Archive for the ‘cooking’ Category

making tallow for face cream!

January 6th, 2013 by knitnzu

I have dry skin. I have always had dry skin.

When I was 17, my friend Ana and I went to the makeup counter at Jordan Marsh to find out about moisturizers and such. The clerk was gushing over Ana’s skin… “ooooh, you have such lovely skin, such peaches and cream complexion“. True enough, but the snarky part of me was thinking “huh, she’s got a forehead covered in acne“. (Ana still seems to have very lovely skin…)

And then the clerk got to me.

Oh. My God. You are sucking up everything I put on you.

Needless to say, I’ve used old lady moisturizer on my face for decades.

I’ve been making my own body lotion for a few years now. It’s great stuff, and cheap to make. Only three ingredients-though I often add a bit of beeswax and also some essential oils. It isn’t the best thing on my face though.

When I was in Spain, I picked up some Argan oil, and it has been great… except now that it’s winter, I need a bit more. The regular face cream I have isn’t working for me anymore. With the dysosmia, it just stinks (smokey, heavy, wet, a bit fishy), and I have to immediately wash it off.

Yesterday, a friend was talking about making face cream… from tallow! And so we went to Bisson & Sons in Topsham to get suet to make tallow (they raise grass-fed beef).

tallow making (1) tallow making (2)

Basically, you get all the fleshy parts off, chop the suet into bits, and then heat it over a low heat for some time to get the tallow out of it. I chopped it up with a knife (some people use a food processor), and put it into the crock pot for about 6 hours. Zuzu was very interested in this…
tallow making (3)

tallow making (4) tallow making (5)

I cooked up the meaty bits for the dogs… they licked their bowls for a long time after finishing the kibble…

I forgot to get a photo of how it looked when it was done in the crockpot, but here’s what I ended up with…
tallow making (7)

The open jar is a little cloudy as it was squeezed from the cracklings. I may cook with it.

And in the morning, it was all hardened up,
tallow making (8)

I basically used this method, though I chopped the suet more finely. Here’s another link about how to do this. Both of these links talk about using suet for cooking. I suppose I could have saved the cracklings, but I didn’t this time around.

For tallow face cream, the general proportions are 10 parts tallow to one part oil (I used olive oil). You can add some essential oils if you want.

Now before you go ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, read this and this (though this latter link is regarding home made lard). Basically, unless you are making your own lotions and creams or using a vegan product, you are probably already slathering industrial waste from a rendering plant that renders hormone laden meat… and that would be the waste that wasn’t good enough for hot dogs, or that pink slime everybody was talking about a few months back.

The tallow face cream I made does feel really good, and yes, it does have a faintly meaty smell… even with the essential oils. After one use last night, I didn’t have the instant improvement experience that mommypotamus did, but I’ll give it a while and let you know later.

a birthday and a bug and pots and a vest and rocks and dogs with new haircuts

November 20th, 2012 by knitnzu


Boyo turned 17 recently. He wanted a batman cake, and this was what happened. I figured it was a success when his friend took a photo, and then he did too. And it was gone by morning (two boys stayed over).
bd cake (2) bd cake (1)


Look what DH found in the garden digging up potatoes…
tomato hornworm
I thought maybe it was a giant beetle grub, but our entomologist friend said it was a lepidopteran, and we quickly figured out it is a tomato hornworm (which we call tomacco hornworms), late stage pupa. The totally disgusting part is that this thing is alive. It moves. And that loopy handly thing is its mouthparts.


And totally fascinating.


Dad and Linda gave us a fabulous humongous frying pan. We have been at a loss as to where to put it. The oven already holds the two 13″ and the single 8″ cast iron pans. I thought I’d get a pot rack, but the one I wanted (a simple steel bar) is actually relatively hard to find. I did finally find it, for only $16, but then there was the $12 to ship and the extra $10 because I didn’t spend enough.

And so, I bought 4 locally made wrought iron hooks (from Scottish Lion in Round Pond), only $24, and a board from Lowe’s (I got to use the jigsaw and I learned to use the router).

And so this corner,
vest 038 pot rack project (6)
was changed.

The board got up (after a miscalculation on where the stud was… but the initial series of holes in the board got plugged, shhhhhh), and even though I had an idea where the pans should go, I hadn’t marked where the hooks should be… and so…

pot rack project (7) pot rack project (10)

While I was about it all, I extended the knife slit a bit, and really sanded down that piece to the left of the stove. It gets gummy. And re-oiled the rest of the counters…
pot rack project (4) pot rack project (2) pot rack project (1)


I’ve been wanting a vest… this is made with the handspun I made when I was learning to spin. I thought I might have enough yarn for a vest. Turns out, I probably have enough for three vests… I wasn’t sure at first how to close it up, but after wearing it for a day with just a pin, I realized it really needs closure and put in hooks and eyes. There’s waist shaping and short rows for the bust. I’m reasonably pleased with it, but think I might need to add pockets, because my hands keep looking for them (I have a fleece vest that fits something like this one, and it must feel familiar to my body).

vest 076 vest 104

vest 115

vest 116 vest 118


We took a quick walk at lunch today over to the arboretum, where they have some new sculpture on display.

arboretum sculpture (2) arboretum sculpture (4)

arboretum sculpture (8) arboretum sculpture (6)
From one side it looks like a hug, from the other, a face, or a really pointy bum!

arboretum sculpture (12) arboretum sculpture (13)
Susie noted that this black spot is called an enclave. She’d seen some of this sculpture a couple days ago, with some other geologists.
arboretum sculpture (16)

Needless to say, she heard very different things from us than she did from the geologists. WHAT is that? Giant bull testicles! That’s a sexy piece. Cylons! A face! A bum! (these were not things the geologists were saying…)

This piece was made from a single piece of stone… we were strong doubters, but then we were convinced…
arboretum sculpture (18)

arboretum sculpture (20) arboretum sculpture (25)
And Sue was with us, in her hunter orange… we stuck close to her, and nobody was shot.

Pinkish beige on the outside, and black and shiny inside… remind you of anybody?
arboretum sculpture (31)

The bum (face on the other side)…
arboretum sculpture (32) arboretum sculpture (34)
Do you see those mosses growing on the granite? My guess is Andrea rupestris, but I didn’t look closely.

Oh look, they’re trucking in another piece… wonder what it is…
arboretum sculpture (39)

dogs with new haircuts

These are really lousy pictures, sorry!

clipped dogs (2) clipped dogs (3)
Zuzu begging for a toy, and Gravy coming to get one.


Getting ready for Thanksgiving… friends from far are coming, and friends from near will be here too.

We are blessed.

it’s that time!

October 14th, 2011 by knitnzu

Package arrived today…
avocado 002

And what was in it?
avocado 003

Florida avocados! Fresh from my auntie’s trees!
avocado 004

Two are perfectly ripe… nummy lunch for tomorrow!

Squeeze a couple of limes, chop up a chili pepper, garlic clove, 2-3 tsp brown sugar, 1 tsp salt. Serve over soba noodles… nom nom!

andean bracelets, fabulous fungi, and olfactory hallucinations

July 16th, 2010 by knitnzu

I had a bit of thinly spun yarn on a bobbin from a year or more ago and decided to just ply it up. But I didn’t want to navajo ply it, so I made an Andean plying bracelet. Amy laughs because the first time I tried to do this I couldn’t and rather than toss the mess, I ran the thread all over her store to straighten it all out. Nobody could move.

But now? I can do it!
mandy 002 mandy 003
It does rather make that finger turn purple. But sets me up just dandy to give the evil eye hexy thing to my neighbors. The wine bottle comes in handy to hold it until ready for plying…

mandy 004 mandy 014
About 25 yards, the color is right in the first two pics.

I thought I’d use the rest of the fiber (Amy’s Corriedale, in the color “Mandy”) for the long draw. I’m closer, but not quite there. Here’s half the top, fluffed up, yarn 2-plied, and leftovers.
mandy 018 mandy 026 mandy 024
hmmmm, time for another bracelet.


nom nom…

Olfactory hallucinations

Phantosmia. Who knew it was a real thing? I haven’t been able to smell much since a bad sinus infection in May, and then at the end of the May I started smelling smoke. EVERYWHERE. Practically all the time. My doc put me on Flonase, but that hasn’t done much, so I’m setting up an appointment with an ENT. The other night I googled “smell smoke” and the FIRST result was a forum about “you smell smoke when it isn’t there”. No real answers, but lots of questions for the doc. Causes range from tumors to polyps to chemical sensitivities to allergies to nose picking to stress to proximity to computers to nerve damage from upper respiratory infections (the most likely for me). Easy things to try include sinus irrigation (which I’ve done) and steam inhalation therapy. You can buy a device, but a bowl of boiled water works just as well. I’ve been putting a few essential oil drops in it, which I can’t smell… until the hot water hits it. YOWZA.

Twice a day, in this stinking heat and humidity, I create my own little sauna. And try to read. And drip and drip and drip sweat. But my face feels great!

knit some rip some force some

March 3rd, 2010 by knitnzu

I have yet to get this fully back onto the needle.
maplewingriptoB maplewingC

The pattern is clearly written, but I think I had trouble with the right side of the section being on one sheet, the middle on another, and the left side on yet another. So I did a little cut and paste. Should make things easier.


More scurvy prevention

Grapefruit-avocado salad (2 pink grapefruits, no membranes and 1 avocado), V-8 and fresh lime juice bloody mary, and what the Moosewood Cookbook (the original one not the “new” one) calls one of the richest cakes in the world (Cardamom Coffee Cake)… nom nom, what a great Sunday lunch!