Saturday, October 10, 2015

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Dark Chocolate Milk

I like making my own coffee creamer. I get most of the recipes from Mrs Happy Homemaker and so far the only one I've been disappointed in is the chocolate one. It's just not chocolatey enough for me. The one thing all these recipes call for is a can of sweetened condensed milk. That I don't usually keep on hand. So when the mood strikes me to make say Almond Joy creamer I can't. Because if I run to the store for sweetened condensed milk, I'm just going to pick up the Almond Joy creamer. You know what I'm saying here?

So making sweetened condensed milk seemed like a good idea - time intensive, but mostly down time. Just stirring and watching. So I searched for a recipe that uses almond milk. We've recently switched to almond milk, we like it better. Of course there's one out there and I found it here.

But I like chocolate. And hello...remember - not chocolatey enough? So why can't I make chocolate sweetened condensed milk? Why not? Hey, I'm willing to try anything once (or twice if I think it's just a minor tweak). So using these ingredients:

I tried my hand at making some dark chocolate sweetened condensed milk. I changed the sugar quantity from the original recipe to 1/2 cup and subbed 1/4 cup of the dark chocolate chips for rest.

After I got it all heated up it looked like this:

And, by the way, smelled really good. Even the Z_man said it smelled good and he doesn't like chocolate. Or milk. How this child is mine, I'll never know. But I digress.

I was ├╝ber cautious with the whole cooking thing. Maybe too cautious, but I have an electric stove and those things don't reduce heat very quickly. But I did cook it down to about half. But it never thickened up like I thought it would.

So, working on the premise of "sauce will thicken as it stands" I left it in the measuring cup for a while. I mean, I had to get to room temperature anyway - might as well see if it helps the cause. I had to whisk it about every 10 minutes or so because the chocolate wanted to separate.

It never did thicken but I plunged ahead anyway. I added 3 tbsp of dark chocolate syrup and some vanilla and started shaking away trying to get everything mixed together.

It did go together fine and the next morning I tried it out. Gross. It had a weird aftertaste, which could have come from using the almond milk, or reducing the amount of sugar. Who knows? Maybe there was too much chocolate (I'm pretty sure this isn't a thing though!). Ahh well, live and learn.

I have used recipes on the site before and they were winners. They also used canned sweetened condensed milk, so honestly, this is where I'm pretty sure I went wrong. I'm willing to give it another shot though. I think I will just buy a small amount of regular milk and forgo the almond milk the next go round though.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Shampoo Bars

I think we all know about my love of making soap. So I figured why not try my hand at shampoo bars? If it didn't work out, I can always use them as regular soap so I'm not losing anything by trying.

I followed recipe #2 found at Skin + Soul. I picked this one simply because I already had all the necessary ingredients. That's some deep research there. =) Once the bars were cured (almost) long enough to use I embarked on my experiment.

Week One:
I started out following 'standard' hair detox rules. Don't wash every day, use a mixture of ACV (apple cider vinegar) and (distilled) water to rinse. This mixture started off as a 50/50. But people, I live in the south - and it's humid here. Yes, even in September. And I sweat. A lot. So, whenever I'd start to sweat all I could smell was vinegar. Not pleasant. So I added more water to this and diluted it down to about a ratio of 1 to 4.

And I continued. My hair looked crappy every other day. Folks, I'm growing out a Ginnifer Goodwin pixie cut. I can't cover up my bad hair days. By the end of week one my hair felt weird - a little gummy? Not sure how to explain it - but not right. Determined to give it a fair shot I moved into week two.

Week Two:
I decided to try something new. No ACV rinse after I shampoo. But, when I reached mid week my hair felt like straw. So on a no wash day, I did the rinse. Honestly, I still can't stand the smell. There has got to be another solution for that.

My hair looks and feels dry as the Mojave. So I've begun to investigate other natural shampoos. I've seen a beer recipe and a honey recipe. I'm willing to give either of those a shot at this point. I also still have some regular shampoo and conditioner and honestly, they are looking mighty fine right about now!

I will keep plugging away though. One more week and I might cave or I might see if there's something else I can try.

Week Three:
Stick a fork in me. I caved and used my regular shampoo and conditioner. To be able to actually run a comb through my hair again was divine! But now, my hair is falling out again. This didn't happen with the bar. So, I'm thinking I might find a more conditioning recipe and give it another shot. With a rose water rinse though. I definitely cannot handle the ACV rinse!!

What I learned:
I love trying new and different things. I had a blast making the shampoo bars and even seeing how my hair reacted. I'm pretty sure there is a solution for me out there. I'm probably going to wait until my hair is long enough to put up before I try again though. I really need a way to cover the bad days and transition period.