There are tons of tutorials out there for bath fizzies, but most all of them call for artificial fragrances and dyes, which are not something that I would want to soak in.  Even the queen bee of bath products, LUSH,  uses artificial fragrances and dyes, not to mention they're a little pricey at about $6 a pop.  These cost about $1 each, depending on what ingredients that you use.

 The recipes below are made with things that you likely already have in your kitchen.  If it's something that's safe to eat, I feel comfortable soaking in it in a warm tub (with the exception of essential oils, which shouldn't be ingested without the guidance of a trained professional).

HOW TO RENDER TALLOW - and not stink up your house

Yup, that's a cutting board full of fat.  Vegetarians and weak stomachs: avert your eyes- things are about to get a little primal.

I don't think my poor husband will forget the day that I asked him to pick up a 10-lb. bag of beef fat from the local health food coop.  Poor guy didn't know what he was getting into.  Just had to wander back to the butcher counter and tentatively ask if there was any fat back there for him.  Sure enough, they lugged out a whopping bag of trimmings labeled with my name and handed it over to him.  Did I mention that he is awesome at supporting whatever harebrained ideas I get into my head?  Although I do like to think that he felt a little triumphant (in a primitive hunter sort of way) as he walked right past the cash registers with his free bag of fat, telling them that he didn't have to pay for it.

 "Oog.  Me provide for family."

I think it was a lot less majestic in his experience, but I like to think that I at least keep him entertained.

A lot of people say that the leaf fat around the kidneys is the best for this, but I couldn't find any and this fat was free, so I went with this one.  It worked out just fine, although the rendered tallow isn't quite as hard as the leaf fat tallow and it takes a little more fat to get the same amount of tallow.  So, aside from the quantity and hardness of the final tallow, the only thing that was sacrificed was some of my husband's pride.  Poor guy.


Spring has sprung and the chill has left the air up here in Zone 5!  I'm so excited- I got a new garden tiller from The Man for my birthday this year, so no more hassling with renting one and getting my garden in late.  We did the math, and renting one over the course of a few years was less economical than just buying our own.  Although we will now have to deal with what all truck owners do- everyone will want to borrow it!  That's okay, we'll share.

This winter was so long and dreary that I kept myself happy by making all sorts of garden plans.  Happy thoughts of little seedlings sprouting up and ripe, red tomatoes in July made winter less of a drag.  I've got my 2015 garden plan all put together and you can download it for yourself if you'd like it by clicking on the above image.

This year, I'm trying out a "bug barrier" of both repellant and attractant flowers.  The pyrethrum in the daisies and the all-around amazing anti-bug properties of the marigolds will help to deter bugs.  I also included some things to make pollinators happy like lavender and basil. 

My garden is slightly shaded on the west side, so I put more cool-season vegetables over there.  You can shift things around if you'd like, but I tried to stay as close to a good companion planting system as I could.  I use Mother Earth News' companion planting guide, which was easy and helpful.  I didn't plant things clumped all together like I think you're actually supposed to, but I put them in places that would benefit them most.  I have enough trouble remembering what I planted where that I don't think I'm quite prepared to be mixing my veggies all together!

Enjoy the garden planner and happy planting!


This easy soup just screams Easter and Springtime.  Carrots, greens, and mushrooms make it colorful enough to remind you of spring, but the creamy broth still comforts like a hearty winter stew.  This recipe is also a great way to sneak some veggies into your food, as it all just tastes like creamy goodness and not kale or carrots.  Also, it seems strange, but that egg on top makes everything taste better.  Happy eating!