the other plastic container trying to wedge it out with a knife.  Ideally you need to use parchment paper in the container before you pour the mixture in it so that when it solidifies, you can just pull the soap out of it easily.

uneven bars of soap2

As you can see, the soap is a bit squidgy.  It has to be left for around 6 weeks in a cool dry so that it hardens and is ready to use.

uneven bars of soap

I’m not that fussed about the shape and the size of the soap.  What I was worried about was if it actually worked!  I took a little lump and tried washing my hands with it.

lather on hand

It lathered quite well and washed off well too.  By the time I got a decent picture using manual focus on my SLR with one hand, most of the lather had washed off!  The beeswax and mango butter makes the soap less drying on the skin.

Overall, am quite pleased with the soap. However, it is a bit of a faff to make but probably worth it as you get a good supply for family use.

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No Nonsense Energy Bites

I bought Chia Seeds a while back as I knew they were a good endurance food and had great nutritional benefits.  Chia has more calcium than a glass of milk, more Omega-3s than Salmon, and more antioxidants than blueberries.  They are also rich in antioxidants, fibre, magnesium, zinc and iron which are all essential nutrients that most people don’t get enough of.

I used to make a big glass of Chia, Lemon and Honey drink to have before a long run or race.  But it was difficult to consume in one go before a race and also difficult to carry during the race.

So I’m now making  something more practical and also highly nutritious that can be carried on long rides.  Unlike shop bought energy bars, I know this one will have no gunk in it and will be safe for regular consumption.

I’ve decided to use the following ingredients: Chia Seeds, Roasted Peanuts, Beetroot Powder, Cinnamon Powder, Dates, Unrefined Coconut Oil and Vanilla Extract.

dates     IMG_4559

Vanilla Extract

Beetroot has been getting some great press recently as it has been proven to increase athletic performance. Beets contain a large amount of inorganic nitrates and these compounds are the precursor to a very important signalling molecule that our body needs to function – Nitric Oxide. We can increase the availability of Nitric Oxide in our body by eating nitrate rich food such as beetroot.  Nitric Oxide acts as a vasodilator in functioning skeletal muscle, increasing the size of blood vessels to allow more oxygen flow.

I haven’t measured the ingredients but just used as much or little according to taste.

Here’s the method:

  1. Melt the coconut oil.
  2. Pip the dates and blend them in a food processor till you get a paste or mush.  dates blender
  3. Crush the peanuts coarsely.   IMG_4561
  4. Mix the coconut oil into the Chia seeds, roasted peanuts, cinnamon powder, vanilla extract and beetroot powder

IMG_4565

IMG_4566

5. Take small handfuls of the mixture when the coconut oil has started to set and          make it into little bite sized balls. Place them in the fridge so that they become        nice and solid.

IMG_4570

I’ll be carrying these on my next long bike ride.  Hopefully I won’t have to make any changes to the mixture, but if I do, I’ll update this page.