Rebecca's News Holiday Gift Guide & Seasonal Recipes 2015
As is our tradition, we have been busy creating and stocking all your favorite organic, botanical body care products, gift bags and boxes, stocking stuffers and more. Our baskets and jars are brimmed full of gorgeous herbs, bulk ingredients, fun and functional containers, labels, books of all sorts, and a vast variety of herbal infusers and tools, all here waiting to help you create your own DIY holiday gifts. Fun! See below for our Staff Pick Herbal Holiday Gift Guide and some unique Seasonal Recipes.
From all of us here at Rebecca’s, thank you for thinking of us for your herbal holiday needs! We wish you a wonderful season and a happy new year!
We’re taking our Annual Winter Break here are our Holiday Hours
Herbal Infused Salts & Sugars
By Amber Brisson
Herbal infused salts and sugars are a unique way to spice up a favorite recipe. Add herbal infused salts into soups, sauces, stews, on roasted vegetables, meats and as a finishing touch to any dish. Use herb infused sugars in place of plain sugar in any baking recipe, stir into coffee or tea, or sprinkle on cookies, scones, fresh berries, pudding and more!
Use 1 part dried herb or spice to 4 parts salt or sugar. For example: to fill a ½ pint canning jar, use 16 tablespoons (1 cup) salt or sugar to 4 tablespoons crushed herb or herb blend. Crush the herbs in a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder to release the aromatics. In a bowl, simply combine the salt or sugar with the herb blend, mix well, and package in decorative, airtight glass bottles or jars. For a creative presentation, you can layer the herbs and salt or sugar separately in the jar adding instructions to mix the blend together before using.
Some of my favorite dried herbs for an Infused Salt would include Basil, Coriander, Cumin, Juniper, Monarda, Oregano, Parsley, Peppercorns, Thyme, Rosemary and/or Sage. Last week I added a Sage Infused Salt to a homemade chicken soup and it was delicious!
Dried herbs I love to mix in with sugar include Allspice, Cardamom, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Damiana, Fennel, Ginger, Lavender, Linden, Mint, Orange Peel, Rose and/or Vanilla Bean. Infused sugars are a favorite treat of mine sprinkled on fresh berries or in a warm morning beverage.
Some other wonderful examples of Infused Salts & Sugars include…
Monarda infused Sea Salt-A Colorado native, Monarda (also known as Beebalm) is in the Oregano family and lends a savory & zesty flavor to your favorite holiday dish. Rosemary infused Himalayan Sea Salt— Sprinkle this Rosemary infused salt on your favorite recipe, be adventurous and try a sprinkle on shortbread cookies. Rose petal infused Organic Cane Sugar— A dash of this Rose infused sugar is the perfect floral addition to any baked good. Try with your favorite black tea to start your day with the sweet heart space of Rose.
Melt & Pour Soaps
Melt & Pour soaps are simple, easy to make and so much fun. All you need is a Soap Base and a Soap Mold, additional options can include any essential oils of choice, dried flowers, berries, grains or even fun little toys.
The basic process:
Pick your quality soap base, Rebecca’s offers a choice of Glycerine, Goat Milk and Honey. Cut your base into slices like one would slice bread. Place the slices into a glass heat proof container and set container in a pot with room temperature water, having the water level be about ½ that of the heat proof container’s height. On your stove top, bring the water bath to a high simmer, this will melt your soap base. Once melted, add any dried flowers, berries or herbs that would look lovely in the soap. Remove from heat and stir in essential oils of choice until you like the strength of scent and/or scent combination, (this will usually be between 30-60 drops of oil per 20oz. of soap base). Pour the contents into your soap mold. Wait about 1 hour for the soap to harden then carefully pop it out of the mold. Voila! You then have gorgeous, fun and functional gifts for all your family and friends.
I like to put little toys in some of my soaps. When doing that, I add the essential oil to the base, pour it into the molds and then quickly place the toy in the mold adjusting it with a skewer. Really the world is your oyster with these, you can add or do almost anything you want. Some of my favorites are Lavender or Calendula blossoms, this year I made a great batch with Boswellia Powder and Frankincense essential oil. In another batch I used our Forest Essential Oil blend with dried Orange Peel. The key is to have fun with it and let your creative juices flow.
Here’s a recipe you might enjoy…
Cocoa Mint Soap — Melt & Pour Soap Recipe
Melt the Soap Base with the above process. Mix in the Cocao Powder making sure all lumps are worked out and that it is evenly combined. Take off the heat and add the Peppermint Essential Oil. Pour the contents into your soap mold, wait for it to harden, pop it out and enjoy!