Stock up and save: 3 for $12 soap sample pack

 

3 for 12 soap sample pack

 

We’re making it easy for you to stock up and save money in the Emmet Street Creations Etsy store. Our special 3 for $12 listing lets you buy 3 bars of handmade soap for only $12.00.

How does it work? Simply browse the items in the store and when you’re ready, purchase the 3 for $12 Handmade Soap Sample Pack. At checkout, include your selections in the section titled, “Add an optional note to the seller.”  (Supplies are limited so indicate a couple alternative selections in case your first choice is sold out.)

Be adventurous and select 3 different items or load up on your favorite scent, the choice is yours!

Know someone who needs to stock up on handmade soap? Why not share this post with them? It’s easy! Simply use one of the sharing buttons below (Note: If you’re reading this via e-mail or reader, you’ll need to link to our website to use the sharing buttons).

Easter Egg Cheese Ball (Hrudka)

Editor’s note: I’m taking some time for rest and relaxation. In the meantime, check out one of the most popular posts on this blog. I hope you all have a save and Happy Easter this Sunday! 

This post was supposed to be about coloring Easter eggs. When I was a kid, we made the coolest swirled Easter eggs. I had every intention of recreating them and blogging about how I did it but, apparently, the company who made the dye we used went out of business.

Who remembers Ruby’s Egg Deco Egg Dye by Tootsie Toy? It came in little glass bottles with bunny heads for tops. When dropped into a mix of water and vinegar, the dye suspended in little droplets and you could swirl your egg down into the water, swirl it back up, and your eggs would come out with beautiful designs that looked like pretty sunsets. By the time you were done, your fingers and the surrounding surfaces were covered in dye that had to be sandblasted off.

It was awesome.

So, armed with a dozen eggs and no dye , I decided to recreated another childhood memory. Using a recipe that was handed down from my grandmother, and who knows how many generations of Slovakian women before her, I decided to tackle the strange, sweet ball of goodness known as the Easter Egg Cheese Ball, also known as Hrudka.

Folks, this recipe is not for the faint of heart. Seriously, if you have heart issues, stay away. There’s enough cholesterol in this thing to drop a horse. But, as far as traditions go, this is one of my favorites.

In researching the origins of this Slovakian treat, I learned that it’s traditionally made on Holy Saturday, blessed with a basket of other Easter food and then eaten on Easter Sunday. I was surprised to learn that this is often eaten on a sandwich made with ham, beet and horseradish relish and something called paska bread. My family made a sweet version with cloves and sugar and we ate it plain. That’s how we rolled. It seems there are as many ways to make and eat this as there are Slovakian families.

Easter Egg Cheese Ball

12 jumbo eggs
1 quart whole milk
3 T. sugar
3-4 whole cloves broken up or a pinch of ground cloves
Cheesecloth
Twine

Get your cheesecloth ready to go. It’s easiest to spread it out over a large bowl in the sink.

Cheesecloth

Beat the eggs in a separate bowl. You can beat them with an egg beater or by hand. Transfer the eggs to a large pot and add all the other ingredients.

Cook the mixture over medium heat and stir constantly for about 30 minutes. Don’t get impatient and try to speed it along by turning up the heat or you’ll burn it. And for the love of all that is good, do not stop stirring. Get a helper with strong arms. If you stop, the mixture overheats and sticks to the pan and then Easter is ruined! You’re looking for the mixture to start curdling. After about 3o minutes, it will start to look like wet scrambled eggs and the liquid will start to separate out.

Eggs

You might want to wear rubber gloves to protect the skin on your hands from being burned off in this next step. When your mixture looks like wet scrambled eggs, carefully pour it into the cheesecloth.

Drain the eggs

Gather the sides of the cheesecloth together and let the majority of the liquid drain out of it. Holding the excess cheesecloth gathered at the top, start to twist, shaping the eggs into a ball as you go. This will squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Keep twisting until the dripping slows. Using a piece of twine, tie up the cheese like a bundle and hang, with a pot underneath it to catch the rest of the dripping liquid. Keep it hung up for several hours while it cools and dries out. If you are worried about little things like bacteria and disease, you can tie the ball around a large wooden spoon, suspend it over a pot, then refrigerate the whole thing. My mother hung hers up in the basement with a pot underneath it. I hung mine from a cabinet door handle over the kitchen sink.

Cheese ball

After a few hours, you’ll notice the cheese has hardened a bit. Take it down and refrigerate it overnight.

The next day, remove the cheesecloth, slice and serve.

DSC02329

What are your favorite Easter traditions? Please share them in the comments section and if you’ve blogged about it, share your link!

P.S. If you have found a suitable substitute for Ruby’s Egg Deco Egg Dye, please let me know!

New creation in the Etsy shop: Handmade tea tree and Dead Sea mud soap

ea Tree and Dead Sea Clay

Handmade tea tree & Dead Sea mud soap in the Emmet Street Creations store on Etsy

A few months ago, I bought a little bag of Dead Sea clay powder and I’ve been itching to use it in a soap recipe. To turn the Dead Sea powder into Dead Sea mud, I simply added a bit of water, mixed it well and added it to my soap batter, along with tea tree essential oil, once the oils and lye emulsified.

Dead Sea clay

The end result is a luxurious bar of deep-cleansing soap. Castor oil and coconut oil give this bar a fluffy, long-lasting lather and the Dead Sea mud provides plenty of slip, which makes it great for shaving.

Tea Tree and Dead Sea Soap Lather

Want to give Tea Tree and Dead Sea mud soap a try? You can find it, along with many other tantalizing options, in the Emmet Street Creations store on Etsy.

Decadent (and healthy) chocolate smoothie recipe

Healthy chocolate smoothie

Image credit: 2013-06-13 11.33.30, by griotsnet on Flickr. CC BY 2.0.

I’ve been on a green smoothie kick for two months now and I love it. Having my smoothie every morning has become a vital part of my day. I can’t wait for that first delicious sip and I’m craving (and eating) more fresh and healthy foods.

Sometimes, though, I still crave chocolate. Chocolate cake? Yes, please. Chocolate chip cookies? I’d steal one out of Cookie Monster’s mouth. And because I know I’m weak, I try not to have these things in my house to tempt me. So, when I found out that I could make a smoothie that is the healthy equivalent of a chocolate milkshake, I was all in.

Eating healthy is wonderful but it’s even better when it tastes like you are eating something sinful!

Decadent Chocolate Smoothie

2 servings.

1 cup spinach

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (almond, cashew and soy milks also work well)

1 banana

1 tablespoon almond butter

1 tablespoon 100% unsweetened cacao powder (it’s in the baking aisle)

1/2 teaspoon ground ceylon cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

Add all ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth and enjoy!

Monday musings: Handmade soap and good, clean fun

 

White honeysuckle scented soap with blue, pink and yellow chunks of soap embedded in the bottom

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be selling my soap at the Hudson Flea again this summer! (I’ll be at every show except July.)  As a result, I’ve been busy in my soap lab making all of my customer favorite varieties, like Handmade Honeysuckle soap (shown above) and a few new designs and scents that I’ll unveil in the next several weeks.

I hope to see some of you North East Ohioans there!

Handmade soap

There are so many creative soap makers that inspire me. Check out some of my favorite finds on Pinterest! (Are we pinning buddies there? We should be.)

Good, clean fun

If you’re not following Emmet Street Creations on Facebook, here’s some of the fun you missed:

Previous musings from Emmet Street you might have missed

Sometimes a soap design, like the design for the Honeysuckle soap above, is a result of a huge mistake. Check out how I capitalized on my soaping failure.

This post shows what I was going for all long, but, I’ve since abandoned this design in favor of the one above which is a bit more sophisticated.

Grow an indoor mini-garden with sprout seeds

As the month of February is winding down, I’m starting to look forward to spring, warm weather and fresh produce from my garden. I start to really miss gardening this time of year but I’ve recently discovered an easy way to get fresh tasty vegetables into my diet, even in the middle of winter.

What’s the secret? Sprouts!

Close-up of newly sprouted seeds

Newly sprouted seeds

Ok, maybe that’s not a mind-blowing epiphany. I’ve grown sprouts for years using a simple mason jar. They’re delicious and packed with nutrients . I love them on salads, in sandwiches and in my green smoothies. But, my very small house doesn’t have room for more than one jar of sprouts at any given time. Plus, there’s usually a 4 to 5 day wait between crops.

As I was looking for alternatives to using a jar, I ran across the concept of using a multi-tray system that lets you stack 4 trays of growing sprouts on top of one another. Each tray has drainage holes to making watering the sprouts easy. Growing vertically helps make the most of small spaces and using 4 trays at the same time increases your yield.

Growing sprouts indoors couldn’t be easier, even for the green-thumb challenged. First, soak your sprout seeds for several hours.  This helps them draw in water and activates the growing process.

Once they’ve soaked, rinse them a few times with clean water. I use the trays for this since they have drainage holes. Spread the seeds in the trays, then stack your trays on top of the catch basin. Water them at least twice a day. Each time you water, move the bottom tray to the top so that each tray gets a chance to be watered first.

3 trays of a multi-tray sprouted with 3 varieties of sprouts in different stages of growth

3 trays of sprouts at different stages of growth

In 4 to 5 days, the sprouts are ready to harvest! If you’d like them to green up a bit, place them near a bright window that gets indirect sunlight for a day. (Direct sunlight can burn them.)

Close-up of broccoli sprouts in a seed sprouting tray

Fresh broccoli sprouts taste like radishes

You can de-hull the sprouts or, if you don’t mind the slightly bitter flavor, you can leave the hauls on. To de-haul, fill a bowl with water then place sprouts in the bowl and start to break apart the clumps. The hulls will either fall to the bottom of the bowl or float on top of the water (in my experience, it depends on the variety of seeds). If they fall to the bottom, you can skim your spouts out of the water. If they float, skim the hulls and discard them, then remove the sprouts from the water.

Whether you choose to de-hull them or not, use cool clean water to thoroughly rinse them. Dry them well with a few paper towels and eat them right away (I usually can’t wait) or store them in the refrigerator. My trays came with a lid so I can store my sprouts right in the tray.

The beauty of this system is you can either start 4 crops of spouts at one time or you can stagger the start date and have a continuous supply.

I’m currently using the Victorio 4 tray sprouter and I love it for it’s a small footprint. It takes up almost no space!

Growing sprouts has given me a fun, easy way to satisfy my love of watching things grow this winter. And as a bonus, I’m eating more healthy salads so I can use up all the sprouts I’m growing. I’ve grown broccoli, alfalfa, mung bean, red & green lentils, and I’m currently soaking a mix of adzuki, gamut and fenugreek seeds.

Have you tried growing your own sprouts? What are your favorite varieties?

P.S. The opinions in this post are completely my own. Victorio has not compensated me in any way to talk about their product. 

 

 

February savings!

February sale

Valentine’s Day may be over but it’s not to late to save on luxurious handmade soap with our February sale. From now through February 29th, use coupon code LOVE16 at checkout and save 15% off purchases of $15 or more in the Emmet Street Creations Etsy store.

Know someone who needs to stock up on handmade soap? Why not share this coupon code? It’s easy! Simply use one of the sharing buttons below (Note: If you’re reading this via e-mail or reader, you’ll need to link to our website to use the sharing buttons).