DIY Sugar and Salt Scrubs

As you may have noticed I love taking things that you can purchase out (dinners, snacks, etc.) and making them at home. I love being able to control what goes into the items that I am using and eating. On top of that I live on a budge…a very tight budget so being able to go out to eat or buy things for myself or presents for others is just not realistic most of the time. I know it won’t always be like this but at the same time it is nice to live within my means and still enjoy life and celebrating others.

This year I am on a mission to make as many homemade presents and I can…for birthdays, weddings, Christmas, etc. For starters this year I am working on creating some lovely smelling sugar and salt body scrubs to give as presents. Right now I am just playing around with different scents, mostly with items that I already have at home. These scrubs make such cute little presents for someone and these blank canvases gives you the ability to create whatever your little heart desires. Below are three recipes that I came up with today and I’m rather fond of so I’m thinking they just might make it into the running to make as presents.

You only need a few simple ingredients:

Oil – You can use pretty much any oil that you would like…coconut, almond, jojoba, grapeseed, avocado, olive, pistachio, vegetable, etc. If you are going for a more neutral oil (smell wise), I would suggest the almond or jojoba.

Salt or Sugar – Completely up to you. Sugar is heard to be a bit more gentle on the skin. Suggested options include brown sugar (light or dark), white sugar, turbinado sugar, kosher salt, sea salt, etc.

Scent – Essential oils work great in these scrubs. The amount of essential oil used will determine the fragrance level of your scrub. According to Aura Cacia below are the Aromatherapy benefits for some commonly used essential oils:

  • Basil, Sweet: clarifying, uplifting, energizing, refreshing.
  • Bergamot: uplifting, inspiring, confidence-building.
  • Cedarwood: useful in times of emotional stress and anxiety to overcome feelings of powerlessness.
  • Chamomile: calming, relaxing, soothing.
  • Cinnamon Bark: comforting, warming.
  • Cinnamon Leaf: refreshing, vitalizing.
  • Eucalyptus: purifying, invigorating.
  • Ginger: warming, strengthening, anchoring.
  • Grapefruit: refreshing, cheering.
  • Jasmine: calming, relaxing, sensual, romantic.
  • Lavender: balancing, soothing, normalizing, calming, relaxing, healing (also used a lot in yoga practice in various ways).
  • Lemon: uplifting, refreshing, cheering.
  • Lemongrass: vitalizing, cleansing.
  • Nutmeg: rejuvenating, uplifting, energizing.
  • Orange: cheering, refreshing, uplifting.
  • Patchouli: romantic, soothing, sensual.
  • Peppermint: vitalizing, refreshing, cooling (great for foot scrubs – use epsom salt).
  • Rosemary: clarifying, invigorating.
  • Tea Tree: cleansing, purifying, uplifting.
  • Vanilla: calming, comforting, balancing.
  • Ylang Ylang: sensual, euphoric.

Other – You can add many other ingredients (many you probably already have on hand) such as: zest of citrus, honey, agave, coffee grounds, loose tea (you can even remove the tea from a tea bag and use that), etc.

There is no set formula in creating these…but a good rule of thumb would be two parts of the salt or sugar and one part oil with between 5-10 drops of essential oil, 1 teaspoon of zest (if using) and 1-2 tablespoons of loose tea/coffee grounds (if using)

The joy of these is pure creativity!

Orange Black Tea Sugar Scrub

BS-03011 Cup Organic Sugar (I use Wholesome Sweeteners)

1/2 Cup Oil (Almond, Jojoba, Grapeseed, Olive, etc.)

1 1/2 Tablespoons Orange Flavored Black Tea (use your favorite brand – loose or from a tea bag)

1 Teaspoon Orange Zest

5 – 10 Drops of Orange Essential Oil

Preparation: Clean one pint jar or two half pint jars. Make sure there is no water in them as this will dissolve the sugar. In a medium bowl mix together the ingredients above until well combined. Carefully add to a pint jar or two half pint jars. Cover and store in a cool dark place.

To use: You can apply to either dry or damp skin – simply shake the jar or mix it with your finger and use about a tablespoon amount either with your hands or apply to a loofah. Gently massage in a circular motion on skin and rinse completely. (Seeing as these all contain oil, be sure to rinse the shower well so you or the someone else doesn’t slip!)

Hibiscus Slat Scrub

BS-03131 Cup Sea Salt – You can use fine or Coarse – I used a mixture of both (1/2 and 1/2)

1/2 Cup Oil (Almond, Jojoba, Grapeseed, Olive, etc.)

1 1/2 Tablespoons Hibiscus Tea (use your favorite brand – loose or from a tea bag)

1/2 Teaspoon Orange Zest (optional)

5 Drops of Orange Essential Oil

Preparation: Clean one pint jar or two half pint jars. Make sure there is no water in them as this will dissolve the sugar. In a medium bowl mix together the ingredients above until well combined. Carefully add to a pint jar or two half pint jars. Cover and store in a cool dark place.

To use: You can apply to either dry or damp skin – simply shake the jar or mix it with your finger and use about a tablespoon amount either with your hands or apply to a loofah. Gently massage in a circular motion on skin and rinse completely. (Seeing as these all contain oil, be sure to rinse the shower well so you or the someone else doesn’t slip!)

Lavender Salt Scrub

BS-03301 Cup Sea Salt – You can use fine or Coarse – I used a mixture of both (1/2 and 1/2)

1/2 Cup Oil (Almond, Jojoba, Grapeseed, Olive, etc.)

2 Tablespoons Fresh Lavender Buds

5 – 10 Drops of Lavender Essential Oil

Preparation: Clean one pint jar or two half pint jars. Make sure there is no water in them as this will dissolve the sugar. In a medium bowl mix together the ingredients above until well combined. Carefully add to a pint jar or two half pint jars. Cover and store in a cool dark place.

To use: You can apply to either dry or damp skin – simply shake the jar or mix it with your finger and use about a tablespoon amount either with your hands or apply to a loofah. Gently massage in a circular motion on skin and rinse completely. (Seeing as these all contain oil, be sure to rinse the shower well so you or the someone else doesn’t slip!)

Time to get creative, make pretty smelling goodies for your or someone else and save some dollars! If you buy loose tea – you only need about 2 oz to make several jars of these which doesn’t cost much money at all. Or as I said before just rip open some tea bags and use those if you would like. You can also use ground coffee beans or even grounds that have been used…the unused/fresh grounds with be a bit more coarse (just an FYI).

I’m thinking of making some seasonal scents as well…fall is coming so keep checking back for new scents and ideas!

Granola – Cinnamon-Vanilla and Pecan

Happy New Year to everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends.

This year I hope to make a few changes – not so much “new years resolutions” because I feel like those don’t ever stick and people feel obligated to make one with out the intention of keeping it.  These will be more along the lines of continual adjustments. So I’ve decided on a few things to “work on” this year and they include: getting in better shape (working out, eating healthier, etc.), making more vegetable based dishes, creating a gluten-free flour blend, more recipe development, canning/preserving more with my dad, reducing the amount of refined sugar that we intake, and making more items at home (granola, muffins, bagels, and non food items such as bath salts, etc.)

A few weeks ago I taught my neighbor David how to make refrigerator and bread and butter pickles.  I gave him a jar of each a few months ago, and what I didn’t know was he is a huge pickle fanatic.  I think both jars were gone in less than a week.  So when we see each other he talks about them saying “these are the best I’ve ever had”. Bryan headed to NJ for a few days so I figured I would have David over and we would make a batch of each.  He was so excited. We had a great time. While we are making these I kept thinking…”I need to do more of this”. I know my dad and I have plans to can a whole bunch of things, but I just get such great pleasure out of making something and being able to not only enjoy it myself but share it with others.

As I thought of other things I could make at home I came up with a list of items and one of them was homemade granola.  I’ve made it in the past and even blogged about it. I don’t know why I haven’t made it in such a long time – it is so simple and delicious, but yesterday I decided to make a batch.  A simple batch consisting of gluten-free oats, cinnamon, vanilla, and chopped pecans.  You can add anything you wish to granola as long as you have the basic recipe down. Granola to me is a blank canvas – feel free to adjust this recipe to your specific tastes.  I store my granola in a pint-sized mason jar (you can also store them in any air tight container).

Basic Granola Recipe

1/4 cup honey (you can substitute agave nectar or use 1/2 honey 1/2 agave)

1 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Prepare a sheet pan with either a silpat or lightly spray with cooking spray (make sure it is gluten-free) or you can line the pan with tinfoil (lightly spray with cooking spray)
  3. Heat honey (and/or agave) for 10 seconds to help loosen it up.
  4. In a medium-sized bowl all honey (and/or agave), and oats.
  5. Evenly spread oat mixture in a thin even layer.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Turning pan half way through.
  7. Let cool. Crumble into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Additions: If you wish to add any of the following ingredients add them in step 4 – mix well.

Nuts: Pecans, Walnuts, Macadamia, Almonds etc. (chopped, slivered, sliced) (1/2 cup)

Coconut: Fresh, Shredded (unsweetened) (1/2 cup)

Cranberries: Dried (re constitute them in a little bit of water for 10-15 minutes prior to adding them in) (1/2 cup)

Spices: All Spice (1tsp), Cinnamon (1tsp),Vanilla extract (1/2 – 1tsp)

Chia Seeds: (1/8 – 1/4 cup)

Puffed Rice Cereal: make sure this is gluten-free (1/2 cup)

Really – the options are endless.

Bryan eats his granola (I make his without any nuts) just as it is…not milk, yogurt, etc. I on the other hand love it over some vanilla yogurt (like Stonyfield Farms and Chobani).

This is only the start of homemade goodies for this year…stay tuned for more goodies.