Thursday, June 7, 2012

Strawberry Poppyseed Salad

I discovered this salad years ago in a book about hospitality. I can't remember the name of the book now but I can't forget the salad. I'm in love with the combination of strawberries, pecans, blue cheese and poppy seed dressing. This is the perfect salad to make for guests at a summer barbecue or potluck.

Strawberry Poppyseed Salad
4 cups torn iceberg lettuce
4 cups torn leaf lettuce
1 cup cut up strawberries
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
3/4 cup sweet poppy seed dressing

Optional: bake the pecans on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes at 350 degrees; turn and bake 10 more minutes. I often skip this step when I'm in a hurry and just toss in raw pecans and it tastes great.
Wash and tear the lettuce to fill a medium sized bowl, top with strawberries, pecans and blue cheese. At this point you can refrigerate it until ready to serve. When it's time to eat pour the dressing over the salad and toss it all together.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lavender Lotion Bars

It's the time of year when I'm looking for that perfect gift to show the people who teach my kids how much I appreciate them. Most years I try to personalize the gift by making it myself or with my kids. This year I made lavender raw sugar scrub and lavender hard lotion bars.  The sugar scrub is something I've made for myself many times but this was the first year I gave it away to others. The hard lotion bars were an experiment that turned out great and I'll definitely make more for my family.

Hard Lotion Bars
3 oz Coconut Oil
3 oz Shea Butter
3 oz Beeswax, grated
optional essential oils (max recommended is 5 drops per oz)

First I grated the beeswax since I had a big bar of it. Then I melted the coconut oil, shea butter and beeswax together in a small pot on low. The recipe called for a double boiler but I don't have one. I kept my burner on it's lowest setting and that worked fine.

After the mix was completely melted I removed it from the burner and let it cool a few minutes. Then I added about 10 drops of lavender essential oil. I poured the mix into my cupcake pans and it quickly solidified. I stuck the pans into my freezer which made it very easy to pop out the bars once they were cold.
Here they are, my fabulous Lavender Hard Lotion Bars! Once I explained what they were to my kids they each wanted one of their own. My 7yr old Braden has eczema so enjoyed rubbing his dry spots with his bar. My 10yr old Zane has dry hands from his constant hand washing and the bar is working better for him than lotion. Zane has sensory issues and doesn't like the feel of lotion so he much preferred using the lotion bar.
I wrapped up five of them for teacher gifts. I folded each bar up in parchment paper and then wrapped it in raffia and added a beautiful label made by my friend Karen.
Now my teacher gifts are ready to go! I used brown lunch sacks and placed one lotion bar and one jar of sugar scrub in each bag for each teacher. I had five teachers gifts in all between my three kids.
You can learn more about making hard lotion bars from The Lotion Exchange e-books and find ingredients at Mountain Rose Herbs or Amazon.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Menu Plan 6/4-6/8

I'm still feeding my family mostly from the pantry & freezer and getting ready for vacation next week. We're heading to Gatlinburg, Tennessee with my husband's parents for a week of family fun. My kids are excited to explore Smoky Mountain National Park and spend time with their grandparents.

I love the thought of cleaning out the fridge so we can make a fresh start when we get home from Tennessee. This week we're eating an organic chicken I picked up at Costco a while back and then using the bones to make broth for chicken noodle soup.

Weekly Menu Plan 6/4-6/8

Monday: Roast Chicken with carrots and potatoes
Tuesday: Chicken Noodle Soup
Wednesday: Tacos with pureed lentils mixed into the beef
Thursday: Leftovers to clean out the fridge
Friday: Dinner on the Road...
Saturday: Vacation Food!

You can find lot more menus at Menu Plan Monday at I'm An Organizing Junkie.
What's on your menu plan this week?


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