Category Archives: Crunchy Tuesday

Crunchy Tuesday–My Garden’s New Friendenemy and New BFF

Welcome to week two of the Crunchy Tuesday link-up! To learn more about the link-up, please scroll to the bottom of this post. Wild LettuceTwo seasons ago, a new plant showed up in our backyard. I was too busy dealing with Dora and my undiagnosed connective tissue disorder to do  much weeding and the plant wasn’t that ugly, so I kind of ignored it. Last year, more of them showed up, but my health was even worse and nobody could see the backyard, but us, so I only made a half-hearted attempt to pull them up. This year, however, the plants took over our backyard. As soon as spring began, the plants were all over and new plants continue to show up every day. Also, they grow at a phenomenal rate. Nor do they seem to have much discernment when it comes to soil, they like the vegetable beds as well as the grass and the rocky/sandy rock wall area. I had no idea what they were and was too busy pulling them up to bother researching them. I nicknamed them “Devil’s Weed”, which I still think is a good name for them. I never saw them anywhere, but our backyard and wondered if they had been in one of the wild flower packs we had planted by our rock wall over the years, though couldn’t imagine anybody thinking they were pretty enough to intentionally grow. This weekend, though, I happened to mention my problem to a friend, who is very knowledgeable about all things botanical and herbal and who had me e-mail her a photo of them. At the time, none of the plants were flowering, but her best guess was that they were wild lettuce. The next day, one of the plants had grown several inches and bloomed, so I took this photo and then looked up wild lettuce. I had to agree that these plants do look a lot like the drawings of wild lettuce that I found. I also learned that wild lettuce is sometimes ingested for its psychotropic effects. Not exactly the type of plant I want growing in my yard! I have read that some people harvest wild lettuce for a variety of medicinal purposes, but I’m never going to allow another one of these plants grow in my yard again, if I can help it! I’ve read that it is a biennial, so I may be fighting a second invasion next year.Lactuca virosa - Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-213Garden KnifeOn a positive note, my garden and I also have a new BFF. Last year, I read about something called a “garden knife”. I had never heard of such a thing and decided to purchase one this year. All I can say is that if I could only have one tool for my garden, this would be it! I don’t know how I have lived my whole life without one of these things. It works as a trowel, but also has a serrated edge, which is great for cutting open bags and for hacking out deep rooted weeds. The part of the knife that I have just recently started using and really love is the “dandelion popper”. It works very well for pulling dandelions out of grass.

Anyway, that is what is currently claiming my attention in my garden, but now it is time to get one with the link-up!


Labels: Crunchy Tuesday, Gardening
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Crunchy Tuesday–Body Custard Recipe

Crunchy TuesdaySorry for my absence last week, but I was working on a project for this blog and then Dora and I came down with colds, so hopefully everyone can forgive me (since I know that everyone noticed my absence). Recently several weekly link-ups/memes that I participated in have closed. It has been very disappointing, though I totally understand why the bloggers who ran them felt the need to close them. After awhile, it occurred to me that I should start hosting a weekly link-up/meme to help fill the void. It took awhile for me to come up with a common theme between all the link-ups that I participated in, but I finally realized that the one thing they all had in common was crunchy-ness. So I created “Crunchy Tuesday”. You can read more about this link-up at the bottom of this post.Body Custard RecipeFor my first “Crunchy Tuesday” post, I’m going to share with you the body custard recipe that I feel is finally ready to post. What is “body custard” you ask? That is a really good question! I was originally trying to make a creamy body lotion recipe from the book Better Basics for the Home, by Annie Berthold-Bond. Unfortunately, Annie never clarifies in the book (that I could find anyway) whether or not to use fluid ounces or weight ounces in her recipes. I e-mailed her to ask for clarification, but never heard back. So I finally just opted to muddle through the recipe to the best of my abilities. My best abilities were apparently not good enough, but I ended up creating an interestingly textured product, though not something that was truly useable. Once I figured out how to make the original recipe from the book (all measurements are in weight ounces), I decided that what I really wanted was something that was in between the actual recipe and my goof-up recipe.The problems that I had with the original recipe and many other natural body lotions and butters is that my very dry skin doesn’t seem to absorb oil. So these products just sit on top of my skin until I brush up against something, at which point I have dry skin AND oil-stained clothing and furniture. After months and months of experimenting, I ended up with what I believe, is a perfect recipe (at least for my skin). The texture is very custardy, so if the thought of a custardy body lotion seems gross to you, then don’t even bother with this recipe. I use it twice a day and it keeps my skin perfectly moisturized with no lotion build-up, like I get from commercial products and no oily residue, like I get from other natural lotion recipes.

Anyway, without further adieu, here is my recipe (and please be kind if something goes awry, this is the first recipe that I have ever written/made, even though it is actually a variation of someone else’s recipe).

Body Custard

* All measurements in ounces refer to weight, not volume

** Disclosure: I am providing Amazon affiliate links for all the ingredients to the exact brands of products that I personally use for your reference, but any brand should work just fine. If you click on these links and subsequently purchase from Amazon, I will earn a small percentage.

  1. Mix aloe vera gel, distilled water, glycerin, and grapefruit seed extract in a medium-sized heatproof mixing bowl.
  2. Melt the oils and beeswax in a pan over low heat.
  3. As soon as the oils and beeswax are melted, pour them into the mixing bowl with the aloe vera mixture (do NOT allow the mixture to cool as the beeswax will begin to form into small bits if you do)
  4. Mix with a hand mixer, working your way up to full speed setting (start on speed as it will splash at first, when it is very liquidy). Beat until the mixture is the texture of warm custard.
  5. Store in a glass jar with top. The mixture will become even thicker as it cools.
  6. Depending on the temperature and humidity, the mixture may begin to separate a bit, but it is still safe to use for 3 months (I go through a batch within 3 weeks, so I can’t verify this estimate, but the grapefruit seed extract acts as a preservative.) Obviously, if the “custard” begins to smell or you can see any mold, dispose of the product immediately.



Labels: Crunchy Tuesday, Natural Personal Care
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff