Thai Chili Pepper Seeds

thai_chili_peppers

I bought some of these long Thai chili peppers from the Asian market and am saving the seeds.  I don’t know if they would actually grow, but it would be neat to find out.

The seeds pictured here is only 1/2 of what I got from one pepper.  There was at least 60 healthy looking seeds.  The peppers are really hot and I have the feeling they are true heirloom variety.  So no GMO here.

seed_catalog_2015

It’s seed catalog season… I didn’t realize there were so many varieties of watermelons as there were of tomatoes.

Neem & Ginger Handmade Soap

I’ve been making soaps for a few years and have been using only handmade soap now.  It really does leave my skin super soft and well moisturized.  And the soaps are gentle enough for face and body.

Last month I had the chance to make a few batches of soap.  The first one off the curing rack is this Neem & Ginger soap.

neem_ginger_soap

The idea was to make a Neem Ginger shampoo bar, but it left my hair feeling less than spectacular.  A bit heavy and too oily instead.  When using handmade shampoo bar, it’s best to rinse with Apple cider vinegar.  Of course that proved to be too smelly and time consuming for me.

But at least this soap works great as face or body soap.  Both neem and ginger is great for the skin, great natural ingredients to deal with blemishes.

Best of all the ingredients are not harsh and made of vegetable oils, including olive and rice bran oil.  Mixed with some Moroccan red clay, ginger essential oil and neem extract.  The neem has a strong garlic like smell, but the ginger essential oil was able to cover it up.

So far I only have a few bars of each variety.  They will usually last the whole year.  And occasionally I will gift some of the prettier bars.  Nothing beats handmade soap!

Homemade Artisan Bread

The name of this bread is actually “No Knead Artisan Bread”.  It’s a very popular method of bread making that was introduced a few years ago.

artisan_bread

This bread is perfect for me since I don’t spend too much time in the kitchen. But I do prefer to eat more healthy and real food.

This bread has only a few simple ingredients: flour, yeast, salt, and water.  That’s it!  No aluminum, no other additives necessary.

Recipe:

3 cups of all-purpose flour ( I prefer 2 cups of unbleached flour and 1 cup of whole wheat)

1/2 tsp instant yeast

1 tsp kosher salt or 1/2 tsp regular salt

1 1/2 cups room temperature water

Cookware: Dutch oven or Crockpot ceramic insert

Mix the ingredients in a bowl.  Then place a lid or plastic cover over the bowl, let it rise for the next 12-18 hours.

When it’s ready, preheat oven along with the cookware at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.  While the oven is heating up, get the dough ready.  First spread some flour on a tray so it doesn’t stick.  Then shape the dough into a ball.  I was able to make 2 small loaves to fit my small crock pot.

It’s recommended you use cookware that can take high heat in the oven.  I used my small Crock Pot insert and covered it with aluminum foil.  Let it bake for 20-30 minutes.  Check to see if it’s done.  By now it would have rised and turn light brown. Now remove the lid and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Just let it cool and enjoy warm homemade bread.

Once you get the hang of this bread making, try adding other herbs such as sage or rosemary.  I’ve made it with sun dried tomatoes and it was delicious!