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!

Grilled Tilapia with Oranges

This recipe is actually from my dad.  So all the credit for this delicious dish goes to him. Last weekend I spent it up at my dads house planting our garden and doing some fly fishing. He found a great spot in Connecticut for catch and release fly fishing only. It was beautiful and peaceful and the best part I could to finally test out my beautiful custom 9 foot 4 weight green fly rod that he built for me (I’m in the process of setting up a blog for him to showcase his beautiful work. Check it out HERE it is a work in progress.)

I love being able to spend time with my dad, something that I missed for the five years that I lived in California. He is one of my best friends and we always have a great time together. Last year we got into canning and this summer we plan to put up as many jars of pickles that we possibly can (no pun intended!), and also try our hand at canning sauce. Another thing we love to do together is cook…we are self-proclaimed foodies. Last Saturday we had his boss Bobby over who helped till our garden for us, so in return dad and I cooked up a pretty scrumptious dinner of molasses brined pork chops, salt potatoes, and Cesar salad = yummm (recipe to follow soon). The next day we headed to the river for some fly fishing and after a long day on the river we decided on a light, quick, and delicious dinner of Grilled Tilapia with Oranges.

This recipe uses two…maybe three ingredients, no lie. I even asked my dad several times to make sure because the flavor was so good. It is perfect for a summer day, light and refreshing. For sides you could serve just about anything you wanted; steamed or grilled vegetables, rice, quinoa, etc. I’m actually making this tonight and serving it with some steamed edamame.

Grilled Tilapia with Oranges

4 oz of Tilapia per person

1 large orange sliced about 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick

Kosher salt – to taste if desired

Aluminum foil

Heat grill to medium heat.

Place each fillet of Tilapia in aluminum foil, place two – three slices of orange on the fish and if you would like to add salt, be sure to season the fish and the oranges a little – this is optional, Dad made it with no salt and it was quite flavorful.

Seal foil package tightly and grill with the orange side down first. This helps release the juices from the orange, steam the fish and infused the flavor into the fish.

Cook for three minutes, flip carefully and repeat on the other side. This time may differ based on the thickness of your fillets.

Remove from grill, let packets sit for two minutes, cut open and serve with side(s) of you choice.

Thanks dad for this delicious dinner and for letting me share it on here.

Gramma Lu’s Chicken

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My grandmother is a great cook. We all have grown up loving and craving her cooking (especially her meatballs and sauce). All of her recipes are stored in a brown folder that has been coveted by every female in my family!! Knowing that there would come a time that we would all want these recipes from her but only one person would end up with the folder, my Aunt Sue, my sister and I decided to put all her recipes in a “cook book” and give it to our family as Christmas presents one year.

I have to give her credit for my love of cooking. I remember being very young and her pulling up a chair for me to stand on next to her while she taught me how to make chicken soup from scratch.

Gramma Lu makes the best chicken wings (to me anyway). Ever since I was little I looked forward to these chicken wings of hers.

I didn’t have chicken wings or pineapple juice so I adapted the original recipe. I substituted the wings for drumsticks and omitted the pineapple juice and added a teaspoon of ginger. (The original recipe is below along with the ginger)

Gramma Lu’s Chicken Wings

1/2 cup orange juice

1 cup gluten free* soy sauce

1/4 cup pineapple juice

3 cloves of garlic minced

1 teaspoon of minced ginger*

1-2 lbs of chicken wings (or drumsticks)

~Combine first four five ingredients and mix well. Add chicken and marinate overnight. Place chicken in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees, turn once half way threw. Serve Hot.

(for drumsticks cook at 375 degrees for fifty minutes turning once. Turn oven to Broil and broil for five minutes or until skin is crispy).