Enchantment Learning & Living Blog

Welcome to Enchantment Learning & Living, inspirational blog about the simple pleasures, radical self-care, and everyday magic that make life delicious.

Biscochito Coffee

Nothing says the holidays in New Mexico like a fresh batch of biscochitos.  I look forward to those anise dotted sugar cookies every year.  In fact, it's pretty much the only time I eat those treats, so each bite seems laced with memories of unwrapping presents and lingering over cups of tea by the fireside. 

Another way to enjoy that biscochito flavor throughout the holiday season is to lace your coffee with the anise seeds, something my family has been doing for years to add to the festive quotient of our morning cup of cheer. The fun in making you own holiday coffee blends is that you can create your own flavors (hello pumpkin spice and Aztec mocha coffees) and control the quality of ingredient.  Most commercial flavored coffees are made with artificial ingredients and poor quality beans--yuck!   You can also play with the strength of your flavors, from just a kiss of anise flavor in each sip to tasting the equivalent of one biscochito in each cup.

Don't forget to use good quality coffee here. I go for the Santa Fe-based Aroma Coffee's organic Black Lighting dark roast.  Seriously, it has ruined me for other coffee.  Once you try the good stuff, you can't go back to the so-so.  This is an excellent last-minute gift as well since the prep work is virtually nada (you can keep the beans whole or grind them) and everyone appreciates a tasty beverage high on the festive quotient, but a welcome break from the heavier eggnogs and hot chocolates.

Ingredients:

12 oz quality coffee

2 oz anise seeds

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container.  You can grind your coffee right away before mixing, or grind as you go with each pot you brew.  Just make sure to get some anise in each batch you grind as it might settle to the bottom of your container.  Don't hesitate to play with the proportions to find the perfect balance between coffee and spice for you.  Brew as you normally would.  Enjoy!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Today I have another entry in what is becoming my annual holiday kitchen gifts series (aka gifts from the heart).  This is the time of year when we can become over-saturated with marketing ploys trying to convince us to buy! buy! buy! To which I say: no thanks. 

I've never been one for malls or big shopping extravaganzas (with the exception of grocery shopping and some fond memories of girl days with my sisters when we were teens).  This is also the time of year when we should be indulging in the gentle rejuvenation and restoration that the winter months invite, but instead are all too often pulled into the frazzled energy that can be the holiday buzz.

My anecdote to this frenetic energy has always been in making gifts, particularly ones that people can enjoy long after the last holiday cookie has been eaten and the final decoration has been packed away.  Time in the kitchen soothes and relaxes while slowing down and making gifts is a wonderful way to meditate on all the love in your life.  

Of course, you also want to make sure that whatever you are making isn't too complicated, otherwise you defeat the purpose of simplifying your holiday.  I personally only make things that allow plenty of time for tea drinking and playing with my niece, so I don't I lose all the fun of hanging out in the kitchen.

This recipe for homemade vanilla extract fits the bill for easiness and deliciousness; it's a gift you can whip up in no time and that your friends and family with love receiving.  The flavor of a homemade vanilla extract is so much richer and smoother than the store bought kind--and surprisingly less expensive.  Genuine vanilla extract can be pricey and the imitation stuff is no good (just think of all the artificial flavors and coloring they use).

The only difference between making my Vanilla Bourbon and vanilla extract is the dose.  One vanilla bean is strong enough to gently infuse a few cups of spirits with its flavor.  More vanilla beans in less alcohol offer a concentrated flavor perfect for baking.  I used organic Prairie vodka in this recipe, but you can play with the flavor of your extract by using rum or bourbon instead. 

Ingredients:

1 vanilla bean per 1 oz vodka

Slice vanilla beans almost completely in half lengthwise.  This ensures that the vodka can soak up the flavor from the little seeds on the beans' inside and makes it easier to remove the vanilla from the alcohol once it has done soaking (as opposed to slicing it completely in half).  Place beans in mason jar and pour vodka over it (I used four beans for four ounces of vodka pictured below).  Seal jar and let sit for a week, making sure to shake jar periodically.  Then strain the vodka by pouring it through cheesecloth draped funnel into a clean jar.  Store in a cool, dry place.  Lasts indefinitely (though I doubt you will be able to keep it around that long!). 

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Vanilla Infused Bourbon

We've had glorious weather this week, from a lush snowstorm that swept over the city, creating an air of frivolity and lightness (let's just say there was more than one pool going to see if we would get a snow day--we didn't, but the blissful fat flakes seemed to cool the minds of everyone burning too hot at the end of the semester), to the gentle windy days that tickled fiery autumn leaves from their branches.  It has been nothing short of mystic!

This cold weather has made me want to curl up by the fire and enjoy the hush that seems to settle over the earth when autumn transitions to winter--something we too seldom indulge in as we get swept up in the flurry of the work week and the upcoming holiday season.  It goes without saying that a book and a delicious beverage would make fireside snuggling nothing short of epic.  Tea works well here (you know how much I love those cups akin to a warm hug for the soul), but if you are looking for something a little more festive, look no further than this vanilla bourbon.

It is super easy to make and tastes of the season, full of the lush caramel and vanilla flavors we crave in our holiday desserts.  You can make a sinfully vanilla old fashioned or give my cinnamon-apple cocktail an extra dash of yum with this vanilla bourbon. Of course, it is equally delicious on its own. 

As with all my recipes, the trick is getting good quality ingredients.  I used Maker's Mark bourbon (nice, but not so nice that you wouldn't want to infuse it with anything) and organic vanilla beans which I got here.  Make sure the vanilla bean is soft and plump.  A brittle bean is a sign that it has gone stale and the flavor won't be as strong.  The rest is easy: simply forget about the bourbon for a week while it soaks up all the lovely vanilla flavor.  My advice?  Mix up a double batch so you have some for yourself and another for a friend.  This bourbon is so good, you'll want to gift it to friends and family this holiday season.

Ingredients:

2 cups bourbon

1 vanilla bean

Slice vanilla bean almost completely in half lengthwise.  This ensures that the bourbon can soak up the flavor from the little seeds on the bean's inside and makes it easier to remove the vanilla from the bourbon once it has done soaking (as opposed to slicing it completely in half).  Place in mason jar and pour bourbon over it.  Seal jar and let sit for a week, making sure to shake jar periodically.  Then strain the bourbon by pouring it through cheesecloth draped funnel into a clean bottle.  Store in a cool, dry place.  Lasts indefinitely (though I doubt you will be able to keep it around that long!).  Makes two cups.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Fried Sage Chips

One of my go-to appetizers come the weekend are these delicious and easy to make sage chips.  They combine my love of fresh herbs with all the tastiness of a kale chip but are dainty enough to nibble on as you enjoy an evening cocktail. I even hesitate to use the word "fried" in my blog title because these chips aren't greasy or heavy, just light and crisp.

There is nothing like the woodsy taste of the sage paired with the pop of sea salt on the tongue to prepare your palate for your evening meal.  It's the taste of this dish and taking the time to enjoy a pre-dinner drink that matters, rather than filling up on a heartier snack--it's like the Italian version of an appetizer in that way, making you slow down and enjoy the simple pleasure of a luxurious dinner.   Like my roasted garlic scapes, these sage chips only require good olive oil and sea salt to make them tasty--you can always add a pop of brightness to them with my 3 Citrus Himalayan Salt.

Ingredients:

1 bunch organic sage leaves

Olive oil

Sea salt

In a saucepan, heat olive oil on medium heat.  Use only enough olive oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pan, about 2-3 tablespoons.  Once oil is hot, place sage leaves in pan and let fry until they begin to get crispy and golden, but not burned (about one minute).  Make sure not to pile too many leaves into the oil at once, otherwise they will get mushy.  You may have to fry them in batches.  Promptly remove from heat and set on paper towel to drain.  While the leaves are still hot, sprinkle them with sea salt.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Turmeric Lemongrass Bath Bombs (sans Citric Acid)

Mother's Day is just around the corner.  School is done.  You have a free weekend afternoon for a bubble bath and a long nap...clearly, there are a myriad of reasons why you should make these super easy bath bombs to have on hand for those oh so important occasions!  The big one, of course, is that special day we take to celebrate our awesome moms, those strong women who spend so much time caring for others that it is important that we take time out to care for and pamper them.  These turmeric lemongrass bath bombs are the perfect gift for the woman who could use a luxurious soak (with a good book and a glass of wine!).

What I love about these bath bombs is that they are made without citric acid--a sometimes difficult ingredient to find and keep on hand.  The cream of tartar is a perfect substitute and something we often have (and forget about) in our pantry.  Turmeric is also an easy kitchen staple to add to these bombs and it is what gives them their festive sunshine hue.  Don't be alarmed if this bright yellow doesn't initially come through when you mix the dry ingredients--it will once you wet them down.

Like my spring bath bombs, these hedonistic treats use the smells and flowers of spring to rejuvenate the senses.  In this case, I use lemongrass, that universal revitalizer, mixed with calendula petals known for their ability to soothe the skin.  Tumeric is also a wonder-cure for many skin issues from acne to eczema.  The baking soda gently detoxes and exfoliates your skin while the cream of tartar softens it.

Ingredients:

2 cups baking soda

1 cup cream of tartar

1 tsp turmeric powder

4 teaspoons melted coconut oil

1/8 cup water (in spray bottle)

100 drops lemongrass essential oil

1/4 cup dried calendula petals (optional)

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly, being careful not to raise too much dust.  Then add in coconut oil and essential oil and mix thoroughly with hands, making sure that oil is evenly distributed throughout the mix.  Here comes the tricky part: adding the water.  You need the spray bottle to ensure that you aren't adding too much water at once otherwise your bath bombs will begin to prematurely fizz. 

Going slowly, spray water into the bowl, stirring completely as you go until it is damp but not soaking wet.  You will probably not use all the water in your spray bottle.  You can test the readiness of your mix by squeezing together a handful of it and seeing if it sticks--if it does, you can go ahead and place it in molds or roll them into balls.  If not, you'll need more water.  Once you have placed the mix into molds or hand shaped it into balls, you can let your bath bombs air dry for at least two hours or up to overnight.  Remove from molds (if using) and store in a dry place.  Makes about 9 bath bombs.  Enjoy!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Easy Coconut Body Butter

One ingredient.  Under ten minutes to make.  Silky soft skin as a result. Need I say more? I stumbled across this body butter recipe from Living the Nourished Life on Pinterest and immediately had to try it.  You know I love making my own body butters already because they are much more nourishing for your skin than traditional lotions (even organic ones that like to sneak in preservatives).  Plus, they feel positively luxurious! 

As easy as my body butter recipes are, I don't always have the energy to wait for beeswax to melt and then whip up my oils and other ingredients--especially this time of year when I am in an end-of-term-grading crunch. And as much as I look forward to my rich mojito body butter after a day in the sun, I find myself needing a lighter day-to-day moisturizer now that it is warmer out.  Enter this decadent and easy to make coconut body butter.

You simply whip up solid coconut oil until it is nice and frothy like whipped cream; this ensures that when you slather the butter on your body, it quickly absorbs into your skin, rather than leaving an oily residue.  You can add essential oils to it, but I find I like to preserve the gentle perfume of coconuts--feels so summery and festive!

Ingredients:

1 cup organic coconut oil

Place solid coconut oil in mixing bowl--don't melt the oil or it will not whip.  Using a handheld mixer, whip coconut oil for 6-8 minutes, or until oil is frothy like whipped cream.  Transfer to a small mason jar or other airtight container and store indefinitely in a cool, dry place.  To use, simply apply to skin post-bath in small amounts.  Makes about 1 1/2 cup.  Enjoy!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Aphrodite's Sugar Scrub

Valentine's Day is a celebration of the love in your life--and not just romantic kind.  It's about sharing your gratitude for the people who make your day a little brighter and a little sweeter.  What better way to honor this love than by giving them this sugar body scrub to shake off the winter blahs?

Full of cinnamon and roses--long considered natural love potions--this scrub inspires us to invoke the divine Aphrodite and to relish the simple hedonism of a long bubble bath (maybe with a buddy!), pampered skin, and a rosy outlook on life.  Pair it with my Aphrodite's Bath Salts, and you've got a match made in heaven!

Ingredients:

1 cup organic sugar

1 cup olive oil or coconut oil

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/4 cup rose petals

30 drops cinnamon essential oil

30 drops rose oil or rose water

10 drops clove oil

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and store in a mason jar or other airtight container.  Makes about 1 cup.  Enjoy!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Orange Spice Rooibos Tea Blend

Come nighttime when I'm snuggled in my jammies, cheesy Christmas socked feet resting on my coffee table, enjoying the twinkling lights on my tree, I long for a fat mug of tea that soothes me to sleep and yet has the rich flavors of the season.  Rooibos becomes the perfect based then for my Orange Spice Tea because it is caffeine free and has citrusy notes that pair well with the orange peel.  You can find these ingredients at your local herb store or online at Rose Mountain Herbs

Ingredients:

1 cup organic rooibos

1 cup dried orange peels

1 cup cinnamon chips

1/8 cup clover buds

1/4 cup calendula

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container.  Makes about 3 1/2 cups.  To brew, add one healing tablespoon to 8 oz hot water and let steep for 3-5 minutes. Enjoy!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Blend

coffee.jpg

I love my festive flavored lattes this time of year, but sometimes I want a delicious caffeinated beverage that doesn't have added sugar and that I can brew up right at home before I've even had a chance to change out of my jammies.

Over the years my family and I have gotten into the habit of adding spices like anise and other flavors to bring a little holiday cheer to our coffee.  Lately, I've been adding a teaspoon of my pumpkin pie spice to add an extra festive kick to my morning cup of joe--as if my cheesy holiday mug didn't already do that!

The great thing about flavoring your own coffee is that you can control the strength of the added flavor.  After reading about flavoring your own coffee at home from good ol' Martha Stewart and The Kitchn I realized that most homemade coffee flavorings involve whole beans and other add-ins that get ground together--this whole bean method would look very pretty in a mason jar. 

However, I don't always have the time or the patience to freshly grind my coffee every morning so I usually just stick with adding whatever already ground spices I have on hand to my coffee basket before brewing.  In either case, always use good quality coffee because no amount of spices will make bad coffee taste good.  I am personally addicted to Aroma Coffee out of Santa Fe, NM.  Their organic Black Lightning Dark roast is pretty swoon-worthy. Flavored coffee also makes a great gift for the coffee fanatic in your life--one who appreciates the really good stuff with minimal additives.  Simply mix your coffee, whole or ground, with your flavorings in a large mason jar and top with a bow.

Ingredients:

12 oz quality coffee

2 oz pumpkin pie spice

Combine ingredients and brew as you normally would.  Keep in mind these ratios are for what I like in my cup o' cheer, so play around with them.  If you like more spice, add more.  If less, add less.  Enjoy!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Candy Cane Body Butter

Nothing says the holidays like those red and white striped candy canes.  While those candies with always evoke a nostalgic twinge in my heart, I am now more drawn to the scent of this holiday treat than the actual sugary taste, which is why I reach for a jar of this Candy Cane Body Butter rather than its confectionery namesake. 

I use both peppermint and spearmint oil in my recipe to round out the minty smell.  The spearmint adds a fruity softness to the scent while the peppermint brings a clean sharpness. This body butter pairs perfecting with my Peppermint Hot Chocolate Body Scrub, so make both and indulge in a decadent home spa day!

Special Tools:

Clean tin can

Old saucepan

Blender

Spatula

Ingredients:

3/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup coconut oil

4 tablespoons beeswax, roughly chopped into small pieces

1 cup distilled water

30 drops peppermint oil

30 drops spearmint oil

1. Place the saucepan on low heat and fill halfway with water.  Then place the clean tin can in the center of the saucepan.  Put the beeswax in the tin can and let melt slowly. When beeswax is melted, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature (but not to solidify) about 5-10 minutes.

2.  While beeswax is cooling, mix together olive oil and coconut oil in a small bowl.  Heat for two minutes in microwave and let cool about 5 minutes. 

3.  Heat the distilled water (still in a microwave safe measuring cup) for two minutes in the microwave and let cool about five minutes. Pour the last of the melted beeswax into the blender while it mixes ingredients on medium speed.

4.  Blend your ingredients in a blender.  First add half of the oil mixture and begin to mix it on medium.  Once the oils begin to thicken, add half the water, then half the beeswax.  Blend for another 10-15 seconds or until first half of your ingredient are blended and being to thicken.  Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the blender and then begin blending on medium again.  Add remaining ingredients (oils, water, beeswax) one at a time until fully incorporated together.  Scrape down the sides one last time and blend for another 10-15 seconds.  The mixture should be thick.

5.  Turn off blender and add essential oils, stirring them in manually with your spatula, then blend completely on medium for another 10 seconds.

6.  Pour body butter into containers (I use mason jars) and let cool for at least half an hour before capping.  If you find your water separating from your oils, don't worry, that's normal.  It just means that the water temp and the oil temp weren't the same when you blended them.  I've noticed the more I make this recipe (or variations of it!), the less that happens, so just keep practicing.  Store in a cool, dry place for up to one month or in the fridge for six months--that is the advice the book I adapted the recipe from gives.  Personally, I have stored this body butter in my bathroom sink for a couple months and it has been fine sans fridge.

7.  To use, apply after bathing or showering.  Use only a little at a time--a little goes a long way!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Winter Solstice Body Butter

This body butter is for the loved ones in your life that don't necessarily like the more floral or softer scents of other creams and lotions.  I use a mixture of pine and eucalyptus oils here to evoke the smell of a crisp winter morning with the scent of fresh pine in the air.  Both oils have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory qualities, while the pine oil soothes dry skin and the eucalyptus oil eases the tension in tired muscles.

Every time I use this body butter, I feel like I'm being wrapped in a warm blanket of wintery goodness!  I think of freshly cut holiday trees, tramping through the woods (or in my case, parents' yard) collecting pine cones, the promise of snow in the air...who doesn't want to wrapped in those memories all winter long?

Special Tools:

Clean tin can

Old saucepan

Blender

Spatula

Ingredients:

3/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup coconut oil

4 tablespoons beeswax, roughly chopped into small pieces

1 cup distilled water

30 drops pine oil

15 drops eucalyptus oil

1. Place the saucepan on low heat and fill halfway with water.  Then place the clean tin can in the center of the saucepan.  Put the beeswax in the tin can and let melt slowly. When beeswax is melted, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature (but not to solidify) about 5-10 minutes.

2.  While beeswax is cooling, mix together olive oil and coconut oil in a small bowl.  Heat for two minutes in microwave and let cool about 5 minutes. 

3.  Heat the distilled water (still in a microwave safe measuring cup) for two minutes in the microwave and let cool about five minutes. Pour the last of the melted beeswax into the blender while it mixes ingredients on medium speed.

4.  Blend your ingredients in a blender.  First, add half of the oil mixture and begin to mix it on medium.  Once the oils begin to thicken, add half the water, then half the beeswax.  Blend for another 10-15 seconds or until first half of your ingredient are blended and being to thicken.  Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the blender and then begin blending on medium again.  Add remaining ingredients (oils, water, beeswax) one at a time until fully incorporated together.  Scrape down the sides one last time and blend for another 10-15 seconds.  The mixture should be thick.

5.  Turn off blender and add essential oils, stirring them in manually with your spatula, then blend completely on medium for another 10 seconds.

6.  Pour body butter into containers (I use mason jars) and let cool for at least half an hour before capping.  If you find your water separating from your oils, don't worry, that's normal.  It just means that the water temp and the oil temp weren't the same when you blended them.  I've noticed the more I make this recipe (or variations of it!), the less that happens, so just keep practicing.  Store in a cool, dry place for up to one month or in the fridge for six months--that is the advice the book I adapted the recipe from give.  Personally, I have stored this body butter in my bathroom sink for a couple months and it has been fine sans fridge.

7.  To use, apply after bathing or showering.  Use only a little at a time--a little goes a long way!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Orange Spice Body Butter

One of the most decadent and delicious gifts you can give someone is homemade body butter.  Rather than gifting people yet another tray of cookies they have to finish by the end of the holiday season, why not treat them to a festive body butter they can use long after the last ornament has been put away?

I especially love this orange spice body butter because it soothes the skin and, with the help of beeswax, locks in moisture and protects your tender outer shell from the elements.  The cinnamon and orange oils are anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agents.

Making your own body butter is a lot easier than people think; it's also better for your skin that mainstream lotions with bad-for-you ingredients--and less expensive!  In fact, the only really trick to making your own body butter is having patience while the beeswax melts and then waiting for the other oils to liquefy when added to the wax.

Special Tools:

Clean tin can

Old saucepan

Blender

Spatula

Ingredients:

3/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup coconut oil

4 tablespoons beeswax, roughly chopped into small pieces

1 cup distilled water

30 drops orange oil

30 drops cinnamon oil

1. Place the saucepan on low heat and fill halfway with water.  Then place the clean tin can in the center of the saucepan.  Put the beeswax in the tin can and let melt slowly. When beeswax is melted, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature (but not to solidify) about 5-10 minutes.

2.  While beeswax is cooling, mix together olive oil and coconut oil in a small bowl.  Heat for two minutes in microwave and let cool about 5 minutes. 

3.  Heat the distilled water (still in a microwave safe measuring cup) for two minutes in the microwave and let cool about five minutes. Pour the last of the melted beeswax into the blender while it mixes ingredients on medium speed.

4.  Blend your ingredients in a blender.  First, add half of the oil mixture and begin to mix it on medium.  Once the oils begin to thicken, add half the water, then half the beeswax.  Blend for another 10-15 seconds or until first half of your ingredient are blended and being to thicken.  Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the blender and then begin blending on medium again.  Add remaining ingredients (oils, water, beeswax) one at a time until fully incorporated together.  Scrape down the sides one last time and blend for another 10-15 seconds.  The mixture should be thick.

5.  Turn off blender and add essential oils, stirring them in manually with your spatula, then blend completely on medium for another 10 seconds.

6.  Pour body butter into containers (I use mason jars) and let cool for at least half an hour before capping.  If you find your water separating from your oils, don't worry, that's normal.  It just means that the water temp and the oil temp weren't the same when you blended them.  I've noticed the more I make this recipe (or variations of it!), the less that happens, so just keep practicing.  Store in a cool, dry place for up to one month or in the fridge for six months--that is the advice the book I adapted the recipe from give.  Personally, I have stored this body butter in my bathroom sink for a couple months and it has been fine sans fridge.

7.  To use, apply after bathing or showering.  Use only a little at a time--a little goes a long way!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Chocolate Peppermint Cups

Lately, my family has had a hankering for more health-conscious chocolate desserts that don't overload us with sugar.  After some kitchen experimentation (and lots of taste-testing on my family's part!) I've come up with these chocolate peppermint cups that rely on coconut butter and coconut oil--two of the healthiest fats around. 

It is important to store this dessert in the fridge; since the cups are made up of coconut oil, they will begin to melt if left at room temp for too long.  My suggestion is to pull them from the fridge right before you are ready to enjoy dessert. 

This dessert is especially festive for the holidays, as it mirrors the flavor of peppermint hot chocolate or candy canes without the sugar rush.  This way you can enjoy the holiday cheer without the added calories or saccharine hangover.

Ingredients:

For chocolate cups:

1/2 cup melted coconut oil,

1/2 dark cocoa powder

6 tbsp maple syrup

For filling:

1/2 cup coconut butter

3 tbsp melted coconut oil

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp peppermint flavoring (or more if you want a stronger flavor)

Combine coconut oil, cocoa powder and maple syrup in a bowl.  Using a mini-muffin tin, spoon about 1 tablespoon into each mold.  Let chill in fridge about 5 minutes or until the chocolate has solidified. 

Meanwhile, combine ingredients for filling.  Spread 1/2 tablespoon of filling evenly acrosssolidified chocolate in each mold.  Then place remaining chocolate mixture on top of filling, about 1 tablespoon for each mold.  Allow to solidify in fridge for another 5-10 minutes.  To remove cups from mold, gently run knife along the edges until they pop out.  Store in fridge for up to a month.  Makes about 16 cups. Enjoy!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Pumpkin Pie Body Scrub

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Remember that wonderful pumpkin face mask I wrote about in October?  Well, meet its mate, my pumpkin pie body scrub!  It's made with actual pumpkin--in this case, powdered pumpkin I purchased from amazon.com--which means it has the same complexion nourishing ingredients like magnesium, iron, and a host of vitamins that bring back your natural glow during these colder months.  The touch of pumpkin pie spices bring anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial qualities of your scrub.

It's also a great easy-to-make holiday gift for your loved ones in need of a little extra self-care this upcoming holiday season.  What better way to indulge in a little TLC than to enjoy the exfoliating effects of this scrub that perfumes your bathroom with the smell of pumpkin pie?

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar (or Epsom salts)

1/2 cup powdered pumpkin

3/4 cup coconut oil or olive oil

1/4 cup pumpkin spice (or cinnamon)

Mix all dry ingredients together first and then slowly add in oil until fully combined.  Store in a mason jar.  Enjoy!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

On 'Waking Up in the Land of Glitter'

Thank you for bringing glitter back into my life.

I was beginning to forget that every day could sparkle like the German glass dust in your books, be full of as much color and excitement as your next DIY session.  You lured me in with your warmth and heart--and, let's be honest, crafting projects.  I didn't have to be good at them, just enthusiastic--a welcome relief from over-work and the desire to live a life beyond my dissertation.

You were how I first found chica lit, the genre of mestizas and our quest for a vibrant, passionate life.  You gave me permission to get cheesy and corny and all around touchy feely about who I wanted to be. Above all, you were about hope, a reminder that life was more than just A to B; between your pages, I found the courage to break myself out of that linear path with zest and style.

You were my road map back to my native Southwest, a lifeline between me and my sister as we found our way back to glitter.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Pumpkin Spice Blend

Ahhhhh, pumpkin spice!  That heady mixture of cinnamon and other spices is the perfect embodiment of autumn goodness.  Happily for non-pumpkin lovers, it contains none of that squash. I love using it not just for Thanksgiving pies, put in my coffee for a festive kick (a trick I learned from my mom!) or on pancakes to make them just a little yummier.

This spice blend is surprisingly easy to make and less expensive if you mix it on your own.  A small 2-ounce jar will run you anywhere from two to four dollars whereas if you buy the spices in bulk, you can get the same spice mix for half the cost and you are guaranteed fresher ingredients.  I like to make mine in small batches, but the beauty of this recipe is that it is easy to double or triple depending on your pumpkin spice needs.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp ground ginger

3/4 tsp ground allspice

1/2 tsp ground clove

Mix ingredients together and store in a small spice jar.  Makes about 1/4 cup.  Enjoy!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

On Halloween

It is carving pumpkins and then roasting the seeds, watching old scary movies and eagerly anticipating nightfall, when you can light the jack-o-lanterns and ready yourself for ghostly visitors, lovely princesses, and a whole host of other child-sized creatures. Yes, you can even fondly recall when you would spend a whole month planning your costume for this big night, when you traveled the streets with candy bag in tow, one eye on the haunted house across the street and another and your next stop, instead of offering sweets from the cozy warmth of your own home.

It is a magical time, when you are both who you are and you aren't; a glimmer of the creature you rarely let out in the daylight or the flash of inspiration you hope to carry into your daily life.  You are playful and wild and more than a little devilish.  You celebrate the here and now, the what might be, and the what was in a swirling confluence of energies, invoking the powers of the spirits among us.

And yet perhaps the most exciting part of Halloween, after the candles burn out in their hallowed out pumpkin shells, and the bowls of candy are empty, the last child having knocked at your door an hour ago, is that quiet hush broken only by the chill breeze and the rustle of leaves outside.  You hear only the faint echo of the children's cheerful babble and the melodramatic music from your horror movies.  You relish the whispers in the dark, the promise of deep dreams influenced by the festivities and thinning boundaries between worlds, the pregnant silence full of otherworldly possibility.  This, this is Halloween.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Nettle Tea

The nettle leaf is one of those plants, like the dandelion, that is often overlooked as a useless weed but is really one of the most amazing plants with health benefits out there. The tea it produces is my new favorite daily cup of goodness.  I recently fell in love with the brew again after I found myself struggling with allergy symptoms last month.  My sister-in-law, an amazing healer, told me to try drinking nettle tea.  Luckily, I had some on hand.  After a few cups of the herbal steep, I was feeling fit as a fiddle again! In fact, I realized that my symptoms only showed up when I had stopped drinking my nightly mint, dandelion, and nettle leaf tea blend.

Drinking nettle tea daily is worth it just to prevent any cold or allergy symptoms, but I also drink it because it boosts your immune system; relieves hypertension, bloating and cramps; reduces inflammation and allergy symptoms; contains vitamins A, C, D, and K, iron, and other important vitamins and minerals; builds energy; and even acts as a mild diuretic.  What a power-packed herb!  In fact, the only downside to this plant is that it might cause irritation (mild rash or upset stomach) for a few people, so it's a good idea to try just a little tea at first before committing to a cup a day.  That said, I've never had any adverse effects from drinking this tea. 

Ingredients:

Nettle Leaf

To brew, use one tablespoon per 8 oz hot water.  Steep for 3-5 minutes.  Can re-steep leaves. Enjoy!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Honey Eucalyptus Foot Soak

The only thing better than a long hot bath after moving and unpacking (or helping someone else do it) is a long hot foot soak!  After all, you've been on your feet all day (and night) and sometimes it's nice to slip into jammies, chill on the newly moved-in couch, and dip your feet into a basin filled with Epsom salts and other restorative ingredients.  Your only task then is to not move for a little while, which should be no problem after a day of running around. 

For this recipe, I use Epsom salts which help sooth tired muscles thanks to all the magnesium and other minerals in it.  I also add honey which smooths and softens skin while reducing any inflammation.  The little bit of olive oil moisturizes your feet while the eucalyptus oil energizes them and relieves sore muscles.  Its crisp scent also soothes the spirit.  The only special equipment you need is a big tub or basin to soak your feet.  The best time to use this is at the end of the day after you've unpacked your last box.  Get cleaned up, slip into your favorite PJs, brew a cup of tea, and sit back to enjoy your foot bath!  Of course, it goes without saying that you can easily turn this into a for-real bath--simply pour these ingredients into your bath tub and enjoy. 

Ingredients:

1 cup organic honey

1 cup Epsom salts

10 drops eucalyptus essential oils

1 tablespoon olive oil

4-8 cups hot water (depending on how big your basin is)

Combine all ingredients into your tub except the water.  Then fill your container with hot water from your bathtub.  Make sure to test the water first for desired temperature first.  Do not to overfill the tub--the water level will rise once you put your feet in it.  Soak for at least 20 minutes.  Enjoy!

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!

Summer Lovin' Rose-Lavender Tea Blend

Ahhhh...summer.  The time for long afternoons reading on your patio over a cup of tea--hot or iced.  The time when flowers are blooming and the bees are happily tickling your lavender buds in an attempt to collect and distribute pollen.  The time of year when I start craving light floral teas that mimic the bounty of the season.

One of my favorite blends that perfectly captures the season is my Summer Lovin' Rose-Lavender Blend, a tisane, or herbal tea, that combines rose petals, lavender buds, and raspberry leaves for a lady-like tea that is delicious either hot or cold--and perfect for any occasion, from an afternoon tea with the ladies to an impromptu iced tea in the shade after tending your garden. 

Yes, this tea is decidedly romantic with its fragrant rose and lavender perfume wafting from your cup.  The raspberry leaf binds these two flavors together with its own light black tea taste with floral undertones.  One cup of this is enough to make you see summer through rose colored glasses--if you aren't already!  As a bonus, these herbs are healing powerhouses--details below. 

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Ingredients:

1-part lavender

1-part rose petals

1-part raspberry leaf

Combine ingredients in a bowl and store in a mason jar.  To brew a perfect cup, use one tablespoon of blend per cup of boiling water.  Let soak for 5-7 minutes.  Enjoy!

Health properties of ingredients:

Lavender: a traditional nerve tonic and relaxant; antiseptic and antibacterial.

Raspberry leaf: rich in vitamins A, B, C, E, magnesium; tones uterus; relieves tension.

Rose petals: soothes skin; mild sedative and natural stress reliever; rich in vitamin C.

Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!