Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Quick & Easy Gifts From My Kitchen....

I love to make pampering gifts like my body butter for my friends. With all the cold weather outside and heaters working overtime inside a little bit of pampering can go a long way to keeping your skin healthy. This is a perfect time of year to spend a little bit of time to make personalized gifts for those special friends in your life.

Thanks to the wisdom of Cheryl Harris, I realize that I also need to take a little time for me so that I can be there for the people I love.

Cheryl hosts a December Sanity Retreat on her blog. My dear blogger friend Shirley of Gluten Free Easily introduced me to Cheryl's blog a couple of years ago. I did a post about it at the time. Please  check out Cheryl's blog, she's switching things up a bit this year with guest bloggers and has links to previous years' posts, I bet there will be something that speaks to your heart.

Taking a quiet afternoon to make with a hot cup of tea and happy noise in the background (and then actually setting aside a jar or two for myself) made the time feel indulgent, rather than stressful. How much more relaxing does that sound than running to a mall and running all over trying to find things your loved ones may or may not be able to use?

My goal these last few days before Christmas is to be mindful to avoid stress and find time to relax while caring for the people I love. Each day between now and Christmas is a little more booked than the last so I need to find time in each day for the things that count. For me that means Bible devotional time, getting moving and eating wisely to stay healthy. I have a great devotional app and am enjoying Advent messages through She Reads Truth. Moving is easy when you live with a dog so I'm trying to up our walks. Being outside is always good for me and the weather has been cooperating more days than not. Eating wisely is just that - no diets or deprivation at all. Just making good choices so I don't get glutened or get too much sugar which also causes issues for me.

So now to our gifts, since the ingredients overlap, it's easy to get everything out and make all three recipes, if you want to, in less than two hours including computer time for the labels.

Avery Labels are a great, easy and economical way to dress up your gift. Avery.com has lots of cute designs you can personalize with your own text. It took just a couple of minutes to find the cute bee design and customize each version. I bought my labels years ago and just print up a sheet with a different label with each batch.

I like to use four ounce ball jars for the scrubs and body butter. It's a nice size to give and a handy size to reuse. However, for those gifts I ship I have been using plastic. The PET plastic bottles and jars are easy to find online or at most any health food store that stocks essential oils. This time I used a couple of sturdy Rubbermaid containers for shipping that I had purchased for my last batch. I'm switching over to glass and PET as I go.

My beauty/body care supplies and tools are kept separate from my other pans and immersion blender. Getting melted beeswax and oil scented with lavender off can be a struggle. Having inexpensive doubles and keeping everything in a box together makes making so much easier.

There are a lot of quality essential oils to choose from. My own box of oils has Young Living, Plant Therapy and Florihana. You can use whichever you enjoy but for these projects Florihana was my choice. I buy them through Tropical Traditions, my favorite coconut company. Florihana's Bergamot is Bergapten free, meaning it isn't photo toxic. Most citrus oils are photo toxic, meaning you shouldn't use them on skin that is exposed to the sun, you may get patchy brown splotches. Citrus oils are a great choice for a hand cleanser/sanitizer making Florihana's Bergamot my first choice.

This is a great gift for a friend with littles to throw in their diaper bag. It literally takes five minutes to put this together, including attaching your labels. The recipe below is safe for young children but can be used by adults. If you aren't using it for small ones, go ahead and add up to double the essential oils.

Bergamot and Lavender Hand Cleanser/Sanitizer

1 2 ounce Pet Bottle with dispenser top

Aloe Vera Gel
9 drops Bergamot Essential Oil
1 drop  Lavender Essential Oil

Pour Aloe Vera Gel into clean Pet Bottle almost to the top, leaving room for your oils. Add the essential oils drop by drop right into the bottle.

Make a cute label and attach. I like to use clear packing tape over the label on these bottles to keep it attached and looking good.

I like to use mine (double strength) after leaving a store before getting into my car or in a public restroom that has awful soap (pink soap with scents and dye cause reactions for me). In that case I rinse and scrub my hands in hot water, dry and then rub in a squirt of my hand cleanser.


A sugar scrub is wonderful to get the dry patches off and reveal smoother skin underneath. You can substitute Olive oil for the Avocado oil. An easy way to measure the liquid oil and the solid coconut oil is to pour one cup of the Avocado oil into a two cup measure and scoop enough coconut oil into to reach two cups. Frankincense and Myrrh were an obvious Christmas combination but you can certainly substitute oils you prefer one to one.

Golden Frankincense & Myrrh Sugar Scrub

3 Cups Organic Sugar (or more if you like)
1 Cup Coconut Oil
1 Cup Avocado Oil
1 teaspoonVanilla Bean Powder
30 Drops Frankincense Essential Oil
10 Drops Myrrh Essential Oil

Pour everything into a glass or metal mixing bowl and combine. If you like a more dry sugar scrub feel free to add a bit more sugar in 1/4 cup increments. Mash up the solid coconut oil with the back of your spoon or with an immersion mixer.

Pour into jars and put the lids on and then label. You will probably get about eight four ounce jars or more depending on how much sugar you added.

They are a admittedly a bit more beige than golden, but humor me so the name works!


Body butters save my skin this time of year. This one, is one I've been making for ages. I love it and it works well but I wanted a more simple version. One that had fewer ingredients and no whipping required.

Simple Hand and Body Butter

1/2 cup Organic Beeswax Pearls
1 cup Coconut Oil
1 cup Avocado Oil
1 teaspoon Lavender Essential Oil

Pour everything but your Lavender Essential Oil into your pot and let melt slowly over low heat. While everything is melting I measure the Lavender Essential and pour it into one of the small jars. Stir to mix and once everything is combined turn off heat and pour the Lavender Essential Oil into the mixture. Stir again to combine and pour into your jars. Depending on the sizes you use, you will have about five four ounce jars.

Let cool completely before putting the lids on. Put on your label and you're done! Easy Peasy.

I spent more time at the post office today standing in line to ship some than I did making any one recipe.

When I use the sugar scrub I rinse well at pat dry. Rubbing in a little of the hand and body butter afterwards will keep your skin soft and glowing. Try the combination on your hands at night before bed, you should wake with nice, soft hands.

Wishing you a peaceful and relaxed holiday season so you can focus on what's important to you.

Happily shared on Gluten Free Wednesdays, thanks one last time Shirley! You are the best!!


R Brandsberg said...

Hello my dear friend- I am thankful that I was the recipient of these delightful and soothing gifts from your heart and kitchen. Your snazzy labels knocked my socks off! Then I used the scrub on them! Now they are soft and happy and feel pampered after hours of standing at (the circus called) TJ's!
Thanks for sharing your recipes and giving me great gift ideas. I need a personal tutorial on the label - it impresses me!
xoxo see you soon and thanks again-

chacha said...

Hi friend! Come on by one day and I'll show you the labels. They are super simple and I love the look and the BEES! I'm so glad you're enjoying the scrub, your hands take a beating at work. YSIC ❤️