Sunday, October 17, 2010

Living Room

I realized I never put up a picture of my living room so here it is. I love it during the day when all the light spills in. Even on cloudy days it's lovely to look over and see the doors and the lines of the metal fence through the doors and windows. And I love how the floor gleams. The one thing I don't love is the blue milk cart my TV is sitting on but since my postdoc budget is not going to be able to cover an alternative for quite some time it is something I can definitely live with. On weekends I like to sit on one side of the sofa and flip through my New Yorkers, or when I'm industrious, flip through papers. Tony can usually be found sitting on top of a cushion or curled on the other side by my feet. Or curled on my tummy while I read. Just as he is lying next to my laptop now...

Making Soap

Because I'm a girl with a lot of hobbies I decided the only thing to do is to add to the list. I made my first batch of soap yesterday using the following recipe that I devised with the aid of this very nice lye calculator and the instructions at the simple dollar:

70% olive oil (11.2 oz)
20% coconut oil (3.2 oz)
10% crisco (1.6 oz)
handful of ground oatmeal
handful of lavender buds

Melt oils together (not too much, try not to exceed 120 degrees or it takes forever to drop back down) and then toss in the oatmeal and lavender. In a separate bowl combine:

2.2 oz lye
6.1 oz milk (previously frozen and then broken up into a bit of a slushy)

(Note to self: I found this mixture reached near 120 degrees)

Once the temperature of both reaches near 100 degrees, combine lye mixture into oil mixture (NOT the other way around) and then stir for a million years with a spoon or spatula until it becomes thick. Then pour into molds (any kind of container really) and leave somewhere to cure for a few days (I'm not sure how long yet, it was certainly still too soft today) and then remove from mold and cut up with a knife. Then leave to cure for 6 weeks before use.

Obviously, use some common sense with the lye and don't re-use anything that has touched the lye for food. I highly recommend looking at the tutorial on the simple dollar since they provide very detailed instructions and have pictures to boot! I was watching a baseball game at the same time and could not be bothered to take pictures of this process.

Update 12/4/10: I've started using the soaps and am enjoying it a lot. I do feel it could use more lather though so next batch I will try 70% olive oil, 25% coconut oil (4 oz) and 5% crisco (0.8 oz). I will also not use milk (to see if the soap will be white) but will retain the lavendar buds and oatmeal for texture. I have to say I've been looking forward to my showers just for an opportunity to use soap. Once my bathroom sink soap is done I will replace with a homemade bar I think.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I did it! I made a soymilk that was free of unpleasant grittiness with the right amount of salt and sweetness. Now I shall jot down my notes so I can remember it next time.

Make soymilk in machine according to instructions. 1/2 of a rice cup of dried soybeans works out well for a single batch (75 grams according to manufacturer's directions). Fill water to JUST above the bottom line. After it is done, strain through muslin cloth to remove residual grit. Add the following and boil for a few minutes. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate.

Two batches of soymilk
1/3 cup sugar (and a dash more perhaps)
1/4 tsp salt