Orange, Tea Tree + Cocoa Butter Cold Process Soap

Orange, Tea Tree + Cocoa Butter Cold Process Soap | Sarah J. Hauser

I’m switching gears for a minute and bringing you a recipe for cold process soap! I set this hobby aside while focusing more on food and writing (and chasing my kids around), but I’ve been wanting to get back into it. I’ve been using store-bought soap lately, and to be honest, it does not compare to the good, homemade stuff. I also feel like I’ve been in a creative rut with food and writing, and my temptation is often to forgo creating altogether. When I do that, though, I find I get “creatively stale.” I don’t know if that’s a real phrase, but I’m going to go with it.

To avoid getting stale, I have to switch to a different creative outlet—play music instead of write recipes, read fiction in between theology books, or in this case, make soap instead of food. It keeps me doing what I love—creating—but it gives my brain a break from the norm.

The beauty of soap-making is that you can make one batch, set your supplies in the closet for a few months, and return to it whenever you can. And most of the recipes I write yield 16 four-ounce bars, so you’re stocked for awhile (or you can use them for gifting!).

Soap-making is sort of like baking. There’s a chemistry to it, and you have to play by the rules in order for it to work. But within those rules, there’s so much creativity that can happen. I love experimenting with different base oils, using a variety of essential oils, or mixing in additives like vanilla. This recipe includes only the basic ingredients and not full instructions, so if you’re new to soap-making, be sure to read more about the full process here.

Orange, Tea Tree + Cocoa Butter Cold Process Soap | Sarah J. Hauser
Orange, Tea Tree + Cocoa Butter Cold Process Soap | Sarah J. Hauser
Orange, Tea Tree + Cocoa Butter Cold Process Soap | Sarah J. Hauser
Orange, Tea Tree + Cocoa Butter Cold Process Soap | Sarah J. Hauser

Orange, Tea Tree + Cocoa Butter Cold Process Soap
Makes about 16 (4-ounce) bars of soap

This recipe is bright and refreshing. I used a mix of orange essential oil and tea tree oil, and the base oils include cocoa butter, making the soap feel extra luxurious. If you are new to soap-making, visit this post for more info.

Base Oils
16 ounces olive oil
12 ounces coconut oil
6 ounces cocoa butter
6 ounces avocado oil
3 ounces jojoba oil

Lye Solution
12 ounces water
5.75 ounces lye

Additives
Add 1.25 ounces of tea tree oil and 2 ounces of orange essential oil before the mixture reaches trace.*

Remember to let your soaps cure for 4-6 weeks before using or gifting!

*The scent may seem strong at first, but it will mellow as it cures.


DIY Whipped Body Butter [with Apricot Oil + Mango Butter]

DIY Whipped Body Butter [with Apricot Oil + Mango Butter]

We've had a handful of painfully cold days around here lately. I don't mind winter entirely. I love having a white Christmas, running around in the snow with my kids, and generally avoiding the feeling of overheating. But sometimes, the cold and wind hit so hard it actually hurts. That, I mind. Not to mention the super dry air that can leave my knuckles cracked and skin itchy. Not fun. (I'm guessing you Florida and other warm-weather readers are thankful you don't live here right now!)

DIY Whipped Body Butter [with Apricot Oil + Mango Butter]
DIY Whipped Body Butter [with Apricot Oil + Mango Butter]

A couple years ago for my baby shower, my sister made small jars of whipped body butter for party favors, which considering it was the middle of January, was the perfect gift. Body butter goes on a thicker than many lotions, so you don't need to use very much at a time. Homemade versions also don't have harmful additives that many store bought ones have, assuming you're starting with quality ingredients. 

DIY Whipped Body Butter [with Apricot Oil + Mango Butter]

I have a small jar of whipped body butter that I currently keep in my car. It seems like when I put my hands on the steering wheel, I suddenly notice how dry and cracked my hands are, and I love having moisturizer easily accessible. I also use the recipe below as a belly balm during pregnancy (SURPRISE, I'm pregnant again!), and put it on my kids as needed. And I know there are only a few days until Christmas, but you can whip up a batch if you need a last minute gift or stocking stuffer! (Many Better Shea Butter products are Prime eligible on Amazon, so you can get them quickly!)

DIY Body Butter

This recipe uses organic mango butter and organic apricot oil from Better Shea Butter. Mango butter is nourishing and slightly lighter than shea butter. Apricot oil also feels light on your skin and gets quickly absorbed, so you don't have the greasy feeling some other oils have. Apricot oil is also safe for all skin types, including infants!

I adapted my recipe from Wellness Mama, so if you're looking to change up my version to use shea buttercocoa butter, or other oils you may have on hand, make sure to check out this link


DIY Whipped Body Butter
Yields enough to fill about a 16 ounce jar (once whipped)
Adapted from Wellness Mama

4 ounces (by weight) coconut oil
4 ounces (by weight) mango butter
2 ounces (by weight) apricot oil
20 drops therapeutic grade essential oil (I used Young Living's Gentle Baby blend)

Melt the coconut oil, mango butter, and apricot oil in a double boiler over medium heat, stirring constantly. When everything is melted and combined, remove from heat. Allow to cool for about 15-20 minutes, and then stir in the essential oil. 

Put the mixture in the refrigerator and cool to a soft stage, about 1 hour. Then, using a hand mixer, whip everything together until light and fluffy. It'll take about 8-10 minutes of whipping. 

Transfer the body butter to the containers of your choice. Return the body butter to the fridge to set completely, about another half hour. You can store the body butter at room temperature, if your house is cooler than 75 degrees. However, if your home is warmer than that, store in the refrigerator. 

Note: When using this body butter, a little goes a LONG way. Start by rubbing just a tiny amount into your skin, and add more if needed. 


Mango butter and apricot oil for this post were provided by Better Shea Butter. All opinions are 100% my own.


Big Cluster Cocoa Cherry Granola

Big Cluster Cocoa Cherry Granola

“You go through big chunks of time where you’re just thinking, ‘This is impossible — oh, this is impossible.’ And then you just keep going and keep going, and you sort of do the impossible.” —Tina Fey

I think back to a year ago when my husband and I were trying to stay afloat during the newborn stage. I was recovering from my unwanted, although somewhat expected and very fortunate C-section. We were up multiple times a night, me attempting to nurse and then often with tears of defeat, handing my son over to my husband for a bottle while I tried to feed baby number two. After too little sleep, the sun would rise, I’d schlep my achy body downstairs and the daytime routine would commence.

Read more and get the recipe over at Coffee + Crumbs.

Big Cluster Cocoa Cherry Granola
Big Cluster Cocoa Cherry Granola
Big Cluster Cocoa Cherry Granola
Big Cluster Cocoa Cherry Granola

Granola makes a great new mama gift! Head over to the Coffee + Crumbs shop to purchase the adorable cards pictured above to include with a batch of homemade granola! 

Vanilla Chai Shea Butter Soap

I have a bad habit of starting a hobby only to abandon it a couple years (or months) later. I love learning new skills, so I begin a project and then get distracted by some other fun venture. Eventually, I'm left in the wake of random craft supplies, half finished projects and a list of Skillshare classes I have yet to complete.

Every once in a while, though, I stumble upon the perfect creative outlet that works with my unstructured schedule and distracted brain while also leaving me with something practical. Soap making has been that hobby. While there are definitely times I've messed up a batch of soap, you don't have to be an expert to make a good bar. Even from your first beginners' batch, you've got something useful.

This is also one of those hobbies you can leave on the back burner for months, and then pick it back up again when you have time or feel the urge to experiment. There's room for creativity in recipe making, but it's also about chemistry, so you can geek out on the science of it if you want. Best of all? Soap making leaves you with a homemade staple that's so much better for your skin than many store-bought counterparts (and it also makes a great gift!).

Do you dabble in many different hobbies? Or do you stay focused on one or two at a time?

If you're new to soap making, please check out this full tutorial over at Offbeat + Inspired. You'll find all you need to know to get started, included information on supplies and safety guidelines.


Vanilla Chai Shea Butter Soap
Makes about 16 4 ounce bars of soap

*If you are new to soap making, visit this post from Offbeat + Inspired for the full instructions. 

Base Oils
15 ounces coconut oil
9 ounces olive oil
8 ounces sunflower oil
8 ounces shea butter
4 ounces jojoba oil

Lye Solution
13 ounces brewed chai tea, cooled (I used K'Tizo Tea's Bengali Chai)
6 ounces lye

Additives
Add 1.25 ounces vanilla fragrance oil and 2 teaspoons ground vanilla beans (optional) right before the mixture reaches trace.

Remember to let your soaps cure for 4-6 weeks before using or gifting!