Monday, August 31, 2009

my best crockpot recipe

For Heather over at Beauty that Moves: my favorite crockpot recipe. I've modified it slightly to avoid that "overly crockpotted" mouthfeel, but if you're not as picky, throw it all in together and let the crockpot take care of everything.

Beef Barley Vegetable Soup

2-3 lb beef chuck roast, cut up into bite-sized pieces
2 T oil (or less)

3 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2-4 cups frozen mixed vegetables

1 bay leaf
1 T white sugar
1/4 t ground black pepper

4 cups water and 4 beef or veggie bouillon cubes (or 4c beef or veggie stock)
28 oz chopped stewed tomatoes

1 cup barley

salt and more pepper (to taste- may not be needed, depending on the bouillon/stock)

My way:
1) In the morning, use oil to stir-fry your meat on high, browning the outside. (Doesn't matter if the inside is cooked or not; the c'pot takes care of that. This gives the meat a better look- not as pasty-gray and crockpotty looking.) Deglaze the pot with some water, and set all aside for a moment.
2) Oil the inside of the crockpot for easy cleanup; then pile everything BUT the barley into the pot. Stir once.
3) Cook on low all day long.
4) When you come home, use a ladle to strain some liquid out of the stew; add this to a pot, heat to boiling, and cook your barley in it. (This way the barley doesn't get too soft, but still tastes like it's been in the soup all day.) Dump barley and any remaining liquid back into the soup.
5) Stir thoroughly once more and serve with whole wheat rolls. Leftover are even better the next day, and freeze well too.

Dump everything into the crockpot. Stir it up. Cook on low all day.

I'll come back and add a picture once it gets cool enough to warrant this being made for dinner. It really is delicious-- the whole is greater than the sum of its parts!


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ice cream, retro style.

Found this today, and rushed home and took photos in hopes that I could (theoretically) get it to a new home in time for Labor Day weekend. 

Is it not amazing??  Once again I'm sorely tempted to keep an item...

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from kimvsmith's posterous


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Foaming hand soap infused w/ oils, homemade Thieves oil

When I recently placed an order at sunburst bottle company, I noticed that their foaming hand soap containers were on sale for .70 each.

I bought one for each bathroom in the house, and when they arrived, I mixed up a foaming hand soap formula with premade Thieves oil using this formula:

12-16 drops of the oil blend
2 Tbsp hand soap, shower gel, or similar liquid soap (unscented would be best- and avoid the ingredient triclosan.  Bad stuff.)
Water to the top of the container

I heated the water to help the soap dissolve into it, and stirred gently in a large mixing cup before pouring the mixture into the bottle.  That's it!  And now whenever we wash our hands, some of the essential oil formula leaves its scent (and its germ-fighting properties) on our hands.  Fantastic.

I'll be buying more of the containers soon... this project is going to become Christmas presents for our friends and family.  I think Thieves is a great holiday scent!

Homemade Thieves Oil

If you'd like to mix up your own Thieves blend, here are the oils involved in YL's blend:

Clove (Syzygium aromaticum)
Lemon (Citrus limon)
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum)
Eucalyptus radiata
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis CT 1,8 cineol).

And here are two recipes available in several different places on the web:

The Easy Recipe:

Equal amounts of eucalyptus, rosemary, cinnamon, clove and lemon.

The Less Easy Recipe: 
(our own Marsha's been very happy with this one)
Clove bud oil 8
Lemon oil 7
Cinnamon bark oil 4
Eucalyptus 3
Rosemary 2

(The ratio numbers can be applied to any measurement you'd like... drops, teaspoons, ml, etc.  There's a total of 24 parts in the recipe-- so if you're using teaspoons, you'll end up with 24 teaspoons of theives oil-- about 1/2 cup.  24 drops of Thieves oil would be about 1 ml, so multiply the recipe by 5 if you want to fill a 5ml bottle.)

Random Oil Fact:

Apparently there are between 20-35 drops of essential oil in each ml (or 100-175 drops in a 5ml bottle), depending on the thickness of the oil/size of the drops.

Posted via email from the Oil Crowd


Saturday, August 15, 2009

busy Saturday; EO talk has moved.

Much to my amazement, something from my Etsy shop actually sold this week.  Which pushed me to list two more little items whose photos were already on my computer, waiting.  (I'd sort of lost faith in the Etsy idea ever taking off-- irrational, since I'd only listed three items.)

Those two little items, a victorian ring holder and a 1960-ish roller rink ashtray, sold within 24 hours.  Whoa!

So I allowed myself a trip to my favorite junk shop to shop a bit, and spent some time today listing a few more.  So encouraging!  We'll see how this goes.  (Pictures of a few of the items below.)

My oil fascination has pretty much transferred itself onto a group blog, where several friends and I are sharing tips and experiences with one another.  If you're interested in that, you can catch up with our chatter over there.  I may still do some writing on that subject over here, when I feel like I might be offensive to some of my "oilfriends" (who are Young Living enthusiasts) if I posted my mind too freely over there.  I want that to be a positive space, not one where we get into debates.

Okay, I'm out.  It's Saturday, and I want to think of something fun for us to do with our kids when they wake up from naptime.  Too much of my time with them lately has involved me trying to clean and feeling frustrated at the constant level of chaos in my house.  I think I may need to embrace the chaos a bit more.  They're only toddlers for a short while... the house can be well-kept later.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from kimvsmith's posterous


Friday, August 14, 2009

Book learnin'

Happy Friday, everyone!

There's a new post up at the Aromatics International blog today that contains a link to a new booklist of recommended publications on Aromatherapy.

I'm sure my eyes bugged out... there are so many titles that are brand new to me. is likely to get some business from me this weekend... some of these titles are very, very inexpensive over there.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from the Oil Crowd


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Chaste tree oil (vitex agnus castus) for PMS or menopause

I've signed up for a couple of aromatherapy email lists, hoping to glean some learning as the professionals chat amongst themselves, and there's an interesting conversation going on about treating menopausal symptoms with this essential oil.

From the general profile located here:

Vitex agnus castus has been used in herbal form for many hundreds of years. Native to Mediterranean climates, the plant is a member of the verbenaceae family. The berries are the part traditionally used, most often powdered in capsules or in a tincture. As the botanical name implies, the plant was used to promote chastity, and was so successful in quashing desire in medieval monasteries that it was added to the food as a seasoning, thus earning one of its common names, “monks pepper”. Most people know the plant as chaste tree. It has been used in Europe, and much more recently in the United States, for a wide variety of female hormonal imbalances. Many modern works on menopause, including Christiane Northrup’s “The Wisdom of Menopause”, reference the herb as a valuable tool

Some people are recommending the oil from the berries only, others are combining oils from the berry and leaves equally (1:1 ratio) and using that.  The testimonies are pretty impressive; just thought someone in our "crowd" might find it interesting.

I don't suffer from PMS badly enough to treat it (other than one, spectacular cramp per month-- I imagine that I'm ovulating, although I have no real idea), but I thought there might be others who'd like to check it out.

Comments from the email list:

I have clients who swear by it. I made up sniffies and they have found this stops the hot flushes.
I have had more success with the berries rather than the leaves.

Hi there! I have used chaste berry in both the berry and leaf oils,
separately as well as together along with the extract/tincture of the
chaste berries. I have had very good results with all three of what I just
mentioned. I grow chaste berry trees and make my own tinctures and oils
with great results. I have not had a hot flash until, persuaded by my dh,
went to a bio-identical hormone doctor about 2 months ago. This doc put me
on some "bio-identical" formula and presto I started having "hot flashes"
that were terrible. One week later I went back to my own natural hormone
balancing using chaste berry oil and rose oil. No more hot flashes and no
more new bio-doc. So I can tell you that the chaste berry oil, chaste berry
leaf oil and the tincture/extracts of chaste berry do work and work
exceedingly well. By the way I have been using chaste berry oils in my
hormone formulas since about 2000 with great results.

There are studies on this .. and I have a kit bag full of personal
testimonials that support what you say .. it does work for reducing hot
flashes. And Margaret did well to purchase both because the Berry is
stronger than the Leaf .. and some ladies want to find what is best for them
.. not everybody reacts the same. And good it is that Stacey was specific
in stating that the person is not on hormones .. if they were then they
should not use Vitex.  As for men .. they should not sniff it anyway .. it causes nausea in men.


Posted via email from the Oil Crowd


Monday, August 10, 2009

Etsy gets rolling...

Well, it's raining and pouring outside tonight after a long drought.  How fitting.

Tonight, as I answered questions and pledged to get shipping info for a very eager Canadian buyer for my funky bird airpot, I took a second and listed a single solitary item:  a little vintage ring holder.  I haven't bothered to list much because my Etsy shop hadn't sold a single item, and I hated to waste time and effort on it if it wasn't going to fly.

To my surprise, it sold almost immediately.

Hooray for things SOLD!  I'll have to try listing more stuff in the next few days.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from kimvsmith's posterous